All articles from August 5, 2019

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More Covington boys file new defamation suit against left-wing politicians, media figures

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — As pro-life Catholic teen Nick Sandmann presses on with his defamation suit against the Washington Post, attorneys for several of his classmates have filed another defamation suit naming multiple public figures for their misrepresentations of an infamous confrontation at the January March for Life.

Immediately following the pro-life event in Washington, D.C., the press erupted with claims that a video showed boys from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School harassing Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist, outside the Lincoln Memorial. But additional extended video and firsthand accounts soon revealed that Phillips was the one who waded into the group waiting for its bus and decided to beat a drum inches from Sandmann’s face, while members of the Black Hebrew Israelites fringe group shouted racial taunts at the kids.

The kids had been performing school cheers in an attempt to drown out the harassment and did not respond to adults’ insults and abuse in kind, nor did they chant “build the wall,” as had been widely claimed.

As additional video came to light, many journalists and public figures quickly deleted their snap condemnations of the students. Others either tried to keep the original narrative alive or refused to unequivocally retract or apologize for their initial claims, leading attorneys representing the students to threaten numerous defamation suits.

Last Thursday, attorneys Robert Barnes and Kevin Murphy filed a defamation suit in Kentucky’s Kenton County Circuit Court against twelve public figures on behalf of eight unnamed Covington students, Law & Crime reports

The targets are Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Deb Haaland, CNN’s Ana Navarro, the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, comedian Kathy Griffin, ABC News’s Matthew Dowd, ex-CNN personality Reza Aslan, Kentucky entrepreneur Adam Edelen, Princeton University’s Kevin Kruse, left-wing activist Shaun King, Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery, and Rewire editor-in-chief Jodi Jacobson.

“Several of our Senators, most-famous celebrities, and widely read journalists, collectively used their large social media platforms, perceived higher credibility and public followings to lie and libel minors they never met, based on an event they never witnessed,” the lawsuit declares. “These defendants called for the kids to be named and shamed, doxxed and expelled, and invited public retaliation against these minors from a small town in Kentucky.

“The defendants circulated false statements about them to millions of people around the world,” it continues. “The video of the entire event, known to the defendants, exposed all of their factual claims against the kids as lies. The defendants were each individually offered the opportunity to correct, delete, and/or apologize for their false statements, but each refused, continuing to circulate the false statements about these children to this very day on their social media platforms they personally control.”

Among the defendants’ commentary was Warren claiming that Phillips “endured hateful taunts,” Griffin demanding that the teens be publicly identified in order to “shame them,” Haberman tweeting that students were “egging on” unspecified mistreatment of Phillips, Aslan tweeting that Sandmann had a “punchable face” (then defending the tweet), and Jacobson insisting that “white journalists” were “rushing to excuse a clearly racist incident.” 

Rewire and Edelen declined to comment on the suit for L&C, but the New York Times responded that the suit is “entirely without merit.”

Earlier this year, Barnes announced to the offending parties that tweeting a public apology would suffice to avoid a lawsuit:

“No individual plaintiff seeks damages from any defendant in excess of the cost of a four-year tuition at the University of Kentucky,” the suit says. “Plaintiffs file this Complaint for neither fame nor fortune; they bring this suit to protect future families from experiencing the nightmare the defendants caused these kids to experience.”

The news follows a federal district judge dismissing Sandmann’s defamation suit against the Washington Post. Sandmann’s attorney, Lin Wood, says his legal team will appeal. In the meantime, Barnes tells L&C he believes that the latest suit has greater odds of success.

“Kentucky law makes it more difficult to sue institutions than individuals in the context of libel law,” Barnes explains. “Additionally, the major media institutions almost all issued corrections per my request, as defined under Kentucky law. Finally, we are only suing the most egregious high-profile individuals who inflicted the most harm & refuse to issue corrections.”

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Dem politicians, liberal media blame Trump for El Paso mass shooting

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — As the United States reels from a pair of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend, a chorus of left-wing voices has emerged to blame the former on President Donald Trump’s staunch rhetoric regarding illegal immigration.

Twenty-two people have died so far in El Paso, Texas after 21-year-old Patrick Crusius opened fire inside a Walmart. Authorities are still investigating whether Crusius is the author of a manifesto circulating online that bemoans both legal and illegal immigration and “fake news,” as well as the “destruction of our environment.”

The next day, 24-year-old Connor Betts murdered nine people, including his own sister, and injured dozens more at a crowded bar in Dayton, Ohio. His motives remain unclear, but his social media history identifies him as a “leftist”; atheist and possible Satanist; Elizabeth Warren–supporter; and, notably, critic of gun availability in the U.S.

“Our hearts are shattered for every family whose parents, children, husbands, and wives were ripped from their arms and their lives,” the president said Monday morning. “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated.”

Nevertheless, the left quickly began asserting a link between Crusius’s manifesto and Trump’s vocal opposition to illegal immigration (while largely ignoring Betts’s views), including numerous Democrat presidential candidates (all of whom support aborting preborn children at virtually any point of pregnancy):

“If Mr. Trump did not originally inspire the gunman, he has brought into the mainstream polarizing ideas and people once consigned to the fringes of American society,” Peter Baker and Michael Shear asserted in the New York Times, bemoaning the president’s condemnation of violent gang members as “animals” and claiming that rhetoric about illegal “aliens” who “pour into and infest” the country somehow reflects on immigrants generally or particular races.

