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Michael Olsen Campaign Life Coalition
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City councillor thwarted in attempt to block ‘stunned’ commission appointee for pro-life views

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A volunteer appointee to Ottawa’s transit commission says he was “stunned” a city councillor tried to block his appointment because of his pro-life views.

“My reaction was, what does this have to do with transit?” Michael Olsen told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview.

“When I put in my application, if you had said to me, ‘They will try to disqualify you for your pro-life views,’ I would have said, ‘You’re joking.’ Once I realized it wasn’t a joke, it was quite something to hear,” added Olsen, a retired federal worker.

But Councillor Shawn Menard remains unrepentant for opposing Olsen to sit on Ottawa’s transit board because of Olsen’s anti-abortion stance.

Indeed, in the wake of widespread backlash, the rookie councillor insisted to the Ottawa Citizen that transit is a “gender issue,” and noted: “I don’t apologize for raising social issues that I think transit does overlap.”

Menard cited Olsen’s “significant advocacy on behalf of pro-life groups” when he tried during last week’s city council meeting to have Olsen’s appointment reconsidered, the Citizen reported.

City clerk and lawyer Rick O’Connor then intervened and told councillors Olsen’s beliefs on abortion are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, reported CTV.

Olsen ran for Ottawa Catholic school trustee in Ontario’s fall municipal elections and Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life political lobby group, green-lighted him at that time as a supportable candidate.

He and three others were recently selected from 92 applicants for the volunteer position of public member on the transit commission, along with eight councillors.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, who supported Olsen, told CBC he believed the selection committee ranked Olsen as top applicant.

Menard told media later he was primarily concerned about Olsen’s views on climate change, according to CTV. In 2017, Olsen complained to media watchdog National NewsMedia Council about an Ottawa Citizen article about regional climate change, a complaint that was dismissed in 2018.

While 16 councilors voted to approve Olsen’s appointment, seven voted against: Menard, Jeff Leiper, Catherine McKenney, Mathieu Fleury, Theresa Kavanagh and Diane Deans.

In the aftermath of the controversy, transit commission chair Allan Hubley publicly called on Menard to apologize to Olsen, warning his fellow councillor he is vulnerable to a Charter discrimination complaint.

“To be quite honest, I was stunned that (Menard) would say something like that. … It really does alarm me,” Hubley told Ottawa radio host Rob Snow.

“I suggested that Mr. Menard owes Mr. Olsen an apology for raising his religious beliefs as a means to disqualify him from volunteering or working at the city,” Hubley told LifeSiteNews in an email.

“To date Mr. Menard has not expressed any interest in changing his view that any member of the public holding similar beliefs should not be able to participate in municipal government.”

Indeed, Menard told Snow he regretted raising the issue at a public meeting, and that he should have instead brought it up to Mayor Watson behind closed doors, CTV reported.

“I could have better communicated my position,” he said.

Menard did not respond to a request for comment from LifeSiteNews.

Olsen, for his part, is not expecting an apology.

“I do believe what he and the other councillors tried to do, that is, trying to block my participation in the public sphere because of my religious beliefs, was wrong,” he told LifeSiteNews.

But that said, “I forgive Councillor Menard and the other councillors. I sincerely and unconditionally do, so even if he apologizes, that will not change how I feel and how I approach the issue,” said Olsen.

“I bear him no ill will. I want him to be a successful councillor.”

Added Olsen: “My belief in God is the most important thing to me. My Catholic faith is very important to me and by the grace of God, I will never deny those beliefs.”

Meanwhile, public opinion appears to fall squarely behind Olsen.

The Ottawa Sun skewered the seven councillors in an editorial ridiculing the notion that “to be pro-transit, you have to be pro-choice” as “bizarre” and “insanity.”

The editorial also quoted Kavanagh, the city’s liaison for women and gender equity, on the transit commission’s selection process: “My concern is we just not pick an equal number of men and women but we also ask them questions on their outlook and I want to know if those questions have been asked.”

Responded the Sun: “Questions like what? Whether a member of the public, applying for a volunteer position on a city commission, is anti-abortion? Absurd.”

Campaign Life Coalition national capital organizer Debbie Duval echoed this.

“CLC is appalled by the lack of respect of the right to the freedom of thought and the freedom of expression manifested by the seven councillors” who voted against Olsen, she told LifeSiteNews in an email.

“It seems now that as citizens we can’t be defenders of human life or have an opinion on the weather without fear of being refused a job or volunteer position,” she added.

The Olsen affair reminded her of the “city councillors’ unprecedented, biased and intolerant decision to take down the National March for Life flag two years ago and refusal to fly it since,” noted Duval.

Indeed, when a pro-life flag flew briefly over Ottawa City Hall for the March for Life 2017, seven councillors – including Deans, Fleury, Lieper and McKenney – immediately signed an open letter demanding that it be taken down, and Mayor Watson hastily agreed.


Shawn Menard
Ward 17 Capital
[email protected]
Tel.: 613-580-2487

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Grassroots coalition to demand Ontario premier repeal sex-ed curriculum at Feb. 20 rally

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An Ontario grassroots parental rights’ coalition is calling supporters to rally at Queen’s Park on February 20 to demand Premier Doug Ford keep his promise to repeal the sex-ed curriculum.

The Canadian Family Alliance (CFA), an umbrella group representing 200,000 Ontarians, is organizing the midweek, two-hour lunchtime rally as Ford’s sex-ed repeal plans remain under sustained attack.

Ford vowed on the campaign trail last summer that a Progressive Conservative government would repeal the radical sex-ed curriculum that Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government rolled out in 2015 despite unprecedented parental backlash.

Indeed, the CFA was formed to battle the sex-ed curriculum, which it maintains destroys children’s innocence by exposing them to sexual concepts at too early an age. The sex-ed curriculum introduces homosexuality in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, and oral and anal sex in Grade 7, and teaches there are six genders rather than two biological sexes.

But in the eight months since Ford’s landslide victory in June, “virtually nothing has been repealed,” says Tanya Granic Allen, president of Parents As First Educators (PAFE), a CFA member group.

Parents need to demand Ford and his government “do what you promised. You said you’re going to repeal it. Repeal it,” she told LifeSiteNews.

Moreover, parents may not be aware that Ford’s “repeal agenda is under assault from pro-child-sexualization forces both inside and outside his party,” said Jack Fonseca, director of political operations for Campaign Life Coalition, another CFA member group. “The pressure these leftists have imposed on Ford is designed to make him flip-flop on parental rights, a la Patrick Brown.”

Indeed, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association are suing the Ford government on the grounds that the sex-ed repeal is unconstitutional.

Ministry of Education lawyers made it clear in that court action that “the Wynne sex-ed curriculum – and pretty much anything else – can be used to teach sex-ed,” Granic Allen pointed out in a February 6 PAFE email.

Court documents also revealed “the Ministry of Education agrees that children can learn gender identity in school. We know teachers can teach pretty much anything they want, and use whatever resources they choose,” she wrote.

Moreover, two lawyers filed a human rights complaint on behalf of an 11-year-old in August. Two transgender teens, biological females who began transitioning to males in elementary school, filed separate human rights complaints in September, claiming the sex-ed repeal was discriminatory.  

And even before parental consultation opened, Education Minister Lisa Thompson told the media that gender identity theory would not be repealed, Campaign Life president Jeff Gunnarson reminded supporters in a letter promoting the rally.

He also blasted a “biased mainstream media” for “publishing thousands of stories, daily, for months on end, attacking Doug Ford’s pledge to repeal, even claiming, absurdly, that repealing Wynne’s curriculum will actually ‘kill’ students.”

Ford must be “weary” from all the attacks, Gunnarson observed.

He urged supporters to attend the February 20 rally to “be the encouragement Premier Ford needs to steel his resolve, so that he chooses to ignore the voices of opposition to his righteous, parental rights agenda.”

Fonseca also underscored the need for parental action.

Parents “just implicitly trusted that Ford’s repeal agenda was proceeding as he promised it would. Little did they know that ‘progressive,’ red Tory elements of his own administration would so undermine his agenda,” he told LifeSiteNews. “It’s time for those long-slumbering parents, grandparents and concerned citizens to once again stretch their vocal cords and make the government take notice.”

“We must remind Premier Ford that it’s his obligation to get his Education Ministry to do what he promised, which is to REPEAL Wynne’s sex curriculum, not REPEAT it.”

The Queen’s Park parental rights rally will take place Wednesday, February 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, go here or here.

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Papal theologian never saw final draft of controversial doc with Muslims, contrary to Pope’s claims

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Informed sources have confirmed that the papal theologian, Dominican Father Wojciech Giertych, was consulted but did not see the final draft of the controversial “Document on Human Fraternity” that Pope Francis signed this week with a Grand Imam. 

The news, reported by the National Catholic Register on Wednesday, runs contrary to Pope Francis’s claim that the papal theologian “officially” read and “approved” the document, which even some within the Vatican are calling “heresy.”

The Pope came under fire early this week for signing the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” with Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar Mosque, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 4. 

The document incited controversy among Christians for asserting that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions” are “willed by God in His wisdom” – a statement many believe contravenes the Catholic Faith. 

While some have sought to downplay the passage, saying it must be read in context, one Dominican has argued that “in its obvious sense [the statement] is false, and in fact heretical.” One respected Catholic historian has also said it “overturns” the Gospel. 

Who approved it?

During an inflight press conference on his return from Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis sought to allay concerns over the document, telling reporters: “I want to say one thing and repeat it clearly: from the Catholic point of view, the document did not go one millimeter beyond the Second Vatican Council. It’s even cited there several times. Nothing. The document was done in the spirit of Vatican II.” 

The Pope continued:

“Before taking the decision to say it’s good as is, let’s finish it here, at least for my part, I had some theologians read it, and also [I had it read] officially by the Theologian of the Papal Household, who is a Dominican with the beautiful Dominican tradition — not to go on a witch hunt but to see where the right thing is. And he approved it.”

The current Theologian of the Papal Household, Father Wojciech Giertych, O.P., was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. The post, which has been held by Dominicans since the Middle Ages, is tasked with providing advice to the Pope on theological issues, as well as checking papal texts for theological clarity.

The news that the papal theologian never saw the final draft raises several questions: Who are the other “theologians” who read and advised the Pope on the document? Was the papal theologian’s advice heeded, and if so, to what extent? And if he did not see and approve the final draft, who did? 

On his return from Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis said the document “was prepared with much reflection and prayer,” adding that “both the Grand Imam with his team, and me with mine, prayed a lot in order to make this document.” He added that it took almost a year to write. “It needed to ripen, to remain somewhat confidential,” he said, “so as not to give birth to the child before the proper time.” 

The Pope told reporters that “if someone feels bad” about the document, he “understand[s].”

“It’s not an everyday thing, and it’s not a step backwards. It’s a step forward that comes from 50 years ago, from the Council that must unfold and develop. Historians say that it takes 100 years for a Council to take root in the Church. We’re halfway there.” 

The Pope said he can also understand how the “Document on Human Fraternity” might seem jarring to some. “It happened to me, too,” he said. “I read a sentence, and I said to myself: This sentence is a little … I don’t know if it’s sure. Instead, it was a phrase from the Council! It surprised me, too.”

He noted that in the Islamic world, there are also “various opinions” on the document, “some more radical, others not.”

“There will be discrepancies between them... but it’s a process, the process must ripen — like flowers, like fruit,” he said.

