All articles from April 10, 2019


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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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African man kills himself after village ridicules him for having too many children

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

Analysis

EAST AFRICA, April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A 25-year-old man was found hanging from a tree earlier this month near Samuel Mabaso Village in the Mzimba district in northern Malawi, in what is thought to be a family planning–related suicide.

According to a local news source, Face of Malawi, he took his own life after having been ridiculed by his neighbors and even by his own mother because his wife was expecting a child less than two years after the birth of their first baby.

The press officer of the district police station identified the deceased as Lammeck Phangula, married, father to a daughter aged one year and nine months.

According to the report, news of his wife’s second pregnancy made Phangula and his family the laughingstock of his village because he had failed to use family planning — “and this did not please him.” He is said to have gone missing from the village around 10 o’clock in the morning and was found dead three hours later in the bush.

A postmortem was conducted, and the police said his death by strangulation secondary to hanging was related to the public stigma surrounding his family situation.

Phangula’s suicide is emblematic of the pressure bearing on many sub-Saharan  African countries to bring their birth rates down and curb population growth, which is presented as the main obstacle to development.

All sorts of methods are used to convince Africans that their poverty and suffering are linked to their flourishing fertility: lack of education of young women, health problems, maternal deaths, poor neonatal care, lack of food and other goods, and general misery are all ascribed to early pregnancies and numerous births.

Rather than offering better health services — in particular for pregnant women — and sound moral education to help preserve youngsters from premature sexual activity, international agencies and NGOs use their own networks and local government and education services to promote sex education and “modern contraceptives” as the only solution.

The Republic of Malawi is a small landlocked country lying between Mozambique and Zambia in the Rift Valley, with the Great Lake of Malawi forming its northern border. Its population of some 19.5 million souls still practices polygamy, although this is dwindling, and in some regions, including the Mzimba district, traditional tribal chieftains have been officially recognized as local authorities. Crime is rife. Per capita income is the second lowest in the world, at 342 dollars per year, although Malawi has many resources, both in the agricultural and mining sectors. Its beautiful scenery and biodiversity would probably attract more tourists if insecurity were not endemic.

Malawi’s problems certainly involve many issues other than population growth.

These last 30 years have been marked by increasing pressure in favor of contraceptives and sterilization. Marie Stopes International, one of the largest abortion-providers in the world, arrived in Malawi in 1987 and is now the largest non-profit provider of contraceptives in the country, covering 65 percent of the latter as well as “post-abortion care,” abortion being illegal in most cases.

Marie Stopes’s local initiative, Banja La Mtsogolo, repeatedly offers free contraception programs, financed in particular by UKAID, USAID, and the European Commission, and prides itself on having provided “more than 1.9 million modern contraception services to Malawian women since 2008, including over 300,000 long acting and permanent methods.”

Malawi also has a local Family Planning Association, FPAM, affiliated to the International Planned Parenthood Federation. It targets rural communities and young people, operating 53 mobile sexual and reproductive health facilities, working with the government and receiving funds from UNFPA, Japan, and UNICEF among others.

Reveals the IPPF’s website, “FPAM also provides youth-friendly SRH information, education and behaviour change communication materials to young people at 4 youth centres, and through schools. Peer educators use group discussions, theatre performances, publications and audio-visual materials produced by community reproductive health promoters to pass on the message about good SRH practice and access to resources. The distribution of contraceptives, pregnancy testing, the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for HIV and AIDS are core to FPAM’s clinic activity.”

This means there is permanent and ubiquitous pressure on rural populations of Malawi to use long-lasting contraception. This includes propaganda, free transportation to family planning services, and the like in specially targeted rural areas.

Already in 1998, the World Bank approved US$5 million in funding to promote family planning in Malawi, together with funding by the Malawi State. “A pilot project will support contraceptive education and improved family planning services, especially in rural and other under-served areas of the country,” its site announced at the time, explaining that the objective was to reduce the “unsustainable population growth” linked to a birthrate of 6.7 children per woman.

This rate has gone down to 4.4 children per woman. (The population replacement rate, necessary to maintain a population at its current level from one generation to the next, is 2.1 children per woman of child-bearing age in developed countries, but is higher in poorer countries, where child mortality is higher.)

Today, Malawi has a special Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan 2016–2020, which aims at raising the level of modern contraceptive coverage from 33 percent in 2015 to 60 percent by next year. It includes “demand generation,” which works at getting more Malawi women to ask for “modern contraceptives.” The program relies on USAID and the United Nations Population Fund and also works through massive propaganda. One of its priorities is to “expand youth access to accurate and actionable information and family planning services, and promote youth rights to make their own fertility choices.”

In 2018, Malawi had a “modern contraceptive prevalence rate” of 46.6 percent. Female sterilization accounts for 18.4 percent of the “modern contraceptive method mix.” Implants (including avortive IUDs) represent 19.9 percent of the “mix,” and injectable long-lasting contraceptives account for another 49.8 percent, according to “Core Indicator Estimates” of the 2020 Family Planning commitment subscribed to by Malawi.

Little wonder, then, that young families in Malawi are being submitted to the modern equivalent of the pillory when they appear not to be obeying the dominant anti-life culture, where having a child is seen not as an enrichment, but as a shame. Lammeck Phangula ran afoul of that culture at the cost of his life.

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Graham Preston and Kathy Clubb
Andrew Smith, Australian correspondent

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Australian pro-lifers lose High Court appeals over abortion ‘bubble zone’ laws

Andrew Smith, Australian correspondent
By Andrew Smith

BRISBANE, Australia, April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Australia’s High Court rejected an appeal from pro-lifers to overturn “bubble zone” laws around state- and territory-based abortion clinics on Wednesday.

Graham Preston and Kathy Clubb had separate cases that were combined for the High Court appeal. The decision was handed down in front of the full court with five of seven judges present.

Preston has no other courts to which he can file an appeal and now expects the Tasmanian government to seek to collect a $3,000 fine from his original conviction in 2016.  

Speaking to LifeSiteNews, Preston said the ruling was not surprising but obviously disappointing.

“We see this as a tragic day for freedom of speech in this country, that the suppression of freedom of speech is being accepted at the highest court in the country and there’s no further avenue for appeal,” he said.

Clubb will continue to appeal to the Supreme Court her Victorian bubble zone law conviction. This case is separate from the High Court judgment that centered around the constitutionality of the laws.  

Clubb echoed Preston’s disappointment.

“It’s not surprising,” she said. “This (Queensland) is a state where a practising abortionist has acknowledged that women are coerced into abortions but that she is still prepared to perform the abortions on those women. So we shouldn’t be surprised that the law is with the abortionists and not with people who try to defend human life.”

Lead pro-life lobby group Cherish Life Queensland condemned the High Court decision to uphold exclusion zones around clinics as tragic for the unborn and a blight on democracy.

“Despite all the medical evidence proving the humanity of the unborn, including sophisticated ultrasounds and embryology, our legal system refuses personhood to the unborn before birth,” executive director Teeshan Johnson said. “No other rights make sense if the right to life is not extended to unborn human beings.”

Johnson pointed out that this week in coordinated protests vegan activists trespassed on land and endangered farm biosecurity in the name of animal welfare, yet none were charged by police.

“The hypocrisy and double standards in our justice system beggars belief,” Johnson said. “It appears the Australian legal system protects chickens and lambs more than unborn human beings.”

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Pope Emeritus Benedict

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Pope Emeritus Benedict breaks silence on abuse crisis: full text

Pope Emeritus Benedict
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READ: Top takeaways from Pope Benedict’s letter on abuse crisis

April 10, 2019 (EWTN) - On February 21 to 24, at the invitation of Pope Francis, the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences gathered at the Vatican to discuss the current crisis of the faith and of the Church; a crisis experienced throughout the world after shocking revelations of clerical abuse perpetrated against minors.

The extent and gravity of the reported incidents has deeply distressed priests as well as laity, and has caused more than a few to call into question the very Faith of the Church. It was necessary to send out a strong message, and seek out a new beginning, so to make the Church again truly credible as a light among peoples and as a force in service against the powers of destruction.

Since I myself had served in a position of responsibility as shepherd of the Church at the time of the public outbreak of the crisis, and during the run-up to it, I had to ask myself - even though, as emeritus, I am no longer directly responsible - what I could contribute to a new beginning.

Thus, after the meeting of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences was announced, I compiled some notes by which I might contribute one or two remarks to assist in this difficult hour. 

Having contacted the Secretary of State, Cardinal [Pietro] Parolin and the Holy Father [Pope Francis] himself, it seemed appropriate to publish this text in the Klerusblatt [a monthly periodical for clergy in mostly Bavarian dioceses].

My work is divided into three parts. 

In the first part, I aim to present briefly the wider social context of the question, without which the problem cannot be understood. I try to show that in the 1960s an egregious event occurred, on a scale unprecedented in history. It could be said that in the 20 years from 1960 to 1980, the previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely, and a new normalcy arose that has by now been the subject of laborious attempts at disruption. 

In the second part, I aim to point out the effects of this situation on the formation of priests and on the lives of priests.

Finally, in the third part, I would like to develop some perspectives for a proper response on the part of the Church.

I.

(1) The matter begins with the state-prescribed and supported introduction of children and youths into the nature of sexuality. In Germany, the then-Minister of Health, Ms. [Käte] Strobel, had a film made in which everything that had previously not been allowed to be shown publicly, including sexual intercourse, was now shown for the purpose of education. What at first was only intended for the sexual education of young people consequently was widely accepted as a feasible option.

Similar effects were achieved by the “Sexkoffer” published by the Austrian government [A controversial ‘suitcase’ of sex education materials used in Austrian schools in the late 1980s]. Sexual and pornographic movies then became a common occurrence, to the point that they were screened at newsreel theaters [Bahnhofskinos]. I still remember seeing, as I was walking through the city of Regensburg one day, crowds of people lining up in front of a large cinema, something we had previously only seen in times of war, when some special allocation was to be hoped for. I also remember arriving in the city on Good Friday in the year 1970 and seeing all the billboards plastered up with a large poster of two completely naked people in a close embrace.

Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms.

The mental collapse was also linked to a propensity for violence. That is why sex films were no longer allowed on airplanes because violence would break out among the small community of passengers. And since the clothing of that time equally provoked aggression, school principals also made attempts at introducing school uniforms with a view to facilitating a climate of learning.

