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‘Lucifer’ star asks for donations to Planned Parenthood instead of wedding gifts

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By Claire Chretien
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PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies.  Sign the petition here.

June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The star of Netflix’s Lucifer is encouraging fans to donate to Planned Parenthood rather than send him wedding presents.

Tom Ellis, who plays Satan in the show about the devil quitting hell to run a nightclub in Los Angeles, tweeted on May 22 that he and then-fiancée Meaghan Oppenheimer would be “very grateful” for donations to the abortion enterprise for their “upcoming nuptials.”

“This story is almost a satire on Hollywood,” Dan Gainor, Media Research Center (MRC) vice president for MRC TechWatch, Business, and Culture told LifeSiteNews. “The actor who plays Satan, but as a lovable good guy, wants people to help kill babies ... to celebrate his wedding. It’s almost like he learned method acting so much that he just embraced the reality of Lucifer, not the TV propaganda version.”

Oppenheimer, a writer and actress, also tweeted her desire that those wishing to send a wedding present donate to Planned Parenthood instead. She posted a wedding photo on Instagram today.

Ellis’s and Oppenheimer’s request “shows, first of all that our pro-life legislative and political progress is really getting to these elites,” Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told LifeSiteNews. “They feel they have to strike back. Good. They should get used to it, along with Alyssa Milano and the whole Hollywood crowd.”

“Second, the fact that many think this donation arrangement is a ‘nice’ idea shows the ignorance many people have in thinking Planned Parenthood has anything to do with parenthood, and that it’s a health organization rather than a corrupt, racist political and criminal enterprise,” Pavone continued.

Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion company. It commits over 300,000 abortions annually.

Netflix picked up Lucifer when Fox dropped it after three seasons.

“What an irony,” the pro-life priest concluded. “A Google search on the series ‘Lucifer’ reveals what it’s about in these words: ‘Lucifer, the original fallen angel, … has become dissatisfied with his life in hell. After abandoning his throne and retiring to Los Angeles, Lucifer indulges in his favorite things (women, wine and song) — until a murder takes place outside of his upscale nightclub. For the first time in billions of years, the murder awakens something unfamiliar in Lucifer's soul that is eerily similar to compassion and sympathy.’”

“That’s more than you can say for Planned Parenthood!” he quipped.

In recent weeks, Hollywood elites have expressed alarm over the passage of laws protecting babies with beating hearts from being aborted and Alabama’s pro-life law banning most abortions.

The film industry receives generous tax breaks in Georgia. Netflix and the parent company of Warner Bros. have suggested they may boycott the state if its heartbeat bill takes effect.

Disney co-CEO Bob Iger also said it would be “very difficult” to continue filming in Georgia iff the law takes effect. Numerous celebrities have trashed the Peach State for its measure protecting preborn children, to which Governor Brian Kemp said, “We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.”

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Biden names pro-LGBT ‘Equality Act’ as top priority if elected

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By Martin Barillas

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Passing the radical pro-LGBT and pro-abortion Equality Act “will be the first thing I ask to be done” if elected president, Joe Biden said at the annual Human Rights Campaign gala Saturday.

The former vice president, who endorsed same-sex “marriage” in 2012, told hundreds of activists at the gala in Columbus, Ohio, that President Donald Trump’s administration is “immoral” with regard to the homosexual agenda.

“It’s wrong and it is immoral, what they’re doing,” Biden said. “Just like with racial justice and women’s rights, we are seeing pushback against all the progress we’ve made toward equality.”

Biden claimed that the Trump administration seeks to allow homeless shelters to bar transgenders from accomodation and prohibit transgender troops in the U.S. military.

The Equality Act was recently passed in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives but faces opposition from the Republican majority in the Senate as well as President Trump. However, Biden vowed, the act’s passage would “be the first thing I ask to be done” as president should he be elected in 2020.

Biden, the current frontrunner among Democrats, denounced Trump for using the presidency as a “bully pulpit” for “callously extending his power” and enforcing policies such as “the Muslim ban, turning away asylum seekers [and] putting children in cages.” Biden also denounced “the current vice president” for insisting on religious freedom as “a way to license discrimination broad areas and denying LGBTQ basic rights.”

Biden promised his listeners that “elected or not, I’ll be back as a private citizen and make sure I’ll stand with you in this fight. It matters to me; it matters to my children. It matters to my grandchildren. There’s no reason we can’t do it all. Happy Pride! Remember who you are!”

The so-called Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include “sex,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” among the recognized “non-discrimination” categories in “public accommodations.” “Gender identity” would be expanded to include additional establishments like online retailers, health care services, recreation, and others. Also, it would compel businesses employing 15 more persons to recognize their asserted “gender identity,” as well as barring employers from “discriminating” based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” while also requiring that so-called transgender persons have access to opposite-sex locker rooms, dressing rooms, and restrooms.

Promising to internationalize the LGBTQ agenda, Biden said that as president, he would not “stand for any countries and will not cooperate with those countries who engage in this fratricide they’re moving in on.” He said American leadership to address the “historically marginalized” LGBTQ community is heeded around the world, praising the recent decision of “Irish Catholic Republic of Ireland” to approve same-sex “marriage.”

Conservatives and people of faith have long worried that the LGBT agenda is not so much to protect homosexuals and persons suffering gender confusion as it is to force Americans to violate their consciences and accommodate so-called “sex change” treatments and same-sex “marriage,” even at the risk of endangering constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and worship.

In Columbus, Biden touted his decades-long alliance with LGBTQ activists and the Human Rights Campaign. He recalled that he endorsed same-sex “marriage” even before Barack Obama did during the 2012 presidential campaign. He offered this as proof of his progressivism, claiming that pundits “thought I had just committed this gigantic blunder.”

Biden claimed he warned Obama in advance of his announcement during a Meet the Press TV interview, saying, “I told the president if asked, I was not going to be quiet.” Biden recalled that the next day, Obama told him, “Well, you warned me.”

A Biden campaign statement claimed that Biden went to Ohio to talk about LGBT issues “not just on the coasts of this country, but in the heartland and with any and all Americans.” As proof, Biden reminded listeners that he had campaigned for Democrats in the midterm election that brought Democrats back to a House majority, thus ensuring the passage of the Equality Act. “We didn’t have to be radical about anything,” he said. “They talked about basic, fundamental rights.”

LGBT activists claim June as “Pride Month” and are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that were unleashed when police raided a bathhouse frequented by homosexuals and prostitutes. To celebrate, Biden’s campaign is offering T-shirts and other gear festooned with rainbows.

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Illinois state Sen. Melinda Bush (right) sponsored the Reproductive Health Act.
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Illinois, Nevada pass radical abortion legislation

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By Martin Barillas

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies.  Sign the petition here.

June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Democrat-controlled state legislatures in Illinois and Nevada passed bills on Friday that label abortion a “fundamental right” for women while eliminating rights for unborn babies.

In Illinois, the legislature sent Senate Bill 25, called the Reproductive Health Act, to the governor for approval. The bill seeks to protect the "fundamental rights of individuals to make autonomous decisions about one's own reproductive health." It passed in the Senate late Friday by a 34-20 vote. Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker has vowed to sign the bill, which asserts that the "fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights." It would go into effect immediately upon signature.

Democrat state Sen. Melinda Bush released a statement saying, "As states across the country pass dangerous laws restricting access to abortion, we in Illinois are standing with women and guaranteeing access to reproductive health care."

Bush declared that in view of the “real possibility” the the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that allowed abortion nationwide, the Reproductive Health Act "guarantees that women in Illinois have the right to make decisions about their bodies, regardless of what happens at the federal level."

According to the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm, the Illinois Reproductive Health Act would:

— Allow abortions for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy

— Eliminate any restrictions on where abortions may be performed

— Allow non-physicians, including nurses and physician assistants, to perform abortions, both surgical and medical

— Undermine and threaten institutional and individual rights of conscience

— Jeopardize any meaningful regulation of abortion clinics

— Require private health insurance policies to include coverage for all abortions, with no exemptions, even for churches and other religious organizations

— Eliminate any requirement to investigate fetal deaths or maternal deaths resulting from abortion

— Repeal law prohibiting “kickbacks” for abortion referrals

— Repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995, which has been responsible for a reduction of more than 55 percent in abortions among Illinois minors since 2012.

Under provisions of the bill, parents would be required to pay for a daughter’s abortion even over their objections. According to current state law, “No parent shall be liable for any expense incurred by his or her minor child when an abortion is performed on such minor child without the consent of both parents of such child.”

Republican Rep. Avery Bourne said, “It takes out measures that we have legislated over the years, because we think it’s important to stand up for the people who are impacted.” Bourne is assistant Republican leader in the state House and an expectant mother.

The Thomas More Society described the bill as “the most radical piece of abortion legislation that has ever been introduced in Illinois.” It would establish a “fundamental right” to abortion and prevent the state from interfering in any way in the killing of unborn babies. It would erase criminal penalties for performing abortions and allow non-doctors to do them. The legislation also would repeal the partial-birth abortion ban, abortion clinic regulations and conscience protections for medical workers.

“This bill remains the most radically pro-abortion measure of its kind and would make Illinois an abortion destination for the country,” said Peter Breen, a former Illinois representative and Thomas More Society vice president and senior counsel.

Saying the bill is even more “barbarous” because of some included amendments, Breen said it does not limit late-term abortions. Breen said the bill defines “viability” to exclude many premature babies who now can survive, while exceptions for late-term abortions include basically anything.“

“This bill creates a ‘fundamental right’ for abortion, with the strongest protections in law, above even the First Amendment right to free speech,” he said. “Abortion would become the primary and principal right in Illinois, above all others.”

Also on Friday, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the "Trust Nevada Women Act." Senate Bill 179 removes criminal penalties for abortion and requirements for abortionists.

At the signing ceremony, Sisolak said, "Nevada has a long history of trusting the women of our state to make their own reproductive health care decisions and protecting the right to reproductive freedom."

"In light of increasing attacks at the federal level and in other states such as Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, and Louisiana, SB179 reaffirms Nevada's commitment to protecting reproductive freedom and access to reproductive health care," Sisolak said.

He continued, "I have been disappointed by the recent uptick in efforts in other states to restrict women's right to choose, and I am especially proud today to be a Nevadan, where we protect a woman's right to make her own decisions about her own body."

The new law allows abortion for nearly any reason and eliminates state laws that required physicians to notify a pregnant mother about the "emotional implications" of an abortion, thereby limiting abortionists’ requirement to "describe the nature and consequences of the procedure." Also, abortionists would no longer be required to certify in writing a pregnant mother’s marital status and age before performing an abortion.

Sisolak also signed Senate Bill 94, which allocates $6 million in funding for statewide contraception and abortion grants.

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Conservatives oppose Trump federal court nominee who compared Ku Klux Klan to faithful Catholics

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By Martin Barillas

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — GOP U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and other conservatives have been sharply critical of President Donald Trump’s choice to serve on the federal court of the Western District of Michigan out of concerns for the nominee’s position on religious freedom.

Michael S. Bogren, also recommended by Michigan’s two Democrats in the U.S. Senate to serve on the federal court, was hired as an attorney to represent the City of East Lansing in a dispute with Steve Tennes, a local farmer in Michigan, in Country Mill Farms v. City of East Lansing. Tennes refused to host same-sex “marriages” at his farm and because of that was refused permission to sell his wares at a city farmers' market. Tennes is a Catholic who rents his farm for marriage ceremonies but is unwilling to host same-sex weddings.

In Bogren’s briefs for the city’s defense, he frequently mentioned the Ku Klux Klan. According to experts cited by Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review, Bogren opposed letting the Catholic Church file a brief in the case, which may suggest an animus on his part against the Church. Bogren also gratuitously criticized the plaintiffs, the experts found, for their supposedly selective fidelity to Catholic teaching.

According to critics, Bogren claimed mistakenly that the Bob Jones University v. United States case had established that religious belief is not a constitutional defense against a claim of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or sexual orientation.

A group of conservatives, including former Attorney General Edwin Meese, have co-signed a statement opposing Bogren’s nomination. The letter read, “Conservatives strongly believe in the Constitution’s guarantees, especially the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. This right encompasses not only the freedom to worship, but also the right to live consistent with one’s faith.”

It went on to say that the conservative signatories were “shocked and dismayed” by testimony Bogren offered before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 22. The letter said Bogren has made statements that “reveal he does not understand the First Amendment’s basic protections of religious liberty.”

Echoing the thrust of the Obama administration’s “freedom of worship” understanding of the free exercise of religious freedom guarantee in the U.S. Constitution, Bogren claimed Tennes’ argument that “my religion compels me” is no protection from being banned from the public market because of his religion. According to the signatories of the letter, Bogren also signed onto motions that characterized the Tennes family’s practice of their Catholic faith as ‘invidious discrimination against the LGBT community.”

The letter read, “Equally troubling are the analogies Bogren drew between faithful Catholics and virulent racists.” The letter quoted Bogren, who compared faithful Catholics to the racist Ku Klux Klan:

“The other side of that discriminatory coin is found on the website of the White Camelia Knights of the KKK … group states: ‘The Klan has always taken a strong stance against interracial marriage. What most people don’t understand is it’s against our Heavenly Father’s law.’ Again, an adherent of that particular brand of Christianity who ran a business similar to the plaintiffs’ business would not be able to invoke the free exercise clause to avoid the anti-discrimination provisions of Federal, State and local laws that apply to public accommodations if interracial couples were refused service.”

