MADRID April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The vast majority of Spaniards under the age of 30 have not had children, according to Spain’s National Statistical Institute. The findings raise concerns about the country’s future existence.
In its study of fertility rates for 2018, the Spanish National Statistical Institute showed that among women age 18 to 30, 88 percent are childless. In addition, 95 percent of men under the age of 30 have not yet become fathers. Women age 30 to 34 showed the highest fertility rates. The Mayo Clinic indicates that the risks increase for women who become pregnant at age 35 and older.
Abortion plays a significant role in the fertility rate recorded in Spain. As far back as 2008, demographic and health data showed that abortion was the most significant cause of death in the country. A study by the Institute for Family Policy showed this month that more than half of teenage mothers abort their children, as opposed to one in three foreign-born teens.
The Spanish National Statistical Institute survey showed about one-quarter of the women surveyed have fewer children than they would like. The survey also shows that 42 percent of women age 18 to 55 bore their first child at an age older than what they considered ideal. Among 30 percent, the principal reasons cited for delaying children were work, reconciling work with family life, and finances.
The survey found a link between fertility and levels of educational attainment, showing that higher levels of education showed fewer children per woman. Also, women working outside the home have fewer children than stay-at-home mothers, according to the study. The percentage of childless working women is greater than those who are mothers in all of the age cohorts examined, except for those under 30. In the most fertile group (age 30 to 34), 78 percent of those without children are currently employed, as opposed to 64 percent among those who have children.
Foreign-born women bear more children than Spanish women across all age groups, and may account for much of the growth of the overall population in Spain. Spanish mothers have fewer children than foreign-born mothers, and at a later age. While foreign-born women age 30 to 34 have an average of 1.2 children, Spanish women have an average of 0.69, and thus far lower than the replacement rate. A big difference between Spanish and foreign-born women is that among those age 25 to 29, the percentage of childless Spanish women is about 83 percent, while among foreigners it is about 55 percent.
The statistical agency found that Spain’s total population grew slightly in 2018 to a little more than 47 million, of which approximately 10 percent are foreign-born, an increase over recent years. Native-born Spaniards showed signs of aging: the average age is 44 among natives. That number is considerably lower than it would be otherwise because the average age among foreigners is 36, even when the large numbers of elderly French, British and German retirees are calculated. Another significant difference between foreigners and the native-born is that about 34 percent of the natives are between 16 and 44, while among foreigners the number jumps to 55 percent.
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal John Dew of New Zealand wrote a missive to Catholics of the Pacific archipelago urging them to not address priests as “Father.”
In providing a synopsis of an article by Fr. Jean-Pierre Roche that appeared in La Croix, Cardinal Dew said he joined the French priest in wondering why priests are called “Father.”
He continued, “In August last year Pope Francis wrote a Letter to the People of God, to all of us. The Holy Father appealed to all of God’s people to take action against ‘clericalism’ which he sees as the source of abuse perpetrated by priest and bishops.” Thereafter, he summarizes Fr. Roche’s epistle.
Roche wrote that he and other Catholics are “overwhelmed, shocked and appalled” and “traumatized” by the sex abuse crisis that has afflicted the Catholic Church. Roche called for transforming the Church by returning to the Gospels and adhering to Pope Francis’s call to action against the “clericalism” that is ostensibly responsible for abuse perpetrated by priests and other clergy. Thus, he gives three reasons why Catholics should not call priests “Father.”
The first reason Roche cites is also often used by Christians who do not share the traditions of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. “The first reason should be sufficient in itself, as it is found in the Gospels,” Roche wrote. Quoting the Gospel of Matthew, Roche wrote, “Priests wish to be disciples of Jesus, who said, ‘You are not to be called “Master,” for you have but one Master, and you are all brothers and sisters. And do not call anyone on earth “Father,” for you have but one Father, who is in Heaven’" (Mt. 23: 8–9). Saying Jesus’s words are clear, Roche wrote, “To be called ‘Father’ is, quite frankly, to usurp the place of God, the Father of all people. It is, literally, to play God!”
Apparently seeking to psychoanalyze priests and laity, Roche suggested that while priests “exercise a sort of spiritual fatherhood” by permitting the laity to address them as ‘Father,’ they may be compensating for their lack of natural children. He asked bishops to leave off the title of “Monsignor.” Finally, he said referring to priests as “Father’ is “unhealthy when it is the expression of an emotional dependence based on a false idea of obedience.”
Roche has long supported the “Action catholique ouvrière” movement in France and has written books on the spirituality of work.
Cardinal Dew presumed the reasons why priests are called “Father” by their flocks, writing, “Being called ‘Father’ may seem important to some priests, but is it really that important?” He goes on to write, “Making a choice to tell the people we serve not to call us Father (or for me ‘Your Eminence’ or ‘Cardinal’) might seem a very small thing to do, but it may be the beginning of the reform in the Church which we have been asked to do by Pope Francis.” The papal letter to which the cardinal refers was issued after revelations of clerical abuse in Pennsylvania that had been covered up and largely involved homosexual acts.
In a comment to LifeSiteNews, Papal Dame Colleen Bayer wrote: “Faithful Catholics feel betrayed by our Shepherds down here in New Zealand[.] … Dew is doing nothing at all to instil confidence in those whom he is charged with shepherding, in his latest attempt to belittle the reality of spiritual fatherhood, just as he has also decided to reduce the number of churches in his diocese.”
Dame Colleen is the national director of Family Life International in New Zealand. She added that she is “deeply saddened that those faithful who have always respected … the Fathers of the Church our Holy priests, are now expected to address His Eminence as John.” Writing that tiny New Zealand, “God’s Own,” has “lost its soul,” Dame Colleen said that she fears the day when Cardinal Dew must “face the reality and truths of the real problems facing the Catholic Church in New Zealand regarding homosexuality in the priesthood.”
Echoing the criticisms of many Catholics disappointed by February’s controversial conference of bishops at the Vatican to discuss the abuse of minors, Dame Colleen wrote that the crisis “has nothing to do with showing respect for spiritual fatherhood.” She wrote that the term “clericalism” stands for a game played, “where nobody is supposed to know what the meaning or goal of the game actually is. So much goes on to divert and break down the truth and beauty of His truth.”
Catholic theologians and commentators have noted in the past the reasons why Catholics generally refer to priests personally as “Father.” For example, as the apologists at Catholic Answers explain, to take the words of Jesus Christ literally would mean that no one would call his own paternal parent “Father.” The use of the term in the Old Testament was not limited to one’s natural father. For example, in the book of Genesis, Joseph tells his brothers that God had given him a fatherly relationship with the Pharaoh of Egypt: “So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt” (Gen. 45:8). The Prophet Job says: “I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know” (Job 29:16). And the Lord told King David’s steward, Eliakim: “In that day I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah ... and I will clothe him with [a] robe, and will bind [a] girdle on him, and will commit ... authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah” (Is. 22:20–21).
In the New Testament, protomartyr St. Stephen refers to “our father Abraham” (Acts 7:2), while St. Paul speaks of “our father Isaac” in Romans 9:10. Also, various early writers, such as St. Clement of Rome and St. John Chrysostom, are known as “Fathers of the Church.”
It has been suggested that Jesus was engaging in rhetoric in order to make a point. The entire passage of Matthew 23 reads: “But you are not to be called ‘rabbi,’ for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called ‘masters,’ for you have one master, the Christ” (Mt. 23:8–10).
Because Jesus appointed his disciples as teachers (rabbis) and Paul preached the Church as apostles, prophets, and teachers, some commentators have indicated that what the Gospel recorded is that Jesus was appealing to scribes and Pharisees, who were not humble before God.
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ROME, April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A casual attitude towards the Holy Eucharist is at the heart of the moral crisis in the Church, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said.
The pope emeritus this week argued that at the center of the moral crisis that has engulfed the Church is an increasingly casual attitude towards reception of Holy Communion, as though it were a mere ritual flourish at the end of Mass rather than an entering into the presence of the infinitely Holy.
In an essay for a Bavarian magazine aimed principally at clergy, in which he reflects on the origins of the abuse crisis, Benedict has identified as one of the essential contributing factors to the moral crisis in the Church the loss of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
He also identifies an abandonment of the teaching in institutions that there are some acts which are always and everywhere immoral, as preparing the ground for the abuse crisis.
The pope emeritus says there are values which “must never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life.” Refusing to abandon these non-negotiable values may require “martyrdom,” he says, but he adds that this “a basic category of Christian existence.”
This contrasts strikingly with German Cardinal Walter Kasper’s claim that “heroic virtue is not for the ordinary Christian.”
The Catholic Church believes and professes that “the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ, is truly, really and substantially contained in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist” (Council of Trent).
Benedict notes in his essay that, since the time of the Second Vatican Council, “our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern.”
In an apparent reference to the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium(chapter 2), the pope emeritus says: “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,” he said, “this really has come about, and we should be most grateful to the Lord for it.”
But, he adds, “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,” he said.
“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 simply receive the Blessed Sacrament in many places, as if it were a matter of course, shows that many no longer see anything more in Communion than a purely ceremonial gesture.”
“We do not need another Church of our own design,” he writes. “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.”
And while there is not the least hint of criticism in Benedict’s words, one cannot help but notice the contrast with a pontificate which has defined itself by breaking down the moral and doctrinal barriers to the reception of Holy Communion by those who either do not share the Catholic faith or do not seek to conform themselves to Catholic moral teaching in their lives.
In 2015, during a visit to a Lutheran community in Rome, Pope Francis told a Lutheran woman that she and her Roman Catholic husband could “talk to the Lord and go forward” in deciding whether to receive the Holy Eucharist.
Then, in 2018, less than one month after Archbishop Luis Ladaria, S.J., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent a letter to the German bishops with Pope Francis’ approval, rejecting their pastoral guidelines to allow Protestants in mixed marriages with Catholics to receive the Holy Eucharist in some cases, without needing to convert to Catholicism, Pope Francis told reporters during an inflight press conference that it is up to local bishops to determine whether a Protestant spouse may receive the Eucharist.
Also in 2018, Pope Francis departed from a tradition restored by Pope John Paul II and moved the celebration of Corpus Christi — with its candlelit Eucharistic procession — from the heart of Rome. Francis also departed from his predecessors in not accompanying Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament during the candlelit procession through the streets of Rome.
In 2017, Pope Francis reportedly sent a letter to the bishops of Malta thanking them for the guidelines on applying the controversial Chapter 8 of his summary document on the Synod on the Family, Amoris Laetitia. In the guidelines, the Maltese bishops invited divorced Catholics living in a second union to come forward for Holy Communion after a period of discernment, with an informed and enlightened conscience, and if they are “at peace with God.”
During an April 11, 2019 episode of The World Over, canon lawyer and priest of the Archdiocese of New York, Fr. Gerald Murray, responded to Benedict XVI’s essay and underlined that, in the Eucharist, Christ gives himself to the Church in sacramental form.
This, he said, is why Benedict is so concerned that if we treat the sacrament casually, without due reverence and an “adoring spirit, then reverence for God and His creatures “goes out the door.“
Fr. Murray continued: “What then do we have? We have all the evils of relativism, immorality,” which means that “young people and others get victimized by powerful people who dismiss that morality.”
“How do we reform the Church?,” Fr. Murray asked. “The renewal of theology, particularly moral theology, based on metaphysical thinking which identifies that reality is a category not subject to our manipulation.”
“We can manipulate our response to reality,” he said, but “that’s where you get into the make-believe world.”
