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Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
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Cdl Sarah: Gender ideology ‘Luciferian,’ leads people to ‘pointlessly mutilate themselves’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

NOISY-LE-ROI, France, April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An African cardinal has warned that the West is descending into barbarism and is likely to bring the developing world down with it.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, author of such new spiritual classics as God or Nothing and The Power of Silence, gave an interview to the French Catholic magazine La Nef  in which he told its founder Christophe Geffroy that the West had rejected God and His gifts, including culture and human nature itself. 

An English translation of the original interview has been made available by Zachary Thomas through the U.K.’s Catholic Herald.

“People in the West are guilty of rejecting God,” Sarah told Geffroy.

“They have not only rejected God. Friedrich Nietzsche, who may be considered the spokesman of the West, has claimed: ’God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him...’ We have murdered God. In view of God’s death among men, Nietzsche would replace him with a prophetic ‘Superman.’”

This Western rejection of God involves the rejection of fatherhood itself, by which Sarah seems to mean a refusal to be a cultural descendent, a refusal to accept the gifts a culture bestows upon children from one generation to the next.

“Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons,” the cardinal said.

“But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices.” 

Sarah said this condemnation is to a “hell of liberal globalization” in which people struggle against each other with no law except that of financial profit.

The Guinean cardinal also took aim at transgender ideology, which he called “a Luciferian refusal to receive a sexual nature from God.”

“From Him we receive our nature as man and woman,” Sarah told Geffroy.

“This is intolerable to modern minds. Gender ideology is a Luciferian refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. Thus some rebel against God and pointlessly mutilate themselves in order to change their sex. But in reality they do not fundamentally change anything of their structure as man or woman,” he continued. 

“The West refuses to receive, and will accept only what it constructs for itself. Transhumanism is the ultimate avatar of this movement. Because it is a gift from God, human nature itself becomes unbearable for western man.”

Cardinal Sarah explained that the revolt is “spiritual ... the revolt of Satan against the gift of grace” and that Westerners don’t want God’s salvation, as they would rather create their own. He also intimated that the West is hell-bent on pushing its self-made salvation onto the developing world with its rebellion.

“Africa and Asia are not yet entirely contaminated by gender ideology, transhumanism, or the hatred of fatherhood,” he said. “But the Western powers’ neo-colonialist spirit and will to dominate pressures countries to adopt these deadly ideologies.”

Sarah believes that Christians shouldn’t give up their place in public life, saying a “society inspired by the Gospel protects the weak against he consequences of sin.”

“Conversely, a society cut off from God quickly turns into a dictatorship and becomes a structure of sin, encouraging people toward evil,” the cardinal continued.

“That is why we can say that there can be no just society without a place for God in the public sphere. A state that officially espouses atheism is an unjust state. A state that relegates God to the private sphere cuts itself off from the true source of rights and justice. A state that pretends to found rights on good will alone, and does not seek to found the law on an objective order received from the Creator, risks falling into totalitarianism.”

Cardinal Sarah’s most recent book, Le soir approche et déjà le soir baisse (“It is nearly evening, and the day is almost over”), was released in France on March 20.

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Iowa billboard campaign highlights abortion’s physical and emotional cost

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By Lisa Bourne

April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An Iowa pro-life coalition’s response to a Planned Parenthood PR campaign to normalize abortion has resonated with people, its leaders say, by telling the truth about abortion through the stories of mothers who’ve survived it.

“My abortion caused physical and emotional trauma,” a mother named Tori from the Quad Cities says, alongside her picture on a billboard as part of the #SayLifeIowa initiative.

“No one should force you to abort,” says Serena in her testimony.

The billboards are a response to Planned Parenthood’s “Say Abortion” billboard campaign launched earlier this year with the goal of “breaking the cycle of silence and stigma” around abortion in the state.

The Planned Parenthood billboards contain photos of women saying, “I had an abortion,” the messages then ending with “and I am not ashamed,” “and it was just health care” or “and I am not apologizing.”

#SayLifeIowa has brought pro-life groups and individuals together to respond to Planned Parenthood with what has become a new statewide $50,000 billboard campaign.

The pro-life campaign features six actual women who were either killed or wounded by abortion, or who rejected abortion. Their stories are told in more detail at the Iowans for LIFE website.  

In addition to its powerful and effective messaging, the #SayLifeIowa initiative is significant because it shows a way that pro-life organizations in other states can respond - because Planned Parenthood intends to place its pro-abortion billboards in other U.S. states.

The campaign also illustrates how successful the pro-life community can be when it collaborates - an important factor in responding to efforts by big abortion to push its product.

'We HAD to respond'

Iowans for LIFE (IFL) reacted with revulsion to Planned Parenthood's billboard campaign, the group’s board president, Tom Quiner, told LifeSiteNews.

“We immediately raised funds to counter with our own billboard campaign which mimics Planned Parenthood's look,” Quiner said, “but with the other side of the abortion position displayed.”

IFL executive director Maggie DeWitte said she was compelled to call Quiner about answering the abortion giant’s campaign to normalize abortion.

“We HAD to respond to Planned Parenthood's outrageous billboard campaign,” DeWitte told LifeSitenews. "We have to show the true side of abortion; that it certainly is NOT healthcare, it hurts women, and destroys lives."

After DeWitte spoke with Quiner, his company, Breakthrough Marketing, put together a test billboard using DeWitte’s photo and posted it to Facebook with the caption:

“Abortion can’t be healthcare, because someone dies.”

The caption, Quiner said, is a direct response to Planned Parenthood’s deceitful billboard stating, “I had an abortion, and it was just healthcare.”

“The response to our Facebook post was phenomenal,” he said.

The post generated comments such as:

“I would totally give towards this effort if it is to be a billboard campaign.”

“We had made no reference to billboards in our Facebook post,” Quiner told LifeSiteNews, “but our followers really wanted to see it happen, and so we sprung into action.”

Support for the pro-life message

IFL put together an appeal letter at the same time putting sample billboard images on social media. 

"Our supporters responded immediately,” DeWitte told LifeSiteNews. “People were very upset at the Planned Parenthood messages and were so thankful that the pro-life movement was responding with the truth." 

“The response has been wonderful,” she said. “Not only are people willing to donate, they are very supportive of our messaging.”

“There are a lot of other wonderful pro-life billboards around town with positive messages like, “real men love babies,” said Quiner.

“We went a different direction,” he said. “Our billboards are a direct rebuttal to Planned Parenthood’s messaging by presenting the reality of the pain, violence, and degradation of human abortion.”  

A pro-life coalition works together

Iowans for LIFE worked in union with the Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders to quickly develop the response with a special webpage and the hashtag #SayLifeIowa.

The Coalition formed two years ago among almost a dozen pro-life organizations to provide a more effective and unified message in educating on abortion and working to pass pro-life legislation.

The Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders consists of The Family LeaderIowans for LIFE, Iowa Right to LifeLife , Lutheran Family ServicesRestored By Grace MinistriesThe Thomas More SocietyPersonhood Iowa, and Operation Outcry.

Several groups in the Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders have committed funds to the project, with several more set to make financial contributions in the coming months. 

The coalition is hopeful that its campaign will last as long as Planned Parenthood continues to have billboards in Iowa.  

It was just over a month from the first call to the first four billboards going up.

Women voice the truth about abortion

The pro-life group enlisted help in the project from Luana Stoltenberg of Operation Outcry and Laura Limmex of Restored by Grace, both local post-abortive ministries, to find out whether any of the women they worked with would be interested in sharing their picture and message on Iowa billboards. 

Both groups responded with a resounding yes, and began sending IFL pictures and stories of women harmed by their abortion. 

Luana Stoltenberg, Iowa State leader for Operation Outcry, was also the subject of the first #SayLifeIowa billboard.

“I was grieved after seeing these (Planned Parenthood) billboards,” Stoltenberg told LifeSiteNews, “being a woman who was so hurt and left infertile by abortion.”

Her billboard caption reads, “I numbed the pain of abortion with drugs.”

Stoltenberg contacted women involved with Operation Outcry, and she said there was some minor resistance because of the visibility and reach the billboards would have, but most were quick to say yes. 

“They long to see others spared from the pain and that is what drives their passion,” said Stoltenberg.

She explained to each woman that there may be persecution and pushback because of their appearance on the billboards, and they also talked about making sure all of their family members are aware of their abortions, and that they would be on billboards as well.

They discussed what reactions they might get from family and how to respectfully work through it to make a decision they are comfortable with. 

Each woman was asked to give a prayerful quote of how her abortion affected her. 

Stoltenberg said it is very rare that we hear from men and women as to how they were affected by their abortion decision.

“Yes, it is raw,” she said, “but it is the truth of the pain and devastation they experienced from their abortion.” 

Stoltenberg said that as the leader of her organization she was in complete agreement with the campaign’s approach to abortion. 

“Abortion kills and wounds,” she said. “My prayer is that children’s lives are spared because of these true testimonies, and that women who have been hurt by abortion will seek forgiveness, help, and healing.” 

 “We have been lied to by the abortion industry and used to further their agenda of death and greed,” Stoltenberg added. “So it seems only right to speak out the truth in response to the lies.” 

Limmex, director of Restored by Grace and a campaign participant, concurred.

“Their (Planned Parenthood’s) campaign is delivering a lie to our communities and we want the truth to be shared that abortion is not good healthcare and is harms a people deeply,” she said. “A child is lost and many are left to navigate a life following abortion which is filled with shame, guilt, anger and unforgiveness, unresolved grief. All of which we know there is help and healing for.”

As she approached women she worked with through Restored by Grace, Limmex said she asked them to take a couple of days to pray and consider the decision to have their picture and name on a billboard. She discussed with them the conversations that might arise with friends, family and co-workers. She also agreed with Stoltenberg in that it's necessary that they have shared with family and those closest to them.

“This is a delicate thing for these women,” Limmex told LifeSiteNews, “and I've enlisted intercessors to be praying for these ladies.”

Brave women

DeWitte praised all of the mothers who courageously shared their abortion stories for the campaign.

