All articles from March 12, 2019




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Vatican tamps down controversy, says no yuca for the Eucharist

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By Martin Barillas

ROME, March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — According to Vatican officials, there are no current plans to allow a change in the bread that is used as matter for the Eucharist.

Controversy was afoot after 80-year-old Father Francisco Taborda, S.J., a Brazilian theologian, said in February while attending a seminar in Rome that a watershed debate regarding the Eucharist was a probable topic at the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region in October.

A spokesman for the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops told CNA that his statements “are exclusively personal” and do not represent official plans.

Fr. Taborda suggested that wheaten bread could be substituted with yuca, a root common in Latin America in use as a staple food. Also known as manioc or cassava, it is the source of tapioca. The Catholic Church regards wheaten bread and wine as the only suitable matter to be used as species for confecting the Eucharist, the central mystery of the Catholic faith.

Fr. Taborda told Crux last month that environmental conditions in the hot and damp climate of the Amazon make communion wafers unsuitably moist. Suggesting a departure from the norm inherited from the Gospel, the Jesuit said that when bread is too moist, “it’s not bread, and if it’s not bread, it’s not the Eucharist.” He added, “In the Amazon, bread is made out of yuca.” The bishops of the expansive tropical region, he said, should be allowed to decide on the matter used in Eucharistic consecration.

Bishop Fabio Fabene told Catholic News Agency on Friday that a change from the millennial formula of bread made from wheat alone as matter for the Eucharist does “not appear in the preparatory document for the special assembly next October and, therefore, is not a subject of the next synod.”

According to CNA, Bishop Fabene said “the changing of the Eucharistic matter is the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”A LifeSiteNews article suggested that altering the matter for the Eucharist would signify the founding of a “new religion.” Msgr. Charles Pope wrote at National Catholic Register: “Really, the discussion should end here — but, sadly, exotic and highly dubious ideas such as this one have become daily fare in this era of weaponized ambiguity.”

Fr. Taborda, an emeritus professor at the Jesuit School of Philosophy and Theology (FAJE) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, has written a number of books, some of which deal with the theology of the sacraments.

The Catholic Catechism

According to Canon 924 §2 of the Code of Canon Law, the bread used to confect the Blessed Sacrament states that it “must be only wheat.” The wine used as matter must be similarly natural and made from grapes mixed only with water.

While the Catholic Church has a number of different rites, which stem from the various original patriarchates such as Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria, and thus has incorporated certain elements of various cultures, the matter used in the Eucharist has always been closely regulated.

In the West, the Latin rite of the Mass uses azymous (unleavened) bread, for example, the Byzantine rite validly uses leavened bread. Regional differences are, however, limited to Church doctrine.

CNA quoted Fr. Mark Morozowich, who serves as dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America, regarding variations in form. “Leavened or unleavened,” Morozowich said, the Catholic Church has always used bread made from wheat. Similarly, he said that whether it is mixed with hot or cold water, “the Church has always used wine.” The formula can be found in the Gospel of St. Luke, wherein Jesus is recorded to have said:

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’" Luke 22:19

“Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves.’” Luke 22:17

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Bishop Michael Bransfield DWCVocations / Youtube screen grab
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U.S. Archbishop bans two bishops from ministry while Vatican reviews alleged misdeeds

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By Martin Barillas

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Two retired Catholic bishops have been restricted from priestly or episcopal ministry after months of preliminary investigation.

“Pending the assessment of the findings of the Holy See, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, I have directed that Bishop (Michael) Bransfield is not authorized to exercise any priestly or episcopal ministry either within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston or within the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore announced Monday in a press release. Likewise, retired Bishop Gordon Bennett, S.J., is prohibited from exercising his faculties as priest and bishop.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced in January that it was adhering to new guidelines for investigating wrongdoing by bishops. Developed by the archdiocesan Independent Review Board, the protocols call for investigating allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior or abuse committed against a child by a bishop, allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct with adults, or if bishops “engaged in activities that constitute seriously negligent supervision or improper cover-up” of others’ sexual misconduct. Bishops of the archdiocese signed a code of conduct, which is believed to be unprecedented in the United States.

In September, Lori was appointed apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which is the only diocese in West Virginia, less than a week after Bransfield submitted his resignation to the Holy See upon turning 75. Shortly thereafter, Lori opened an investigation into claims that Bransfield was accused of “sexual harassment of adults.” Later, Lori said the hotline established for the investigation received dozens of calls just two weeks into his appointment to the diocese.

According to the release, the Archdiocese of Baltimore indicated that Archbishop Lori is leading the investigation in concert with five lay experts, of whom one is a not Catholic. The investigators have interviewed 40 people, including Bransfield. Their results have been sent to the Holy See, which has the final say about Bransfield.

Bransfield has been accused of concealing the sexual misconduct committed by priests, and he is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor and financial misdeeds. The alleged victim now says he was never subjected to sexual abuse by Bransfield, who denies the charges.

The Baltimore archdiocese also announced “similar restrictions” for retired Bishop Bennett, who was bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica. Bennett is a former auxiliary bishop of the Baltimore archdiocese, having served from 1998 to 2004, before he took the see in Jamaica. He retired just two years later at age 60 in 2006. Ordinarily, bishops retire at age 75.

In May 2006, the Baltimore archdiocese fielded allegations that Bennett had engaged in “sexual harassment of a young adult.” Cardinal William Keeler, who was archbishop of Baltimore at the time, reported to allegations to the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C. because Bennett was no longer in his jurisdiction. Bennett resigned from his see in Jamaica just three months later.

In 2006, Archbishop Pietro Sambi was serving as apostolic nuncio in Washington, D.C. and Archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson served as nuncio to Jamaica. Bennett moved to California to be treated for depression and served under restrictions in a pastoral capacity at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. According to the Jesuit province for the western states, Bennett was cleared of wrongdoing by Vatican officials.

Bennett has been prohibited from carrying out ministry as a priest or bishop within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Bransfield is likewise restricted from ministry in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

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Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies
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Former Olympic swimmer says ‘transgender’ men could ‘ruin the sport’ for real women

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By Martin Barillas

LONDON, March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Famed Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies said that allowing males claiming a female gender to compete against real girls and women “has the potential to ruin women’s sport.”

Davies, who won a silver for England at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, told The Daily Telegraph that so-called “transgender” male athletes have a natural and physical advantage over girls and women in competitions. “Michael Phelps has size 15 feet; your average female swimmer has size six,” she said. “If someone is a good swimmer and they decide they want to transition to being a female, none of our girls would stand a chance.”

“It’s not anything to do with saying sport isn’t for everybody, it’s asking how we classify it,” she said. “And rather than classifying it by gender, we have to classify it by sex. And if the transgender society aren’t happy with that, we’ll have to talk to governing bodies about an alternative, a transgender games or something. But how can this be fair to women?”

“My argument is simple,” she told The Daily Telegraph, “that there is a benefit to being born a male, and that’s not fair on females in sport. That’s really it.”

Last week, Davies was criticized for airing her views on Twitter. She wrote, “to protect women’s sport those with a male sex advantage should not be able to compete in women’s sport.” When she was accused of harboring “transphobia” or hatred of people experiencing gender dysphoria, she responded, “I am not a bigot and I am not a transphobic.” She told the newspaper: “It sometimes feels like the world has gone mad, and we’ve lost our common sense.”

Despite having never knowingly spoken to a so-called “transgender” athlete, Davies said she would “love” to speak to people and create a forum to discuss transgenderism.

Controversy has swirled over the issue of so-called “transgender” athletes. For example, men claiming to be women have defeated real women in various sports, including track events. Grand Slam tennis champion Martina Navratilova was chastised by transgenderism advocates when she said men pretending to be women were “cheating” by participating in female sporting competitions. She said, “Having a penis and competing as a woman is not fair.”

The avowed lesbian athlete later apologized, saying she had been referring to people who had “cynically” altered their claimed gender in order to “gain a competitive advantage.” For her frankness about biological sex differences, Navratilova was dropped from the board of a major LGBTQ organization.

In South Dakota, a Republican lawmaker has proposed legislation that would require any athlete to compete in events according to the sex listed on his or her birth certificate. “Texas’ University Interscholastic League requires that students participate on sports teams that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificate,” said Senator Jim Bolin. “I just firmly believe that those who are males should play in sports designated for males and those who are females … should play in sports designated for females, according to your birth certificate. It’s about fair competition.”

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FDA warns websites selling abortion pills without prescriptions: you’re breaking the law

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By Calvin Freiburger

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday released two letters it sent last Friday to a pair of websites offering unapproved versions of the abortion-inducing drugs mifepristone and misoprostol.