“What’s the difference between genuflecting in Church and walking into Disney World?” Fr. Murray asked. “Disney World is all made up. Jesus is really in the Tabernacle.”
“People have awe when they see the great castle at Disney World,” he said. “I thought that was fun when I was a kid, but then I learned something more important. God is physically in the Tabernacle in my Church. My duty in life is to live in a way that I’m worthy to receive him so that I’ll see him when I go to my grave.”
“That’s a beautiful message,” Fr. Murray said.
Catholic author Robert Royal noted that the pope emeritus honed in on “the way we treat the Eucharist on special occasions, weddings, and funerals.”
“It is just assumed that all family members or friends who show up — whether they’re even Catholic or whether they are Catholics in good standing, or whether they are Protestants or whatever — are entitled somehow to receive the Eucharist,” Royal said.
He also noted that when someone is been denied the Eucharist on such occasions, the Church is often portrayed as “unmerciful.” But he argued that this is “sentimentality.”
“It’s often said that sentimentality is the death of truth,” he said. “It’s not surprising that there’s a sentimentality about the Eucharist that spreads, that the very reverence and the fear of God and the fear of how we act toward Him and toward one another begins to disappear.”
Personal love for Jesus
Over the years, Joseph Ratzinger (and then Benedict XVI) has been consistent in identifying the root causes of the moral crisis in the Church, as well as the remedies. In a 2003 televised interview with Raymond Arroyo, he identified a collapse in faith and the Church’s moral teaching as being at the heart of the crisis.
He said: “Only if I am really in a personal confidence with the Lord, if the Lord for me is not an idea but the person of my deepest friendship… If I am really convinced and in personal contact of love with the Lord, the Lord will help me in these temptations.”
In his essay this week, Benedict repeatedly refers to the Holy Eucharist as “Him” – not “it” — to highlight that the Eucharist is a Person, not a thing.
“We must do all we can,” he writes, “to protect the gift of the Holy Eucharist from abuse.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — On April 4’s The World Over with Raymond Arroyo, the self-described “papal posse” spent most of their time clarifying Church teaching so viewers would not be confused by heterodox remarks recently made by Pope Francis, especially his comments on God willing a “diversity of religions,” which one panelist suggested the pope should issue a formal correction of.
Fr. Gerald Murray, Robert Royal, editor in chief of The Catholic Thing website, and show host Raymond Arroyo focused their attention on several key topics during their discussion: the appointment of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory to the Archdiocese of Washington, the pope’s remarks on the death penalty and immigration, Christus vivit — Francis’ new exhortation on youth — and the pope’s recent trip to Morocco.
Royal told Arroyo that Gregory’s move to Washington is really “Cardinal Wuerl by other means” and that he doesn’t see it as much of a change given Gregory’s relationship with former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and close friendship with Cardinal Wuerl. Royal then wondered if the pick was an intentional effort by the Vatican to keep some continuity in the Archdiocese. Gregory, a former head of the U.S. Bishops conference, is a liberal, pro-LGBT social justice-oriented cleric. Fr. Murray expressed concern that Gregory will need to do “a lot” to earn the trust of the laity and that there has to be a lot of “cleanup duty” to ensure sex abuse does not occur in the archdiocese again.
Arroyo then also asked Fr. Murray, a canon lawyer and priest of the Archdiocese of New York, if the pope’s assertion aboard the papal plane on his way back from Morocco last month that the death penalty is not Catholic is an indication the Church has evolved on the subject. Murray flatly stated that the pope “does not have the power to change” the Church’s “perennial” position on the morality of the death penalty in some situations. “The Church does not change its teaching on matters that have been consistently taught simply because it becomes unpopular in the modern age.”
The trio next discussed remarks Pope Francis made aboard the papal plane where he suggested international populism is driven by a fear of the other. Royal pointed out that Europeans feel threatened over the loss of their cultural heritage and national identities, and that the pope is confusing the moral teachings of the church with the prudential political decisions elected officials need to make. He also wondered about the effect young people leaving developing nations would have. Fr. Murray echoed the remarks of Cardinal Robert Sarah, who has said people should be able to stay in their homeland and that they shouldn’t need to flee to another country.
Pope Francis’ exhortation on young people, Christus vivit, was also discussed. Fr. Murray said the exhortation’s use of the term “inclusive” makes him think of the language used by pro-LGBT activists. Murray said young people should be listened to, as the exhortation calls for, especially those who are fed up with clerical abuse and who want the Latin Mass in their diocese, but that they need to be taught the faith first and foremost. Royal wondered if something in the pope’s upbringing is what causes him to think the Church needs to listen to young people more.
The 23-minute discussion closed with a frank conversation on Pope Francis’ remarks in Abu Dhabi about how God wills a diversity of religions and when he told Catholics in Morocco last month not to proselytize their neighbors. The “posse” seemed to be in agreement that the pope’s remarks were confusing, inappropriate, and essentially not in alignment with Church teaching.
“The Church teaches clearly God has willed Judaism as the chosen people and then Christ, the savior of Jew and Gentile, founded the Christian Church which is the fulfillment of the hope of Israel,” Fr. Murray stated.
“Those are the only religions willed by God. Everything else is a human creation. We believe that. We do not believe that other people who are leaders of religions did that under divine inspiration to create rivals interpretations of the meaning of salvation. The permissive will of God means God lets human beings make free choices on their own that God would not have otherwise chosen for himself to do.”
Murray suggested the pope “issue a formal correction” of his statements and instead say, “There is only one Church established by God, that is the Catholic Church, and that Judaism was the chosen people brought into the world in order that Christ might come, and save Jew and Gentile. Those are the only religions revealed by God."
Royal was worried that average Catholics would be confused by the pope’s comments on other religions and wondered if Fr. Murray was “maybe” right in calling for the Pope to formally correct his remarks.
Earlier this month, Pope Francis informally clarified his controversial statement in unscripted remarks to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, stating that God merely “permits” other religions according to his “permissive will.”
SOUTH BEND, Indiana, April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An alumna and mother of a student of Notre Dame is asking university president Rev. John Jenkins in a letter to grant a student petition for a campus-wide pornography filter for the university’s WiFi internet service.
Molly Kraker is a graduate of the Catholic university in South Bend, Indiana, who also identifies herself as the mother of a current student and wife of an alumnus. She refers to a petition circulated by Notre Dame student James Martinson, who wants the university to install a filter making 200 pornography sites inaccessible on Notre Dame Wi-Fi networks.
“In our over-sexualized culture, men and women are bombarded with pornographic material. A significant number of male and female students are imploring you to take a stand and install a filter to block online pornography on Our Lady’s campus. These brave students are asking you to guide them in their quest to lead chaste lives,” Kraker states in her letter. (Read the full letter below, courtesy of the Sycamore Trust.)
“We are called to live out our faith radically in a world awash in sin and selfishness and you are uniquely placed to help show young Catholic students how to do exactly that. To be truly obedient to our beautiful faith and embrace it fully, counter-culturally, boldly ... though the odds be great or small,” she writes.
According to Kraker’s letter, Vice President of Communications Paul Browne responded to the students’ call for a pornography filter: “God’s given us the choice of whether to be sinners or not.” As for Rev. Jenkins, he wrote to Enough is Enough: “Although we do not believe a mandatory filter is the best solution for us, we are taking steps to encourage students and others to adopt filters voluntarily. Thank you for your thoughts on this matter.”
Recently, the student government at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. similarly asked for a pornography filter on the campus-wide Wi-Fi. In addition, LifeSiteNews has launched an online petition to administrators at the Catholic University of America to ban internet porn.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. 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.”
Molly Kraker’s full letter
I am writing as a concerned mother of a current Notre Dame student and an alumna from the Class of 1990 who also happens to be married to an ND grad from that same class. In addition, my sister graduated in the Class of 1991 and she is also the mother of a current ND student. What happens on Our Lady’s campus matters to me. It matters to my family. I have written you on many occasions when the university — under your leadership — has sadly declined to use its influence as one of this nation’s finest Catholic institutions to defend our faith and the Church’s teaching and instead sided with worldly acclaim. All of my entreaties have thus far fallen on deaf ears and I have no reason to believe this one will prove productive. My conscience demands I write to you, nonetheless.
We are called to live out our faith radically in a world awash in sin and selfishness and you are uniquely placed to help show young Catholic students how to do exactly that. To be truly obedient to our beautiful faith and embrace it fully, counter-culturally, boldly — what though the odds be great or small.
In our over-sexualized culture, men and women are bombarded with pornographic material. A significant number of male and female students are imploring you to take a stand and install a filter to block online pornography on Our Lady’s campus. These brave students are asking you to guide them in their quest to lead chaste lives. With the results of the most recent “Sexual Climate” survey showing 78 rapes or about 9 rapes on average per month and about 50 other sexual assaults per month, clearly the misogynistic porn culture is moving from the laptop to the campus party with regularity. I want my daughter and my niece to be safe on campus, not dismissively told by Vice President of Communications, Paul Browne, that “God’s given us the choice of whether to be sinners or not.” Aren’t we as responsible adults called to assist our young people in seeking the good? Instead, Mr. Browne would have us turn a blind eye to what the Catechism calls a “grave offense,” as pornography does “grave injury to the dignity of its participants” and “immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world.”
The University of Notre Dame MUST do more than hide behind unenforced, widely disregarded rules. The University has no problem virtue signaling to the “woke” post modernists about the evils of Columbus and is quite comfortable taking action to cover murals that date back to the 1880s, but can’t find the time to care about the virtue of its current students.
On the topic of the Columbus murals, I was embarrassed and appalled by your decision to cover them. Was Columbus a flawed man? Did egregious things happen to the indigenous people living in the Americas following the arrival of Europeans? Yes. But we cannot judge the man by solely looking at him and his actions through the prism of our 21st century world.
I cannot understand how covering these murals accomplishes your declared goal to “not erase anything, but tell the fullest story.” Tucking away high resolution pictures of the murals in some hidden corner of campus simply cannot tell “the fullest story.” Cloaking the murals simply empowers those addicted to outrage who continually preach progress while demanding society keep its collective head pointed perpetually at past wrongs to further their mindset of victimization while seeking vengeance under the guise of justice.
You act as if the presence of Catholic Europeans did nothing but lead to “exploitation, expropriation of land, repression of vibrant cultures, enslavement, and new diseases causing epidemics that killed millions.” Certainly, you aren’t implying that the early European explorers with their limited understanding of microbiology, sought to kill the native populations through germ warfare. And perhaps you could look to the indigenous people living under the horrors of Aztec rule to see if the Europeans provided a welcome aid as they sought to remove the constant threat presented by Moctezuma’s bloodthirsty human sacrifices.
I fully support the work of the Sycamore Trust as it strives to restore the University of Notre Dame’s authentic Catholic identity. I pray that you will employ the supernatural grace bestowed upon you during your ordination and do just that. The students of Our Lady’s University deserve nothing less.
BALMAIN, New South Wales, Australia, April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Australia’s top Catholic prelate was convicted of sexual abuse based on the testimony of his accuser, a testimony that bears a striking resemblance to a case published in Rolling Stone magazine, an Australian magazine editor has found.
Keith Windschuttle, an Australian historian and journalist, compared the sexual assault allegations first made against Cardinal Pell in 2015 to a description of assault allegations made against an American priest published in the September 2011 of the Rolling Stone magazine.
“What is the difference between this account of child sex abuse in a Catholic church in Philadelphia and the evidence given by the sole accuser in the Victorian court case that convicted Cardinal George Pell of sexually abusing a 13-year-old choir boy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, in 1996?” Windschuttle asked.
“Not much,” he replied.