Moreover, Bogren questioned the sincerity of the Tennes family’s faith:

“Although plaintiffs rely on the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church to support their position on same-sex marriage, plaintiffs are rather selective about how they apply the tenets of the Church on other aspects of marriage when it comes to their own business.”

During Bogren’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he defended his views before Sen. Hawley, who offered the nominee an opportunity to retract his statements. Bogren, however, stood his ground.

Later, asked whether Bogren could redeem himself, Hawley said, “He could say he was wrong, that he regrets saying those things — regrets the animus," against the Catholic family. "To compare a Catholic family, following the teachings of their church,” Hawley said, “as akin to white supremacists and radical minds who want to strip women of all rights, I mean, that's just ridiculous. It's beyond ridiculous. It's offensive."

The letter signed by conservatives urged that Bogren’s nomination be rescinded. Besides Meese, other signatories included former Sen. Jim DeMint, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Penny Y. Nance of Concerned Women of America, and L. Brent Bozell III of Media Research Center.

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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò Diane Montagna / LifeSiteNews
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JP II’s biographer: Viganò told me 6 years ago he had advised Pope Francis on McCarrick

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Famed Catholic author and Pope St. John Paul II biographer George Weigel revealed that Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Viganò informed him on three different occasions — the first time as early as 2013 — about telling Pope Francis about then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s reputation as an abuser of seminarians and priests.

Weigel addressed both Pope Francis’ recent denial that he knew anything about McCarrick’s sins and the report released last week by Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo on EWTN’s The World Over with Raymond Arroyo last Thursday.

Referring to Francis’ “rather rambling remarks,” Weigel indicated that the most charitable interpretation of the pontiff’s remarks is that he did not take Viganò’s advice to see the thick dossier on McCarrick.

“On this key point, Archbishop Viganò has told me that same account (of advising Francis on McCarrick) three different times: once shortly after it happened, twice some years after that,” Weigel said.

“I cannot believe that (Viganò) is making this up,” he continued.

Weigel declared that the thought of Viganò’s testimonies being concocted by a cabal of rich American conservatives is “absolute rubbish and poppycock,” but it is “widely believed” by people around Pope Francis and is even “being sold to other leaders of the world church.”

“I ran into this during the Synod of 2018 last October,” he said. “I ran into it at the abuse summit in February.”

“This is a lie, and it’s being used both to undercut the Church in the United States and …  it’s being used to frame the debate prior to the next conclave.”

Weigel said this must stop and that the “American bishops need to push back on this because they know it’s a lie.”

“This is the kind of rubbish that people who know they’re losing an argument engage in,” he added.

“It is absolutely unbecoming to anyone who thinks of himself as a churchman.”

‘What we have here, I’m afraid, is a lack of disciplinary follow-up’

Weigel and Arroyo began the show by discussing the massive “dump” of documents saved by McCarrick’s former secretary, Monsignor Figueiredo. The Figueiredo Report, as it is now being called, shows that sanctions did exist against McCarrick and that McCarrick’s successor as ordinary of Washington, D.C., Archbishop Donald Wuerl, knew about them.

In last Tuesday’s disclosure, Figueiredo published a letter by McCarrick to the papal nuncio to the United States at the time, Monsignor Pietro Sambi, saying he had received a letter from Cardinal Giovanni Re with the restrictions and had shared the letter with Archbishop Wuerl. In the letter, he indicated that the sanctions involved a move and a ban on any future public appearances without Vatican permission.

Figueiredo also released email he received from McCarrick saying Wuerl had helped McCarrick with his move, gave detail of the restrictions, and revealed that he had sent his pledge of obedience to Re’s orders directly to Wuerl.    

“It certainly vindicates Archbishop Viganò’s claim that Benedict XVI, presumably having been informed of some very bad problems with then-Cardinal McCarrick, essentially told him to shut down,” Weigel said.

The author pointed out that Benedict had also removed Cardinal McCarrick as ordinary of Washington, D.C.  

“ … Remember that it was Benedict XVI who, rather quickly after his election, accepted the pro forma resignation that Cardinal McCarrick had submitted but manifestly did not expect to be accepted for at least the next several years,” Weigel said.

“What we have here, I’m afraid, is a lack of disciplinary follow-up,” he concluded.

Weigel said those who knew McCarrick well would see from that letter he was “treading water” and “playing for time.”

“He’s waiting until things calm down, and then he’s going to proceed to get right back to what he had been doing, which was inserting himself into a whole lot of things that were really not his business and, in his newly retired state, setting himself up as a kind of parallel foreign minister of the Vatican,” he explained.

Weigel allowed that some of McCarrick’s globetrotting may have been at the request of the Vatican but said he expected that most of it was “self-initiated” and that his superiors had merely “shrugged and gone along with it.”

The Figueiredo Report revealed to the world what insiders like Weigel had known for a long time: that then-Cardinal McCarrick was, in Weigel’s words, “a relentless self-promoter.”

“He was an extraordinary sycophant with superiors he thought could help him,” the author continued, “and he was quite shameless about pushing himself into matters that were of interest to him.”

Later in the interview, Weigel revealed that he had heard about the Figueiredo Report a month before it happened, and that he had “invited” his source to invite the monsignor to call him “to talk about whether this was a good idea.” Figueiredo didn’t accept the invitation, and Weigel doesn’t want to speculate on his motives.

“I do think he is genuinely upset at the kind of stonewalling that is going on about (the McCarrick cover-up), which does not serve the interests of the Church, does not serve the credibility of the hierarchy, does not serve the credibility of the Holy See,” Weigel said.

However, the author doesn’t think there is much more revelatory paperwork to be released about Newark and Washington.  

‘It does seem now quite clear that he was aware of what was going on’

The Figueiredo Report also revealed that McCarrick had discussed his sanctions with Archbishop Wuerl, who has long denied knowing anything about them. Asked what effect the Report would have on Wuerl’s credibility, Weigel said he thought it was “very sad.”

“In many respects Cardinal Wuerl was a very fine Archbishop of Washington, and he deserves credit for being that,” Weigel said.

“I cannot understand why he has taken the position he has on the McCarrick business since it first broke a year ago, and it does seem now quite clear that he was aware … of what was going on.”

However, Weigel stated that the ultimate responsibility rested with the Holy See. If the Holy See wanted McCarrick out of the limelight, “it (was) up to the Holy See to enforce that,” he said.

“And that means it’s up to the Nuncio to enforce that,” he continued. “It’s up to the Cardinal Secretary of State, who was Tarcisio Bertone at that time.

“There was a real failure of follow-through on this by people who should have understood that if you didn’t put something equivalent to an electronic lock on this man’s leg he was going to … keep doing his thing.”

Another communication in the Figueiredo Report contained an admission from then-Cardinal McCarrick to Bertone that he had shared his bed with seminarians without believing it was wrong; he denied ever having had sexual relations with anyone.

“It’s a very disturbing letter,” Weigel said, but added that, to McCarrick, it was “spin.”

The author said there had been rumors about McCarrick’s beach house behavior for years, but that nothing was done because nobody had come forward to complain.

“In those days if no one was willing to come forward and lay a serious accusation, put their own reputation on the line, you’d just hope that it was (just) a bunch of stories. But there were so many of them, that it now seems very clear ... that there were real problems here that went  unaddressed.”

Regarding McCarrick’s enthusiasm for traveling to China and helping out Cardinal Pietro Parolin with negotiations with the Chinese government, Weigel said it is “entirely possible” that McCarrick was doing things entirely on his own and that “he was simply attempting to play along with the superiors in Rome.”

Weigel again underscored that it had been up to the Holy See to enforce its own sanctions.

“Why didn’t they say to him, ‘Stop it. We don’t want you doing this?’” he asked.

The author also condemned the current deal with China, saying neither John Paul II or Benedict XVI would have signed a deal with the Communist government allowing it to choose bishops. However, he said McCarrick’s suggestions that he had anything to do with it should be taken with not just a grain of salt, but  “a salt shaker.”

Weigel also believes that McCarrick was exaggerating about his role as a papal kingmaker in his 2013 Villanova University speech and told Arroyo that other bishops had wanted to “duct-tape” McCarrick’s mouth at that point.

Was Weigel really a potential Ambassador to the Holy See?

Weigel himself had a cameo part in the Figueiredo Report, for one of the released communications was a 2017 letter from McCarrick to Pope Francis warning that there were rumors that the author might be named the new U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.

McCarrick warned Francis that Weigel was “very much a leader of the ultra-conservative wing of the Church” in the United States,, had been “publicly critical” of the pontiff, and “many of us bishops would have great concerns” about the author being named to the post.

“It’s all rubbish and nonsense,” Weigel told Arroyo.  

First, the Trump administration hadn’t yet been formed, so the idea that they had reached out to the Vatican to discuss a new Ambassador was “absurd.” Second, Weigel thinks McCarrick got the idea from an article in “Vatican Insider” by Chris Lamb, who had named Weigel as a “wild card” choice for the position — alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill O’Reilly.

Weigel wasn’t offered the post and wouldn’t have accepted it if he had, he said. But he thinks McCarrick used the “Vatican Insider” squib to “backstab” Weigel, possibly unhappy that the conservative pundit had already had two audiences with Pope Francis.  

“It is simply a lie that I had been publicly critical of the Pope,” Weigel added.

“That was simply malicious backstabbing.”

The author said that when he first saw the McCarrick letter about him, he burst out laughing.

Regarding future revelations, Weigel wondered if the Vatican will release the full letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the Catholic bishops of the United States about pro-abortion Catholic politicians presenting themselves for Communion. Then-Cardinal McCarrick redacted this letter, reading only parts to the other bishops.

That letter may now be in the Washington, D.C. archives, and Arroyo asked Weigel what pressure the new ordinary, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, may be under regarding the release of such documents.

Weigel praised Gregory as “very competent” and having done the Church “good service” during the clerical sex abuse crisis of 2002 while noting that the new Archbishop knows he has a “big problem of trust.”

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‘Unplanned’ makers ‘close’ to making deal with Canadian theaters

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By Lianne Laurence

SIGN THE PETITION: Canadian film distributors should release pro-life 'Unplanned' film. Sign the petition here.

EDMONTON, June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Makers of the pro-life movie “Unplanned” are hoping to finalize a deal this week to bring the acclaimed drama to Canadian theaters. 

Based on the story of Abby Johnson’s conversion from Planned Parenthood abortion center manager to pro-life advocate after witnessing the ultrasound abortion of a 13-week-old unborn child, Unplanned is currently effectively blocked in Canada because no Canadian distributor has so far agreed to take it on. 

Chuck Konzelman, the film’s writer, co-director, and producer, told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview that one of Canada’s two largest distributors cited “content” as its reason for not accepting Unplanned.

By law, a film cannot be released in Canadian theatres without a Canadian distributor. Nor can producers apply to have the movie assessed by provincial rating boards until they’ve secured such a distributor.

But now a groundswell of support might get Unplanned into Canada after all, says co-director Cary Solomon.

“Pro-life forces and grassroots support in Canada have been amazing,” he told LifeSiteNews in an email.

Last week, LifeSiteNews launched a petition calling on Mongrel Media and Cineplex Inc. to "distribute the film to cinemas in Canada and allow an alternative message to reach Canadians." The petition has been signed by over 4,600 people. 

Solomon confirmed to LifeSiteNews that the Unplanned team is close to making a deal to get the movie released in Canadian theatres, but not with Cineplex.

“A deal has not been struck as of yet. However we are hopeful that next week we will have good news regarding Unplanned playing in Canada,” Solomon told LifeSiteNews in an email last week.

“What we can tell you is that the deal we are close to making is not with Cineplex although we are still talking to them,” added Solomon.

Along with Landmark, Cineplex is one of Canada’s two largest distributors in Canada, and owns 80 percent of the country’s theatres.

It’s also the specific target of a boycott launched by grassroots campaign Canada Wants Unplanned, Grandin Media reported last week. "Canada Wants Unplanned" sprang to life after almost 3,000 people attended the first public screening of Unplanned at the Edmonton Expo Center arena on May 14, a free event hosted by Harvest Ministries International, Grandin Media reported.

Up to that point, makers of Unplanned had been discouraged about the movie’s future in Canada, but one of the film’s producers, Sheila Hart, told the crowd that night that seeing the numbers gave them confidence, it reported.

“This is a key moment in Canada’s history,” Hart said. “We believe that hope will rise and the country will claim justice for the unborn.”

Moreover, “there were some influencers” among the 2,800 viewers in Edmonton that night, “and the next morning conversations were already happening,” Faytene Grasseschi, a pro-life advocate and Ontario-based television host, told Grandin Media. 

“We decided to really capitalize on the momentum coming out of Edmonton and launch a Canada-wide plan to reinforce that Canadians want this film.”

The issue is “about freedom of speech. When an industry owns 80 percent of theaters in Canada, they need to play fair and let reasonable voices be heard,” Grassechi noted in a May 24 press release.

Moreover, “it is not unreasonable to believe other films with these market analytics would have been picked up immediately,” she said.

Unplanned has “brought in about $18 million USD to date and hit $6.4 million USD in revenue opening weekend more than doubling expectations,” according to the press release.