"It is incredibly brave of these women in Iowa to share their story of hurt, shame, guilt, but ultimately of healing and forgiveness,” DeWitte told LifeSiteNews. “They want other women to see their message so they can avoid the hardship they endured." 

The #SayLifeIowa message reached Geraldine Jacobs in Ohio, a post-abortive mom who became pregnant and had an abortion shortly after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land in 1973. Jacobs performs outreach through A Voice for Victoria.

Jacobs shared one of the #SayLifeIowa Facebook posts regarding abortion, stating simply, “I wish I had rejected it.”

Keep telling the truth about abortion

The first four #SayLifeIowa billboards went up in the capital city of Des Moines, and then the group worked to get billboards in four other Iowa cities in subsequent weeks. 

This is round one, said DeWitte, as the Coalition looks to launch more as Planned Parenthood billboards go up across the state. 

“Our goal is to place billboards in every city in Iowa that Planned Parenthood launches their billboards,’ she said.

Drew Zahn, director of Communications for The Family Leader, expressed the importance of supporting the #SayLifeIowa project.

“Planned Parenthood has posted billboards to push the lie that abortion is health care,” Zahn told LifeSiteNews. “The Say Life Iowa billboards, on the other hand, give a voice to real women from Iowa who want to reveal the truth they all-too-painfully know: There isn't anything healthy or caring about abortion.”

“Furthermore,” he added, “the Say Life Iowa billboards connect women to both crisis pregnancy and post-abortive resources. The pro-life movement is pro-women, and we want to make sure women get both the truth about abortion and the help and healing they need.”

Abortion hurts women

DeWitte noted that pro-life supporters used to hear repeatedly from the pro-choice contingent that they wanted abortion to be legal, safe and rare. Now the rare has long been eliminated and their new approach is to normalize abortion. 

“But not even normalize it,” she said, “but shout it from the rooftops and be proud of their abortion. “

“The truth is that abortion hurts women,” said DeWitte. “The truth is that abortion ruins lives. The truth is that a human life is killed in an abortion and women often live a life-time of regret and pain because of this decision.” 

“Abortion is certainly not healthcare and it is certainly not normal,” she said. “The pro-life movement is a women's movement; we don't want women hurt and that is why this recent campaign is so vital.”

The corresponding Facebook posts for the #SayLifeIowa campaign have gotten exceptionally high numbers for Iowans for LIFE’s Facebook page, Quiner told LifeSiteNews.

“We believe we’ve struck a chord,” Quiner told LifeSiteNews.

April 9, 2019 update: This report has been updated with additional quotes from organizers of the billboard campaign. 

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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France proclaims trees should have rights

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – “A tree is a living organism whose average lifespan is far longer than that of a human being. It should be respected throughout its life and have the right to develop and to reproduce freely, from its birth to its natural death, whether it be a town tree or a country tree. A tree should be considered as a subject of law, including when laws regarding human property are involved.”

This astonishing proclamation of rights is perhaps the most extreme manifestation of anti-speciesism to date, way beyond the demands of animal rights campaigners who are already doing all they can to erase the differences between mankind and the animal world.

Even more remarkably, the “Declaration of tree rights” was adopted in a meeting room of the French National Assembly in Paris last Friday.

The symposium was organized under the title “Remarkable Trees” by a member of the National Assembly and former minister Delphine Batho, president of the French political environmentalist party Génération écologie since last September who is no mere backbencher.

She was elected to the National Assembly in 2007 and has since then had several high-ranking appointments. She was spokeswoman of François Hollande during his candidacy in 2012. After he was elected president of France, she became deputy minister of Justice, and after a cabinet reshuffle, minister of Ecology, Sustainable development and Energy. She left the government after having criticized the budget allocated to her ministry in 2013 and returned to the National Assembly under Socialist party colors before joining the Environmentalists in 2018.

Batho personally presided at the tree symposium together with the president of a society for the protection of trees, “A.r.b.r.e.s” and also published a number of tweets announcing the enthusiastic adoption of the declaration of rights by all the participants.

“So the declaration of rights for #trees has triggered quite a few ironic comments here… Here are a few very solid reading suggestions to share and to like,” she tweeted, adding pictures of books about the “good use” and the “secret lives” and “sensitivity” of trees.

She retweeted the message of an environmentalist urging readers to “write out” the declaration “100 times.”

Batho also said: “Our objective is to obtain a law that will recognize trees as sentient beings.”

The objective of the symposium was not completely harebrained: participants wanted better management of historic trees that are surely treasures in landscapes and towns. Working for a more beautiful environment and asking for protection of trees from being felled for utilitarian or commercial motives can be very legitimate.

To date, hundreds of trees in France have received a “remarkable tree” label since 2000 by the association, taking into account their rarity, age, size and sheer beauty, and all are still standing. They include a locust tree across the Seine from Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, planted in 1601, an oak tree in Brittany supposedly about 1,600 years old and a flourishing olive tree in Corsica that is an estimated 2,000 years old.

But the problem with modern environmentalists is that they put the protection of nature in its broadest sense on a par with human rights, diverting the meaning of human obligations away from God and fellow men as their first objects toward the animal and vegetable kingdoms. As a consequence, respect for human life comes second to the respect for “the planet” or “Mother Earth” and ultimately, man is considered as a threat to nature.

This is the philosophy behind the “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDG’s) of the United Nations that encourages population control through universal access to contraceptives, so-called “over-population” being presented as the main cause of the excessive use of natural resources and the disregard of “rights” of nature.

This philosophy is also deeply pagan or pantheistic in nature, not only putting the animal and vegetable realms on equal footing with humanity but crediting “nature” for all that is good. It includes promoting the aboriginal vision of the forces of nature as a wise approach to the world around us.

That is precisely the kind of thinking behind Batho’s and friends’ “Declaration of tree rights” which defines a tree as a “living being that is sensitive to changes in its environment, and that should be respected as such without being reduced to the status of a mere object.”

Trees “have a right to the airspace and underground space it needs to reach its full growth and its adult size.” “In these conditions trees have a right to their physical integrity, be it in the air (branches, trunk, foliage) or underground (root network). Damage to these organs weaken them considerably, as do the use of pesticides and other toxic substances,” the declaration continues, before demanding for every tree “the right to develop and to reproduce freely, from its birth to its natural death.”

In a glimmer of common sense, the declaration does go on to say that “some trees” are “planted and used” for the needs of man and cannot be treated according to “the criteria as stated above” – but it adds that even for these trees, their “natural life-cycle” should be respected.

Goodbye fir trees for Christmas! And woe to those who trample on seedlings or plant ornamental trees too close together, or “kill” them because they are in the way?

Giving anthropomorphic rights to trees is a typically unreasonable solution to problems that can exist, such as excessive felling or insensitivity to the beauty of nature.

In an interview with French Catholic TV station KTO, Batho said in March that she favored “radical measures” to stop global warming, “such as prohibiting air trips where train services exist.” She also warned against “populists” who are “climate skeptics, xenophobes, sexists and homophobes.” “Nationalist responses negate planetary problems. We say on the contrary that we need Europe. We can’t face the challenges of climate change from home, in our own countries. Europe needs to be at the forefront of that battle,” she said.

Fighting for trees’ “rights” is just another way of promoting the relativization of man’s unique nature, body and soul, with its specific rights, obligations, moral duties and immortal destiny.

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Catholic university student gov’t narrowly votes to ban porn from campus wi-fi

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By Martin Barillas

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — By the barest possible majority, the Catholic University of America’s Student Government Association resolved to demand that the university shut down access to 200 of the most notorious pornography websites on its Wi-Fi networks.

On April 1, the SGA called on university administrators to effect the ban on the campus Wi-Fi used by faculty and students. Sponsored by student senator Gerard McNair-Lewis, the “Resolution for a Pornography Free Campus Network” called on CUA to “take an outward stance on the use of pornography by prohibiting access to the top 200 pornography sites through the campus network.” The SGA promoted a petition and resolution, signed by the student body president.

Resolution 108 states that the ban would allow the university to “remove itself as a means in accessing such material.” It was passed by the SGA by a vote of 13 to 12 and signed by SGA president Jimmy Harrington.

Harrington declared in a statement subsequent to signing the resolution that he does not believe that CUA students have any inherent right to access pornography on the campus internet.

“I am signing the Resolution not from purely religious or Catholic grounds, but because The Catholic University of America can and should exercise its rights to prohibit the use of pornography on the campus network,” said Harrington.

During Senate debate on the resolution, some opponents of the ban voiced concerns that it would amount to censorship. According to The Tower, CUA’s student newspaper, sophomore Matt Bechtel was alone in publicly opposing Resolution 108.

“I don’t think it’s in the character of this university to start censoring information,” Bechtel said, adding: “For example we don’t generally impose our religion on the students that go here. We’re a relatively tolerant university.”

Some students, however, expressed surprise that pornography had not already been banned on campus, citing the example of public high schools that already have such bans in place.

According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), resolution co-sponsor Alexandra Kilgore said, “I was honestly shocked to learn that such a ban wasn't already in place. Even my public high school blocked inappropriate content on its wi-fi, so I knew The Catholic University of America could do better.”

Banning porn on the university Wi-Fi, Kilgore said, is not intended to shame anyone. She said the SGA is committed to the well-being of students and to the university’s “continued demonstration of the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Describing pornography as a “grave offense,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church says it  “offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other.” Moreover, the Catechism says pornography inflicts “grave injury to the dignity of its participants.” The Catholic Church teaches that “[c]ivil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.”

The SGA’s resolution is non-binding, leaving it unclear how the President John Harvey and CUA’s administration will respond. CUA spokeswoman Karna Loyoza offered hope by praising the resolution’s “convincing argument.” “It is difficult to ignore the firm stance against pornography made by our student body,” Loyoza said, but “[n]o decision has been made on the ban” as of April 5, as reported by CNA.

Note: Follow LifeSite's new Catholic Twitter account to stay up to date on all Church-related news. Click here: @LSNCatholic

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Former trans clinic workers demand end to ‘experiment’ on kids

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, England (LifeSiteNews) ― Former employees of a publicly-funded transgender clinic for children have called for an end to its experimental procedures.