NewsBusters notes that ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC have all pushed the same narrative on their airwaves.

“This claim of Trump’s affinity for ‘white nationalism’ has been debunked as a construct of selective editing of Trump’s remarks after the 2017 Charlottesville rally that left one woman dead,” Frontpage Mag’s Bruce Thornton responded. “The media asserted that Trump characterized the white supremacists protesting the removal of Confederate statues as ‘very fine people’” but omitted “Trump saying explicitly, ‘I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.’ Trump clarified once again that his comment merely pointed out that just as there were non-violent protestors among the Antifa thugs in favor of removing the statues, there also were nonviolent supporters of keeping them.”

“The admiration of some white nationalists for Trump is no more proof of Trump’s divisiveness than the admiration of al-Qaeda fighters for the Quran is proof of Islam’s divisiveness,” The Federalist’s John Daniel Davidson added. “The difference, of course, is that at least al-Qaeda fighters can point to passages in the Quran that back up their claims, whereas Trump has never once called for vigilante violence in the name of white supremacy or border security, and in fact has repeatedly and explicitly condemned it.”

Amid the partisan rancor, stories of courage and sacrifice have also emerged from the El Paso tragedy.

Glendon Oakley Jr., a 22-year-old Army automated logistics specialist who had been shopping at the nearby mall, pulled his own gun and went toward the Walmart, helping shepherd terrified children to safety. Andre and Jordan Anchondo died shielding their two-month-old baby from harm.

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Three days before her due date, another Mississippi woman killed for refusing an abortion

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By Doug Mainwaring

LEXINGTON, Mississippi, August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Mississippi District Attorney claims that a man charged with kidnapping and killing his pregnant girlfriend did so because she would neither abort nor give the child for adoption.  

This is the second instance in the last month of a Mississippi man being charged with double homicide for killing his girlfriend and unborn children. Mississippi is one of 29 states with fetal homicide laws that apply during any stage of gestation. 

Nine months pregnant McKayla Winston was found dead along a stretch of desolate roadway in Holmes County on July 1, according to the Clarion Ledger. The 21-year-old was expected to give birth on July 4. 

The man charged with murdering Winston and her unborn child is Terence Sample, 33, who was scheduled to attend a paternity hearing on July 3, two days after Winston was found. Sample is the son of a justice court judge in neighboring Attala County.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Captain L.A. Oliver told the court that on the day she disappeared Winston had planned to show Sample pictures of her sonogram. 

“There’s substantial evidence the two were together through their location and communications,” said District Attorney Akille Malone-Oliver, according to the Clarion Ledger. “Witnesses spotted his vehicle and Makayla’s at the same time period. ... He first denied contact with Makayla, but that was proved to be false. … There’s the possible DNA and article of clothing.” 

“We know that he was upset once he realized (Winston) was not going to put the baby up for adoption,” continued the DA.

Sample is being held without bail.  

Last week, a pregnant 21-year-old University of Mississippi student was found dead, and  her accused killer is reported to be the father of her unborn child.   

The circumstances surrounding the death of Ole Miss student Alexandria “Ally” Kostial and her child are similar to that of McKayla Winston.  

One of her fellow students told the UK’s Daily Mail that “Her sorority sisters knew she was pregnant and that she had told (accused killer) Brandon. He was really upset about it, that it would ruin his life and his future.”

“He was really mad that she wouldn't get an abortion. She was like, ‘No, I don't believe in that.’”

“Brandon found out, but he was dating someone else,” the student continued. 

“He wanted her to get an abortion. I think morally she didn't want to do it.”

Kostial was found dead on July 20 near Sardis Lake in LaFayette County, Mississippi, about 20 miles from campus. She had been shot multiple times. 

Two days later, 22-year-old Brandon Theesfeld of Fort Worth, Texas, also a business student at the university, was arrested and charged with her murder.  

Kostial was 17 weeks' pregnant at the time of her death.  

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Report: Mario Lopez may have lost hosting gig even after apologizing for trans toddlers remarks

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – TV personality Mario Lopez wasted no time in disavowing a mild critique of gender ideology that got him in hot water with pro-LGBT activists, but it may not be enough to save his latest hosting job.

In June, the former Saved by the Bell star and upcoming Access Hollywood co-host discussed the subject of Hollywood parents such as Charlize Theron raising little boys as little girls (and vice versa) in an interview with conservative personality Candace Owens.

“I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously, and I think if you come from a place of love, you really can’t go wrong,” he said. “But at the same time, my God, if you're three years old and you’re saying you’re feeling a certain way or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it's dangerous as a parent to make this determination then, well, okay, then you’re going to a boy or a girl, whatever the case may be.”

“It’s sort of alarming, and my gosh, I just think about the repercussions later on,” Lopez continued. “When you’re a kid ... you don’t know anything about sexuality yet. You’re just a kid” and the parent has to “be the adult in the situation.”