In his testimony against Philadelphia priest Charles Englehart, former altar boy Daniel Gallagher stated that the priest had caught him drinking altar wine in the church sacristy after serving Mass. Instead of being angry, Englehart gave him more wine and showed him pornographic magazines. A week later, the priest sexually abused Gallagher after Mass.
In Rolling Stone account, written by activist-journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the victim was referred to as “Billy.”
In his testimony against Pell, the still unnamed witness said the future cardinal caught him and his (now deceased) friend drinking altar wine in the church sacristy after Mass. Pell then sexually abused one boy and then the other.
In the testimony published in the updated version of Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, written by Louise Milligan, the alleged victims were referred to as “the Choirboy” and “the Kid.”
Calling the similarities “uncanny,” Windschuttle laid them out:
Both cases of sexual abuse occurred in the sacristy after Sunday Mass.
In both cases, the victims had been drinking wine they found in the sacristy.
Both boys assisted in the celebration of the Mass.
The priest fondled both boys’ genitals.
Both boys were made to kneel before the priest.
Both boys were made to perform fellatio on the priest.
Both the alleged victims were the only witnesses who testified for the prosecution in court; it was their word against that of the priests.
Windschuttle stated that the two stories were so “close to being identical that the likelihood of the Australian version being original is most implausible.” He also suggested that there were too many similarities for the likeness to be dismissed as “coincidence.”
The journalist concluded, therefore, that Pell’s surviving accuser (“the Kid”) had simply repeated a story he or someone else had found in the Australian edition of the Rolling Stone.
“In short, the testimony that convicted George Pell was a sham,” Windschuttle wrote.
“This does not mean the accuser was deliberately making it up. He might have come to persuade himself the events actually happened, or some therapist might have helped him ‘recover’ his memory,” he continued.
“But no matter how sincere the accuser’s beliefs were, that does not make them true, especially when there is so much other evidence against them.”
Pell, the former archbishop of Melbourne, was convicted in December 2018 of the sexual abuse of a minor. He was sentenced last month to six years in prison. The Cardinal has steadfastly maintained his innocence.
Windschuttle believes that until now no one in Australia who has either covered or investigated the Pell case has mentioned the Gallagher testimony against Fr. Englehart in the American case because of slipshod research (Milligan) or a desire to have Pell convicted (the police of the Australian state of Victoria).
There is an even older story that resembles the plaintiffs’ testimony against Fr. Engelhart and Cardinal Pell in one respect: the theme of stolen altar wine. In the 2008 film Doubt, Fr. Brendan Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is accused of having given an altar server wine to drink. When confronted, the priest says he caught the lad drinking altar wine.
The film, which left the priest’s guilt or innocence uncertain, was a critical success, receiving four Academy Award nominations. Including worldwide receipts, it has made more than $50 million to date.
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Last night, EWTN The World Over host Raymond Arroyo and his guests examined Pope Emeritus Benedict’s letter on sex abuse in the Church wherein he attempts to come to grips with the social and theological underpinnings of the crisis.
Arroyo dedicated three quarters of his hour-long show to what he called the “astounding new document” of Pope Benedict.
The host spoke in the EWTN studio with frequent guests Fr. Gerald Murray and Robert Royal, who together form EWTN’s “Papal Posse,” and by satellite with Cardinal Gerhard Müller, a former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Both the host and his guests spoke favourably of the Pope Emeritus, his letter, and his record on addressing clerical sexual misconduct. Early in the show, Arroyo showed a clip of an interview he had conducted with the then-cardinal Ratzinger twenty years before about the abuse crisis. Then, as now, Ratzinger identified a lack of faith in God within the Church and the rejection of traditional Catholic moral teachings on the part of postwar theologians as responsible for the sexual crimes.
The importance of moral absolutes was one of the central themes discussed in the 46-minute segment. Arroyo and his guests addressed the collapse of sexual morality in the 1960s and its effect on people in the Church.
“It only makes sense,” said Robert Royal. “If the public perception of sexual morality becomes lax in some ways ― as Benedict said, it almost disappears, it’s only a matter of consent between two people ― is that not going to affect people inside the Church as well...? Of course it does.”
Defending Benedict’s new letter from “progressives” who say its ideas aren’t borne out by the John Jay Report, Arroyo put a chart from the Report onscreen. It showed that the number of accusations began to rise in the 1960s and reached a peak in the 1980s, after they went into a sharp decline.
After Arroyo condemned the scandal of the Church reflecting the values of the world, Robert Royal tackled the subject of what the Church is and what God is calling her to do.
“The willingness to die for the essential truths of the faith is the crux of what the Church is,” he said.
“And so if truth drops out of that equation, and the Church is just sort of there as a facilitator for what makes people feel good at a given moment, then we’ve lost the root of what our faith is about: that God communicated to us a certain understanding of who He is, and who we are, and how He expects us to live,” he continued. “And at that point, Christianity has nothing left to offer the world, and the Church itself is in jeopardy.”
Reflecting on the new permissive attitude of some bishops toward homosexuality, Fr. Murray condemned homosexual acts in blunt terms.
“A relationship based on sodomy is intrinsically evil,” Murray said. “You don’t sodomize someone and do a good act. That’s an immoral act.”
“Anything that leads to it has to be forbidden and resisted. Why? Because you love those persons, and you don’t want them to offend God or do damage to their own souls.”
Murray said bishops in Germany who want to bless homosexual unions are “wrong” because there is “no good in blessing a relationship based on intrinsically immoral actions.”
Another issue Benedict brought up in his letter is the threat to the faith of pious Catholics both by the inadequate response to the abuse crisis and by the “intellectual arrogance of those who think they are so clever.” In addressing the rights of the accused priests, the pope emeritus asserted that the faith of the “little ones” — ”the common faithful” — also had value.
This reminded Murray of EWTN’s founder, Mother Angelica, who said “the faith isn’t that hard.”
“Religion is not about theologians inventing systems largely based on relativism, on Enlightenment thinking ― nothing to do with the Bible,” Murray said.
In his own remarks, Cardinal Müller addressed the inadequate response of Vatican-ordered “visitations” to cope with homosexuality in the seminaries, saying there had been too much compromise, along with the deficiencies of bishops after the Second Vatican Council. Like Benedict, Müller resisted the idea that the Council itself had been at fault. The problem, he said, was that in wishing to be more pastoral, some bishops neglected their teaching office and did not transmit doctrine.
Arroyo and the Papal Posse also discussed the relationship between lack of reverence for the Eucharist and lack of reverence for the dignity of the human person.
At the end of the segment, they seemed to agree that the central message of Benedict’s letter is that both the Church and the world must return to God. They concluded also that there is a need for the renewal of moral theology.
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UGANDA, April 12, 2019, LifeSiteNews – A U.S. based pro-abortion group that misleadingly calls itself “Catholics for Choice” is enticing unsuspecting medical students in Africa’s most vibrant Catholic countries to become not only abortion promoters but even abortionists, according to medical students who attended a workshop hosted by the organization.
Ugandan medical students recently became troubled when they realized too late that a seminar about “reproductive health” offered by Catholics for Choice (CFC) was really about ending the lives of children in their mothers’ wombs.
They felt they were deceived by the euphemistic terminology employed by the CFC. The seminar, titled “Values Clarification Workshop,” turned out to be what they said was abortion "indoctrination" that perverted Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life.
CFC wooed students to the abortion propaganda event by bringing them free of charge to Kampala’s most lavish resort, The Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa—the country’s only five-star hotel—for a luxury weekend.
Catholics for Choice, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. with an annual budget of $3,000,000, states on its website that it "helps people and organizations confidently challenge the power of the Catholic hierarchy." The group promotes contraception, abortion, and sex education. LifeSiteNews reached out to Catholics for Choice several times for comment during the writing of this report but received no response.
The Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa verified that Catholics for Choice hosted the event, with representatives staying at the resort beginning February 27.
Some students were horrified upon perceiving that the seminar was neither “Catholic” nor about “women’s health.”
“They are manipulating us. They are not allowing dialogue; This is not a seminar for discussion,” said one.
“The methodology is not a good way of proceeding,” said the student. “It is a method of indoctrination.”
The presenters offered statistics showing that many Catholic women do abort their children in various countries throughout the world in an attempt to normalize the procedure, according to the students.
The printed material given to attendees—and forwarded to LifeSiteNews from Uganda via smartphone snapshots—opens with a series of questions and misleading answers on page one:
Do Catholic women have abortions?
Yes. Catholic women have abortions. In fact, Catholic women have abortions in many countries at about the same rate as other women.
What do Catholics believe about abortion?
Catholics the world over support the right to legal abortion and believe it can be a moral option.
What is the church’s teaching on abortion?
Catholic teachings on abortion have changed over time. Many past and present Catholic theologians have said abortion can be a moral choice. Others disagree.
The presenters also spoke about Humanae Vitae being “disastrous,” and that it has “enslaved women.”
Targeting Africa’s largest, most vibrant Catholic communities
The presenters mentioned that they had offered a similar seminar in the Congo in December, and that later this spring they will be in Malawi. In this way they are targeting Africa’s most dynamic, faithful, growing Catholic populations.
An attendee who wishes to remain anonymous said, “So you can see that the way they select the countries to visit: They are the ones that when you hear about Catholicism growing in Africa, these are the countries.”
Students said they were troubled when, according to one, a speaker stated, “The Prime Minister of Ethiopia has asked us to do some work for him, and he has asked us to ask you if Ethiopia can introduce abortion as a way of enhancing the productivity of women.”
“They are approaching the whole thing around religion, culture and conscience,” said one attendee in reaction to the event. “So they begin to peel people away from their religious and cultural beliefs, and also from reasoning through their consciences.”
After the weekend abortion seminar, attendees received an email from one of the two CFC presenters, Elyce Nollette, who serves as an International Program Senior Associate. The email was viewed by LifeSiteNews.
Nollette referred to the seminar as a “Values Clarification Workshop” and directed attendees to CFC’s website where among other things, they could find “resources for values-based support for women’s choices and their moral autonomy and the real story of Catholics and conscience when it comes to issues of sex and reproduction.”
According to the CFC website, seminar presenter Elyce Nollette “coordinates CFC’s international program activities with overseas policymakers, health providers, advocates, activists and collegial organizations to diminish the influence of religious extremism on public policy and advance sexual and reproductive rights.”
Amanda Ussak, the second presenter at the Values Clarification Workshop, “implements and manages CFC’s international activities including initiatives with global advocates, policymakers and reproductive health providers and other influencers to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide. Ms. Ussak’s leadership helps CFC influence and build a stronger community of advocates working around the globe to diminish the influence of religious extremism on women’s health policies.”
The group condemns African Catholic bishops because it sees them as “a vociferous opponent of modern contraception on the African continent, which has the world’s lowest rate of contraceptive use.”
A CFC online publication titled “Humanae Vitae at 50: The Damage Done,” starts out lamenting that Pope John Paul II declared the promotion of contraceptives in developing countries is an attack on the family, part of a “culture of death.”
CFC is especially concerned because “Catholicism is growing fastest in Africa—the Catholic population on the continent has increased by 238 percent since 1980 and Catholics are predicted to account for nearly 25 percent of the population by 2040,” according to their Humanae Vitae report.
April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A new survey by a respected pollster has found that a clear majority of American "registered voters" are willing to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected...provided they are given the information of how early a preborn child’s heart actually begins beating.
On April 3, pollster Scott Rasmussen released the results of a poll of registered voters he conducted with the polling firm HarrisX, focusing on the latest trend in state pro-life legislation.