Part of the physiognomy of the Revolution of ’68 was that pedophilia was then also diagnosed as allowed and appropriate.

For the young people in the Church, but not only for them, this was in many ways a very difficult time. I have always wondered how young people in this situation could approach the priesthood and accept it, with all its ramifications. The extensive collapse of the next generation of priests in those years and the very high number of laicizations were a consequence of all these developments.

(2) At the same time, independently of this development, Catholic moral theology suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenseless against these changes in society. I will try to outline briefly the trajectory of this development.

Until the Second Vatican Council, Catholic moral theology was largely founded on natural law, while Sacred Scripture was only cited for background or substantiation. In the Council’s struggle for a new understanding of Revelation, the natural law option was largely abandoned, and a moral theology based entirely on the Bible was demanded.

I still remember how the Jesuit faculty in Frankfurt trained a highly gifted young Father (Bruno Schüller) with the purpose of developing a morality based entirely on Scripture. Father Schüller’s beautiful dissertation shows a first step towards building a morality based on Scripture. Father Schüller was then sent to America for further studies and came back with the realization that from the Bible alone morality could not be expressed systematically. He then attempted a more pragmatic moral theology, without being able to provide an answer to the crisis of morality.

In the end, it was chiefly the hypothesis that morality was to be exclusively determined by the purposes of human action that prevailed. While the old phrase “the end justifies the means” was not confirmed in this crude form, its way of thinking had become definitive. Consequently, there could no longer be anything that constituted an absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; [there could be] only relative value judgments. There no longer was the [absolute] good, but only the relatively better, contingent on the moment and on circumstances.

The crisis of the justification and presentation of Catholic morality reached dramatic proportions in the late ’80s and ’90s. On January 5, 1989, the “Cologne Declaration,” signed by 15 Catholic professors of theology, was published. It focused on various crisis points in the relationship between the episcopal magisterium and the task of theology. [Reactions to] this text, which at first did not extend beyond the usual level of protests, very rapidly grew into an outcry against the Magisterium of the Church and mustered, audibly and visibly, the global protest potential against the expected doctrinal texts of John Paul II (cf. D. Mieth, Kölner Erklärung, LThK, VI3, p. 196) [LTHK is the Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, a German-language “Lexicon of Theology and the Church,” whose editors included Karl Rahner and Cardinal Walter Kasper.]

Pope John Paul II, who knew very well the situation of moral theology and followed it closely, commissioned work on an encyclical that would set these things right again. It was published under the title “Veritatis splendor” on August 6, 1993, and it triggered vehement backlashes on the part of moral theologians. Before it, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” already had persuasively presented, in a systematic fashion, morality as proclaimed by the Church.

I shall never forget how then-leading German moral theologian Franz Böckle, who, having returned to his native Switzerland after his retirement, announced in view of the possible decisions of the encyclical “Veritatis splendor” that if the encyclical should determine that there were actions which were always and under all circumstances to be classified as evil, he would challenge it with all the resources at his disposal.

It was God, the Merciful, that spared him from having to put his resolution into practice; Böckle died on July 8, 1991. The encyclical was published on August 6, 1993 and did indeed include the determination that there were actions that can never become good.

The pope was fully aware of the importance of this decision at that moment and for this part of his text, he had once again consulted leading specialists who did not take part in the editing of the encyclical. He knew that he must leave no doubt about the fact that the moral calculus involved in balancing goods must respect a final limit. There are goods that are never subject to trade-offs.

There are values which must never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life. There is martyrdom. God is [about] more than mere physical survival. A life that would be bought by the denial of God, a life that is based on a final lie, is a non-life.

Martyrdom is a basic category of Christian existence. The fact that martyrdom is no longer morally necessary in the theory advocated by Böckle and many others shows that the very essence of Christianity is at stake here.

In moral theology, however, another question had meanwhile become pressing: The hypothesis that the Magisterium of the Church should have final competence (“infallibility”) only in matters concerning the faith itself gained widespread acceptance; (in this view) questions concerning morality should not fall within the scope of infallible decisions of the Magisterium of the Church. There is probably something right about this hypothesis that warrants further discussion. But there is a minimum set of morals which is indissolubly linked to the foundational principle of faith and which must be defended if faith is not to be reduced to a theory but rather to be recognized in its claim to concrete life.

All this makes apparent just how fundamentally the authority of the Church in matters of morality is called into question. Those who deny the Church a final teaching competence in this area force her to remain silent precisely where the boundary between truth and lies is at stake.

Independently of this question, in many circles of moral theology the hypothesis was expounded that the Church does not and cannot have her own morality. The argument being that all moral hypotheses would also know parallels in other religions and therefore a Christian property of morality could not exist. But the question of the unique nature of a biblical morality is not answered by the fact that for every single sentence somewhere, a parallel can also be found in other religions. Rather, it is about the whole of biblical morality, which as such is new and different from its individual parts.

The moral doctrine of Holy Scripture has its uniqueness ultimately predicated in its cleaving to the image of God, in faith in the one God who showed himself in Jesus Christ and who lived as a human being. The Decalogue is an application of the biblical faith in God to human life. The image of God and morality belong together and thus result in the particular change of the Christian attitude towards the world and human life. Moreover, Christianity has been described from the beginning with the word hodós [Greek for a road, in the New Testament often used in the sense of a path of progress].

Faith is a journey and a way of life. In the old Church, the catechumenate was created as a habitat against an increasingly demoralized culture, in which the distinctive and fresh aspects of the Christian way of life were practiced and at the same time protected from the common way of life. I think that even today something like catechumenal communities are necessary so that Christian life can assert itself in its own way.

II.

Initial Ecclesial Reactions 

(1) The long-prepared and ongoing process of dissolution of the Christian concept of morality was, as I have tried to show, marked by an unprecedented radicalism in the 1960s. This dissolution of the moral teaching authority of the Church necessarily had to have an effect on the diverse areas of the Church. In the context of the meeting of the presidents of the episcopal conferences from all over the world with Pope Francis, the question of priestly life, as well as that of seminaries, is of particular interest. As regards the problem of preparation for priestly ministry in seminaries, there is in fact a far-reaching breakdown of the previous form of this preparation.

In various seminaries homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries. In one seminary in southern Germany, candidates for the priesthood and candidates for the lay ministry of the pastoral specialist [Pastoralreferent] lived together. At the common meals, seminarians and pastoral specialists ate together, the married among the laymen sometimes accompanied by their wives and children, and on occasion by their girlfriends. The climate in this seminary could not provide support for preparation to the priestly vocation. The Holy See knew of such problems, without being informed precisely. As a first step, an Apostolic Visitation was arranged of seminaries in the United States.

As the criteria for the selection and appointment of bishops had also been changed after the Second Vatican Council, the relationship of bishops to their seminaries was very different, too. Above all, a criterion for the appointment of new bishops was now their “conciliarity,” which of course could be understood to mean rather different things.

Indeed, in many parts of the Church, conciliar attitudes were understood to mean having a critical or negative attitude towards the hitherto existing tradition, which was now to be replaced by a new, radically open relationship with the world. One bishop, who had previously been seminary rector, had arranged for the seminarians to be shown pornographic films, allegedly with the intention of thus making them resistant to behavior contrary to the faith.

There were — not only in the United States of America — individual bishops who rejected the Catholic tradition as a whole and sought to bring about a kind of new, modern “Catholicity” in their dioceses. Perhaps it is worth mentioning that in not a few seminaries, students caught reading my books were considered unsuitable for the priesthood. My books were hidden away, like bad literature, and only read under the desk.

The Visitation that now took place brought no new insights, apparently because various powers had joined forces to conceal the true situation. A second Visitation was ordered and brought considerably more insights, but on the whole failed to achieve any outcomes. Nonetheless, since the 1970s the situation in seminaries has generally improved. And yet, only isolated cases of a new strengthening of priestly vocations came about as the overall situation had taken a different turn.

(2) The question of pedophilia, as I recall, did not become acute until the second half of the 1980s. In the meantime, it had already become a public issue in the U.S., such that the bishops in Rome sought help, since canon law, as it is written in the new (1983) Code, did not seem sufficient for taking the necessary measures.

Rome and the Roman canonists at first had difficulty with these concerns; in their opinion the temporary suspension from priestly office had to be sufficient to bring about purification and clarification. This could not be accepted by the American bishops, because the priests thus remained in the service of the bishop, and thereby could be taken to be [still] directly associated with him. Only slowly, a renewal and deepening of the deliberately loosely constructed criminal law of the new Code began to take shape.

In addition, however, there was a fundamental problem in the perception of criminal law. Only so-called guarantorism [a kind of procedural protectionism] was still regarded as “conciliar.” This means that above all the rights of the accused had to be guaranteed, to an extent that factually excluded any conviction at all. As a counterweight against the often-inadequate defense options available to accused theologians, their right to defense by way of guarantorism was extended to such an extent that convictions were hardly possible.

Allow me a brief excursus at this point. In light of the scale of pedophilic misconduct, a word of Jesus has again come to attention which says: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).

The phrase “the little ones” in the language of Jesus means the common believers who can be confounded in their faith by the intellectual arrogance of those who think they are clever. So here Jesus protects the deposit of the faith with an emphatic threat of punishment to those who do it harm.

The modern use of the sentence is not in itself wrong, but it must not obscure the original meaning. In that meaning, it becomes clear, contrary to any guarantorism, that it is not only the right of the accused that is important and requires a guarantee. Great goods such as the Faith are equally important.

A balanced canon law that corresponds to the whole of Jesus’ message must therefore not only provide a guarantee for the accused, the respect for whom is a legal good. It must also protect the Faith, which is also an important legal asset. A properly formed canon law must therefore contain a double guarantee — legal protection of the accused, legal protection of the good at stake. If today one puts forward this inherently clear conception, one generally falls on deaf ears when it comes to the question of the protection of the Faith as a legal good. In the general awareness of the law, the Faith no longer appears to have the rank of a good requiring protection. This is an alarming situation which must be considered and taken seriously by the pastors of the Church.

I would now like to add, to the brief notes on the situation of priestly formation at the time of the public outbreak of the crisis, a few remarks regarding the development of canon law in this matter.

In principle, the Congregation of the Clergy is responsible for dealing with crimes committed by priests. But since guarantorism dominated the situation to a large extent at the time, I agreed with Pope John Paul II that it was appropriate to assign the competence for these offences to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the title “Delicta maiora contra fidem.