“It has also received an A+ Cinemascore rating which means the probability of success in the theaters is very high. Whether people go to see it because they agree, or disagree, many feel the Edmonton screening is a foretaste of what is to come.”

The "Canada Wants Unplanned" boycott received more than 5,000 signatures within five days.

As well as the public screening in Edmonton, Unplanned was shown privately to Members of Parliament in Ottawa, and producers held another private screening following a press conference.

The movie has made a tremendous impact in the United States, Solomon pointed out in a May 24 press conference, as reported in Grandin Media

“There is a side of this issue that doesn’t want anyone to see the movie, and what I say to that side is ‘What are you scared of people seeing?’” he said.

“We are having staggering effects here in America. One to two abortion workers are leaving the abortion industry each day; we have thousands of women who have had abortions reach out and say that after seeing this movie, they finally feel free,” said Solomon. 

“We believe that the Lord will open the doors to Canada and all Canadians will be able to make their own choice on whether they wish to see Unplanned or not,” he added.

Related:

‘Unplanned’ film banned in Canada for its life-affirming content

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Pope Francis praises Catholic archbishop for stepping in to ‘lead worship’ for Lutherans

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By Diane Montagna

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

ROME, June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis today praised a Catholic archbishop for stepping in to “lead worship” at a Lutheran cathedral, saying it’s a sign of how far ecumenical relations have come.

On his return flight from a three-day apostolic visit to Romania, the Pope was asked what “relationship” should exist between different religious confessions, and particularly between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

“Ecumenism is not about reaching the end of the match, the discussion” the Pope responded. “Ecumenism is accomplished by walking together, walking together, praying together – the ecumenism of prayer.” 

“Walking together, this is already Christian unity,” he said, “but not waiting around until theologians agree so that we arrive at the Eucharist. The Eucharist is performed every day through prayer, through the remembrance of the blood of our martyrs, through works of charity, and also by loving one another.”  

Pope Francis offered what he considers a true example of the “ecumenism of prayer,” telling journalists:

In one European city, there is a good relationship between the Catholic archbishop and the Lutheran archbishop. The Catholic archbishop was scheduled to come to the Vatican on Sunday evening, and he called me to say that he would arrive on Monday morning. When he arrived, he told me: “Excuse me, but yesterday the Lutheran archbishop had to go to one of their meetings, and he asked me: ‘Please, come to my cathedral and lead the worship.’” Eh, there’s fraternity. Coming this far is a lot. And the Catholic bishop preached. He did not do the Eucharist, but he preached. This is fraternity.

He then explained that, as cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, he too was in the habit of preaching in Protestant churches.

“I was invited to the Scottish church to preach a number of times,” he said. “I went there, I preached. You can do it. You can walk together. Unity, fraternity, extending a hand, looking after each other, not speaking ill of others.”

“We all have defects,” he added, “but if we walk together let’s leave our defects to the side. Let the spinsters criticize us.”  

In his inflight comments, Pope Francis then turned more specifically to Catholic-Orthodox relations.

Responding to a follow-up question from a French reporter, who asked the pontiff what was going through his mind while he stood silent as Orthodox clergy and faithful prayed the ‘Our Father’ separately from Catholics, he said: “I’ll tell you a secret. I did not remain silent. I prayed the ‘Our Father’ in Italian.”

He said the “majority” of faithful who were present prayed the ‘Our Father’ with both Orthodox and Catholics. “The people go beyond us leaders,” who “have to balance things diplomatically” and keep to “diplomatic customs and rules” so that “things don’t fall apart.” 

The Pope added, however, that he and other religious leaders do pray together “when we are alone.”

“I have the experience of prayer with many, many pastors: Lutherans, Evangelicals, and even Orthodox. The patriarchs are open,” he said.  

The Pope then told journalists:

We Catholics also have closed people who do not want [to pray together] and say that the Orthodox are schismatics. That’s old business. The Orthodox are Christians. But there are some Catholic groups that are a bit fundamentalist. We have to tolerate them, and pray for them, that the Lord by the Holy Spirit softens their hearts. But I prayed during both [Our Fathers]. I did not watch [Romanian Orthodox Patriarch] Daniel, but I believe that he did the same.

The traditional position of both Orthodox and Catholics is that public prayer with those in schism from the Church should not be attempted. This position has often softened in recent years partly due to ambiguity as to the existence of the schism between Rome and Constantinople. Stricter voices among Orthodox and Catholics would still maintain that all communicatio in sacris is forbidden with those outside the visible church.

Pope Francis may be referring to the apparently changed situation of Catholic and Orthodox Churches relative to one another, brought about by the mutual withdrawal of excommunication between Rome and Constantinople issued at the end of the Second Vatican Council by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.

However, whatever the significance of this event (and it should be said that the excommunication Paul VI withdrew was never validly served in the first place), Catholics do not pray for the Orthodox patriarchs in their liturgy nor do the Orthodox pray for the Pope. Nor is there sacramental intercommunion between the Churches. 

Therefore, if the traditional Catholic prohibition against prayer with those outside the Church is still in force, then Catholics are not free to pray with the Orthodox nor (if they sincerely believe they are the true Church) are Orthodox free to pray with Catholics. This is the more hardline position of a significant portion of the Orthodox Communion.

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'Pride' protest outside Providence, Rhode Island cathedral Servants of Christ for Life Facebook page
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Bishop says ‘Pride Month’ activities are harmful to kids, faces huge international backlash

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By Doug Mainwaring

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

Updated June 3, 2019 at 7:50 p.m. EST to include response from the USCCB choosing not to comment and referring LifeSiteNews to Bishop Tobin’s communications office.

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – When Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin tweeted a simple warning to his diocese cautioning against participation in LGBT “Pride” events during so-called “Pride Month,” an international backlash quickly erupted.

LGBT and progressive activists moved swiftly to squash the Catholic shepherd’s advisory to his flock to remain faithful to “Catholic faith and morals,” demonstrating the resolve of anti-Catholic forces to silence Church teaching.

Early on June 1, the first day of what LGBT activists insist is a month for celebrating their lifestyles, Bishop Tobin (not to be confused with left-wing Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey) tweeted: “A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

Within 48 hours, an astounding 86,000 mostly negative replies were posted to Bishop Tobin’s tweet calling his comments “disgusting,” accusing him of being a “hate-filled hypocrite,” and spreading “poisonous thinking.” A pro-LGBT protest was quickly organized for Sunday evening.

“Since Bishop Tobin called on Catholics to abandon Pride & the LGBTQIA+ community-we are taking Pride directly to them,” Rhode Island Pride organizers said.

The protest took place outside the Providence Diocese’s Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul while Mass went on inside.  

Pro-LGBT celebrities seized the opportunity to condemn Catholic teaching.

“This is pure ignorance & bigotry,” tweeted actress Mia Farrow. “Ignore this hate-filled hypocrite. His mind set leads only to suffering. He brings to mind those priests who molested my brothers. Of COURSE we should embrace our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and children. Jesus spoke of love.”

“Shame on you. LGBT kids are thrown out on the streets and abandoned because of poisonous thinking like yours,” said fellow actress Patricia Arquette.

Lesbian tennis champ Martina Navratilova ignored the substance of Bishop Tobin’s statement and instead rehashed past clergy sexual abuse scandals, saying, “A reminder that Catholic clergy has been a lot more dangerous to kids than LGBT. Just so you don’t forget....”

Navratilova did not mention that most sex abuser priests are homosexuals who prey on adolescent boys.

In Tobin’s hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was ordained, the LGBT group which sponsors Pittsburgh’s PrideFest called for that diocese to publicly denounce the Providence, Rhode Island bishop.

Across the Atlantic, British comic Julian Clary said he hoped that God would strike Bishop Tobin dead: “May God strike you down Bishop, at His earliest convenience.”

And Ireland’s Culture Minister, Josepha Madigan, tweeted: “Not the God I know. Disgraceful.”

Two days after the extreme pummeling of Bishop Tobin began, only one of his brother bishops has come to his defense. Tyler, Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland at first tweeted his gratitude for Bishop Tobin’s sage advice to his flock: “Thanks for speaking up Bishop Tobin....let us be mighty loving messengers of truth and light in Jesus Christ.”

As the controversy escalated, Strickland sent out two more tweets.

“Bishop Tobin is simply speaking for one truth of the deposit of faith,” said Bishop Strickland. “God made humans male & female. Certainly those who are confused about their identity need Christ’s love & compassion, let’s remember Christ’s love is expressed when dies on the cross for the truth.”

“Please stop labeling bishops who speak the truth of the Gospel as homophobic,” pleaded Strickland. “God gave us sexual intimacy for the procreation of children and the deeper union of a man & woman in marriage. Stating this truth is not homophobia, it is simply reality.”

UK pro-life and pro-family activist Obianuju Ekeocha, better known simply as “Uju,” expressed dismay that more U.S. prelates have not rushed to Bishop Tobin’s defense.

“What shocks me the most is not the tens of thousands of vile responses to Bishop Tobin’s tweet that clearly states the position of the Catholic Church,” said Uju, “it is the silence of the many other Catholic leaders and Catholic media personalities on this platform.”

“God bless Bishop Tobin,” she added.  

LifeSiteNews reached out to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asking if a statement of support for Bishop Tobin was forthcoming. The USCCB chose not comment, and deflected LifeSiteNews’ inquiry to Bishop Tobin’s communication office.

While his brother bishops appear to have chosen to remain silent, a few priests and high profile Catholics have stood up for Tobin.

Dr. Taylor Marshall, author of the just released Infiltration, suggested that the harsh treatment Tobin has received in response to his simple tweet defending Catholic teaching is precisely the reason prelates are so often reticent when it comes to proclaiming the truths of our faith.  

“If you read the horrible & savage comments addressed to Bishop Thomas Tobin, you will see why bishops don’t speak out. They are afraid of this reaction,” said Marshall.

“I respect Bishop Tobin for his bravery & for weathering this storm like [an] oak. He has a spine and a couple of other things, too,” he added.

On Sunday, Bishop Tobin issued the following statement:  

I regret that my comments yesterday about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community, and offensive to some, especially the gay community. That certainly was not my intention, but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offense. I also acknowledge and appreciate the widespread support I have received on this matter.

The Catholic Church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.  

As a Catholic Bishop, however, my obligation before God is to lead the faithful entrusted to my care and to teach the faith, clearly and compassionately, even on very difficult and sensitive issues.  That is what I have always tried to do - on a variety of issues - and I will continue doing so as contemporary issues arise.

As the gay community gathers for a rally this evening, I hope that the event will be a safe, positive and productive experience for all. As they gather I will be praying for a rebirth of mutual understanding and respect in our very diverse community.

At roughly the same time Bishop Tobin issued his original tweet, pro-LGBT Fr. James Martin sent out one of his own, implying that God creates people “gay.”  

“To all my many LGBTQ friends, Catholic and otherwise: Happy Pride Month,” said Martin. “Be proud of your God-given dignity, of the gifts God has given you, of your place in the world, and of your many contributions to the church. For you are "wonderfully made" by God (Ps 139).”

 

Learn more about Bishop Tobin’s views and past actions by visiting FaithfulShepherds.com. Click here.

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Newly installed Minister for the National Party Paulo Garcia
Michelle Kaufman

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Catholic politician demands New Zealand govt. heed pro-life ‘voice’ in powerful inaugural speech

Michelle Kaufman
By Michelle Kaufman

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – “The pro-life voice must no longer be despised and discounted as offensive. Preachers of tolerance and inclusion must no longer seek to silence and condemn those with opinions that make them uncomfortable but are nevertheless opinions based on another person’s own beliefs and values systems.”

These were the powerful words spoken in New Zealand parliament by Paulo Garcia, the newly installed Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives for the New Zealand National Party.

Mr. Garcia’s gallant maiden speech first gave thanks to “our loving God,” and made no apologies for his faith and pro-life, pro-family views.

“Just as we should be aware of the underbelly of ethnic intolerance in this country, we need to be equally aware of the prejudice of religious intolerance often used as a handy tool in debates,” Garcia warned. “It is insulting for some in this Chamber to suggest that the sole motive to retrograde policies such as euthanasia are religious ones, which is akin to saying that people of faith do not have intellect and shouldn’t also take their place here and contribute to society.”

Garcia’s comments made pointed reference to present political and social debates regarding euthanasia, abortion, and freedom of speech. A report on the End of Life Choice Bill currently before Parliament cites religion as a significant reason why people oppose the legislation. The Justice Committee Report factored in the submissions of almost 40,000 people on the issue.

The remarks also come at a time when the country is still reeling in the aftermath of the violent deaths of 51 people in two Christchurch mosques earlier this year.

Noting the compassion of many in society, most recently seen after the Christchurch shootings, Garcia pointed out that each of us have the “capacity for greed, anger, and hatred.”  

A practicing Catholic, he noted some claim his own pro-life and pro-family stances are intolerant.

“There have been people who say my views are intolerant. Why? Because I am pro-life? Because I believe in the sanctity of life?”

Citing a well-known Maori proverb, Garcia explained that taken literally and to its logical conclusion, it encompassed his views. “He aha te mea nui o tea o? What is the most important thing in the world? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata – it is the people, it is the people, it is the people.”