This is not the first time Pope Francis has argued that an apparently “new” (and what some consider heterodox) teaching is actually a “development of doctrine.” 

When he changed the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty (n. 2267), Francis said the new wording “expresses the progress of the doctrine of the most recent pontiffs as well as the change in the conscience of the Christian people, which rejects a penalty that seriously harms human dignity.”

And when Amoris Laetitia was presented at the Vatican, its new teaching on Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics was described as an “organic development” in the spirit of Blessed John Henry Newman. 

Responding to the Pope’s inflight remarks on his return from Abu Dhabi, an anonymous Dominican told LifeSite: “With respect, the Pope needs to remember that his duty is not to conform only to the teaching of Vatican II, but also to that of all the councils.”

“Moreover,” the theologian added, “nothing in Vatican II states that non-Catholic religions are willed by God, so when Pope Francis tells us that nothing in his ‘Document on Fraternity’ goes beyond Vatican II, he is telling us something that is not true.”

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British abortion provider chief executive Ann Furedi
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children


British abortion bigwig wants UK to mirror New York’s abortion-till-birth law

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

February 7, 2019 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – People across the world have been shocked at the passing of an extreme new abortion bill in New York, which removes abortion from penal law, and allows it up to birth in some cases. This has been compounded by some American politicians defending abortion at the very moment of birth, and even infanticide.

What they are asking British politicians to support

SPUC has been warning that what politicians in New York have done is very much what the abortion lobby here is attempting to achieve. Now, that has been confirmed beyond all possible doubt — from the mouth of Britain's top abortion provider.

Writing in Spiked online, Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), praises the horrific new law in New York as "a breakthrough for choice". She goes on to say (emphasis ours):

"New York State has just signed into law an abortion-rights bill that is close to what many of us have been campaigning for in the UK. The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) removes the need for a doctor to perform some abortions, and takes abortion out of the criminal code, making it a public-health issue.

This is pretty much what the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, and other pro-choice organisations that are supporting the #WeTrustWomen campaign, have been asking British politicians to support."

She is referring to the campaign to decriminalise abortion — to remove it from the criminal law. 

"Safe" abortion

Ms Furedi (who has openly said that abortion should be allowed up to birth, including because the baby's a girl) then defends allowing healthcare workers other than doctors providing abortions, saying, "Abortion is safe and nurses and midwives are well placed to provide it." (When describing abortion as "safe" she does not mention the doctor who was recently struck off for endangering women's lives at a BPAS clinic, or the 11 women who were transferred for emergency hospital treatment after suffering serious injuries in a three-month period at the same clinic).

Late-term abortion "obvious and humane"

However, Ms Furedi saves her highest praise for the aspect of the New York law which has sparked the most outrage — late-term abortions. She writes: "What we’d like in Britain is for politicians to accept what policymakers in New York have agreed. Paradoxically, what abortion providers in New York need is public and political support for the other change introduced by the RHA — a provision that we have in Britain already, and is seen by most people as obvious and humane. The clause in the RHA that has caused the most heated debate is one that allows abortions after 24 weeks in cases where there is an 'absence of fetal viability'."

This already happens in the UK

She leaves out the fact that the RHA also allows third-trimester abortions if the "life or health" of the mother is at risk — a notoriously slippery criterion — but correctly says, "In Britain, since 1990, the law has allowed for abortion without time limit when a pregnancy is affected by a serious abnormality."

Ms Furedi says the "numbers are tiny" for these types of abortions, but a recent parliamentary question revealed that nearly 15,000 babies that were over 20 weeks gestation have died by abortion in the last five years, and a casual look at the abortion statistics shows that the majority are not for "serious abnormalities", however the term is defined. This "obvious and humane" provision has led to heartbreaking stories of babies being born alive during abortions and left to die. 

A timely warning

Ann Furedi sums up her philosophy, saying, "abortion should never be a crime when a woman believes that ending her own pregnancy is the right thing to do."

The RHA in New York has rightly caused outrage. However, it also serves as a reminder that the provision that has sparked the most heated debate - late-term abortions — already happens on a large scale here in the UK. As the other provisions in the bill, Ann Furedi and her allies in Parliament have made it clear that they are determined to go to any lengths (including hijacking a domestic abuse bill) to impose an equally extreme abortion regime here. 

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

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Religious student groups deserve equal treatment, court ruling tells U of Iowa

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By LifeSiteNews staff

February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Christian student group won equal treatment and a permanent place on campus yesterday when a federal court ruled that the University of Iowa illegally targeted religious groups for requiring their leaders to believe in and follow their faith. In BLinC v. University of Iowa, the university kicked Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) off campus because the group requires its student leaders to affirm and live by its religious beliefs. After the university admitted that it knowingly targeted and deregistered BLinC and other religious groups, the court today ruled that the university must end its unequal treatment of religious student organizations.

Before a hearing last Friday, the university revealed a watch list of 32 groups — all religious — that it had placed on probation simply for requiring its leaders to follow their beliefs. Yet the university permits fraternities to remain single-sex and allows other groups to limit their leaders (and even members) to students who share their mission. The court's ruling states, "The Constitution does not tolerate the way [the University] chose to enforce the Human Rights Policy. Particularly when free speech is involved, the uneven application of any policy risks the most exacting standard of judicial scrutiny, which [the University] ha[s] failed to withstand."

"We are grateful the court protected our rights today — to let us have the same right as all student groups to express our viewpoints freely on campus, and to be who we are," said BLinC's Jake Estell. "This victory reinforces the commonsense idea that universities can't target religious student groups for being religious."

Membership in BLinC is open to all university students. To preserve its religious mission, BLinC asks its leaders to affirm that they believe in and live according to its religious beliefs. But after a complaint was filed with the university about BLinC's leadership requirements and its religious views on marriage, university officials told BLinC that it must "revise" its Statement of Faith and submit an "acceptable plan" for selecting its leaders. When BLinC informed the university that it could not change its faith or stop asking its leaders to share its faith, it was kicked off campus. The university then deregistered 10 other religious groups, including Chinese Student Christian Fellowship, the Imam Mahdi Muslim organization, the Latter-day Saint Student Association, and the Sikh Awareness Club, for the same reason.

"The university wanted a license to discriminate, and Judge Rose said no way," said Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, which represents BLinC. "This ruling is a win for basic fairness, but it is also an eloquent plea for civility in how governments treat Americans in all their diversity. As a governmental body bound by the First Amendment, the university should have never tried to get into the game of playing favorites in the first place, and it is high time for it to stop now."

A parallel lawsuit by another Christian group kicked off the University of Iowa campus, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship v. University of Iowa, is still pending before Judge Rose and will likely be decided later this year.

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Police apologize to 74-year-old for challenging her tweets on transgenderism

The Christian Institute

February 7, 2019 (Christian Institute) – A 74-year-old woman has received an apology from police after she was questioned over online comments about transgenderism.

Margaret Nelson, a retired journalist, continues to blog and tweet about a number of issues, including radical gender ideology.

Suffolk Police probed her about statements pointing out the biological distinctions between the sexes.


In one post, Mrs Nelson wrote: "Gender's fashionable nonsense. Sex is real. I've no reason to feel ashamed of stating the truth."

In another, she explained that if a transgender person's body was examined for medical reasons or a post-mortem examination, "his or her sex would also be obvious to a student or pathologist.

"Not the sex that he or she chose to present as, but his or her natal sex; the sex that he or she was born with."

She added that even when the body has been buried for a very long time, a person's sex is still identifiable, using DNA or bone structure as "clear proof".

Free speech

Mrs Nelson said the phone call she received was "the policing of people's opinions".

Speaking to The Spectator's James Kirkup, she said: "The officer said she wanted to talk to me about some of the things that I'd written on Twitter and my blog.

"She said that some of the things that I'd written could have upset or offended transgender people. So could I please stop writing things like that and perhaps I could remove those posts and tweets?

"I asked the officer if she agreed that free speech was important. She said it was. I said that in that case, she'd understand that I wouldn't be removing the posts or stopping saying the things I think."

'Chilling effect'

Kirkup said incidents are becoming more commonplace, and questioned why police forces are behaving this way.

"Are some people or organisations deliberately and vexatiously exploiting some police forces' stance on this issue to instigate police action against people who say things they do not like?

"Could such police actions exert a chilling effect on the expression of opinion on transgender issues? Isn't it possible that some people will now think 'I'd best not say what I think about sex and gender, or the police might get involved'?"


Suffolk Police later apologised, saying a misjudgement had been made in following up the complaint.

We accept we made a misjudgement in following up a complaint regarding the blog. As a result of this we will be reviewing our procedures for dealing with such matters. We are sorry for any distress we may have caused in the way this issue was dealt with, and have been in contact with the woman who wrote the blog to apologise.

Kirkup said the force should be commended for admitting its mistake, but asked: "why on earth did anyone ever think that this was the right thing to do in the first place?"

Published with permission from the Christian Institute.

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Republicans introduce House version of bill banning infanticide after failed abortions

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have re-introduced legislation forcing abortionists to give newborns medical care if they survive attempted abortions, days after Democrats blocked a version of the measure in the Senate.

The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 defines infants who survive abortions as “human beings,” “persons,” “individuals,” and “children” with all the rights those terms entail, but doesn’t mandate specific treatment for them. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would specifically require abortionists to get such babies to hospitals. The Act would also criminalize their deliberate killing after delivery.

On Wednesday, Republican Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise announced plans to file a discharge petition to force a vote on the bill in the Democrat-controlled House.

“I have been horrified to watch radical Democratic legislators argue that babies who survive abortions should not be given the same level of medical care that all other newborn babies receive,” Wagner said. “Congress must act to protect those who cannot protect themselves...To my colleagues, this is the simplest vote you will ever take: either you support babies being killed after they are born or you don’t. It is time to go on the record and make clear if you think babies born alive deserve medical care, or if you think they should be left to die.”

“Innocent life must be defended and protected at every stage, and that includes babies born alive during an abortion,” Scalise declared. “The silence from Congressional Democrats is deafening and shameful. Every Member of Congress, regardless of party, needs to go on record against infanticide, and we must immediately take action to stop it. The American people deserve to know where their representatives stand on this critical issue.”

A discharge petition means that, if a bill receives the signatures of at least 218 House members (a majority), it can come to the House floor to be voted on regardless of House leadership’s opposition. There are currently 199 Republicans in the House; to succeed, the petition would need to get 19 Democrats to break ranks with their party.

When the House voted on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in 2015, only five Democrats supported it; last March, the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack wrote that the number of pro-life House Democrats was down to three.

Nevertheless, Republicans see the bill as an opportunity to make a statement.

“You know what? If the Democrats object, we’ll ask again, and again and again because it is just right,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. “It’s not a partisan issue – it’s about saving lives. I think everyone can agree with that. We should solve this problem this week.”

While Republicans gather signatures for the discharge petition, House Democrats have already blocked a unanimous consent resolution for the bill, just as they did with the Senate version introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

The new push was inspired by Virginia Democrat Del. Kathy Tran’s comments admitting that a since-tabled abortion bill would allow for aborting a baby moments before birth, and an interview in which Virginia Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam suggested an infant born alive after a failed abortion would be “resuscitated” only “if that’s what the mother and the family desired.”

