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Shelina Begum, mother of five-year-old Tafida. Good Morning Britain / YouTube
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Mom of brain-injured 5-year-old: Docs want to pull plug to save ‘resources’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Shelina Begum believes that doctors wish to stop the life support of her brain-injured five-year-old daughter to save “resources.”

“I have received various internal information that it all boils down to resources,” she told the hosts of the Good Morning Britain talk show yesterday.

“They are not prepared to give Tafida another six months even though a top independent neurologist has confirmed that Tafida needs time.” 

The attorney and mother of two appeared on television yesterday to bring her five-year-old daughter’s case to the British public. Minimally conscious Tafida Raqeeb is in danger of her life because doctors at the National Health Service’s Royal London Hospital believe that it is in her best interest to be removed from life support and left to die.

The little girl’s parents disagree.

“Tafida is not dying. Tafida is not brain-dead,” Begum told the hosts of Good Morning Britain. “She is gradually, gradually improving every day. Tafida is getting stronger.”

The child suffered a ruptured blood vessel in her brain this February and, after a five-hour delay, received life-saving surgery. She is now in a minimally conscious state, and her London-based doctors believe she will never recover.

But Tafida’s parents, Shelina and Mohammad, believe that her condition is improving. They wish to take her to a hospital in Italy, where a medical team for the girl has already been assembled.

The NHS has gone to court in an attempt to prevent this.

Tafida is now on the lowest possible setting on the ventilator. Her mother said she is almost fully breathing for herself, and she is on the machine only because her lungs aren’t strong enough for its removal. Tafida moves her limbs and her face and can turn her head from side to side. 

Her parents first heard about the Giannina Gaslini Institute in Genoa from a friend whose child receives gene therapy there. The hospital has pledged to treat Tafida and allow her, if necessary, to remain on life support until she is brain-dead. This is standard medical policy in Italy, and one reason why the Bambino Gesù hospital was willing to treat another British child: the late Alfie Evans.

Talk show host Richard Madeley wondered what an Italian hospital could do that the “eminent” London hospital could not, England being “one of the best countries in the world for health care.” Tafida’s mother explained that the Giannina Gaslini Institute has had much experience with children with brain injuries and that its staff are willing to give Tafida a tracheotomy and then wait with her to see how well she can recover from her brain injury in six more months.

Host Kate Garraway asked the show’s “health editor,” Dr. Hilary Jones, why the hospital wouldn’t allow the child to be taken to Italy or give her the same treatment in Britain. Jones suggested that the hospital thinks it isn’t in the child’s best interest or that being taken to Italy would make the “very sick” child’s condition worsen. 

“How could it be worse than allowing the child to die?” Garraway asked.

“Hippocrates had a phrase, ‘Above all, do no harm’,” said Jones and then added, “Don’t officiously strive to keep alive,” which Hippocrates did not say. 

“Sometimes unconditional love can get in the way of the best interests of the child,” he continued.

The doctor does not believe that the Royal London Hospital is motivated by budget concerns. Jones said he had never come across a case in which a hospital refused to treat a child because staffers could not afford to do so “if there’s any prospect of life being preserved and of life being high-quality.”  

Madeley suggested that the Italian hospital might be motivated by money; the Raqeeb family is crowdfunding Tafida’s planned £100,000-plus treatment.

Shelina Begum pointed out that even more money will be spent by taxpayers on the NHS’s legal fees.

“Why do doctors feel they have to reduce parents’ rights?” she asked. “The moment a child goes into any kind of hospital, why do they feel they have to rush off to court?”

She says her family’s court costs alone have been estimated at £400,000. She naturally thinks the hospital’s legal costs would have been better spent on her daughter’s treatment.

Tafida’s mother had a last zinger for the hospital. When Garraway read out the NHS’s statement, Begum said that on its website, it had published a statement in which they had claimed to be “supporting the family.”

“I have written to all their directors, all the trustees. No one has come to speak with us. Instead, they’ve rushed in and submitted this court case to ask to terminate Tafida’s life,” she said.

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Radical New South Wales bill will allow abortion till birth, now up for debate

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By Lianne Laurence

SYDNEY, Australia, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Australian province of New South Wales is in the process of passing a radical abortion bill that will allow abortion up to birth.

The Legislative Assembly of New South Wales passed the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 on August 8 by a vote of 59 to 31, and the Legislative Council is scheduled to debate it on August 20.