Numerous pro-LGBT voices accused Lopez of saying parents shouldn’t “support” gender-confused kids, “speak[ing] against a vulnerable group of children,” lacking “education,” and being “cruel.” He subsequently announced that his comments “were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were. I have been and always will be an ardent supporter of the LGBTQ community, and I am going to use this opportunity to better educate myself.”

Despite the walkback, sources have reportedly told Radar Online that NBC may boot Lopez from hosting Access Hollywood anyway.

“The execs at NBC held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss Mario’s future with the show because they do not see how they can just let this fly,” the source said. “Mario’s comments are not an accurate representation of what the network stands for at all. The network prides itself on equality and do not accept anti LGBTQ hate speech at all.”

According to the source, Lopez’s apology did nothing to improve his chances, but merely confirmed “that he was aware that his comments were transphobic and hurtful” in the executives’ minds. Radar Online added that sources claim Lopez’s own public relations people expect NBC to “make an example out of him.”

Another source told Yahoo Entertainment the opposite, that Lopez’s gig is secure and he is “set to begin production” for a September 9 debut.

Whatever Lopez’s television fate may be, many took the immediate backlash and following retraction as a troubling example of enforced groupthink in Hollywood. 

A few Hollywood dissenters did defend his original comments:

Biological sex is rooted in an individual’s chromosomes and reflected by hundreds of genetic characteristics. Studies indicate that more than 80 percent of children experiencing gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence, unless their confusion is reinforced by adults. Even full sex “reassignment” surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm.

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U.S. Senator Rand Paul
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Rand Paul recovering from partial lung removal related to injuries from 2017 attack

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By Lisa Bourne

August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul had part of his lung removed over the weekend due to complications from an assault by his neighbor nearly two years ago.

While the Senate is on August recess, Paul announced early Monday that he would be pulling back on activities until September because of the operation, which was performed in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Unfortunately, I will have to limit my August activities,” the Kentucky Republican tweeted. “Part of my lung damaged by the 2017 assault had to be removed by surgery this weekend.” 

“The doctors, nurses, & staff at Vanderbilt University Medical Center were great,” he said. “I should be able to return to the Senate in September.”

Rene Boucher, Paul’s neighbor in Bowling Green, Kentucky, assaulted the GOP lawmaker in November 2017. 

Boucher tackled Paul from behind as the senator was mowing his lawn, breaking six of Paul’s ribs and causing a pleural effusion, or a build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs.

Paul’s recovery was complicated by fluid and blood around the lungs and pneumonia, Fox News reported. According to CBS News, Paul had also undergone hernia repair surgery in January because of injuries from the assault.

Boucher pleaded guilty in March 2018 to a federal charge of assaulting a member of Congress. He was sentenced in June 2018 to 30 days in federal prison, ordered to one year of supervised release, and given a $10,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Boucher was also ordered to have no contact with Paul’s family.

Federal prosecutors had argued for a 21-month sentence for Boucher, who could have faced 10 years for assaulting a U.S. senator under title 18 of the United States Code. 

Paul filed an appeal over the length of Boucher’s sentence, which is still before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The senator also filed a civil suit seeking medical costs and attorney fees relating to the attack, and in January a Kentucky jury awarded Paul $375,000 in punitive damages, $200,000 for pain and suffering, and $7,834 for medical expenses.

Boucher, 60, a retired doctor and registered Democrat, has denied the attack on Paul, 56, was politically motivated, saying it was over a dispute involving lawn debris on their adjoining property line, a dispute Paul has denied.

Last July in the month after Boucher’s sentencing, Capitol Hill Police arrested a man for allegedly threatening to murder the Paul and his family with an ax.

Paul expressed gratitude to the police at the time and criticized violent attacks upon Republican members of Congress in the previous year, citing the assault, and also the June 2017 shooting of several Republican congressional staffers that also critically wounded Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise.

Paul was on the diamond at a congressional baseball practice the morning of June 14 when James Hodgkinson opened fire in what police immediately called a deliberate attack

Hodgkinson, who was killed on the scene in a shootout with police, was heard before the attack asking whether the players on the field were Republicans. He had a hit list of Republican Congressmen on his body.

News of Paul’s latest surgery related to the 2017 assault he suffered followed two mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left more than two dozen dead. 

As details of the shootings unfold, the attacks have further fueled fierce political and ideological debate in the U.S over allegations of racism and the issue of gun control.  

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Pope Emeritus Benedict | Monsignor Livio Melina
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Pope Benedict meets privately with dismissed JP II Institute prof, expresses solidarity

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By Martin Barillas

ROME, August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI met with Monsignor Livio Melina, who was recently dismissed from the embattled Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome. The meeting, which took place last week, comes at a time when professors are being dismissed from the institute, new statutes are being adopted, and courses key to the legacy of John Paul II are being abandoned. 

Benedict XVI met Msgr. Melina on Friday having invited him to a private audience. Sources told CNA that Benedict gave his blessing, prayers, and assurances of solidarity.