When simply asked about banning abortion “at any point after a fetal heartbeat has been detected,” a combined 55% said they would either “somewhat” or “strongly” oppose the ban. But when the question is prefaced with the definitive statement that a “fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy,” 56% of respondents said they would favor the ban.
51% also said they would prefer a candidate who endorsed a heartbeat ban, versus just 27% who sided with a candidate who supports abortion “at any point during a pregnancy” (an additional 22% were unsure).
The poll’s more general abortion findings revealed that 48% thought abortion should be legal “some of the time” and that only 24% believed it should “never” be legal. But the results are consistent with a large body of polling data indicating that the more specific and informative the question, the more likely the answer is to be pro-life.
Last summer, Gallup found that a combined 53% of Americans think abortion should be legal in “few” or “no” circumstances (which Gallup has consistently found at or above 54% from 1995 through 2017). Other surveys from CNN/ORC International and the Marist Institute also found consistent majority support for either banning abortion completely or limiting it to rape, incest, or medical emergencies.
The only major aspect of the abortion debate on which the abortion lobby enjoys strong majority support is on whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, but pro-lifers argue those results are largely a byproduct of widespread ignorance about the 1973 ruling’s history and effects. January’s Marist poll found that 65% of Americans think the Supreme Court should either let states set their own abortion laws or ban abortion itself, which Andrew Wheeler of the Knights of Columbus notes “would functionally overturn” Roe.
The January poll also found just 38% of Americans considered themselves “pro-life” versus 55% “pro-choice,” with an additional 7% unsure; and 48% of Americans saying they would either completely ban abortions or limit them to cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother’s life. But in the wake of ongoing controversy over Democrat-backed bills to allow effectively unrestricted abortion up until birth and congressional Democrats’ opposition to legislation meant to prevent infanticide, a February Marist poll found a nine-point jump in pro-life self-identification and a ten-point jump in the percentage of Americans who would ban most abortions.
Heartbeat bills prohibit abortion much earlier than the “viability” standard set by Roe v. Wade, which their supporters argue is intended to provoke legal challenges which pro-lifers hope will eventually lead to the U.S. Supreme Court finally overturning the 1973 ruling and restore Americans’ freedom to vote on all aspects of abortion’s legality.
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — More than a year after announcing the policy change, the Trump administration on Friday finally began enforcing its ban on gender dysphoria in the U.S. military.
Finalized late last March in consultation with former defense secretary James Mattis and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the policy disqualifies from service “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” specifically those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” except in “certain limited circumstances.”
Already serving members (who have been estimated to total anywhere from 1,320 to 6,630) may stay but will be treated as members of their biological sex rather than their “gender identity” and held to the dress and grooming standards of the former. Current medical treatment will continue for current members already diagnosed with gender dysphoria, but new transition procedures will not be offered.
Opponents immediately sued, leading four separate courts to issue temporary injunctions against enforcing the ban. In January, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an injunction by District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, followed by the U.S. Supreme Court staying two others. U.S. District Judge George Russell III ruled in early March that he was “bound by the Supreme Court’s decision” to lift another, and a D.C. Circuit panel sided with the Trump administration and dissolved the final injunction in late March.
The Pentagon disputes the characterization of the new policy as a “ban,” instead framing it as an elimination of “special accommodations that were provided to persons with gender dysphoria but not to others.”
“Just over 70 percent of prime military-age Americans cannot meet the military's standards,” it explained, and “anyone who meets military standards without special accommodations can and should be able to serve.” But gender dysphoria is a “recognized medical condition” that “causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning.”
Failed 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was among those denouncing the new policy this week, declaring it an “abhorrent” move that must be reversed “as soon as we can”:
The administration's ban on transgender servicemembers begins today. It is abhorrent. Every American should be able to serve their country, and I can't believe we're still debating that in 2019. We have to reverse this as soon as we can.
In defense of the policy, Heritage Foundation defense expert and retired lieutenant general Tom Spoehr writes that “exhaustive Defense Department clinical and U.S. survey data confirms that individuals with gender dysphoria attempt suicide at rates between eight and 10 times the average” and “severe anxiety again at between eight and nine times the rate of individuals without” and that “there is no evidence that medical treatment, including gender-reassignment surgery, can remedy those challenges.”
“Stress, anxiety, and suicide are already existential military problems. Indeed, the suicide rate for active-duty military members has been slowly rising over the past couple of decades,” he explains. “It would, therefore, be reckless and ill-advised to allow individuals demonstrably at a higher risk of suicide and anxiety to join the military and be subject to the increased stresses of military duty — both for the readiness of their units and for the safety of the individual.”
While every judicial injunction against implementing the policy is gone, the underlying legal challenges remain unresolved. “All four cases are proceeding,” National Center for Lesbian Rights legal director Shannon Minter declared after the third injunction was lifted last month. “Just because an injunction is lifted, doesn’t mean [the] case is over.”
April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Kiernan Shipka, the lead actress of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina reboot, told late-night host Jimmy Kimmel this week that real-life Wiccans advise the show’s writers to ensure fidelity in their depictions of the occult.
“How do you prepare to play a witch?” Kimmel asked. “Do you do a ride-along on a broom or whatnot?”
“A few ride-alongs, a few seances,” Shipka joked, before seriously answering, “we have a few people who are practicing Wiccans … it’s nice. You feel like you’re making the right moves and doing the right things.”
“You feel like you have some advisory, which is really nice,” she continued. “We’re not all just doing this.” They then joked about whether they would place spells on her if she angered them, which transitioned to a conversation about Shipka’s enthusiasm to encounter a ghost someday.
Last fall, Vanity Fairdetailed the input of Chilling Adventures’ production designer Lisa Soper, a practicing member of the occult, on the show, including various design elements of the sets such as Sabrina’s home, as well as the variou spells the characters perform. She even “put a protection spell on the house,” she said.
Soper told Vanity Fair she started out Catholic, but her family changed faiths multiple times over the course of her upbringing, and as she grew up she took to studying older belief systems. Eventually, she says, she “became completely comfortable and confident” in her occult beliefs after visiting the site of a car wreck that killed a friend who had been driving home from Soper’s birthday party. “I’m not saying ghosts exist, but I felt him — my friend — come to the side (of my car) and say, It’s OK,” she claims.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch began as an Archie Comics character in the 1960s, but is most well-known for the 1990s, family-aimed sitcom starring Melissa Joan Hart. The Netflix version strikes a decidely-darker, more adult tone, featuring blood, orgies, Satanic imagery, and a far-less-cartoonish depiction of witchcraft.
In October, survey data from Connecticut’s Trinity College revealed that the United States’ Wiccan population skyrocketed from 8,000 in 1990 to 340,000 in 2008, a year that also found roughly 340,000 self-described Pagans. Since 1990, self-identification with Protestant Christian denominations dropped eight percent while the share of Americans with no religious affiliation almost tripled.
“When it comes to what ultimately counts, witchcraft and Christianity (but not witches and Christians) are mortal foes,” warns Richard Howe of the Christian Research Institute. “Without the sacrifice of Christ to wash away our sins and reconcile us to our Maker, there is no hope in the world to come. Witchcraft teaches that our destiny is to return again to this world through reincarnation.”
OTTAWA, Canada, April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Canadians demonstrated in Ottawa today at the country's Royal Mint against a new coin to be released in the coming weeks that commemorates the decriminalization of homosexual sex acts.
Organizer CitizenGO released a statement yesterday saying that it had collected over 48,000 signatures in support of its “demand that the Mint cancel this release of this one dollar coin.” By mid-afternoon today, however, over 49,563 people had signed.
"I am very upset over the planned release of a pro-homosexual one dollar coin later this year. I do not want a 'gay' loonie," states the petition. "The government must withdraw its plans for any design that celebrates homosexual acts. I do not want homosexuality forced upon me and my country," it adds.
Volunteers from the international platform gathered outside the Mint, located at 320 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, at noon today to denounce the new design of the one dollar coin. The 48,000-person strong petition was also hand-delivered to staff at the Mint.
"It was a great event. We had about a dozen people join us in front of the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa from 12 to 1 PM. Together, we took a stand against the politicization of our coinage and the aggressive push of the LGBT agenda on ALL Canadians," CitizenGo stated on its Facebook page about the event.
"Many of the pedestrians passing us by were totally supportive. We also got lots of positive honks from the traffic. Not a single counter-protestor showed up," the group added.
The current government, headed by Justin Trudeau, approved the coin on December 14, 2018.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the design is a "… stylized rendering of two overlapping human faces within a large circle, the left half of the left face in front view and the right face in profile facing left, the two faces forming one whole face in front view composed of two eyes with eyebrows, a nose, a mouth and two ears with a small hoop earring on the left ear …"
It is understood that the two human faces belong to a couple of the same sex.
The coin will also feature the years “1969”, when private homosexual acts were decriminalized by the government headed by Trudeau’s father Pierre Trudeau, and “2019”.
The word “equality” in both English and French will also be included, as will the initials of the artist, currently known only as “RA”.
“Canada’s new coin celebrates day gay sex was legalized,” states a Dec. 30th headline from Queerty.com.
The one-dollar coin, or “loonie”, as it is popularly known in Canada, was originally, and is normally, engraved with the head of the monarch and the image of a common loon (Gavia immer) on the reverse. A number of commemorative loonies have been struck since the coin was introduced in 1987, usually to celebrate sporting events, like the Olympics or the centenaries of such cultural icons as the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, the Navy, and women’s right to vote.
It is unprecedented to mint a loonie to mark the semi-centennial of anything, let alone a change in the Criminal Code.
In 1967 Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000), acting as Canada’s Justice Minister, introduced a controversial “Omnibus Bill” (Bill C-195) to the House of Commons, asking for sweeping changes to the nation’s Criminal Code. Among the changes were the decriminalization of abortion, new restrictions on gun ownership, and the decriminalization of certain sex acts if performed in private.
Borrowing the famous phrase from a Globe and Mail reporter, Pierre Trudeau told reporters that there was “no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” The elder Trudeau also suggested that homosexual acts in public were “a different matter.”
The original Omnibus Bill did not seek to decriminalize homosexuality per se, but to distinguish between public and private sexual acts. It stated only that certain sexual acts between consenting adults aged 21 or older were legal when performed in private. If a third person or others were present, these acts--including sodomy--were still considered illegal.
This detail of the Bill changed, however. In 1968, the Omnibus Bill was modified and reintroduced to Parliament by Trudeau’s own Justice Minister, John Turner, as Bill C-150. Inspired by similar legislation pertaining to England and Wales, the Bill now included the explicit decriminalization of homosexual acts among those aged 21 and over. On May 14, 1969, after three weeks of furious opposition from the Quebec’s Catholic Créditiste (Social Credit) party, Bill C-150 passed third reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 149:55. There were 59 abstentions.
When Bill C-150 was signed into law both homosexual acts and abortion became legal in Canada. However, men in Canada continued to be arrested for soliciting or performing sexual acts in public and semi-public places.
Canada legalized same-sex "marriage" in 2005, thirty-six years after the passage of bill C-150.
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Steve Bannon’s emergence from political obscurity continued last Thursday during an appearance on EWTN’s The World Over with Raymond Arroyo, where he criticized Pope Francis not only for siding with “globalists” on immigration but also for striking a deal with communist China on the nomination of Catholic bishops.
Since unceremoniously exiting the White House in August 2017, a move that angered many of President Trump’s America First supporters, the former presidential adviser has largely remained out of the public spotlight, preferring to spend most of his time in Europe helping nationalist politicians. In recent months, however, he’s delivered remarks to the Oxford Student Union, was interviewed by CNN and NBC, appeared on CBS, and spoke to Politico.com. Most of his comments have been about the 2020 election and foreign affairs.