The letters to and Rablon note that the sites sell mifepristone and misoprostol tablets in “packs” that can be acquired without a prescription and taken without a medical professional’s guidance or supervision. In “normal” chemical abortions, abortionists give women the first pill (mifepristone, or RU-486) in an office, then have them take the second (misoprostol) at home.

By contrast, these sites each offer a product that “contains prescription drugs intended for a condition that is not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by a layperson,” the letters warn, so “adequate directions cannot be written such that a layperson can use the product safely for its intended use.” In addition, they lack “adequate warnings against use...where its use may be dangerous to health, or against unsafe dosage or methods or duration of administration or application.”

Even the FDA-approved prescription version of mifepristone, Mifeprex, “bears a boxed warning indicating that the drug carries a risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse effects, including serious and sometimes fatal infections and prolonged heavy bleeding,” and is therefore “only available in the U.S. through a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program” and obtainable only from REMS-certified healthcare providers.

The REMS requirements ensure that providers can “assess the duration of the pregnancy accurately, diagnose ectopic pregnancies, and provide surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding, or to have made arrangements for others to provide such care”; give women “access to medical facilities for emergency care”; and more – none of which applies to’s “Combipack” or Rablon’s “Abortion Pill Pack.”

“By facilitating the sale of the unapproved and misbranded” products, the FDA says, these sites are “causing important safety measures that are put in place for FDA-approved mifepristone for medical termination of early pregnancy to be bypassed.”

The letters put them on notice to “promptly cease causing the sale of unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs to U.S. consumers and correct all other violations of the FD&C Act,” or else face regulatory action potentially “including seizure or injunction, without further notice.” The websites have 15 days to confirm their compliance.

The left-wing Vox notes that abortion supporters “have long viewed REMS as a ‘medically unnecessary’ barrier to women who want access to a safe abortion,” quoting University of California-San Francisco reproductive professor Daniel Grossman as suggesting the FDA “might better use its resources to explore how the medically unnecessary restrictions could be lessened in order to improve access to safe abortion care.”

However, pro-lifers warn that even when “properly” taken, abortion pills are not only lethal to preborn children but more dangerous to women than advertised.

“As of December 2017, there were reports of 22 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal,” the FDA warns, on top of 2,740 cases of severe complications from 2000 to 2012.

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Iowa Supreme Court unanimously forces state to cover sex-change operations via Medicaid

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By Calvin Freiburger

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Iowa must allow gender-confused residents to obtain “gender-reassignment” treatments at taxpayer expense, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The case stems from a discrimination suit against the state Department of Human Services by Eerieanna Good and Carol Beal over its classification of transition-related surgeries as “cosmetic, reconstructive or plastic surgery,” and administrative code excluding "surgeries for the purpose of sex reassignment,” The Blaze reports.

The plaintiffs got a district court to agree that such surgeries were “medically necessary,” spurring state health officials and Assistant Attorney General Matthew Gillespie to appeal.

"This case is not about transgender Iowans at all," Gillespie argued, but rather the treatment in question was for physical or psychological purposes, and that the Iowa Constitution contained no mandate to cover all services. Gender-reassignment procedures can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.

"The department has a limited number of funds, he said. "We're limited in what we can cover and what we can do," he said.

Nevertheless, the state Supreme Court upheld the district court ruling, with Justice Susan Christensen writing that to exclude the procedures from Medicaid "discriminates" against transgender Medicaid recipients in Iowa. She noted that an amendment to the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 2007 specifically added "gender identity" as a protected criteria, and that Medicaid already covers certain cosmetic or reconstructive surgeries for other purposes, such as “Revision of disfiguring and extensive scars resulting from neoplastic surgery” or “Correction of a congenital anomaly.”

The Iowa Department of Human Services has so far declined to comment, but a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office implied that the matter is unlikely to be appealed.

"As the ruling showed, this case presented a difficult question involving individual rights and the state’s interests," Lynn Hicks told the Des Moines Register. "This issue was a first for Iowa’s courts, and we thank the court for its guidance and for resolving this issue."The Iowa Supreme Court is no stranger to left-wing rulings; last summer, it ruled that Iowa cannot make women wait 72 hours before obtaining abortions, despite the U.S. Supreme Court having upheld 24-hour waiting periods.

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Ohio is free to defund Planned Parenthood, federal appeals court rules

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By Calvin Freiburger

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The state of Ohio may proceed with its efforts to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business, a majority of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled as the legal battle over a 2016 law enters its third year.

Last April, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit ruled that the state could not forbid the distribution of federal health subsidies to any entity that commits or promotes elective abortions, a move which would have defunded 28 Planned Parenthood facilities and deprived Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Southwest Ohio of almost $1.5 million.

Judge Helene White claimed at the time that Planned Parenthood had a “due process right” to commit abortions, and that making tax dollars contingent on not doing so violated its “right not to be penalized in the administration of government programs based on protected activity outside the programs.”

On Tuesday the full 6th Circuit disagreed. The 6th Circuit's ruling affects six state public health programs in Ohio, but doesn't touch Medicaid.

In the majority ruling, Judge Jeffrey Sutton concluded that the “affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”

“Governments generally may do what they wish with public funds, a principle that allows them to subsidize some organizations but not others and to condition receipt of public funds on compliance with certain obligations,” Sutton explained, unless it does so “on a basis that infringes [a recipient’s] constitutional rights.”

However, while the U.S. Supreme Court currently claims (incorrectly) that the 14th Amendment bars states from imposing “undue burdens” on abortion “access,” Sutton explained that it doesn’t follow that the abortionists have a “freestanding right” to perform them.

“Whatever constitutional status the doctor-patient relation may have as a general matter,” Sutton quotes the Supreme Court as ruling in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, “in the present context it is derivative of the woman’s position.”

Politico notes that the ruling frees Ohio to cut abortion organizations out of six state-level health programs but not Medicaid; last December, the Supreme Court declined to hear Kansas and Louisiana’s appeals defending their efforts to cut Planned Parenthood out of the federal program.

“This ruling is a major victory for pro-life Ohioans and all Americans fighting to keep their own tax dollars from being used to prop up the abortion industry,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser responded. “The American people have repeatedly expressed their opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which destroys more than 332,000 innocent unborn children a year – funding that could be redirected to life-affirming care providers, such as the growing number of community health alternatives that outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities at least 20 to one nationwide.”

The pro-life defunding law was defended in court last year by Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine, who has since become the state’s governor and is currently waiting for the state legislature to send him a bill to ban abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

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Facebook blocks pregnancy site articles on fetal development, abortion pill reversal

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By Calvin Freiburger

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook is now blocking purely-informational links from a neutral pregnancy website that detail subjects such as early fetal development and present a balanced view on topics such as abortion pill reversal, according to a tip from a concerned reader that LifeSiteNews has independently verified.

The American Pregnancy Association (APA) “seeks to increase awareness of the reproductive and pregnancy needs in our society along with the resources necessary to address these needs,” partly via a website that provides information on a wide range of pregnancy-related topics, from fetal development to medical complications to early childcare.

On Monday, LifeSiteNews was forwarded an individual’s attempt to send a friend some pregnancy and abortion facts via Facebook Messenger, including an APA article on early prenatal diagnosis and treatment of complications. Among the page’s information is the statement that “Between 5 ½ to 6 ½ weeks, a fetal pole or even a fetal heartbeat may be detected by vaginal ultrasound.”

Facebook blocked the link from being uploaded with a message stating: “Your message couldn't be shared, because this link goes against our Community Standards. If you think this doesn't go against our Community Standards, let us know."

On Tuesday, LifeSiteNews tested the links and confirmed that while Facebook allows links to APA’s main page and some articles, including “Fetal Development: First Trimester” and “Possible Physical Side Effects After Abortion,” Facebook blocks the early complications article as well as one on abortion pill reversal from being shared either on a user’s wall or via the Messenger app, complete with an unexplained “Community Standards” warning.

The early complications article makes no reference to abortion and is purely informational. The pill reversal piece is overall favorable to the practice, guiding readers to the 24-hour Abortion Pill Reversal Hotline. However, it too is primarily informative and presents the arguments both for and against, with quotes from organizations on both sides of the debate.

Despite being undisputed and readily available in mainstream medical textbooks, disseminating fetal development information tends to be controversial among abortion defenders because it substantiates preborn babies’ status as living humans, discouraging women from going through with abortions.

Abortion advocates even more bitterly oppose the relatively young practice of Abortion pill reversal, which consists of administering extra progesterone to counteract the effects of the mifepristone abortion pill (RU-486), ideally within 24 hours of taking the abortion pill.