This arrangement also made it possible to impose the maximum penalty, i.e., expulsion from the clergy, which could not have been imposed under other legal provisions. This was not a trick to be able to impose the maximum penalty, but is a consequence of the importance of the Faith for the Church. In fact, it is important to see that such misconduct by clerics ultimately damages the Faith.

Only where Faith no longer determines the actions of man are such offenses possible.

The severity of the punishment, however, also presupposes a clear proof of the offense — this aspect of guarantorism remains in force.

In other words, in order to impose the maximum penalty lawfully, a genuine criminal process is required. But both the dioceses and the Holy See were overwhelmed by such a requirement. We therefore formulated a minimum level of criminal proceedings and left open the possibility that the Holy See itself would take over the trial where the diocese or the metropolitan administration is unable to do so. In each case, the trial would have to be reviewed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in order to guarantee the rights of the accused. Finally, in the Feria IV (i.e., the assembly of the members of the Congregation), we established an appeal instance in order to provide for the possibility of an appeal.

Because all of this actually went beyond the capacities of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and because delays arose which had to be prevented owing to the nature of the matter, Pope Francis has undertaken further reforms.

III.

(1) What must be done? Perhaps we should create another Church for things to work out? Well, that experiment has already been undertaken and has already failed. Only obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ can point the way. So let us first try to understand anew and from within [ourselves] what the Lord wants, and has wanted with us.

First, I would suggest the following: If we really wanted to summarize very briefly the content of the Faith as laid down in the Bible, we might do so by saying that the Lord has initiated a narrative of love with us and wants to subsume all creation in it. The counterforce against evil, which threatens us and the whole world, can ultimately only consist in our entering into this love. It is the real counterforce against evil. The power of evil arises from our refusal to love God. He who entrusts himself to the love of God is redeemed. Our being not redeemed is a consequence of our inability to love God. Learning to love God is therefore the path of human redemption.

Let us now try to unpack this essential content of God’s revelation a little more. We might then say that the first fundamental gift that Faith offers us is the certainty that God exists.

A world without God can only be a world without meaning. For where, then, does everything that is come from? In any case, it has no spiritual purpose. It is somehow simply there and has neither any goal nor any sense. Then there are no standards of good or evil. Then only what is stronger than the other can assert itself. Power is then the only principle. Truth does not count, it actually does not exist. Only if things have a spiritual reason, are intended and conceived — only if there is a Creator God who is good and wants the good — can the life of man also have meaning.

That there is God as creator and as the measure of all things is first and foremost a primordial need. But a God who would not express Himself at all, who would not make Himself known, would remain a presumption and could thus not determine the form [Gestalt] of our life.

But a God who would not express himself at all, who would not make himself known, would remain an assumption and could thus not determine the form of our life. For God to be really God in this deliberate creation, we must look to Him to express Himself in some way. He has done so in many ways, but decisively in the call that went to Abraham and gave people in search of God the orientation that leads beyond all expectation: God Himself becomes creature, speaks as man with us human beings.

In this way the sentence “God is” ultimately turns into a truly joyous message, precisely because He is more than understanding, because He creates — and is — love. To once more make people aware of this is the first and fundamental task entrusted to us by the Lord.

A society without God — a society that does not know Him and treats Him as non-existent — is a society that loses its measure. In our day, the catchphrase of God’s death was coined. When God does die in a society, it becomes free, we were assured. In reality, the death of God in a society also means the end of freedom, because what dies is the purpose that provides orientation. And because the compass disappears that points us in the right direction by teaching us to distinguish good from evil. Western society is a society in which God is absent in the public sphere and has nothing left to offer it. And that is why it is a society in which the measure of humanity is increasingly lost. At individual points it becomes suddenly apparent that what is evil and destroys man has become a matter of course.

That is the case with pedophilia. It was theorized only a short time ago as quite legitimate, but it has spread further and further. And now we realize with shock that things are happening to our children and young people that threaten to destroy them. The fact that this could also spread in the Church and among priests ought to disturb us in particular.

Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God. We Christians and priests also prefer not to talk about God, because this speech does not seem to be practical. After the upheaval of the Second World War, we in Germany had still expressly placed our Constitution under the responsibility to God as a guiding principle. Half a century later, it was no longer possible to include responsibility to God as a guiding principle in the European constitution. God is regarded as the party concern of a small group and can no longer stand as the guiding principle for the community as a whole. This decision reflects the situation in the West, where God has become the private affair of a minority.

A paramount task, which must result from the moral upheavals of our time, is that we ourselves once again begin to live by God and unto Him. Above all, we ourselves must learn again to recognize God as the foundation of our life instead of leaving Him aside as a somehow ineffective phrase. I will never forget the warning that the great theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar once wrote to me on one of his letter cards. “Do not presuppose the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but present them!”

Indeed, in theology God is often taken for granted as a matter of course, but concretely one does not deal with Him. The theme of God seems so unreal, so far removed from the things that concern us. And yet everything becomes different if one does not presuppose but present God. Not somehow leaving Him in the background, but recognizing Him as the center of our thoughts, words and actions.

(2) God became man for us. Man as His creature is so close to His heart that He has united himself with him and has thus entered human history in a very practical way. He speaks with us, He lives with us, He suffers with us and He took death upon Himself for us. We talk about this in detail in theology, with learned words and thoughts. But it is precisely in this way that we run the risk of becoming masters of faith instead of being renewed and mastered by the Faith.

Let us consider this with regard to a central issue, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern. The Second Vatican Council was rightly focused on returning this sacrament of the Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, of the Presence of His Person, of His Passion, Death and Resurrection, to the center of Christian life and the very existence of the Church. In part, this really has come about, and we should be most grateful to the Lord for it.

And yet a rather different attitude is prevalent. What predominates is not a new reverence for the presence of Christ’s death and resurrection, but a way of dealing with Him that destroys the greatness of the Mystery. The declining participation in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration shows how little we Christians of today still know about appreciating the greatness of the gift that consists in His Real Presence. The Eucharist is devalued into a mere ceremonial gesture when it is taken for granted that courtesy requires Him to be offered at family celebrations or on occasions such as weddings and funerals to all those invited for family reasons.

The way people often simply receive the Holy Sacrament in communion as a matter of course shows that many see communion as a purely ceremonial gesture. Therefore, when thinking about what action is required first and foremost, it is rather obvious that we do not need another Church of our own design. Rather, what is required first and foremost is the renewal of the Faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament.

In conversations with victims of pedophilia, I have been made acutely aware of this first and foremost requirement. A young woman who was a [former] altar server told me that the chaplain, her superior as an altar server, always introduced the sexual abuse he was committing against her with the words: “This is my body which will be given up for you.”

It is obvious that this woman can no longer hear the very words of consecration without experiencing again all the horrific distress of her abuse. Yes, we must urgently implore the Lord for forgiveness, and first and foremost we must swear by Him and ask Him to teach us all anew to understand the greatness of His suffering, His sacrifice. And we must do all we can to protect the gift of the Holy Eucharist from abuse.

(3) And finally, there is the Mystery of the Church. The sentence with which Romano Guardini, almost 100 years ago, expressed the joyful hope that was instilled in him and many others, remains unforgotten: “An event of incalculable importance has begun; the Church is awakening in souls.”

He meant to say that no longer was the Church experienced and perceived as merely an external system entering our lives, as a kind of authority, but rather it began to be perceived as being present within people’s hearts — as something not merely external, but internally moving us. About half a century later, in reconsidering this process and looking at what had been happening, I felt tempted to reverse the sentence: “The Church is dying in souls.”

Indeed, the Church today is widely regarded as just some kind of political apparatus. One speaks of it almost exclusively in political categories, and this applies even to bishops, who formulate their conception of the church of tomorrow almost exclusively in political terms. The crisis, caused by the many cases of clerical abuse, urges us to regard the Church as something almost unacceptable, which we must now take into our own hands and redesign. But a self-made Church cannot constitute hope.

Jesus Himself compared the Church to a fishing net in which good and bad fish are ultimately separated by God Himself. There is also the parable of the Church as a field on which the good grain that God Himself has sown grows, but also the weeds that “an enemy” secretly sown onto it. Indeed, the weeds in God’s field, the Church, are excessively visible, and the evil fish in the net also show their strength. Nevertheless, the field is still God’s field and the net is God’s fishing net. And at all times, there are not only the weeds and the evil fish, but also the crops of God and the good fish. To proclaim both with emphasis is not a false form of apologetics, but a necessary service to the Truth.

In this context it is necessary to refer to an important text in the Revelation of St. John. The devil is identified as the accuser who accuses our brothers before God day and night (Revelation 12:10). St. John’s Apocalypse thus takes up a thought from the center of the framing narrative in the Book of Job (Job 1 and 2, 10; 42:7-16). In that book, the devil sought to talk down the righteousness of Job before God as being merely external. And exactly this is what the Apocalypse has to say: The devil wants to prove that there are no righteous people; that all righteousness of people is only displayed on the outside. If one could hew closer to a person, then the appearance of his justice would quickly fall away.

The narrative in Job begins with a dispute between God and the devil, in which God had referred to Job as a truly righteous man. He is now to be used as an example to test who is right. Take away his possessions and you will see that nothing remains of his piety, the devil argues. God allows him this attempt, from which Job emerges positively. Now the devil pushes on and he says: “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But put forth thy hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 2:4f)

God grants the devil a second turn. He may also touch the skin of Job. Only killing Job is denied to him. For Christians it is clear that this Job, who stands before God as an example for all mankind, is Jesus Christ. In St. John’s Apocalypse the drama of humanity is presented to us in all its breadth.

The Creator God is confronted with the devil who speaks ill of all mankind and all creation. He says, not only to God but above all to people: Look at what this God has done. Supposedly a good creation, but in reality full of misery and disgust. That disparagement of creation is really a disparagement of God. It wants to prove that God Himself is not good, and thus to turn us away from Him.

The timeliness of what the Apocalypse is telling us here is obvious. Today, the accusation against God is, above all, about characterizing His Church as entirely bad, and thus dissuading us from it. The idea of a better Church, created by ourselves, is in fact a proposal of the devil, with which he wants to lead us away from the living God, through a deceitful logic by which we are too easily duped. No, even today the Church is not just made up of bad fish and weeds. The Church of God also exists today, and today it is the very instrument through which God saves us.