For a top story today, The Times of London interviewed five experts who resigned from the Tavistock Clinic, the National Health Service’s one center for treating children who believe they are “transgender.” The five clinicians all allege that the Tavistock Centre, run by the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), has been approving “life-changing medical intervention” for children and teens “without sufficient evidence of its long-term effects.”

According to the Times, the medical professionals left the Tavistock Centre because of the way children with body dysmorphia were treated. They believe that some children were misdiagnosed as “transgender” merely because they experienced same-sex sexual attractions.

All of these clinicians were responsible for determining which children should and should not have puberty-delaying hormone blockers. In most cases, children who are given puberty-blockers begin to take “cross-sex hormones” when they are 16. The effects of these hormones are “irreversible.”

The Times, which did not name the Tavistock ex-employees, said they alleged that kids were OK’d for the life-changing therapies before the clinic had established the causes for their “gender confusion.” The venerable newspaper also reported that the GIDS had, during an internal review, voiced regret for its referral system and the way it got and recorded the consent from its under-age clients.

Meanwhile, the five clinicians also said they believe transgender charities like Mermaids, run by transgender activist Susie Green, do damage by “allegedly promoting transition as a cure-all solution for confused adolescents.”

The Times also interviewed Carl Heneghan of the Centre of Evidence-based Medicine at Oxford University. He, too, described transgender therapies as experimental.  

“Given paucity of evidence, the off-label use of drugs (i.e. what they are approved for) in gender dysphoria treatment largely means an unregulated live experiment on children,” he said.

Today’s Times, traditionally the newspaper of the British establishment, devoted four articles to the controversy. Professor Henegan’s name appeared in the paper’s inside pages, this time under the byline of an opinion piece.

“The mess we have gotten ourselves into with the treatment of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents highlights all that is concerning with the present use and evaluation of powerful medicines in this age group,” he wrote.

Heneghan gave examples of hormones and drugs used by so-called gender reassignment clinics, and stated that “all clinics use different drugs and different doses.”

“That in itself is concerning,” he added.

Another article focused on the influence transgender activists has over families and clinicians. Although “Mermaids” and “Gendered Intelligence” deny they are lobbyists, the Tavistock ex-employees accused them of exploiting the families and bullying doctors.

“Mermaids is always saying this is a matter of life and death. ‘Would you rather have an alive boy or a dead girl?’ That Mermaids narrative is everywhere,” said one of the former clinicians.

Caroline Farrow, the Catholic mother who has suffered months of online abuse thanks to her critique of the transgender movement, told LifeSiteNews that she was pleased by the Times stories.

“The Times has exposed what hundreds of thousands of women have been saying for a long time now,” she said. “Children are being fast-tracked to a lifetime of medical intervention.”

Farrow added that the Times story “opened a window” on the need for safeguarding children vulnerable to adults who are willing to give them puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

“Now there needs to be a public inquiry as to how these (transgender activist) groups managed to get so much influence,” she said.

Farrow isn’t celebrating yet, however. She told LSN that that every child or teenager who has undergone a “gender transition” has been “rendered sterile” and been robbed of the healthy sex life he or she might have had as an adult. For every child who will now depend on lifelong medical intervention, there is an “individual tragedy,” she stressed.

“I think there will be lawsuits in 20 years’ time,” Farrow added.

The number of British children and teens seeking help with gender identity issues from the GIDS has skyrocketed in less than a decade. According to the Times, in 2010 there were 94 referrals. The NHS reported that in 2017/2018 there were 2,519. The public health body also says this represents a 25 percent increase over 2016/2017, when there were 2,016.

Teenage girls in particular are at risk of being referred to the GIDS. The NHS reported that in the 2017/2018 year, more than half (1,806) were for biological females (or, in NHS-speak “young people assigned female at birth (AFAB)”). Biological males numbered 713.

“This continues the trend of an increase in AFAB (sic) referral proportionately,” the NHS remarked.

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Widow details ‘betrayal’ by Pope Francis and chief cardinal advisor in damning new book

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican maneuvered to ensure that Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodriguez Maradiaga would not be implicated in concealing the sexual and financial misdeeds of his auxiliary bishop, the widow of a former dean of the Vatican diplomatic corps has written in a damning new exposé. 

Such machinations, she says, allowed Maradiaga (one of Pope Francis’s closest advisors), to maintain his position on the C-9 Council of Cardinals, which advises the Holy Father on Church reform. The C-9 is meeting with the Pope this week in Rome.

Martha Alegria Reichmann, whose late husband, Alejandro Valladares, served as the Honduran ambassador to the Holy See for 22 years, calls such maneuvering “a grotesque action and a mockery of honesty” because it gave Cardinal Maradiaga “impunity.”

In her new book, titled Sacred Betrayal, Alegria says that she and her husband were longtime friends of the archbishop of Tegucigalpa. She details how, while her husband was still alive, Maradiaga pushed them to invest a large sum of money into a London investment fund managed by a friend of his, which led the couple to lose their life savings. She also exposes how Cardinal Maradiaga covered for his auxiliary, Bishop Juan José Pineda, who resigned last year after allegations came to light that he had sexually abused seminarians, had a string of homosexual lovers, and had engaged in financial misconduct.

In an explosive interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, Alegria explains why she chose Sacred Betrayal as the title for the new book. “I have been betrayed by people who carry a sacred investiture: former Bishop Juan Josè Pineda, Cardinal Oscar Andrès Rodrìguez Maradiaga and Pope Francis — three people I trusted blindly,” she says. 

“In my book, everything is very well explained and demonstrated. There’s no doubt that’s how it was,” the Honduran widow and mother adds.

Mrs. Alegria said she wrote the book after discovering “a dark side” of Cardinal Maradiaga through the events surrounding his betrayal of her family. She says she could not live in “peace and serenity” unless she went public, adding that her “Christian, ethical and moral principles” did not allow her to “keep quiet about such terrible things.” 

“That would have made me responsible for a cover-up,” she says. “To declare what I know and what they have done to me is not only a right that I have, but a duty; because I am a victim of the corrupt system that reigns in the current papacy.”

She says that, in the new book, she goes much further than just recalling her own “painful experiences,” because there are “things that many people don’t know.” 

Alegria says she wrote the book because “the wicked triumph when the righteous are silent; and because God himself is being mocked.”

Asked why she believes Cardinal Maradiaga is still archbishop of Tegucigalpa, as well as coordinator of the Council of Cardinals, Alegria says the Vatican “maneuvered” so that Maradiaga would not be implicated as Pineda’s concealer. She added that the Pope has acted against coverups “on very few occasions” and “only when the external pressure is very strong.” 

“I am just a widow to whom neither Maradiaga nor Francis have given importance because they do not practice the Gospel as it should be,” she says. “It seems that the teachings of Christ have gone out of fashion and the devil reigns. The reasons for this terrible situation are revealed in my book, and it’s something frightening.”

She says she finds Maradiaga’s “extreme protection” of Pineda over 20 years “incomprehensible,” but adds that it has caused the cardinals to lose credibility with the Honduran people. 

Nor does she understand why the Pope keeps Maradiaga by his side. “Perhaps he needs his bad advice,” she said. Alegria then contrasted the Pope’s keeping Maradiaga in position with those who have given him good advice, such as Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, who was removed from his post in the USCCB after writing an open letter to Pope Francis. 

She continued by saying that Maradiaga “is very powerful because he has the absolute support of someone much more powerful, who is Pope Francis.” And she added this is why it’s been easy for him to dismiss accusations as “slanders” or those accusing him as “attacking” him “so as to attack the Pope.”

Alegria went on to say that she hopes that Maradiaga will be replaced, and that there can be a “fresh start” with a shepherd who is “humble of heart, energetic, transparent, kind and just.”

She said that things won’t be cleaned up possibly until there’s another Pope, or “maybe if Pope Francis put into practice all those beautiful phrases that he knows how to say and that are blown away like clouds that disappear into nothingness.”

She also said she placed her hope and trust only in God. “God is merciful. God is just. God works miracles. ... ‘God alone is enough,’” she said, quoting the mystic and doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila. 

It was put to her whether she had written the book, exaggerating some of the content, so that it would become a best-seller, and thereby recoup some of her financial losses. She welcomed the question, saying it was “easy” to answer it, because the facts can be backed up with evidence. 

“Everything that is written is not exaggerated. I just narrated the facts exactly as they are, and those that needed to be proved are proved,” she says

“What is more,” she adds, “there are cases that are terrible and I did not include them because I do not have the evidence.”

She also showed how the revenue from the book will be relatively little and added that its success “depends only on God.”

She also indicated that Maradiaga offered her a large amount of money, but she didn’t accept it because she believes “the money of the Church is for the poor.”

“I did it with my conscience; I did it with the truth in my hand; I did it for dignity, for conviction and for love of God. I started with a sentence by Edmund Burke that says: ‘Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.’” 

Editor’s note: Sacred Betrayal is currently available only in Spanish, under the title Traiciones Sacradas.

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Texas bans chaplains of all faiths from execution chambers after Supreme Court ruling

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By Calvin Freiburger

TEXAS, April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Clergy will no longer be permitted into Texas execution chambers during a convict’s final moments, the state has decided after the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of “Texas Seven” member Patrick Murphy because the state refused to accomodate his request to have a Buddhist in the chamber with him.

The Texas Seven was a group of inmates that accomplished the largest prison escape in the Lone Star State’s history in December 2000, after which they committed multiple robberies culminating in a shootout that killed police officer Aubrey Hawkins. Murphy is not believed to have fired any shots, but he acted as the group’s lookout and was therefore held equally responsible for Hawkins’s death under the state’s law of parties.

Murphy was slated to be executed late last month, but his attorney claimed that the state was violating his religious rights by prohibiting his choice of a Buddhist chaplain. Texas permits only state employees who’ve passed background checks to be present in execution chambers and employs only Christian and Muslim chaplains.

The Supreme Court sided with Murphy in a 7-2 ruling. Justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh,  and Samuel Alito joined the court’s liberal wing, while Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

In a concurring opinion, Kavanaugh said Texas could either “allow all inmates to have a religious adviser of their religion in the execution room” or “allow inmates to have a religious adviser, including any state-employed chaplain, only in the viewing room, not the execution room.” He advised the latter, because states have a “strong interest in tightly controlling access to an execution room in order to ensure that the execution occurs without any complications, distractions, or disruptions.”