He went on to say, “When it comes to human beings, we cannot pick and choose which ones are protected and which ones are not, and we cannot say some vulnerable lives must be protected but others not.”

Garcia highlighted the nation’s need to support parents, families, and children. He noted, “parenting is the most important job we really have” and praised single mothers for the task they undertake alone.  

Calling on the men of New Zealand to do more, he declared, “We as men need to stand strong in our relationships. We must be reliable providers and protectors. We must show tamariki [children] the way to respect and honor women.”

Mr. Garcia, a lawyer, is the first Minister of Parliament of Filipino descent. He replaces former National MP Nuk Korako, who has retired.  

Pro-life advocates throughout the country welcomed Mr. Garcia’s courageous maiden speech. His voice joins a growing number of vocal Ministers such as Simon O’Connor and Maggie Barry, who have spearheaded opposition to the End of Life Choice Bill currently awaiting its second reading in Parliament. 

June 4, 2019 correction: A previous version stated that Paulo Garcia is a "newly installed Minister for the National Party" whereas he is a "newly installed Member of Parliament for the New Zealand National Party."

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Patty Hajdu, federal minister of employment, workforce, and labour. CTV News via YouTube
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Christian charity takes Canadian govt to court over Summer Jobs discrimination

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By LifeSiteNews staff

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June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A registered charity running summer camps for youth has filed court applications against the federal government after the charity's applications for 2019 Canada Summer Jobs grants were denied.

The charity, BCM (Canada) International, is a registered charitable organization, which runs two summer camps providing recreational and religious programming for youth aged 5 to 18. BCM stands for Bible Centred Ministries. BCM runs one camp at Mount Traber Bible Camp & Retreat Centre located northeast of Halifax. The other, Mill Stream Bible Camp & Retreat Centre, is located near Peterborough, Ontario.

For over a decade, BCM had received Canada Summer Jobs grants. BCM used the funds to provide summer jobs for high school and college students to work at its camps. But in 2018, the federal government rejected BCM's applications because BCM could not accept the controversial 2018 Canada Summer Jobs attestation which required BCM to express agreement with the following statement:

Both the job and the organization's core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights, and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

The Justice Centre and other organizations commenced several court actions across Canada, challenging this "attestation" as compelled speech that violates freedom of expression as protected by the Charter.

In December 2018, Employment, Workforce and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu announced the federal government was scrapping the controversial 2018 Canada Summer Job attestation. However, the new attestation for 2019 states: "Any funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program will not be used to undermine or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada." Further, the following question was added to the Canada Summer Jobs application form for 2019 asking applicants to specify "how your organization will be providing a safe, inclusive, and healthy work environment free of harassment and discrimination."

In January, BCM submitted applications to Canada Summer Jobs to employ students again at both Mount Traber and Mill Stream, but Service Canada rejected both applications on May 2. Regarding the Mount Traber application, Service Canada claimed that BCM had "failed to demonstrate" that it had implemented measures to provide a harassment- and discrimination-free workplace.

In the application, BCM had already thoroughly outlined its anti-discrimination policies and the training its staff underwent to ensure an environment free of harassment and discrimination on its camps. BCM holds training sessions for staff with local RCMP and health professionals on harassment and bullying; it enforces a zero-tolerance harassment policy and maintains a confidential complaint process its complaint process to all staff and campers. BCM reviews its harassment complaint policy annually and interviews all staff and volunteers with three references and vulnerable sector checks. Finally, BCM requires all staff to attend a four-day staff training, and to complete various related courses; and has the camp director at the beginning of each camp week explain in detail to all campers and staff the importance of having a harassment- and discrimination-free environment.

Service Canada denied the Mill Stream application, claiming, without any explanation, that the summer camp positions for students would "restrict access to programs, services, or employment, or otherwise discriminate, contrary to applicable laws, on the basis of prohibited grounds, including sex, genetic characteristics, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression."

BCM had fully completed the 2019 application forms, including the revised attestations, and responded to Service Canada's inquiries. These decisions have left BCM without any clarity as to why its applications were rejected.

"While the government relented on last year's blatantly discriminatory attestation requirement, it seems that the Minister has not relented on attempting to compel ideological agreement with the government," commented Justice Centre president John Carpay. 

"Sadly, our client's experience is likely only the tip of the iceberg," continued Carpay.

In its court applications, BCM asks the court for a declaration that the Minister's decisions were unreasonable, and unreasonably interfere with BCM's rights protected under sections 2(a), 2(b) and 15 of the Charter. BCM also seeks a declaration that the Minister, in her decision-making process, breached her duty of procedural fairness owed to BCM by failing to provide notice of the case to be met, and by acting with bias and bad faith. Finally, BCM seeks a court order to approve its application for summer students grants and quash the original decision. 

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NBC, CBS censor, downplay Alex Trebek crediting prayer for his cancer recovery

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By Nicholas Fondacaro

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June 3, 2019 (NewsBusters) — In an interview with People magazine out Wednesday, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek credited the prayers of millions of his fans for helping him in his fight against stage-four pancreatic cancer, now in "near remission." Yet, while ABC's World News Tonight touted Trebek's praise, the CBS Evening News ignored that part of Trebek's comments and NBC Nightly News edited it out of the quotes read and video clips they aired.

Before we can examine what was missing, let's look at what should have been reported.

ABC anchor David Muir recalled how Trebek "vowed to fight it" by playing a soundbite of the gameshow host telling fans back in March: "With the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease."

Muir read sizable quotes from the magazine article where Trebek credits prayer:

Trebek telling People magazine: "The doctors said that they hadn't seen this kind of positive result in their memory. Some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent." He adds, "it's kind of mind-boggling. I've already gone from where I was to this. The doctors are so excited, just beside themselves with joy."

And Trebek again thanked the millions who have sent good wishes. "I told the doctors, this has to be more than just chemo. I've had a couple million people out there who expressed their good thoughts, their positive energy and their prayers. The doctors said it could very well be an important part of this."

"No doubt it is," Muir agreed.

Now let's look at NBC's edits. Correspondent Joe Fryer played the same soundbite of Trebek's vow. But in this one, the NBC reporter spoke over the prayer part so it sounded like this: "I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease." And so the edit stood out.

Next came the part where Fryer skipped over Trebek's credits in the People magazine piece: "He tells People"I've got a couple million people out there who have expressed good thoughts... I told the doctors this has to be more than just the chemo." For Trebek, that support is part of the answer." Compare that to what Muir said and what People magazine wrote.

As for CBS, fill-in anchor and Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan only had a news brief on the story in which the only quote from the magazine was that Trebek thought the turnaround was "mindboggling":

There was some encouraging news today from Alex Trebek. The host of Jeopardy! says his doctors tell him that his stage-four pancreatic cancer is in, quote, "near remission." In an interview with People magazine, Trebek calls the prognosis "mind-boggling" but says he has several more rounds of chemotherapy to go before he's declared to be in full remission.

It's disturbing that NBC News would go to such lengths to avoid saying prayer helped someone through a tough time in his life.

The transcripts are below.

ABC's World News Tonight
May 29, 2019
6:57:41 p.m. Eastern

(…)

DAVID MUIR: Tonight, Alex Trebek, three months after revealing his battle with stage-four pancreatic cancer, now saying doctors believe he is in "near remission". We remember he vowed to fight it.

ALEX TREBEK: With the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.

MUIR: Trebek telling People magazine: "The doctors said that they hadn't seen this kind of positive result in their memory. Some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent." He adds, "it's kind of mind-boggling. I've already gone from where I was to this. The doctors are so excited, just beside themselves with joy."

And Trebek again thanked the millions who have sent good wishes. "I told the doctors, this has to be more than just chemo. I've had a couple million people out there who expressed their good thoughts, their positive energy and their prayers. The doctors said it could very well be an important part of this."

[Cuts back to live]

No doubt it is, and we're always rooting for Alex here.

CBS Evening News
May 29, 2019
6:53:07 p.m. Eastern

MARGARET BRENNAN: There was some encouraging news today from Alex Trebek. The host of Jeopardy! says his doctors tell him that his stage-four pancreatic cancer is in, quote, "near remission." In an interview with People magazine, Trebek calls the prognosis "mind-boggling" but says he has several more rounds of chemotherapy to go before he's declared to be in full remission.

NBC Nightly News
May 29, 2019
7:23:19 p.m. Eastern

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: We are back the encouraging health update from Alex Trebek. The news from doctors that the Jeopardy! host says is "kind of mindboggling". Here's Joe Fryer.

[Cuts to video]

JOE FRYER: For the man who wants answers in the form of a question.

ALEX TREBEK: What are is a metal kettle. That rhymes.

FRYER: This is a positive response. Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek updated People magazine on his aggressive treatment for pancreatic cancer.

"It's kind of mindboggling," Trebek says. "The doctors said they hadn't seen this kind of positive result in their memory. Some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent." He adds that according to doctors, he is in "near remission".

Trebek announced his diagnosis in March.

TREBEK: I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.

FRYER: The five-year survival rate for stage-four pancreatic cancer is less than three percent. The 78-year-old has continued to work while undergoing chemo.

TREBEK: Thank you for your continuing messages of encouragement and support.

FRYER: He tells People, "I've got a couple million people out there who have expressed good thoughts… I told the doctors this has to be more than just the chemo." For Trebek, that support is part of the answer. Joe Fryer, NBC News.

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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French Catholic college students who opposed LGBT display face expulsion, $84K fine

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

Analysis

June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — On Saturday afternoon, May 18, some 20 adolescents and young adults, many of whom had just finished their college exams, were enjoying a drink on “Place Napoléon,” the main square of La Roche-sur-Yon, the administrative capital of the Vendée in the west of France. When they noticed an “LGBT rights” stand in the square, they decided to react. Their student rumpus has been blown up into a full-scale scandal by the French media, and for the students, the consequences are dire. Several have been expelled from the local Catholic university — one of a limited number of Catholic universities in France — and most will have to answer for their crime at the local criminal court on July 18.

Here is what happened. Heads uncovered, the group walked through the LGBT exhibition chanting, “Homofolie, ça suffit” (“we’ve had enough of homofolly”). They toppled over an iron fence, seized a few rainbow flags, and burst some balloons. A number of LGBT activists ran after them, filming the group with their smartphones, and a few pointed words were exchanged. It was only one week later that press reports spoke of two septuagenarians at the LBGT stand who said they had been “knocked over” by one youth, who denies the accusation.

By Sunday, the national media had picked up the film of the event posted on social media, and many mainstream reports were announcing that “a group of youths” had “ransacked” an LGBT stand. A judiciary inquiry was immediately set up, despite the fact that during a television interview, three young female LGBT activists acknowledged that the damage had been minimal and no one had been harmed.

But they added: “If they’re bursting balloons this year, imagine what might happen next year!”

There was a twist: several boys were wearing the insignia of the “Manif pour tous,” and one had a sweatshirt of the ICES Catholic University barely visible under his coat. The “Institut Catholique D’Etudes Supérieures” opened in La Roche-sur-Yon in 1990, mainly thanks to Philippe de Villiers, the Vendée’s emblematic politician who is world-famous for having created the historical theme park of the Puy-du-Fou. The ICES is known for its high-quality teaching and its clearly assumed Catholic identity. Students go there from all parts of France.

Immediately, the incident was connected with the ICES, and French media accused both the local “Manif pour tous” association and the Catholic university of promoting “homophobia” and “transphobia.”

The “Manif pour tous” officially distanced itself from the “attack,” “firmly condemning” the “degradation” of the “stand of the LGBT center of La Roche-sur-Yon, as well as all homophobic acts.”

The ICES went even farther. Although the incident took place outside the campus and at a time when the university was closed, its official Twitter account posted a message on Sunday saying that if the youths who attacked an “anti-homophobia” stand turned out to be ICES students, “disciplinary measures would be taken.”

On the 20th of May, the university’s president, Eric de Labarre, “condemned” the attack, calling it a “grave incident.” “Several persons were identified as students at the ICES. ... The ICES condemns all forms of violence used to promote any convictions whatsoever. ... Their attitude is detrimental to the reputation of the ICES, and as such they will not only be accountable before the courts, since a complaint has been lodged, but also before the ICES.”

The public letter went on to speak of the “respect due to the dignity of persons,” adding that “apart from ignorance and stupidity,” there was also “a form of ideology translated into political activism.” Labarre added that many institutions are confronted with “radical activist fringes of all sides,” proclaiming that the ICES will “never become politicized.” According to Eric de Labarre, the university’s 1,300 students were living through “something that is very hard and even violent” because of the “activists’” disruption.

Heads of student organizations were invited to sign a statement condemning the acts, and the “Bureau des étudiants” that refused was immediately deposed by the university authorities and replaced by next year’s elected formation, which should have come into office on June 15th, which then signed the document.

A social media buzz occurred, and (unverified) accusations were brandished by former students accusing certain professors of having called homosexuality “an illness” during their courses when the parliamentary debate about same-sex “marriage” was in full swing six years ago.

And so a regrettable tempest in a teapot turned into something much darker. The ICES cooperated fully with the police in order to help them identify some of the students involved, two of whom were then arrested and kept in custody for 48 hours.