Its pioneers credit it with helping more than 400 women save their babies since 2007, and say they have even had successes when the treatment begins within 72 hours of taking the abortion pill. Overall, they say they have seen a 55 percent success rate, meaning that while reversing a chemical abortion is far from certain, it has the capacity to save many babies.

Abortion pill reversal information has been suppressed by other social media platforms such as YouTube, which reversed itself after public outcry. The APA’s experience is the latest in a long series of instances of Facebook restricting benign pro-life content. Often in the past, Facebook has reversed itself and blamed such incidents on either isolated human error or the limitations of their content-review algorithms; it remains to be seen whether it will attempt to explain this the same way.

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Mississippi House passes bill to ban abortion of babies with beating hearts

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By Calvin Freiburger

JACKSON, Mississippi, March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Lawmakers in the Mississippi House voted Monday to pass the latest version of a bill to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, clearing one procedural hurdle standing between it and a signature from Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.

Last month, both the House and the Senate voted to pass the bill by Republican state Sens. Angela Hill and Chris Caughman, which makes exceptions only to save a woman’s life or prevent harm to a “major bodily function.” Violators could have their medical licenses suspended or revoked.

Lingering differences in each chamber’s language had to be resolved before it could be signed into law, however. SB 2116 and HB 732 do not differ in their substantive details such as exceptions or punishment, but the language must be made identical before it can be sent to the governor’s desk.

The House amended and passed the measure on Monday, the Associated Press reported, sending the Senate to take one more look at it.

“I’ve often said I want Mississippi to be the safest place for an unborn child in America,” Bryant said last month, endorsing the bill. “I appreciate the leadership of the MS House and Senate, along with members of the Legislature, for passing the fetal heartbeat bills today. I look forward to signing this act upon passage.”

On Tuesday, Bryant called on the legislature to “get this bill to my desk so I can sign it.”

Heartbeat bills have grown more popular across the country over the past several months. They ban abortion much earlier than the “viability” standard set by Roe v. Wade, which some cite to claim the bills waste time and money, but others argue that’s the point: to force a Supreme Court review that could finally overturn the 1973 ruling.

“The pro-life community has waited years for the courts to recognize the obvious ... that a baby with a beating heart is deserving of its life being legally protected,” Republican state Sens. Angela Hill, one of the bill’s lead sponsors, previously told LifeSiteNews. “I remember how thrilled I was to first hear the heartbeats of my own children. I knew that they were unique individuals growing inside my body. I was just their shelter and their food for (nine) months.”

Attesting to the power of fetal heartbeats, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy quotes the testimony of women who sought help at Jackson’s Center for Pregnancy Choices. “I saw my little bitty baby,” one said. “I saw its heartbeat. I did my nervous laugh, attempting to hold back my tears, as I watched my tiny baby jump and dance around. That’s when I knew that I was going to do this, whatever it took.”

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LifeSite combats the world’s sensationalized, fake news

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By John-Henry Westen

This is Day 1 in our 2019, very necessary spring fundraising campaign!

For those who are new to LifeSite, we conduct these campaigns four times per year. They are the overwhelming source of our funding and involve many donations from mostly regular folks. We are not supported by Church organizations or large donors, and advertising accounts for only a tiny part of our revenue.

This is your personal opportunity to ensure that this fearless, independent, and uncompromisingly pro-life and pro-family news service continues to have maximum impact on the culture.

As a reader of LifeSite you are without doubt far more informed than almost everyone who relies solely on mainstream media regarding the most important issues of our time.

Now, we need your help to continue and reach more people with the truth!

Please consider joining our family of supporters with a one-time gift today. As we are on track to have our greatest impact ever this year, we need your support to ensure this record growth to our readership continues.

Can I count on you for a gift of $500, $200, $100, or even $35 today?



You may also be interested in supporting our news on a monthly basis. Doing so would enable you to invest in truth-filled news and counter the lies of fake news coming from mainstream media. Check out our Sustain Life monthly giving program here!

You and millions of people around the globe come to LifeSite for the information you won’t find anywhere else, and as 2019 has already begun to show us, we are going to have to fight even harder to rise above the mainstream media’s fake news reporting on our issues.

Let me ask you, has the mainstream media told you that in just a few short weeks David Daleiden will be in court hearings in San Francisco with Planned Parenthood, who has sued him for his undercover videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress? These court hearings will represent the first time Planned Parenthood higher-ups have testified under oath about the video coverage that David Daleiden recorded.

LifeSite will be there, in the courtroom, to bring you live updates as the trial proceeds. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s because mainstream media (in cahoots with the largest abortion provider in the nation) doesn’t want you to hear about it.

Or, has the mainstream media told you that overwhelmingly the majority of Americans oppose late-term abortion, which is protected and encouraged by the New York law signed into law in January?

Again, if you haven’t heard of this, it’s because mainstream media wants you to believe that abortion, though no longer safe, legal, or rare, is still the greatest form of empowerment that a free society can offer women (which is also the greatest lie!).

And what about the response to these developments? Has mainstream media told you that faithful people like you are concerned and doing something about it? Of course not!

But in January LifeSiteNews delivered over 21,000 petitions to the Bishop of Covington urging exoneration of the Covington Catholic boys who found themselves in the eye of a media firestorm. Then a week later, we delivered over 137,000 petitions to the New York State Capitol after the brutal and devastating New York law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Mainstream media probably didn’t tell you about these impactful stories, but it’s important to us that you know. If you, like millions of others, are coming to LifeSite for the truth, I’d ask that you consider a gift of support today to ensure our voice is never silenced!

Would you consider making your impact go even further by becoming a monthly donor to our new Sustain Life program? Becoming a monthly giver, or Sustainer, enables you to make a lasting impact on the work that we do at LifeSite. By contributing on a monthly basis, you invest in our pro-life reporting and ensure that we are able to be at the forefront of breakthroughs in the pro-life movement.

I hope that you will consider investing in the news that LifeSiteNews reports on truthfully. By supporting our pro-life and pro-family news, you’ll gain the peace of mind knowing that your support directly impacts the news you need to hear told in the way news should be reported!

Thanks to generous supporters, we are off to a great start! In February alone, we shattered our previous monthly traffic record with 9 million page views. Our previous records were from October 2018 and January 2019 with 7.6 million and 8.5 million page views, respectively.

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You see, we simply must reach our minimum fundraising goals each quarter to cover the costs associated with running this growing life and family news agency of over 30 full- and part-time employees. We must raise $275,000 by March 29th for our 28 full-time and 7 part-time staff to sustain this exponential growth and to reach millions of readers across the world, as we counter the agenda of mainstream media.  

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Desmond Napoles on GMA Nov. 2, 2018. Good Morning America / Youtube screen grab
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Mom whose 11-year-old dances in drag at gay night clubs cleared by Child Protective Services

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By Doug Mainwaring

NEW YORK, March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Drag kid “Desmond Is Amazing’s” mom has taken to social media to vindicate herself after state and local agencies determined that she has not committed child abuse by allowing her young son to perform in gay bars.

A barrage of allegations of abuse and exploitation were triggered when a video of Desmond performing in drag at the “3 Dollar Bill,” a gay club in Brooklyn, New York, was released last December. The internet and social media quickly erupted with calls for child welfare authorities to intervene.

Child Protective Services (CPS) investigated Desmond’s family, as did the New York City Administration for Child Services (ACS), the New York Police Department (NYPD), the Child Advocacy Center, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Department of Labor, and the District Attorney’s Office.

“Because of the number of reports they received, our case went all the way to the Governor’s office,” said Wendy Napoles, Desmond’s mom. “We had announced visits & unannounced visits to our home nearly daily & at all hours & Desmond’s school. Our family was probed more intensely than any other case before.”

This past weekend, Napoles posted on Instagram a series of ten photos of the exonerating letters she has received from the concerned agencies, showing that the assertions of child abuse were “unfounded.”

“We have been accused of child abuse, exploitation & maltreatment to the point that we have been backed into a corner trying to defend ourselves,” she said in the Instagram posting. “We have been under a microscope since early December. I never thought I would have to breach my own privacy & confidentiality to provide proof that has been demanded of us out of malice.”   

Within the law versus the best interest of children

While Desmond’s mom dismisses the public’s concern as harassment because no crime has been committed, some suggest that what is legal might not necessarily be in her son’s best interest.

Earlier this year, blogger Elizabeth Johnston, better known as The Activist Mommy, urged updating laws to protect children like Desmond.  

Johnston asserted that laws protecting children from sexual exploitation are not being applied to the LGBT community, saying, “It's 2019 when apparently it’s not only okay to be gay but also okay for grown gay men to pay little boys for dances in bars.”