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has responded by selecting the second option, the Texas Tribune reports. Clergy will be required to observe executions from the same adjacent witness rooms that reporters and victims and prisoners’ families are allowed into.

“TDCJ Chaplain(s) will continue to be available to an offender until they are transferred to the execution chamber,” department spokesman Jeremy Desel said. “The chaplain will also be present in the viewing room if requested.”

The change does not clear the way for Murphy’s execution to resume, as the Supreme Court stated he can be killed only if he’s granted a Buddhist chaplain, but was presumably made in hopes of presenting a similar hurdle from arising in the future.

The Associated Press quotes Death Penalty Information Center executive director Robert Dunham as saying the change is consistent with the policies of most capital punishment states. But Luke Goodrich, senior counsel at the religious liberty nonprofit Becket, argued that a very real religious liberty issue remains.

“All that the plaintiffs are asking for here is that an already trained, already vetted chaplain who’s already been serving in high security settings could get the additional training needed to enter the execution chamber,” he said. “So just like we don’t torture prisoners or subject them to cruel or unusual punishment, we don’t take away their religious freedom for arbitrary and unnecessary reasons.

“It’s unfortunate that Texas decided it would rather provide religious freedom to nobody than to extend religious freedom to Buddhists,” Goodrich continued. “And unfortunately, that’s a dynamic that we often see among governments, where if it starts to become even the least bit difficult to accommodate religious practices they’ll just try to shut them all down.”

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Spanish gov’t to investigate Catholic diocese for counseling man away from gay lifestyle

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By Martin Barillas

MADRID, Spain, April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Spanish diocese is being investigated by a regional government after being accused by an undercover journalist of engaging in “conversion therapy” for a homosexual man.

Pedro Rollán, the vice president of Madrid’s regional government, has called upon the government’s Council on Social Policy for an investigation into the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares after a journalist posed as a homosexual man earnestly seeking help at a parish family counseling center. For an article published April 1 by El Diario, the journalist attended a session at the Regina Familiae family counseling center on March 21.

On April 7, citizens assembled outside the cathedral of Alcala de Henares to show support for their bishop and to demand an end to government “lynching” of the Catholic Church.

The journalist claimed that he was told during a counseling session that homosexuality may be caused by sexual abuse or other childhood trauma. A therapist at the counseling center told the journalist, according to the report in El Diario, that he must stop watching pornography and cease masturbating. The therapist recommended prayer, psychiatric counseling, and reading so that the journalist could learn to “govern his will.”

Rollán wants the government’s Council on Social Policy to determine whether there has been “any kind of infraction” of a law passed by the regional government of Madrid concerning supposed homophobic therapy. The law prescribes fines of as much as 45,000 euros for those convicting of disobeying laws on transgenderism and homosexual identity. However, only a court can levy fines in such cases.

A communique from the Catholic diocese attested that counseling is available there to provide “help and guidance” to inquirers.

“This integral, pastoral and spiritual accompaniment in this as in all matters is always done, from the standpoint of faith and reason, with love and truth, in the light of the Word of God and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church,” the statement declared.

The diocese also called on Catholics to pray for the freedom of the Church in Spain. By sending a journalist to the diocese under false pretenses, read the statement, is the “very sort of disinformation of which Pope Francis has spoken.” It said that “we are witnessing the fabrication of fake news.”

On April 2, protesters draped with the rainbow colors of gay liberation protested inside the cathedral at Alcala de Henares just before an evening Mass. Denouncing Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla, they shouted “Leave Alcala” and “Love doesn't have a cure, hate does." Police soon arrived and dispersed the protesters.

Bishop Reig Pla has frequently been targeted because of his outspoken opposition to the LGBTQ agenda. Leftists and LGBTQ campaigners, for instance, filed a lawsuit against him, claiming he incited hatred with a Good Friday sermon that touched upon the homosexual lifestyle. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed by a local judge.

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Pro-abortion 2020 Dem claims homosexual ‘marriage’ brought him ‘closer to God’

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By Calvin Freiburger

April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana currently seeking the Democrat nomination for president, claimed Sunday his “marriage” to another man has deepened his faith, taking aim at Vice President Mike Pence in the process.

“My marriage to (teacher Chasten Glezman) has made me a better man,” Buttigieg declared during his address to the LGBTQ Victory Fund's annual brunch, HuffPost reported. “And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.

“Speaking only for myself, I can tell you that if me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” he continued. “And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: If you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

In fact, the Bible teaches that God created men and women to complement one another in marriage, and multiple passages expressly forbid homosexual acts, such as Leviticus 18:22 declaring it “detestable” to have sex with a man “as one does with a woman” and First Corinthians 6:9 warning that “men who have sex with men” will “not inherit the kingdom of God.”

This isn’t the first time Buttigieg has claimed greater religiosity than his conservative opponents. Last week, he accused religious conservatives of “saying so much about what Christ said so little about, and so little about what he said so much about” and claimed it was “hard to look at this president’s actions and believe that they’re the actions of somebody who believes in God.” In 2017, he suggested Pence “stopped believing in Scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump.”

Yet homosexuality isn’t the only issue on which the South Bend mayor rejects Christian teaching. Last week, Buttigieg told CNN that late-term abortion was “mostly for me about freedom from government” to perform “measures that are designed to preserve the life and health of the mother” (pro-life OB/GYN Dr. William Lile and reformed ex-abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino agree that abortions are never medically necessary).

In 2018, Buttigieg vetoed Women’s Care Center’s re-zoning application to build a pro-life pregnancy center near the site of a proposed abortion center, claiming the “neighborhood would not benefit from having the zoning law changed in order to place next door to each other two organizations with deep and opposite commitments on the most divisive social issue of our time.”

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Fr. James Martin joins chorus falsely accusing Trump of calling immigrants ‘animals’

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By Calvin Freiburger

April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-LGBT celebrity priest and Vatican advisor Fr. James Martin lent his voice to the chorus of outrage over the weekend denouncing a video clip that purportedly shows President Donald Trump calling illegal immigrants “animals,” despite the accusation having already been debunked almost a year ago.

Last May, the White House hosted a roundtable discussion on illegal immigration, during which Trump was asked a question about the notorious international street gang MS-13.

MS-13 is a criminal organization spanning several Central and South American countries, and is believed to have as many as 10,000 members operating in the United States. The gang is reviled for its extreme brutalities, such as mutilation, public execution, rape, torture, and decapitation of victims including children.

“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals,” the president said during his answer. Spreading clips of Trump’s answer that omitted the preceding question, hostile media outlets and left-wing activists pushed the claim that Trump was calling immigrants generally “animals” rather than MS-13 members.

Despite last year’s uproar being met with forceful corrections by conservatives and the White House itself, the misleading clip resurfaced this weekend, complete with a fresh wave of condemnations of Trump.

Among them was Jesuit priest Fr. Martin, who tweeted Saturday morning that the president was using the same “language used by Nazis against Jews (‘vermin’), Hutus against Tutsis (‘cockroaches’) and American slaveowners against slaves (‘animals’).” He accused Trump of forgetting that everyone “is a child of God” and predicted that “murder and genocide will follow.”

That afternoon, Martin followed up with a “correction” tweet that the video was “a 2018 clip” that is “once again being debated.” Yet Martin appears to only be correcting his false claim that the comments were recent, and does not acknowledge that Trump was not referring to immigrants or asylum-seekers.

Two minutes before his Twitter “correction,” Martin also published a Facebook post containing the same denunciation from his original tweet.

The priest’s latest comments echo those Martin made last year when the story first arose. At the time, he tweeted that Trump’s language was “a grave sin,” cited the same examples of “language that led to the extermination of Jews (‘vermin’) in Germany and of Tutsi (‘cockroaches’) in Rwanda,” and claimed that even directing such pejoratives at MS-13 would lead to it being “applied to entire classes of people”:

This is not the first time the pro-LGBT priest has come under fire for promoting a false accusation then refusing to unequivocally correct it. In January, he condemned March for Life attendees from Covington Catholic High School for allegedly “attempt[ing] to shame and disrespect” indigenous people’s activist Nathan Phillips with “contemptuous laughter,” accusing the Kentucky teens of failing to “underst[and] the dignity of all human life.”

When additional video and accounts of the incident soon showed the boys had done nothing of the kind, Martin “apologize[d] to them for my judgment of them,” but insisted their “actions remain unclear” and “we may never know what was going on inside the hearts of the students.” He also criticized them for wearing pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats at the pro-life event.

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Robert Royal

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Lessons from Dante’s Inferno: Not even the pope can change basic Catholic truths

Robert Royal
By Robert Royal

April 8, 2019 (The Catholic Thing) — In 1294, Celestine V was elected pope, after an interregnum of two years without one, owing to a deadlock among the Cardinals. He resigned only five months later because, though he had founded and run the Celestines, an offshoot of the Benedictines, he felt himself inadequate to the papal office. In 1415, Pope Gregory XII "withdrew" in a somewhat different case — in order to prevent schism over the apostolic succession. Celestine's, therefore, was the last pure resignation prior to that of Benedict XVI in 2013.

Most Dante scholars have believed over the centuries that Dante was referring to Celestine in Inferno Canto 3 (the place that contains souls who were so indifferent that they refused to choose God or anything else for eternity). He speaks of meeting one, without naming him, "who out of cowardice made the great refusal," (che per viltade fece il gran rifiuto).

Dante thought this a profound betrayal of the Church, not least because Celestine's successor, Boniface VIII (a political schemer), was involved in Dante's exile from Florence.

Boniface himself had a troubled life after that because of his constant efforts to expand papal powers. His famous Bull Unam Sanctam claimed authority over secular rulers, which led to his condemnation on a whole list of charges by French bishops. And French King Philip the Fair sent forces that captured and humiliated Boniface, an experience that contributed to his death.

Dante never tires of suggesting that Boniface, along with other corrupt popes, is headed for Hell. Boniface's overreach may be one reason Dante argued for a division of powers between Church and Empire.