Bannon and Arroyo’s wide-ranging discussion (watch below) touched on everything from the Vatican sex abuse summit and the political ramifications of the Mueller report to Bannon’s Italy-based “gladiator” school aimed at defending what he calls “the Judeo-Christian West.” The majority of the pair’s conversation was spent analyzing the worldwide populist movement and the Far East.
China is “an existential threat” to the United States, said Bannon, who recently founded Citizens of the American Republic, a non-profit that promotes economic nationalism. “They’ve been at economic war with us for 25 years[.] ... They’re trying to become the new hegemon in this totalitarian, mercantilist system they’ve got.”
Bannon said China wants to unite the Eurasian landmass and boost its manufacturing industry but Trump is not allowing that to happen. He’s the first president in 30 years to stand up to them and to put a halt to the U.S.’s “managed decline,” Bannon asserted. Trump is also preventing America from becoming a “tributary state” of China.
Bannon, a 65-year-old Latin Mass–attending Catholic, said Rome is throwing faithful Catholics in China under the bus by coming to an agreement with President Xi, who is “more radical than Mao Zedong.” Reminding Arroyo that Xi snubbed the pope when he was in Italy last month, an astonished Bannon said church buildings in China are being demolished on a daily basis and that Chinese elites are destroying religion and acting like slave masters over ordinary citizens. He called for openness and transparency on the “secret deal” reached between the Vatican and China. Bannon suggested that Rome listen to Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong instead of “cutting deals with dictators.”
“Look, the pope is the vicar of Christ. Nobody makes an argument about that … on the things of dogma and theology. But the administrative and the political side of the Church are different,” he said.
Bannon spoke at a roundtable event in Washington last month hosted by an organization called the Committee on the Present Danger: China. Among the group’s founding members is Dr. Steven Mosher, an expert on population control and China whose essays have appeared on LifeSiteNews.
Bannon also called out Pope Francis for going after the “populist, nationalist sovereignty movement” and for taking “the side of the globalists — the Macrons of the world, the Merkels of the world — in every situation.” Bannon said it’s “unacceptable” for the pope to “hammer” and "deride” politicians and Catholics who are simply trying to solve the migrant crisis in order to get their countries back so they don’t implode. Catholic social teaching on immigration should revolve around sovereignty and subsidiarity.
Bannon touted his Trisulti, Italy–based training academy as a place where persons could visit in order to equip themselves with the ideas and skills needed to go on television, into boardrooms, and elsewhere in the public domain to defend “the nation state” and Judeo-Christian values. He mentioned France’s Marion Maréchal Le Pen as someone taking up the pro-sovereignty, anti-globalist cause as well.
Interspersed throughout Arroyo’s and Bannon’s penetrating conversation was the clergy abuse crisis, which Bannon referred to as the “greatest crisis since the Reformation.” Bannon pointed out that the abuse summit in Rome didn’t mention the phrase “zero tolerance.” He said there isn’t a real plan in place to deal with the crisis and predicted the Church will face RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) lawsuits. He advised that the laity need to be involved in future oversight.
The interview concluded with Bannon calling the Trump-Russia collusion story “the biggest hoax in American media history.” He said President Trump is purposefully directing people’s attention to the shadowy beginnings of the investigation. “Look, when President Trump starts using the word ‘treason’ and talks about the FBI ... when he says that guys at these [television] networks should be fired, he’s coming off the chain. If the Democratic Party thinks he’s going to pull back, he’s not.” Bannon suggested that Trump’s language at his rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan last month was an indication he wants to go after the perpetrators of the hoax.
April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Marriage and family provide the foundation for Christian society, Bishop Joseph Strickland said in an interview. And there’s so much broken about that foundation, he said, as well as in the Church and the world today, that it’s imperative to help young couples who are seeking marriage with a strong formation in the Catholic faith – including teaching them about why contraception is morally wrong.
The Tyler, Texas bishop spoke with LifeSiteNews (read full interview below or click here) about his call as a bishop to teach the Catholic faith and a bold initiative to do so in his diocese wrapping up its second year. Strickland released the Constitution on Teaching in May 2017 and also established the Saint Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization, tasked with teaching the Catholic faith in his diocese.
The comprehensive plan to evangelize his flock includes a year of marriage formation that incorporates natural family planning and the Church’s teaching that Catholics are called to be open to life in marriage, embracing Pope St. Paul VI’s document Humanae Vitae. The truth of Church teaching is so profound, he said, that even though it’s not had acceptance in the last 50 years by many Catholics, it’s begun to resonate in and outside the Church.
“And with the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, we’ve focused on in the diocese that this is a truth that the Church has been teaching for those 50 years.”
The Church teaches in the 1968 encyclical that using contraception is always and in every case wrong. "Each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life," states the document. According to this teaching, contraception blocks the marital act from its God-given procreative purpose, contradicting the husband and wife’s promise to give themselves to each other, totally and unreservedly — where nothing must be held back, including one’s own fertility.
The document has been largely ignored by the faithful, said Strickland, by priests and even by bishops. Strickland told LifeSiteNews he had to admit, while he’s always believed what the Church said, that as a parish priest for many years, he also didn't focus on it that much, because it really wasn't very popular to focus on.
In Humanae Vitae Paul VI foretold various social ills that would befall the culture, such as marital infidelity, a general lowering of morality, growing disrespect for women and population control.
“If you read Humanae Vitae,” Strickland said, “Pope St. Pope Paul VI, in #14 of Humanae Vitae, he basically is prophetic and he lays out - This is where we're headed if we ignore God's plan for a married couple, open to life and not using contraception.”
“And I think we've ended up exactly where his prophetic prediction said we would end up,” continued Strickland. “So with all of that being realized, I felt that we need to start at the very foundation of the Christian community, which is marriage, and then the families that are formed on a solid marriage. “
Natural family planning, which respects the natural rhythms inherent in the human body, is part of this, he said.
Strickland, who has become noted for verbalizing the Church’s teaching on subjects such as sexual morality and abortion, discussed a number of things in the interview, speaking candidly about contraception.
He emphasizes that in speaking out about Church teaching he is doing his job as a bishop, and in most cases he is addressing his local flock in northeast Texas. But because it is relatively uncommon for a bishop to speak out, he’s come to stand out.
He tells LifeSiteNews that the Church’s teaching isn’t his truth; it’s Christ’s truth. And he’ll vocalize it as long as he’s a bishop. The fact it seems remarkable, he said, shows how secular society has become.
“Sadly, after 50 years of Humanae Vitae, it's somewhat revolutionary to do what we're doing,” Strickland told LifeSiteNews, “but it's in line with what the Church has continued to teach for these 50 years. It's been the official teaching. It's been not emphasized that much.”
While it may be possible to overemphasize it, he says, he thinks it is very significant, because society’s problems today stem from disobedience to God, and contraception has become entrenched in the culture, including with Catholics.
“I guess the way I would put it is, everything traces back to ills of our society,” said Strickland, “which has been the case since Adam and Eve, it traces back to disobedience to God's plan and to God's will.”
“And so the contraceptive mentality that is very much in the Catholic community, and certainly in the non-Catholic, or even just humanity, contraception is accepted as something that is smart to use,” he said. “And it's like you're strange or you’re delusional if you're not using contraception.”
“So it's kind of a revolutionary idea,” he added, “but it is the teaching of the Church and I think there's tremendous wisdom there.”
Strickland said there's a real desire there on the part of many couples to learn NFP, especially after it's really explained to them what God's plan is and how natural family planning can be used properly.
This is true even in his area of Texas, he said, where less than 10 percent of the population in the geographical area of the diocese is Catholic.
“We're finding more and more non-Catholics who are saying, 'Hey, I think the Catholic Church has something here that we need to pay attention to,'” said Strickland.
“Because really, the Catholic Church — even as eroded as it is as far as Catholic practice — continues to teach that contraception is not morally acceptable,” Strickland said. “And we're the only church that even attempts to teach that, and many of the non-Catholics individually are saying, we want to learn more about this because we think the Catholic Church is on to the truth of God's plan.”
Strickland’s Constitution on Teaching can be accessed here.
PEORIA, Illinois, April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An Illinois woman has filed a lawsuit against a Peoria hospital for allegedly pressuring her to abort her wanted baby to avoid liability for having accidentally administered a drug that could have caused severe birth defects.
Reneizha Morris says that in November 2017, during a routine appointment at UnityPoint Health-Methodist’s area hospital, she learned she was pregnant with a healthy 7-week-old baby, ABC reports. But due to a “miscommunication,” she was allegedly injected with Methotrexate, which can cause severe birth defects.
Morris says the doctors held two meetings with her to inform her about the risks. She still wanted to give birth, but the hospital’s risk manager led her to schedule an abortion on November 29, which she refused after seeing an ultrasound of her child. Yet the risk manager allegedly called her family multiple times to keep pressuring her to abort, going so far as to offer her $2,000 for a consultation at a Planned Parenthood location in Chicago.
“Morris’s attorneys have found the hospital’s records suddenly trail off at this point on how and when she supposedly decided to terminate the pregnancy,” her attorneys explain, according to the Peoria Journal Star. “Following the canceled procedure, the hospital’s risk manager had two phone calls with her family, which have been omitted from the medical record. On December 5, the hospital’s risk manager asked Morris to come to the hospital to pick up $2,000 in cash and a letter stating the money was to be used for ‘a consultation’ at a Chicago-area Planned Parenthood clinic.”
Morris ultimately gave in and had her baby aborted on December 17, which her attorneys suggest she wouldn’t have done without the hospital’s repeated pressuring to do so — or if the hospital had informed her that because it had given her the wrong drug without warning her of the risks, it would be the one covering her child’s medical expenses.
The suit, filed Thursday in Peoria County Circuit Court, seeks more than $50,000 in damages from UnityPoint Health. Several other individuals are named as respondents in discovery and could be added to the suit.
“This case has one of the ugliest fact patterns I have ever seen. A perfectly healthy fetus was given a deadly injection based on reckless communication,” family attorney Thomas R. Mulroy III said. “The hospital administration knew full well they would have been legally responsible for the considerable healthcare costs associated with the baby’s birth injury. The hospital purely had their own interests in mind and failed to take Reneizha’s wishes into consideration.”
“Patient privacy laws prevent us from discussing any individual’s care,” a hospital spokesperson responded in a statement to Becker’s Hospital Review. “At UnityPoint Health, we respect all patient rights in every aspect of the care we provide.”
Morris, who has two boys and was looking forward to adding a girl to her family, says she is heartbroken by the situation. “No one should ever have to make that decision,” she said. “I think about what happened every single day and I hope another woman will never have to feel the pain I have felt since this happened.”
April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Marriage as defined by Catholic teaching is the only place for sexual intimacy, the bishop of Tyler, Texas, said recently. As such, sexual activity between same-sex couples is wrong.
LifeSiteNews asked Bishop Joseph Strickland in an interview how he would minister to couples in same-sex relationships seeking to be faithful Catholics.
“Hopefully with tremendous compassion and embracing them as children of God,” he said, “and helping them to, and I know it’s challenging, but to come basically to the teachings on chastity for every Catholic, to recognize that we believe that every person is called to be chaste, to chastity for their state of life.”
“Marriage, between a man and a woman, as the Church defines it — a permanent lifetime commitment open to children — that's the only place for sexual intimacy,” Strickland told LifeSiteNews.
