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Neurologist exposes ‘brain death’ myth behind multi-billion-dollar organ transplant industry

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A respected Brazilian neurologist is seeking to blow the lid off the “brain death” myth, saying it is being perpetuated to supply an international multi-billion-dollar transplant industry. 

Doctor Cicero G. Coimbra, MD PhD, a neurologist and professor of neuroscience at the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil, has also said recovery for comatose patients is often possible, but a tightly controlled medical establishment is not giving doctors and medical students the facts they need to “do the best they can” for their patients.

LifeSite sat down with Dr. Coimbra for an in-depth interview in Rome, during a May 20-21 conference on “Brain Death”: A Medicolegal Construct: Scientific & Philosophical Evidence, sponsored by the John Paul Academy for Human Life and Family

In this interview (read full text below), Dr. Coimbra explains that the term “brain death” was coined in the 1960s, after the first successful human heart transplant “triggered a demand for transplantable vital organs to be harvested from patients” who were considered to be “hopelessly comatose” according to medical knowledge at that time. 

There was “no preliminary scientific research” on the brain-death concept before the name was used, he said. But calling these patients “dead” enabled the medical community to overcome all of the legal hurdles associated with removing vital organs from these comatose patients. 

Their main mistake, Dr. Coimbra argues, was to consider these patients “irreversibly” brain damaged. 

By the 1980s, when organ transplants were performed around the world, medical researchers experimenting on animals discovered that when blood flow to the brain is reduced from the normal range to just 20-50 percent, the brain would “fall silent” — but was neither “dead” nor “irreversibly damaged.” By the end of the 1990s, this phenomenon — called “ischemic penumbra” — was demonstrated in humans, shattering the “brain death” myth.

The brain is silent but not dead, he said.

“Why is the ‘brain death’ theory still so prevalent, and what are students in medical school being taught about this?” LifeSite asked Dr. Coimbra.

The Brazilian neurologist explained that while medical students might hear about this if “information is provided to the general public,” they will not learn it in medical school.  

“In medical schools, these concepts that I am telling you about — although they are published — are not available in medical textbooks. They are not available in medical meetings. In medical conferences you cannot find them,” he said, adding that information is being withheld to supply the organ donation industry.

If you speak to doctors one-on-one, they will often tell you they agree, Dr. Coimbra said, but “they don’t want to mess with the transplant system,” which has one of the most “well controlled systems” of information sharing in the world.   

“The transplant system is a wealthy system; it is a powerful system,” Dr. Coimbra said. “They are everywhere in the medical community. They are in medical councils and medical academies; they are everywhere … Politically, they are very powerful.”

“In the United States alone, in 2016 the transplant system involved business to the tune of approximately 25 billion dollars,” he noted. “By 2025, it is expected to reach 51 billion dollars per year.”

It is “big business,” he said.

Dr. Coimbra continued: 

The brilliant idea of the transplant system was to call what they thought to be irreversible brain damage “brain death.” Because whenever you say someone is against “brain death,” you think: “How can someone possibly be...against death? They don’t believe in death?” But “death” is just a word that was given to a “hopelessly comatose” patient — but they were “hopelessly comatose” at the end of the 60s, not now.  

“In a very large number of those patients, they have no damage at all — no brain damage at all — they just have a silent brain,” he added.  

To compound the problem, Dr. Coimbra said the standard test used for screening “brain death” — called the “apnea test” — can actually induce irreversible brain damage to an already comatose patient, by reducing the blood and oxygen to the brain for 10 minutes.  

Dr. Coimbra said he has seen firsthand that there is hope for patients who have been labeled “brain dead.” If doctors would simply replace three essential (thyroid and adrenal) hormones, “the normal circulation to the brain would be restored,” he explained. But when these hormones are not replaced, the patient progresses “into a disaster.” 

The Brazilian neurologist again noted that doctors and medical students are not taught this:

They know what is in the neurology textbook of medicine ... They know what’s there, and this is not there.  The importance of replacing thyroid hormone is not discussed in meetings related to brain injuries, and how to treat brain injuries. Not one single intensive care unit in the world replaces thyroid hormones — not a single one that I know of.

To illustrate how much the “brain death” myth has gripped the minds of the medical community, Dr. Coimbra tells the story of a 15-year old girl who began to show signs of brain activity once he administered the necessary hormones. Seeing notes of progress Dr. Coimbra had made in the girl’s medical chart, a doctor on call in the ICU that night wrote: “Once a patient is declared ‘brain dead,’ the patient is dead. It doesn’t matter if later on the patient no longer fulfills the criteria for ‘brain death.’ The patient is legally dead, because it was once diagnosed as ‘brain dead.’” 

In the end, Dr. Coimbra said it all comes down to the duty of doctors to honor their sacred oath to “do no harm” and to “do the best they can” for the health and wellbeing of their patient.

Here is our interview with Dr. Cicero Coimbra, MD, PhD, followed by a video of his talk at the recent “brain death” conference in Rome. 

*** 

Dr. Coimbra, why is “brain death” a myth?

By the end of the 1960s, the first human heart transplant performed by the surgeon Christiaan Barnard in South Africa triggered a demand for transplantable single vital organs to be harvested from those patients considered to be “hopelessly comatose.” It was the common understanding that, by using all possible techniques and knowledge available at that time, those patients could not be restored to a normal life and would rather eventually evolve to cardiac arrest within a matter of days; they would not recover consciousness. An ad hoc committee at Harvard Medical School decided to call their clinical condition “brain death,” so that they could remove vital organs maintained viable due to sustained heart beating (maintained supply of oxygenated blood) and use those organs to improve the health [of] other people — patients, for instance, who had liver failure, kidney failure, or end-stage heart failure. These people would benefit from having the organs from patients who were “hopelessly comatose.” 

Calling these patients “dead” enabled the ad hoc committee to overcome all legal problems related to removing vital organs from comatose patients that could not recover according to the concepts and medical scientific knowledge that we had available by that time, i.e. by the end of the 1960s.

In order to transplant organs, they had to be removed from someone while they are still alive, while the heart is still beating? 

Yes, they removed them from a comatose patient. But they thought it would not be possible to recover those patients, because they did not have the technology and knowledge to recover them. 

The main mistake was to consider those patients “irreversibly” brain damaged, but their brain damage was considered irreversible due to the limited knowledge that they had at that time. Later on, as time went by, new knowledge and neurological scientific achievements offered other ideas about what was really going on in these patients. For instance, by the end of the 1960s — when the concept of “brain death” was introduced into medicine — doctors believed that, when there were no signs of brain activity that could be detected by neurological examination, the only possible reason would be the absence of blood circulation in the brain. And because the absence of brain circulation would destroy the brain within minutes, they decided to call it “brain death.”  

The problem is that in the 1980s everything started changing. The practice of transplanting vital organs had already spread across the world, but already by 1984 or 1985 experiments carried out in animals — in rodents — demonstrated that when you decrease blood flow to the brain to only 50 percent of the normal range, the brain falls silent. This is because there is not enough energy to sustain what we call “synaptic activity.” Synapsis is the site where one neuron communicates with another neuron. Synaptic activity, which is the release of neurotransmission at the synaptic site, was no longer possible in these brains, because the brain blood flow was 50 percent of the normal range, and that would not provide enough energy for synaptic activity, for neurons to communicate with one another. So, the brain was silent, but the neurons would not die just because the blood flow was reduced to 50 percent.

So, the brain was silent but not dead…

Yes, silent but no neuronal death — no “brain death.” Necrosis, i.e. the process of neuronal death, is a process that takes several hours and is triggered when the blood flow is lower than 20 percent of the normal range.

This interval (approximately between 20 percent and 50 percent of the normal level of circulation) is now known as the “penumbra zone.” It was initially described in situations where there is an obstructed artery that supplies part of the brain. In the peripheral area of this so-called “ischemic” part of the brain, there was a collateral flow of blood supply between 20 and 50 percent of the normal flow, as demonstrated in animals. If you could recirculate that artery, you would save the peripheral area because it was only silent. It was not necrotic; it was not destroyed. 

It is quite clear that when you have a patient with head trauma, and the brain is swelling, at some point the arteries that supply blood to the brain start being compressed, because the brain size is increasing within the intracranial space. The intracranial space is protected by bones, and bones cannot expand to accommodate the increase in brain volume. So, if the size of the brain increases as a result of what we know as “brain edema” or “brain swelling,” then the vessels are progressively compressed, and the blood flow to the whole brain decreases proportionally to increases in intracranial pressure. At some point, you will reach the level of a 50 percent decrease as compared to normal range. At this point the whole brain is silent — not a part of it but all of it is silent — but it is still recoverable. It is not dead; it is alive. And that situation was unknown at the end of the 1960s, when the concept of “brain death” was introduced into medicine.

So, it is clear that some of those patients are actually alive. What do I mean by alive? The brain was not destroyed; it was only silent. And the transplantation system has been taking organs from patients who had brain tissue that theoretically could be recovered. That brain tissue is not destroyed. 