The bill will allow a child in the womb to be aborted for any reason up to 22 weeks gestation, and from 22 weeks gestation up to birth if two doctors recommend the abortion for physical, social, or psychological reasons.

Introduced by independent Alex Greenwich on August 1, the law does not require any counselling or a waiting period for the mother and mandates that doctors with conscientious objections refer her to an abortionist, the Catholic Herald reported.

It does make it a crime for individuals without proper authorization to commit an abortion, with a conviction for this offence punishable by up to seven years in jail.

The legislative assembly voted down two amendments August 8, one from Tanya Davies, a Liberal Party member and former women’s minister, to ban sex-selective abortion, and another mandating that a child born alive after an abortion be given life-saving care, it reported.

The M.P.s instead agreed to formally express “disapproval” of sex-selection abortion and review the issue in a year.

M.P. Davies told Sky News Australia that for her stand, she received death threats, which she reported to police, and she excoriated the government of Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian for “trashing due process” by pushing the bill through the assembly with such haste.

Many in her constituency of Western Sydney are “white hot with anger” over the passing of a “radical abortion bill,” Davies said.

“Let’s smash the smoke screen. This is not a reproductive health…this is not taking abortion out of the crimes act and putting it in health care. This is an abortion bill,” she said.

Liberal M.P. Wendy Tuckerman told the Crookwell Gazette she received more than 600 calls, as well as correspondence from constituents, with the majority protesting the bill.

Although a “pro-choice advocate,” Tuckerman voted against the bill, she said.

“This bill allows abortions to occur very late in pregnancy and in circumstances without a medical need or the provisos that currently exists [sic],” she told the Gazette. “At 22 weeks, that’s a five-and-a-half-month old fetus.”

Abortion is currently illegal in New South Wales under Section S82L of its Crimes Act, and a mother and doctor would incur penalties for procuring an abortion. However, abortion is permitted if a doctor determines that a pregnancy would seriously endanger a mother's physical or mental health. The courts have expanded the definition of "mental health" to include "economic and social stress," the Catholic Herald reported.

As the bill was being debated and voted on, St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney was open for 65 hours of ongoing Eucharistic adoration from August 5 until August 8, and hundreds of pro-lifers participated in a prayer vigil at the legislature, the Herald reported.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney blasted the bill when it passed.

“If a civilization is to be judged by how it treats its weakest members, New South Wales failed spectacularly today,” said the Dominican prelate, as quoted in the Catholic Herald.

The bill “still allows abortion right up to birth,” he said. “It conscripts all medical practitioners and institutions into the abortion industry by requiring them to perform abortions themselves or direct women to an abortion provider. It still does nothing to protect mothers or their unborn children or to give them real alternatives.”

Bishop Richard Umbers, an auxiliary bishop of Sydney and the Australian bishops’ delegate for life; Bishop Michael McKenna of Bathurst; and Fr. David Ranson, administrator of the Diocese of Broken Bay, issued statements against the bill.

Umbers also thanked those who “rallied to oppose the culture of death,” the Catholic Herald reported.

“The graces given by God to the people of Sydney as a result of your fervent and tireless prayers and support for life will bring about great good for NSW in ways we will be blessed to witness and in many unknown ways,” he said.

Archbishop Fisher likewise thanked “the thousands of people who spoke up on behalf of the unborn and their mothers by contacting their MPs, by maintaining a consistent presence at Parliament House, and by praying for the defeat of this bill at round‐the‐clock vigils at St Mary’s Cathedral and elsewhere.”

He exhorted them to continue these efforts as the bill advances to the National Council.

“Please continue to pray for a civilization of life and love, and to make your views known to the members of the Legislative Council, asking them to vote against this bill,” Fisher said.

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J.D. Vance. New America / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
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‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author JD Vance converts to Catholic faith because it’s ‘true’

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By Martin Barillas

CINCINNATI, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The author of a bestselling memoir exploring the problems in oft-overlooked white “hillbilly” culture was received into the Catholic Church.

J.D. Vance wrote Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis, which recounted his journey from poverty in the hills of Ohio to Yale Law School. Along the way, he witnessed his mother’s descent into drug addiction and failed marriages. Having been later taken in by a loving grandmother, he came to manhood while in the Marine Corps and then graduated from Ohio State University.