Northam later claimed he was only referring to cases such as a “nonviable pregnancy” or “severe fetal abnormalities,” and subsequently declared he had no regrets about his words (Northam is now embroiled in another scandal over a yearbook photo showing him either in blackface or a Ku Klux Klan robe; the other top two Democrats in the state, in line to succeed him if he resigned, are also each embroiled in either a sexual assault or blackface scandal as well).

The born-alive bill is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled House, a recurring issue as pro-lifers consider how to advance the pro-life cause over the next two years. It also remains to be seen whether Republicans will make an issue of Democrats’ response to the bill beyond the current news cycle and into the 2020 elections. In his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump called on Congress to go further by passing a late-term abortion ban, as well. 

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Manhattan church to host Traditional Latin Mass conference

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

MANHATTAN, New York, February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) –  A Manhattan church will host a traditional Latin Mass conference later this month.

The Society of Saint Hugh of Cluny, an organization dedicated to the implementation of Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, is hosting the conference at St. Vincent Ferrer Church on Saturday, February 16.  

The one-day event, which will take place from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m., will feature a Solemn Pontifical Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend James Massa, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn. It will also feature talks by EWTN Papal Posse member Father Gerald Murray, the Society’s own Father Richard Cipolla, and author Dr. Peter Kwasniewski. Priests will be available to hear confessions at 11:00 a.m.

There is no registration fee, although a donation of $10 per participant is suggested.

“I am tremendously excited to be a part of it and to speak alongside two priests distinguished for their outspoken witness to the truth,” Dr. Kwasniewski told LifeSiteNews via email.

Kwasniewski’s talk will refute a number of common claims, including that the liturgy is in shambles because of bad doctrine and bad morals, not because of problems in the liturgical reform; that the Church is now recovering the right balance and getting past the post-conciliar mess; and that the restoration of the traditional liturgy would be just as disturbing to the faithful as the sudden changes of the 1960s.

“I will argue that the liturgical reform bears in its very heart the seeds of the Church's dissolution, and that the longer it remains, the worse our problems will get,” Kwasniewski said.

“My talk will go into the evils of liturgical arbitrariness (‘optionitis,’ as some call it), the fact of watered-down, dumbed-down content, and the dangers of the hyperpapalism that gave us both the Novus Ordo and Amoris Laetitia. Those who tinker with traditional worship will end up tinkering with traditional doctrine and morals as well.”

Kwasniewski said he hopes this conference will “stir up new energies for living and proclaiming the Catholic Faith in its integrity and fullness.”

Summorum Pontificum, promulgated in 2007, clarified that all Catholic priests may learn and celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, now called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Between the creation of the new Roman rite, which was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969, and the motu proprio, the old rite – or Vetus ordo – was permitted to Catholics only under very limited circumstances and with episcopal permission.

With his instruction, Pope Benedict restored the old liturgical books and calendar of saints to Catholics who desired them.

“The Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V and revised by Blessed John XXIII is ... to be considered an extraordinary expression of the ... lex orandi [law of prayer] of the Church and duly honoured for its venerable and ancient usage,” Benedict XVI decreed.

“It is therefore permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Church’s Liturgy.”

In his accompanying letter to the bishops, the pontiff noted that the liturgical traditions of the Church have becoming increasingly popular with generations of Catholics born after 1969.

“Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them,” he wrote.

Benedict explained that this meant clearer rules were needed for the circumstances in which the Vetus Ordo or “Mass of John XXIII” could and should be celebrated and, in essence, freed the bishops – many of whom were hostile to the ancient Rite – from the responsibility of having to approve or disapprove its use.

‘The return to beauty, splendor, reverence, mystery and deep participation’

On its website, the Society of Saint Hugh of Cluny likened Benedict’s motu proprio to the Magna Carta, the groundbreaking charter of rights signed by King John of England in 1215.

“We believe that Summorum Pontificum is the magna carta for the return to beauty, splendor, reverence, mystery and deep participation in the Holy Mass,” the Society wrote.

“We believe that Pope Benedict has given the Church, especially the Catholic laity, this means and summons to capture the Tradition, not in some nostalgic or reactionary sense, but rather to rediscover the organic and living organism of the Roman rite and thereby reform and enrich both the Church and the surrounding culture.”

Advocates of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass report that an increasing number of Catholics, especially young adults and young families, are attending the Latin-language liturgies. The old rite remains controversial, however, particularly among certain bishops and the segment of the aging Baby Boomer population jealous for the liturgical innovations of its youth.

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Notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller of Kansas. YouTube
Operation Rescue staff


As Kansas shows, legal infanticide is nothing new in America

Operation Rescue staff
By Operation Rescue staff

February 7, 2019 (Operation Rescue) — Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas, was considered the largest late-term abortion facility outside Communist China at the time of its closure in 2009. Women literally came from all over the world for abortions that were illegal or unavailable in their home state or country.

Its owner, George Tiller, was respected among abortion supporters as the nation's pre-eminent specialist in abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy. In fact, Tiller developed the Induction Abortion procedure — a modification of the now-banned Partial Birth Abortion procedure — that is used today by nearly all abortionists that openly conduct "terminations" in the third trimester of pregnancy.

But Kansas wasn't without gestational limits on abortion. The laws at that time barred abortions at 22 weeks or later unless a second unaffiliated physician agreed that the abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother or if the continued pregnancy would cause "substantial and irreversible impairment to a major bodily function of a woman."

There was no record that any woman had ever received an abortion in Kansas to save a mother's life. And there was no provision for abortions after 22 weeks for "fetal anomalies."

After the 22-week limit on abortions was enacted, the Kansas Supreme Court translated "major bodily function" to include mental health issues.

The "substantial and irreversible impairment" clause was exploited to its fullest by Tiller's abortion business.

"Mental health became the loophole that Tiller used to conduct abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy in a state that actually prohibited them," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, who relocated from California to Kansas in 2002 to expose Tiller's full-term abortion business.

But Tiller needed a second physician to sign off on each post-22-week abortion. In 1999, then Executive Director of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, Larry Buening, referred Tiller to an out of work abortionist who had just been subject to disciplinary action that forced her to close her own abortion facility in Lawrence.

Thus, Tiller came to rely on disgraced abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus alone to sign off on all of his late term abortions, knowing that at that time, the Board of Healing Arts would never question him.

Neuhaus traveled the 2½ hours from her home in northeast Kansas to Tiller's Wichita abortion clinic each week. There, she would meet with women seeking the later abortions, come to a mental health diagnosis, and provide the necessary agreements that the abortions were medically necessary to prevent "substantial and irreversible impairment" to the women.

However, it later came out in court records and testimony in a disciplinary case against Neuhaus that all her diagnoses were related only to mental health issues. The true reasons for the very dangerous third trimester abortions and exactly how Neuhaus arrived at her diagnoses finally came out.

Her case before the Kansas Board of Healing Arts centered on the records of eleven minors aged 10-18 who were given third trimester abortions at Tiller's Women's Health Care Services in 2003. All of the abortions were relatively routine and reflected common cases within his abortion business.

All eleven abortions were done on healthy, viable babies.

As the complainant in that case, I attended her hearings and reported on them at the time. The case was a fully documented look into the reasons for late-term abortions at a clinic that was once considered one of the "best" in the nation for those kinds of procedures.

Neuhaus depended on a computer program called PsychManager Lite, a training tool for psychiatry students. She would briefly interview the women at the Women's Health Care Services, then input answers to questions into the program, which then calculated a diagnosis.

Sometimes Neuhaus conducted the interviews by telephone, and in at least one case, there was no record that she ever interviewed the patient at all.

During those interviews, any concerns expressed by the young women — even the lost frivolous — were seized upon as reasons for late-term abortions.

For example, one 15-year old girl expressed disappointment that her third trimester pregnancy took the fun out of playing basketball and ruined her enjoyment of the game. That earned a diagnosis of "Major Depressive Disorder, single episode" in Neuhaus' PsychManager Lite program, and an abortion on her healthy viable baby.

Another 15-year old girl wanted to participate in a rodeo as a barrel rider, but could not because she was 26 weeks pregnant. She was also diagnosed with "Major Depressive Disorder, single episode" and given a late-term abortion.

Experts in psychology who reviewed the minor's medical records denied that a single episode of depression posed either a substantial or irreversible impairment to the young mothers.

Other girls suffered such things as not being able to sleep well at night (what woman in her third trimester of pregnancy can?), having problems concentrating, being shocked to find herself pregnant, or being fearful that parents might find out about the pregnancy.

Some expressed suicidal thoughts, but were never referred for appropriate mental health care. In fact, they were referred for third-trimester abortions.

Chart NeuhausPatients2 by on Scribd

"There's no psychological condition for which abortion is the cure," stated one psychiatrist who reviewed the records, Dr. Paul McHugh, Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Psychiatrist-In-Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975 to 2001.

According to testimony, Neuhaus was actually a family practitioner, not an obstetrician/gynecologist. She also had no specific training in the field of psychology.

She held the opinion that all pregnancies were life threatening and that being unexpectedly pregnant somehow — instantly and without exception — women were endowed with mental health conditions that justified third-trimester abortion. In other words, Neuhaus' then-radical personal philosophy toward pregnancy ensured that any woman was legally and medically justified in aborting her baby up until birth for any reason whatsoever.

It is clear from the record that George Tiller understood the negligent nature of the diagnoses reached by Neuhaus along with the lack of documentation to support them, but ignored the situation because aborting babies for any reason at any stage of development meant more to him than complying with the law or providing real care for the girls that were brought to him.

And there was a financial motive. Tiller charged between $5,000 and as much as $20,000 for third-trimester abortions.

Thankfully, Neuhaus' medical license was revoked by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts in 2012.

But the Tiller/Neuhaus philosophy that allowed abortions on health babies for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy is not only still alive today, but is being expanded by the radical supporters of unrestricted abortion.

Last week, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam lit a firestorm of controversy when he explained how a proposed bill allowing late-term abortions in his state would work if passed.

"So, in this particular example if a 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 desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother," Northam said.

What happened in Kansas should serve as a cautionary tale of where bills like the one promoted by Gov. Northam are bound to take us.

"It is safe to say that out of all the late-term abortions done at Tiller's Women's Health Care Services from 1999 to 2009 were done for no other reason than illegitimate mental health diagnoses concocted by Tiller and Neuhaus and other staff to evade actual compliance with the law," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. "No woman's life was ever in danger — except from the actual abortion procedure itself. This should be a warning that abortion gestational limit laws that provide exceptions for the 'health' of the mother give carte blanche permission to abort healthy babies throughout all nine months of pregnancy, just it did in Kansas."

Transcripts from the Neuhaus disciplinary hearing available at

Published with permission from Operation Rescue.

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Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera
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Spanish Cardinal: ‘Gender ideology’ is the biggest threat to humanity

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By Martin Barillas

MADRID, Spain, February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera said Wednesday that “the biggest threat now facing humanity is gender ideology.”

Speaking in Valencia to campaign in defense of Catholic education in Spain, Cardinal Cañizares said the freedom of religion is “basic to a society living in authentic peace and coexisting in liberty.” He said the tendency of government in Valencia and nationally threatens freedom in education. The Spanish constitution does not recognize a state religion, but the Catholic faith, under Church authorities, is taught in private schools subsidized by the government. The Spanish constitution also guarantees that parents have the right to choose the education they feel is best for their children.