To me, it was quite clear by the end of the 1990s when the phenomenon of “ischemic penumbra” — a silent brain but no brain destruction — was demonstrated in humans, not only in rodents, that this situation could be called “global ischemic penumbra.” 

The problem is that one of the tests used to diagnose “brain death” — called the “apnea test” — involves switching off the respirator. You disconnect the respirator for 10 minutes. When you do that, the high level of carbon dioxide increases sharply. This in turn further increases intracranial pressure and may decrease arterial pressure. So, you increase the compression on the brain vessels and you decrease the pressure within the brain vessels during the apnea test.

What was the purpose of the apnea test? 

The aim of the apnea test is to demonstrate that the patient cannot breathe on his own. 

In any culture in the world, it would be unacceptable to say that someone who is breathing is dead. Spontaneous breathing in any culture means life. So, for instance, when a baby is born, and it never breathes, you say that it was born dead. But if the lungs expanded at least once, for legal purposes, even if the baby immediately dies, you say that the baby is alive. The question of whether the baby is alive or dead when the baby is born has considerable legal consequences. No one in any culture of the world — Indian culture or Western culture, etc. — would accept anyone to be dead if that person is capable of breathing on his own. So, the purpose of the apnea test is to demonstrate that the patient cannot breathe on his own and can be regarded as dead.

But imagine for a moment: the respirator is disconnected from the lungs for 10 minutes. In order to breathe on your own, you need your respiratory centers in your brain to be working. They control the diaphragm and the respiratory muscles in general. If you switch off the respirator, and there is no breathing for 10 minutes, they say: “Ok, you see, this is one more piece of evidence that the patient is dead, because he cannot breathe on his own.” The apnea test is considered the fundamental test to diagnose “brain death.” No medical doctor anywhere in the world would diagnose “brain death” without doing this test. So, whenever you hear that a certain patient has been diagnosed as “brain dead,” you know that the apnea test has been performed. 

Why isn’t the apnea test legitimate?

It’s not legitimate. Actually, it disrupts the most basic concepts of medicine. For instance, imagine if I prevent you from breathing for 10 minutes, what will happen? You will die.

But in this case, a respirator is helping the person to breathe.

Yes, right. The respirator is helping the person to breathe. You’re correct, no problem about that. The issue is: you are testing the vitality of the respiratory centers. But what will happen to the respiratory centers in a silent brain if you induce a test that decreases the blood flow to the respiratory centers? The respiratory centers were already silent, because they need synaptic function to work. If the blood flow is within the penumbra zone — between 20 and 50 percent — the respiratory centers cannot work, not because they are irreversibly damaged but because they are silent. You would not diagnose this as “brain death.” You will not differentiate the condition of global ischemic penumbra from irreversible brain damage by testing the respiratory function.

You can actually destroy the respiratory centers — as you can damage all parts of the brain — by further reducing the blood flow during the apnea test. Forty percent of the patients who are submitted to the apnea test have a major drop in their blood flow, in their blood pressure. Blood pressure is the pressure that is within the arteries; it’s the pressure that provides the driving force to maintain circulation in the brain. So, when you perform the apnea test, you may actually induce irreversible damage to the brain when you were only supposed to diagnose irreversible brain damage.

That would seem to go against the Hippocratic oath? You are harming the patient in order to apparently test whether a silent brain is dead.

The silent brain is not dead. You induce irreversible damage to the respiratory centers and to the whole brain just by performing the apnea test. So, as you said, they are not respecting the Hippocratic oath, because the most basic concept of medical practice is what you just said: First, “do no harm.” And the second is, “do the best you can.” So, neither of these basic concepts of the Hippocratic oath are being respected in this situation.

If this research has been done in humans as well as in rodents, why is the “brain death” theory still prevalent? And what are students in medical school being taught about this? Would they hear about this latest research?

Well they may hear about it, if you provide information to the general public as you were trying to do. But in medical schools these concepts that I am telling you about — although they are published — are not available in medical textbooks. They are not available in medical meetings. In medical conferences you cannot find them. 

Nowadays the transmission of information within the medical community in general — not only in this country or that, but worldwide — is probably, or certainly, the most well controlled system of transmitting information, because it is worth billions of dollars per year. If you put information in a textbook, it can redirect the flow of money from one sector to another. It’s the most well controlled type of transmitting information in our society that I know of.

Are you saying that, for the sake of the organ donation and organ transplant industry, the general public and medical students are not being given this information?

Yes, I have been trying to talk to the neurological community in my country and in other countries, and the reaction that we see is that some [doctors] will tell you — “Okay, I understand what you are saying, but never tell anyone that I agree with you”  — because they don’t want to mess with the transplant system. The transplant system is a wealthy system; it is a powerful system. They are everywhere in the medical community. They are in medical councils and medical academies; they are everywhere. They are very powerful. Politically, they are very powerful.

What could happen to a doctor if he tried to go against the system?

Well, maybe what happened to me. I had to fight in court to hold on to my license to work as a doctor for 19 years in Brazil. And that was a long time. So, you understand why some doctors that are aware of what is happening do not want to talk freely about that. They simply do not want to mess with powerful people. 

They even control and have an influence in the press. Sometimes it is said, “Oh that doctor is against ‘brain death.’” The brilliant idea of the transplant system was to call what they thought to be irreversible brain damage “brain death.” Because whenever you say someone is against “brain death,” you think: “How can someone possibly be against death? They don’t believe in death?” But “death” is just a word that was given to a “hopelessly comatose” patient — but they were “hopelessly comatose” at the end of the 60s, not now.  

Now you can understand that, in a very large number of those patients, they have no damage at all — no brain damage at all — they just have a silent brain. And that was confirmed in the middle of the 70s. In the mid 70s, some people from histopathology or pathologist[s] started wondering how a doctor since 1968 (when “brain death” was introduced into medicine) can say that there is necrosis of the whole brain — that there is irreversible damage of the cells in the whole brain, just by doing a neurological examination? Pathologists started wondering what is happening here. They wondered: “How can they possibly use a term like ‘necrosis,’ which is the terminology that only pathologists use when they look at the tissue under the microscope.”

So, they started checking into this. They did histological examinations in patients who were diagnosed as “brain dead” for 48 hours — so time enough for full necrosis to occur. No signs of brain activity, no evidence of blood flow for 48 hours. The whole brain should be necrotic; it’s time enough for full necrosis. When they examined those brains — I think the article was published by 1976 — they saw that about 60 percent of those brains had no signs of necrosis at all. 

People who were in favor of “brain death” had to defend themselves when these papers were published. They said, “Okay, necrosis in those cases is indicated by such tiny signs that you cannot see it in the microscope. That’s why you cannot see it, but we know it’s there. We know, because there is no possible explanation for absence of blood flow for 48 hours.” Again, when more and more evidence was available to demonstrate that what they had thought in 1968 — which was complete absence of blood flow — was not true, they tried to say something else or invent something else in order to explain it — even as a hypothesis.

You saw that in this conference [on “Brain Death”: A Medicolegal Construct: Scientific & Philosophical Evidence] — it was said several times — that when the practice of “brain death” was introduced into medicine, there were no scientific papers to support it, no scientific research. It was simply a concept: “Ok, we believe that those patients have no blood flow, because they have such a severe edema that the blood vessels are completely compressed. There’s no blood flow. There is no way that the brain could survive after a few hours under no blood flow. So, we will call it ‘brain death’ because that’s what we believe is going on.”

But as I told you, and as you heard from several speakers, there was no preliminary scientific research on the concept of “brain death” to support the concept of “brain death.”

While they claimed that the brain was “dead,” what was going on in the body? The heart is still beating…

Yes, because if it’s not beating you cannot use vital organs. If there is an arrest in circulation, you have damaged organs that you’re trying to transplant to other people. 

Dr. Coimbra, when people hear “brain death,” they think the brain is dead. But as you have explained, the brain is actually silent. When the brain is silent, what is the state of the other organs and systems in the body?

This is a very important question, because one of the parts of the brain that is possibly within the range of ischemic penumbra, between 20 percent and 50 percent of the normal levels of circulation, is the hypothalamus. 

The hypothalamus produces several hormones that control other glands in our body. And there are at least three hormones that are very important to our discussion. Because the hypothalamus is also under low levels of circulation, the production of those hormones is decreased. 

For instance, one of these hormones is the hormone that releases TSH from the pituitary gland. TSH is “thyroid stimulating hormone.” So, you have the hypothalamus producing TSH-releasing hormone. TSH-releasing hormone induces the production of TSH by the hypophysis [pituitary gland].  The hypophysis releases TSH into the circulation, and then the thyroid gland located in our neck keeps producing thyroid hormone. 