An official statement from the public prosecutor of La Roche-sur-Yon has described the way the 18 youths implicated had been identified thanks to smartphone films and video surveillance cameras. All were heard by the police. It was established that they had walked “in a lively way” through the exhibition, as a group, repeating the slogan: “Homo-folly, we’ve had enough.” One member of the group had covered his face, the statement added, and a partially burnt rainbow flag was found in the home of one of the students. “Two persons claim to have been jostled violently and have presented certificates proving they obtained 8 and 10 days’ temporary disability,” the statement said.

Most of the youths now face charges including “impeding freedom to demonstrate” (with maximum sanctions of three years’ imprisonment and/or a 45,000-euro fine), “theft and deterioration” (of the LGBT flag): five years’ imprisonment and/or a 75,000-euro fine) and “public insults because of the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity” (one year’s imprisonment, 45,000-euro fine). They will face judgment on July 18. If they are condemned under several headings, only the heaviest sentence will be implemented.

The indictment of “public insults” linked to sexual orientation and gender identity was introduced into the French penal code in 2004 under pressure from the LGBT lobby. It has been widely criticized as the criminalization of opinions and has rarely if ever been successfully invoked against persons reaffirming the traditional condemnation of homosexual acts, but its inclusion in French penal law has put in place the framework of powerful thought-policing.

It should be noted that the public prosecutor made clear that the action had nothing to do with the ICES. “If all were students at the Institut Catholique d’Etudes Supérieures, it does not appear from any element in the case that this membership played any role in the commission of the acts,” it stated.

Despite this official recognition that the ICES was in no way involved, all the students who took part in the incident faced disciplinary action within the university itself and were heard singly. One of the possible sanctions, the one the media and the LGBT lobby were clamoring for, is their outright expulsion — that is, the equivalent of social death for youngsters whose future hangs on their studies.

Sanctions were officially communicated to the press on Friday. Two students have been expelled outright, one will have to wait one year before being allowed to join the ICES once more, and nine are under a “suspended expulsion,” meaning that if they commit acts judged detrimental to the ICES’s reputation during a determined period, they will immediately be required to leave. Several will have to do “community work.”

It was held against the students that the affair was widely publicized on social media, with “44 million negative comments and 1.9 million positive comments.” The ICES also claims to have sanctioned the students because it is “committed to promoting the social thought of the Church, in particular regarding absolute respect for the dignity of persons.”

At no point did the university authorities recall that while Catholics are expected to be tolerant of persons, they should also hold up Catholic doctrine and moral teachings and that while their methods may have been ill advised, LGBT activism is in itself a much more grave disorder, promoting rights for morally erroneous lifestyles.

Nor did the authorities recall that this LGBT activism is becoming ever more totalitarian worldwide, with sanctions and “social death” increasingly the price to pay for even calmly exposing moral choices in this area or refusing to submit to politically correct language.

Is in in fact the disproportion in the way the authorities are treating the two attitudes — one of which is claiming rights for intrinsically disordered acts, while the other is protesting somewhat immaturely — that has sparked anger among a number of students of the ICES who aim to be faithful to the integral Catholic faith.

As Guillaume de Thieulloy, director of the French socially conservative internet medium www.lesalonbeige.com and a onetime lecturer at the ICES put it, “this case quite nicely shows the sense of priorities in the dominant media. On the same day, two people were attacked with knives and iron bars in Villejuif, by an individual claiming that Allah was great, and this event only got a few lines in the press! In other words, when young Catholics burst balloons to demonstrate their opposition to LGBT propaganda, this is national news, but that French citizens barely escaped being murdered by an Islamist terrorist is of no interest to anyone.”

He added that the ICES has apparently chosen to “submit” to the LGBT lobby: “It seems that ICES will organize next year — as a kind of atonement for this sin it didn’t commit (and which looks very venial to me if it is one!) — a conference on sexuality, with a special focus on the notorious ‘LGBT rights.’ When I heard about it, I thought it was a tall tale or ‘fake news,’ as they say nowadays, but it appears that the information has been confirmed.”

Guillaume de Thieulloy went on to recall that the language of “homophobia” is truly the “adversary’s vocabulary,” which aims at banning every critique of homosexuality and the homosexual lobby.

“Let us understand, once and for all, that ‘LGBT rights’ have absolutely nothing to do with human rights. Every human person, whatever his or her actions, has the right to respect for his or her dignity. But not every act has the right to official recognition of society; nor, a fortiori, the right never to be challenged by anyone under penalty of criminal conviction,” he said.

“I am one of those people who still believe that homosexual acts are seriously disordered, as the Catechism says. I understand that it is painful for those who commit them to hear that. But let them be reassured, being a sinner like them, it happens to me quite regularly that I too hear rather unpleasant things about my own sinfulness. The main difference between them and me is that I don't believe that my sins give me any other right than to run to confession — which, after all, is more useful for my salvation than claiming more or less fanciful rights!” he added.

But it seems that the dictatorship of relativism is stronger than rational thought about this regrettable but minor incident.

Could it be that today’s accusers have never heard of Jordan Peterson risking expulsion from his university for refusing to bow down to any legal obligation that would force him to use a person’s “chosen pronouns” on the basis of the illegality of transphobia?

Have they never heard about cardinal Müller’s clear warning in an interview with Costanza Miriano?

“Homophobia simply does not exist,” said the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “It is clearly an invention and an instrument of the totalitarian dominance over the thoughts of others. The homo-movement is lacking scientific arguments, that is why it created an ideology which wants to dominate by creating its own reality. It is the Marxist pattern according to which reality does not create thinking, but thinking creates its own reality. He who does not accept this created reality is to be considered as being sick. It is as if one could influence an illness with the help of the police or with the help of courts. In the Soviet Union, Christians were put into psychiatric clinics. These are the methods of totalitarian regimes, of National Socialism and of Communism. The same happens in North Korea to those who do not accept the reigning way of thinking.”

Do today’s accusers realize that the LGBT lobby is gaining ever more power against those who simply want to proclaim their faith and morals, and that the worst kind of violence is the one that aims to silence those who will not go along with the lie?

Last March, LifeSite told the story of Tonya Callaghan, a lesbian and former Catholic schoolteacher who has written wrote a book claiming that Alberta’s and Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools are “potential hotbeds for homophobia.” She appeared to argue that Catholic teaching was to blame, wrote LifeSite.

Canada is farther along that path than France. It would be sad indeed if French Catholics were to help the LGBT agenda on its way in France.

Featured Image
Abortionist Leah Torres Twitter
Cassy Fiano-Chesser

Opinion

Abortionist: ‘Medical’ reasons for abortion include not wanting to be pregnant

Cassy Fiano-Chesser
By Cassy Fiano-Chesser

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies.  Sign the petition here.

June 3, 2019 (Live Action News) — Notorious abortionist Leah Torres is at it again. After engaging in a debate online with the Dank Pro-Life Memes account, Torres began discussing the concept of when human life begins and what exactly abortion encompasses — and admitted that not wanting to be pregnant anymore counts as a "medical reason" for a woman to undergo an abortion.

At the beginning of the conversation, Torres seemed to acknowledge the humanity of the preborn, tweeting, "Human beings are pregnant with human beings." But then, when asked to describe how she would describe what happens during an abortion, she responded, "Products of conception are removed from the uterine cavity." She also tried to argue that being pro-life is meaningless, as everyone is pro-life. But then the notion of opposing abortion unless it's medically necessary was broached, to which Torres had a surprising response.

While abortion advocates frequently claim abortion should be legal simply because a woman should be allowed to choose for herself, more hysterical arguments tend to resort to the arguments of rape, disability, or the mother's health. The problem with arguing that abortion must be legal in case a woman's life is at risk is that abortion is actually never medically necessary.

In the case of a true medical emergency, doctors will deliver the baby right away, either through an induction or a c-section, which is faster and safer than an abortion at that late stage. A late-term abortion would take multiple days, as opposed to hours. And as former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explains, abortion does not save women's lives.

Yet as Torres' tweet shows, the idea of "medically necessary" abortion usually boils down to any reason at all. And ultimately, this is what Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton allow for.

As the text of Doe reads, "… We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age — relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health…"

This vague language means women can have an abortion for any reason whatsoever, and it can be marked up to an issue of emotional health. And while Torres breezily waves off "not being pregnant anymore" as a medical reason for an abortion, the reality is that most Americans strongly oppose this kind of pro-abortion extremism.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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dennizn / Shutterstock.com
Corinne Weaver

Opinion

Snapchat issues, quickly pulls ‘Love Has No Age’ filter for LGBT ‘Pride month’

Corinne Weaver
By Corinne Weaver

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

June 3, 2019 (NewsBusters) — A tech company has made a disturbing statement during the left-centric "Pride Month."

For Snapchat, the LGBTQ might also include pedophiles. In the campaign for "Love Has No Labels" held by Snapchat, one of the options was a "Love Has No Age" filter. While this filter appears to be defunct as of June 3, conservatives on Twitter pointed out the option over the weekend of June 1–2. Twitter user Ashley St. Clair posted a video of herself with the "Love Has No Age" filter. 

The filter had the options to say that love had no gender, race, or religion, as part of the mass-marketed Pride Month that infiltrates businesses and social media in June. But age did not seem to fit in the list, unless it was meant to justify pedophilia.

Big League Politics reported that "pedophiles have made a concerted push to join the ranks of acceptance granted to the LGBT community." In the news, children dressed as sexualized drag queens have made headlines from NBC to the Huffington Post.

Love has an age, according to the 50 states: above 16. Anything below that age is considered statutory rape, depending on the state's conditions. Generally, if adults above a certain age are involved it will be prosecuted as such.

Snapchat is an app that is designed for teenagers. Ninety percent of the company's 190 million daily users fall between the ages of 13 and 24. The company is one of the few social media platforms that sets the minimum age at 13 in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

This filter does not match well with Snapchat, which has a reputation for enabling pedophiles on the app. Fortune reported in 2017 that the disappearing messages that are Snapchat's trademark make it easy for child pornographers to exploit their victims. Forty-one percent of underage victims were targeted through Snapchat in the year 2016.

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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Katie Franklin

Opinion ,

Pro-abortion Ruth Bader Ginsburg insists: Women who abort are not mothers

Katie Franklin
By

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies.  Sign the petition here.

June 3, 2019 (Pregnancy Help News) — This week, Planned Parenthood was handed a temporary victory that will allow the billion-dollar corporation to continue the eugenic course it began more than a century ago. 

In a decision issued Tuesday, the Supreme Court chose not to consider part of an Indiana law, which prohibits abortion for the sole reason of sex, race or disability. That decision will allow the Seventh Circuit's ruling striking down the law to stand.

But as Justice Clarence Thomas explained in his concurring opinion, the Court's decision to let it stand "should not be interpreted as agreement" with the lower court. In fact, in no less than 20 pages, Justice Thomas excoriated Planned Parenthood's dark history with eugenics and the abortion industry's interest in continuing the practice to this day.

Although his blistering rebuke of the eugenic use of abortion consumed the vast majority of Tuesday's opinion, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which brought the lawsuit against the state of Indiana, was mysteriously silent on the subject in its prepared statement. Perhaps hesitant to express relief at the ability to continue aborting babies on the basis of their race, sex, and disability, the group focused on the other provision of the law which the Court decided to hear.

That part of the law requires humane burial or cremation for unborn children killed by abortion. 

"The anti-reproductive health politicians who created these laws to shame patients have no place in the exam room," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. "Planned Parenthood remains vigilant in working to stop the unprecedented rollback of reproductive rights and freedom."

Charbonneau's statement is as confusing as the dissent formulated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In just a few short paragraphs, Ginsburg argued that the Indiana law implicates "the right of [a] woman to choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the State."

Like Charbonneau, she seems to believe that a law regulating what occurs after an abortion somehow interferes with a woman's "right to choose."

Ginsburg's suggestion elicited a swift critique from Thomas in the footnotes:

JUSTICE GINSBURG's dissent from this holding makes little sense. It is not a "'waste'" of our resources to summarily reverse an incorrect decision that created a Circuit split. And JUSTICE GINSBURG does not even attempt to argue that the decision below was correct. Instead, she adopts Chief Judge Wood's alternative suggestion that regulating the disposition of an aborted child's body might impose an "undue burden" on the mother's right to abort that (already aborted) child. This argument is difficult to understand, to say the least — which may explain why even respondent Planned Parenthood did not make it. The argument also lacks evidentiary support.

Ginsburg replied in a footnote:

The note overlooks many things: 'This Court reviews judgments, not statements in opinions,'...a woman who exercises her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy is not a 'mother'; the cost of, and trauma potentially induced by, a post-procedure requirement may well constitute an undue burden; under the rational-basis standard applied below, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky had no need to marshal evidence that Indiana's law posed an undue burden... (emphasis added)

Not only does Ginsburg maintain her suggestion that a post-abortion regulation imposes an "undue burden" on the woman, but — without explanation — she also makes a point to reject Thomas's biologically correct use of the term "mother."

(Interestingly, she didn't reject the use of the word "child" for the unborn victim of abortion.)

For a movement that has obscured science and reason in favor of a "might makes right" pseudo-philosophy, Ginsburg's dig isn't all that surprising. Indeed, the respondent in this very case — Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky — has pinned to the top of its Twitter feed a 2018 Tweet that intones, "Some men have a uterus" eleven times over.