But there's a scene involving Boniface — one of the funniest, in a bizarre way, in the whole of the Divine Comedy — where Dante lays out several important points about papal powers, sin, and human destiny.

Way down in Hell among the Evil Counselors, Dante encounters Guido da Montefeltro. Guido was a wily "Machiavellian" before Machiavelli. He used all sorts of lies and tricks to gain military and political victories. Late in life, however, he realized he had to do penance for his sins and entered a Franciscan monastery.

Generally speaking, it's not a good idea to read great works of the imagination for practical or — God save us — political lessons. What we most need from creative works, say Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky, especially in the current moment when we are so overwhelmed with daily controversy, is an opening of horizons, an entry into a new way of seeing ourselves and the world that reveals swaths of reality radically different from what we get from the TV and Internet. It's not only young people these days who are losing the notion that other times were different (and not only worse) and may have something to teach us.

To begin with, an interesting thing about the Guido episode is that Dante finds Guido even deeper in Hell than the violent. There are debates about what this means. But in his other works Dante suggests something we moderns may find surprising, and may even resist: that lies and deception are worse than physical violence because they offend against the rational part of the human being, which is nobler and more in need of protection even than the body. In this view, to represent what is not so to others about a serious matter is an even greater offense against God's order than physically attacking another person.

Dante traced that notion to suggestions in pagans like Aristotle and Cicero as well as in St. Thomas Aquinas.

In Guido's case, however, there's a further twist. After Guido has entered the monastery to do penance for his sins, Boniface VIII comes to him asking for a favor. Boniface is having trouble with a noble Roman family — the Colonnas — who have fled to the nearby town of Palestrina (where the famous composer was born two centuries later). He needs to take the town and eliminate the troublemakers.

Guido says, essentially, "I don't do that sort of thing anymore." Boniface says, "Look, I'm the pope. Do me this one last favor and I'll grant you absolution in advance." "Can you do that?" "Yes, I'm the pope. I have the Keys to the Kingdom."

So Guido proposes a stratagem: promise the Colonnas amnesty if they let you enter the city, but when you're in control, arrest them all. It works. The pope is happy. Guido goes back to his Franciscan monastery.

Later Guido dies: St. Francis of Assisi arrives to take him up to Heaven, but so does the Devil:

Francis — the moment that I died — came then
For me, but one of the black cherubim
Called to him, 'Don't take him! don't cheat me!

'He must come down to join my hirelings
Because he offered counsel full of fraud,
And ever since I've been after his scalp!

'For you can't pardon one who won't repent,
And one cannot repent what one wills also:
The contradiction cannot be allowed.'

What the Devil means here that the law of non-contradiction — that something logically cannot be and not-be the same thing in the same way at the same time — does not allow someone to will to do something and not will it.

O miserable me! how shaken I was
When he grabbed hold of me and cried, 'Perhaps
You didn't realize I was a logician!'

We have to presume that Guido did not repent of his last treachery, perhaps believing that the pope had absolved him without his having to repent personally of a sin. But the truth is the truth. And even a pope cannot make an evil act good or dole out absolution when a soul has not turned away from such an act.

In any case, this bit of history allows us to see that even in those "superstitious" and priest-ridden Middle Ages, there were strong views about the limits of papal authority, especially when it came to changing teachings, playing loose with pardon, and denying reason and logic for earthly purposes.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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From left to right: Newark's Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Atlanta's Archbishop Wilton Gregory, and Washington's Cardinal Donald Wuerl. LifeSiteNews
Phil Lawler

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Liberal secular media consider Archbishop Gregory a ‘very safe choice’ for Washington

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

April 8, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — Reacting to the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory to the Washington archdiocese, Michelle Boorstein, the religion writer for the Washington Post, commented on her Twitter account: "Largely a very safe choice. It will primarily piss off only the far-right."

That's true enough (although not very elegantly expressed) if you define as "far right" those Catholics who unapologetically profess all that the Church has traditionally taught. And come to think of it, most writers for the secular press (and not a few for Catholic publications) do think that way. So those of us who are appalled by the DC appointment can accept no sympathy from the mainstream media. In that sense Boorstein is right; Archbishop Gregory is a "safe choice."

But think for a moment about why the choice is so safe. Isn't it precisely because the mainstream media won't pay attention to the protests? In that sense Boorstein's reaction could be classified as a self-confirming prophecy. The appointment is "safe" because the only people who are upset are the people who will be ignored.

If reporters were inclined to pursue the story aggressively — as they would, if a different sort of prelate had been appointed — they might take a hard look at the new archbishop's track record. They might recall that it was then-Bishop Gregory who, as president of the US bishops' conference, assured us that the bishops were doing everything they could to prevent abuse — in fact claimed that the progress had been "nothing less than miraculous" — and then sent Theodore McCarrick out before the TV cameras as a representative of that progress. They might question his administrative competence, reminding us that in 2008, answering questions about sexual abuse in the Belleville diocese he had led, he testified that he was not informed about problems in his own diocese.

Tough-minded reporters, noting that the last two archbishops of Washington have left under a cloud, might have asked whether it's true that Archbishop Gregory was actively promoted, at different points in his clerical career, by both of his predecessors. Or, turning the question around, they might have asked the incoming archbishop whether he planned to look into the files and hunt down any evidence of corruption and/or dishonesty in the previous regimes.

Did you see any of those questions raised in the media coverage of the appointment? Neither did I.

Last August, Julia Duin, who had once been religion columnist for the Washington Times, wondered aloud why reporters weren't following up on some obvious leads in the wake of the McCarrick scandal. The nation's most influential outlets still haven't chased down those leads, and at this point it's pretty obviously why they haven't. They aren't interested in identifying McCarrick's enablers, in exposing the cabal of episcopal corruption. They aren't interested, therefore, in learning whether Archbishop Gregory is a part of the problem. They aren't interested in making life difficult for the "moderate" new leader of the Washington archdiocese. In the deft hands of the mass media, his appointment is "safe."

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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The brutal massacre that started 29 years ago…and it’s still going on today

Jason Scott Jones and Salih Hudayar
By Jason Jones

April 8, 2019 (The Stream) — April 5, 2019 marked its 29th anniversary. A horror most Americans have never heard about: the Baren Massacre.

It took place just north of Tibet, in Chinese-occupied East Turkistan. It may be the only massacre in human history that began with State-forced mass abortions. In one sense, it's a massacre that still continues today.

As an American Catholic and a Muslim Uyghur, we stand together on this. We commemorate the victims. Pro-life and pro-choice Americans should also come together on at least this common ground. Forced abortion is abhorrent. All should condemn the terror the Chinese government unleashed against these women, and against their families who resisted it.

The Baren Massacre

Baren Township, near Kashgar, saw sixty days of terror in spring 1990. As part of its deadly One Child Policy of population control, China's government routinely forced millions of women to abort their babies. But the villagers of Baren finally had enough. They'd just seen 250 local women robbed of their babies. So they did something people rarely risk in Communist countries. They went to confront the Party. These rural people walked into Party headquarters and complained to its officials.

Chinese officials answered their concerns. By sending in the People's Liberation Army. It stormed in and occupied the region. Some locals — devout, God-fearing people — decided to take up arms. To defend their families, their pre-born children, and their dignity.

Chinese authorities were enraged. They poured even more troops into Baren Township — more than 4,000 according to some sources — with artillery and helicopter gunships. All aimed at parents, who wanted their babies to live.

The army used heavy weapons and indiscriminately slaughtered villagers. By the dozens and the hundreds. People of every ethnic group in East Turkistan suffered: Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and Tatars.

The massacre was emblematic of China's wider policies of genocide. It should have woken up the West to the nature of that regime.

The Massacre Never Ended

The lesson of the Baren Massacre? If any nation would forcibly kill large groups of defenseless people in the womb it will also, sooner or later, go on to kill them outside the womb.

And 29 years later, that is exactly what's happening in East Turkistan.

Don't take it from us. Listen to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It estimates that the Chinese government currently holds at least 1 million (mostly Uyghur) citizens in so-called "counter-extremism centers." And another 2 million in so-called "re-education camps."

Some people survive these camps. They report what goes on in them:

  • Brainwashing.
  • Beatings.
  • Torture.
  • Rape.
  • Involuntary medication.
  • Forced abortions.
  • Forced sterilizations. And even
  • Summary executions.

We've Known about This for a Decade

Back in 2009, Radio Free Asia told the world:

China's official Tianshan Net reported that population control policies in Occupied East Turkistan ("Xinjiang," as the Chinese Communist Party calls it) have prevented the births of some 3.7 million people over the last 30 years[.] ... The one-child policy is enforced more strictly in cities, but penalties for exceeding a family's quota can be severe, including job loss, demotion, or expulsion from the Party, experts say.

That was ten years ago. But for these afflicted people, nothing has changed.

A Policy of Extermination

Sometimes women in rural settings got a small degree of latitude in deviating from the one-child policy. But often the punishments for exceeding the quota are excruciating. Horror stories about China's genocidal and infanticidal policies abound.

One woman, Arzigul Tursun, was detained by police in the sixth month of her third pregnancy. Officials then forced her to undergo a late-term abortion.

Even if she had somehow escaped the medically unnecessary procedure? Then she would have faced a 45,000 yuan fine for the crime of conceiving a third child. That fine exceeds several years' family income.

A Threat to Life and Choice

Pro-life and pro-choice Americans alike should condemn the brutal practices of China's Communist Party. The simple truth is that they threaten both life and choice.

Now the people of East Turkistan are facing nothing less than a genocide. The Party's goal is nothing short of the wholesale extermination of an entire people. From womb to tomb, the Communist Party has no respect for the sanctity of human life or bodily integrity.

It feels strange to commemorate the Baren Massacre as if it were some fact of Cold War history. Because, inside China's concentration camps, it's still going on.

Published with permission from The Stream.