Thyroid hormones have an action in the brain. They have actions in all of our organs. One of the most important actions is to prevent fluid from leaking into the tissues. So, when you have a patient who has had a brain trauma, for instance, and that trauma has increased the volume of the brain, and now the blood vessels are compressed, the blood vessels that supply blood to the hypothalamus are also compressed. And then you get into a state that is called “Central hypothyroidism.” In this state, the thyroid gland decreases the production of thyroid hormones, because the thyroid gland is not receiving enough stimulation from the brain.

So, the lack of thyroid hormones increases brain damage and brain edema, i.e. brain swelling. This is a critical situation, which I could put this way: if you don’t replace thyroid hormone the brain tissue will die, because the brain swelling will progress, progress, and progress up to the point that the blood vessels are fully compressed, and you have no blood flow at all. Then you have irreversible damage to the brain. But when the blood supply to the brain is within the range of “ischemic penumbra” (a silent but not irreversibly damaged brain) or progressing to that situation (progressing into deeper levels of coma – with reduced, but not absent neurological signs of brain activity) you can rescue the brain, just by giving three hormones. 

One of the most important ones is the thyroid hormones. If you give the comatose patient thyroid hormones, you will prevent further leakage of liquids from the intravascular space (the space within blood vessels) into the brain tissue. The progress of brain swelling will stop and reverse, the brain vessels will no longer be compressed, you will increase the blood supply to the brain and the patient will start recovering brain functions. 

But this situation starts long before the beginning of [the] screening test for “brain death.” We have a scale to measure the level of coma. It’s called the “Glasgow Coma Scale.” A normal person who is fully awake is at level 15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. When there are no signs of brain activity, you are at level 3. When you reach level 3, you start screening the patient for the diagnosis of “brain death.” 

But when the Glasgow Coma Scale is far away from 3 — when it is around 8 or 7 — most if not all patients have low circulating levels of thyroid hormone. By that point the brain edema is now turned into the so-called “brain myxedema,” because the edema is now caused by a lack of enough amounts of thyroid hormones. Therefore, if you start replacing thyroid hormones when a patient of a traumatic brain injury is at the Glasgow levels of 8 or 7 — the patient’s neurological state can improve and even all neurological functions can be normalized. And this is an obligation, this is not something that you say, “Okay, I will leave it like that.” No, you see that something is wrong, and you can save the life of a patient. Hypothyroidism is a lethal disorder; if you don’t treat it patients will die. 

It goes back to what you said about the Hippocratic oath. The most basic part is “do not harm” to your patients. But the second part is “do the best you can” to save the life of your patients, to improve their health, to improve the wellbeing of your patient.

So “do your best” and now you’re not following the second aspect of the Hippocratic oath. You should replace thyroid hormones in order to prevent so-called “brain death.” 

And is this generally done? Are these three hormones generally given?

No, it’s not done anywhere.

Why not?

This is a question that the medical community should answer. Why are they not following the second principle of the Hippocratic oath in this situation? It’s been published since the 80s.

So they know … it’s not as though the doctors who are dealing with these patients don’t understand what happens to the thyroid …

When you say they “know,” I have to say that it’s published, but I would not say that the doctors “know” because they don’t know everything that is published. They know what is in the neurology textbook of medicine, like the neurology textbook. They know what’s there, and this is not there.  The importance of replacing thyroid hormone is not discussed in meetings related to brain injuries, and how to treat brain injuries. Not one single intensive care unit in the world replaces thyroid hormones — not a single one that I know of. Because, you know, if you would replace thyroid hormones when the Glasgow Coma Scale is at 7 or 8, probably almost no patient would progress into so-called “brain death.” So, it’s not done — it’s simply not done.

What happens to the brain when these thyroid hormones are not given to the patient?

As the brain swells because thyroid hormones are not replaced, the hypothalamus stops or decreases the production of other hormones that are very important for the survival of the comatose patient. 

One of the most important ones is the so-called ACTH. ACTH is a hormone that is produced under the stimulation of the hypothalamus. It is produced by the hypophysis [pituitary gland], and it stimulates the adrenal glands to produce hormones that keep your blood pressure within the normal range. 

If you can compose the whole situation in your mind: you have a decreased level of thyroid hormones — that’s why the brain is swelling, that’s why the blood flow is decreased: because blood vessels are being compressed in the intracranial space. The patient is evolving to the so-called...“brain death.” And now, the pressure within the vessels that is necessary to supply blood flow to the brain is also decreasing, because the adrenal glands are not providing enough amounts of what we call “mineralocorticoids” to stabilize the blood pressure. So, the blood pressure within the vessel is going down — the pressure which is necessary to supply blood flow to the brain.

So, you have these two circumstances that co-operate to damage the brain: you have increased intracranial pressure because of lack of thyroid hormones, and you have decreased blood pressure because of low levels of adrenal hormones. And again, because those adrenal hormones are not replaced, the patient – the whole organism — is progressing into a disaster.

You said that three hormones should be given. What is the third? 

There is a third hormone that should be given to those patients and it’s also produced by the hypothalamus and the hypophysis. It is called ADH, which stands for “antidiuretic hormone.” It prevents your kidneys from releasing large amounts of fluid that would further decrease the volume within your vessels. The further decrease in pressure within the blood vessels comes from the fact that you don’t have enough volume within your circulatory system to sustain circulation. 

This third hormone is the only one that is sometimes given to those patients, because it’s impossible not to identify this situation. If you want to identify the situation when thyroid hormones are low, you have to measure them. If you want to identify a situation where adrenal gland hormones are low, you have to measure them. But you know whether the patient is producing low levels of ADH, you know it because he (she) is eliminating a lot of urine — 6 liters, 8 liters, or even 10 liters of urine every day. 

The lack of these three hormones will lead the organism into a disaster. And they are not replaced. Because what should be done is not being done, this patient will die within a few days. Nearly these patients will die within a few days due to cardiac arrest. But that’s because you are not considering part of the second Hippocratic oath, which is: you should do the best you can to save the life of your patient. You’re not replacing thyroid hormones; you’re not replacing adrenal hormones; you’re sometimes not replacing ADH, so those patients will die in a few days. 

How do those who support “brain death” defend this?

Believe it or not, people who are in favor of “brain death” say it doesn’t matter what you do. The say that, even with the most aggressive intensive care treatment, these patients will die within a few days, so it’s a good idea to take their organs to save the lives of other people. But, actually, those patients have not been treated as they should. The most basic treatment, that is, replacing of all these three hormones, is not done, so the patient will die. 

Hypothyroidism is known by the medical community to be a lethal disorder if it’s left untreated. Adrenal failure, which I just described, is also known to be a lethal disorder if it’s left untreated. And the same is true for diabetes insipidus, which is due to the lack of ADH. So, you have three lethal disorders in the same patient, and you don’t treat them. Instead, you say: “Those patients will die even if you give them the most aggressive intensive care treatment.” It’s not true. You don’t know what’s happening. You don’t know the pathophysiology of what is happening with this patient. 

Medical doctors are not taught to give thyroid hormones or adrenal hormones; sometimes they are not even taught to give ADH. Doctors sometimes say this is happening “because the brain is dying.” But, actually, the brain is dying because they not replacing those thyroid hormones. If doctors would replace these three types of hormones, the normal circulation to the brain would be restored and the hypothalamus will restart producing normal amounts of all those hormones.

Have you treated patients who have recovered from severe brain trauma through the use of these hormones?

Yes, I treated a 39-year-old woman who was declared “brain dead”... It was a surgical accident that caused the damage to the brain, and I started the replacement of these hormones four days after the event. I have to tell you that it should have started beforehand, not four days later. But she was already diagnosed as “brain dead” and the family had been told. So, we started replacing the thyroid hormones at day four. Eight days after the beginning of the replacement of thyroid hormones and the other hormones, the patient started to breathe on her own. Therefore, the patient could no longer be recognized as someone who is dead, because she was breathing. As I said before, the ability to breathe on one’s own is a sign of life in any culture of the world, so that patient was alive.

One month later, she was able to communicate with her parents. Because she had a tracheostomy she had to communicate by lip reading. She would only move her lips, because there wasn’t sufficient air to vibrate the vocal cords. There was no sound, but she could communicate by lip reading and that continued for two or three months. 

Unfortunately, she died because she was in bed too long and she had clot formations within the veins of her legs and the clots moved to her lungs. She died because of pulmonary embolism.

But she was able to communicate with her parents before she died.

Yes, for two or three months she could communicate with them…

Which is all the difference for the family…the fact that the parents were able to communicate with their daughter.

Her brain was functional. Of course, she had some severe neurological problems related to movement. Her movements were severely restricted. But we did not know what would have happened in the next few months, if she would start moving her arms and legs or not. Unfortunately, she had this clinical complication and died because of that. 

Since you asked, it is important to say that, before this lady, I treated a 15-year-old girl. I started the treatment one month after the accident. She had already been submitted to three apnea tests. She breathed in the first and the second, but not in the third. They were done on consecutive days, so each of the tests were an additional aggression to the patient, to the brain circulation, and finally she could not resist the third. She was in a deep coma with no respiratory reflexes. 