Suffice it to say biology is lost on this side of the abortion debate. How chilling that the abortion lobby would use modern day medicine to identify and weed out those it deems "undesirable" while also rejecting science and turning basic biological facts on their head. 

Ginsburg might not believe that post-abortive women are mothers, but the thousands of women who have sought after-abortion support over the last four decades would likely disagree.

According to an extensive report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute released last year, 24,100 clients received such support at a life-affirming pregnancy help center in 2017.

Additionally, in the last decade, hundreds of women, indeed mothers, have tried to save their children after beginning a chemical abortion. Since 2012, abortion pill reversal (administered by 800 clinicians in the Abortion Pill Rescue Network) has saved 750 babies.

Not to mention 750 mothers from unknown grief and trauma.

Beyond even the abortion debate, there is the question of whether women who have miscarried would be viewed as "mothers" in Ginsburg's eyes. Even though these women have grieved their unborn children — some lost even as young as 5 weeks — would Ginsburg still decline to call them "mothers"?

Ginsburg's refusal to acknowledge the motherhood of these groups of women seems heartless and unnecessary — certainly not an argument to be made in the records of the Supreme Court of the United States.

So why make it? Why split hairs at all?

This small divide — seen only in the annotations of this decision — shows the painstaking lengths abortion advocates have gone to deconstruct and politicize the warm and trusted safe haven that is otherwise found in motherhood.

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

Featured Image
Dr. John Rist Franciscan U of Steubenville / Youtube screen grab
Phil Lawler

Opinion ,

Pontifical institute’s banishment of John Rist for criticizing pope is unjust

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

PETITION: Ask Vatican-backed university to remove ban of renowned scholar Dr. John Rist.  Sign the petition here.

June 3, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — Last year when he issued new rules for the governance of pontifical ecclesiastical faculties, Pope Francis called for a "culture of encounter" that would encourage "wide-ranging dialogue." But there are limits, apparently, to how widely the dialogue should range.

Last week John Rist, who had been conducting scholarly research at the Patristic Institute Augustinianum, learned that he had suddenly become persona non grata at the venerable Roman institution. He was given neither warning nor formal notice; he learned of his new status only when he was unable to gain access to the parking lot.

John Rist is a world-class scholar, noted for decades of outstanding contributions to the history of philosophy. Among his academic credentials are an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical Institute of the Holy Cross and a chaired professorship at the Catholic University of America. He had been, until this week, a visiting professor at the Augustinianum.

What did Rist do, to prompt the Augustinianum to banish him? He signed the open letter charging the Pope with heresy.

My own serious misgivings about that open letter are already on the record. But doesn't academic freedom mean that a scholar should be allowed to profess an unpopular opinion?

The pontifical faculties are, admittedly, a special case; professors are expected to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church. But Rist's orthodoxy is not in question. He is being punished for questioning the orthodoxy of another prominent figure. And since the target of his criticism is the Bishop of Rome, a special rule applies.

In that 2018 document Veritatis Gaudium, amending the rules of the pontifical faculties, Pope Francis stipulated that the professors must be loyal to the Church. The wording of the relevant clause (26.2) is noteworthy:

Those who teach matters touching on faith and morals are to be conscious of their duty to carry out their work in full communion with the authentic Magisterium of the Church, above all, with that of the Roman Pontiff[emphasis added]

The crude treatment of John Rist —  which the professor rightly described as "grotesque discourtesy" — highlights a disturbing trend in Rome. Call it the new ultramontanism: the aggressive attitude of the Pope's overeager defenders, who treat criticism of the Pontiff as a far more serious offense than attacks on the Catholic faith.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Fr. Tertulian Langa. TVR Cluj via YouTube
Sandro Magister

Opinion ,

Fr. Tertulian Langa: A horrifying, inspiring story of martyrdom from Romania

Sandro Magister
By

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

June 3, 2019 (L'Espresso) — Friday May 31, Pope Francis left for Romania, and on Sunday June 2, the last day of his journey, he presided over the divine liturgy in Blaj, with the beatification of seven Greek Catholic bishops martyred "out of hatred for the faith" between 1950 and 1970, under the communist regime.

These seven are only some of the Christians of Romania, bishops, priests, laity, who deserve the crown of martyrdom.

Another among many is Ioan Ploscaru, a bishop who died in 1998 at the age of 87, fourteen years of which he had spent in prison under inhumane conditions. He entrusted the account of his calvary to a book published in Romania in 1993 and then in Italy in 2013 by Edizioni Dehoniane Bologna, lengthy excerpts from which can be read here:

> Blessed Are the Persecuted. The Story of a Modern Martyr

And then there is the striking testimony read on March 23, 2004 at the Vatican by Tertulian Ioan Langa, a Greek Catholic priest, republished below in its entirety.

In 2004 Fr. Tertulian was 82 years old. He died in 2013. His account is very concrete, and at the same time spiritual. A bit Solzhenitsyn, a bit acts of the martyrs. Between grace and mystery of iniquity, driven to the limits of the unimaginable. With "Holy Providence" that operates through the unwitting hands of sadistic prison guards.

In times in which martyrdom is an abused word, even applied to the Islamic "shahid" who blow themselves up for the sake of causing slaughter, this is a testimony that helps to reestablish the truth. Absolutely not to be missed.


"BUT THE HEAVEN ABOVE US IS GREATER"

by Tertulian Ioan Langa

My name is Tertulian Langa, and eighty-two are the years of my life that I will not see again. Of these, sixteen were bestowed upon the communist prisons.

At the age of twenty-four, in 1946, I was a young assistant in the faculty of philosophy at the University of Bucharest. The Russian troops had occupied almost a third of Romania, and it was intimated to me, as a member of the faculty, that I should urgently become a member of the teachers' union manipulated by the communist party thrust into power by the armor-clad Soviets.

I was already aware of the firm stance of the Catholic Church's magisterium against communism, which it defined as inherently evil. So there was no place in my conscience for compromise. I renounced my university career and retreated to the countryside as a farm worker, but that was not sufficient, because I was already known among the faculty as a militant Catholic and anti-communist. An accusatory dossier was quickly improvised against me, and as the accusations were founded on circumstances not yet criminalized by the penal code (relationships with bishops and with the nunciature, lay apostolate), my dossier was grouped with those of the big industrialists. After interrogations accompanied by atrocious treatment, the procurator declared, with perfect communist logic: "There is no proof of the guilt of the accused in his dossier, but we nonetheless ask for the maximum penalty: fifteen years of forced labor. After all, if he were not guilty, he would not be here." I objected: "But it's not possible for you to condemn me without proof!" And he: "It's not possible? Here's how it's possible: twenty years of forced labor for having protested against the justice of the people." And this was the sentence.

This happened before the Greek-Catholic Church of Romania had been outlawed. It was taken for granted that my arrest, and the tortures applied to me, would succeed in transforming me into an instrument for the future incrimination of bishops and priests of the Greek-Catholic Church and of the Vatican nunciature.

I will recount just a few of the moments from my interrogation and my imprisonment in the communist extermination camps.

I was arrested at Blaj, in the office of bishop Ioan Suciu, the apostolic administrator of the Greek-Catholic metropolitan see of Romania, and a future martyr. I had presented myself to him, the head of our Church, to ask for the enlightenment of Holy Providence, because my spiritual father, bishop Vladimir Ghika, another future martyr, had gone into hiding. Someone had offered me the possibility of leaving the country. As this was an important step, I did not want to take it without determining if it were the will of God. And the answer came: my arrest. I understood that I was to spend my life in the prisons created by the communist regime, but I was serene: I was following the path of Holy Providence.

THE IRON ROD

I remember Holy Thursday of 1948. For two weeks, every day, they had beaten me with a rod on the soles of my feet, through my shoes: it seemed that lightning coursed through my spine and exploded in my brain. But they didn't ask me any questions. They were getting me ready, using the rod to soften me up for the interrogation. I was bound hand and foot and hung upside down, and my jailers stuffed into my mouth a sock that had already been long employed in the shoes and the mouths of other beneficiaries of socialist humanism. The sock had become the noise-reducer that prevented the sound from passing beyond the place of interrogation. But it was practically impossible to emit a single moan. Moreover, I had frozen psychologically: I was no longer capable of crying out or moving. My torturers interpreted this behavior as fanaticism on my part. And they continued with increasing fury, taking turns in torturing me. Night after night, day after day. They didn't ask me anything, because they weren't interested in answers, but in annihilating a person, something that was delayed in coming. And as the effort to annihilate my will and overshadow my mind was prolonged, so was the torture indefinitely prolonged. The battered shoes fell from my feet, piece by piece.

That Holy Thursday night, in a nearby church, they were celebrating the liturgical office, accompanied by bells that wept as if frightened. I started. Jesus must have heard my suffocated cry when, how I don't know, I howled from within that hell: "Jesus! Jesus!" Coming out through the sock, my cry was incomprehensible to the jailers. As it was the first sound they had heard from me, they said they were satisfied, sure of having broken me. They dragged me on a blanket to the cell, where I fainted. When I awoke, the inquisitor was standing before me with a ream of paper in his hand. "You've been stubborn, criminal, but you're not getting out of here until you've brought out everything you're hiding inside. You have five hundred sheets of paper. Write about everything in your life: everything about your mother, your father, your sisters, brothers, in-laws, relatives, friends, acquaintances, bishops, priests, religious, politicians, professors, neighbors, and criminals like you. Don't stop until you've finished the paper." But I didn't write anything. Not out of some kind of fanaticism, but because I didn't have the strength: even my mind seemed empty.

THE SHE-WOLF

After four days, the same individual: "Have you finished writing?" Seeing that the paper hadn't been touched, he said, "If that's how things are, strip! I want to see you like Adam in paradise." Days went by like this, days of bare skin on pavement, a comfort typical of humane socialism. Another individual appeared at the door after a while: "Let's see, what do we have on the paper? Nothing? Still stubborn! You'll see that we have other methods." Then he left. He returned with an enormous wolfhound, with its threatening fangs bared. "See her? She's Diana, the heroic dog your criminal friends shot at in the mountains. She'll teach you what you have to do. Start running!" And I: "What do you mean, run? In a room nine feet long?" In the room there was also a three-hundred watt bulb, too bright for a nine-by-six room, and fixed not on the ceiling, but on the wall, at eye level. "Run!" The wolf, growling, was ready to attack. I ran for six or seven hours, but I realized it only near dawn, seeing the light begin to creep into the cell and hearing movement in the building. Occasionally the man let the wolf out to take care of her needs. This was not allowed to me. When I began to lose my balance and showed signs of stopping, the vigilant wolf, as if by command, sank her teeth into my shoulder, neck, and arm.

I ran under her eyes and her fangs for thirty-nine hours without interruption. At the end I collapsed, and the wolf pounced upon me. She bit my neck, but without strangling me. Then I felt something hot and stinging on my forehead and in my eyes, and I understood that the beast was urinating on my face. And it is from the words of my butchers that I understood that I had run for thirty-nine hours. "We could send this one to the Rio marathon! What endurance, the fascist pig!" But seeing that not even the marathon had succeeded in convincing me to make a declaration on the bishops and the nunciature, or on some friend they were seeking, they thought it useful to pass to another form of persuasion: the bag of sand.

THE BAG OF SAND

The next day, in an office, they bound me hand and foot before a table with a small sack on it. Behind me there was a pale and speechless jailer. At a desk in the corner their was a bald man with a goatee, clearly trying to look like Lenin. He was also speechless, but made a sign by moving his head. My tormenter understood the command. He took the bag and beat me rhythmically on the head with it, accompanying each blow with the word: "Speak!" Dozens, hundreds of times; I don't know, perhaps thousands: "Speak!". But no one asked me anything. There was only that cavernous, monotonous voice pounding into my brain the imperative to talk, to respond to any question put to my conscience by the inquisitor. It wasn't hard for me to decipher the satanic idea of wanting to overmaster my will. After approximately twenty blows, I began to apply the moral principle "age contra," do the opposite, saying to myself at each blow: "I will not speak!" Dozens of times, hundreds of times. Through autosuggestion I had implanted within myself the response "I will not speak!", with the risk of becoming a slave to that way of expressing myself. And that's what happened: from that time on, I responded automatically to any question put to me on any subject: "I will not speak!" It took me an entire year of mental effort to free myself from this sinister reflex.

TWELVE INCHES

As a subject devoid of value and interest to the interrogators, I was transferred to the prison twenty-five feet beneath the marshy ground of Jilava, constructed for the defense of the capital but unusable on account of serious water damage. Nothing survived there except for man, the greatest treasure of historical materialism. In the cells of Jilava, the poor men were packed like sardines — not in oil, but in their own juices, made of sweat, urine, and the water that seeped in, which trickled ceaselessly down the walls. The space was utilized in the most scientific way possible: a patch of six feet by one foot for each person, lying on his side on the ground. The oldest lay on wooden tables, without sheets or blankets. Their thigh bones and the outside of their knees and calves lay along the wood. We lay on the edges of our bones in order to occupy minimal space. Our hands could rest only upon the ankle or shoulder of a neighbor. We couldn't endure this for more than half an hour; then everyone, at a command, turned onto the other side, because this would have been impossible to do separately. The stack of bodies arranged this way was in two levels, as in bunk beds. But beneath this there was a third level, where the detainees lay upon the bare cement. On the cement, the condensed vapor of the breath of sixty men, together with the water that seeped in and the urine that seeped out of the latrine, formed a viscous mixture in which the unfortunate basted. At the center of the cell-tomb was enthroned a metal container holding about fifteen to twenty gallons, for the urine and feces of sixty men. It had no cover, and the smell and the liquid flowed from it abundantly. To reach it, one had to pass through the "filter," a severe inspection applied to the bare skin, an inspection during which the entire body and all of its orifices were examined.