It is very important to oppose the lies and half-truths of the devil with the whole truth: Yes, there is sin in the Church and evil. But even today there is the Holy Church, which is indestructible. Today there are many people who humbly believe, suffer and love, in whom the real God, the loving God, shows Himself to us. Today God also has His witnesses (martyres) in the world. We just have to be vigilant in order to see and hear them.

The word martyr is taken from procedural law. In the trial against the devil, Jesus Christ is the first and actual witness for God, the first martyr, who has since been followed by countless others.

Today’s Church is more than ever a “Church of the Martyrs” and thus a witness to the living God. If we look around and listen with an attentive heart, we can find witnesses everywhere today, especially among ordinary people, but also in the high ranks of the Church, who stand up for God with their life and suffering. It is an inertia of the heart that leads us to not wish to recognize them. One of the great and essential tasks of our evangelization is, as far as we can, to establish habitats of Faith and, above all, to find and recognize them.

I live in a house, in a small community of people who discover such witnesses of the living God again and again in everyday life and who joyfully point this out to me as well. To see and find the living Church is a wonderful task which strengthens us and makes us joyful in our Faith time and again.

At the end of my reflections I would like to thank Pope Francis for everything he does to show us, again and again, the light of God, which has not disappeared, even today. Thank you, Holy Father!

(Benedict XVI)

Translated by Anian Christoph Wimmer.

Quotes from Scripture use Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE).

This document was originally published by EWTN.

 
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Faithful Catholics risk their lives to stop destruction of Chinese shrine

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean
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FENGXIANG, China, April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Two hundred Chinese Catholics put their lives on the line when they attempted to stop the Communist government from destroying their beloved shrine.

According to Fr. Bernardo Cervellera, missionary priest and the editor of Asia News, the 200 members of the underground Catholic church have been holding a sit-in on the steps of the shrine of Mujiaping since yesterday evening.

“We are willing to lay down our lives," one of the Chinese Catholics is reported to have said.

This morning “at least 600” government officials and policemen arrived at the site to tear down the building.

Dedicated to the Sacred Heart, the shrine is considered Marian because pilgrims go there to visit its statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Chinese officials intend to destroy the statue as well as the sanctuary and a historical gate leading to its steps.

The shrine of Mujiaping is in the diocese of Fengxiang (Shaanxi), where last week agents of China’s communist government destroyed the church in Qianyang. It is believed that this diocese, headed by Bishop Luke Li Jingfeng until his death late in 2017, is the only one in China where neither the laity nor the bishop belong to the Communist-ruled Catholic Patriotic Catholic Association.

Cervella reported that it is unlikely that the outnumbered faithful will succeed in keeping the government officials from destroying the shrine.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China and a Catholic, told LifeSiteNews that the violent destruction of the Marian shrine is “heartbreaking, and shows how deeply China’s Communist Party fears religious belief.”

He added that the courage of the Fengxiang Catholics is inspiring and that they need help.

“While they deserve our prayers, they also deserve the support of the international community,” Mulroney said.

He added that the Vatican needs “to find its voice.”

“Vatican diplomats seem to think that speaking out will somehow threaten the agreement that they recently signed with Chinese authorities,” Mulroney stated.  

“They need to understand that what’s happening at Mujiaping is the fruit of that agreement,” he continued.

“By speaking out, standing up for the faithful and the truth, Rome can undo some of the damage done by its naive infatuation with China’s communist leaders, who respect neither faith nor truth.”

In October 2018, soon after the Vatican and China signed a historic accord, Chinese authorities destroyed the Marian shrines of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows in Dongergou (Shaanxi) and Our Lady of Bliss, also known as Our Lady of the Mountain, in Anlong (Guizhou).

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Online petition calls on Catholic University of America to ban campus internet porn

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By Martin Barillas

Urge Catholic U Admin to say YES to campus WiFi porn filter!. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — LifeSiteNews has launched a petition calling on administrators at prestigious Catholic University of America to concede to student demands for a ban on 200 top porn sites on campus Wi-Fi used by students and faculty.

The “Resolution for a Pornography Free Campus Network” was passed by the Student Government Association by a 13-12 vote and calls 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 ban, the resolution states, would allow CUA to “remove itself as a means in accessing such material.”

The LifeSiteNews petition calls on CUA president John Garvey and fellow administrators to put into place not only the ban requested by the students but to restrict access to online pornography altogether. In announcing the petition, a statement on LifeSiteNews noted it “speaks volumes” that the ban request came from students.

“It is their generation which has been inundated with pornography. And, they, more than most, have felt its truly awful effects,” it declared.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says of pornography: “It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.”

The petition states: “Indeed, porn has no place on a university WiFi network, much less on a Catholic university’s WiFi network. Therefore, we the undersigned, call on the CUA administration to enact this legitimate student demand, and go further by restricting access to online pornography altogether.” Indicating the terrific harm caused by pornography, the petition tells CUA administrators, “As you know, women are sometimes coerced into making porn or harmed in its production; some are trafficked for the purpose; and, children (God forbid!) are also sometimes victimized in heinous and demonic crimes.”

It goes on to ask, “Is it any surprise that reports of porn-fueled sexual aggression and violence have become all-too-common, and that porn use has also broken apart marriages and families?”

The petition said that the university, by prohibiting access to porn on its WiFi network, “can make a serious statement about how harmful porn is to the physical, mental and spiritual growth of its students — and of those harmed in its production.” A ban would set a great example, the petition said, and make CUA a role model for all universities to follow. “We pray that you will now heed both Church teaching and the call of your own students, and LEAD students and faculty to a porn-free campus!” it said, finally.

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'Unplanned' writer and director Chuck Konzelman speaks at the U.S. Senate’s Judicial Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution April 10, 2019.
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‘Unplanned’ director tells Senate panel about Twitter, Google’s censorship of pro-life film

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The writer and director of a new film about pro-life leader Abby Johnson’s conversion story appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution Wednesday to detail the suppression efforts Unplanned has endured from both the entertainment industry and dominant online platforms.

The committee held two panels Wednesday on the subject of “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse.” The first panel heard testimony from Twitter public policy and philanthropy chief Carlos Monje Jr. and Facebook public policy director Neil Potts; the second panel heard from academics and individuals affected by social media content policies, including Unplanned writer and director Chuck Konzelman.

Unplanned’s official Twitter account found itself suspended recently and reinstated after public outcry, though even afterward found its followers removed and other users temporarily unable to follow it, which a company spokesman claimed was simply a matter of a restored account taking roughly a day to “stabilize.”

“This account was caught in our automated systems used to detect ban evasion. Ban evasion technology is an important tool used to reduce the number of repeat offenders on our platform,” Monje claimed in his prepared remarks. “Specifically, the person who created the movie’s account was previously suspended for breaking our rules. We reinstated @UnplannedMovie as soon as it was brought to our attention that the account was not being used for similar violative activity, and the hashtag #UnplannedMovie became a trending topic on Twitter.”

Konzelman’s prepared remarks presented a different picture of the incident, noting that the account was “owned by the film’s single purpose marketing entity” and that the justification “has not – to the best of my knowledge – been made clear, beyond being ‘accidental.’”

“Later on the same day, Twitter apparently deleted the vast majority of those listed as ‘followers’ for our account,” he continued, “reducing the number from something on the order of 200,000 to less than 200. A thousand-to-one reduction in our listed followers [...] Again, this was all during the all-important first weekend of our release.

“Begging the question, Why does this only seem to happen to conservatives?” Konzelman asked. “Or as the satirical website The Babylon Bee put it: “Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, an organization that actually kills babies every single day, still had an active Twitter account in good standing.”

The director also noted that the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) gave Unplanned an “R” rating for “some disturbing/bloody images,” which “precluded us from using the single most effective form of motion picture advertising –paid placement of our theatrical trailer” before non-“R” films. He noted that the filmmakers sought but were denied an exception to the trailer prohibition.

“We also looked to advertise on cable television. But with the exception of Fox News and CBN, we were systematically denied access to the outlets where we sought to advertise – among which were Lifetime, UP TV, Hallmark, HGTV, USA Network, Food Network, The Travel Channel, DIY and the Cooking Channel,” he continued, adding that the A&E-owned Lifetime network claimed to reject it on the grounds of the “sensitive nature of the film,” despite having “previously promoted an interview with Scarlett Johansson in which she promoted Planned Parenthood.

“We consider these blanket refusals highly unusual and highly discriminatory, and have formally petitioned the FCC to look further into the matter,” Konzelman said.

Turning to Google (who did not have a representative present Wednesday), Konzelman detailed how Unplanned was barred entirely from placing banner ads with the Google Display Network, on the grounds that the internet giant purports to refuse any abortion-related ads.

“Just one problem: We weren’t doing abortion-related ads. We were marketing a movie,” he said. “It’s important to note that this prohibition was solidly in place for the entire leadup to our theatrical release [...] Because that all-important opening weekend’s results determine the course of the film’s theatrical run ... and even how much will make in ancillary markets and overseas.”

After Unplanned’s release, he said, “Google came up with yet another restriction, concerning event ticket sales ... one which our film’s marketers had never come across or even heard of in multiple similar campaigns.”

He noted that Facebook was the only major platform where Unplanned didn’t face significant hurdles, and argued that the subsequent 18 million trailer views attested to the importance of “unrestricted access” to social media.

Konzelman went on to note that several pro-abortion films are currently in development as well, and asked, “Is there any member of this committee who would like to go on record as saying they honestly expect either of those films to have trouble in buying advertising –on Google, or otherwise? I think not –because they won’t.”

“If they are allowed to apply their own broadly drawn ‘guidelines’ to dismiss one side of controversial issues – the side they don’t agree with -- and do so with impunity? Then they will do so,” Konzelman warned. “In a digital age, exclusion from the digital arena isn’t just discriminatory – it’s the most insidiously effective form of censorship imaginable.”

Unplanned tells the real-life story of Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood abortion facility director who converted to the pro-life cause in 2009. It stars Ashley Bratcher as Johnson and features an appearance by reformed ex-abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino as the abortionist who commits the “procedure that changes Abby’s life.”

During her own opening remarks, ranking subcommittee Democrat Sen. Mazie Hirono dismissed concerns of conservative censorship, suggesting the world’s leading tech giants couldn’t have become among the “biggest and most profitable companies on the planet” by “turning away a portion of their potential customers.”