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Fr. Shenan Boquet

Opinion, , , ,

The chilling evidence that Jordan Peterson was right: transgender ideology is ‘totalitarian’

Fr. Shenan Boquet
By Fr. Shenan Boquet

April 8, 2019 (Human Life International) — A so-called "human rights tribunal" in Canada has just ruled that a Christian activist must pay $55,000 to a provincial politician because he referred to this politician as a "biological male" in a political pamphlet. The politician in question, Morgane Oger (born Ronan Oger), is a biological male. However, he has since "transitioned," and is living his life as a "transgender woman." According to the decision, Bill Whatcott must compensate Oger for injuring the latter's "dignity, feelings and self-respect."

The terrifying precedent set by this case can be illustrated by one, flabbergasting fact: The judge in the case refused to allow Whatcott's lawyer to offer testimony showing that, in point of fact, Oger is a biological male. According to the judge, "the 'truth' of [Whatcott's] statements in the flyer is not a defense." As such, said the judge, "evidence is simply not relevant to the legal issue..."

Read that again. Let it sink in. Truth is not a defense. Evidence doesn't matter. What matters — it would seem — is whether someone's feelings were hurt. And thus, with a stroke of the pen, the rule of law is replaced with the rule of feelings. But as Whatcott has just learned, and I suspect many more are about to learn, feelings can be far more ruthless and unyielding taskmasters than laws.

Back in 2016, University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson was roundly mocked by so-called progressives for warning that gender ideology is "totalitarian." Peterson, who has made a career of studying totalitarian regimes, above all the Soviet Union, was accused of seeing bogey-men under every rock, and of projecting his paranoia onto a movement that was only seeking basic human rights for a marginalized group.

And yet, with every passing day more and more stories are emerging showing that, if anything, Peterson's dire warnings weren't dire enough. In many cases, gender ideologues (who, I should note, are not the same as transgender individuals, many of whom are suffering profoundly and deserve our compassion, even if we do not necessarily agree with the methods they choose to deal with their pain) are no longer bothering to even try to maintain the façade of humanistic reasonableness, showing themselves willing to bulldoze the basic rights of anyone who gets in their way. Disturbingly, this even includes even people belonging to categories that until recently were understood to be themselves in need of special protections.

Two Disturbing Stories

You'd think, for instance, that the right of a woman who has been raped to feel completely safe while seeking treatment is about as sacrosanct as a right can possibly be. Recently, however, the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter lost over $30,000 in city funding. The city's decision to pull the funding came after a fierce campaign against the shelter spearheaded by Morgane Oger — yes, that's the same politician named above — and other totalitarian transgender ideology activists, who are furious that the center refuses to offer its services to "transgender women," i.e. biological men who now claim to be women.

The center, reasonably enough, believes that the last thing biological women who have been raped need is to be forced into close quarters with strange men. Oger disagrees. By restricting a women-only rape shelter to biological women, says Oger, the center is engaging in "systematic, consistent misbehaviour." The women's shelter shot back, pithily, that Oger and other city officials are effectively perpetrating "discrimination against women in the name of inclusion."

To understand how grotesque this decision is, it's necessary to remember that according to gender ideology, all that is needed for a born man to become a woman is for him to claim that he is a woman. In other words, included among "transgender women" can be men who look like men in every way, including possessing male genitalia. Now, imagine being a woman who has been raped, who goes into the bathroom or joins a group therapy session at the rape shelter, expecting to find the security of a women-only environment. Instead she finds that she has to use the facilities or expose the raw wounds of her trauma — trauma inflicted by a man — in the presence of a man. Thanks to gender ideology, such a woman has no right to complain. If she's truly "woke," she will swallow her own trauma, subjugating her right to heal in a safe environment to the latest dogmas of progressive equity.

Another story: Recently, it was discovered that a man who was reading to children at Freed-Montrose Public Library in Houston was a convicted pedophile. Thirty-two-year-old Albert Garza was convicted of assaulting an eight-year-old boy in 2008. But when he applied to read stories to children while dressed as a woman as part of "Drag Queen Storytime" — a truly bizarre indoctrination program which libraries across the nation are falling over themselves to host these days — the library didn't think it necessary to perform even a basic background check.

Now, you'd think that if there's any place in the world where children should expect to feel absolutely safe, it would be during children's story-time at a public library. At a bare minimum, you'd think that adults who are arranging for a man who spends his waking hours sexually titillating people for a living to have access to children would ensure that such a man is not a convicted pedophile. But then again, in our topsy-turvy world, gender ideologues are falling over themselves to encourage young children to become drag queens, and even (and it's enough to make one shudder) applaud when those children perform sexually provocative drag shows in a gay bar. (Yes, this actually happened.)

Transgenderism and Totalitarianism

Stories like this, and worse, keep coming, faster than I can possibly write about them.

This month, for instance, we heard about the Catholic mom of five in the UK who is being investigated by police for "misgendering" the son of a transgender activist (a transgender activist, it should be noted, who arranged for her 15-year-old son to be castrated in Thailand, because the procedure was illegal for a child of that age in the UK). Also this month, we heard about the parents in the UK who objected when their autistic teenage son was prescribed hormone therapy. After their son told his school that his parents wouldn't allow him to undergo the so-called treatment, the school reported the parents to child services for being "emotionally abusive." The parents were then warned that if they didn't support their child, he could be taken away from them and put into foster care. According to The Daily Mail, last year at least three children were taken away from their parents and put into foster care, because their parents objected to their gender transition.

Clearly, Peterson was right. There is an increasingly naked totalitarian aspect to gender ideology. Anyone who will force raped women to share living quarters with biological men, who will seize children from their parents because the parents express concern about treatments that will render their child permanently sterile, who will pump children full of artificial hormones and mutilate their genitals after the barest pretense of a clinical investigation, who will shrug at throwing a mom of five children into jail for the crime of stating biological facts, and who declare that truth is not a defense and evidence is unwelcome in a trial, all in the name of a recently concocted, scientifically unproven (in many cases disproven) set of dogmas, shares certain obvious commonalities with the perpetrators of some of the worst human rights violations of the 20th century. I see every reason to expect that the more power such people accrue, the more brazen and unjust their exercise of that power will become.

Peterson's warnings were recently repeated and expanded upon by Nancy Pearcey, an academic who has been focusing on the issue of transgenderism. "Anyone who's read Solzhenitsyn and his Gulag Archipelago or any book like that knows that totalitarian systems often begin by compelling speech, by telling people what they may and may not say," Pearcey noted in a recent interview. "And if you can tell or coerce people's speech, you can eventually control their thoughts."

"If you've robbed [people] of the language to express their true belief, and you've required them to give voice to convictions that they do not hold, that eventually messes with your mind," she continued. "It eventually often changes people's minds." In other words, totalitarian transgender ideologues are engaging in what is known as "gaslighting," a kind of psychological manipulation in which the manipulator seeks to cause the victim to question his or her sanity. By demanding that we change the way we speak — and, indeed, think — about one of the core, and most self-evident categories of reality — biological sex — gender ideologues are undermining the very foundations of reason.

In the interview, Pearcey contrasted totalitarianism with authoritarianism. Whereas authoritarian states want power, "they don't care much what you do in your private life." A totalitarian state, on the other hand, "is one that wants to control your thoughts. They want to control your inner life." This totalitarianism is already present in countries like Canada, she warned, and is "right on our doorstep here in the States." Given the stories related above — and some of the stories I recounted a few weeks ago — I don't see how we can possibly argue that Pearcey isn't right.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Many people who come face-to-face with transgender extremism are tempted to kowtow, because they know that transgender ideologues will not hesitate to make their lives miserable. However, every act of capitulation emboldens the gender ideologues. Caroline Farrow — the mother of five mentioned above — has said that she is willing to go to prison to protect her free speech rights. So has Jordan Peterson. Are we similarly prepared to stand up for the truth?

Listen to an interview with Walt Heyer, a former "transgender woman," who has since de-transitioned and is living his life according to his biological sex. Heyer has dedicated his life to raising the alarm about the inherent dangers of transgender ideology, as well as treating those, like himself, who have come to regret their sex change. Heyer was interviewed on The Van Maren Show, LifeSite's new weekly podcast. To subscribe to The Van Maren Show, or to listen to other episodes, click here.

Published with permission from Human Life International.

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Democrats’ Equality Act opens the door to legalized pedophilia. Here’s how

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By Linda Harvey

April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Jason is 13 and wants to date his male 21-year-old student-teacher. If the "LGBT" Equality Act passes through Congress, the age of consent barrier may fall and allow him to do so.

Perhaps by now you've heard of the so-called "Equality Act," a sweeping bill that would declare homosexuality and gender confusion to be federal civil rights equivalent to race, religion, national origin, biological sex, and so on.

This wicked bill, H.R. 5, right now has 240 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Nancy Pelosi has pledged to bring it up for a vote in late spring or early summer.

The way the bill is written prompts many concerns. H.R. 5 lacks any religious exemption, for one. So watch for announcement of a "compromise" to add accommodation for religious faith. This "deal" is already supported by  misinformed Christian groups like the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals). Weak Republicans will welcome the exemption cover and jump on board. These exemptions would be ignored as "LGBT" bullies continue to steamroll any attempt to obstruct their agenda.

We cannot let this bill go forward because it may enable pederasty/pedophilia.

How? This horrific result won't come through a new definition of "sexual orientation." The bill now defines sexual orientation as "homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality." An atrocious revision that includes alleged "born-that-way" pedophilia is probably coming, but not in this bill, and not right away.

No, the way this could happen pretty quickly is through the sexual civil rights accorded to children, and all the many new ways adults will find to "support" them — what saner heads would call "grooming." All that has to happen for pedophiles to gain access is for minors to acquire newly minted sexual identity "protections," and then their carefully manipulated "choices" will pave the way.

So Tyler at age 10 can declare his girl identity and even how he wants to  express it. Be assured: there are "LGBT" lawyers ready to defend him pro bono. And parents will become irrelevant. How does that happen?

In Cincinnati last year, a teen girl was removed from the custody of her parents and held at Children's Hospital for a month because the parents withheld consent for her cross-sex hormone treatment.

So, think about this — if a child can now legally consent to body mutilation, why not homosexual sex with whomever he pleases, including adults?

There will certainly be judges willing to lower the age of consent if H.R. 5 becomes law.