Cardinal Cañizares emphasized what he sees as the government’s threat to liberty. “We must defend liberty,” he told listeners, “We don’t want to be slaves as in Venezuela. We want to be free, completely free, and this is what the campaign is about.” He said the Church is joining the campaign to “defend basic freedoms” because it is “not the state which grants that freedom as a grace to parents.”

Where he was most vocal was Spain’s policy regarding gender. “The biggest threat now facing mankind is precisely the threat posed by the gender law and gender ideology,” he said. Saying it will lead to “the deterioration of our humanity,” Cardinal Cañizares urged listeners to mobilize.

Laws passed by the provincial legislature, ostensibly to protect the LGBTQ community, are an assault on freedom, the cardinal said, and are “a Stalinist nature.” Gender laws “dictatorially impose gender ideology at all levels of education and clearly penalize the various levels of educational institutions, parents, families and so forth.”

Cardinal Cañizares joined the campaign to resist the government that bears the hashtag “Yoelijo” (I choose) and represents 150,000 families and 700 schools in the province of Valencia. Having determined that the current government’s plan violates the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Spanish constitution, its supporters are campaigning under the motto: “Without education in liberty, there is no democracy.”

In November 2018, Valencia’s provincial legislature passed a bill that prohibits therapy to turn a person’s orientation away from homosexuality or transgender identity. Fines of as much as 120,000 euros can be imposed on violators of the new law.

Gender ideology is found outside of the Socialist party. In 2018, Spain’s erstwhile Minister of Health, Social Services and Equality Dolors Montserrat said she wants every school to have an educator to promote feminism and measures against “machismo” and “gender violence.” The provinces of Andalucia and Valencia already provide these “co-educators” to schools, which Montserrat wants to impose nationally. Montserrat is a member of the right-of-center People’s Party, which was voted out of office in June 2018.

Cardinal Cañizares has been vocal in the past to threats to believers. In August 2018, for instance, he said in a homily that never before in history has the Church been so harassed in Spain.

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Thomas More Society


Pro-life law firm asks Supreme Court: Are embryonic humans people or property?

Thomas More Society

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Supreme Court is being asked to weigh in on whether embryonic children are persons or property. Thomas More Society Special Counsel Rebecca Messall, J.D. has filed a petition with the high court for a writ of certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court in Rooks v. Rooks, a controversial Colorado embryo custody case.

Messall, acting on behalf of Colorado mother Mandy Rooks, is requesting that the United States Supreme Court reverse an earlier ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court and affirm the fact that embryos are human persons, as “recognized in law hundreds of years ago.”  

Mandy Rooks is the mother of six cryopreserved babies. The embryos are those remaining in cryogenic storage after in-vitro fertilization procedures. Those procedures allowed Ms. Rooks to deliver a son, and later twins, while married to Drake Rooks, the children’s father. Despite the couple’s divorce, Ms. Rooks wants to keep the babies for future implantation. Her now ex-husband has asked the court to deliver the six embryos to him for destruction.

Both a district court and the Colorado Court of Appeals awarded custody to Mr. Rooks, but the Colorado Supreme Court ordered a stay of execution for the embryos because the lower courts considered what it labeled “inappropriate factors” in attempting to balance the divorced couples’ interests. The case was remanded to the trial court.

The Petition for review by the United States Supreme Court enumerates multiple reasons for the highest court in the land to rule on the most basic question: Is a human embryo a person or property?

  • Classifying human life as property conflicts with a plethora of federal and state laws, as well as high court precedent.
  • The express language of the United States Constitution’s preamble conflicts with a “property” designation.
  • Human embryos are entitled to substantive due process as persons under the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Science is firm on when a person comes into being.
  • Family rights are more precious than property rights.
  • The Colorado Supreme Court has violated Ms. Rooks’ sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • The lower courts are in conflict.

Messall states in the appeal to the high court, “Granting human embryos the status of persons cannot be left up to fifty states, any more than the Kansas-Nebraska Act could leave the status of slaves to each state. The test of who is a ‘person’ must be decided for the entire nation in order to uphold the principles of ‘Equal Justice Under Law.’”

She holds that the arguments for the personhood of Dred Scott and his family, which the courts got wrong, denying the enslaved citizens their personhood, remain as true today as they were in the infamous 1857 trial.

The petition also points out that scientific reality confirms the terms “reproduction” and “procreation” as referring to a new human person, not property, and not to an in-between classification.

Attorney Rita Gitchell, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, explained some of the issues at stake in Rooks v. Rooks: “These cryogenically preserved children are already developing human beings, before implantation. Colorado courts are relying on their state law that does not protect unborn children from third party liability for harm done to the unborn and case law extracted from old, out-of-date science that had not yet understood that embryo body cells, along with the placental and other cells, are present before implantation of the embryo in the womb.”

Parental constitutional rights to bear and raise offspring were not considered even though the trial court found the embryos to be human life.

“While it is a simple fact that those who provide an egg and a sperm which unite to become an embryo become genetic parents,” continued Gitchell, “It is not fact that while the embryos are developing, that the parents are ‘becoming genetic parents.’ That is comparable to suggesting that a woman who is seven months pregnant is ‘becoming pregnant.’ Until the courts or legislatures grasp the facts of created life, the Constitutional rights of parents to protect their created offspring are not being considered, nor are the human rights of the embryo considered. This results in human embryos being treated like chattel or property, not unlike the treatment of African slaves in the pre-abolition era.”

She added, “Mr. and Ms. Rooks are forever genetic parents of these created embryos. A court can terminate his or her legal parental rights, but can never terminate the genetic fact that these tiny embryos are their biological children.”

A response from the United States Supreme Court on whether they will consider the issue is expected by February 25, 2019.

Read the Petition for A Writ of Certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court, submitted to the United States Supreme Court in Rooks v. Rooks by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Rebecca Messall, on behalf of Mandy Rooks, on January 22, 2019 here.

Read the amicus curiae submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court in Rooks v. Rooks by Thomas More Society attorneys on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists here.

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LifeSiteNews petition manager Scott Schittl presents 137,000 petition signatures to Gov. Cuomo's office
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LifeSite delivers 137,000 petition signatures to Gov. Cuomo protesting extreme abortion law

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By Doug Mainwaring

ALBANY, New York, February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office received a petition yesterday with over 137,000 signatures from LifeSiteNews readers demanding that he apologize for directing the One World Trade Center in Manhattan be lit in pink to celebrate the passage of his state’s gruesome abortion-until-birth law.

Known as the Reproductive Health Act, the new law declares that every “individual” who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to have an abortion, erases the state’s recognition of preborn babies older than 24 weeks as potential homicide victims, removes abortion from the penal code entirely, and allows non-doctors to commit abortions.

Before making the delivery, LifeSiteNews petition manager Scott Schittl stood outside the governor’s office and prayed the rosary with about a dozen LifeSiteNews readers who came to support the effort. A number of them explained why they took the time to show their solidarity:  

“I’m here to provide witness for life against this horrible law that supports infanticide,” said Joe, from East Meredith, New York.  

“I’m here to be a voice for the voiceless, to take a stand against the disgusting Reproductive Health Act that passed recently here in New York,” said 26-year-old Irene. 

“We’re here to ask Governor Cuomo to reconsider his outlook on life,” announced Jean, who had travelled from Massachusetts. “He’s supposedly a Catholic” yet “he’s doing horrible things for our country.”

“We want him to come back to the faith, [to] support life, [and to] love both mother and the baby,” she added.

“I’m here today to stand for life,” said Lynn. “We all stand together for the unborn.”

Those gathered prayed for an end to abortion and for the conversion of Gov. Cuomo.

Although Scott was not able to meet personally with Cuomo, he asked the governor’s secretary to convey LifeSiteNews’ request to him: “Apologize for signing this atrocious bill and for making light of taking human life.”

The petition addressed to Governor Cuomo states:  

I am outraged by your decision to light the One World Trade Center in honor of an extreme abortion bill that allows the killing of unborn children until birth, and puts women in danger by allowing non-doctors to perform abortions.

It is appalling that you would use this building, a symbol of peace, national solidarity and our opposition to violence against the innocent, to celebrate a highly divisive bill that legalizes the killing of the most defenseless, innocent human beings.

I demand that you apologize for your decision, and earnestly entreat you to revoke your signature on this atrocious bill, which is an unprecedented attack on our unborn brothers and sisters.

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Father Jim DeBruycker
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Catholic pastor who gave pulpit to same-sex couple ‘sorry for’ those offended

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean
Father James Cassidy

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic pastor who allowed a same-sex couple to present the story of their relationship and surrogate-born baby before Mass has defended his actions.

In his January 27 parish bulletin, Father Jim DeBruycker of the Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Community responded to the scandal that ensued after the parish posted a professional-quality video of the talk online. The pastor indicated he and his associate, Father James Cassidy, had met with their ordinary Archbishop Bernard Hebda and agreed to “better present” Church teachings on the issues raised by the controversy.

However, there was nothing meek about the pastor’s online apology. DeBruycker described the seven minute talk by Alan Nachtigal and Blake Wilson, in which the homosexual men extolled the Catholic community for their acceptance, as a “simple celebration” that was “parsed” by social media into a “credal statement.”

“Last week we had a wakeup call as we celebrated with a couple over their child’s Baptism and how important it is to them to have a faith community,” he wrote of the controversy.

“What was to us a simple celebration was parsed into a credal statement about every aspect of their life and the St. Joan community,” DeBruycker continued.  

“Part of the problem was this was put on social media and went, as they say, viral.”

DeBruycker said that he was “sorry for” those who were offended by the presentation but underscored that the event had not happened during Mass. He remained unapologetic about the presentation of a same-sex relationship as a “marriage.”

“Yes, it happened from the pulpit, but before the Mass. It was not meant to be a dogmatic proclamation or a teaching and I am sorry for any who were offended by it,” the pastor wrote.

“It was us, SJA [Saint Joan of Arc], celebrating with our parishioners. Just because the couple is gay does not mean we are promoting a ‘gay agenda’ - whatever that means - any more than we promote every part of our straight parishioners’ ‘agenda’. We celebrate their presence with us as we do with all our community,” he continued.

However, the pre-Mass presentations at “Gym liturgies” at Saint Joan of Arc are a parish institution, showcasing speakers and performers engaged in a number of social justice causes. A review of past and future speakers reveals that the focus of the regular event is not to “celebrate” parishioners.

According to the Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Community webpage:

“For many decades, our gifted pre-Mass guest speakers have been an inspirational component of St. Joan of Arc Gym liturgies. Our pre-Mass guest speakers bring singular witness stories to SJA, sharing their journey, their hope and their challenge with our community. Our guest speakers reflect the message of the Gospels and their prophetic voices educate and inspire us on critical issues in our neighborhood, our world and our Church.

We invite speakers to teach us ways to change our world. Professionals working with the poor, abused and marginalized enlighten and challenge us to act.  Philosophers and theologians share their perspectives of faith, forgiveness and prayer. Whether they come from South Minneapolis or from the other side of the world, these talented and thought-provoking presenters are a cornerstone and a highlight of our Sunday Liturgy.”

Although DeBruycker denied that the attractive and ovation-winning presentation of same-sex “marriage” and same-sex parenting was part of an agenda, he was willing to admit that the men’s use of IVF and a surrogate was against Church doctrine.

“Many of the online comments were about the issues surrounding surrogacy and in vitro fertilization and what it means in terms of respect for women and life issues,” he acknowledged.