The monsignor, who had presided over the institute for ten years, was dismissed as chairman of moral theology once new statutes were promulgated. Pope Francis announced in 2017 that he was re-founding the Institute, giving it a new mission and focus. Melina had been chair of moral theology at the Institute until his dismissal. Pope Benedict was known to have been a close collaborator of the Institute.

Changes mandated by the Vatican included the dismissal of certain faculty members and the abolition of its chair of fundamental theology. In addition, the entire faculty and staff were temporarily suspended. St. John Paul II founded the school in 1981 as the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. It was given the mandate by John Paul II's apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio to be an interdisciplinary school that focused on the Church's theology of sexuality, marriage, and family. 

Controversy over the refounding of the Institute and dismissal of faculty continues. For example, a former professor at the Institute, Dr. Monika Grygiel — daughter of philosopher and friend of Pope John Paul II — recently wrote at Italian daily Il Foglio, denouncing the “terrible suppression” and “destruction” of a renowned academic community. She wrote that the “violence” of the Vatican’s “abolition” of the Institute was  “something unheard of in academia.” She added that the reformed Institute was built upon  “the injustice of dismissals, on non-existent, totally questionable or even defamatory grounds.” 

Also, graduate students at the Institute are blogging their objections to the changes there, which include the dismissal of professors and elimination of courses tied to the intellectual legacy bequeathed by Pope John Paul II. On the “Gli studenti GP 2 informano” (“The students of the Giovanni Paolo 2 shall inform”) website, the students’ letter of protest can be signed by supporters who wish to show solidarity. The students objected to a July 29 press release from the Institute, which they believe did not address their concerns. Hundreds of students and alumni have signed the letter. Some say that students will not be able to complete the academic programs for which they are  enrolled, and that faculty dismissals were accomplished without due process. According to CNA, some faculty members say they do not object to Pope Francis’s plan to expand the Institute’s mission. However, they object to how new administrators are implementing the changes. 

Institute vice-president Fr. José Granados told CNA last week that the identity of the institution is “seriously threatened.” Fr. Granados said that “objective problems” posed by the recent changes must be addressed, warning of the "danger" that the changes  pose "to the original mission of the Institute, which Pope Francis has clearly said he wants to preserve, not just as a piece of the past, but precisely because it is a source of renewal and a pathway for the Church’s accompaniment to families.” 

Fr. Juan José Pérez-Soba, who teaches pastoral theology and moral theology at the Institute, told CNA that Fr. Melina's dismissal is a concern, saying that in light of the importance Cardinal Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict — gave to teaching fundamental morals at the Institute, “the suppression of the chair of fundamental morals and the dismissal of Livio Melina takes on new light,” he said.

“This set of changes now appears as a search to change the moral paradigm. There seems to be a desire to discard objective morality, which affirms the truth about the good to which man is called, following Veritatis splendor. And it seems intended to open a process of review of all sexual morality from subjectivism, starting with Humanae vitae,” he said.

On Saturday, the UK Catholic Herald reported that the Institute’s administrators plan to “formulate adequate responses” to the concerns this month.

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Soros spends over $5 million on new super PAC to fund liberals in 2020

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Liberal mega-donor George Soros has launched a new super PAC ahead of next year’s elections, through which he hopes to help Democrats retake the United States.

The new outfit, dubbed Democracy PAC, will not directly support politicians but instead keep other left-wing groups funded, Politico reports. Soros has so far invested $5.1 million in the PAC, the single biggest check of the cycle and more than double what he spent by this point in 2016.

For an idea of what type of groups Democracy PAC may finance, a source told Politico that Soros “has, unlike Tom Steyer or [Michael] Bloomberg, funded things like Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA and EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood and expects to continue to do so.” It will most likely not favor a candidate in the Democrat presidential primary, as Soros has said primaries “divide the Democratic Party.”

Soros spends his millions on a wide range of left-wing causes such as abortion, euthanasia, and population control, as well as same-sex “marriage,” transgenderism, and more. His New York-based Open Society Foundations spends $940 million annually in 100 different countries, including $150 million per year funding the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the leading abortion company Planned Parenthood, and other liberal groups.

Promoting abortion on demand in America and abroad has been an area of particular emphasis for Soros. According to the Media Research Center, he has donated more than $21 million to Planned Parenthood since 2000, and gave 2017’s so-called Women’s March on Washington almost $90 million via donations to more than 100 partnered organizations such as NARAL and the National Abortion Federation.

In addition to his efforts to sway U.S. elections, Soros’ money has also helped support articles attacking orthodox Catholic universities, as well as the journalism nonprofit Poynter, which labeled numerous mainstream right-of-center news outlets (including LifeSiteNews) as “UnNews.” Soros is also an aggressive supporter of the European Union who has spent money in hopes of influencing the elections of multiple European nations.

Msgr. Livio Melina
Msgr. Livio Melina speaks at the Rome Life Forum, May 18, 2018 Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews
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JPII Institute profs dismissed for interpreting Francis in line with Tradition? Former president speaks out

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) —Is Catholic thought still possible today? Or will those who seek to interpret Pope Francis’s pronouncements in line with his predecessors be persecuted solely for explaining the meaning of his words in harmony with Tradition?