“Parents can get away with it because they are members of the all-protected LGBT community,” she said. “The double standard needs to end. And children in the LGBT community need to be protected as much as those outside.”

Desmond’s mom defends, says “times are changing”

“Desmond is never allowed into the bar area of any club, nor the main floor. He stays backstage with me, in the dressing room, or on stage only. It must be noted, however, that it is not against the law in New York City for a minor to be in an establishment that serves alcohol as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

“Desmond was the sole performer for the performance at the center of this controversy and he performed three numbers. The venue took measures to make sure it would be age appropriate and audience members that attended were respectful and in good conduct.

“I know a lot of drag fans/drag queens do not want to see kids in what they consider an adult form of entertainment or venue, but drag is changing and becoming more widespread and popular with people of all ages, genders, identities, races, abilities, and disabilities.

“My son is a professional drag performer, not a stripper,” said Napoles in an early January Facebook posting. “No one forces him to perform, performing is what he loves to do and has always loved to do.”

“He was a ballet dancer for four years and is currently earning an A+ grade in drama at his school,” she continued. “He is extremely talented in his celebrity and character impersonations.”

“His costumes are less revealing than a dancer’s or cheerleader’s uniform, and are always age appropriate. While he dances, he does not move in a sexual manner,” she asserted.  “He often collects tips, as drag queens sometimes do, which we allow him to keep and he uses to buy clothing and the toys he wants.”

“His engagements are contracted and booked by his management agency,” she added. “All of his performances are conducted in accordance with the Dept of Labor’s regulations for child performers.”

Even some drag queens, gays, and liberals object to Desmond’s adult club performances

At the same time, Napoles admitted via Facebook that some in the “drag community” had negative reactions to Desmond’s gay club performance.  

“I left after seeing a child dance on stage for money at nighttime. This was on Saturday night and I have been feeling disturbed ever since,” said a patron on Yelp shortly after Desmond’s drag dance act at the 3 Dollar Bill in December.

Another said the club “exploits children and sexualizes them in the wee hours of the morning” and then warned that it “has provided just the ammunition to homophobics everywhere and endangered the community.”

“11 year olds are too young to be performing at bars. This should not be legal,” declared “God is not Real” on Twitter, adding, “I’m a liberal democrat.”

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Paul Fuchs

Opinion , , , , , , ,

In epic letter, grandfather warns Catholic family of threats to their reaching heaven

Paul Fuchs

Editor's note: The letter below was written by a Catholic father to his three children. He writes: "The letter is a sort of final testament of my witness to the Truth, that there will never exist any confusion among my own children about my actual beliefs and firm steadfastness in our shared Catholic Faith, and the mortal dangers that lurk everywhere in the current secular culture." It is reprinted by permission of the author.  

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Dear Children: 

Well into the final third of this earthly life, I am focused on the ultimate goal, the saving of my soul and the souls of my children and grandchildren. Eyes on the Prize. When I asked Mom if this email was too much, she replied: "If their house was on fire, would we tell them? . . .  and the spiritual threat to them is so much greater." So here goes. Please forgive the length.

With the combination of aging, life experiences, the love of Mom, the Catholic Faith, and the grace of God, during the past two decades, I have gained wisdom and knowledge. As a parent who prays that you and your children reach heaven, I am compelled to share these insights with you. 

Mom and I often reflect on the unbelievable changes in the culture that have occurred in our lifetime and the amazing speed in which these changes have occurred. Unlike the scientific and technological fields, where breakthroughs occur on a frequent basis and at a dizzying pace, during the past fifty years there have been no significant advances in understanding the Truth of the word of God. No Thomas Aquinas or Augustine has emerged to enlighten and elucidate our knowledge of moral law. Neither the Holy Bible nor Natural Law has changed. The Catholic catechism essentially remains the same. Yet the culture has truly undergone a revolution, a revolution fueled by many evil influences. If still alive, Grandma & Grandad and Grandpa & Grandma would have been abhorred by the radical changes in mores.

Compared to the generation in which I was raised, and even the one in which you were raised, these cultural changes have made the task of being a responsible parent an extremely difficult, nearly impossible, undertaking. Surrounded on all sides by this secular and permissive culture and with easy access to the internet, your children face imminent and immense spiritual dangers, literally unimaginable to our generations. Mortal danger lurks as close as their cellphone, or that of their friends' cellphone or laptop. 

In our midst evil hides in plain sight. Everywhere. Pornography, for example, is one of the most immediate and pressing threats to the souls of your children. Eleven is the average age children are exposed to the degrading, visually vivid, lurid, and addictive images of pornography. You must maintain constant vigilance to protect your children. Be proactive. Talk with them about good and evil. Pray daily. Dedicate time to pray the Rosary with your children. Ask the Blessed Mother for her intercession and assistance. Pray to cousin Gloria to beseech God and St. Michael the Archangel to guide and safeguard your family.

My dear children, please slowly read and thoughtfully ponder this letter. It describes changes in the culture, none positive, lies of the culture, and specific consequences of those lies. It includes comments on the orchestrated attack on free speech by the left via fear, shaming, and intimidation, both in the public arena and on the internet/social media, where your children will seek information and learn much about the world. Finally, it concludes with personal reflections on an appropriate response to such changes. Here are the unvarnished truths of our culture.

The Past 50 years: A Frontal Assault on our 4,000-year-old Judeo-Christian Culture

During the past 50 years, there has been a direct frontal assault on our 4,000-year-old Judeo-Christian Culture. The Church, the family, and marriage, cherished institutions foundational to our culture, have been viciously attacked by the progressive left, including much of the media and Hollywood. Contraception, abortion, casual sex, divorce, and most recently, gender fluidity, have been actively promoted as cultural advancements that should be heralded.

However, the product of these forces has been a cesspool of moral corruption with striking increases in adultery; homosexuality; premarital sex; out of wedlock pregnancy; abortion; confused, unwanted and unloved children; drug abuse; euthanasia; assisted suicide; and pornography. These cultural myths have been based on lies and deception, repeated so often that, sadly, many now accept them as true. Here are some of the more damaging lies.

The Big Lies of the Modern Secular Culture & Direct Consequences: Is Any of this Good?

  • The Biggest Lie: A baby in the womb is not a real person
  • Murder of 60 million infants by abortion in the United States alone
  • Legalization of the murder of infants born alive after an "unsuccessful" abortion & public celebration of passage of that law
  • The lie that some human beings lack God-given dignity and are no longer worthy of life
  • Promotion of Physician-Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia
  • Murder of 5,000 black Americans each year, 90-95% by other black males (of that total, less than 100 unarmed blacks killed by police)
  • The lies that human beings must act on their sexual urges and that the previously esteemed virtue of chastity, as well as many other virtues, are no longer relevant to modern man
  • The lie that sexual intercourse is merely a casual recreational behavior between consenting individuals for selfish pleasure, rather than a sacred and beautiful procreational and unifying act of unselfish, unconditional love between a married man and woman
  • The lie that marriage is not exclusively the union between one man and one woman
  • The lies that marriage is not a permanent moral contract, that no-fault divorce is painless, and that children, irrespective of age, are not significantly and permanently harmed by divorce
  • The lie that children do not need both a mother and a father 
  • Rampant STD's in teenagers and young adults ("steep sustained increases")
  • "A record 918 neonates in the US infected by their mothers with syphilis in 2017"
  • Increased number of divorces
  • Explosion in single-parent families & the directly related increase in poverty
  • Increased sexual abuse of women
  • Increased sexual abuse of children
  • Increased number of children/teenagers both exposed to and addicted to pornography
  • 650,000 deaths from AIDS in the US alone; about 40,000 new infections of HIV annually
  • The incredibly personally destructive lie that gender is not biologically determined
  • The promotion of transgenderism and resulting confusion in many children & parents
  • The increase in both attempted and completed suicide by teenagers
  • The lie that diversity, rather than greatness or excellence, is an important stand-alone goal
  • Classification of individuals by skin color and/or sexual orientation, rather than by content of character, is a nightmarish version of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech
  • The lie that socialism, rather than capitalism, is the better system to create wealth, raise the standard of living for everyone, decrease poverty, and protect and promote individual & religious freedom
  • The lie that past injustices against one's ancestors, the resulting victimhood, and systemic racism are the major determining factors in one's individual success or failure, rather than the love and encouragement of parents, personal responsibility, God-given talent, and hard work 
  • The lie that work is demeaning and it is merciful and charitable for the government to subsidize individuals unwilling but physically and mentally able to work
  • Legacy of welfare & victimhood passed from one generation to the next
  • Promotion of envy and jealousy between lower and higher economic classes and of racial animosity among minorities directed toward successful white individuals
  • The lie that homosexual activity and the tolerance of that sexual behavior by the hierarchy is not a fundamental factor in the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church
  • Failure of the hierarchy to effectively confront the sexual abuse crisis among the clergy
  • Childhood innocence destroyed and lives irreparably damaged and lost

Hate Speech. The Progressive Left's Orwellian Definition

Differing opinions, previously considered a normal and essential part of civil discourse, now are framed as hate speech. To avoid hurting someone's feelings, free speech is scorned in favor of the "correct" opinion, increasingly dictated by the progressive left. Opposition is silenced by fear, intimidation, and even violence. Virtue signaling abounds. Noise, rather than logical reasoning, fills the void. Only one side is heard. Knowledge and truth are the casualties.