“If conservatives have had their content removed, maybe they should look at the content, at the content they are posting,” Hirono declared. “Maybe they shouldn’t post lies about Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts.”

In fact, Facebook, Twitter, and Google have come under fire for numerous instances of banning conservative content that fully complied with each company’s stated rules, and Planned Parenthood’s past sale of aborted baby parts is undisputed (they simply claim the money they received didn’t exceed cost reimbursement, despite Planned Parenthood officials suggesting otherwise on video).

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Taylor Swift donates $113,000 to pro-LGBT org fighting Tennessee pro-family bills

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By Calvin Freiburger

April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Music superstar Taylor Swift made another overture to the LGBT lobby this week in the form of a six-figure donation to a left-wing organization lobbying to defeat a series of Tennessee bills meant to restore natural marriage and protect the religious and privacy rights of adoption agencies, businesses, and schools from pro-LGBT encroachment.

As LifeSiteNews has previously reported, bills are currently before the legislature that would let religious adoption and foster agencies deny children to same-sex homes; forbid local governments from penalizing businesses for their health insurance, family leave, minimum wage, or anti-discrimination policies; increase punishment for indecent exposure in bathrooms and dressing rooms; require the state to defend schools from lawsuits over their refusal to admit gender-confused boys into girls’ restrooms (and vice versa); and declare any court decision forcing recognition of same-sex “marriage” to be “unauthoritative, void, and of no effect.”

The left-wing Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) has dubbed the set of measures a “Slate of Hate,” organizing more than 100 purported “religious leaders” in condemning them. Swift endorsed their attack in an April 8 letter and $113,000 donation to the organization, the Nashville Tennessean reported.

Addressing TEP executive director Chris Sanders by name, Swift wrote that she was “so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the 'Slate of Hate' in our state legislature (...) I'm so grateful that they're giving all people a place to worship."

"Taylor Swift has been a longtime ally to the LGBTQ community," Sanders responded. "She sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people, including religious leaders, who are speaking out for love in the face of fear."

In fact, none of the disputed laws suggest “hatred” of homosexual or gender-confused Tenneseans.

Supporters of the bill barring discrimination against businesses’ beliefs say it’s meant to ensure political changes at the city and county level don’t lead to retribution against businesses at odds with either party. Pro-family advocates warn that forcing girls to share bathrooms with biological males intrudes on their privacy, needlessly inflicts emotional stress, and puts them at risk of assault. And a variety of social science literature supports religious adoption agencies’ insistence that children are better served by homes with both a mother and a father.

For years, liberals criticized Swift for her relative silence on partisan politics (though she did appear at GLAAD’s 2016 Media Awards). She gave into their demands last year by endorsing Tennessee’s former Democrat Gov. Phil Bredesen in his failed Senate race against GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, declaring that Blackburn’s socially-conservative views were “not MY Tennessee values.”

Swift votes and claims residency in Tennessee, but it’s unclear how much time she spends there among her eight properties across Tennessee, New York, California, and Rhode Island.

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New York City orders mandatory vaccinations in Jewish area, threatens heavy fines

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By Martin Barillas

NEW YORK CITY, April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – New York City’s Department of Health ordered mandatory vaccinations on April 9 for all persons residing, working, or living in a largely Jewish district of Brooklyn, ostensibly because of hundreds of reported cases of measles. 

The order, signed by Commissioner of Health Oxiris Barbot, declared that all persons, including children, residing in stated zip code areas “shall be vaccinated against measles.” 

"As of April 8, 2019, there have been 285 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens since October. Most of these cases have involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community," stated a memo from the Health Department. 

Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) tweeted, “We are declaring a public health emergency in Williamsburg due to the 300 cases of measles reported in our city — primarily concentrated in Brooklyn. There's no room for misinformation when it comes to protecting our children. Vaccines are safe and effective. They work.”

At the Williamsburg branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, De Blasio declared a public health emergency on Tuesday and ordered compulsory vaccination. He also warned that anyone failing to comply with the order may face a $1,000 fine. 

A number of parents oppose vaccines over fears of negative side effects to their children, which in cases has included death. Some also are opposed to vaccines on moral grounds because they have been derived from aborted babies’ cells. Many parents hold that they should be given first say in whether or not their children should receive vaccinations on ethical, religious or medical grounds.

While the Supreme Court ruled in 1905 in Jacobson v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts that governments may force vaccination, it found a distinction between punishing citizens for refusing inoculation and actually vaccinating them by force. Both tactics have been used as far back as 1900 during a plague outbreak in California and during a 1991 measles outbreak in Pennsylvania. In the Jacobson case, the man who refused vaccination was ordered to pay a fine but was not compelled to be vaccinated.

The order issued by NYC health commissioner Dr. Barbot, however, declared that any person over the age of six who has not been vaccinated and cannot prove a measles immunity or show a medical exemption “shall be vaccinated.” Outside the text of the order is an additional warning that persons failing to comply may face misdemeanor charges leading to fines or imprisonment. According to the New York Times, Barbot said on Tuesday that non-compliance will be dealt with on a “case-by-case basis, and we’ll have to confer with our legal counsel.”

The areas where residents must submit to compulsory vaccination are zip codes 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249 in Brooklyn. 

The order declared: “Since September 2018, more than 250 cases of measles have been documented among people living in Williamsburg and that number continues to grow as new cases are still occurring.” In an earlier response, NYC health officials ordered in December that non-vaccinated students were to be prohibited from attending classes at certain Orthodox Jewish schools and daycare centers. According to Mayor De Blasio’s office, no deaths have been reported.

In March, officials in nearby Rockland County responded to an upsurge in measles cases by forbidding unvaccinated minors from “enter[ing] any place of public assembly in Rockland County,” unless they can be shown to be immune, have a medical exemption, or are younger than six months. The order covered any place of assembly where more than 10 persons assemble, including churches and synagogues. 

New York Supreme Court Justice Rolf Thorsen halted the vaccination order, however, arguing that the county's order didn't meet the requirements for a disaster to required by law to make such an order.

Members of the Williamsburg and Borough Park communities have objected to vaccinations on the basis of Jewish religious laws after pamphlets circulated in the communities advising against vaccination out of respect for core Jewish religious beliefs. In a report by the New York Times, Moishe Kahan told the newspaper: “Vaccines contain monkey, rat and pig DNA as well as cow-serum blood, all of which are forbidden for consumption according to kosher dietary law.” Kahan is associated with Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health, or Peach, which distributed the pamphlets. 

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) stated that compulsory vaccination is “legally questionable.”

In a WAMC radio interview, Cuomo said, “Look it’s a serious public health concern, but it’s also a serious First Amendment issue and it is going to be a constitutional, legal question.” When asked about the measles outbreak, he said, “Do we have the right — does society, government have the right to say ‘you must vaccinate your child because I’m afraid your child is going to infect my child, even if you don’t want it done and even if it violates your religious beliefs?’ So that is, that’s an issue that’s going to be legally questionable and I’m sure it is going to go down that path.”

According to the National Vaccine Information Center, some forms of the measles vaccine are ultimately linked to cells obtained from aborted babies. The center’s website noted that the commonly used the pharmaceutical company Merck's ProQuad vaccine is recommended for individuals aged 12 months to 12 years of age. It is a live virus containing measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella viruses. It said that it contains the Oka/Merck strain of varicella-zoster [chickenpox] virus “propagated in MRC-5 cells,” that “are derived from a cell line that was developed in 1966 from lung tissue taken from a 14-week aborted fetus and contains viral antigens.”

The National Catholic Bioethics Center recommends that parents and patients should ask their physicians whether any recommended vaccinations have historical connections to abortion. If so, they should seek alternatives. 

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Trump to host screening of pro-life film ‘Gosnell’ at White House

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In his latest gesture of solidarity with the pro-life movement, President Donald Trump will host a screening of Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer at the White House on Friday.

Gosnell tells the true story of Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s arrest, trial, and conviction for the first-degree murder of three born-alive babies and the involuntary manslaughter of patient Karnamaya Mongar. It’s based “very heavily on actual court transcripts,” “dozens of hours of interviews” with Gosnell himself, and the case’s grand jury report.

The film highlights the shocking details of the original trial, such as Gosnell cutting the spinal cords of hundreds of newborns; witnesses describing infants who survived initial abortion attempts as “swimming” in toilets “to get out”; the feet of aborted babies stored in a freezer; and the mainstream media’s initial avoidance of the story.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of the screening on Tuesday, detailing a simple invitation containing instructions on how to obtain security clearances and enter the White House. Neither the White House nor co-producer Phelim Mcaleer responded to the Reporter’s requests for comment, but the film’s official Twitter account confirmed the news on Wednesday:

Describing Gosnell as “gory,” Slate’s Ruth Graham claimed it “depicts second- and third-trimester abortions in gruesome detail,” which Vanity Fair’s Yohana Desta repeated. Dean Cain and co-star/director Nick Searcy took umbrage at those characterizations of the film:

Graham defended her use of the word “gory” by citing Focus on the Family’s Plugged In review of Gosnell, which notes that the film includes brief shots of baby feet the abortionist preserved in jars as well as a decomposing cat in his basement. But she didn’t address the larger point that while the film describes abortion procedures, it contains no visual depictions of them:

Produced by McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney and directed from a script by novelist and conservative pundit Andrew Klavan, Gosnell overcame stiff resistance from Hollywood and social media to earn $1,235,800 over its opening weekend, rave reviews from conservatives and pro-lifers, and a 97% audience score from Rotten Tomatoes. it is currently available on DVD and digital video services, and was Amazon’s top drama and fourth best-selling DVD ahead of its home video release.

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There’s ‘diabolical intelligence’ behind global LGBT revolution: German sociologist

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By LifeSiteNews staff

April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — You’re not a conspiracy theorist if you believe global elites are pushing a worldwide sexual revolution. It’s happening. And it’s diabolical. That’s the hard-hitting message German sociologist Gabriele Kuby imparts to Jonathon Van Maren in this revealing episode of the Van Maren Show.

Born in 1944, Kuby is the author of twelve books, including the bestselling The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom, which looks at gender ideology, the so-called “LGBT” movement, the devastating effects of pornography and sex-education, and attacks on freedom of speech and religion. The book has been translated into more than 12 languages.