In an interview on Rod Dreher’s blog American Conservative, Vance admitted that the sex abuse crisis within the Church affected him, forcing him to “process the Church as a divine and a human institution, and what it would mean” for his two-year-old son. However, he said he never questioned that he would ultimately become a Catholic.

Saying he was moved to enter the Church because of its social teachings and the example set by Catholics he admired, Vance explained to Dreher his reasons for conversion:

I became persuaded over time that Catholicism was true. I was raised Christian, but never had a super-strong attachment to any denomination, and was never baptized. When I became more interested in faith, I started out with a clean slate, and looked at the church that appealed most to me intellectually.

For his patron saint, Vance chose St. Augustine of Hippo, the African theologian and philosopher whose writings about his own conversion in the 5th century A.D. have been read by Christians for centuries. When Dreher asked why he chose Augustine, a doctor of the Church, Vance replied:

A couple of reasons. One, I was pretty moved by the Confessions. I’ve probably read it in bits and pieces twice over the past 15 or so years. There’s a chapter from The City of God that’s incredibly relevant now that I’m thinking about policy. There’s just a way that Augustine is an incredibly powerful advocate for the things that the Church believes.

Saying that he once “bought into the lie” that Christians are necessarily stupid, Vance credited Augustine for offering a “strongly intellectual way” to understand the Christian faith. This has stood him in good stead because he had come from “a world that wasn’t super-intellectual about the Christian faith,” Vance said, adding that he now spends his time largely among “intellectual people who aren’t Christian.”

As for the still evolving crisis in the Church, Vance said he is optimistic. When he was asked whether he finds the current travails “daunting,” he answered:

I do in the short term, but one of the things I love about Catholicism is that it’s very old. I take a longer view. Are things more daunting than they were in the mid-19th century? In the Dark Ages? Is it as daunting as having a second pope at Avignon? I don’t think so. The hope of the Christian faith is not rooted in any short-term conquest of the material world, but in the fact that it is true, and over the long term, with various fits and starts, things will work out.

Vance’s book, Hillbilly Elegy, was published in 2016 and during the U.S. presidential campaign season. The book has been acclaimed for offering a window to the problems of white rural America, including drug addiction, marital insecurity, poverty, and unemployment. In an earlier interview with Dreher, Vance said his people in rural America “are really struggling.” Explaining Trump’s appeal to white rural Americans, Vance said no “single political candidate who speaks to those struggles” had addressed them in many years, adding, “Donald Trump at least tries.”

In his book, Vance spoke to the struggles of rural white Americans who have been either ignored or vilified by the country’s elites. Among his people, he wrote, “There is a lack of agency here — a feeling that you have little control over your life and a willingness to blame everyone but yourself.” He concludes in his book by acknowledging that government programs cannot redress the behaviors that lead to addiction and poverty. Of his people, he writes, “I believe we hillbillies are the toughest g‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ people on this earth.” He added, “But are we tough enough to look ourselves in the mirror and admit that our conduct harms our children? Public policy can help, but there is no government that can fix these problems for us. ... I don’t know what the answer is precisely, but I know it starts when we stop blaming Obama or Bush or faceless companies and ask ourselves what we can do to make things better.”

Offering an antidote to the politics of grievance and identity currently reigning in the United States, he credited the Catholic faith for giving him the tools for continued growth. He told Dreher: “One of the most attractive things about Catholicism is that the concept of grace is not couched in terms of epiphany. It’s not like you receive grace and suddenly you go from being a bad person to being a good person. You’re constantly being worked on. I like that.”

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Cardinal Burke at the Rome Life Forum in Rome, May 18, 2018. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
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Cardinal Burke: Amazon synod working doc is ‘apostasy’, cannot become Church teaching

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By Martin Barillas

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke said that the working document used for the upcoming Pan-Amazon synod organized by the Vatican at the request of Pope Francis amounts to “apostasy.”

The Cardinal made this comment when asked in an August 13 Youtube interview whether the working document known as the Instrumentum Laboris for the October 6-27 Synod may become definitive for the Catholic Church. Cardinal Burke replied: “It cannot be. The document is an apostasy. This cannot become the teaching of the Church, and God willing, the whole business will be stopped.” 

Burke made this comment in a wide-ranging interview with Catholic show host Patrick Coffin. The main organizers of the Amazon Synod have been criticized for using the event to push for female deacons and married priests.  

The Cardinal, in a discussion with Coffin over politicians and others who publicly depart from basic beliefs espoused by the Church, defined both heresy and apostasy. 