"Hate Speech" is defined by the progressive left as any opinion that differs from their own. If you disagree and have the courage to voice another opinion, you are targeted by social media and labeled a racist, bigot, homophobe, misogynist, prejudiced, hateful and/or just simply stupid or ignorant. Even wearing the wrong hat makes one a target. No one is immune from this type of irrational, personal attack. You or your children could be the next target. The left is unsparing and relentless as it advances a progressive, often non-Christian agenda.

The Frontal Assault on the First Amendment to our Constitution

Examples in which the progressive left, in an attempt to intimidate, responds with name calling and insults rather than engages in an honest and respectful dialogue include:

  • Marriage is the union of one man & one woman = Homophobe
  • Life begins at conception = Misogynist; Sexist
  • Sexual Behavior & Natural Law = Homophobe
  • Immigration & Respect for the Law = Racist; Fearful of Latinos / Hispanics / People of color
  • Man Made Climate Change = Science Denier
  • Right to own guns = Pro Violence
  • Pro Police = Racist; Fascist
  • Pro Capitalism = Hater of the poor / minorities 
  • Pro Trump / MAGA Cap = Racist; Misogynist; Homophobe: Hater; Bigot; Fascist; Nazi; Stalinist

What can you do in a "World Gone Wrong"?

Jesus asks each of us: "But who do you say I am?" What is your answer? Study the tenets of your Catholic religion in the catechism, read the Holy Bible, and pray. Fully embrace and practice your Catholic Faith, a precious gift God has bestowed upon you. Pass that precious gift unto your children. But it will not be easy. Pray daily to God for wisdom and courage.

Do not be distracted or discouraged by the moral failures and abominations of far too many priests and leaders in the Church's hierarchy. They represent human and institutional weaknesses and failures. Their individual sins, no matter how inexcusable and horrific, neither diminish nor alter the Truths of our Catholic Faith. Remain steadfast in that Faith.

You have a unique opportunity to swim against this rising tide of moral corruption and cultural decline and lead a singular life of heroic virtue. One person can and does make a difference. Be that one person. Ignite a counterrevolution in your own family and social circles. Forsake the false idols and myths of our modern secular culture. Be an authentic warrior for Christ.

Speak fearlessly and with moral clarity, in a loving and merciful voice, to your children. Teach your children to love the sinner but hate the sin. Reconsider the values of our traditional cultural and moral norms as you educate and guide your children to heaven in a secular culture that threatens their very salvation. Lies and deceit are everywhere. Confusion reigns. Satan is active. Your children desperately need your active guidance. You are their sole moral compass.

As you already do in your personal and professional lives, strive for greatness in your spiritual lives. Pray the Rosary. Live like a Saint. It is what God is calling you to do. For your own sake, and that of your loving spouse and beautiful children, answer that call with a resounding yes!

You are always in our prayers. I believe in you. I love you, Dad

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Seminarians at Oscott Catholic College in Birmingham, England, November 9, 2013. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Gerard van den Aardweg, Ph.D

Opinion ,

Psychologist explains why Catholic Church is right to exclude homosexuals from priesthood

Gerard van den Aardweg, Ph.D

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – My opinion as a psychologist and expert on homosexuality (and homosexual pedophilia) is that no man with homosexual or pedophile inclinations must be ordained to the priesthood, nor admitted as a seminarian.

Homosexual inclinations tend to be obsessive. This is also true in cases where initially such inclinations may not at first be obsessive. It cannot be reliably assessed if a man (or young man) with such inclinations — regardless of whether they may appear weak or less weak — will continue to be celibate in the future. Changing life situations, emotional problems, and certain outward pressures or situations often bring the initially celibate homosexual to start seeking sexual contacts or relationships. 

In comparison with men with normal sexual interest in this respect, the homosexually inclined are very much more given to being obsessed by (homo)sexual fantasies; to nourishing or starting habits of masturbation (which lower the threshold to surrendering to live contacts; to having emotional crises which undermine their resolutions and make them seek comfort in their fantasies etc.; to deluding themselves into believing their romantic feelings for admired or ardently-sought intimate friends are not wrong at all, but on the contrary, are expressions of noble, real and profound love. On the basis of this naive illusion, their desires inspire them with various rationalizations, if not for physical contacts, then for "chaste" or "faithful" friendships (which never will remain chaste and are in practice not "faithful".)

These rationalizations and attempts at "normalizing" their feelings make them, among other things, unfit to understand the sexual morality of the Church and susceptible to reasonings or theories that serve as moral or religious justifications of homosexual liaisons and contacts. That way, they are — or may become in the course of the years — susceptible to subverting the absolute moral norms of Catholic sexual morality.  

The homosexually inclined tend much more to seduce or otherwise molest their preferred sexual partners than heterosexual men,. And, as the vast majority of them prefer adolescents and/or young adults, they are a serious risk group. Their obsessive feelings and accompanying rationalizations and self-justifications dull and obfuscate their moral sense and judgment in this respect. The well-meant statement one finds today in connection with the abuse crises in the Church, namely, that "we cannot say that homosexuals as a category are molesters" is not true. As a category they are, no doubt, many, many times more at risk than heterosexuals to molest youngsters and young adult men. This is a solid statistical fact.

To understand all these facts, we must realize that homosexual inclinations (after puberty) are not isolated desires, but part of a masculinity-inferiority complex, part of a neurotic and personality disorder. Emotionally, these men are (in greater or lesser part) stuck in their teens, emotionally immature and unstable (neurotic).  

Homosexuality is a sexual neurosis. 

Homosexuality in men implies a deficient identification with masculinity. This affects them emotionally and as regards their character or personality. One important consequence is that they fail in the "father role" when it comes to leading people, being firm, and defending what a man must defend. 

A priest should be normally masculine and not have a weak, unmanly character. Another consequence is that homosexually inclined men cannot sufficiently identify with the feelings of sexually normal men and thus cannot adequately lead and guide people as a priest should do. They cannot share many feelings of normal men nor behave like a man ought to in their relationships with women. Thus, their homosexual inclinations affect their relations with people. Priests should be normal like ordinary and mature men.

The sexual abstinence of the homosexually inclined cannot be compared with the abstinence of normal [men]. The fight against homosexual tendencies is similar to the fight of other people with sexual abnormalities, be they homosexuals or heterosexuals (exhibitionists, sado-masochists, pedophiles, transvestites etc.). Their struggle is a moral duty, not a voluntary choice. Their struggle is doubtless meritorious, but it cannot be equalized with the voluntary sacrifice of a (young) man who offers up the use of his healthy sexual faculties. Paying a debt (in money) is not the same as donating a considerable sum of money. (1)

From a religious point of view, it has been argued that the priest as a personification of Christ must be a "full" man, not a man deficient in manhood. 

This view has been defended by theologians. It is not my field, but my feeling is that this is the correct view. (2)

Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg, PhD, is a Dutch psychologist and psychoanalyst with a research focus on homosexuality. He is the author of "On the Origins and Treatment of Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Reinterpretation" and "The Battle for Normality: Self-Therapy for Homosexual Persons."


1. (Die Berufung zum Amt im Konfliktfeld von Eignung und Neigung: Eine Studie aus pastoraltheologischer und kirchenrechtlicher Perspektive, ob Homosexualität ein objektives Weihehindernis ist. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, Int. Verlag der Wissenschaften, Reihe "Europäische Hochschulschriften", 2008.)

2. E.g., see: "Homosexuality as an objective impediment for ordination to the priesthood" , the doctoral dissertation of Dr. Peter Mettler at the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, 2007.

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Cardinal George Pell Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews


Why Cardinal Pell is another victim of Catholic sex abuse scandal

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – George Cardinal Pell is, according to reports, spending 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. He is unable to celebrate Mass. He is due to be sentenced this week and is likely to receive a term of ten years. He has appealed against his conviction, but this appeal may not be heard for a year. It is impossible to say how long a further trial will last. And because of the peculiarities of the legal system, an eventual acquittal could well look like he was being released on a technicality, rather than being fully vindicated. 