Kuby was a student of sociology at the Free University of Berlin in 1967 and tells Van Maren about the impact her studies had on her. She also discusses the influence her left wing, agnostic father, a journalist, had on her worldview.

The niece of Werner Heisenberg, a pioneer in the field of quantum mechanics, Kuby converted to Catholicism in 1997. She has been called a “brave warrior against ideologies that ultimately result in the destruction of man” by Pope Benedict XVI. Her conversation with Van Maren about the LGBT agenda leaves no doubt that the former pontiff’s high praise was justified.

“This whole ideology is a lie,” Kuby tells Van Maren, referring to the global gender revolution. “So you have to create a system to keep this lie alive." In “any totalitarian system, if somebody says, 'This is a lie!' they go after him…You are not allowed to say the truth.” 

Kuby then asks: who had the intelligence to use the rainbow, God’s promise to his people, for the homosexual rights movement? Who had the intelligence to use the term “diversity” for the destruction of sexual morality? 

A “diabolical intelligence” is “invested in this movement” being pushed by the elites, she answers. “You can show what they are doing.”

Kuby says those who are imposing the sexual revolution are, among others, the United Nations, the European Union, the Bill Gates Foundation, George Soros, Facebook, Apple, and the pro-“LGBT” Human Rights Campaign.

“I believe that there is a conscience in every human person…and this conscience...can be suppressed if you are sort of putting layers and layers and layers of lies on top of it. But if somebody utters the truth, this conscience is awakened. And you know what you are doing is evil. And so you go after them because it is painful for you if somebody awakens your conscience.”

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including SpotifySoundCloudYouTubeiTunes, and Google Play.

For a full listing of episodes, and to subscribe via various channels, visit our Pippa.io webpage here.

To receive an email when a new episode is uploaded, click here.

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WATCH: Candace Owens destroys Democratic congressman who tried to paint her as Hitler supporter

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Sparks flew Tuesday over conservative activist Candace Owens’ appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, during which Democrat lawmakers misrepresented her words on multiple points – one of which had been made just moments earlier in the very same chamber.

Owens, the communications director of college conservative group Turning Point USA, was a Republican-invited witness at a Democrat-led hearing on “Hate Crimes and White Nationalism.” In her opening remarks, she argued the hearing’s true purpose was a “preview of a Democrat 2020 election strategy” about “fear-mongering, power, and control.”

"There isn't a single adult today that in good conscience would make the argument that America is a more racist, more white nationalist society than it was when my grandfather was growing up,” Owens declared. “The biggest scandal in American politics is that Democrats have been conning minorities into the belief that we are perpetual victims, all-but ensuring our failure.”

During his opportunity to speak, Fox News reports that Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) turned the conversation to a clip of a December speech Owens gave, for which she was widely criticized earlier this year. “I don’t know Miss Owens, I’m not going to characterize her, I’m going to let her own words talk,” Lieu said, then pulled out his cell phone and played audio of her past remarks.

“I actually don't have any problem with the word 'nationalism,’” Owens said in December. “I think the definition gets poisoned by elites that want globalism. Globalism is what I don't want.  When we say ‘nationalism,’ the first thing people think about — at least in America — is Hitler. You know, he was a national socialist, but if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay then, fine. The problem is, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize. He wanted everyone to be German, everyone to be speaking german.”

Owens’ critics accused her of arguing “Hitler just wanted to make Germany great” (disregarding the “if”) and that the Nazi dictator’s only problem was “want[ing] to globalize.” Owens clarified at the time that her actual intent was to refute the idea that Hitler, whom she called a “mass murderer” and a “homicidal, psychotic maniac,” had anything to do with current American usage of the “nationalist” label. Nevertheless, Lieu declared matter-of-factly that the young black conservative was “try[ing] to legitimize Adolf Hitler.”

“I think it’s pretty apparent that Mr. Lieu believes that black people are stupid and will not pursue the full clip in its entirety,” Owens responded. “He purposefully presented an extract, an extracted clip–” She was cut off by New York Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler, the committee’s chairman, who declared it was “not proper to refer disparagingly to a member of a committee” and “the witness will not do that again.”

“Sure, even though I was called despicable,” Owens quipped, to which Nadler shot back, “the witness may not refer to a member of the committee as stupid.”

Taken aback, Owens responded: “I didn’t refer to him as stupid; that’s not what I said. That’s not what I said at all. You didn’t listen to what I said.” Nadler simply made a shrugging gesture and allowed her to resume her answer.

“As I said, he is assuming that black people will not go and pursue the full two-hour clip,” she explained. “He’s trying to present as if I was launching a defense of Hitler in Germany when in fact the question that was asked of me was…whether or not I believed in nationalism and that nationalism was bad. And what I responded to, is that I do not believe that we should be characterizing Hitler as a nationalist. He was a homicidal, psychopathic maniac that killed his own people. A nationalist would not kill their own people.”

Owens added that Lieu’s “unbelievably dishonest” attack was “similar to what they do to Donald Trump to create a different narrative,” and “should tell you a lot about where people are today in terms of trying to drum up narratives.”

“By the way, I would like to also add that I work for Prager University, which is run by an Orthodox Jew,” she concluded. “Not a single Democrat showed up to the embassy opening in Jerusalem. I sat on a plane for 18 hours to make sure that I was there. I am deeply offended by the insinuation.”

Prager University, for which Owens hosts a weekly interview show, leapt to her defense, while Lieu doubled down:

Lieu’s defenses consisted primarily of repeating that Owens “said what she said” in the video, but he refused to address the main point that he had misrepresented her words’ meaning as “try[ing] to legitimize Adolf Hitler.”

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Pope Francis embraces the homosexual partner of his friend Yayo Grassi as Grassi looks on. The Sept. 23, 2015, private meeting took place during the Pope's trip to the United States.
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LGBT activists claim Pope Francis helped to ensure decriminalization of gay sex acts in Belize

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By Martin Barillas

ROME April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An international delegation of judges, legal experts, politicians, and LGBT activists claimed at a historic meeting at the Vatican last week that Pope Francis took “active steps” to “resolve” a matter in Belize, where local Catholic bishops initially appealed the Central American nation’s 2016 overturning of its anti-sodomy law, but then unexpectedly withdrew that appeal. 

The group of high-powered politicians and LGBT advocates who work to decriminalize homosexual acts called on the Pope during the April 5 meeting to issue a public statement “in which the official policy of the Holy See is clarified” with regard to the “criminalisation of homosexuality.” 

It was during this request that the group noted Pope Francis’ alleged intervention in Belize: 

We humbly request the Vatican to consider issuing a public statement in which the official policy of the Holy See is clarified, noting the active steps taken by Pope Francis to resolve the matter in Belize and the opinion of the UN Independent Expert on SOGI [sexual orientation and gender identity] sent to us for the purpose of this meeting: “I am convinced that a pronouncement of His Holiness would have been of fundamental importance in the work of fighting violence and discrimination that affects hundreds of millions of people every day”.

In August 2016, Belize struck down its anti-sodomy law, decriminalizing homosexual acts between two consenting adults. The Catholic Church, with a few other religious organizations, opposed the ruling, demanding that it be appealed. The Catholic Church, which was spearheading the appeal, began to not meet court’s deadlines for submissions. Finally, in March 2018, the Church unexpectedly announced that it would “no longer participate in this appeal.”

LifeSiteNews reached out for comment from the bishops of Belize, but did not receive an answer by press time. 

The participants at the recent Vatican meeting requested that the Catholic Church declare that “Human dignity implies the respect of every person as created by God, hence criminalisation of LGBT people is today, as in the darkest times in the history of humanity, a manifestation of irrational hatred for that which is different from the norm and that homophobia is, in effect, a feeling of hatred and rejection which the Church condemns, wherever it takes place.” 

Furthermore, the statement asked the Vatican to call on the world to “recognise that criminalisation of homosexuality and any form of consented intimate acts, sexual or not, between adults is an intolerable affront to human dignity.” Moreover, it called on the Church to oppose any sanctions, executions, arrests, detentions or discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation or gender identity.”

A Vatican statement about the event said: “Parolin extended a brief greeting to those present, repeating the Catholic Church’s position in defense of the dignity of every human person and against every form of violence.”

According to the statement by the LGBT delegation, Cardinal Parolin assured the group that the Pope will study the report “carefully” and that the “Holy See will act accordingly.” The cardinal, according to the statement, said he will inform the Pope about the report, and will evaluate how he can continue working with the group in the future.

Pro-homosexual Jesuit priest James Martin tweeted his delight over the meeting, calling it a “significant step forward” for the Vatican’s relations with the “LGBT community.” Fr. Martin wrote that Cardinal Parolin’s promise to study the report was yet “another step forward.” Fr. Martin has frequently promoted the normalization of homosexuality within the Catholic Church. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was ousted from the papal Curia by Pope Francis, has said that the priest's teaching is “not coherent” with the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding sexuality.

Homosexual acts are traditionally one of the four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. Basing itself on Scripture and the natural law, the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and are “intrinsically disordered.”

“They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Church teaches, moreover, that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered” and constitutes for most a “trial.”

In a 1986 letter to bishops, the Church said that “special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.”

The Church calls for “respect, compassion, and sensitivity” for persons struggling with same-sex attraction while teaching that such “respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

In December 2008, the Vatican’s envoy to the United Nations said that the Holy See would not support a UN resolution to “decriminalize homosexuality” because it would likely place more pressure on countries to adopt or expand same-sex “marriage” or unions and would generally fuel the movement's push to normalize homosexuality. 

In that same statement, however, the Vatican envoy said that the “Holy See continues to advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination towards homosexual persons should be avoided," adding that it "urges States to do away with criminal penalties against them.”

Such a statement, however, appears to depart from the teaching of a previous pope on the matter. In his 1566 reform bull, Cum primum, dealing with the problem of clerical vice, including sodomy, Pope Pius V said that “if anyone perpetrates the nefarious crime against nature, because of which the wrath of God came upon the children of unbelief, they are to be turned over to the secular court, and if they are a cleric, they are to be stripped of all [clerical] order and to be subjected to a similar penalty.” Later, he wrote in Horrendum illud scelus that specifically clerics who committed homosexual acts were to be treated by that "same punishment that is received by laity who have fallen into this ruin, which is found to be constituted in legitimate ordinances." 