“According to the Church’s teaching, these issues are not recognized as acceptable [sic] and, as many in the parish are unaware of this teaching and its ethical implications, we will look into remedying this through education. Again, I apologize to any who were offended by this and reiterate this was not a credal stance.”

Church teachings against the exploitation of embryos and women in the IVF industry have been articulated several times since the first embryo to survive the procedure was born in 1978. Pope St. John Paul II was particularly vocal on the subject.

“The various techniques of artificial reproduction, which would seem to be at the service of life and which are frequently used with this intention, actually open the door to new threats against life,” he wrote in Evangelium vitae (1995).

“Apart from the fact that they are morally unacceptable, since they separate procreation from the fully human context of the conjugal act, these techniques have a high rate of failure: not just failure in relation to fertilization but with regard to the subsequent development of the embryo, which is exposed to the risk of death, generally within a very short space of time,” he continued.

“Furthermore, the number of embryos produced is often greater than that needed for implantation in the woman's womb, and these so-called ‘spare embryos’ are then destroyed or used for research which, under the pretext of scientific or medical progress, in fact reduces human life to the level of simple ‘biological material’ to be freely disposed of.”

The Catholic Church also teaches that homosexual relationships are immoral and “clear and emphatic opposition” to same-sex “marriage” is a “duty.”

“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’” the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (CCC 2357). “They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons states, “In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”

In his January 27 apologia, DeBruycker revealed that he and Fr. Cassidy had a recent meeting with Archbishop Hebda about the scandal.

“[Archbishop Hebda] accepted our apology and understood we were not purposely at odds with him or the Church,” the pastor stated.

“He did request we be more proactive in working with our speakers and he asked us to use this as a teaching moment to better present the Church’s teaching on all the subjects we have been challenged with by this event.”

DeBruycker promised to write an open letter on the website in the coming weeks “about these subjects.”  

LifeSiteNews reached out to Fr. DeBruycker to ask, inter alia, if he and Fr. Cassidy believe the Catholic doctrines that marriage is solely a relationship between one man and one woman, that homosexual acts are grave sins, that in vitro fertilization is inadmissible, and that no child should be deliberately robbed of a relationship with his (or any) mother. Fr. DeBruycker did not respond to our email by press time.

LifeSiteNews also reached out to the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. A diocesan spokesman assured LifeSite that a statement was forthcoming, but had not responded by press time.

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U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar
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Dem. Ilhan Omar wants Powerlifting investigated for keeping gender-confused men from women’s sports

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has embarked on a new cause: punishing a powerlifting organization for excluding biological males from women’s events.

Earlier this week, LifeSiteNews reported that USA Powerlifting, the American arm of the International Powerlifting Federation, has issued guidelines rejecting use of androgens by athletes including women seeking to “transition from female to male,” as well as disqualifying “male to female” competitors entirely. “Female-to-male” athletes are allowed, provided they don’t use androgens.

Noting the “anabolic nature” of androgens, the organization says it won’t make an exception to its ban on the drugs for transgenders and explains that whatever gender a competitor claims to be, biological differences remain. Breitbart reported that this isn’t sitting well with Omar, who has written a letter to USA Powerlifting and Democrat Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on behalf of gender-confused constituent JayCee Cooper.

“Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, discrimination against anyone based on their gender identity is illegal. This includes in public accommodations, and in Minnesota, organizations such as USA Powerlifting,” Omar wrote. “In fact, just last month a Minnesota jury awarded Ms. Christina Ginther $20,000 after the Independent Women’s Football League refused to allow her to participate because she is transgender.

“I urge you to reconsider this discriminatory, unscientific policy and follow the example of the International Olympic Committee,” the letter continues. “The myth that trans women have a ‘direct competitive advantage’ is not supported by medical science, and it continues to stoke fear and violence against one of the most at-risk communities in the world.”

Omar concluded the letter by recommending that Ellison investigate USA Powerlifting for allegedly violating the state’s “human rights” law. Ellison has not yet announced whether he will do so.

Cooper, a man claiming to be a woman, says he has complied with all of the IOC’s criteria for transgender athletes, but Powerlifting USA rejected him anyway. “No one deserves to be excluded because of who they are. (USA Powerlifting’s) policy, and how I’m being treated IS NOT OKAY,” he said. “The time for trans inclusion is NOW.”

USA Powerlifting’s Transgender Participation Policy acknowledges the IOC’s general acceptance of transgender athletes but argues that it “also allows sports to determine the impact on fair play through such inclusion,” and therefore the group choose to follow the International Powerlifting Federation Medical Committee’s judgment on the matter.

Section 1 of the IOC guidelines states that the “overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition,” and therefore “(r)estrictions on participation are appropriate to the extent that they are necessary and proportionate to the achievement of that objective.”

“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,” Powerlifting USA argues.

“Men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue and higher muscle density than women,” it continues. “These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away,” it continues. “While MTF (male-to-female) may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over than of a female.”

Since being elected in the November midterms, Rep. Omar has faced accusations of anti-Semitism and came under fire last month for tweeting a series of false accusations against the Covington Catholic students involved in a viral video from the March for Life. Last month, she also floated a conspiracy theory that moderate Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is being blackmailed into supporting President Donald Trump.

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The horrific jokes abortion workers make when nobody’s listening

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By John Jalsevac

February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) - Abortion doesn’t just end the lives of unborn babies and leave their mothers psychologically and physically scarred. According to former abortion clinic manager Carol Everett, it also profoundly affects those who work in the abortion industry.

“You can’t kill every day without it affecting you,” Everett, who managed multiple abortion clinics over a space of several years, told Jonathon van Maren in the latest episode of The Van Maren Show. “When you go into a room and blood is splashing everywhere and baby body parts are coming out of a body you can't ignore it forever.”

In a gripping hour-long tell-all interview, Everett recalled that many of the abortionists, nurses, and support staff she worked with showed clear signs of being traumatized by the work. 

Sometimes this manifested itself in a macabre sense of humor.

“I don't know what you're gonna do with this,” Everett told van Maren. But “when an eyeball went through the [vacuum] tube,” she recalled, the abortion workers sometimes “would laugh and joke, [saying] ‘Here’s looking at you kid,’” quoting a famous line from the movie Casablanca.

Listen to the complete interview with Everett here:

Everett recalled another time when one of her employees abruptly announced that she was leaving the job.

“I had a nightmare last night,” Everett recalls the woman as telling her. “Those babies were sitting on the sink with their legs crossed. They were little cherubs and they were all laughing and waving at me and I can't put another one down the [garbage] disposal.”

Another one of Everett’s employees committed suicide. 

"The people who work in abortion clinics are very hurt people," says Everett. Many of them are victims of rape or incest, or themselves post-abortive.  

Everett herself became involved in abortion work only after her husband pressured her into getting an abortion. The resentment from that abortion led to the breakdown of their marriage, and eventually led Everett down a path into the abortion industry.

“I was running from my own pain,” Everett recalls about her frantic years in the abortion industry, where she made good money, but was miserable. 

Everett eventually met Jesus Christ, left the industry, and became one of the United States’ top pro-life activists. To hear her remarkable story, listen to the latest episode of The Van Maren Show above, or by following this link

The Van Maren Show is available on Apple iTunes and Podcasts, Google Play, Soundcloud and more. To subscribe, follow this link.  

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Republican state Sen. Jake Chapman introduced the constitutional amendment declaring there is no 'right to abortion.'
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Iowa Senate panel passes law declaring no ‘right to abortion’

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By Calvin Freiburger

DES MOINES, Iowa, February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life lawmakers in the Iowa legislature are rallying around a proposed constitutional amendment that would assert there is no “right” to abortion in the state constitution, limiting judges’ ability to thwart pro-life state laws.

A Senate subcommitee voted 2-1 Wednesday to advance the amendment.

The amendment, introduced by Republican state Sen. Jake Chapman and backed by more than half the members of the state Senate, simply says that the Iowa Constitution “does not secure or protect a right to abortion,” the Associated Press reports. That would ensure that future pro-life measures could not be declared unconstitutional at the state level.

The proposal is a direct response to Judge Michael Huppert ruling that the state’s heartbeat abortion ban, enacted last year, violates the state Constitution (last summer, the Iowa Supreme Court also struck down a 72-hour abortion waiting period, despite the U.S. Supreme Court having upheld 24-hour waiting periods).

READ: Mississippi introduces bill banning abortions on babies with beating hearts

“The notion that a woman has a right to an abortion under Iowa’s constitution gravely misinterprets our state’s constitution,” Chapman argued. His amendment would solve the problem by “put[ting] the responsibility back onto the legislative body. We are the ones who are going to make the determination of what should or should not be.”

The amendment would not protect pro-life laws from being struck down by federal judges under Roe v. Wade, but it’s part of broader efforts on both sides to prepare for the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe and restoring states’ power to vote on their own abortion policies.

“When the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, with a constitutional amendment the people and their elected representatives would be able to again decide the issue rather than the state courts in Iowa,” Americans United for Life senior counsel Clarke Forsythe told the AP.

Last July, Save the 1 founder and president Rebecca Kiessling explained to LifeSiteNews that pro-abortion activists have begun changing their legal strategies to invalidate pro-life laws under state constitutions rather than national precedent, for the purpose of insulating their victories from any future changes at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This happened not just in Iowa, it happened in North Dakota several years ago, this is happening in Minnesota,” she warned. “Planned Parenthood, as a strategy, preparing for Roe v. Wade to be potentially overturned, has been filing cases in state court, in pro-life red states that are passing abortion regulations...and they have been getting reasonable regulations overturned which would be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and they’re finding a broader right to abortion under state constitutions.”

In recent years Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia have amended their own constitutions with similar language clarifying they contain no “right” to abortion.

The Iowa amendment must next pass a full committee hearing, then two consecutive legislative sessions before ultimately being voted up or down by voters. Democrat state Sen. Claire Celsi lamented to KCCI that proponents of the pro-life measure "have the votes and they have the governor's support."

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Trump says ‘every soul is a precious gift from heaven,’ cites Scripture at prayer breakfast

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump delivered remarks to the annual National Prayer Breakfast in the nation’s capital Thursday morning, reiterating his administration’s commitment to defending life and religious liberty at home, and fighting religious persecution abroad.

“I will never let you down,” Trump promised as he took the podium, before thanking the event’s organizers and highlighting other public officials in attendance, including Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen. The president then reiterated several of the themes from his State of the Union address earlier this week.

“Since the founding of our nation many of our greatest strides, from gaining our independence to abolition [to] civil rights, to extending the vote to women, have been led by people of faith and started in prayer. When we open our hearts to faith, we fill our hearts with love,” he said. “Many of the people in this room lead and support the charities and faith-based institutions that bring hope to the lives of our citizens, comfort to those in despair, and solace to those in grief, aid to those in need, and a helping hand to the struggling people all around the world, of which there are so many.”

“As president I will always cherish, honor, and protect the believers who uplift our communities and sustain our nation,” he promised. “To ensure that people of faith can always contribute to our society, my administration has taken historic action to protect religious liberty.”

The president then highlighted Melissa and Chad Buck, a Michigan couple and the parents of five adopted children through Catholic Charities, which is now locked in a court battle over its insistence on placing children with a mother and a father.

“My administration is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families, while following their deeply-held beliefs,” he said.