His name is being removed from buildings named after him. Media articles about him, even those reporting doubts about his conviction, say ‘he molested’ his accuser, ‘he committed the crime’, following the convention that, once convicted, one should assume a man is guilty. It is a reasonable convention that a criminal conviction, in a country with a functioning, western legal system, is definitive.

But I am not going to follow that convention here. 

For, as has been pointed out in many places, this conviction looks, in the legal sense, ‘unsafe’: likely to be overturned on appeal. The evidence against Cardinal Pell came exclusively from the two putative victims, and numerous others testified that Pell was never alone with them in the sacristy or in some corridor, as alleged, and was in any case outside the front of the Cathedral greeting Mass-goers during the time in question. Perhaps the accusers’ testimony was very convincing, and perhaps the other witnesses were unconvincing, but in the absence of any evidence of some huge conspiracy of perjury to cover up for him, or any pattern of abusive behavior on Pell’s part, it is hard to see how the case against Pell stacks up. 

What we seem to be looking at is a conviction based on a jury’s prejudices. Such things are not unknown and are dealt with, usually, through appeals. The level of anger and hatred necessary to explain this conviction, in the teeth of the evidence, is very worrying. 

By way of explanation, we are told that Pell has become something of a hate figure among Australian liberals for his theological conservatism, notably displayed in his opposition to same-sex "marriage." That explanation, if correct, would be from reassuring. It implies that those with socially conservative views cannot expect a fair trial, especially when charged with an emotionally-loaded crime like the sexual abuse of a minor.

However, I am not convinced. Same-sex "marriage" is a deeply divisive issue in Australia as elsewhere, and the jury, which was unanimous, was unlikely to have been made up entirely of same-sex marriage "fanatics." It is surely more probable that the trial of Cardinal Pell gave jury-members an outlet for their frustration and outrage about the issue of the trial itself: clerical sex abuse. 

That is not to say Pell’s unpopular theological views were irrelevant. Pell has powerful opponents in the Australian press and political establishment, who no doubt felt more comfortable about his facing such a trial than they would have about some other Catholic figures. But he also has powerful friends—a former Prime Minister has been his character witness—and to their credit, some liberal media outlets, such as The Age, have reported the grave concerns of senior Australian legal figures about the fairness of the outcome. 

I think it is too soon, in the process of the West’s descent into the post-Christian abyss, to say that Cardinal Pell has been imprisoned out of hatred of the Faith, like the martyrs of old. No: I believe that he is the victim of a gross injustice, but an injustice of misdirected hatred of clerical pedophiles.

This may be more understandable, but as the present case makes clear, it is still very dangerous. In England, where we have so far got off relatively lightly as far as clerical abuse, considered as a public scandal, is concerned, priests have for years now experienced verbal abuse by random members of the public. It is worse in France. Would people who shout ‘pedophile!’ at priests in the street form a fair-minded jury when a priest is accused of this crime? It doesn’t seem very likely.

The dynamics of popular outrage are complex, but it doesn’t need any special expertise to recognize that it is stoked, in this case, by the perception that the Catholic hierarchy has not done enough to deal with the problem internally: a perception which, in outline if not in detail, is perfectly justified. If Catholic bishops around the world want to avoid Cardinal Pell’s fate, they need to do more to get their houses in order and make it publicly clear that they have done so. As they go about this task, they should be less concerned about the worries of the liberal elite, than about the outrage of ordinary people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon

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UK gov’t begins taking kids away from parents who won’t go along with gender ‘transitions’

Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – It has now begun: The government has been taking children who wish to “change” their gender away from their parents if their families disagree that “gender transition” is the right thing for their sons or (much more often – 71 percent of the time) daughters. According to the Daily Mail, at least three children have been “taken into council care” after “rows with their parents over wanting to change gender,” although local authorities are insisting that disagreements over sex change surgeries were not the primary reasons for removal.

As the numbers of children identifying as transgender soar, parents have often been left at a loss as children have been swept away by what some experts are referring to as a social contagion. Numbers in the United Kingdom have now risen by over 4,000 percent, prompting a government investigation and urgent warnings from health experts, while the number of young people being referred to the National Health Service for gender reassignment has risen by 1,000 percent. Many parents feel that their child’s struggles may have nothing to do with gender dysphoria, but feel powerless to object as transgenderism is trendy and anything but full-hearted support for hormone treatments and life-altering surgeries is condemned by activists as hateful bigotry.

So far, the Daily Mail reported, a Freedom of Information request revealed that two councils had children “taken into care after arguments about their wish to change gender with their parents or carers,” with social workers at west London’s Hillingdon Council reporting that they had removed two children from their parental home and placed them in foster homes “because of the disputes,” despite their stated claim that the disputes were only a secondary concern. Another council in Ealing reported that it engaged in similar actions with “few than five” children, but refused to confirm the specific number. Some councils refused to respond to the FOI request, so there may be more cases.

Perhaps recognizing that this information might trigger public backlash, the Hillingdon Borough Council stated that, “In the two cases referred to, the children were not taken into care specifically because they are transgender. No child is taken into care solely because they are transgender. Whilst a child’s sexual identity is assessed, it is complex family dynamics and/or contextual safeguarding issues which may negatively impact on a child that are usually the cause of social worker intervention.” You’ll notice that the wording here carefully says that a child being transgender doesn’t get them pulled from the home – but preventing transition could very well do so, especially now that LGBT activists are claiming that anything but vociferous affirmation of the desire to transition is harm.

The Ealing Borough Council attempted to be more definitive in their denial, stating: “We have never taken a child into care on the basis of a dispute with their parents regarding gender assignment. While we need to protect the confidentiality of those concerned, we can confirm that care was provided to young people over 16 who are now adults, due to safety concerns which were not predominantly related to gender assignment.” Of course, “predominantly” would be the key qualifier there, but I hope that this is in fact that case rather than simply a legalese attempt to ward off scrutiny from the public.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, the founder of Transgender Trend (an organization that represents parents concerned by the numbers of children seeking gender transition), told the Daily Mail that “parents should be able to voice their concerns to their children without fear of being ‘punished,’” especially in the wake of a previous High Court ruling granting a 16-year-old’s request that her parents not be informed about her sex change surgery. A female, the child had told her adoptive parents at age 13 that she wanted to be treated as a male, but her parents continued to call her by her given name. As a result, family court judge Mr. Justice Keehan ruled that the parents could be kept in the dark: “He [meaning their daughter] struggles to understand their complete lack of support and understanding.”

There have been worrying cases on this side of the Atlantic, as well. Earlier this year, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled that a 14-year-old had the right to consent to receiving hormone injections to transition genders against the will of the father, who correctly claimed that his child did not yet understand the risks of the so-called “treatment” and that he wished to delay the injections until the child could fully understand the potential harms. Chillingly, the judge actually stated in the ruling that any attempt to dissuade the child from pursuing these treatments “shall be considered to be family violence” under the B.C. Family Law Act – meaning that this will not be the last such case, and that the government will intervene to ensure children can attempt sex changes against the wishes of parents.

It is difficult to exaggerate the fear that these cases strike in the hearts of parents who see their children being poisoned first by this ideology, and then opposite-gender hormones, often followed by double-mastectomies and castration. Children are being torn from their parents, mutilated for life, and families are being destroyed. I have received many emails from these parents describing the heartbreaking stories of children returning from school announcing that they are transgender and demanding to transition.

The last line of one mother’s email struck me hardest. “If I had known the world was going to turn out this way,” she wrote after describing how her child would no longer speak to her, “I don’t think I would have had children.”

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Bishop Athanasius Schneider Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike


Bishop Schneider: Brazilian Catholics aren’t asking for married priests

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Allowing married priests in the Amazon region is an idea from “white priests,” not locals, Bishop Athanasius Schneider recently said.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Bishop Schneider discussed the proposal to allow married priests in the Amazon region due to the lack of priests there. He says that he knows Brazilian Catholics well because he lived in Brazil for seven years and adds that they would not ask for married priests: “No, this is an idea put into their heads not by indigenous peoples but by white people, by priests who themselves are not living a deep apostolic and sacrificial life.”

Bishop Schneider, in speaking with LifeSiteNews’ Diane Montagna, insists that the married priesthood in the Latin Church is not the solution for priest shortage. He even considers “priestly celibacy” as “the last stronghold to abolish in the Church” and explains that “the sacramental life is only the pretext.” Having lived in the Soviet Union in his youth and thus having often been without Mass on Sunday, this prelate is convinced that a family can “survive strong in the faith.”