Strickland spoke in a recent interview with LifeSite about the call he has felt to teach the faith more fervently in his diocese. He released a document titled the Constitution on Teaching close to two years ago and also founded the Saint Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization because he felt so strongly about the need for Catholics in his flock to learn the precepts of the Faith.
(Read LifeSite’s full interview with Bishop Strickland below or click here.)
Things have gone well in the initial days of getting the program up and running, though Strickland says evangelization is the work of the Church “always,” and he expects that the Institute will still be going about the task long after his days leading the Diocese of Tyler are over.
Strickland has garnered notice in recent months for speaking publicly in forthright fashion in defense of Catholic teaching. He stands out in today’s increasingly secular culture with the Church’s clergy sexual abuse crisis unfolding, political correctness taking hold, and unpopular truths about sexual morals met with hostility or left unvoiced by Church leaders.
At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Fall General Assembly in Baltimore last November, the Church’s sexual abuse crisis was a focus. During the meeting, Strickland challenged his brother bishops from the floor as to whether as group they believed the “doctrine of the Church or not” with regard to homosexual activity.
Strickland is taking a comprehensive approach to reaching the people of his diocese with state-of-art tools, but the message on the Church’s teaching is the same. That means in the case of the sacrament of matrimony that God’s plan for marriage is the same — that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“And I think where a lot of things are confused and kind of conflated in society, and even among Catholics these days, is that, ‘Oh, well, I love this person,’” Strickland said. “OK. Wonderful. Love, true love, is always of God. God is love — love is God, as John’s Gospel says.”
People who are in this kind of relationship that the Church doesn't recognize as marriage, and who want to be faithful Catholics, first have to learn what the Church says about marriage and sexual relations, he added. The best way to show them respect is by sharing with them the Church’s call to be chaste.
“So I think it has to be with great compassion,” he said, “because I think any kind of mistreatment of any child of God because of an orientation or of any choice they’ve made is not of Christ.”
“I mean, He’s always reaching out in compassion,” the bishop continued, “but also pulling people away from sin.”
“And we believe that sexual intimacy between people of the same sex is wrong,” stated Strickland. “I mean, it’s right there in the Catechism. It’s very clearly taught.”
“That doesn’t mean either of those people are bad people or should be denigrated in any way,” he said. “And sadly, that has happened through human history. But, so absolutely, we respect the individual, but the greatest respect is to share the truth with them that we believe they’re called the chastity.”
It’s important to speak honestly in these matters, said Strickland.
“And I know that probably a lot of people would laugh me out of the room in today’s society,” he said. “But I think we seriously have to say these two men or these two women are not married, they’re not in a marriage, and so sexual intimacy is not appropriate.”
Chastity is a challenge for everyone in his or her particular situation, he said, but it’s doable.
“But I think that’s where we have to really just be very clear that who you love is not really the issue,” Strickland said. “We can get into a whole teaching about what love really is, and it’s ultimately built in to sacrifice.”
“I mean, that’s the love that Christ shows us. He sacrifices Himself for all of us,” said Strickland. “But I think we have to say all of us are called to chastity, whatever your state of life.”
April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In a wide-ranging interview with LifeSiteNews, Tyler, Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland said that while speaking strongly about the abuse scandal, sexual morality, abortion, and homosexuality, etc., he is simply doing the work of a Catholic bishop.
While this teaching isn’t always easy to follow, he says bringing the teaching of Christ to his flock is fundamental to a bishop’s job.
The bishop of Tyler, Texas, has spoken with clarity in recent months regarding subjects of great concern to faithful Catholics, in particular the abuse scandal, sexual morality, and abortion, doing so via various venues, such as his Twitter account and at the U.S. bishops’ semi-annual meeting last fall.
It’s garnered him attention, because anymore it makes him somewhat unique.
(Read LifeSite’s full interview with Bishop Strickland below or click here.)
While he realizes that voicing Church principles today, especially on social media, can make him stand out, Strickland says he’s just serving his northeast Texas flock.
He feels so strongly about his call as bishop to teach the Catholic faith to his flock that he promulgated a comprehensive charter, the Constitution on Teaching, nearly two years ago for the Tyler diocese and established an institute, the Saint Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization, to follow through on the commitment to teach the truth of the Catholic faith.
Asked by LifeSiteNews in a recent interview about the attention he’s received for often being forthright about Church teaching, he said members of the laity have expressed appreciation, but he’s also heard good feedback from other bishops.
When asked how he responds to various reactions to his outspoken defense of the faith, he said: “Well, really basically, a pretty simple response,” he said, “but my response is the same: that I’m ordained.”
“I mean, it’s not my truth,” Strickland said. “It’s the truth of Jesus Christ. I’m ordained to shepherd people according to that truth.”
“One thing that I’ve tried to emphasize for myself through these past months is, my work and my responsibility is with the diocese of Tyler,” he said: “33 counties in northeast Texas.”
Some 1.5 million people live in the geographical area, he said, with about 120,000 registered Catholics, probably more not on the rolls, and he feels called to teach the truth of Christ to every person who lives in those 33 counties.
“So it’s my job to teach what Christ teaches,” he told LifeSiteNews, so the laity feel supported.
“I’m sure some feel challenged because it’s not exactly a comfortable gospel,” said Strickland. “It’s a narrow path. In all aspects of living Catholic life, of following Christ, it’s a narrow path, that. It’s hard to walk.”
Referencing the term “champion” in the question, Strickland said that’s his job in a real sense, though emphasizing, “Not to champion my-self, but to champion the gospel of Christ and to help them [laity] feel supported in it.”
“And I have to say, I’ve gotten a lot of support from the people here in the diocese and beyond,” he said. “[They a]re grateful that I’ve spoken up.”
As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops debated a response to the Church’s sexual abuse crisis at its Fall General Assembly in Baltimore last November, Strickland questioned his brother bishops from the floor on whether collectively they believe the “doctrine of the Church or not” regarding homosexual activity.
He questioned as well how Theodore McCarrick was allowed to persist in abusive behavior and be elevated to cardinal despite his predation of seminarians being an open secret at all levels of the Church.
“How did this happen,” asked Strickland, “if we really believe that what was going on was wrong?”
He also questioned how it was allowed for a priest to travel around, essentially saying he did not believe this doctrine of the Church, an apparent indirect reference to Jesuit Father James Martin.
On Twitter he has called the video of New York state legislators cheering the passage of the state’s radical abortion expansion law in January “a scene from Hell.”
Following the law’s passage, he concurred in a tweet with Knoxville, Tennessee, Bishop Richard Stika, who had said he’d issue an excommunication for a Catholic governor under his jurisdiction who had voted for such a bill.
“I’m with Bishop Stika,” Strickland said. “I’m not in a position to take action regarding legislation in New York but I implore bishops who are to speak out forcefully. In any sane society this is called INFANTICIDE!!!!!!!!!!”
Strickland said in regard to his fellow bishops that behind the scenes, many have expressed their support and their appreciation.
In some of those conversations, it was discussed how in many places, the politics and general tone of the culture are so anti-Catholic that it’s more difficult for a bishop to speak up. Strickland concedes that he’s in the Bible Belt, and so, though not prevalently Catholic, it is an overtly Christian area. Thus, a lot of what he speaks out on, such as the abortion issue, is something many faithful Christians in the area would very much be in line with.
In his own prayer and reflection, he says, he has pondered, “I am in a relatively small diocese. Why am I the one speaking out?”
“Well, maybe the Lord is using me and helping to support the basic teachings of the Faith,” Strickland said, “where it’s easier said than done in some places around the country.”
There are some dioceses where things are so secular, he said, that it’s a case of so much pushback, and to say some of the things he has would create real challenges.
Some bishops may also choose not to teach via social media, he says. He knows a lot of the bishops who are teaching clearly in their own diocese, and because it’s not in this fashion, they haven’t received the national attention he has. Every bishop has to handle his own flock, he said.
“Many of the bishops refrain from doing that, and I respect their choice to do that,” Strickland told LifeSiteNews. “Like I said, my focus is always on the Diocese of Tyler, but I recognize when I tweet something, it’s not just for the Diocese of Tyler. And I try to be very conscious of that.”
Many bishops have expressed appreciation for his speaking up, he said.
“And it’s helped to support them when maybe, for whatever reason, they’re not quite ready to join the chorus, in a sense, at least in an overt, vocal way,” he added. “But they’re certainly supporting the same teachings.”
In any event, Strickland is embracing his call as a bishop to teach the Catholic faith.
“So, if the Lord wants to use me as a sort of a David-voice in the face of the Goliath of our sinful culture,” he told LifeSiteNews, “you know I’m ready to pull out the slingshot.”
April 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — It’s important, valuable, and urgent for pro-life supporters to participate in the national candlelight prayer vigils at Planned Parenthood abortion facilities across the U.S. this weekend, Father Frank Pavone said, both for the participants and for the wider community.
The two most important reasons to attend one of the local prayer vigils inspired by the movie Unplanned are to expose Planned Parenthood and to save lives, he said.
“This Saturday, April 13, people across the country will gather at Planned Parenthood facilities, inspired by the pro-life compassion that is in our hearts, alarmed by what we know Planned Parenthood is doing.” Pavone stated. “Informed by stories like the movie Unplanned tells us, this is the time to do this.”
The national director for Priests for Life delivered a message via Facebook Live encouraging pro-lifers to take part in the vigil.
Some 144 candlelight vigils were scheduled for 39 states as of press time. The vigils will be held outside Planned Parenthood locations throughout the United States on Saturday and were organized by the Protest Planned Parenthood (#ProtestPP) partnership of the Pro-Life Action League, Created Equal, and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, which is joined by a coalition of more than 75 local, state, and national pro-life groups.
Thousands of pro-life advocates are expected to take part.
In addition to vigil information at the # ProtestPP website, there are prayers available to use in conjunction with the vigils (#PrayPP), which can be found at praypp.com.
The vigils were inspired by the recently released movie Unplanned. The film is based upon the story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood manager who left her job with the abortion giant and became a nationally known pro-life advocate.
Pavone expressed the importance for pro-life Americans to show up and be part of the candlelight vigils in his message, the essence of which he said will remain even after the vigils take place.
“Brothers and sisters, to raise the awareness in the minds of the people in our communities of what Planned Parenthood really is is one of the reasons why protests like this are necessary and good and valuable to participate in,” he said.
“We have to show up,” Pavone stated, because in having a national coordinated series of prayer vigils at the places where babies are being killed, lives are saved.
“It is a mathematical certainty that the more people who show up at a killing center, the less killing occurs,” he continued. “We have learned that over the years in this great pro-life movement.”
This is demonstrated by the many abortion-vulnerable moms who change their minds because of the presence of sidewalk counselors and prayer, said Pavone. Pregnant moms are often conflicted and ask God for a sign on the day of their scheduled abortion, he explained, and simply seeing pro-lifers praying can be enough for them to change their minds.
“Brothers and sisters, Planned Parenthood is an evil organization,” Pavone said. “It commits over 300,00 abortions every year just in the United States,” a third of all abortions that occur in the U.S. — “meanwhile, taking about a half a billion dollars a year of your tax money and mine that flows from various government programs that flows into the coffers of Planned Parenthood.”
It’s important to speak up, he said, because the abortion giant is a criminal enterprise, having been caught on tape breaking federal law prohibiting the sale of baby body parts and the adjustment of the abortion procedure to allow harvesting of baby body parts.
After discussing the varying ways abortion harms women, Pavone stated, “Brothers and sisters, you save people from going into these Planned Parenthood facilities, and you save people from a procedure that, mark my words, cannot be made safe.”