Editor's note: Pete Baklinski contributed to this report

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Grandmother heartbroken to see grandson transitioning to ‘girl’

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By Lianne Laurence

April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Massachusetts grandmother said she cries herself to sleep every night because her lesbian daughter is determined to turn her 10-year-old grandson into a “girl,” she told the Christian Post last month.

The 57-year-old grandmother, who told her story on the condition of anonymity, has been estranged from her daughter for two years after the latter insisted she go along with the transition and treat her grandson Jack as Jacquelyn.

“I will never affirm this idea,” the grandmother told the Christian Post.

“There is nothing that will ever change my mind… And that doesn’t stop me from loving them. I mean, I love my daughter. I love my grandson. But wrong is wrong. I can’t and won’t try to convince myself of something that is not true.”

The situation has caused the trauma her own sexual abuse as a child to resurface, the grandmother said, because what is happening to her grandson, who was scheduled to go on puberty-blockers when he was nine, is similar.

She also believes that her grandson would not be so confused if he had “not spent his formative years” watching his mother’s lesbian “spouse” transition to a male.

Her daughter “married” a lesbian in Maine in 2013 when Jack was just four, the grandmother related.

Seven months after the “wedding,” the daughter’s female “spouse” decided she was a man, changed her name, and began taking testosterone. The lesbian couple split up last year and share custody of the child.

Jack began telling his grandmother he was Jacquelyn at age seven, when his mother began packing feminine clothes for him to wear. The mother also declared on Facebook Jack was set for puberty-blockers when he turned nine.

Although the grandmother wasn’t familiar with transgenderism and wanted what was best for her grandson, her research soon had her “horrified” at what was in store for him.

She and her daughter were at loggerheads over the situation until February 2017, when the grandmother didn’t dress Jack in a summer frock his mother packed for him because it was too cold. The mother has kept Jack away from his grandmother ever since.

Before the final blowout, the grandmother and her husband went to see a social worker in May 2016 at their daughter’s request.

The social worker was kind and gracious at the initial meeting, but categorical when the grandparents, along with their daughter and her lesbian “spouse,” came to her office a month later.

“Your granddaughter does not think she is a girl. She is a girl,” the social worker declared.

“I started screaming at her and said ‘No, that's not true,’” the grandmother said, then she turned and shouted at her daughter’s transgender “spouse”: “My grandson is no more a girl than you’re a guy.”

At her daughter’s suggestion, she also tried to watch the TLC reality show I Am Jazz, based on transgender “girl” Jazz Jennings, but found it so repulsive she made it through only two episodes before texting her daughter: “You let my grandson watch that crap? He's 7 years old. And you let him watch that crap?”

The grandmother’s growing realization of the dangers of puberty-blockers prompted her to express her outrage and disgust on Facebook and connect on Twitter with others in similar circumstances.

She also lost friends who insisted she go along with the transition.

She misses her grandson and is deeply worried he will suffer harmful and irreversible long-term effects from experimental medical treatment, not to mention psychological and emotional distress. “I cry myself to sleep every night thinking about it,” she said.

She also has taken to drink and has suicidal thoughts.

“I don’t think I could kill myself, but I just want to die. This has destroyed me so much I just want to die,” she told the Christian Post.

“And then I think about my husband, and I think about my other grandchild, and I pick myself up and go on another day.”

As for parents who think their child might be gender-confused, the grandmother says don’t take it too seriously.

“Let your kid be a kid,” she said “Don’t take them to any gender clinic. They don’t need therapy at that age. They need to just be allowed to play.”

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State-coerced child gender ‘transitioning’ is here. Parents are horrified

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By Lianne Laurence

April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — As a Canadian father fights to stop court-ordered testosterone treatments for his 14-year-old daughter, U.S. experts warn there’s an increasing danger that more and more American parents will find themselves in a similar heartrending predicament.

“Yes, it is really that bad,” Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatrics, told LifeSiteNews.

“Parents are losing their right to protect their children from this dangerous medical experiment, and extended family members fare no better,” she told LifeSiteNews.

The general rule that individuals under age 18 cannot consent to medical treatment is being tossed out the window when it comes to sex transitioning, she said.

Children are started on puberty-blockers as young as nine, and “under the ‘guidance’ of gender ‘experts’ ... girls have been allowed to consent to double mastectomies as young as age 13,” said Cretella.

“There are gender surgeons pushing to eliminate age restrictions on the removal of reproductive organs and genital surgeries.”

That’s echoed by Emilie Kao, director of Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society.

“The number of pediatric gender clinics in the U.S. has grown exponentially from one clinic in 2007 to 45 clinics around the country,” she told LifeSiteNews.

“Transgender activists and trans-affirming doctors are rushing children into hormonal treatments at as young as 11 years old,” Kao said, “even though the best statistics show that 80–95 percent of gender-dysphoric children become comfortable with their own bodies after passing through puberty without interventions.”

Parents losing right to oppose “transition” treatments

Moreover, the transgender lobby is waging a successful three-wave campaign for government-coerced transition of minor children, with “removal of a child based on accusations of medical neglect,” Cretella told the Federalist’s Margot Cleveland in February.

The first wave involved intervention during family court custody disputes; the second involves “emergency room staff, therapists, or doctors” reporting parents “who refuse to affirm their child’s false gender” to Child Protection Services; and the third wave, soon coming, will involve schools launching investigations of parents who oppose a child’s transition.

The gender activists are also enlisting the aid of workers in multiple levels of government.

At a recent United States Professional Association for Transgender Health (USPATH) conference, a panel cited “training” Department of Human Services workers “in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey” to tell parents who oppose transitioning “you’re creating an unsafe environment for your child,” wrote Cleveland.

Parents are often told that unless the child’s gender choice is affirmed, the child at an increased risk for suicide, a strategy documented by 4thwavenow.com, a “community of parents & others concerned about the medicalization of gender-atypical youth and rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD).”

Balking parents must be ‘educated’, cajoled into going against their deepest protective instincts. If this indoctrination process doesn’t work, there’s the frequent threat your kid will kill themselves because of your hesitations,” notes one post.

“This weaponization of adult self-harm statistics is wielded by activists, clinicians, and the media alike, to terrorize parents into handing their offspring off to be drugged, sterilized, and (increasingly) surgically ‘corrected’ by therapists and doctors who are confident they know best when it comes to other people’s children.”

In a highly publicized case last February, an Ohio Christian couple lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter to her maternal grandparents after they opposed her testosterone injections.

“Around the country, similar cases are arising in the courts,” Kao said.

Evidence lacking on consequences of gender affirmation

The “general trend is to support affirmation of gender identity in all affected children,” agrees pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Paul Hruz, adding that the process “starts with social affirmation which is increasingly being mandated by law.”

But whether this is “best practice” remains “contentious,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“Several medical societies have adopted guidelines that support transition for all children who have ‘consistence, insistence, and persistence’ of a gender identity that is discordant with biological sex,” said Hruz, an associate professor of pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis.

“This is in contrast to earlier recommendations that cautioned against transition in young children due to the high incidence of spontaneous realignment of gender identity with sex,” he said.

And the change “has been made without any strong scientific data against the prior cautious approach,” Hruz told LifeSiteNews.

“In general, the medical recommendations are based upon low quality evidence that does not even come close to the level of evidence that is generally expected when making strong recommendations for a novel treatment approach,” he said.

“There is so much that we do not yet know about the long-term consequences. The existing evidence is concerning that harm is being done to these children without clear long-term benefit in preventing suicide.” 

Underlying problems ignored

Moreover, as well subjecting children to what are essentially experimental medical treatments, this approach often leaves ignored and untreated underlying psychological and emotional trauma that may have triggered the child’s gender dysphoria in the first place.

Cretella told the Federalist’s Cleveland that of seven families “in as many different states” who contacted her during custody battles in 2017, six involved “a 15 year-old girl who never had any sexual identity confusion prior to her parent’s [sic] divorce.”

In all cases “the guardian ad litem and judges removed the right to medical consent and/or custody from the parent who objected to transition with puberty blockers and hormones,” she said.

“It is documented that teens who present with GD have high rates of preceding and concurrent psychopathology,” Cretella told LifeSiteNews. She noted that an April 2015 study out of Finland confirmed that "severe psychopathology" and "autism" were all overrepresented among one pediatric gender identity clinic population.

An August 2018 study by American Dr. Lisa Littman found that 62.5 percent of minors “had reportedly been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder or neurodevelopmental disability prior to the onset of their gender dysphoria.”

Littman also found that 86.7 percent of “parents reported that, along with the sudden or rapid onset of gender dysphoria, their child either had an increase in their social media/internet use, belonged to a friend group in which one or multiple friends became transgender-identified during a similar timeframe, or both.”

That’s echoed by Meg Kilgannon, education research associate with the Family Research Council.

Parents need to “monitor or eliminate access to social media like Tumblr and YouTube that essentially provide a community for confused or lonely children and train these children on how to manipulate parents, school administrators, and medical professionals so that the children can ‘transition’ from one sex to another.”

Kids run away to “trans”-friendly states

And since medical coverage for gender transition and consent laws vary from state to state, “social media helps children learn about these kinds of options and children/teens do run away to states who offer this kind of ‘medical care,’ on the advice of ‘friends’ on Tumblr and YouTube,” Kilgannon says.

Oregon allows “minors as young as age 15 years to receive Medicaid to pay for their cross-sex drugs and surgeries without parental consent — or even their knowledge,” Cretella told LifeSiteNews.

“Conveniently, Oregon State University Health Center does not report numbers of youth referrals, prescriptions and procedures,” she noted.

“The normal range for start of puberty in biological males is 9–14 years. Many insurance companies have been reluctant to pay for puberty blockade for this indication, but the general trend, through advocacy efforts, is to force coverage,” said Hruz.

“This does vary by state in the same way that coverage for other medications varies. In other conditions, it is rare for the courts to mandate coverage,” he told LifeSiteNews.

And as a bellwether of the strength of the transgender lobby, Americans should be alarmed that “solidly red” South Dakota recently nixed a bill protecting parents’ right not to consent to gender transitioning treatment for minor children, wrote the Federalist’s Cleveland.

Federal Equality Act next looming threat

Whether a state is “trans”-friendly will be less significant if the federal Equality Act H.R. 5 passes.

Introduced by Democrat Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives, the controversial bill is now before the House Judiciary Committee.