In his first interview since his dismissal from the restructured John Paul II Institute in Rome (see full text below), former president and chair of fundamental moral theology, Monsignor Livio Melina, has said the fate of the Institute will be “decisive for the Church,” and that what is at stake is not just the institute and legacy of John Paul II, but also the freedom to engage in “Catholic” thought.

“If the decisions taken by Archbishop Paglia are not revoked, then what they are saying is: ‘The interpretation of the magisterium of Pope Francis in continuity with the previous Magisterium is intolerable in the Church,’” Msgr. Melina told the Italian daily La Verità on Aug. 3.  

In the interview, Melina responds to accusations levelled one day prior by journalist Luciano Moia of Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference, that he and other prominent professors at the John Paul II Institute “corrected the Pope” by interpreting his words in continuity with Tradition. 

Readers will recall Moia’s name from his recent interview with controversial figure, Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, in which the Italian moral theologian (who has been invited to teach at the restructured John Paul II institute) said that it may be morally good for a person to remain in an active homosexual relationship in some circumstances. 

Interestingly, Moia claims in his Aug. 2 article that Msgr. Melina and the former chair of special moral theology, Fr. José Noriega, were removed not only for the reasons stated by institute chancellor, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, in his dismissal letter, but also for the content of their teaching, i.e. for “minimizing the scope of the change wanted by Pope Francis.” 

Moia accused Melina of seeking to “demolish the many points of originality present in Amoris Laetitia,” by suggesting that these new ideas have to be interpreted in light of Pope John Paul II’s encyclicals on the family, Familiaris Consortio, and the Church’s moral teaching, Veritatis Splendor

Painting Msgr. Melina as “a theologian correcting two Synods and a Pope,” Moia also criticized him for openly saying that “even after Amoris Laetitia, admitting the divorced and ‘remarried’ to Holy Communion outside the situations stipulated in Familiars Consortio 84, and Sacramentum Caritatis 29, goes against the discipline of the Church.”

In his Aug. 3 response in La Verità, Melina suggested that Moia “offer arguments” rather than accusing him of “correcting” the Pope. Otherwise, he said, “what the accuser [Moia] is doing is absolutizing his own interpretation, as if it were the only obvious reading of the text.” 

According to Melina’s line of thought, the clash is therefore not between “bergoglians” and “wojtyłians” but between an ideological, revolutionary and totalitarian interpretation of Pope Francis’s thought, and simple “Catholic” thought which seeks to interpret his pronouncements within the whole of Tradition.

In his Aug. 2 article, Moia also accused Msgr. Melina and other long-time professors, such as Polish philosopher and friend of John Paul II, Stanislaw Grygiel, and former institute vice-president, Fr. José Granados, of betraying the Gospel by putting doctrine before pastoral care. 

Dismissing Moia’s charge, Melina said that “this approach, which separates Christ the ‘Teacher’ from Christ the ‘Shepherd, as if there were two Jesuses, is quite common today.” He noted, however, that “the mercy of Jesus and his pastoral care passed by way of his doctrine, as Mark’s Gospel says: ‘He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things’ (Mk 6:33-34).” 

Melina described what has been done to various professors at the John Paul II Institute in Rome as a “conviction without a trial.”

“There is a paradox in all of this,” he said. “Some dissenting theologians from Catholic moral theology, who clearly opposed the Magisterium, have been banned from teaching, but this happened after a regular trial.”

“But what happened in the case of the professors of the John Paul II Institute?” Melina continued. “The accusation is not that of denying Catholic doctrine, but only of not following a particular interpretation of the Magisterium of Pope Francis.”

“But, above all,” he said, “we have been deprived of our professorship without any possibility of defending ourselves, without us even having heard … what we are really accused of. The newspaper Avvenire had the merit of highlighting the real reasons for our dismissal, which had not been communicated to us, and thus unmasked the manoeuvre that is to be carried out at the Institute founded by St. John Paul II.” 

If Moia’s claim that Msgr. Melina and Fr. Noriega were dismissed because of the content of their teaching, and not solely for the reasons stated by Archbishop Paglia, it could well open up a Pandora’s box of legal problems for the Vatican. 

An informed source in Rome told LifeSite: “If Moia’s argument were right, and Melina was dismissed on account of the content of his teaching, then Melina should immediately be reinstated.”

“If the grounds are indeed the content of his teaching, he would have the right to a process analogous to that of Charles Curran in the 1980s. Until the results of that trial are out, Msgr. Melina would have to be allowed to teach,” he said. 

In 1986, after due process, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, stripped Father Curran of his right to teach theology at The Catholic University of America, for his obstinate and public dissent against a long line of moral teachings.   

The source also noted that “if Moia is right, and these are the grounds, then there will be a real scandal.” He explained: 

Moia is admitting that an obvious violation of academic freedom has taken place. Paglia and Sequeri, for their argumentation to work, would have to distance themselves radically from Moia and emphasize that they hold nothing against Melina’s teaching and agree with Melina that Moia is guilty of slander. If they side with Moia, instead, they openly admit a rampant violation of academic freedom. 