“My administration is also speaking out against religious persecution around the world, including against religious minorities, Christians, and the Jewish community,” Trump continued, as well as “continuing to fight for American hostages who have been imprisoned overseas for their religious beliefs.” He cited the case of Andrew Brunson, the Protestant pastor who spent almost two years in a Turkish prison until his release last year. Brunson was also attending the breakfast.

“As part of our commitment to building a just and loving society, we must build a culture that cherishes the dignity and sanctity of innocent human life,” Trump continued. “All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God. Every life is sacred, and every soul is a precious gift from heaven. As the Lord says in Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.’”

He then highlighted two more guests, Nikki and Tyler Watkinson, whose baby Grayson was born at 24 weeks in their car during a blizzard-swept trek to the hospital.

“Nikki and Tyler’s entire community began to lift up Grayson in their prayers, and to the surprise of doctors, he kept on improving, improving, improving,” the president continued. “After four months at the hospital, Nikki and Tyler brought home their beautiful baby boy. Just a few weeks ago, Grayson celebrated his first birthday. He is a beautiful, happy, healthy guy.”

On Tuesday, Trump called on Congress to ban abortions past 20 weeks, a proposal the modern Democrat Party opposes. During his State of the Union, he singled out Democrats in New York and Virginia for promoting legislation effectively allowing abortion until birth.

“We are blessed to live in a land of faith where all things are possible. Our only limits are those we place on ourselves,” the president concluded. “Let us pray for a future where every child has a warm, safe, and loving home […] and let us always give thanks for the miracle of life, the majesty of creation, and the grace of Almighty God.”

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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French politician rips graphic sex ed in schools: ‘A lot less sexual abuse’ before its introduction

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Sex education should be scrapped from “moral and civic instruction,” French legislator Xavier Breton suggested last week at the Commission for Cultural Affairs of the French National Assembly.

His amendment to a draft of an education law, the “School of Confidence” act, was defeated. Its very existence, though, came as a welcome surprise on the part of a member of the mainstream conservative party, Les Républicains, which has not done much to defend parental rights over the last few years.

His brief explanation accompanying the amendment clearly stated:

“Parents are the primary educators of their children. This principle can be found in every national and international affirmation of rights. Reaffirming this principle requires that schools should not infringe parents’ rights. As regards emotional and sexual education [the French official name for sex ed], which touches upon people’s most intimate convictions, State intervention is not legitimate. As Jules Ferry explained in his own time in his letter to public school teachers: ‘You are an aid and in some ways a back-up for fathers...When presenting a precept or a maximum to your pupils, ask yourself whether to your knowledge, any decent man could be offended by what you are going to say.’ The point of this amendment is to exclude emotional and sexual education from moral and civic instruction.”

During the debate, he also remarked that there was a lot less sexual abuse in schools when there was no “sex education.”

Jules Ferry is known as the “father” of French public secularized education. He promoted secularized, free, and compulsory instruction at the end of the 19th century. After his death in 1893, increased persecution against denominational – and above all, Catholic – schools led by religious congregations set in. These were only to regain the right to reopen over the period between the two World Wars, from 1918 to 1940.

Most Catholic schools in France today are under contract with the state and are obliged to follow a very stringent and detailed national curriculum from primary level to the baccalaureate at the end of high school. Sex education has been compulsory for several decades and was recently reinforced by the minister for Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer. It includes presentations by external “approved” stakeholders such as the French Planned Parenthood association or Estim’, dedicated to helping young people “accept” their sexuality as well as “different” sexualities in others.

Xavier Breton defended his amendment by drawing attention to the growing mistrust in state interference with family life.

“I'm thinking in particular about the hours we spent recently debating on proposed legislation to ban spanking,” he said.

“When you speak of that to our compatriots, telling them that we spend our time here on this sort of subjects...I realize we should be asking ourselves what type of role the State is trying to play in dominating private conscience. This amendment aims to withdraw emotional and sexual education from moral and civic instruction by recalling the primacy of the family in this sphere,” he explained.

The French National Assembly is at present heavily dominated by members of President Emmanuel Macron’s party, “En Marche” (“Onwards!”), and many liberal societal reforms are being implemented.

Breton’s amendment was received with skepticism. The Commission’s chairwoman, Anne-Christine Lang, argued that while families should not be replaced, the State and the National Education authorities should intervene in these issues “because of the increase of all sorts of sexual aggression.”

Recently, a 13-year-old girl living in an ethnic suburb near Versailles reported she had been raped once by three boys of her age in school, and then, a few weeks later, by the same boys plus three others, all aged 12 to 14. While some admitted she had tried to fight them off, several of the suspects told the police she was “consenting.”

Another woman member of the Commission said it was important that “emotional education” be possible at school because the theme of sexuality is never raised in “some families.” She said all children should be taught about their own bodies and they should know “their body is their own, and...they should do with it as they want.”

One legislator called the amendment “disconnected from reality,” deploring that many youngsters “fall victim to sexual abuse while adolescent girls are becoming pregnant very early.” She said that was the reason sex education is so important and needs to be preserved.

Xavier Breton retorted: “I could answer that when there was no emotional and sexual education in schools, there was also a lot less sexual abuse. I would rather raise the question of the increase in sexual abuse. It is not by talking about emotional and sexual issues from a technical angle and in a somber vision of relationships between men and women that we are truly going to give a sense of mutual respect that should exist. On the contrary, we should be asking questions about developments that we are all condemning today: to find out where they’re coming from, to ask whether this vision that is purely abstract and very technical is really the answer….It’s a very complicated subject when confronting a class, as teachers will tell you. When I hear it being said that there are families who are not capable of bringing up the children, well, that is not my conception [of] family: every family is respectable.”

The education minister, who was present throughout the debate, insisted that the present law which obliges all levels from the first to the last grade to have three yearly sessions in sex education must be implemented, adding that it was “absolutely necessary” to prevent youngsters from learning about sex through pornography.

It can be argued, however, that official sex education, apart from the fact that it is the right of parents to educate their offspring on the emotional and moral plane, is in itself often pornographic in its own way. The official curriculum for 13 and 14-year-olds in life science teaches “human reproduction” under the angle of contraception, including how to use a condom or how to contact Planned Parenthood, while high-schoolers are expected to learn that abortion is a “right.”

The minister, Jean-Marie Blanquer, added that school nurses do “critical work in that sphere”: among others, they are allowed to give the morning-after pill to underage girls without parental knowledge or consent.

Xavier Breton’s initiative is all the more remarkable given that Pope Francis himself is backtracking on Church teaching regarding parents’ role as primary educators, especially in the sphere of love and chastity education. During his in-flight press conference on his return trip from Panama at the end of last month, he said: “We must provide sex education in schools.”

In his letter on the Christian family in the modern world, Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul II said that parents are called to give their children a “clear and delicate sex education” that is “truly and fully personal.” 

John Paul II also insisted on the fundamental right and duty of parents as the primary educators of their children. In Familiaris Consortio n. 37, he wrote: 

“Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents.”

He also insisted that “education for chastity is absolutely essential” to forming young people and children, since it is “a virtue that develops a person’s authentic maturity and makes him or her capable of respecting and fostering the ‘nuptial meaning’ of the body.”

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
Michael Pakaluk and Anthony Francois

Opinion , ,

The law and the Church: Two incisive thoughts on abortion in our day

Michael Pakaluk and Anthony Francois
By Michael Pakaluk

February 7, 2019 (The Catholic Thing) — Note: There's so much happening in the Church and the nation on abortion that we thought it right to run two columns today. Michael Pakaluk argues that the brazenness of the New York State law may actually make overturning Roe v. Wade more likely as people come to see how extreme abortion supporters have become. Anthony Francois, who has worked on related issues on the state and national level, explains that Cardinal Dolan's refusal to excommunicate Andrew Cuomo may make sense — IF it's part of a larger strategy (so far not in sight) that will actually build up Catholic resistance. There's much food for thought here on the key human rights issue of our time.Robert Royal

Roe's Imminent Demise

Michael Pakaluk

When I teach about abortion, I start with a poll. "How many of you believe that abortion is legal only for the first three months of pregnancy?" All the students raise their hands — naturally enough, because this is what the media has repeatedly told them.

I then go to my computer, connected to an overhead projector, and search on "late-term abortion near me." The search comes up with clinics in one's own neighborhood offering abortions up to 24 or even 36 weeks.

For example, in Washington, DC, Capital Women's Services explains under its pull-down tab for Late Term Abortions that it "offers late-term abortion care up to 36 weeks under certain circumstances, such as for fetal or maternal indications."

That's a devilishly obscure phrase, "Maternal indications." The clinic explains, "The U.S. Supreme Court, in its classic Roe v. Wade Decision, ruled that abortions are legal at any gestation to preserve the life or the health of the woman." (Note the finesse of language: "at any gestation," not "at any gestational age," as the latter raises the awkward question, whose age?)

Well, they at least get Roe v. Wade. And "health" as defined in Roe's companion decision, Doe v. Bolton, brought in psychological and socioeconomic considerations as included under "health."

The website goes on: "Maternal health problems can be very distressing in themselves, and doubly upsetting because they can sometimes mean that a pregnancy cannot be continued. These are tragic situations, and we will always respect the right of a woman to make her own medical decisions regarding her own life, her own body, and her own family."

Sure, humanity dictates that women will not usually abort their babies at eight months because of a runny nose. And there are undeniably tragic cases, not to be minimized. But suppose the mother wants an abortion at 32-weeks "gestation" because her boyfriend has just abandoned her, and getting up three times a night to go to the bathroom now seems completely unbearable?

"We will always respect your decision," the clinic says flatly. They will insist on a consultation, of course, and charge extra money, but the abortion will be available.

After that, I show my class pictures of unborn children at 32 or 36 weeks. Then I go to a website which gives the description, from an abortion textbook, of a D&X abortion ("dilation and extraction"), or a "partial birth" abortion. Invariably the response from my students is the same: shock and utter disbelief. "How can they allow that?" "How can this be legal?"

The correct answer is not so much that it is legal as that it is not illegal. It once was illegal, but the Supreme Court held that no authority of law could deem it illegal.

My students naturally elide "allowed" to "legal." The old legal philosophers said that there were three acts of law: to forbid, to require, or to permit. Anything under law had to be deemed one of these three. We are "one nation, under law," after all. So, in the face of the grisly reality of late-term abortion — my students implicitly infer — some authority must have decided that these acts belonged in the "permitted" category, not the "forbidden" category. But, strictly, no: what Roe did was declare null the laws which made such things forbidden. It did not replace these laws with a new law, which said what was permitted and on what grounds. Strictly, it created zones of lawlessness.

This is why I am actually heartened by the recent law in New York and the prospect of similar laws in Vermont and Virginia. I believe such laws make it more likely that Roe will be overturned, and they will hasten the passage of laws that will outlaw abortion.

There was something safely popular about Roe's merely striking down a hindrance. Roe had always shared the appeal of the nonsensical mantra, "it is forbidden to forbid." No one likes saying no per se; saying no in reply to no, then, looks like an easy win. And one could also always feign a surprise at the consequences, a lack of responsibility for what followed.  ("I do not read the Court's holdings today as having the sweeping consequences attributed to them by the dissenting Justices. ... Plainly, the Court today rejects any claim that the Constitution requires abortions on demand," as Chief Justice Burger put it with astounding simplicity in his concurring opinion to Roe.)

But saying yes, in contrast, is unsafe. It reveals plainly what you love, and what you fail to love. Now you have actually declared abortion to be in the category of the permitted under law — and therefore you have been shown additionally to have a twisted concept of lawfulness. What you call law we call power employed to protect your interests. We know that type.