“The faith was lived in the domestic Church which is the family,” he adds.

Now commenting on the specific Brazilian situation, Bishop Schneider explains: “I also lived and worked in Brazil for seven years. And I know the Brazilians. They are very pious people, simple people. They would never think up married clergy. No, this is an idea put into their heads not by indigenous peoples but by white people, by priests who themselves are not living a deep apostolic and sacrificial life. Without the true sacrificial life of an apostle you cannot build up the Church.”

Two prominent Catholic “white priests” at the forefront of the push for married priests in remote areas of the world are Bishop Erwin Kräutler and Bishop Fritz Lobinger. Both are now retired bishops, and both grew up in Austria.

Kräutler was, until recently, the bishop of Xingu, Brazil, and he has been one of the key collaborators of Pope Francis in promoting the idea of married priests for the Amazon region. He met with the Pope in 2014, and it was then that the Pope asked him to make “bold proposals.” During this meeting, Pope Francis brought into the discussion Bishop Fritz Lobinger, of Aliwal (South Africa), who proposes to ordain a “Team of Elders” within a community so that they could offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. These “Elders,” according to Lobinger, could be married. He even considers the idea of including women in this team. It was in this context of Lobinger and his ideas that Pope Francis told Bishop Kräutler to make some “bold proposals.”

In April 2018, the Austrian prelate was again with the Pope as a member of the preparatory council organizing the upcoming Amazon Synod from October 6 to 27.

It was also only recently that Pope Francis highlighted the importance of the work of Bishop Lobinger for the upcoming Amazon synod. On January 27, at an in-flight press conference, the Pope said that, in remote regions, there could be perhaps ordained married and morally proven men – the so-called viri probati – and here he again referred to Bishop Lobinger. When asked whether the Amazon region would be such a remote region, the Pope answered: “... maybe there... in many places... Lobinger says: who makes the Eucharist? In those communities the ‘directors,’ let’s say, the organizers of those communities are deacons or nuns or lay people, directly. And Lobinger says: one can ordain an elderly man, married – that is his thesis – one could ordain an elderly married man, but only so that he exercises the munus sanctificandi, that is, that he celebrates Mass, that he administers the sacrament of Reconciliation and performs the Anointing of the Sick.”

In 2015, Pope Francis recommended the work of Bishop Lobinger when speaking with the German bishops during their ad limina visit to Rome.

After the papal mention of Lobinger in January 2019, he was interviewed by Catholic News Service (CNS). Speaking about Pope Francis saying there is still need of much prayer and reflection on this topic, “Bishop Lobinger told CNS he is convinced that a good portion of that reflection, prayer and study will be evident at the Amazon synod and that Pope Francis 'is really steering the church in that direction.'”

In another January 2019 interview, Bishop Lobinger explicitly says that the Amazon region (together with all of Latin American and Asia) is “the best starting point” for such a new sort of priesthood. “I think at this moment – and at the Synod for the Amazon – we will look at the places in the Church which are best prepared for such a new step,” he explains. “This is something very new,” he adds, “and you better start, where there are best chances. And the Amazon area is one of those.” But in the end, he states, “the whole Church will need it, not only places with shortage of priests.”

Lobinger's idea is to have two sorts of priests. One type of priest would be a theologically formed full-time priest. The new type of priest would be a part-time priest who has another job to sustain himself and who does not have a deeper theological formation. In one article from 2003, Lobinger (together with his collaborator, Father Paul Zulehner) explains this new type of priest as “Corinthian priest” (“like the presbyters at Corinth, who are in charge of a community and preside over the Eucharist”).

He says: “Corinthian priests, on the other hand, will usually be part-time, ordained on a voluntary basis for a particular community, where they will work as a team and where, instead of in a residential seminary, they will receive their initial and later formation.” He furthermore points out that, according to his ideas, such priests could also be female, when he adds: “Long active experience in their parishes will have distinguished them as ‘proven’ community leaders and mature men – viri probati. They are likely to be married, and to have held jobs. Many would, one would hope, eventually be women.”

Bishop Schneider is convinced that an “indigenous married clergy will not lead to a deepening and growth in the Amazonian Church.” He sees that there will be “other problems” should there come a “married clergy in the indigenous culture of the Amazon and in other parts of the world of the Latin Rite.”

The relevant part of Bishop Schneider’s interview with LifeSiteNews is below:

LifeSiteNews: In October a Synod on the Amazon will be held at the Vatican. Your Excellency, you lived in Brazil for a time and are familiar with the region. It’s been said there is a shortage of priests in the Amazon, which some say justifies introducing married priests [viri probati]. Is it true that such a sacramental crisis and shortage of priests exists? 

Bishop Schneider: Well, there is a shortage of priests in Amazonia, but there is also a shortage elsewhere. There is an increasing shortage of priests in Europe.

But the shortage of priests is only an obvious pretext to abolish practically (not theoretically) celibacy in the Latin Church. This has been the aim since Luther. Among the enemies of the Church and sects, the first step is always to abolish celibacy. Priestly celibacy is the last stronghold to abolish in the Church. The sacramental life is only the pretext for doing so. 

The shortage of priests in the Amazon is for me an example of the contrary: perhaps priests lack a deeply committed and sacrificial life in the spirit of Jesus and the Apostles and the saints. They therefore seek human substitutes. Indigenous married clergy will not lead to a deepening and growth in the Amazonian Church. Other problems will surely arise with the advent of married clergy in the indigenous culture of the Amazon and in other parts of the world of the Latin Rite. 

What is most needed is to deepen the roots of the faith and to strengthen the domestic church in the Amazon. We need to begin a crusade in the Amazon among these indigenous families, among Christian Catholics, for vocations – imploring God for vocations to the celibate priesthood, and they will come. 

Our Lord said to “pray,” so this lack is a sign that we are not praying enough. And people will be tempted to pray even less because men are filling their heads with the promise that in October they will receive the possibility of having married priests. So they no longer pray for their sons to be priests like Jesus, who was celibate. And Jesus is the model for all cultures.

Even one good indigenous celibate priest, a spiritual man, could transform tribes, as the saints did. St. John Marie Vianney transformed almost all of France. Padre Pio is another example. I am not saying that we must expect this standard of holiness but am offering them as examples of the supernatural fruitfulness that can come through one holy priest. Even a simple, deep spiritual man who is dedicated to Jesus and to souls in celibacy, an indigenous priest from Amazonia, will surely build up the Church so much there, and awaken new vocations by his example. 

This has been the Church’s method since the time of the Apostles. And this method has been tried and proven through 2000 years of the Church’s missionary experience. And this will be true until Christ comes. There is no other way. Adapting to purely humanistic, naturalistic approaches will not enrich the Amazonian Church. We have 2000 years of history to prove this. 

I repeat: Brazilian people are deeply aware of the sacredness of the priesthood. This is what the Amazonian Synod should do: deepen the awareness of the sacredness of the celibate priesthood. The Church has such beautiful examples of missionaries. It should also deepen and strengthen the domestic Church, i.e. family life. And the Synod should start Eucharistic adoration and prayer campaigns for priests and new priestly vocations. Without the sacrifice of love, without prayer, we will not build up a local Church. With married clergy, no. 

I am not speaking against the married clergy in the Orthodox Churches or Eastern Catholic Churches. I am speaking of the Latin tradition in America and Europe. We have to keep this treasure without weakening it through the introduction of a married clergy, because it has been proven by so much fruitfulness when we look at it from a comprehensive point of view.  

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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter


Pope Francis to canonize a cardinal who criticized a Vatican Council and hoped for ‘another pope’

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Many Catholics today, concerned about the widespread distortion of the idea of development of doctrine, have come to realize that John Henry Cardinal Newman, whose canonization Pope Francis approved on Feb. 12, may be counted as an ally.

While Newman’s own account of this development is not immune from criticism, he nevertheless clearly affirms the immutability of the apostolic deposit of faith and the requirement of complete consistency of any later definition or explanation of a truth with all that has already been held and taught about that truth. In other words, Newman adhered to St. Vincent of Lérins’s assumption that if doctrine is to grow or make progress, it can do so only “according to the same meaning and the same judgment,” in eodem sensu eademque sententia—a statement that has been repeated countless times in magisterial documents, down to recent times. Any other kind of change is a mutatio or corruption.

Newman was anxious about such corruption taking place at the First Vatican Council concerning the proposed definition of papal infallibility—a belief on which he thought the less said, the better, not because he did not accept the pope as the God-given teacher of Christians and the final court of appeal, but because he knew that a party of “ultramontanes” was busy pushing a theologically unsound, philosophically unreasonable, historically untenable, and ecclesiastically damaging version of papal inerrancy that threatened to confuse the pope’s office with divine revelation itself, rather than seeing him more modestly as the guardian of tradition and the arbiter of controversy.