“Moia’s article is in a way rather revealing in that it shows the extent of the scandal,” he said. “It lays open that the reasons given for the dismissals of Melina and Noriega were just argumentative fig leaves to avoid having to go through a due process in order to dismiss Melina and Noriega, because such due process could never have led to their dismissal.” 

Here below we publish the official English translation of the full interview with Msgr. Melina which first appeared in edited form in La Verità.

Someone has written that at the John Paul II Institute you and other colleagues, who now in various ways have been removed from the “restructured” institute, have had the habit of “correcting the Pope” about the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Is that so?

Those who speak in this way probably do not know the difference between two different words: “to correct” and “to interpret.” Every text needs to be interpreted, as contemporary philosophy in particular has taught us. But the interpretation that seeks to be faithful to the text is not a correction. One part of theological work is precisely this interpretation, which in the case of the Magisterium, uses the key of a reading in harmony with the rest of magisterial texts. Amoris Laetitia, one might say, is not a book in itself, but one chapter in a larger book containing all the texts of the Magisterium. Those who think that another’s interpretation is not true must offer arguments and not accuse them of making a “correction,” because in this case what the accuser is doing is absolutizing his own interpretation, as if it were the only obvious reading of the text. 

Furthermore, in the case of Amoris Laetitia, many people have taken the path of interpreting it as if it “surpassed” or even “corrected” other magisterial texts, such as Familiaris Consortio, the Catechism of the Catholic Church or Sacramentum Caritatis. They read the chapter and forget the book where the chapter is inserted. To speak of “rupture” and “revolution” in the Magisterium is not Catholic language. In reality, there is great freedom in interpreting texts; the only real norm is that of respecting the “rule of faith.” In other words, the essential thing asked of the interpreter is that he reads the text in continuity with the rest of the previous Magisterium. 

Cardinal Newman was well aware of this when he specifically identified, as one of the notes [criterion] of a true development of doctrine (as opposed to its corruption), the “conservative action upon its past.” Moia thinks that we are forcing the text of Amoris Laetitia in order to adapt it to the rest of the Magisterium. What Moia does not explain to us is the way in which he must force (or correct?) the rest of the papal Magisterium in order to adapt it to his reading of Amoris Laetitia.

On the topic of disputes, there is much talk of freedom of theological reflection (which is widely practiced in disagreement with Humane vitae and Veritatis splendor), but in your case do you feel censored?

What has been done at the Institute with various professors is a conviction without a trial, starting with the suspicions sown over the years by people like Moia. There is a paradox in all of this. Some dissenting theologians from Catholic moral theology, who clearly opposed the Magisterium, have been banned from teaching, but this happened after a regular trial in which they were assigned a defender and there was the possibility of responding to the accusations. And even so, they continued to accuse the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of unjust and abusive behavior. 

But what happened in the case of the professors of the John Paul II Institute? The accusation is not that of denying Catholic doctrine, but only of not following a particular interpretation of the Magisterium of Pope Francis. But, above all, we have been deprived of our professorship without any possibility of defending ourselves, without us even having heard (Kafka comes to mind) what we are really accused of. The newspaper Avvenire had the merit of highlighting the real reasons for our dismissal, which had not been communicated to us, and thus unmasked the maneuver that is to be carried out at the Institute founded by St. John Paul II. 

This is why the defense of the John Paul II Institute touches everyone, and the fate of the Institute is decisive for the Church. If the decisions taken by Archbishop Paglia are not revoked, then what they are saying is: “The interpretation of the magisterium of Pope Francis in continuity with the previous Magisterium is intolerable in the Church.” Indeed, those who offer this interpretation even lose the right to defend themselves in a trial and are simply dismissed according to a special version of that “throwaway culture” so often condemned by Pope Francis. 

Luciano Moia writes in Avvenire that your mistake in “correcting the Pope” is to give priority to doctrine over pastoral care, while it seems that the journalist [i.e. Moia] believes the Gospel says the opposite. What are your thoughts on this?

This approach, which separates Christ the “Teacher” from Christ the “Shepherd,” as if there were two Jesuses, is quite common today. But the mercy of Jesus and his pastoral care passed by way of his doctrine, as Mark’s Gospel says: “He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things” (Mk 6:33-34). In this passage, mercy, the shepherd and doctrine appear together. Jesus’s doctrine is the concrete form that his mercy and pastoral care takes towards men who, lost without light and direction, live in darkness. To think that one who offers light is a rigid man is a great mistake. It is precisely when we are in darkness that we cannot move, and it is the light that, by allowing us to move, energizes us and leads us home. 

The John Paul II Institute has demonstrated a vision of man — learned through research and study lived in communion — that is capable of creating fruitful programs for authentic pastoral care. The doctrinal-pastoral relationship was studied in the tradition of the John Paul II Institute from the perspective of the relationship between truth and love. Truth, contained in doctrine, is the truth of a love, and love needs truth to overcome mere emotion and endure over time, as Pope Francis taught us in Lumen Fidei. To speak of the priority of pastoral care over doctrine, by placing them in contrast, is to oppose (or “correct”) the magisterium that Pope Francis gives us in the first of his two encyclicals, which are the highest-ranking magisterial documents that he has written.