That patient was not in the same city where I worked, and the family moved from another state in Brazil to the state of São Paulo. I started the replacement of the thyroid hormones too late, but at some point, about two weeks later, under thyroid hormone replacement and the replacement of other hormones, that patient was having seizures, convulsions, on the right side.

But a person who is “brain dead” doesn’t have brain seizures, do they?

No, a dead brain cannot have a seizure. That’s what I wrote on the patient’s chart. 

The doctor on call that night in the ICU was someone involved in a transplant system. And he wrote something [in the chart] like: “once a patient is declared ‘brain dead,’ the patient is dead. It doesn’t matter if later on the patient no longer fulfills the criteria for ‘brain death.’ The patient is legally dead, because it was once diagnosed as ‘brain dead.’” 

I can prove this. I have a copy of the patient’s chart. So, you see the conflict of interest here. In the United States alone, in 2016 the transplant system involved business to the tune of approximately 25 billion dollars. By 2025, it is expected to reach 51 billion dollars per year. 

On the internet, you can find announcements suggesting that you should buy shares from those pharmaceutical companies, because they will be increasing profits and you can earn a lot of money by buying their shares. So, this is big, big business. You can see how powerful these people are.

Imagine that you knew a very well-known, prestigious transplant surgeon, who has been performing vital organ transplants for 30 years. He is very skillful surgeon, possibly world-renowned. And then you come to him and say that “brain death” is not death anymore, because now we know much more than we knew in 1968, when brain that was introduced into medicine. 

Imagine that you tell him he should stop doing vital organ transplants. He has been doing them for 30 years, and he is very skillful, perhaps a world-renowned doctor. Do suppose that he will accept that peacefully? It’s difficult. After 30 years, all the prestige that has accumulated and then you tell him he should look for another way of making money — another specialty because transplants are no longer possible.

It seems it goes back to the Hippocratic oath. A doctor makes a vow when he becomes doctor. It is a sacred vow.  

Yes, definitely.

***

See below the complete 41-minute talk by Dr. Coimbra given May 20, 2019 at the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family Conference in Rome.

***

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Costa Rica wants to force Catholic priests into violating seal of confession

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By Martin Barillas

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica has called on the Central American nation to “discuss as a society” possible legislative action to force Catholic priests to tell authorities when they hear confessions of child abuse and pedophilia.

Proposed by Deputy Enrique Sanchez, a member of the president’s left-of-center Citizen Action Party, the bill would amend Article 206 of Costa Rica’s criminal code and require clergy and others who have contact with young people to report allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Priests who fail to report what they heard in confession about child sex abuse would be subject to fines, the bill stipulates.

According to local media, President Alvarado said, “As a nation, we have seen the issue of violence, which is sexual in this case against children, is a problem that concerns us on the basis of evidence, and is something important to learn.”

The bill is being considered by Costa Rica’s national congress. In May, Alvarado signed a bill that extended the statute of limitations from 10 to 25 years for crimes against minors.

Currently, Costa Rican law notes that only teachers and health care professional are mandated reporters of child sex abuse.

“We are expanding the requirement so that it is not only education and health centers but also places where children gather, ranging from sports, cultural and religious organizations,” Sanchez told local media. “Therefore, it would include responsible persons, for example, in the churches, in being obliged to report to the Public Ministry when they hear of a case or suspect abuse.”

Sanchez claimed that the obligation to inform authorities about suspected cases of child abuse is not limited to what is heard in confession but includes what mandated reporters hear outside the confessional. He said his bill is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, which asserts that the rights of minors supersede attorney-client privilege, and that child rights rise above religious doctrine, including the seal of confession recognized by the Catholic Church.

Sanchez said a priest, for example, would be required to report not only cases of sexual abuse, but also negligence and physical abuse. He added that he was inspired by a bill now being considered by the California legislature, which would require priests to report to police the sins they hear in confession.

Sanchez explained that under current law, clergy, some public officials, attorneys and other professionals can abstain from giving court testimony even when they have privileged knowledge about the abuse of minors.

In the text of the proposed law, it states that “ministers of religion enjoy an absolute protection under the so-called ‘secret of confession,’ while the aforementioned professionals and public officials have only protection related to the so-called ‘professional secret’ or ‘state secret,’ respectively.” It goes on to claim that it is “inexplicable” why a member of the clergy can abstain from giving testimony even when the interested party has allowed the airing of what was heard in confession.

While acknowledging that his proposal may irritate members of the Catholic Church, Sanchez said, “In accordance with Pope Francis’ mandate that called on national institutions to put into place all necessary measures to prevent impunity in these cases, I believe that the Church will have to rethink that the interests of the child come before any dogma that exists within the Church.”

Archbishop Jose Rafael Quiros of San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, said, “The seal of confession must not be violated; what is said in confession must not be revealed.”

His statement echoes the Code of Canon Law in the Catholic Church, which notes that “The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.” Catholic clergy who intentionally violate the secret face automatic excommunication.

A spokesman for the bishops’ conference of Costa Rica said the bill endangers religious liberty but does nothing in the cause of justice.

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Renowned US Catholic hymnist composes song to celebrate pro-homosexual ‘Pride month’

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

June 12, 2019 update: Haas responded to LifeSiteNews' request for comment after publication. His response is now included in this report. 

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A famous American Catholic hymnist whose songs are sung in churches across the continent every Sunday has composed a chant to celebrate homosexuality.

David Haas, 62, is known by Catholics throughout the English-speaking world for such hymns as “Blessed are They,” “You Are Mine,” and “Servant Song.” Jesuit-run America Magazine has called Haas “one of the most prolific and significant liturgical composers of the post-Vatican II English-speaking church.”

On Monday, June 3, Haas announced on social media that he had written a refrain to celebrate “Pride Month.” His post included an image with rainbow colors with the word “pride” written across in bold white letters. 

In a now-deleted post on Facebook that was captured by LifeSiteNews, the composer wrote: “For Pride Month, last night I composed a Taize’-like (ostinato) refrain, based on Psalm 139, 13-14.”

Haas provided the text and permission to use his composition for the duration of “Pride.” His  lyrics conclude with the sentiments, “You have created every part of me; you’ve made me wonderful, you’ve made me wonderful.” 

“If you want a ‘rough copy’ of the score to use - and you can use it with my permission this month - if printing, please agree to include the copyright info below - send me a PM here on FB, with your email address, and I will get it to you in the next couple of days,” he added. 

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, musician and author of several books on the liturgy, told LifeSiteNews via email that Haas’s text was “scurrilous and blasphemous.”

“Scurrilous, because people will take ‘every part of me’ in predictably vulgar directions,” Kwasniewski explained. 

“Blasphemous, because it attributes to God deviations and distortions that are not His work, but the result of sin, collective and personal,” he continued. 

The liturgist said also that Catholics should cease to use Haas’s music because of his public support of the LGBT agenda, if not for reasons of taste.  

“What's obvious is that David Haas, long-time composer of substandard ditties for contemporary Catholic worship in its phase of perpetual envy of mainstream Protestantism, has in this way publicly signified his support of the LGBT agenda, which ― in the absence of good taste ― ought to be enough for all right-thinking Catholics to jettison any piece of music that bears his name,” Kwasniewski said. 

Haas told LifeSiteNews that the psalm response he composed "has nothing to do with the issue of same-sex marriage."  

“The piece was simply a gift to many colleagues that I have in ministry ― both Catholic and Protestant ― and yes, also clergy as well as lay people ― who minister to folks in the LGBTQ Community, and to many of my sisters and brothers who are part of the LGBTQ community as they celebrate Pride Month. If you read the FB post correctly, that was clear.”

“God loves all people, without distinction,” he said, adding: “This I believe passionately.” 

Haas’ Facebook message received a mixed response before it was removed. Haas subsequently published two posts by LGBT activist Fr. James Martin, S.J., one offering a prayer “for those who feel rejected” and another the latest encouraging Catholics not to “be wary of June’s ‘Pride Month’ events.”

Martin continued: “It’s one way for LGBT people to be proud that they are beloved children of God, that they have families and friends who love them as they are, and that they have the right to be treated with ‘respect, compassion and sensitivity,’ as the Catechism asks, especially after years of persecution. And, for many of them, years of coming to accept themselves as God created them.” The priest acknowledged that “not every Pride Month event or celebration will be to everyone's liking or taste, but the underlying point--LGBT people should be proud of who they are, after centuries of persecution and violence--is an important one.” 

Haas’s tune celebrating “Pride Month,” like Martin’s assurances that its “events” are nothing to be wary of, is in sharp contrast to Bishop Thomas Tobin’s reminder to Catholics that they should “not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events.” 

Tobin observed that “Pride” events “promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals” and “are especially harmful for children. For years LifeSiteNews has documented acts of public indecency and obscenity that occur at “Pride” parades, some of which clearly have been witnessed by children. The open use of recreational drugs is also a traditional feature of such celebrations. 

The doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, while underscoring that men and women with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” must be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” declares that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” The Church teaches that such acts are  “contrary to the natural law,” “close the sexual act to the gift of life,” and “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.”

“Under no circumstances can they be approved,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 

Despite popular confusion on the point, the Church does not say that people who struggle with same-sex attraction are themselves disordered, but that their inclination is “objectively disordered”. The Church calls such people to chastity and encourages them to “gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” 

An international apostolate for people with same-sex attractions who wish to remain chaste was founded by a Catholic priest named Fr. John Harvey in 1980. Courage International, which is often under fire from LGBT activists, is approved by the Catholic Church.   

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Pope’s new teaching on death penalty appears in revised theological commentary on catechism

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Vatican City, June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The revised edition of the 1993 Theological Commentary on the Catechism of the Catholic Church will contain Pope Francis’ new doctrine on the death penalty.

Although in recent decades Catholic popes have encouraged civil authorities not to use the death penalty, they did not label it intrinsically evil until 2017 when Pope Francis declared capital punishment to be “contrary to the Gospel.”

In an interview with America magazine, the editor of the revised edition, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, said that Pope Francis’ “intervention” should be seen as an example of the “dynamic nature” of tradition.  

“What is often lost sight of in discussions of this matter is the fact that Apostolic Tradition, or ‘Sacred Tradition’ in the language of Vatican II, is first and foremost living,” Fisichella said.

The editor appeared to take aim at theological conservatives by adding: “Sometimes we are guilty of giving the impression that tradition is an exercise akin to an athletics relay in which the aim is to pass the gold baton of the faith onto the next runner just exactly as it was received. But this conception risks reducing tradition to a fly in amber and ends up negating its very origin and purpose.”

The archbishop said that tradition “has its origin in the Gospel which the living Christ ordered the Apostles to preach and to hand on to their successors, the bishops.”

“It is precisely tradition which allows the Church to confront new situations and evaluate them in the light of the Gospel,” he continued. “To deny this dynamic nature of tradition is tantamount to denying the contemporaneity of the Christian faith.”

Fisichella also said, however, that “each new generation of Christians” is not authorized to change the faith at whim, for “such a vision...would have no basis in the historical development of our faith.”

He believes that “the question of the death penalty and Pope Francis’s intervention must be understood within this dynamic conception of tradition.”

‘Not a true development of doctrine but a reversal or corruption of doctrine’

Professor Edward Feser, author of By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of the Death Penalty, told LifeSiteNews by email that Fischella had sidestepped the question concerning the novelty of Francis’s teaching.

“With all due respect to the archbishop, it seems to me that he has not really answered the question put to him,” Feser wrote.  

“What Catholics who are concerned about the revision to the Catechism want to know, specifically, is whether the revision is meant to teach that capital punishment is always and intrinsically evil, and not just ill-advised under current circumstances,” he explained.

Feser asserted that if this is Pope Francis’ teaching, then it contradicts, not develops, doctrine.

“If that is indeed what is being taught, then that would be a direct contradiction of scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and all previous popes, and thus would not be a true development of doctrine but a reversal or corruption of doctrine,” he said.  

Calling something a ‘development’ doesn't make it a development, otherwise the Church could reverse any teaching at all – concerning the Trinity, the Resurrection, you name it – and simply label it a ‘development’ reflecting a ‘dynamic tradition’ etc.,” he continued.  

“The great Catholic theorists of the development of doctrine, such as St. Vincent of Lerins and Blessed John Henry Newman, are always very clear that a genuine development can never contradict past teaching.”

Feser said that if the pope and the revision to the Catechism do not mean to teach that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, then there would be no contradiction.  

“But then, why do they not just come out and explicitly say that?” he asked.  

“Why doesn't the archbishop say that? It would be extremely easy. You simply say[,] ‘Capital punishment is not intrinsically evil, but at the present time it is best not to use it, for such-and-such reasons.’ That would leave no doubt that there is no rupture with traditional teaching, and would put to rest concerns, among some of the ordinary Catholics that the archbishop was asked about, about a pseudo-’development,’” he continued.

Feser recalled the warning of Pope St. Pius X regarding the changing of doctrine to fit the times.

“It would also be good to know how the archbishop would relate his remarks about tradition not being ‘a fly in amber’ etc. to Pope St. Pius X's stern warning in Pascendi that the Church's dogmas, and the meaning traditionally attached to them, should never be altered in the name of ‘progress’ or ‘development’ or ‘on plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of the truth,’” he said.

Feser explained that St. Pius X had asserted “that, on the contrary, the Church must always rigidly preserve ‘the same dogma, the same sense, the same acceptation.’”

“The archbishop surely must agree with Pius X about this, in which case, the ordinary Catholics he was asked about would like to know how his remarks relate to Pius’s teaching," the philosopher concluded.

In his America interview, Fisichella said that Pope Francis was “very supportive” of the revised theological commentary and wrote the preface himself. The pontiff had purposely chosen the 25th anniversary of the 1993 Catechism to announce his desire to revise the catechetical teaching on capital punishment found in Paragraph 2267.

According to the Jesuit magazine, in 2010 Fisichella became the first president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. He has served as president of the International Council for Catechesis since 2013. His other qualifications including having taught theology at the Gregorian University for 20 years and having served as an auxiliary bishop of Rome.

However, Fisichella’s move to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization followed a short (2008 to 2010) and controversial stint as the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life. As president of the Academy, Fisichella critiqued the Brazilian bishop who excommunicated the abortionists and everyone else who encouraged the abortion of twins begotten on a minor child.

In America, Fisichella emphasized that the Theological Commentary is not itself a work of Magisterium and that each of the 42 commentators “takes personal responsibility for his or her own contribution.” The commentators included such left-wing luminaries as Cardinal Schönborn, whose commitment to women’s ordination, blessings for same-sex couples, and other innovations are well documented.

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President of US Conference of Catholic Bishops accused of coverup in new sex abuse case

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, is being accused of covering up a sexual abuse case in his Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston involving the archbishop’s right-hand man.

Laura Pontikes, 55, told the Associated Press (AP) that she went to Cardinal DiNardo in 2016 to report to him that the archdiocese’s Vicar General, Msgr. Frank Rossi, had seduced her into a sexual relationship after she went to him for spiritual counseling during a period of psychological vulnerability. Such acts are criminal under Texas law, which prohibits clergy from having sexual relationships with those to whom they are providing counseling services, and the AP reports that Rossi is under investigation by Houston police.

Pontikes says that DiNardo thanked her and called her a “victim” of Rossi, and promised that he “would never be a pastor or counsel women” again, in the words of the AP. However, Pontikes discovered only months later that Rossi had been made a pastor of a parish in nearby Beaumont, where he was offering marriage counseling. Pontikes’ husband told the AP that when he confronted DiNardo about the reassignment of Rossi, “the cardinal warned that the archdiocese would respond aggressively to any legal challenge — and that the fallout would hurt their family and business,” in the words of the AP.

The Bishop of Beaumont, Curtis L. Guillory, issued a press release stating that Rossi had been removed from his position as pastor, and claiming that “Msgr. Rossi came to our diocese from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston as a priest in good standing,” but admitting that he had known that his transfer had followed his participation in “a renewal program for clergy and religious in order to ensure he possessed the necessary tools to live a holy priestly life.” Guillory added that “the renewal center staff recommended Msgr. Rossi’s return to active priestly ministry without restrictions.”

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston issued a vague but strongly-worded “rejection” of the AP article, claiming it was “biased,” and accusing the Pontikeses of seeking a big payout from the archdiocese. However, it did not address most of the accusations made against Rossi, nor did it deny that Rossi had been made a pastor despite promises to the contrary.

“The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston categorically rejects the unprofessional, biased and one-sided reporting contained in today’s Associated Press story headlined ‘The Reckoning,’” stated the archdiocese. “At each step in this matter, Cardinal DiNardo has reacted swiftly and justly — and has always kept the welfare of the Pontikeses in mind. A number of the quotes attributed to the Cardinal are an absolute fabrication.”

“On August 1, 2017, Laura Pontikes, accompanied by her psychologist, met with a representative of the Archdiocese and Laura made, among other requests, a demand for a $10 million payment,” the archdiocese added. “Monsignor Rossi completed his rehabilitation process and was recommended to be returned to active ministry by the professionals who assessed him. Cardinal DiNardo, at the request of the Pontikeses, agreed not to reassign Monsignor Rossi in any capacity in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. He communicated this decision to the Pontikeses and Mr. Pontikes expressed his gratitude for that decision. The Archdiocese will continue cooperating with the authorities looking into this matter.”