THE "FILTER"

They scraped our mouths, the area under our tongues, and our gums with a wooden baton, in case we criminals had hidden something there. The same baton penetrated nostrils, ears, anus, beneath the testicles; always the same baton, rigorously the same for all, as a sign of egalitarianism. The windows of Jilava were made not to give light, but to obstruct it, as they were all completely sealed by wooden planks fastened with nails. The lack of air was such that in order to breathe we went to the door in shifts, three at a time, belly up, with our mouths against the gap beneath the door, a position in which we counted sixty breaths, after which the other inmates would come to recover from fainting and from the lack of oxygen.

Thus we contributed, in our way, to the construction of the most humane system in the world. Did Churchill and Roosevelt know these things when, with a stroke of the pen at Tehran's shameful table, they established that we Romanians should be ground by the jaws of the red Moloch of the East, that we should be made the cord to secure their comfort? And could the Holy See have had any idea of this?

NAKED IN THE COLD

From Jilava, after long years of the profanation of our humanity, we were transferred, with leg chains, to the prison of maximum isolation, called Zarka, the pavilion of terror of the prison of Aiud. The welcome followed the same sinister, diabolical ritual of the profanation of man, created by the love of God. Here was the same scraping and probing, the same heavy boots that sank into our ribs, stomachs, and kidneys. In spite of this, we noticed a difference: we were no longer subjected to the regime of preservation in urine, sweat, condensation, and lack of oxygen, but were subjected to an intensive treatment of oxygenation with bare skin and in the cold, criminal after criminal (meaning ministers, generals, university professors, scientists, poets), including me, who was nothing but a great "I will not speak!", a firm and humble trust in the Grace that would make me stand the test.

We all had to disappear, being enemies of the people. If not, how could the much-vaunted "New Soviet Man" have come forth? The cell into which I was placed contained nothing: no bed, blanket, sheet, pillow, table, chair, or mat — not even a window. There were only the iron bars, and I, like all the others, was alone in the cell. I wondered at myself, dressed only in my skin and blanketed by the cold.

It was the end of November. The cold became ever more penetrating, like an unpleasant cellmate. After about three days, the door was slammed open and they threw to me a ragged pair of pants, a short-sleeved shirt, underwear, a striped uniform, and a pair of worn out shoes with no laces, and no socks. There was nothing to cover my head. They also gave me a sort of latrine, a miserable container of about a gallon. I dressed myself hastily. On the fourth day, they counted the freezing inmates. They gave me a number in place of my name: K-1700, the year in which the Church of Transylvania united with Rome. In the public registry, I was already dead. I survived only as a number, a statistic. Then came the broth, four and a half ounces ladled out: it was a thin liquid made by boiling corn flour. For lunch they distributed to us a bean soup, in which I could count eight or nine full kernels. There were many empty husks. For supper, they brought us tea with a crust of burnt bread. After a week, they substituted for the beans a porridge of bran, in which I counted fourteen whole grains. From time to time they alternated the beans with the bran porridge. We lived on less than is given to a hen.

WALK OR DIE

To survive the cold, we had to move constantly, to do gymnastics. As soon as we fell down, overthrown by weariness and hunger, we plunged into sleep, but a very short sleep, as it was bitterly cold. A voice from the other side of the wall woke me one day from such a sleep: "I'm professor Tomescu, the former health minister. Who are you?" When he heard my name, he said: "I've heard about you. Listen to me carefully: we have been brought here to be exterminated. We will never collaborate with them. But whoever doesn't walk, dies, and becomes a collaborator. Tell the others: whoever stops, dies. Walk without stopping!" The pavilion, immersed in the dismal silence of death, echoed with the sounds of our unlaced shoes. We were animated by a people's mysterious will to remain in history, and by the vocation of the Church to stay alive. We stopped working only at about 12:30, for a half an hour, when the scant sunlight lingered for us in a corner of the room. There, hunched down with the sun on my face, I stole a bit of sleep and a ray of hope. When the sun abandoned me, I felt yet that I had not been abandoned by Grace.

I knew I had to survive. I walked, repeating to myself like a refrain, spelling out: "I don't want to die! I don't want to die!" And I didn't die! With each step, I mentally recited prayers, composed litanies, recited psalms.

We continued walking this way, so as not to stumble into death, for seventeen weeks. Anyone who lost the strength or the will to move, died. Of the eighty men who entered Zarka, only thirty survived. The iron bars, little by little, put on coats of frost, formed from the exhalations of our living breath, a dazzling traveler's garment for the road to heaven.

BUT ALL IS GRACE

I believed strongly, many times, that I had come to the very edge of darkness. But I still had a long way to go. Having arrived, years later, in what I imagined must be freedom, I realized that it was in reality nothing more than another way of living in darkness, that the coldness between the Greek-Catholic Church and the hierarchy of its Orthodox sister Church still would not thaw; that our churches continued to be confiscated, and our flock continued to dwindle, killed off by promises. But Christ the Lord also gained the victory only when he could pronounce, with his last breath, "Consummatum est"; it is finished.

I have not written very much about my dramatic experiences. Who can believe what seems unbelievable? Who can believe that the will can overcome the laws of nature? And what if I were to recount the miracles I have experienced? Wouldn't they be considered mere fantasy? It would be harder for me to bear this disbelief than to undergo more years of imprisonment. But Jesus was not believed, either, by everyone who saw him: "After this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (Jn. 6:66).

Nothing in life happens by chance. Every moment the Lord gives us is fraught with Grace — the benevolent impatience of God — and with our will to respond to it or refuse it. It is up to each one of us not to reduce everything to a hard, fierce, unbelievable tale, but to understand that the acceptance of Grace does not hinder man, but carries him beyond his expectations and powers. I sincerely hope that this testimony will open a window into Heaven. Because it is greater, the Heaven above us, than the earth beneath our feet.

Published with permission from L'Espresso.

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President Barack Obama talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call from the Oval Office, Monday, June 8, 2009. Pete Souza / White House
Karin McQuillan

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Barack Obama populated the US government with communists

Karin McQuillan
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June 3, 2019 (American Thinker) — Late in May, Rush Limbaugh repeated a quote from James Comey in a New York Magazine interview: 

I'd moved from communist to whatever I am now. I'm not even sure how to characterize myself politically. Maybe at some point, I'll have to figure it out.

It's hard to pin too much on that quote. Perhaps Comey was joking by calling his vote for Jimmy Carter a vote for a communist, in mockery of his supposedly fellow Republicans. 

Joking about support for communism is not all that funny in the Obama administration. Obama's CIA director, John Brennan, actually did vote for a communist presidential candidate. Brennan and Comey are two of the central players in the Russia Collusion Hoax.

Obama chose communists and Marxists for the highest, most powerful positions in our land, including his closest political advisers and his head of the CIA. These facts are not in dispute. Most are openly admitted by the people in question, as necessary damage control. Our press chooses not to report them.

Professor Paul Kengor has extensively researched the Chicago communists whose progeny include David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, and Barack Hussein Obama. Add the openly Marxist, pro-communist Ayers, and you have many of the key players who put Obama into power.

John Brennan

Brennan (who was sworn in as CIA director on a draft of the US Constitution, without the Bill of Rights, instead of a Bible) said that while he had voted Communist, he wasn't an official member of the Communist Party — and was relieved that he had been accepted into the CIA.

Barack Hussein Obama

His Kenyan father was a communist, who met Obama's mother, a radical leftist, in a Russian language class. Stanley Dunham, Obama's white grandfather, chose a notorious member of the Communist Party to be Obama's mentor, Frank Marshall Davis.

Obama wrote in his memoir that in college, he sought out Marxist professors. A Marxist student at Occidental College, John Drew, confirms that Obama was a revolutionary Marxist in college. Drew recounts:

Obama ... believed that the economic stresses of the Carter years meant revolution was still imminent. The election of Reagan was simply a minor set-back[.] ... As I recall, Obama repeatedly used the phrase "When the revolution comes..." "There's going to be a revolution," Obama said, "we need to be organized and grow the movement." In Obama's view, our role must be to educate others so that we might usher in more quickly this inevitable revolution. ... Obama seemed to think their ideological purity was a persuasive argument in predicting that a coming revolution would end capitalism.

Obama tells us the radical socialist conferences he attended before law school gave him his road map in life — i.e., their plan to put a stealth black candidate in the White House. Obama's biggest job and his political career in Chicago were launched by self-avowed communist Bill Ayers. Obama's run for state representative was as the handpicked successor of a socialist state representative, who was publicly active in communist circles. Obama's calling in life was work as a hard-left Alinskyite radical agitator. Until he became president, Obama was a 20-year member of an openly Marxist church whose members had to take a pledge against the middle class. When did Obama reject Marxism? 

Valerie Jarrett

Valerie Jarrett is Obama's closest personal adviser to the present day. She lived with the Obamas in the White House, had dinner with them nightly, and still lives with them in retirement!

Her late father, James E. Bowman ... was involved with communist front groups and was in contact with a paid Soviet agent in the 1950s who was wanted for espionage. Jarrett's maternal grandfather, Robert Rochon Taylor, was investigated by the FBI for his membership in communist groups and his business relationship with the same Soviet agent[.] ... Her late father-in-law, Vernon D. Jarrett, was assigned by the Communist Party USA to a special cultural arts cell ... he was flagged by the FBI as an internal security risk to be swiftly arrested in the event of a hot war with the Soviet Union. The FBI also investigated his wife, Fernetta "Fern" Jarrett, for communist activities.

Kengor discusses new documents obtained by Judicial Watch that show that Valerie Jarrett's father was active on behalf of Stalin in fomenting racial divisiveness in America as a member of the American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born (ACPFB).

ACPFB "was founded by the Communist Party in order to exploit racial divisions in the United States for its own revolutionary purposes." Its modus operandi was to polarize Americans along racial lines in order to advance the Soviet agenda."

David Axelrod

Axelrod was the chief strategist for Obama's presidential campaigns and a senior adviser in the White House. His mother worked for a communist newspaper. His father, according to Axelrod in his memoir, "listed his party affiliation as 'Communist.'" Axelrod got his start in Chicago politics through working for hard-line Stalinist Soviet agents Harry and David Canter.

The Canters were old hardline pro-Soviet communists, so much so that the senior Canter, Harry Jacob Canter, was actually brought to Moscow during the height of the Stalin period to work for the Soviet government as an official translator of Lenin's writings. Harry was active in the old Industrial Workers of the World and had been secretary of the Boston Communist Party. He was not shy about his political enthusiasm. In 1930, he ran for governor of Massachusetts on the Communist Party ticket. After that, he sojourned to the Motherland, taking his entire family to Moscow with him, including his son David, who one day would come know [sic] David Axelrod… the Canters actually knew and worked with Obama's old communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis[.] ... Davis — again, Obama's mentor — also knew and worked with Valerie Jarrett's grandfather and father-in-law in Communist Party/left-wing circles in Chicago in the 1940s.)

Other Communists, Red Diaper Babies, and Marxists in Obama's Circle

Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, was up to her eyeballs in the Russia Collusion Hoax against candidate and then President Trump.

Rice wrote a 426-page dissertation praising, as "a model and a masterpiece in the evolution of international peacekeeping," ... the political ascendancy of Zimbabwe's Marxist dictator, Robert Mugabe. In her dissertation, Rice lauded Mugabe as a "pragmatic, intelligent, sensible, gentle, balanced man" who possessed considerable "patience and restraint."

David Maraniss, the Washington Post journalist chosen to write Obama's biography, which covered up Obama's radical past, was also a red diaper baby. His father was a member of the Communist Party and worked through a cell in Detroit to secretly influence workers through his articles for the Detroit Times.

Frank Marshall Davis, the biggest influence on Obama's black identity from age ten through college years, was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party.

Frank Marshall Davis was a pro-Soviet, pro–Red China communist. His Communist Party USA card number, revealed in FBI files, was CP #47544. He was a prototype of the loyal Soviet patriot, so radical that the FBI placed him on the federal government's Security Index. In the early 1950s, Davis opposed U.S. attempts to slow Stalin and Mao. He favored Red Army takeovers of Central and Eastern Europe, and communist control in Korea and Vietnam. Dutifully serving the cause, he edited and wrote for communist newspapers in both Chicago and Honolulu, courting contributors who were Soviet agents. In the 1970s, amid this dangerous political theater, Frank Marshall Davis came into Barack Obama's life.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright

Obama's pastor and personal hero and mentor was an avowed Marxist. His church congregants had to sign a pledge to support redistribution of wealth and reject "middleclassness." Discoverthenetworks reports:

Rev. Wright's devotion to the tenets of liberation theology, which is essentially Marxism dressed up as Christianity ... calls for social activism, class struggle, and revolution aimed at overturning the existing capitalist order and installing, in its stead, a socialist utopia where today's poor will unseat their "oppressors" and become liberated from their material (and, consequently, their spiritual) deprivations. An extension of this paradigm is black liberation theology, which seeks to foment a similar Marxist revolutionary fervor founded on racial rather than class solidarity.