After all, if consent can be given by minors for dangerous, life-changing hormones (permissible now in Oregon, e.g.), there's no reason (using radical, liberal logic) a middle-schooler can't have "safe" anal "sex." Sex education programs promoted by Planned Parenthood, SIECUS, and GLSEN maintain that anal intercourse is a normal, manageable sexual activity.

Remember hearing the slogan "No one can choose who they love!"? What happens when 13- year-old Jason "likes" his 21-year-old male student-teacher — who just happens to "like" him back?

You may be thinking, "But civil protections barring adult-child sex will still be securely in place."

Really? Think again.

The young boys now parading before cameras on Good Morning America, at "pride" parades, even at a bar in Lancaster, Ohio, dressing as females and giving paid performances for adults — this is all a warm-up, calculated or not. There's no specific law banning this behavior, although a case can probably be made by lawmakers who care enough to do so for child corruption. I'm hoping in my home state of Ohio that happens soon.

But don't you know that under H.R. 5, boys who are 11 will have the "right" to say, "I can interact with adults however I want because I identify as a female performer"? All it will take to morph this into a "right" for a minor child to have sex with an adult is a carefully chosen court case, and a challenge to age of consent will be launched.

The chosen "partner" may be a teacher. Will the NEA mount a defense of its union member's right to date a child? Probably.

Several key components might be that no assault is involved, no pregnancy is possible, and sodomy is no longer illegal, so how can it be corrupting? Obscenity laws are so weakly applied in many states that these won't aid in a defense. Many academics now write papers insisting that adult -child sex does no harm to children when children give "consent."

Law has traditionally held that minors are unable to give such consent. But that's another barrier being smashed daily in many schools, with well intentioned but age-inappropriate new state laws mandating "consent" lessons in the era of #MeToo. Administrators already routinely go behind parents' backs to "support" gender-confused students in their emotional disturbance.

Any school teaching "comprehensive sexuality education" (CSE) also teaches middle-schoolers about consent, usually dwelling on saying "no." But these kids simultaneously learn they have a right to say "yes," even though this contradicts existing age of consent laws, which hold that minors cannot give consent to sex.

So back to the potential court case. Whether the parents are on board may not matter, which brings up the other huge boundary H.R. 5 would smash: parental rights.  You as a parent  will have no right to influence your child's new sexual identity, in view of this bill (if it becomes law) that treats "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" as immutable.

This is a huge lie.

Age of consent for homosexual behavior is poised to fall.  All the chess pieces are in place, and all "LGBT" activists need is for H.R. 5 to pass and then the weak-willed Senate to go along — for "compassion"— and certainly we can expect Mitt Romney, Rob Portman, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski to do their part to aid depravity.

And then what if Trump, in a moment of compromise (possibly encouraged by his ill-informed daughter) — would sign it?

We cannot let this happen.

If you think this can't happen, then sit back and do nothing. But I am hoping that, like me, you are gravely concerned, and that you call every congressional representative in your state, including the Democrats. Tell them you will remember if they allow this deviant behavior to be legalized as a civil right.

Go HERE to see the bill and its co-sponsors.

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Why it’s absurd for gay pro-abortion Pete Buttigieg to question Trump’s faith

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By Dr. Michael Brown

April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — If ever there was a glaring instance of the pot calling the kettle black it was when South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a professing Christian and practicing homosexual, called President Trump a hypocritical Christian. Seriously?

To be clear, I have no problem with someone questioning whether President Trump is a true Christian. An evangelical friend of mine who has met with Trump on several occasions recently told me that he does not believe the president has had a true conversion experience but that he does truly fear God. Other friends have told me they believe that Trump loves Jesus but is a mere babe when it comes to the Christian faith.

Ultimately, only God knows the state of Donald Trump's soul.

But I fully understand why people question his Christian faith, based on his past life (before becoming president) and his current behavior (as president).

One thing, though, is sure: Donald Trump does not claim to be a model Christian, nor should we look to him for an example of how to live out our faith.

What is utterly absurd, though, is for a man who professes to be a serious Christian, yet is pro-abortion and "married" to his same-sex partner, to call out Trump's alleged hypocrisy.

According to USA Today, which wholeheartedly supported Buttigieg's position without a hint of awareness of the irony of it all, "Mayor Pete" stands out "as a devoted Christian."

According to Buttigieg, "The left is rightly committed to a separation of church and state ... but we need to not be afraid to invoke arguments that are convincing on why Christian faith is going to point you in a progressive direction."

In contrast, he criticized right-wing Christians for "saying so much about what Christ said so little about, and so little about what he said so much about."

As for Trump, he said, "I'm reluctant to comment on another person's faith, but I would say it is hard to look at this president's actions and believe that they're the actions of somebody who believes in God. I just don't understand how you can be as worshipful of your own self as he is and be prepared to humble yourself before God. I've never seen him humble himself before anyone. And the exaltation of yourself, especially a self that's about wealth and power, could not be more at odds with at least my understanding of the teachings of the Christian faith."

Is Buttigieg guilty of judging President Trump in a way that violates the Lord's mandate to not judge? (See Matthew 7:1-5; for an explanation of what Jesus actually meant, see here.) That is certainly possible, since he is judging largely by secondhand information and outward appearance.

More importantly, though, Buttigieg is certainly guilty of the very hypocrisy which Jesus clearly rebukes in Matthew 7, saying, "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matt 7:3–5).

First, Buttigieg says that one of his favorite verses in the Bible is where Jesus says, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these ... you did for me" (see Matt. 25:31–46). Yet Buttigieg claims that when it comes to abortion, "Jesus never mentioned the issue."

So, for Buttigieg, whose platform is thoroughly to the left, innocent, helpless babies in the womb are not included in the "least of these," yet illegal immigrants are.

In fact, not only is he "openly pro-choice," but when it comes to late-term abortion, he will make no official comment, saying only this: "when a woman is in that situation ... extremely difficult, painful, often medically serious situations where life or health of the mother is at stake, involvement of a male government official like me is not helpful."

So much for caring for "the least of these."

Yet when Trump and Pence take strong pro-life stands, Buttigieg deems this hypocritical. (He also criticizes Pence as a "cheerleader of the porn-star presidency." Not too judgmental, eh?)

Second, as an out-and-proud gay man, Buttigieg must discard the entire testimony of Scripture, since every single reference to homosexual practice in the Bible is condemnatory, without a single positive, homosex-affirming statement of any kind. (Let me be quick to add, however, that grace, mercy, and forgiveness are offered to all alike through the cross.)

It would be one thing if Buttigieg said, "I struggle with same-sex attractions, but as a committed Christian, I do not affirm these desires, act on them, or celebrate them." That would be highly commendable.

Instead, he wants everyone to see that "our marriages are just as good as theirs," even if that means rewriting the Bible and throwing out almost 2,000 years of virtually unanimous teaching on the subject through all branches of Christianity. After all, love wins, and love is love, right?

As for the possibility of a true follower of Jesus practicing homosexuality, Paul addresses this head-on: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, ESV).

So says the Word of God.

Again, my issue is not with questioning President Trump's Christianity. Let God be the judge, and let all of us examine our own lives.

My issue is with a pro-abortion, practicing homosexual who claims to be Christian calling out Trump's alleged "hypocrisy."

That, indeed, is the height of hypocrisy, and there is nothing Christian about it.

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Cdl. Sarah: Christians have ‘duty’ to evangelize since Jesus is ‘only way’ to heaven

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By Maike Hickson

April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Catholics have a "duty" to evangelize and that bringing the unbaptized to Christ is an "urgent task" for the Church. The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments made these comments when asked how Catholics should convert others without resorting to "proselytism as denounced just recently by Pope Francis."

Last week, Pope Francis asked Christians in Morocco not to actively seek converts to their faith, saying that the "paths of mission are not those of proselytism." The Pope did not explain what he meant by "proselytism." 

Cardinal Sarah was asked by Aleteia in an April 5 interview, “How can we convert without resorting to proselytism as denounced just recently by Pope Francis during his trip to Morocco?” He responded that the Church has been given a "mandate from Jesus: 'All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe what I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you until the end of time.'"

"The Church cannot avoid this urgent task," he added. 

The African prelate went on to quote St. Paul on the subject: “'Woe to me,' said Saint Paul, 'if I do not evangelize.' This is what missionaries did in Africa, and on other continents. In their first contact with people, they immediately presented the Gospel and its demands, without ever forcing anyone. I do not know of any missionary who has forced a people to become Christian. But evangelizing is a duty.”

Cardinal Sarah stated that Jesus is the “only way to salvation.” 

“Whether it is Muslims, Buddhists or animists, we must evangelize everyone by proclaiming Jesus Christ, because he is the only way to salvation, so it is not proselytism, because we do not force pagans or Muslims with weapons, but offer them the way to salvation. Our religion is based on love and banishes violence,” he said. 

In Morocco, it is forbidden for a Muslim to become Christian, and this is what is often referred to as proselytism. As the New York Times explains, the Moroccan authorities “do not recognize Moroccan converts to Christianity and many of those worship secretly in homes. Conversion from Islam to Christianity is banned – as it is in many Muslim countries – and proselytizing is punishable by up to three years in prison.” According to this, Pope Francis rejecting proselytism could be interpreted as not encouraging Catholics to evangelize – a word he did not even use in his March 31 speech. His concept of the Church's mission, as it seems, means being friendly to one's neighbors and being a good example and thus – like the yeast – indirectly inviting people to join the Catholic Church. Thus he also ambiguously stated: “For Jesus did not choose us and send us forth to become more numerous! He called us to a mission.”

Some observers try to explain that Pope Francis rejects with his words against proselytism the idea of forcing people to convert or to impose one's own power. Cardinal Sarah, however, responds to this claim when he says that “I do not know of any missionary who has forced a people to become Christian. But evangelizing is a duty.”

In light of the confusing message Pope Francis has sent out into the world with his March 31 speech, Cardinal Sarah's words on the internal “division” in the Church may be helpful, as well. He states in his new Aleteia interview that “what is tragic is the division within the Church. A division that manifests itself mainly on doctrinal, moral, and disciplinary levels. Everyone now says and thinks what they [sic] want. How could we not be concerned if it seems that the Church no longer has doctrine or clear moral teaching?”