Abortion rights rhetoric has shifted back-and-forth over the years, between an apologetic approach, claiming weakness, and a brazen approach, boasting strength, though these are not found in equal proportion: it is as if after a hundred of the apologetic pieces ("no one likes abortion, it is a regrettable necessity"), someone has to come along with a brazen piece to clear the air ("every woman who gets an abortion knows it is killing, but sometimes one must kill to get by").

These attitudes exist uncomfortably together. But legislation like New York's resolves the tension in favor of the brazen, from which many will recoil in horror: Do we really think this? Do we hold this?

Likewise, by creating jurisdictions where Roe is now affirmed in state law, it will look as though, politically, Roe can be overturned by the Supreme Court. It can be overturned without being overturned, fully. (And who cares about flyover states clinging to their guns, religion, and heartbeat bills?)

The abortion debate has, fatiguingly, raged long enough that its resolution into separate settlements will seem long overdue — a peace of Westphalia, indeed, but still something like a peace.

So, Cardinal Dolan, What's the Plan?

Anthony Francois

Enough of whether New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan should excommunicate Governor Andrew Cuomo, and what the media or Cuomo's political supporters or Planned Parenthood or anyone else of ill will would make of such a move. I have no particular quarrel with those calling for it, other than to observe that it is, in fact, the province of the bishop to decide. It just isn't really the most important point.

Excommunication, the Cardinal says, would be politically counterproductive. That is not an ecclesiastical judgment but a secular one. In that order of things, Cardinal Dolan is by definition — and Church teaching — no more an authority than any member of his flock.

So, how can we assess the wisdom of Dolan's call on the politics of the matter?

We would need to know what "productive" would mean in order to assess whether excommunicating the Governor aids or hinders it. We would need to know what strategy is being implemented to know whether any particular act was within or without the plan. But nothing remotely like a Catholic political strategy to change the trajectory of New York state's final descent into child-killing madness is on offer.

One strategy might be: build up the moral formation of New York's Roman Catholics to the point that Andrew Cuomo and his ilk will someday have to give a damn about what they think on this matter.

What is Cardinal Dolan's strategy for catechizing (or perhaps evangelizing is the right word) New York City's Catholics to the point where they, as voters, won't stand for this sort of thing anymore? Is there one?

Dolan's diocese has almost 3 million Catholics, a third of all residents. New York City is said to be one of America's most Catholic cities, and New York is one of the nation's most Catholic states by population. Roman Catholicism is the Empire State's largest religious grouping.

But if you look at those claims by how many New York Catholics will vote to re-elect Cuomo, or any legislator who voted for this monstrosity, the number that currently matters to any Catholic pro-life political strategy is very, very much smaller.

Governor Cuomo just won re-election with 59 percent of the statewide vote. Dolan's archdiocese provided Cuomo with over a third of his total votes, and voted for him at roughly the same rate as the rest of the state. Looking at Dolan's counties that Cuomo won, the effect is more dramatic: just under a third of Cuomo's total statewide vote came from these counties, which he carried by 66 percent. Zooming in on New York City alone, Cuomo won the heart of Dolan's archdiocese by 86 percent in Manhattan and 90 percent in the Bronx.

These facts demonstrate two things. First: making a rapid and significant difference in New York's political landscape on abortion is probably an unrealistic short-term goal for the Cardinal. So why should anyone care about excommunicating Cuomo, which is marginal to such a goal? You might as well ask what effect canceling a Netflix subscription has on colonizing Mars.

Second: Cardinal Dolan urgently needs to do something more effective to evangelize his whole flock on whether they should ever vote for zealous legal enablers of child-killing. As it stands now, in any one-on-one contest between Cuomo and Dolan, almost all of the Cardinal's people are rooting for the Governor. He needs to change that.

Reasonable minds will differ on what would be productive to that effort. But who in the chancery cares what the Church's enemies think about a bishop's effort to help Catholics understand that you shouldn't vote for those who make a top priority of liquidating the unborn?

Catechetical, liturgical, and disciplinary reform are not easy. But these are the only "resources" that the Archbishop of New York has to form his flock to the point that they will rally as Catholic voters to stand athwart barbarism. None of Cardinal Dolan's other responsibilities contributes anything significant to that effort. They may have ancillary value to some of the Church's enterprises, but they aren't making Big Apple Catholics more pro-life.

Whatever other good they do, none of the Archdiocese of New York's public contracts or philanthropic collections to provide social services provide substantial moral formation or courage to broad swaths of voting Catholics on this issue. None of Cardinal Dolan's otherwise appropriate and arguably useful relationships with politicians, as such, teaches the faithful how to deal with those pols at the ballot box on this issue.

Grand Marshalling the St. Patrick's Day Parade isn't, without more, giving Catholic New Yorkers the zeal of the Patron of Ireland, or anything more conducive than a pub crawl to virtue or spiritual wellbeing. The Al Smith Dinner may raise a pile for the Church, but it doesn't form consciences, no matter how many viewers C-SPAN reaches with it.

If the Cardinal wants to face down Andrew Cuomo over abortion with a crowd at his back, he is going to need to do something "productive" to get his people back.

None of which is to say that Cardinal Dolan doesn't care about the most important of his responsibilities, or put an honest or capable effort into them. But it is to say that if he thinks that political considerations dictate that "those who oppose the Church" are a more important audience at this time than "those who adhere to the Church," he doesn't understand what are and are not his political opportunities.

The only way he is going to improve his political opportunities is by prioritizing the formation of his flock over trying to manage optics or manipulate what the enemies of the Church will say about him.

So fine, if excommunicating Cuomo will undermine some plan to make the faithful of New York a more effective bulwark in defense of the unborn, then by all means, forget it.

But please, if not, enough about how not disciplining him is good politics.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

Pope Francis with Cardinal McCarrick
Jonathan Newton-Pool/Getty Images
William Kilpatrick

Opinion ,

Don’t expect much from the bishops’ upcoming sex abuse conference

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

February 7, 2019 (Turning Point Project) – According to a June 2017 Gallup survey, nearly half of US Catholics (i.e., 49 percent) had a "high" or "very high" opinion of the honesty and ethical standards of the clergy. By early December 2018, the number had fallen to 31 percent.

Most of the difference is probably attributable to the new reports of earlier cases of sex abuse (most, though not all, involving adults) that began to surface in the summer of 2018. Since new scandals are being revealed on a weekly basis, it's probable that confidence in Church leaders will continue to drop. One can assume, moreover, that the credibility of Catholic leaders has dropped even further among non-Catholics.

In short, the Church's public witness has been badly damaged and is likely to suffer further damage. The scandals will certainly affect the credibility of Catholic teachers and clergy when they teach about sexual ethics. But because the scandals also involve lying, cover-ups, cowardice, financial fraud, cronyism, abuse of power, and possible blackmail, they will result in a general loss of confidence in the Church's authority to speak on any moral matter.

The damage is compounded by the fact that the abuse revelations come at a time when the Church is under fierce attack from the secular left. As the Church becomes more vulnerable, the attacks are likely to increase. The slandering of Covington Catholic pro-life students by the media, and the smearing of the Knights of Columbus by two US senators is just a taste of what is to come.

The abuse scandals are likely to result in more attempts by the left to push the Church out of the public square and to diminish its influence in other ways. At the same time, federal and state authorities will be tempted to exert more control over the affairs of a weakened Church. Meanwhile, more Catholics will leave the Church, more churches and schools will close, and more young men will be dissuaded from entering the priesthood.

According to Professor Scott Hahn, the current crisis in the Church is worse than the crisis precipitated by the Reformation. Others have described it in even more apocalyptic terms. Cardinal Raymond Burke has characterized it as "possibly the worst crisis that it's [the Church] ever experienced." "Our Lady warned us at Fatima about an apostasy from the faith," said Burke. "I believe there's been a practical apostasy from the faith with regard to all questions involving human sexuality..."

Expanding on Cardinal Burke's remarks, Fr. Ladis Cizik likened the crisis to the "final trial" spoken of in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (675):

Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.

Whether this is the "final trial" of the Church or only the worst crisis since the Reformation, it is difficult to see it as anything other than an extremely serious crisis — one that should evoke an equally serious response. But Pope Francis and the men he has surrounded himself with don't seem to see it that way. Although they may use words such as "serious" and "grave," their actions indicate that they don't plan to do anything serious about it.

Take the long-awaited summit on clerical sex abuse to be held at the Vatican from February 21-24. The fact that the meeting will only last four days suggests that it is only meant to reassure the public that something is being done. It's highly unlikely that the kind of reforms that are now needed in the Church can be discussed and formulated in a few days.

There are other reasons to be suspicious. For one thing, the summit is being billed as "The Protection of Minors in the Church." Yet the present crisis is not mainly about the abuse of minors. It's about the abuse of seminarians by priest and bishops, consensual sex among priests, and the cover-up of such sexual misconduct by bishops and cardinals. The February meeting has been engineered to avoid the root problems — one of which is the existence of a homosexual subculture within the Church. As one "well-informed" source told LifeSiteNews, the meeting is a "masterpiece of hypocrisy" in the making.

Another reason to doubt that the summit is meant to seriously address any of the above problems is that the man Pope Francis has appointed to organize it has a major conflict of interest. Cardinal Blase Cupich, let's recall, is one of the prelates named in Archbishop Viganò's indictment of corruption in the hierarchy. Cupich is mentioned in the Viganò statement as being "blinded by his pro-gay ideology," which suggests that Cupich is not the man you would call on if you were at all serious about uncovering a homosexual subculture in the Church. Moreover, Viganò suggests that Cupich was elevated to the position of Archbishop of Chicago precisely because of his ideology:

The appointments of Blase Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by McCarrick, Maradiaga and Wuerl, united by a wicked pact of abuses by the first, and at least a cover-up of abuses by the other two.

In light of these charges against Cupich, one would think that Pope Francis would want to keep him a good distance away from any supervisory position regarding the summit. Yet, in what can only be described as an in-your-face act of brazenness, Francis appointed Cupich to organize and shape the summit. In short, Francis is more interested in preserving a certain ideology than in preserving any semblance of impartiality. And so, the man who dismissed Viganò's allegations as a "rabbit hole" to be avoided is now in charge of guarding the rabbit hole lest anyone be tempted to explore its labyrinth of warrens.

As I observed in a previous article, the gravity of the scandals needs to be met with an equally grave response. What might that be? Archbishop Viganò who wrote of the "grave, disconcerting and sinful conduct of Pope Francis" called on the pope to resign. Phil Lawler has asked the guilty bishops to make a public confession of sin and public acts of repentance. Scott Hahn believes that Archbishop McCarrick and others like him should be excommunicated. A petition co-sponsored by Pro Ecclesia (Switzerland) and LifeSiteNews has asked, among other things, for:

A declaration from the Holy Father stating that any bishop who has covered up for abuser priests will be removed from his office pursuant to the norm of canon 1389 CIC.