Third accusation of sex abuse coverup by DiNardo in less than a year

The accusation of a sex abuse coverup is the third in less than a year for Cardinal DiNardo. In September of 2018, the AP reported that DiNardo had been accused of covering up by two alleged victims of Fr. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, a priest under investigation for sex abuse of minors. One alleged victim told the AP that DiNardo and other top clergy assured her the priest would never have access to children again, but he continued as pastor of a parish and even functioned as Episcopal Vicar for Hispanics for the whole archdiocese. Another alleged victim said that DiNardo was dismissive of his complaint against the priest.

As a result of the allegations against Fr. La Rosa-Lopez, police have raided archdiocesan offices multiple times since late 2018 to obtain records on the priest, and even seized Cardinal DiNardo’s personal computer. In one case, the police in Conroe, Texas had to pick the lock of a vault to find relevant records that the archdiocese had not delivered to the authorities, despite a court-issued subpoena requiring the transfer of the records. New tips have led to investigations against other priests of the archdiocese.

Following revelations of the accusations against La Rosa-Lopez and DiNardo himself, Cardinal DiNardo and other Texas bishops published a list of “credibly accused” clergy that some alleged was incomplete, and DiNardo issued a statement of “apology” that simultaneously defended his handling of such cases and admitted no guilt. “We can and must do better,” wrote DiNardo.

As president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, DiNardo has presided over the process of formulating new procedures to deal with clerical sex abuse in the wake of revelations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick preyed sexually on seminarians and was allowed to continue carrying out public roles even after he had been disciplined by Pope Benedict XVI. In just under a week DiNardo will be leading a meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to approve the new procedures.

Rossi took millions in donations from husband he was cuckolding, AP reports

The AP says that it has obtained emails and other documents that show that Rossi’s relationship with Pontikes had continued for years, even as Rossi counseled Pontike’s husband on his marital problems, and hit the wealthy couple up for donations for his parish, which ultimately amounted to $2 million. The emails purportedly show Rossi grooming Pontikes for the affair and claiming that their relationship has legitimate spiritual purposes, calling his caresses “holy touches.” Pontikes later recounted in a video interview with AP that he said that their illicit relationship was “of God,” and “let’s give it to God and see what he does with it.”

Rossi also allegedly heard Pontike’s confession regarding sexual acts they committed together, which, if true, would result in the automatic excommunication of Rossi in accordance with the Code of Canon Law, a penalty that could only be lifted by Pope Francis himself (canons 977, and 1378).

The archdiocese denies that Rossi heard any confessions by Pontikes, but the AP states that emails between the two suggest otherwise. The archdiocese also told the AP that the relationship was sexual but did not involve sexual intercourse, and that Pontikes continued to send “hundreds of unsolicited messages” to Rossi after he ended the physical relationship.

Pontikes told the AP that Rossi had little fear of suffering the consequences of his actions, because as the archdiocesan point man in many abuse cases, he believed his knowledge of compromising information made him untouchable. “I know where all the bones are buried,” he was quoted as saying.  

When Pontikes discovered that Rossi had been made a pastor of another parish, rather than being placed in a ministry away from women, she decided to go public with her story. “They’re not going to play with my life like this,” Pontikes told the AP. “They just can’t get away with it...Somebody had better stand up and tell the damned truth.”

Email the author at [email protected].

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

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Technology is destroying our social fabric: The Van Maren Show

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) - Ten years ago Mark Bauerlein warned against the dangers of technology in his book,The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30). The thesis of his work was the rise of technology and the elimination of reading books has made our culture stupid.

Bauerlein is currently an English professor at Emory University and the senior editor of First Things, a conservative, religious academic journal. In this episode of The Van Maren Show, Van Maren and Bauerlein discuss The Dumbest Generation, the worsening effects of technology and the deterioration of society it is causing.

 

One of the biggest issues Van Maren and Bauerlein speak about is the extension of adolescence supported by technology. With the advent of technology, personal devices, and headphones allows adolescents to stay submerged in their own universes, removing youth from adult discourse and responsibilities. Instead of adults teaching teenagers how to be adults, young people are learning more from each other. This is allowing for the adolescent mentality last into people’s 20s and 30s.

In addition, the loss of a common language and an increase in illiteracy are creating greater divides in our culture. The decrease in reading has removed the common literary culture that used to be universal and unifying. We see the perpetuation of adolescence and the impact of the loss of a literary culture as especially detrimental to men. Women are getting higher grades and more advanced degrees than men at an alarming rate. The impact of technology and the loss of truth and meaning that it brings is on track to spell disaster.

The fundamental social fabric is being changed by the shift in the adult male mentality, from one of growing up and being responsible in order to provide for his wife and kids, to one of distance and instant gratification through easy access to video games, which replace the need to make real life accomplishments, and Internet pornography.

There are, however, some glimmers of hope in the youth cultures engagement with sources of truth and meaning. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to find these resources, but when our youth find them, they flock to them. A great example of this is Jordan Peterson and the popularity of lengthy podcasts, and sometimes 3-hour lectures.

Listen now to hear more about the ills of technology and how we can change the tide.

You can get Dr. Bauerlein’s book, The Dumbest Generation, here. You can also sign up for a subscription to The First Things, here.

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.

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

To receive weekly emails when a new episode is uploaded, click here.

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Bishop defends brother bishop attacked for telling Catholics to not ‘support, attend’ LGBT events

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By Lisa Bourne
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Bishop Thomas Tobin

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

June 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A US bishop is defending his brother bishop who is under assault from LGBT activists and mainstream media after he told Catholics that they should have nothing to do with homosexual "pride" events. 

Tyler, Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland defended Catholic principles and Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin on Twitter over the weekend after Tobin’s exhortation for Catholics to eschew homosexual "pride" events. Strickland was responding to the Boston Globe’s story on Tobin’s June 1 tweet on Catholics and gay pride events during June, in which Tobin told Catholics they should "not support or attend" the LGBT events because they "promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

Amid intense backlash against Tobin for his statement in defense of Catholic principles, the Globe’s report on the matter had adjudicated Tobin’s tweet via its headline as “homophobic.”

Strickland, shared the Globe story on Twitter, promulgating Catholic teaching, as did Tobin, and also disputed the notion it was “homophobic.”

“Please stop labeling bishops who speak the truth of the Gospel as homophobic,” he tweeted. “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.”

Strickland’s tweet received some 22,000 comments along with some 3,700 retweets and more than 12,000 likes. Tobin had netted 93,000 comments, 7,000 retweets and approximately 27,000 likes on his tweet by press time.

Both bishops were the targets of intense LGBT vitriol and anti-Catholic vitriol from those commenting on their tweets.

Strickland, who has been vocal in recent months in defense of Catholic teaching, had expressed support for Tobin on Twitter the day after Tobin’s tweet, sharing the tweet on June 2, and saying, “Thanks for speaking up Bishop Tobin....let us be mighty loving messengers of truth and light in Jesus Christ.”

That tweet from Strickland had a less intense a response, with 200-plus comments, 470-plus retweets, and 2,600 likes.

Pride events, particularly parades, are known for their lewd dress and vulgar behavior. They ultimately exist to celebrate lifestyles and acts that are contrary to Christianity and other major world religions. Children are frequently present at the events, and therefore exposed to the morally offensive displays.

The Church Catholic teaches that sexual relations are reserved for marriage, which is between a man and woman (CCC-2360). Church teaching also states that homosexual tendencies are objectively disordered, and that individuals who experience them “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC-2358). The Church also teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and they “are intrinsically disordered," and further that “under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC-2357). And the Church states teaches that, “homosexual persons are called to chastity” (CCC-2359), which is also what its teaching says about all people. 

The two bishops are not alone in warning against the danger of "gay pride" demonstrations while also drawing the ire of LGBT activists. When a gay pride parade was planned for Rome during the Church’s Jubilee Year of 2000, the late Pope Saint John Paul II neither equivocated nor placated about the implications, saying it was an “offense” to Christian values.

''In the name of the Church of Rome I can only express my deep sadness at the affront to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and the offence to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics throughout the world,'' he told pilgrims in a Sunday message one day after thousands had marched in a gay pride parade in Rome.

''Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law,'' John Paul II said in an address given from a balcony over St. Peter's Square July 9, 2000. ''The Church cannot be silent about the truth,” the pontiff stated, “because she would fail in her fidelity to God the Creator and would not help to distinguish good from evil.''

A New York Post article at the time called the pope “angry,” and cited an Italian gay activist who’d claimed John Paul II’s remarks to be “homophobia and anti-gay prejudice fed by the Vatican hierarchy.”

Last year Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, issued a statement on the correct catholic response to gay pride events. It said in part:

A Catholic bishop has the grave moral duty to raise his voice and take a stand regarding the phenomenon of ‘gay pride’ parades. There is a systematic spread of ‘gay pride’ parades throughout the entire Western world. Furthermore, one can also see a growing support for the ‘gay pride’ phenomenon among representatives of the Catholic clergy. At the same time, there is a widespread situation of silence, passivity and fear among those in the Church who should unambiguously address this situation and protect the life of the Church from the infiltration of the poison of the ideology of homosexuality and gender, and proclaim the truth of God’s creation and of His holy commandments.