It is repeated with insistence that the old institute and the pastoral work that sprang from the Magisterium of John Paul II (and, I might add, from the first president of the Institute, Carlo Caffarra), were sterile, cold, and far from the wounds of man. What is your point of view on this?

The whole vision of St. John Paul II comes from an extreme closeness to the human situation. And that certainly means closeness to man’s wounds. But, above all, it means a closeness to the most original experience of man, which is not that of being wounded, but of being loved by God and made capable by him of a loving response. That is why John Paul II, before seeing the wounds, saw the greatness of man thanks to the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ. It was in this light that he spoke of his “faith in man.” The distinction is not between those who see wounds and those who see only cold doctrines. The distinction instead lies between those, on the one hand, who only see wounds and, given man’s impotence to go it alone, try to justify it; and those who see, together with and before the wounds, God’s great call to man, and man’s capacity to be redeemed by God and to build a great and beautiful life, the one that God has always wanted for him. 

Two radically different ways of engaging in pastoral work flow from these visions. The first, seeing only insurmountable wounds, tries to tolerate them: it measures man according to his weakness and his fall. The other way, seeing God’s great call, tries to help man to mature so that he might be capable of responding in love. The supporters of the first vision, because they do not understand the capacity of the Gospel to regenerate man, believe that others are rigid, cold, and distant; in the same way as those who see people dancing but do not hear music think that they are crazy, making useless and meaningless movements. 

In order to understand the logic of true pastoral care, one must hear and perceive the music of redemption: this is what St. John Paul II spoke about in the final part of the encyclical Veritatis splendor. Instead, the “anti-pastoral” choice of adapting the divine commands — which are inscribed in the plan of creation and express the original call to love — to the weakness of fallen man, is an inverted form of that “moral Pelagianism” so often condemned by Pope Francis. It is a lack of faith in God, but also in man, because it rejects proposing conversion to him and has no confidence in the renewing power of grace.

According to what some call the “new paradigm” of moral theology arising from Amoris Laetitia— we hope that even discussing this is not considered an attack on the pontiff — it opens up to the so-called “possible good.” To enable readers to understand what it is about, could you offer a concrete example?

I will take the example used by Professor Maurizio Chiodi a few days ago, in an interview with Luciano Moia. There it is said that life within [the relationship of] a homosexual couple could be a possible good for a person in certain circumstances. The doctrine of the Church teaches, instead, that it is an evil, something that damages the person who does it and leads him more and more towards evil. It is not a question of a contrast between two visions, one pastoral and the other doctrinal. Rather, they are two diagnoses of a situation, two diagnoses that open up to very different cures. According to the first, it could be said that this person, although performing homosexual acts, is living according to the will of God, who does not ask us for more than we can do. The acts he engages in would be humanizing, they would even lead to the Gospel, even if at some point he will have to realize that they are not perfect acts, and that there is a better way. 

Catholic doctrine, which teaches that these are intrinsically evil acts, proposes a different diagnosis and consequently a different cure. Homosexual acts cannot be ordered to God and therefore do not lead to the good of the person. Jesus, the divine physician, who knows the heart of man, says: every time you engage in this act, you are damaging love, your humanity, and the humanity of the other. At the same time he says: but the call to true love always resounds in you, and you can follow this love, and I am here to accompany you on the way of conversion, which asks you to leave evil behind and embrace the good. This is why it is necessary for you to abandon false loves, which in reality are an adoration of yourself, and for this you have the strength that comes from the redemption wrought by Christ Jesus.

Allow me to recall a passage from Veritatis Splendor, 103. It deals precisely with the possible good, inasmuch as John Paul II asks, “But what are the ‘concrete possibilities of man’? John Paul II writes: “It would be a very serious error to conclude... that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an ‘ideal’ which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man, according to a ‘balancing of the goods in question.’ But what are the ‘concrete possibilities of man’? And of which man are we speaking? Of man dominated by lust or of man redeemed by Christ? This is what is at stake: the reality of Christ’s redemption. Christ has redeemed us! This means that he has given us the possibility of realizing the entire truth of our being; he has set our freedom free from the domination of concupiscence. And if redeemed man still sins, this is not due to an imperfection of Christ's redemptive act, but to man’s will not to avail himself of the grace which flows from that act. God’s command is of course proportioned to man’s capabilities; but to the capabilities of the man to whom the Holy Spirit has been given; of the man who, though he has fallen into sin, can always obtain pardon and enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit.” *

*Address to those taking part in a course on “responsible parenthood” (March 1, 1984), 4: Insegnamenti VII, 1 (1984), 583.

Translation by Diane Montagna of LifeSiteNews. 

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Dance celebrating gay sexual behavior in church sanctuary shows what God sees in the hearts of many priests

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By Doug Mainwaring
Hands of two homosexual men touch, mocking Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel depiction of the Creation of Man / screenshot
Michelangelo’s Creation of Man, Sistine Chapel, the Vatican

WARNING: The following article and video contain disturbing content and show a sacrilegious event inside a Catholic church.