He then denounced the myth propagated by the abortion lobby that the legality of abortion makes the procedure safe.
“It is inherently unsafe,” he stated.
The pro-life priest activist then detailed the many ways that abortion is unsafe to mother and child, questioning what medical benefit there is to an abortion.
“You’re going in and you’re killing another human being,” said Pavone, “and in doing so, you’re not sometimes harming the mother, you are not most of the time harming the mother — you are always harming the mother, always.”
“And that’s why we come out for these national candlelight vigils,” he explained: “we are standing not just in solidarity with those children that are bring killed; we are standing in solidarity with those mothers who are being harmed.”
Regarding the vigils’ potential to effect good in the community, Pavone said peace is lost in a community not only when military war is in effect; rather, peace in a community is lost when a violation of human rights occurs.
“If abortion is occurring, there is no peace,” he stated.
The vigils are an example of the people of God coming out as a peaceful presence to communicate that something is wrong, he added, and even if we don’t succeed in stopping it, we must warn others about abortion, because it would be a sin not to do so.
The motivation to participate is not from condemnation or self-righteousness, remarked Pavone. “We proclaim when we say the rosary at these prayer vigils that we are sinners,” he said.
The prayer vigils are also an opportunity for pro-life supporters to protest an injustice as American citizens in according with religious freedom and freedom of speech.
“We’re there to make known the conviction that is in our hearts, the convictions of tens of millions of people in this country,” said Pavone, “that not only does the injustice have to stop, but the laws have to be changed.”
One of the benefits of the vigils, he said, is that they take the issue out of the arena of purely an academic debate and say it’s not just about viewpoints, but rather about victims.
“This is not just about beliefs; it’s about bloodshed,” said Pavone. “There are real people in real danger right now.”
This is why we have to get up and leave the comfort of our homes, he said, and go to the places where the killing is happening, to gather and to pray, to witness and to counsel.
Pro-life supporters can participate spiritually even if they can’t take part physically, Pavone said, inviting pro-life supporters to say the prayers associated with the protest before during and after the event.
Candlelight vigil info is available here, and the prayers can be found here.
April 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — This coming Saturday, April 13, at 1pm EST, LifeSite co-founder John-Henry Westen is hosting a 15-minute webinar that will include a special announcement about the upcoming Rome Life Forum, which is being held at the Angelicum in Rome from May 16 to 17.
LifeSite will be on location and providing streaming video to those who purchase a 1-day or 2-day video pass for the conference. More information about watching the conference online will be made available in the coming days and weeks. John-Henry will also provide details about watching over the internet as well, so be sure to tune in to his 1pm EST broadcast.
Scheduled speakers include dubia cardinal Raymond Burke; dubia cardinal Walter Brandmüller; Cardinal Willem Eijk (Netherlands); Fr. Kevin O’Reilly, O.P. (Angelicum, Italy); Dr. Alan Fimister (U.K./USA); Professor Roberto de Mattei (Lepanto Foundation, Italy); Steven Mosher (Population Research Institute, USA); Anthony Murphy (Catholic Voice, Ireland); and John-Henry Westen (LifeSiteNews, Canada). Click here to see the full schedule for the conference.
April 12, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — After six years of public silence, broken only by a few mild personal comments, Pope-emeritus Benedict has spoken out dramatically, with a 6,000-word essay on sexual abuse that has been described as a sort of post-papal encyclical. Clearly the retired Pontiff felt compelled to write: to say things that were not being said. Benedict thought the subject was too important to allow for his continued silence.
Vatican communications officials thought differently, it seems. Benedict’s essay became public on Wednesday night, but on Thursday morning there was no mention of the extraordinary statement in the Vatican’s news outlets. (Later in the day the Vatican News service issued a report summarizing Benedict’s essay; it appeared “below the fold” on the Vatican News web page, below a headline story on relief efforts for cyclone victims in Mozambique.) For that matter it is noteworthy that the former Pope’s statement was not published by a Vatican outlet in the first place; it first appeared in the German Klerusblatt and the Italian secular newspaper Corriere della Sera, along with English translations by the Catholic News Agency and National Catholic Register.
Benedict reports that he consulted with Pope Francis before publishing the essay. He does not say that the current Pope encouraged his writing, and it is difficult to imagine that Pope Francis was enthusiastic about his predecessor’s work on this issue. The two Popes, past and present, are miles apart in their analysis of the sex-abuse scandal. Nowhere does Benedict mention the “clericalism” that Pope Francis has cited as the root cause of the problem, and rarely has Pope Francis mentioned the moral breakdown that Benedict blames for the scandal.
The silence of the official Vatican media is a clear indication that Benedict’s essay has not found a warm welcome at the St. Martha residence. Even more revealing is the frantic reaction of the Pope’s most ardent supporters, who have flooded the internet with their embarrassed protests, their complaints that Benedict is sadly mistaken when he suggests that the social and ecclesiastical uproar of the 1960s gave rise to the epidemic of abuse.
Those protests against Benedict — the mock-sorrowful sighs that we all know sexual abuse is not a function of rampant sexual immorality — should be seen as signals to the secular media. And secular outlets, sympathetic to the causes of the sexual revolution, will duly carry the message that Benedict is out of touch, that his thesis has already been disproven.
But facts, as John Adams observed, are stubborn things. And the facts testify unambiguously in Benedict’s favor. Something happened in the 1960s and thereafter to precipitate a rash of clerical abuse. Yes, the problem had arisen in the past. But every responsible survey has shown a stunning spike in clerical abuse, occurring just after the tumult that Benedict describes in his essay. Granted, the former Pontiff has not proven, with apodictic certainty, that the collapse of Catholic moral teaching led to clerical abuse. But to dismiss his thesis airily, as if it had been tested and rejected, is downright dishonest.
Facts are facts, no matter who proclaims them. The abuse crisis did arise in the muddled aftermath of Vatican II. Benedict puts forward a theory to explain why that happened. His theory is not congenial to the ideas of liberal Catholic intellectuals, but that fact does not excuse their attempt to suppress a discussion, to deny basic realities. (Come to think of it, this is not the first time that the public defenders of Pope Francis have encouraged the public to ignore facts, to entertain the possibility that 2+2=5.)
That message — the message of Pope-emeritus Benedict — is a striking departure from the messages that have been issued by so many Church leaders. The former Pope does not write about “policies and procedures”; he does not suggest a technical or legalistic solution to a moral problem. On the contrary he insists that we focus our attention entirely on that moral problem and then move on to a solution which must also, necessarily, be found in the moral realm.
As background for his message, Benedict recalls the 1960s, when “an egregious event occurred, on a scale unprecedented in history.” He writes about the breakdown in public morality, which was unfortunately accompanied by the “dissolution of the moral teaching authority of the Church.” This combination of events left the Church largely defenseless, he says.
In an unsparing analysis, Benedict writes of the problems in priestly formation, as “homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in seminaries.” He acknowledges that a visitation of American seminaries produced no major improvements. He charges that some bishops “rejected the Catholic tradition as a whole.” He sees the turmoil as a fundamental challenge to the essence of the faith, observing that if there are no absolute truths — no eternal verities for which one might willingly give one’s life — then the concept of Christian martyrdom seems absurd. He writes: “The fact that martyrdom is no longer morally necessary in the theory advocated [by liberal Catholic theologians] shows that the very essence of Christianity is at stake here.”
“A world without God can only be a world without meaning,” Benedict warns. “Power is then the only principle.” In such a world, how can society guard against those who use their powers over others for self-gratification? “Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?” Benedict asks. He answers: “Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God.”
It is by restoring the presence of God, then, that Benedict suggests the Church must respond to this unprecedented crisis. He connects the breakdown in morality with a lack of reverence in worship, “a way of dealing with Him that destroys the greatness of the Mystery.” Mourning the grotesque ways in which predatory priests have blasphemed the Blessed Sacrament, he writes that “we must do all we can to protect the gift of the Holy Eucharist from abuse.”
In short Pope-emeritus Benedict draws the connection between the lack of reverence for God and the lack of appreciation for human dignity — between the abuse of liturgy and the abuse of children. Faithful Catholics should recognize the logic and force of that message. And indeed Benedict voices his confidence that the most loyal sons and daughters of the Church will work — are already working — toward the renewal he awaits:
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.
Still the renewal will not come easily; it will entail suffering. For Benedict, that suffering will include the waves of hostility that his essay has provoked, the dismissive attitude of much lesser theologians, the campaign to write him off as an elderly crank. No doubt the former Pope anticipated the opposition that his essay would encounter. He chose to “send out a strong message” anyway, because suffering for the truth is a powerful form of Christian witness.
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2019, LifeSiteNews — Peter Buttigieg, the gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who wants to be president of the United States, comes across in media reports as a thoughtful, even-keeled man when viewed alongside his more outlandish fellow Democratic contenders.
One fawning story after another displays mainstream media’s infatuation with the man, helping to create what Laura Ingraham has called a “carefully curated public image.”
Buttigieg has caught the attention of leading conservatives, including Newt Gingrich, Ben Shapiro, and Rush Limbaugh, who find Buttigieg’s “normal guy” demeanor refreshing in the field of ever more shrill candidates vying for attention.
He’s a Rhodes scholar who returned to the town where he grew up and was elected mayor before turning thirty years old. He left City Hall in 2014 when, as a Navy reservist, he was deployed to the Afghanistan War. He’s even an accomplished pianist.
One commentator said of the heartland mayor, “He just seems so gosh-darned Midwest wholesome.”
Continuing that theme, The Los Angeles Timessays Buttigieg has a “Mr. Rogers haircut and Howdy Doody grin.”
Mr. & Mr. Buttigieg set their eyes on Washington, D.C.
The Jimmy Stewart/Frank Capra All-American Buttigieg narrative stops short of the mayor marrying his pretty high school sweetheart. Instead, Buttigieg met a guy with the help of a dating app in 2015, and that’s whom he chose to “wed.”
The presidential hopeful “married” that guy last June before declaring his candidacy, presumably because Americans like their presidents to be married family men. In a move that is an absurd attempt to present their “marriage” as unabashedly traditional, Chasten Glezman seems to have dropped his own last name and taken “Buttigieg” as his own.
Buttigieg portrays himself as an important link, a healer, willing to confront “sanctimony” within the LGBT community. He has proposed that he is the one man who can stand in the breach and broker a truce between gays and Chick-fil-A, the restaurant chain demonized by gays because of the founding family’s support for the immutable definition of marriage.
Don’t be fooled by the mayor’s heavily photoshopped image
Buttigieg has clearly set himself apart, and that niche he has carved out for himself is growing. In recent polling, Buttigieg consistently comes in third, trailing only former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders and ahead of Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker.
Yet if one looks closely at the portrait media has painted for us — the “aw shucks”-Midwestern-wholesomeness-meets-wise-Ivy-League-scholar image — we find that it is heavily photoshopped.
Scrape off the layers of digital varnish that have been splashed on the man, and one finds that Buttigieg espouses the same horrible ideals as his fellow Democrat contenders.
Not surprisingly, Buttigieg’s deceased father was a Notre Dame University professor who, according to Paul Kengor, was “among a group of leftist professors who focused on injecting Marxism into the wider culture.”
Buttigieg can’t be on the ‘right side of history’ while on the wrong side of natural law
Most troublingly, the man who is portrayed as epitomizing heartland innocence and Christian values is unashamedly pro-abortion, pro-gay, and pro-transgender.
No man who defies natural law is prudent. No man who fails to recognize the beauty of complementarity is wise. No man who champions the killing of babies yet to be born is empathetic, loving, or the least bit thoughtful.