After the initial backlash to Tobin’s tweet and as LGBT activists planned a protest at his chancery Sunday in Providence, Tobin released a statement expressing regret that his comments had caused controversy, affirming love and respect for "individuals with same-sex attraction" on his part and that of the Catholic Church, and also affirming that his job as a bishop is to uphold Catholic principles. 

“Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters,” he said. “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,” said Tobin. “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,” he added. “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.”

Other voices of support for Tobin

Strickland stood out among bishops in voicing his support of Tobin, but wasn’t alone among Catholics in doing so.  

“The Apostles were not silenced by the sin of Judas, tweeted Father Heilman, priest for the Madison, WI, diocese and author of RomanCatholicMan.com. “All but one gave their lives for the sake of the Truth of Jesus Christ,” Heilman said, sharing Tobin’s tweet. “His Excellency, Bishop Thomas Tobin has the courageous heart of the first Bishops. I stand with you, Your Excellency!”

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights issued a statement in support of Tobin.

“Bishop Tobin was right to call attention to the gay culture and what Pride Month entails,” it said in part. “While many of the events are without controversy, some are obnoxious. There are pictures from the 2017 Providence Pride Month that are disgusting.” The League later tweeted, “While there are many opinions, there is only one truth. And it is one that Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin accurately enunciated on June 1.” 

The Women of Grace apostolate tweeted a post, with a headline stating that the bishop was “Under Fire for Being a Good Shepherd.”

“Support Bishop Thomas Tobin,” The Wanderer Catholic newspaper tweeted, sharing its report on Tobin’s tweet.

“Bishop Thomas Tobin is being viciously attacked for advising his flock avoid LGBTQ Pride events,” the Complicit Clergy website tweeted, “please #STANDwithThomasTobin by posting your comments of support at http://bit.ly/TobinTweet.” 

In a Crisis Magazine column addressing the reaction to the Tobin tweet, Thomas More College Professor Anthony Esolen remarked how no one in living memory would have previously considered Tobin’s message controversial. He also articulated the nature of pride events effectively.

“Inevitably there will be some men marching in jockstraps, simulating sodomy, and barely clad women bidding defiance to “the patriarchy,” which they thereby imply is coextensive with ordinary human nature,” Esolen wrote. 

Of course children should not go to a Pride parade,” he said, “just as they should not be looking at pornography, or being made to think about what grownups do in bed. What do you call somebody who wants to tell other people’s children about those things?”

Esolen also pointed out that the very act being condemned in the reaction to Tobin, which has also been thrown at Strickland, is the very same act being celebrated in pride parades.

A petition lauched by LifeSiteNews in support of Bishop Tobin has been signed by over 18,500. 

"Your Excellency," the petition states, "Thank you for speaking out against 'pride' events! We appreciate your clear guidance in this area for Christians and Catholics." 

"We appreciate you, as a religious leader, speaking out against ‘Pride’ month, and defending Christian Catholic teaching. Thank you, especially, for reminding all Christians that these events promote a 'culture' and activities which are against Christ’s teaching, and against the morals of anyone trying to live as a good Christian."

"Your clear and compassionate teaching gives hope to Catholics and Christians everywhere. I support you and will keep you in my prayers, especially at this time. God bless you and your important work," it concludes. 

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

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Left-wing actress won’t condemn infanticide during Congressional hearing

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – During a Democrat committee hearing Tuesday purporting to assess the future of “reproductive rights” in America, a pro-abortion witness confronted by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) refused to clearly draw the line at infanticide.

Busy Phillips, an actress and author who had an abortion as a teenager, testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to complain that, had she aborted in her native Arizona today, she would have had to obtain parental consent, wait 24 hours, undergo informed-consent counseling, and, most offensively, “give the state a reason why.”

“Well, here is mine: my body belongs to me, not the state,” she declared. “Women and their doctors are in the best position to make informed decisions about what is best for them. No one else.” Phillips falsely claimed that criminalizing abortion won’t “stop anyone” from committing one, and is only about “shaming and controlling women’s bodies.” She asserted that she has the right to abort other human beings because “I am a human being that deserves autonomy in this country that calls itself free.”

The lawmakers also heard testimony from pro-life activist Melissa Ohden, who survived a botched saline abortion. “How do you reconcile my rights as a woman who survived a failed abortion with what’s being discussed here today?” she asked. “There’s something wrong when one person’s right results in another person’s death. There’s something deeply disturbing about the reality in our world that I have a right to an abortion but I never had the simple right to live.”

Gohmert referred back to Ohden’s testimony when questioning Phillips, asking her if “somebody who has survived an abortion like Melissa Ohden has a right when she’s born to life, to control her body when someone else doesn’t take her life.” Phillips responded by “thank[ing] her for sharing her story,” while dodging the question entirely by quipping that “although I played a doctor on television, sir, I am actually not a physician.”

“No, but you’ve given very compelling testimony, and I appreciate you’ve obviously given these issues a lot of thought,” Gohmert replied. 

Phillips tried to deflect again with the standard pro-abortion refrain that “I don’t believe that a politician’s place is to decide what’s best for a woman and, you know, it’s a choice between a woman and her doctor,” and claiming she “can’t speak to [Ohden’s] experience because I was not there.”

“Well I just wondered how far your feeling about that went, because once she’s born, would you agree that she is a person in being?” Gohmert asked.

“Yeah, see, I’m not speaking about birth, sir, I’m speaking about abortion,” Phillips replied.

Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives last fall, and since January have moved 50 times to block a vote on legislation guaranteeing basic medical care to newborns who survive attempted abortions.

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Trump admin ends another ‘humanized mice’ contract

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By Calvin Freiburger

June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday it is canceling another contract that funded research using aborted baby parts at taxpayer expense, and pledged to establish new ethics guidelines for reviewing future proposals and how exactly they involve tissue obtained from abortions.

Controversy broke out last August when a notice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) surfaced detailing a contract to the fetal tissue procurement firm Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR) to acquire “Tissue for Humanized Mice.” Dozens of pro-life leaders and House members successfully pressured the FDA and HHS to terminate the contract, but concerns remained over nearly $100 million in tax dollars that continued to pay for other research using tissue and organs from aborted babies.

In response, the administration pledged to review the funding and organizing via listening sessions with scientists, ethicists, and pro-life groups on the research. On Wednesday, HHS announced that it will not be renewing a similar “humanized mice” contract that expired this week, with the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF).

“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” a statement from HHS read. “The audit and review helped inform the policy process that led to the administration’s decision to let the contract with UCSF expire and to discontinue intramural research – research conducted within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – involving the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortion. Intramural research that requires new acquisition of fetal tissue from elective abortions will not be conducted.”

As for future aborted-tissue research that applies for federal funding but takes place outside NIH, “an ethics advisory board will be convened to review the research proposal and recommend whether, in light of the ethical considerations, NIH should fund the research project—pursuant to a law passed by Congress.” 

The statement also pledged that the administration continues to review and fund ethical alternatives to researching tissue obtained from abortions.

“This is a major pro-life victory and we thank President Trump for taking decisive action. It is outrageous and disgusting that we have been complicit, through our taxpayer dollars, in the experimentation using baby body parts. NIH has spent $120 million a year on grisly, unethical experiments involving the hearts, livers, bones, and brains harvested from babies too young and vulnerable to speak for themselves,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. 

Canceling the UCSF contract was the “only humane response possible to the abortion industry’s trafficking in infant remains,” Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins responded. “We’ve known for quite a while that Planned Parenthood in particular had created a macabre subculture, trafficking in infant body parts. Ending this practice is ethically, scientifically, and morally right, especially as we’ve learned that fetal remains are not needed for research.”

In December, Charlotte Lozier Institute scholar and biochemistry/biology expert Dr. Tara Sander Lee testified before Congress that fetal tissue research is medically unnecessary.

She explained that less than 0.4 percent of the NIH’s budget is currently going toward research involving fetal tissue, that “after over 100 years of research, no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissue,” and that researchers have access to a wealth of ethical sources for human tissue, including cells that can be given the coveted quality of pluripotency, or the ability to become other types of tissue.

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Reese Witherspoon: Abortion is a ‘fundamental right’

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By Martin Barillas

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

June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Taking her cue from radical pro-abortion bills that passed in Nevada and Illinois, actress Reese Witherspoon posted a series of tweets in which she described abortion as a “fundamental right.”

Witherspoon (Big Little Lies, Legally Blonde) blasted laws increasing protections for preborn babies recently passed in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, and Mississippi.

Promising to donate to pro-abortion organizations that are seeking to overturn what she declared are “unconstitutional” pro-life laws, Witherspoon called on others to do the same. She wrote that she will donate to Planned Parenthood and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) political and legal efforts. The ACLU is challenging in court Georgia’s new sweeping protections for unborn babies, which should go into effect in 2020.

Last week, legislatures in Illinois and Nevada passed bills enshrining abortion as a fundamental right. New York’s governor signed a similar bill into law in January.