Considering the fact that it may be none other than Pope Francis who canonizes John Henry Newman, we might find the following excerpt from one of Newman’s letters ironic and timely. On August 21, 1870, a little over a month after the July 18 promulgation of Pastor Aeternus, Newman wrote to his dear friend Ambrose St. John:

I have various things to say about the Definition . . . [T]o me the serious thing is this, that, whereas it has not been usual to pass definition except in case of urgent and definite necessity, this definition, while it gives the Pope power, creates for him, in the very act of doing so, a precedent and a suggestion to use his power without necessity, when ever he will, when not called on to do so. I am telling people who write to me to have confidence—but I don’t know what I shall say to them, if the Pope did so act. And I am afraid moreover, that the tyrant majority [NB: this is how Newman refers to the bishops at Vatican I who voted for the definition!] is still aiming at enlarging the province of Infallibility. I can only say if all this takes place, we shall in matter of fact be under a new dispensation. But we must hope, for one is obliged to hope it, that the Pope will be driven from Rome, and will not continue the Council, or that there will be another Pope. It is sad he should force us to such wishes. Our friends seem to me to have made the fight at Rome something of a game or prize fight—but I may be wrong.

It is striking to see a soon-to-be-canonized saint entertaining such deep misgivings about an ecumenical Council lawfully convoked, about conciliar acts lawfully promulgated, and especially about the reigning Pope, who he hopes will be driven out of Rome or be replaced by a better Pope. Those who today have misgivings about the convoking of Vatican II by John XXIII, about various and sundry elements in the sixteen conciliar documents issued under Paul VI, and about the conduct of Pope Francis may take comfort in knowing that such difficulties of mind and problems of conscience are not incompatible with the Catholic Faith or with the foundational virtues of humility and obedience. 

As we observe today the heavenly birthday of Pope St. Gregory the Great and move towards the solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19, we could fruitfully reflect on the way in which the pope plays a role not unlike that of St. Joseph towards the Virgin and Child. Christ has His origin from elsewhere; Joseph is not His natural father, but only His protector. The Virgin, image of the Church, is more exalted than her husband, but nevertheless under his care and authority. Joseph is “the Just Man” because he never exceeds or falls short of the role he has been given, which places him at once in subordination to his wife and foster child, and in a certain position of governance over them. Looking over the popes of history, we might ask ourselves which ones have acted the most like St. Joseph, and which ones the least. 

Newman, then, helps us to grasp the Catholic religion as something whole, complex, sublime, and coherent, in which, when we see it clearly and comprehensively, we do not see the papacy looming as a dominating protuberance out of all proportion with the rest of the body, but as one piece in a brightly-colored mosaic designed by the divine Craftsman. He gratefully acknowledges the pope’s crucial role but refuses to make of him the originator or measure of Christian doctrine or Christian life.

This is why I believe Newman would have had just the same reaction to Cardinal Müller’s Manifesto as Fr. John Hunwicke did:

Silence can say more than a million words. Conan Doyle’s dog, for example, that did not bark in the night. I think the most striking thing about the Manifesto given us by Gerhard Cardinal Mueller was what it did not mention . . . the Papacy.

Just consider the amount of controversy the question of the Petrine Ministry created at the time of Vatican I; how much controversy there has been between Catholic and non-Catholic polemicists. Consider the Personality Cult which has surrounded popes since, I think, roughly the last part of the pontificate of Blessed Pius IX. A cult that treats the Roman Bishop like a demi-god or a pop star. I have written about it several times. I think it is sentimental and mawkish, sickly, corrupt and corrupting. It was certainly not invented by PF and his cronies, but it has reached a new theological peak in this pontificate. Curial cronies tell us that the Holy Spirit speaks through PF’s mouth; the English bishops write letters to inform him that the Holy Spirit was responsible for his election and guides him daily; a Fr Rosica, incredibly, explains to us that the pope is free from the encumbrances of Scripture and Tradition. It is what I have called ‘Bergoglianism’. I think it is not only sick in itself, but is a dangerous poison of rare toxicity within the Church Militant.

Yet, despite all this, Cardinal Mueller did not even mention this enormous elephant in a tiny room, even in passing. I have not felt so refreshed for a long time.

Of course, the refreshment soon passes as we realize once again, with a groan, that we are living in a world and in a Church in which Newman’s wise reservations about the role of the pope, and Cardinal Müller’s serene confidence in traditional Catholic doctrine, are not shared by a large number of the bishops, especially the bishop at their head—in spite of the fact that precisely as successors of the Apostles they are most of all solemnly committed to their Joseph-like role of guarding the holiness of our Mother and providing a home worthy to be dwelt in by Christ.

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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon


Will stronger age verification requirements protect kids from porn in the UK?

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By Jonathon Van Maren

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The global experiment of ubiquitous digital pornography is growing so quickly that it is nearly impossible to exaggerate the scale of what is taking place. In 2016, the smut giant PornHub estimated that so many people were using its websites around the world that about a dozen porn videos were viewed for every man, woman, and child on Planet Earth. Many sociologists, biologists, and behavioral psychologists bluntly admit that the compulsive consumption of increasingly hardcore and sexually violent material on a nearly daily basis is unprecedented in human history, and that we do not yet know how devastating or dramatic the impact of this cultural transformation will be.

While some countries are moving to stanch skyrocketing sexual assault rates by banning pornography entirely, Great Britain has also made an extremely encouraging and aggressive move to keep porn out of the hands of children. Perhaps as early as April 1 of this year, porn sites will be required by law to get evidence of identification from all United Kingdom residents before the internet users can access the porn sites. Traditionally, porn companies have simply had users click to affirm they are over eighteen, while being fully aware that this intentionally useless formality stops precisely nobody underage from accessing X-rated material. That is the point.

In fact, porn companies genuinely want young people to begin watching their hardcore filth. The younger the user, the more deeply entrenched and compulsive the porn habit will become. Clicks are cash, addicts keep clicking, and porn use usually escalates over time. The age of first exposure to pornography plunges ever younger — it is now below the age of twelve — and the number of children who gain their understanding of sexuality from pornography spikes ever higher.

Now, in what is only a first step, but a very welcome one nonetheless, the sexual exploitation empires of PornHub and YouPorn, which attract around two billion visits worldwide each month, will be forced to take steps to prevent children from accessing their hardcore products.

Porn sites will now be required to install the AgeID system, which requires those accessing the sites to verify their age using government identification such as a passport or driver’s license. Those trying to get onto a porn site will first end up on a “landing page,” were they will be required to verify their age before being permitted to proceed further. These landing pages will be non-pornographic, and users will have to register with AgeID using a government ID or a credit card or Mobile SMS. After receiving an AgeID username and password, they will be able to access the porn site they are attempting to view. These rules were approved as a part of the Digital Economy Act of 2017 and were supposed to come into effect last year but were delayed.

The point of these new measures, experts and legislators have consistently said, is to keep porn out of the hands of minors, especially with alarming trends such as the rise of child-on-child sexual assault. If porn sites fail to definitively prove that they are preventing children under the age of 18 from accessing their sites, government regulators will be able to have U.K. internet service providers block the sites entirely — or could fine the porn companies up to 250,000 pounds. While it is true that such amounts are a drop in the bucket for the porn giants, threats of blanket bans — if actually enforced — should have a greater effect.

Some experts have pointed out that determined young people will surely access pornography anyhow. This is almost certainly true. But any roadblock placed in between children and pornography is a step in the right direction, and these new requirements will at least prevent children from stumbling onto hardcore pornography, as is often the case.

The upcoming digital generation are serving as guinea pigs in our collective cultural experiment with the near-universal availability and accessibility of hardcore pornography, and it is high time that governments started to realize that it is no longer only the destruction of innocence that is at stake. It is the ability of upcoming generations to pursue healthy, loving relationships unpoisoned by the sexually violent and degrading material being pumped into their minds by vile flesh-traffickers selling girls for profit.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews the “Godfather” of the U.S. pro-life movement, Joe Scheidler. Ninety-one-year-old Scheidler says it was during a speech he attended by Senator Henry Hyde in Chicago in the early 1970s that he became interested in the pro-life fight. “I listened very carefully to Henry’s talk and then I started studying the whole pro-life issue of fetal development,” he says. “I thought this was going to destroy our country because we are taking protection away from the most helpless — the unborn.” You can subscribe here, and listen to the episode below: 

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