August 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A video now making the rounds on social media shows two scantily clad men performing a homoerotic dance in the magnificent sanctuary of Saint Peter Apostle Church in Montreal.  

The two dancers perform to Jeff Buckley’s sexualized adaptation of the song “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, according to, which first called attention to the disturbing three-minute video. 

“The hallelujah is not an homage to a worshipped person, idol or god,” Buckley explained to the Dutch magazine OOR, “but the hallelujah of the orgasm,” noted the report.

The most disturbing scene in the video comes in its final seconds, as the camera zooms in on the hands of two male dancers, imitating Michelangelo’s famous depiction of the creation of Adam, as the hands of God and man touch.  

This appalling mockery replaces immutable Scriptural truth with a narcissistic gay interpretation that places perverse passion between men above God’s love for humankind.

“I wanted to push the Hallelujah deep into the secular world, into the ordinary world,” composer Cohen once said.  

“He’s rescued the word hallelujah from being just a religious word,” said the Right Reverend Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, in a BBC radio documentary, according to a 2012 Rolling Stone article. “We’re broken human beings, all of us, so stop pretending, and we can all use the word hallelujah because what it comes from is being open and transparent before God and the world and saying, ‘This is how it is, mate.’” 

The Rolling Stone piece explains: 

Following the David and Bathsheba reference, the sexuality of the lyrics is drawn further forward and then reinforced in an image of torture and lust taken from the story of Samson and Delilah – “She tied you to a kitchen chair / she broke your throne, she cut your hair” – before resolving with a vision of sexual release: “and from your lips she drew the Hallelujah!” 

. . .

“This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled,” Cohen has said, “but there are moments when we can transcend the dualistic system and reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah.’ That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say, ‘Hallelujah! Blessed is the name.’…

“The only moment that you can live here comfortably in these absolutely irreconcilable conflicts is in this moment when you embrace it all and you say, ‘Look, I don’t understand a f***ing thing at all – Hallelujah!’ That’s the only moment that we live here fully as human beings.”

And as the song “rescues” the exclamation “Hallelujah!” from being a declaration of praise, the male pas de deux performed in the sanctuary is a defiant act “rescuing” the sacred space from the presence of Christ.

Hearts seen from God’s perspective

Please watch at least a portion of the video below, in order to understand what is happening within the Catholic Church:

What is seen on the surface is disturbing enough, but to peer into the truest meaning of this performance is to catch a horrifying glimpse of what God sees in the hearts of many of his priests.

At its deepest level, this is an expression of the depravity of the homosexual elite inhabiting both the Church hierarchy and the Church’s vast clerical bureaucracy.   

God is letting us see this so that our eyes might be opened, that we might perceive and understand the extent and the gravity of the relentless homosexual offense toward him.

For the homosexualists occupying the ranks of the priesthood, worship of the Triune God is secondary to idolizing the male body. Their first love is not for the Mass: It is for sodomy.  

And so through this video, God has allowed “what has been spoken in darkness” to be “shouted from the rooftops” (Luke 12:3).  

This video brings into sharp focus what St. Paul warned us about long ago:  

God gave them up to degrading passions . . . men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men. (Romans 1:26-27)

The dance takes place in the sanctuary – before the altar, before the tabernacle – declaring to the world a passion that burns not for Jesus Christ, but for perverse sexual “intimacy” between men.  

In a sense, the video was unavoidable. It had to happen. Why?  

Because those to whom the Church is entrusted have not come completely clean on homosexuality among priests and prelates, despite a barrage of red flags being waved for all the world to see: 

  • The homoerotic mural commissioned by Archbishop Paglia for his cathedral, depicting naked men embracing each other was a forerunner to this dance performance. Yet instead of repenting for it, Archbishop Paglia defended it, and Pope Francis rewarded him with a Vatican promotion. Paglia recently oversaw the undoing and reconstituting of the John Paul II Institute in Rome, which George Weigel compared to the sacking of Rome by the Vandals.  
  • Likewise, Fr. James Martin, SJ, has not been suppressed for his relentless efforts to normalize homosexual activity and transgenderism with the Catholic Church. Instead, he too has been rewarded by being appointed as a communications consultant to the Holy See’s Secretariat for Communications. More than that: Last year Martin was a main attraction at the Vatican’s World Meeting of Families in Ireland, where he claimed that active homosexuals “should be invited into parish ministries” specifically mentioning them becoming “eucharistic ministers” in order to make them welcomed and accepted in the Catholic Church. 
  • Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s stunning revelations about the Vatican ignoring warnings about predatory homosexual prelates has not been enough;
  • Nor have the substantiated allegations of now-defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for formerly hidden homosexual predation proven to be enough to make Church prelates come clean;
  • Nor was last year’s Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report recounting and all the subsequent stories about priestly sexual predation and associated diocesan cover-up spilling out into the public square.  

God has permitted this video, so that we might understand that homosexual priests and prelates are not men dealing with a little after-hours/off-duty problem with custody of their thoughts.  

No. This video is a graphic expression of what God himself sees in the hearts and minds of so many men occupying Church sanctuaries around the world as they sacrilegiously offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

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