But this last request would put Francis in a rather awkward position. There is a good deal of evidence that Francis himself has covered up for or promoted abusers on several occasions both as pope and as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

  • Although Archbishop McCarrick was a well-known abuser, Pope Francis lifted the sanctions against him and made him a trusted advisor and official envoy.
  • Despite what the Telegraph described as a "string of homosexual affairs," Francis appointed Battista Ricca as prelate of the Vatican Bank.
  • After the Vatican received evidence of sexual harassment of seminarians by Argentine bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, Francis promoted him to the position of assessor of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) which oversees the Vatican's investments and its considerable real estate holdings. And this, despite the fact that Zanchetta had also been accused of mishandling diocesan finances.
  • An Italian priest, Mauro Inzoli, known as "Don Mercedes" for his lavish lifestyle, was found guilty of abusing boys by an ecclesiastical court and was suspended from the priesthood by Pope Benedict XVI. Francis reinstalled Inzoli to the priesthood in 2014. Subsequently, an Italian civil court sentenced Inzoli to four years' imprisonment for sexual crimes.
  • When he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio went to bat for Father Julio César Grassi, who was accused of sexual abuse of minors and seminarians. To prevent the conviction of Grassi, Bergoglio commissioned a series of books that cast doubt on the victims' testimonies. Although Grassi was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison, the pope reportedly declined to meet with his victims or to remove him from the priesthood.
  • A recent article by journalist Marco Tosatti provides a list of prelates who have been favored, protected, promoted or rehabilitated by Pope Francis despite their record of covering up for abusers. The list includes: Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Cardinal Francisco Errazuriz Ossa, Bishop Juan Barros, Bishop Juan José Piñeda, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and Archbishop Kevin Farrell.

Why does Pope Francis show so much favor to people who are morally compromised? According to Tosatti, Francis's behavior "leads us to think that the pontiff chooses or prefers people who have a past, and at least one skeleton in their closet." Tosatti speculates that such people are more easily manipulated. But it may simply be that the pope prefers the company of people who have flamboyant lifestyles. Judging by his frequent condemnation of rigid, puritanical, and fundamentalist Catholics, Francis may simply feel more comfortable in the presence of "liberated" Catholics — those who lead daring double lives, flout convention, and wink at middle-class morality.

A clue that this might be the case can be found in a book-length interview with Francis by Dominique Wolton, the founder of Hermès magazine. In the interview, the pontiff makes a point of emphasizing that sexual sins are the "lightest sins." Priests, he says, should not focus on what he calls "below the belt" morality, because the more serious sins are elsewhere. As a model of a good confessor, he mentions a cardinal who told him "that as soon as somebody goes to him to talk about those sins below the belt, he immediately says: 'I understand, let's move on.'" The author of the piece on Wolton's book suggests that Francis's "minimization of sins of sex — and of homosexual practices widespread among the clergy — may explain his silences and his tolerance toward concrete cases of abuse, even by high-level churchmen he has esteemed and favored."

Other recent popes may have had a more sophisticated view of sexuality than the average Catholic, but when it came to basics, their beliefs were not very different from, say, faithful Catholic parents living on a farm in Kansas. But with Francis "we're not in Kansas anymore." That line, of course, is from The Wizard of Oz. And appropriately so. With Francis at the helm, the Church is sailing dangerously close to over-the-rainbow territory.

All of which suggests that nothing much will come of the sex-abuse summit. We can expect some tightening of the rules that are already in place for the protection of minors. And we can expect much talk about the Church's commitment to protect children, but very little about widespread immorality among priests and bishops. There will quite likely be some acknowledgement of those pesky below-the-belt sins, but the general tenor will be "let's move on" — meaning, now that we've held this perfunctory discussion of the sex abuse crisis, let's talk about the really important issues such as world peace, global warming, the plight of immigrants, and the needs of LGBTQ families.

One can safely assume that there will be no calls for compromised bishops or the pope to resign, no public confession of sins, no defrocking, and no excommunications. In other words, there will be no real acknowledgement of the disastrous and dangerous state into which the Church has fallen, no firm purpose of amendment, and no real attempt at reform.

Instead, we will be encouraged to move on and to ignore the fact that the same compromised people remain at the helm and continue to set the course. In the meantime, the faith of countless Catholics will continue to erode, the Church will be seen as increasingly irrelevant, and the enemies of the Church will continue to grow in power and ferocity.

This article originally appeared in the February 1, 2019 edition of Crisis. It is published here with permission from the Turning Point Project.

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Alex Schadenberg Alex Schadenberg Follow Alex


Will Canada protect the conscience rights of doctors who refuse to kill through euthanasia?

Alex Schadenberg Alex Schadenberg Follow Alex
By Alex Schadenberg

February 7, 2019 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) — On October 31 I wrote that Canadian MP, David Anderson, sponsored a bill to uphold conscience rights of health care professionals introduced Bill C-418 to protect conscience rights for healthcare professionals in Canada. 

Bill C-418 will be debated by parliament in the near future.

Bill C-418, an act to amend the criminal code (medical assistance in dying) makes it an offence to intimidate a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional for the purpose of compelling them to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying. The bill also makes it an offence to dismiss from employment or to refuse to employ a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional for the reason only that he refuses to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) became legal across Canada in June 2016. This bill addresses a legislative gap in protecting the right to refuse participation in MAiD, which is already guaranteed in the Criminal Code, but which lacks clarity for effective enforcement.

Recently Jeff Blackmer, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) VP of International Health, in an article designed to hoodwink British physicians into supporting neutrality on assisted suicide, conflated the CMA involvement in protecting conscience rights for Canadian physicians.

Medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and other health care professionals are being pressured to participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide (MAiD) against their strongly held beliefs.

In November, 2017 the Manitoba Legislature unanimously passed Bill 34: The Medical Assistance in Dying (Protection for Health Professionals and Others) Act

Contact your member of parliament to urge him to support Bill C-418.

Published with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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Pope Piux XI
Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter


‘The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ’: Rediscovering Pope Pius XI

Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – This February 10th marks the 80th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XI (Achille Ratti), who reigned on the throne of Peter from 1922 to 1939. Perhaps one should not be surprised in a world of rapid-fire texting that someone who began his pontificate a century ago would be largely forgotten. But Pius XI, whose resounding motto gives my article its title, deserves to be better known and warmly loved for his splendid encyclicals, which are full of fire, clarity, and courage. Indeed, these documents are a precious source for all ages, not merely for the tense interwar period in which this pope was called to serve the Church of Christ.

The future Pius XI came from a humble background and enjoyed the placid career of a scholar with a doctorate in theology who eventually served as head of the Vatican Library. His later successes as nuncio in Poland and archbishop of Milan made him a good choice for pope upon the death of Benedict XV.

It did not take long for the Church and the world to see the mettle of which this new pope was made. His inaugural encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio (1922) described the world situation after World War I with a spiritual penetration that no secular historian could equal, and proposed as the only cogent solution a serious appropriation of Catholic social doctrine. This insistence on implementing the Church’s social magisterium – this effort to articulate a genuinely Catholic alternative to spiraling socialism, feverish fascism, and cruel capitalism – was to occupy Pius XI in many of his more than 30 subsequent encyclicals. The old adage “the more things change, the more things stay the same” seems especially pertinent to the encyclicals of Pius XI. The faithful still face the same challenges about which he wrote, even if the “key” or “tempo” of the music has changed.

Next in order, and of enormous significance in the Church’s magisterium, is the much-discussed encyclical Quadragesimo Anno (1931), promulgated on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891). Of all the social encyclicals from Leo XIII to John Paul II, none is more hard-hitting, incisive, and comprehensive than this one, with its analysis of international finance and the undercurrents of exploitation that shape economic markets. It is high time we recover our birthright as Catholics by returning to the richest sources of the Church’s social wisdom, among which this encyclical indubitably deserves to be numbered.

The fundamental note of Pius XI’s teaching was the kingship of Jesus Christ over all men, all societies, all nations, all institutions. This vision of the primacy and pervasiveness of Christ motivated his thoughts, desires, interventions, and counsels. And it is this vision that remains absolutely relevant for us. The Catholic Church will flourish in this period of “late modernity” only to the extent that it knows and lives the teachings Pope Pius XI so boldly proclaimed in his encyclical letter Quas Primas (1925), one of the most important papal letters of the 20th century. By this letter Pius XI established a new Feast, that of Christ the King – a feast that has become familiar to every Catholic throughout the world, although its original intention has been somewhat clouded over by subsequent liturgical changes.

Pius XI’s classic Casti Connubii (1930) is the single best treatment of the Catholic understanding of marriage ever promulgated by a pope, with its noble and realistic vision of the sacrament. We are in serious danger of misinterpreting the later teaching of John Paul II on marriage if we do not see it against the backdrop of, and in continuity with, Casti Connubii. No encyclical could be better reading for marriage preparation.

This pope gave us the “Magna Charta” on the education of Christian children and youths, Divini Illius Magistri (1929). Homeschoolers will note with joy that Pius XI defends the view that children being educated at home by their parents is the God-given norm and standard, while education through schools run by non-relatives is the modern exception, fraught with dangers to the moral and religious formation of children. This does not, of course, prevent the Pope from explaining the principles that all educators, whether family or professional, must observe in the education of Christian pupils. This encyclical has a sort of haunting ring to it today, when so many of the novel evils that Pius XI deplored, such as sex education, have become routine realities. On the positive side, much of what the Pope has to say about effective pedagogy and the hierarchy of subjects remains valid and applicable.

The pair of encyclicals from 1937 on the Soviet and Nazi aberrations – Divini Redemptoris and Mit Brennender Sorge – powerfully transport the reader into the bloodchilling eras they address. In spite of their time bound aspects, there is a Catholic political philosophy articulated in these encyclicals that remains true for our day and for all times, as well as a potent critique of errors that, despite their continual refutation by facts, somehow never cease to crop up in every society that is either affluent and bored or poor and desperate.

In Ad Catholici Sacerdotii (1935), Pope Pius XI opens up his heart to all the priests of the world and all who would be priests. This encyclical is one of the most impassioned, eloquent, and well-reasoned treatises ever written concerning the nature, privileges, and demands of the Catholic priesthood, and for this reason ought to be required reading for seminarians. Pius XI seems to oscillate between singing the high praises of this magnificent calling and pointing to its uncompromising requirements. The impression left in the reader’s mind is that this state, as well as the vocation to it, is a sublime and rewarding gift from the Father of lights – one that many more ought to be hearing and heeding. I actually believe that the very reading of this encyclical would increase vocations to the priesthood!

Lastly, I would mention the fascinating encyclical on motion pictures, Vigilanti Cura (1936), written at a time when this form of entertainment was really “coming into its own.” If there has ever been a man who knew the shape of the future, it was Achille Ratti. Here, he laments the initiation into “lust and desire” that many movies promote, and offers stringent guidelines for censorship exercised by bishops and committees of laity. The now relatively feeble advice on movies given by staff workers for the U.S. bishops is the less than worthy descendent of the precise, artistically sensitive, morally sound principles articulated by Pius XI in 1936. If we could make a return, one way or another, to the plain, child-like sanity of Vigilanti Cura, we would have made a tremendous step towards sanctity.

The end of Pope Pius XI’s life coincided with the gathering gloom that would erupt into World War II. On his deathbed, Pius XI offered his life for world peace. Reading his encyclicals puts us in touch with a pope of uncompromising Catholicism who, since he genuinely cared for his people, did not allow them to wander down false paths, but instead, pointed out again and again the path to life traced by Catholic experience and tradition. We would do well to benefit from his wisdom, lest we, too, misled by prelates cut from a different cloth, walk down false paths that our world passes off as the unavoidable expedients of a postmodern society.

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