Hollywood types such as Alyssa Milano, Ron Howard, Ben Stiller, Mark Hamill, and Anne Hathaway have voiced strong support for abortion. Hathaway (Princess Diaries, Les Miserables) denounced the “complicity of white women” in Alabama who made “possible” the “awful moment” of the state’s strong pro-life law banning most abortions.

On Instagram she wrote: “As we’re resisting, let us also call out the complicity of the white women who made this awful moment possible, and which–make no mistake–WILL lead to the unnecessary and avoidable deaths of women, a disproportionate number of whom will be poor and/or black.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Yes the anti-abortion movement is primarily about controlling women’s bodies under the premise (for many, sincere) of saving lives, and yes this law is primarily the work of white men HOWEVER a white woman sponsored the bill and a white woman signed it into law. As we’re resisting, let us also call out the complicity of the white women who made this awful moment possible, and which–make no mistake–WILL lead to the unnecessary and avoidable deaths of women, a disproportionate number of whom will be poor and/or black. Speak up. Show up. Don’t give up. Donate to @yellowfund, @plannedparenthood, @arc_southeast, @abortionfunds, @whoohio, @napawf, @gwafund, and the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund. #Regram from @marjoriegubelmann, @rachael_britt, @rachel.cargle, @paulscheer, @berniesanders

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Netflix, Disney, Showtime, AMC, CBS, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, and Sony are threatening to end production in Georgia, having expressed concerns over the state’s protections for the unborn. Tax incentives in Georgia have made it lucrative for movie and TV producers to locate to the state, which now has the third largest movie and TV industry in the country. In 2018, the industry employed approximately 92,000 people and contributed about $9.5 billion to the economy. Disney co-CEO Bob Iger said: “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard.”

In response to Hollywood outrage, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said, “We value and protect innocent life – even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.”

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Trudeau ups Canada’s global abortion spending to $700 million a year

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By Jonathon Van Maren

June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – When it comes to abortion, Justin Trudeau is putting your money where his mouth is. A week after he sanctimoniously reprimanded Vice President Mike Pence for America’s “backsliding” into increasing state protections for preborn children in the womb, he is now attempting to fire up his base by announcing that another $300 million of Canadian taxpayers’ dollars will be used to fund abortion overseas. He had already committed $400 million annually to a global abortion fund in response to the Trump administration’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy (which bans the government funding of overseas abortions), but that has now upped that figure to $700 million.

During the announcement of his intention to make Canada one of the primary exporters of abortion worldwide at a gender equity conference Women Deliver in Vancouver on Tuesday, Trudeau again took shots at the American government’s pro-life policies, noting with his characteristic arrogance that “While other countries are stepping back on their investments and playing politics with it, Canada is stepping up.” He did not explain why “investing” in developing countries meant ensuring that fewer children are born and more end up in dumpsters behind abortion clinics. Trudeau also neglected to mention that abortion is still illegal in much of the developing world, which is not surprising considering the fact that his Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has refused to say whether the Canadian government is funding abortion in countries where killing preborn children in the womb is still against the law.

It is also unsurprising that Justin Trudeau is again attempting to regain the moral high ground by attempting to mount a pile of baby corpses considering the fact that his signature feminism has taken quite a hit since his election in 2015. First there was the revelation that Trudeau had groped a young female reporter at a boozy festival in Creston, BC, before he entered politics, a story made worse by the fact that he apparently apologized the following day by telling the young woman that he wouldn’t have been so grabby had he known that she worked for a national newspaper. Trudeau’s zero tolerance policy for behavior of this sort, which he had rigorously applied to other members of the Liberal team, suddenly vanished in a stream of stuttering excuses about what we could all collectively learn from his mistake, which he said highlighted how people could experience the same interaction differently.

And then there is the ongoing SNC Lavalin scandal, in which two prominent female cabinet ministers accused Trudeau and his team of unethical and inappropriate behavior and political interference in an ongoing investigation into the corrupt practices of a Quebec construction company. Trudeau evicted them both from the Liberal caucus after they refused to shut their mouths about the whole affair, and now both women are running as independent candidates. Trudeau’s chivalrous promises that he was the sort of fellow who believed all women and wanted strong, independent females on his team turned out to mean that he is the kind of bro who believes all women who agree with him and wants strong, independent women to serve as window-dressing to burnish his feminist credentials and assist him in achieving the sort of power he has proved clearly incapable of handling.

But according to Trudeau’s Clintonian calculations, all that should be forgiven as long as he swears to the feminists that expanding feticide services is at the top of his priority list. “Around the world, women are fighting for the right to go to school. Women are dying from diseases that we can fight to eliminate. And again, the fundamental right for a woman to choose what she wants to do with her body is being thrown into question,” he said Monday. Now, one of those things is not like the other, but never mind — Trudeau wants to buy back the votes of his disillusioned base with your money and the lives of tens of thousands of brown and black preborn babies.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Mark Bauerlein who warns about the dangers of technology, specifically how the rise of technology and the elimination of reading books has made our culture stupid. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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Pope Francis celebrates the opening Mass of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family at St. Peter's Basilica on October 5, 2014. John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews.com

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Does Pope Francis see Latin, Gregorian chant, Church’s ancient customs as ‘return to the ashes’?

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – On the plane back from Romania, Pope Francis responded to a question about Pope Benedict, who, he said, he thought of as a wise old grandfather. He then spoke about the nature of tradition:

Speaking of tradition, [the composer Mahler] said that tradition is the guarantee of the future and not the keeper of ashes. It is not a museum. Tradition does not preserve ashes; the nostalgia of fundamentalists [is] to return to the ashes. No, tradition is the roots that guarantee the tree grows, flowers and gives fruit. 

Pope Francis is here freely combining two images: Mahler’s, and one of his own, of tradition as a root or source for what we do. In Evangelii Gaudium he expressed it slightly differently, in relation to evangelization:

Nor should we see the newness of this mission as entailing a kind of displacement or forgetfulness of the living history which surrounds us and carries us forward.

Tradition, memory, history, is as it were the energy which gives energy to even the perpetually new enterprise of evangelization.

Mahler’s dictum says something similar. The original German is “Tradition ist nicht die Anbetung der Asche, sondern die Weitergabe des Feuers”: that is, tradition is not the worship of ash, but the passing on of flames. 

Mahler’s saying has so often been used to criticize traditionalists, that it is easy to miss the fact that in itself it is a defense of tradition, not an attack on it. It does, however, distinguish genuine traditionalism from something which would be absurd: the worship of ash, however that is to be understood. Pope Francis attributes this activity, by implication, to a group of people he calls ‘fundamentalists’.

It is never quite clear who is the intended target of Pope Francis’ generalizations, and since this is presumably an intentional feature of them I do not propose to try. The distinction between tradition as a vital force carrying us forward, and which we want to pass on, and a sterile worship of ashes, is nevertheless an interesting one.

If the past inspires us to creative efforts, whether in art or in the life of the church, this is tradition functioning as it should. A reverence for the past which does not do this, however, is sterile. Put like that, it is difficult to argue with the distinction.

It leads us to ask: Is what we are doing an example of the former or the latter? How can one tell? We need an objective basis upon which to make a judgment.

The Second Vatican Council may give us some guidance here, since in seeking to equip the Church to evangelize the modern world more effectively, the documents of the Council demand that certain aspects of the tradition not be sacrificed. For example, from the Decree on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium: “Thus, in the course of the centuries, [the Church] has brought into being a treasury of art which must be very carefully preserved.” Again: “The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care.” Again: “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” Again: “The liturgical year is to be revised so that the traditional customs and discipline of the sacred seasons shall be preserved”.

The idea here is precisely that these things are roots providing the life and energy of the Church in the renewed program of evangelization. Discarding these things—Latin, sacred music, devotional art, and the ancient customs and disciplines of the liturgical year (fasting in Lent is the obvious example)—will lead to the sterility of a plant whose roots have been cut off. There will be no flowers, no fruit.

Pope Paul VI, who promulgated this document in 1962, wrote even more explicitly about Latin chant four years later (Sacrificium Laudis): “We therefore ask all those to whom it pertains, to ponder what they wish to give up, and not to let that spring run dry from which, until the present, they have themselves drunk deep.”

Those who concern themselves with the Church’s liturgical traditions are concerning themselves with the very things which Vatican II and Pope Paul VI saw as the living roots of spiritual vitality. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who preserved Gregorian Chant through the dark days following the Council, when it was banished from so many churches around the world, as we do to those who fought to preserve the Church’s patrimony of art, which in too many places was being willfully destroyed. Those who wish to bring Latin back, or who talk about restoring Lent as a truly penitential season, are trying to re-grow roots which, in time, will revitalize the Church.

To adapt Pope Francis’s expressions, if we wish to be carried forward by living history, we have to be surrounded by it; if we wish to see the tree bear fruit, it must have healthy roots.

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