On the contrary, his untenable stances display a strong, assertive self-will, seeking to forcefully inject regressive, not progressive, policies on the American public.
Before you dismiss me as a homophobic old white guy, keep in mind I once was a gay man taking part in Washington, D.C.’s vibrant gay community, dating and hanging out with guys who worked on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and at the Pentagon.
Yet soon after writing a 2009 opinion piece for The Washington Post in defense of same-sex “marriage,” something happened. I found I was attempting to defend the indefensible. My stance could not hold up to logic or reason.
I realized that the bumper sticker memes of Love is Love; If the hearts fit, the parts fit; and Marriage is about love, commitment, and responsibility, which were employed to win over a general public that doesn’t like to think deeply about things and prefers to avoid confrontation, were unhelpful tropes, devoid of real meaning.
Every single Democratic presidential hopeful treats homosexuality and transgenderism as normal. None dares depart from accepted dogma. Yet Buttigieg stands apart in that he is an active homosexual.
The approaching 2020 rainbow harmonic convergence exceeds what gay activists set out to achieve thirty years ago, when Buttigieg was starting elementary school: to make gayness appear commonplace, if not normal, and to make criticism of homosexuality appear backward and antiquated. They wanted gayness to elicit nothing more “than a shrug of the shoulders.”
Those goals now appear quite modest.
In today’s Democratic Party, gays and transgenders occupy the moral high ground. In 2020, the power and reach of LGBT ideology will be at their zenith.
April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Leftist intolerance struck once again this week as a pro-abortion mob descended on a harmless web artist for ... daring to express gratitude that his girlfriend wasn’t aborted. And that’s not even the worst part of the story.
Nathan Pyle is the creator of Strange Planet, a series of cute, humorous comics about aliens awkwardly exploring all the daily experiences we Earthlings can take for granted:
In a sane world, this would be exactly the sort of thing that brings people together. Alas, obsessive pro-aborts with too much time on their hands eventually dug up a 2017 tweet in which Pyle shared his then-girlfriend’s thoughts on the March for Life, capped with his own comment that he was “thankful she was given the gift of life”:
For the unspeakable act of being glad his girlfriend wasn’t dead, pro-aborts bombarded his old tweet with hostile replies ranging from “ugh” and “yikes” to “disappointing” and boilerplate screeds about “bodily autonomy” and “oppressing women.”
Casey Miller of women’s lifestyle site Nylonwrote that Pyle's “problematic views” are a reminder to “be more careful with what we're sharing.” The Daily Dot’s Tiffany Kelly lamented that the “internet’s favorite new comic strip” has been “ruined” by the old tweet (she even echoed the buzzword “problematic”).
This is intolerance in its purest form. Pyle’s tweet was moral, compassionate, respectful, echoed a view held by a majority of the country, and didn’t even opine on any of abortion’s political or legal questions; it simply shared and affirmed the perspective of one of the women closest to him at the time. So pro-lifers rallied to his defense:
.@nathanwpyle, author of these hilarious Strange Planet cartoons, is getting piled on as people find out he's pro-life from an old tweet.
Yet despite having the clear high ground, Pyle responded to his tormentors by insisting his views are private, that bogus church-state-separation grounds prevent him from actually voting on whatever pro-life views he may still have, that he dutifully supports Democrats (you know, the folks currently fighting to protect infanticide), and for good measure, that he’s “troubled by what the Republican Party has become”:
Pathetic. Pyle is an entertainer; he’s obviously under no obligation to tell off any portion of his audience or stick out his neck further on the issue. But how hard would it have been to simply state that like most Americans he has opinions on what’s going on in the country, but values and welcomes fans who disagree? Or to ignore the haters entirely? He wouldn’t have lost anybody beyond a handful of trolls that are impossible to please anyway, and the increased exposure would have won him plenty of new fans who never heard of him before.
Instead, Pyle said just about everything he could to assure his critics that he was in near-total lockstep with them, that his view of abortion is “personally opposed” at best — everything short of saying he wasn’t thankful his ex-girlfriend was born after all.
Oh, and this groveling still wasn’t even enough to get back in the abortion cult’s good graces. Tiffany Kelly followed up with a post lamenting that his “vague statement doesn’t clear up his views on abortion,” and various respondents continued to foot-stomp and lecture as if they were owed a more comprehensive disavowal of any pro-life sympathies:
Hopefully you can understand why people would quite like a clarifying statement. We’re creators of content on a very public platform & people want to know whether they’re supporting & buying things from someone who believes in the limiting of women’s reproductive rights.
Yeah if your conception of Christian faith includes "not supporting reproductive rights" I'm out. To think that someone whose better known creation is a comic called "Strange Planet" wouldn't understand the necessity of questioning his own beliefs is... more than disappointing.
This sad spectacle is our latest reminder that appeasing the mob rarely works out. Temptation can make it seem so easy to just tell the mob what they want to hear and make it all go away. But doing so only emboldens them to demand more while losing the respect of others who could have helped anyone willing to stand firm find the comfort and strength to weather any storm.
April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Last August, I reported on the protests against South Korea’s strict abortion laws, which at one point involved 125 women publicly swallowing abortion pills to challenge the government’s stance. South Korean pro-lifers have been pushing back, responding to a petition of 230,000 signatures demanding that abortion be legalized with a counter-petition of over a million signatures supporting South Korea’s pro-life laws. Over half of South Koreans still believe that abortion is murder, and abortion has been illegal there except in cases of rape, incest, the mother’s health, or severe genetic disorders since 1953.
Despite that, South Korean abortion activists have finally achieved victory via another route, with the constitutional court ruling that the nation’s abortion laws must be changed and ordering the national assembly to revise the current regime by the end of 2020. If the law is not changed by then, the court will simply void the current laws. Abortion activists had almost achieved this result in 2012, when four justices voted in favour of scrapping South Korea’s abortion laws and four had voted against, with the ninth seat needed to break the deadlock standing vacant.
The reasoning of the court was particularly insidious. “Embryos completely depend on the mother’s body for their survival and development,” they wrote, “so it cannot be concluded that they are separate, independent living human beings entitled to the right to life.” In short: Because the human being (embryo is simply an age classification, although abortion activists bizarrely use the term for dehumanizing purposes) is dependent on others for survival, he or she has no right to life. This is an inversion of how civilized societies once viewed their responsibilities to those who are weaker and more vulnerable.
Abortion activists, predictably, have been ghoulishly celebrating this decision. “Women deserve to be as happy as much as we want today,” Bae Bok-ju rather confusingly toldThe Guardian. “Today’s decision was made because countless women ceaselessly fought for their rights for so many years. We deserve the world’s attention and we deserve its recognition.” And the pre-born children of South Korea, in her mind, do not deserve legal recognition or the simple right not to be killed. The court, in fact, stated that the government must allow for abortion in the early stages of pregnancy in certain circumstances, and that doctors who commit abortions cannot be subject to legal consequences.
Abortion activists had also placed pressure on the government by claiming that there is an enormous number of illegal abortions in South Korea, and that the law was clearly ineffective due to the minuscule number of prosecutions carried out in response. The South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who is Catholic, has not stated his position directly, but he apparently appointed five of the current constitutional justices who voted to eliminate South Korea’s pro-life laws. His appointees gave abortion activists hope that the law could finally be changed.
We do not yet know what the South Korean legislators will draft in response to the constitutional court’s decision, but it seems likely that some form of first-trimester abortion-on-demand will be the result. It is heartbreaking to see yet another country that had maintained its support for the human rights of the pre-born for over sixty years, at least in partial form, finally fall to the abortion activists, and saddening to watch the ugly displays of celebratory selfishness that greeted the news that a court was stripping away the rights of some human beings because of their dependency on other human beings. No cost is too high to pay for sexual freedom, it seems—not even the lives of our own children.
Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews world-renowned author and philosopher Gabriele Kuby who exposes the LGBT agenda not only as a "lie,” but something "diabolical." You can subscribe here, and listen to the episode below:
April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Imagine your reaction if I told you 20 years ago that a major internet platform would block a Mother Teresa comment about abortion because it was “hateful.” Or that a presidential candidate “married” to his same-sex partner would call the vice president bigoted and hypocritical because he believed that marriage was the union of a man and a woman. Or that a popular fast-food chain would be boycotted because it gave money to Christian ministries that followed the teaching of the Bible.
It seems unbelievable, but that’s where we find ourselves today — and these are just a few out of hundreds of possible examples that could be cited (if not more).
In the case of Mother Teresa, Senator Ted Cruz was questioning executives from Twitter and Facebook about their business practices, which seem to discriminate against conservatives (especially if they are Christian conservatives).
The comment in question was tweeted out by a pro-life organization, and the tweet consisted of Mother Teresa’s words and her picture: “Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.”
That was it. Nothing hateful and nothing bigoted. Rather, the statement was grounded in love, even calling mothers who abort their babies “victims” rather than criminals.
But it was too offensive for Twitter and was subsequently blocked for violating company guidelines, only to be eventually restored.
At the Senate hearing, after putting the graphic of the tweet on a screen, Cruz said, “It's not just political, it’s also ideological. There have been multiple instances of, in particular pro-life groups, being disfavored. For example, here is a tweet that says that ‘abortion is profoundly anti-women’ and it's a quote from Mother Teresa and this tweet was blocked. Now it’s fairly remarkable that Mother Teresa is now deemed hate speech. Do either of you agree with the proposition that Mother Teresa is issuing hate speech?”
What was the response of these Twitter and Facebook executives?
Silence. Deafening silence. Twelve long seconds of uncomfortable silence.
Yet the question was so simple. Either admit your extreme bias or say, “Of course not! That should never have been blocked.”
But they couldn’t.
And remember: These are highly trained, carefully selected representatives of some of the richest companies on the planet. Yet they could not answer the senator’s simple question. How telling!
When the Twitter rep finally spoke, all he did was obfuscate, even claiming that they have acted just as frequently against tweets on the other side of the abortion issue. To that claim I say, “Prove it!”
Show me where you’ve blocked pro-abortion tweets from Planned Parenthood or its affiliates. Show me where you’ve banned left-wing religious leaders who support abortion. Show me where you’ve censored political leaders who are pro-abortion.
If you have the evidence, show us. If not, admit the bias.
Already in 2017 it was documented that “[f]or years, Twitter has blocked the accounts of Live Action and Lila Rose from purchasing ads to reach the public. Blocked ads include information on Planned Parenthood’s lack of health services for women, a map directing women to comprehensive health care clinics around the nation, and a quote by Thomas Jefferson.”
Where has Twitter done the same to pro-abortion activists? Pray, do show and tell.
The Twitter rep testifying before Senator Cruz even had the audacity to claim that there is a context for every tweet, as if there was some possible justification for blocking Mother Teresa’s words. There was not. As Cruz rightly pointed out, the context of the tweet was the tweet. That was it. What you saw was what you got. And what you got was a truthful statement that upsets and offends the pro-abortion zealots.
It is widely known that the social media giants and even Amazon have relied on radically leftist groups like the SPLC (which I and others consider the most dangerous hate group in America), GLAAD (originally the Gay and Lesbian Against Defamation but better termed Gay and Lesbian Against Disagreement), and the HRC (the Human Rights Campaign — meaning, only some humans).
Those influences, coupled with the radically leftist leanings of the many of these companies’ executives, make for a highly toxic, even dangerous political and ideological climate.
Because of that, we need to keep on speaking up and speaking out, doubling and tripling our efforts to get our message out, without hesitation or trepidation.
Either that, or we crawl into a self-imposed closet of fear and shame.