In light of this current confusion, the prelate recommends that Catholics “hold on to the boat [the Church] firmly, and pray. In other words, it is our responsibility to stand firmly by the Doctrine, the teaching of the Church, and to pray.” 

“The Church does not belong to the pseudo-reformers. I cannot change what I have not built myself and which, therefore, does not belong to me. No one can change the Church of Jesus. Those who want to change it need a mandate from Jesus,” he adds.

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Expert comments on question of history of female deacons

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By Maike Hickson

April 11, 2019 update: Professor Schlosser's statement has now been published in German here.

April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Professor Marianne Schlosser, a German theologian and expert in the question of the female diaconate, has given LifeSiteNews an interview on the matter of the history of female deacons, pointing out how important it is to deal with it in a differentiated manner.

LifeSiteNews had reached out to her because Professor Peter Huenermann recently had claimed in an interview with LifeSiteNews that Professor Schlosser - who has also been a member of the Vatican Commission of the female diaconate (2016-2018) - had told the doctrinal commission of the German Bishops' Conference what the result of the work of that commission was, namely, that there were never sacramentally ordained female deacons. The report itself so far has not been published by Pope Francis.

Schlosser denied that she ever spoke about this report to anyone, let alone to the German bishops' doctrinal commission.

Professor Schlosser further gave LifeSiteNews some insights into the history of the Early Church and how this could be helpful in dealing with the matter of female deacons. 

The comments below are Professor Schlosser's personal views as an expert in the question of female deacons.

LifeSiteNews: Is it true that you have given such a report [about the final report of the Vatican's female diaconate commission] to the German bishops' doctrinal commission?

Marianne Schlosser: Unfortunately, this claim does not correspond to the facts. I did not inform the German episcopal commission on doctrine about the work of the papal commission, nor have I ever commented on the papal commission’s results or its final report. 

The members are not permitted to speak about the results of a commission of this kind or about its discussions. That is why the claim that I had passed on such information to others comes close to damaging my reputation. However, I do not assume that this was the intention. The statements by Prof. Hünermann seemed to be based on various conjectures, false conclusions, or misinformation provided by those persons to whom he refers. In any event, these statements are as little grounded in reality as the claim that I was a “student of then-Professor Ratzinger.” This is also not true – to my own regret. A simple look at the date of my birth and my curriculum vitae would have shown that I was still in high school when Joseph Ratzinger left the university to become a bishop in 1977.

LifeSiteNews: Could you confirm that Hünermann's claim is correct, namely that the female deacon commission came to the conclusion that, in the history of the Catholic Church, there never existed ordained female deacons?

Marianne Schlosser: This second question is one that I cannot answer for the above-mentioned reason! I have not commented in the past on this commission, and I do not plan to do so in the future – except if the Pope were to order the publication of the commission’s final report. The results of such study commissions are meant for the Pope’s own use, and it is solely up to his own assessment of what to do with it.

As an academic expert who has dealt in her research for several years now with these questions, I would like to point out, however, a special difficulty, which comes to light in many discussions – and also in your own question. The answer to the question “Were there ordained female deacons?” depends upon how one takes the word “ordained.”

In the sources of the early Church, we encounter several different expressions – for example in Latin ordinare, sacramentum – which should not mislead us into taking them only in today's sense. In the first millennium the expressions “ordinatio” and “ordo” were used in a broader sense than in later times. Today this word nearly always means the “sacramentum ordinis,” the Sacrament of Holy Orders. At the time, “ordo” primarily meant a state, into which one was received with the help of a liturgical ceremony (“ordinatio”). In this sense, one spoke of the “ordo” of the monks, the widows, the presbyters, and so on. Up to the High Middle Ages we find liturgical texts that unabashedly speak of the “ordination of a diacona or diaconissa”. This is nothing new and has been known for a long time!

Therefore, does “ordained” mean that they received a “sacramental ordination”? Here, we also need to take into account that today's understanding of the sacrament – just as the number of the seven sacraments – was theologically clarified only in the 12th century and then further specified in the 16th century. In earlier centuries, the dividing line to the so-called “sacramentals” was not yet drawn in such a precise manner. This means, concretely: there were and there are liturgical ceremonies for persons, which are more than a “blessing,” inasmuch as through them an objective spiritual reality is being founded (for example the consecration of monks, nuns, or virgins), and which one certainly could call “sacramental” according to the Church Fathers – even though they have nothing to do with the sacramental ordination for an ecclesiastical office. 

It seems to me to be of prime importance to focus on the theological-spiritual kernel of the “ordination of a female deacon,” as has been done for a long time, for example, by the American theologian, Prof. Dr. Sara Butler. For what kind of tasks were female deacons ordained? Are there any indications that the early Church understood this ordination as a participation in the Apostolic office? Do liturgical texts indicate that the female deacons were simply “deacons who were female,” or, rather, that they were something different, something special?  The fact that the ordination prayers for female deacons and for deacons are not identical in any of the cases that are known to me, deserves our close attention. According to the ancient principle “lex orandi, lex credendi,” such a comparison could provide a better sense of how the early Church understood the ordination of female deacons.

Yes, this matter is complicated. But one cannot dispense with such complexity if one hopes to come to reliable conclusions. In any event, I hope that these short comments indicate how problematic – and how misleading – simplifying statements can be.

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Man argues he’s really a dog using transgender talking points

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By Jonathon van Maren

April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As a columnist reporting on the latest news from the culture wars in 2019, I often find it difficult to know which stories I should write about, and which stories I should pass by. Because the Sexual Revolution inflicted on the West over the past half-century appears to have metastasized and entered Stage Four, we are now forced to grapple with and discuss concepts and behaviors that would have made our grandparents flush in shame, recoil in disgust, or despair over the state of our culture—and very likely all three. But despite that fact, dealing with the moral confusion and transgender totalitarianism and mangled state of marriage is unfortunately essential.

The reason it is important to follow these stories is that if the last two decades have taught us anything, it is that things that are considered the far edge of the crazy fringe one day are immutable human rights the next. Ideas that we once laughed off as utterly unbelievable to any common-sense, thinking person have been embraced by the elites, who then promptly inform the rest of us that we are required to play along with the trendy new insanities. And if the progressives get their way, our entire society will be restructured according to their revolutionary (and mandatory) relativism. We cannot afford to ignore them, because they do not plan to ignore us.

So with those provisos planted firmly in place, consider the latest insanity in the United Kingdom, reported on by the Daily Mail. Kaz James, a 37-year-old store manager from Salford, Greater Manchester, told the media that he has always felt “weird” and “never felt like a human,” and then realized in his teens that he is a puppy. That is, a young dog, in case that wasn’t clear. He eats his meals from a dog bowl, frequently barks at his friends, snacks on dog biscuits, carries things around in his mouth, and has thousands of pounds worth of rubber outfits, dog leashes, and other paraphernalia to assist in his transformation. He even wrote a book, How to Train a Human Pup, and strives to “be dog” in his whole life. 

That being said, James says, “I go about and live my day-to-day life relatively normally. That includes things like putting collars on and barking at people I know in the street.” The word “normal,” it seems, is being forced to work rather hard here. James gets strange reactions too, but he says that his weird behavior is important to “express his inner animal.” He is, after all, a “human pup,” he says. Being a “normal person” is very difficult, he added: “I’m trained and can deal with humans, but I don’t like it, it makes me feel uncomfortable.” This is despite the quite obvious fact that James is not a dog. (Having to write the preceding sentence is a perfect illustration of how absurd we have become.)

He has connected with other like-minded people who feel like he does: “I didn’t ever feel right as a human, I always felt like a dog that was really out of place. I never really had a name for it, being a pup wasn’t a thing I knew about.” He and his other delusional friends get together and do the sorts of things they imagine dogs would enjoy doing if they could think and get together for recreation, which of course they cannot know because, again, they are not dogs. James himself decided he must be a dog at age 17 when “the internet arrived in our house…I realised that my behaviours were quite dog-like in childhood, probably from the age of six. No-one ever talked about it, it was never mentioned.”

Notice the language that James is using here. Just like with the transgender movement, he talks about having feelings of disorientation early in life, and then describes finding his true identity. It might seem crazy, but our society has already accepted the basic premise of James’s argument: That biological reality doesn’t determine your identity, but how you feel. It doesn’t matter that it is nuts for James to say he knows what a dog feels like. It is also nuts for a man to pretend he is a woman because he has always felt like a woman, despite the fact that he by definition cannot know that because he is not a woman. Trans activists might be offended by the comparison, but they can’t be. After all, even the “transabled” are pointing to the fact that the premises of the transgender movement in law allow for their own amputations of healthy limbs. 

There are also the “otherkin,” who, like James, decide to live as other species. Then there are the “trans-aged,” who claim to be younger—it is always younger—than their actual age. There is one middle-aged father of a large family in Toronto, for example, who has decided to abandon his wife and children and live as a little girl with an equally delusional couple caring for him. There was also an enterprising Dutch fellow who discovered that the dating scene was getting tougher and asked the courts to allow him to legally change his age from 69 to 49 (they refused.) And of course, there are now any number of different genders you can identify as—or you can identify as no gender at all. Delusion is mainstream, and you can be who you want to be regardless of reality. Carpe diem (seize the day), and all that.

So it may be mildly humorous to read about some clearly unstable person deciding that he is a dog, and then deciding to live as one. But keep in mind that people who share the foundation of his worldview are now in charge. There is a reason that BBC’s Channel 4 ran an entire documentary on these “human pups,” and that each new bizarre manifestation of radical autonomy and revolutionary relativism receives sympathetic media coverage: The elites are tearing down the structures of Western civilization in the name of compassion, tolerance, and diversity.

We should be watching very carefully, because it may soon be illegal to point out the obvious fact that they are all barking mad. 

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 Scott Klusendorf,  a veteran of the pro-life movement. In this episode, he tells Jonathon Van Maren that the “seamless garment" approach is “a threat to the survival of the pro-life movement" and that "I will fight it with everything that's in me.” You can subscribe here, and listen to the episode below: 

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