“H.R. 5 would create a nationwide ‘Transgender Medical Mandate’ that would subject doctors and hospitals to lawsuits if they decline to perform hormonal and surgical interventions even if their concern is that patients will be harmed,” warns Heritage Foundation’s Kao.

“That will further reduce the number of medical professionals to whom parents can turn for objective diagnoses of gender dysphoria and could lead to more parental custody disputes,” she told LifeSiteNews.

During the April 2 committee hearing on the Equality Act, “one of the speakers claimed that 1 in 5 children in foster care in America is LGBTQ. That is a bold claim and it went unchallenged,” pointed out Kilgannon.

“The danger to children on the margins is hard to overstate. If this ‘identity crisis’ can attack children in families who seem to be living the American Dream, imagine the risk for children who have no one to advocate for them.”

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Paul Fuchs

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After watching ‘Unplanned’, grandfather writes powerful pro-life letter to adult children

Paul Fuchs
By

Editor’s note: The letter below was written by a Catholic grandfather. He writes: “After viewing the movie Unplanned last weekend, I wrote a letter to my children and their respective spouses about the evils of abortion.” Paul’s first letter to his children can be viewed here.

April 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Dear Children,

“Bury the rag deep in your face, For now’s the time for your tears.” As Bob Dylan so poignantly closed one of his early classics, these powerful lines are equally applicable to our culture’s embrace of abortion.

Mom and I went to see “Unplanned” two weeks ago, a movie based on the true story of Abby Johnson, a woman with a history of two abortions who becomes a celebrated Planned Parenthood official and then evolves into an anti-abortion activist. It inspired this truly unplanned and spontaneous second letter. If you believe in abortion, the story will shake your convictions. Go see the movie. Test your beliefs. Send me the bill, including the cost of dinner and a sitter.

Not that many years ago I supported a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. It was a cowardly compromise. I had been effectively silenced by the false premise that “It’s her body so it’s the woman’s choice.” In retrospect I did not want to recognize the obvious fallacy of that statement and the underlying evil that serves as the foundation of the pro-choice movement.

However, a beautiful and loving and joyful woman, your Mom, who discerns good from evil with a keen eye and impeccable moral judgment, and possesses the wisdom of Solomon, patiently and humbly helped me to see clearly the fundamental truth of abortion.

Mom and I are now fully united on that issue. Abortion is pure evil. There is no middle ground. We must be willing to speak boldly and fearlessly the truth that is in our hearts, and listen attentively to the voice of our conscience. Please carefully read and ponder these words.

Abortion is a modern plague on our secular culture. It is our own generations’ holocaust. If our shared Judeo-Christian culture is to survive and flourish and reclaim the moral high ground, it must first shake off this current culture of death. It must end the worship of abortion, the sacrilegious sacrament of the progressive left.

The Woman’s Right to Choose vs. The Baby’s Right to Life

Unarguably, the woman does have a choice, just not the one widely proclaimed by the pro-choice crowd. Let us be honest. The actual choice a woman faces is whether or not to become sexually active and risk pregnancy. Clearly, that decision is her choice, and her choice alone.

Pregnancy unalterably changes the dynamic. It marks the end of the self-centered and independent “choice” of the woman. Two human beings are now intimately linked, one completely dependent upon the other. For the mother, the pregnancy is the beginning of a sacred personal and societal responsibility to care for the most vulnerable, the tiny baby in her womb. The mother does not have the right to choose to destroy the baby. No one has that right.

Although it is the woman’s body, that obvious biological fact does not trump a second biological fact and profound moral truth. Within the woman’s naturally nourishing and receptive womb, another human being, a true gift from God created in His image and likeness, is alive and developing. That defenseless and totally dependent baby is morally entitled to unconditional maternal and paternal love and protection. More importantly, from the moment of conception, that baby inherently possesses the inalienable God-given right to life.

Lies and Shared Guilt

During the past fifty years, our culture has been deliberately misled about the truth of abortion. Among the false prophets who spread the lies are disingenuous religious charlatans who play loosely with the truth to maintain people in the pews and dollars in the basket; crass politicians who seek power, cavalierly trading the lives of babies for the votes of their mothers and fathers; an amoral media that peddles the story that all is well in the culture; a circus of immoral and sanctimonious Hollywood celebrities who claim sole ownership of the truth, yet often model behavior that more closely resembles the values of Satan; a political party that uniformly and vehemently resists any restrictions on abortion; Planned Parenthood, the premier abortion provider in our country; and Margaret Sanger, founder of the forerunner to Planned Parenthood, who was an enthusiastic supporter of eugenics. Arrayed against this vast army of cultural, social, financial, and political forces is one simple but timeless truth. Abortion is the murder of the unborn.

Many share in the guilt. Yet all wash their hands. No one takes responsibility. All proclaim their innocence. No law is broken. The business model is very profitable. Body parts may also be surreptitiously sold. Generous salaries and bonuses are awarded. Why complain?

Abortions are frequently done on mid- to late teens and young adults. Unmarried, frightened, confused, and sometimes abused, these women face an immense moral crisis often alone and abandoned. They are betrayed by the lies and deception of the baby’s father and Planned Parenthood; the false idols of a hook-up mentality, free sex, behavior without consequences, and individual freedom without personal responsibility; the anonymous physician who performs the procedure; the medical establishment, which trains, supplies, and encourages the physicians who routinely sacrifice defenseless and innocent infants on the bloodstained altar of the pro-choice movement; and, not to be forgotten, the seven Supreme Court Justices who, by a single vote in 1973, plunged this country into moral darkness. All are guilty co-conspirators.

As we all have our own faults and sins, we do not and will not attempt to judge any mother who has endured an abortion. No stones will be cast. Judgment is best reserved for God. Mom and I feel only merciful and loving to these women.

Denial and the Reality of Abortion. The Death of a Baby

Allow me to describe a typical and realistic scenario. The abortion is successfully performed. The problem has been eliminated. Another minority infant never to be born. The mother walks slowly away, much older and empty. Rarely to speak about it again. The physician simply re-gloves. The job done. Almost immediately ready for the next case. Easy money.

Dispassionately, the nurse calmly announces, “Who’s next?” A few minutes later, in a whisper, the same nurse answers the usual questions. “It will be all over in a few minutes. No, it will not feel any pain. It is just a clump of cells. Yes, you will back to normal in the morning.” Reassured, the young mother nods her head. She ignores the uneasy feeling and the emerging pangs-of-conscience. Within that facility, denial of the truth reigns supreme. Outside, a hard rain falls. Across the street, a few middle-aged witnesses silently weep and pray.

Separated and torn, body parts and limbs are counted and then unceremoniously dumped into a waste disposal container. The once intact and living baby is now dead. Without even an audible whimper and overmatched in the fight, a precious God-given life has been quickly and prematurely extinguished. This is the unvarnished truth of abortion. Is this what we want?

The Need for Prayer and Mercy. Sixty Million Reasons

We pray for the mothers who have suffered abortions and their lost children and encourage you to do likewise. To paraphrase John Lennon, imagine if you can sixty million "disappeared" infants. A Silent Scream. Repeated over and over again. Unceasing. One at a time, day after day, year after year. Probably at this very moment. 60,000,000! True Holy Innocents.

Do not forget the suffering mothers. She may be your next door neighbor, the casual acquaintance you bump into at the grocery store, someone who sits across from you in church, or a member of your own family. Millions upon millions of women walk among us daily, outwardly appearing normal, but bearing an invisible, yet very real, open and grievous wound. The infant may be physically crushed and extracted from the body but the mother's memory of that tiny baby agonizingly lingers.

An indelible imprint of the baby has been stamped into the very essence of the mother. She is a recipient of some of the baby's DNA. It is forever a part of her. Denial may obscure and the passage of time may cloud but neither has the power to erase the painful memory or remove that DNA. Fervently pray that the mother seeks and finds true solace and healing, attainable only through the grace and mercy of God's love.

But prayer alone is not sufficient. Identify and support organizations in your community that offer comfort, financial assistance, and guidance on options other than abortion to frightened and confused mothers with an unwanted pregnancy, or offer non-judgmental love and a healing environment to those women who have already suffered an abortion.

Recall the recent beautiful Gospel message of The Prodigal Son. Mom and I want these mothers to know that God is all-forgiving and loves them. When they step back from the edge of the abyss and return home, similar to the Prodigal Son, the All-Merciful God will joyfully welcome them back into His Fatherly arms.

Do not be silent. Pray daily. Speak fearlessly. Actively engage in the spiritual battle with our secular culture. Courageously teach your children the truth about the evil of abortion. Resist the temptation to ignore natural law and to water down the moral absolutes of our Catholic Faith.

Reminder to differentiate the individual from the evil behavior. Always follow the model that Jesus Christ taught us. Love the sinner but hate the sin. Act boldly but with love and mercy. Lend your voice to the chorus that demands an end to the moral abomination called abortion.

The Never-Ending Role of a Catholic Parent

You will always be your children's parent. As you quickly realized once you had children, a parent’s job never ends. When you reach your sixties and seventies, however, you will more fully appreciate and grasp that fact. With the passage of time, it does not get any easier for the parent, only different.

Aging neither ends nor diminishes but simply changes my duties as your father. Parental focus gradually evolves to much larger and more important issues like the spiritual health of the soul, family prayer, devout practice of our shared Catholic Faith, and eternal salvation for your children and grandchildren.

It remains my responsibility to serve as an ideal Catholic role model for you to emulate, as my father (Grandad) was for me. It is also my duty to offer you specific guidance on critically important moral issues. I take these responsibilities seriously. Along with my biggest supporter and beautiful spouse, Mom, we are determined to serve as a moral compass to guide you on the pathway to heaven. We are hopeful that we will all gather there someday.

To the best of my human ability, I am striving every day to be more like Grandad. What an example he was for all of us. Forgive me when I falter. This letter, as well as the earlier one, is an effort to fulfill my parental obligations to provide moral instruction. Please accept this message in the spirit of fatherly love in which it is humbly offered.

You are always in our prayers. May God protect and guide you and your children all the days of your life.

I love you,

Dad

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Episode 12: Gabriele Kuby discusses the global sexual revolution

By Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

World renowned author and philosopher Gabriele Kuby talks with Jonathon Van Maren about her upbringing in Germany, her conversion to the Catholic faith, and reflects on her book, "The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom." Pope Benedict XVI once called her "a brave warrior against ideologies that ultimately result in the destruction of man."


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