Is it any surprise that collusion with Russia, according to Victor Davis Hanson, was a feature of the Obama presidency? 

The Obama administration colluded with Russian agents who produced the Steele Dossier. It was paid for by Clinton, but it was Obama's minions at the FBI, CIA, and White House who weaponized this Soviet disinformation against President Trump. 

We are all victims of the Obama cabal's collusion with Russia — President Trump's voters and all Americans who believe in our free and fair election process.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Fr. James Martin wishes ‘happy Pride Month’ to ‘all my many LGBTQ Catholic friends’

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By Doug Mainwaring

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — At roughly the same time Bishop Thomas Tobin sent out a tweet — now heard around the world — warning Catholics against participating in LGBT “Pride” events during so-called “Pride Month,” pro-LGBT Fr. James Martin, S.J. sent out his own tweet to his “LGBTQ friends” that implied that God created them “gay” because they are “wonderfully made.”

And while Tobin’s defense of Church teaching brought down a firestorm of hate-filled criticism and accusations, Fr. Martin’s implied assertion that God makes people gay skated by virtually unchallenged.

“To all my many LGBTQ friends, Catholic and otherwise: Happy Pride Month,” said Martin. “Be proud of your God-given dignity, of the gifts God has given you, of your place in the world, and of your many contributions to the church. For you are ‘wonderfully made’ by God (Ps 139).”

Exactly one year ago, the Jesuit priest posted a similar tweet whose message is clearly antithetical to Bishop Tobin’s recent warning about participation in “Pride” events.

“Catholics need not be wary of June’s Pride Month. It’s a way for LGBT people to be proud that they are beloved children of God,” wrote Martin.

Bishop Tobin had tweeted before dawn on June, “A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

An astounding 88,000 mostly negative replies have been posted to Bishop Tobin’s tweet, calling his comments “disgusting,” accusing him of being a “hate-filled hypocrite” and spreading “poisonous thinking.”  

A pro-LGBT protest was also quickly organized for Sunday evening outside the Providence Diocese’s Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, timed to coincide with an evening Mass. The event reportedly attracted over one hundred attendees, including drag queens and some attired in garb meant to mock the Catholic Church.

Bishop Tobin’s tweet was “ratioed,” a term that describes a tweet that has received far more “Replies” than “Likes.” At this moment, Bishop Tobin’s tweet has garnered 88,000 “Replies” and 24,000 “Likes,” a nearly 350% disparity. 

At the same time, Fr. Martin’s tweet has received about 1,300 “Replies” and 30,000 “Likes,” a positive ratio of nearly 2,500%. 

Martin’s pro-LGBT track record

Last summer at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, Fr. Martin said active homosexuals “should be invited into parish ministries,” specifically mentioning them becoming “eucharistic ministers” in order to make them feel welcome and accepted in the Catholic Church.

“As I’ve mentioned, there is a tendency to focus on the sexual morality of LGBT parishioners, which is wrong, because, first, you often have no idea what their sexual lives are like; and, second, even if they are falling short, they are not the only ones,” he said.

Despite his reputation for promoting homosexuality, the Vatican appointed Fr. Martin as a communications consultant in 2017.

After Fr. Martin accepted an award from the dissident pro-gay group New Ways Ministry, he published a book on how the Church should be more accepting of the homosexual lifestyle. The book was inspired by his talk. Four U.S. Catholic bishops have endorsed it.

The Jesuit’s record of pro-gay activism is lengthy and ranges from his many speeches and media appearances promoting homosexuality to his retweeting of a complaint that priests can’t “bless” gay unions to suggesting that the Church is full of “homophobia” and “marginalizes” the same-sex attracted.

He supports gay men kissing each other during the sign of peace at Mass, says a Catholic attending a same-sex “wedding” is like attending a Jewish wedding, and suggests that his critics are secretly gay themselves.

In February 2017, Fr. Martin tweeted his support for transgender bathrooms. “It doesn't hurt anybody” for boys to be allowed in girls’ bathrooms and vice versa, he claimed.

Fr. Martin says homosexual priests should “come out” about their sexual proclivities but has publicly declined to say whether he himself is gay.

Two different “faiths”

Fr. Martin’s pro-LGBT ministry sets him at odds with Church teaching and seemingly presents a version of the Catholic Church that is radically different from the one handed down to believers from Christ and the apostles.

The Catholic Church has perennially taught that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered.” Such acts are “contrary to the natural law” in that they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.”

The Church teaches, moreover, that God does not create any man or woman with attraction to the same sex, calling such an inclination “objectively disordered.” As is the case with anyone who commits grave sins, be they rape, murder, substance abuse, sacrilege, etc., Christians hold that as followers of Christ they must love the sinner while hating the sin. The Church teaches that people who struggle with same-sex attraction are to be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

Catholic author and pro-marriage and family activist Leila Miller posted both the Bishop Tobin and the Fr. Martin tweets on Facebook and issued a challenge: “These tweets represent two different faiths. Pick one.”

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‘Totalitarian’: Cdl. Burke criticizes Vatican-backed universities’ ban on prof who accused pope of heresy

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PETITION: Ask Vatican-backed university to remove ban of renowned scholar Dr. John Rist. Sign the petition here.

June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke stated that leaders within the Catholic Church appear to be falling into a “kind of totalitarian mentality” with regard to their treatment of Professor John Rist, one of the original 19 signatories of the Open Letter to Bishops accusing Pope Francis of heresy, who was barred from Pontifical Universities without explanation in the wake of signing the Open Letter. 

“We seem in the Church to fall into a kind of totalitarian mentality, where people are simply exercising authority without speaking with the person involved,” Burke said in an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo on the May 30 World Over show. 

Professor Rist learned May 25 that he was barred from entering all Pontifical Universities after attempting to return a car to the Augustinium, one of the Pontifical Universities in Rome where he had been working for the last 16 years. News of Rist signing the Open Letter was published April 30. Rist told LifeSiteNews in a previous interview that he had not received any prior notice about the ban. Nobody had spoken with him.

It was this news that nobody within the Church had communicated to Rist the ban that Cardinal Burke — a canon lawyer and the former head of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court of the Vatican –  commented on when he spoke about a “totalitarian mentality.” In totalitarian states, it is often the case that the normal procedures of a legal system (to include that the accused person is given a fair hearing) are not applied.

“From what I read,” Burke said, “there has been no public document of the restriction of what it is and what is the reason for the restriction”; he then added that “no one explained to Professor Rist why he was no longer permitted to leave his automobile at the Augustinium and why he was now no longer able to direct a doctoral dissertation. This should be something where he is spoken with." 

The Cardinal defended the reputation of both Professor Rist and his wife Anna as "learned" and generous people.

“Professor Rist and his wife Anna are devout Catholics. They are both very learned people who have placed their considerable learning at the service of the Church,” he said.

“To treat esteemed members of the faithful in this way I think [is] completely unacceptable,” he added.

Cardinal Burke and Professor Rist both contributed, in 2014, to the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ that aimed at convincing the Catholic Church to preserve the Church's teaching on marriage and the family whole and entire during the Synod on the Family and thus not to embrace the so-called “Kasper proposal” to allow some “remarried” divorcees access to Holy Communion.

Several Catholic scholars and journalists have already expressed their indignation over the unjust treatment of Professor Rist, among them being Father Joseph Fessio, Dr. Edward Feser, and Matthew Schmitz. 

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Father Fessio pointed out how leniently dissenters have been treated during the last decades. Rist, on the contrary, “did not deny or reject any Catholic teaching.” 

“The present situation is: a professor in a Catholic institution has freedom to reject authoritative Catholic teaching, but not to criticize the pope. Chesterton would call that topsy-turvydom. I would call it something worse.” 

Philip Lawler, journalist and book author, commented on the Rist case on Friday. While Lawler does not agree with the arguments of the Open Letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy, yet he still wonders: “But doesn’t academic freedom mean that a scholar should be allowed to profess an unpopular opinion?”

“The crude treatment of John Rist—which the professor rightly described as 'grotesque discourtesy'—highlights a disturbing trend in Rome. Call it the new ultramontanism: the aggressive attitude of the Pope’s overeager defenders, who treat criticism of the Pontiff as a far more serious offense than attacks on the Catholic faith,” Lawler added.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that the Open Letter deserves a "response" from the Vatican, even though he did not agree with the Open Letter and does not believe that the Pope is a heretic. He explained that since the authors of the letter are “renowned theologians,” it would be "important that the Holy Father makes the Congregation for the Faith issue a response, and not the Secretary of State nor any of his friendly journalists or theologians.” 

The Open Letter to Bishops, published April 30, is a lengthy document that lists seven major statements that are to be found in Amoris Laetitia and in other papal documents and that the authors deem to be heretical. The authors also list names of prelates or others who are living or teaching against the Church's moral teaching and who have been either protected or promoted by Pope Francis, thus indirectly supporting a heretical atmosphere in the Church, as if the Church's teaching may be lightly ignored. Professor Rist was one of the 19 original signatories, but, that number has now increased to 92. The signatories of this letter ask the bishops of the Catholic Church to "take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation" of a pope fostering heresy in the Catholic Church.

Professor Rist suspects that his suddenly being banned from the Pontifical Universities is due to his own signing of this Open Letter. He himself has explained the reasons why he signed this Open Letter in an interview with Vatican journalist Edward Pentin.

LifeSiteNews has launched a petition in defense of Professor Rist, asking the Augustinium to remove the ban from him and to restore his full rights as a long-standing scholar there.

Learn more about Cardinal Burke’s views and past actions by visiting FaithfulShepherds.com. Click here.

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Another study confirms porn functions like a drug, and it’s destroying teens

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By Jonathon Van Maren

June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – While a few lonely experts with obvious agendas are still attempting to defend the porn industry, the rest of society is rapidly coming to the sickening realization that the sexual social experiment of 24-7 digital toxins getting pumped directly into the minds of an entire generation is going very, very badly. Just last month, for example, a report issued in the United Kingdom described how online porn use had transformed high schools into “battlefields,” with girls expected to act like porn stars and boys using online smut as a guide for how to live life. Testimonies like this from teens were the norm:

Everything you see on social media is reinforcing the worst things about ‘lad culture’. Pictures of women like porn stars with slogans like ‘What every lad wants his girl to look like’…My friend wanted his girlfriend to dress like a porn star and do what a porn star would do. Porn is so easily accessible. You see guys watching it in the classroom on their phones [and] on the bus.

Additionally, another major study released last month, which you can read in full here, also details the devastation wreaked by online pornography across our culture, and confirms the growing consensus that porn is a public health crisis. The study, which surveyed 6,463 students (2,633 males and 3,830 females) between the ages of 18 and 26, indicated that almost 80 percent of the students had been exposed to pornography (a number that I found low). The effects of this were extraordinarily disturbing. One key finding highlighted what some of us have been warning about for some time: That porn functions like a drug, and that users will continue to escalate to harder and harder-core versions of pornography in order to feed their addiction. From the study:

Tolerance/escalation: The most common self-perceived adverse effects of pornography use included: the need for longer stimulation (12.0%) and more sexual stimuli (17.6%) to reach orgasm, and a decrease in sexual satisfaction (24.5%)……The present study also suggests that earlier exposure may be associated with potential desensitization to sexual stimuli as indicated by a need for longer stimulation and more sexual stimuli required to reach orgasm when consuming explicit material, and overall decrease in sexual satisfaction.....Various changes of pattern of pornography use occurring in the course of the exposure period were reported: switching to a novel genre of explicit material (46.0%), use of materials that do not match sexual orientation (60.9%) and need to use more extreme (violent) material (32.0%)…

Interestingly, the study also found that 10.7 percent of males and 15.5 percent females self-reported daily use and addiction, with virtually no difference between males and females in regard to addiction rates. Typically, porn addicts are slow to admit that they have a problem, so that is actually a very high rate of users willing to admit that they feel addicted to online pornography. Even among those who do not think they are addicted, the study indicated that withdrawal symptoms are common: 51 percent had attempted to quit at least one time, with 72.2 percent of those experiencing one or more symptoms of withdrawal, including loneliness, libido decrease, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, trembling, aggression, depression, erotic dreams, and attention disturbance.

Unsurprisingly, the younger people were when they were first exposed to porn, the more likely they were to suffer from negative effects, with the highest likelihood found in those first exposed at age 12 or younger (and keep in mind that the average age of first exposure to porn keeps on going lower, and now sits around age 11). The study’s authors cautiously suggested that further research may indicate long-term damage to adults from being exposed to porn at young ages. In fact, the majority of the study’s participants both stated that porn was a public health crisis with many adverse social effects and declined to support public policies restricting access. Addictions, as we know, are hard to break.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it until people truly realize it: Pornography is the number one threat to our communities, our churches, our families, and our marriages. Many Christians are steeling themselves for what might come next in the culture wars. Many communities are preparing for the external threats of secular totalitarianism. But pornography, leaking into our homes from the screens of every device that can sustain an Internet connection, is poisoning the very relationships and places that we will need if we are to survive the cultural onslaught we will be facing in the coming years.

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