“Heresy is the denial, the knowing and willing denial of a truth of the faith. For instance, the priest Arius who denied the two natures and one person of our Lord Jesus Christ. So, heresy is pointed towards a particular truth that someone denies, whereas apostasy is a general defection from the faith, a going away from Christ in a general way, and the many truths of the faith,” he stated. 

Burke, in a different interview, commented on remarks that synod organizers made suggesting a relaxation of celibacy in the priesthood for the Amazon region, saying that it would affect the entire worldwide Church. “It is not honest” to suggest that the October meeting is “treating the question of clerical celibacy for that region alone,” he said in June.

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

Pope Francis announced last year that the October Synod of Bishops of the Pan-Amazon region would meet in Rome with the purpose of identifying “new paths for the evangelization of God's people in that region, "especially indigenous peoples who are "often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future." 

Cardinals Walter Brandmuller and Gerhard Muller have also condemned the Amazon Synod working document.  Cardinal Walter Brandmüller also critiqued the working document, calling it “heretical” and an “apostasy” from Divine Revelation. He called on the hierarchy to “reject” it with “all decisiveness.” 

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller has denounced what he calls the document’s ambiguous terminology and “false teaching.” He also questioned what he termed the document’s “upside-down hermeneutics.” Asking rhetorically whether the Church is putty in the hands of bishops and popes to “rebuild” the Church as an instrument “with secular goals,” Mueller said that the text “presents a radical U-turn from the hermeneutics of Catholic theology.” Rather than underscoring the teachings of the Church or quoting Holy Scripture, Muller wrote that the Instrumentum Laboris instead revolves “around the latest documents of Pope Francis' Magisterium, furnished with a few references to John Paul II and Benedict XVI. 

Leonardo Boff, a Brazilian theologian and laicized priest who is widely credited for being the “theologian of reference” for the synod and an important exponent of Liberation theology, declared that he sees Pope Francis’ election as a “springtime” for the Catholic Church. In his book Francis of Rome and Francis of Assisi, Boff asserted his belief that Pope Francis embodies Liberation theology because of his alleged dedication to the poor. He has stated that the ordination of married men may be an outcome of the synod. In an interview with Deutsche Welt, Boff credited the pontiff with starting a “revolution” in the Church. Liberation theology was specifically condemned by St. Pope John Paul II in 1985 for seeking to reconcile Marxist precepts with Catholic teachings for the supposed purpose of aiding the poor, especially in Latin America.

Cardinal Burke said in his interview with Coffin that secular media and some Catholic media are “glorying” in calling Pope Francis a “revolutionary.” Saying that the office of the papacy is not revolutionary, he said that its primary function is to “safeguard the doctrine of the Faith and the Church’s discipline in order to be the principle and foundation of unity in the Church.” 

Burke added: “If you tell me that the Pope is a revolutionary, I would be very concerned because that has nothing to do with the papacy.”

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District Judge Kristine Baker
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Arkansas’ 18-week abortion ban, two other pro-life laws remain blocked by judge

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By Lisa Bourne

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- A federal judge continued to block three pro-life laws in Arkansas from going into effect because they are “unconstitutional” and would cause "irreparable harm” for women seeking abortions.

Judge Kristine Baker of the Eastern District of Arkansas ruled again against an 18-week abortion ban, another law banning abortion based upon a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, and a third law requiring abortionists to have OB/GYN certifications. The 18-week abortion law bans abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and medical emergency.

Baker said in her ruling that the three laws "cause ongoing and imminent irreparable harm to the plaintiffs and their patients," and "the harms to women who are unable to obtain abortion care as a result of (the acts) are irreparable."

The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood had sued Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and other state officials in June, arguing that the three measures are unconstitutional.

Baker addressed the 18-week ban in particular in her decision, suggesting she would ultimately rule in favor of the pro-abortion plaintiffs based upon the reasoning that the ban is unconstitutional, CNN reported.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1973 in Roe v. Wade that the Constitution had an implicit right to privacy that included the right for women to obtain an abortion, states could put greater restrictions on abortion after an unborn baby reached viability.

Roe v. Wade defined viability at 28 weeks. However, in 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey, this was revised to 24 weeks, given trends in science since Roe had meant later and greater chance of survival for children who are born pre-term.

The standard for viability has continued to trend earlier than 24 weeks since then, and more babies are surviving pre-term birth when given adequate medical attention.

"The Court concludes that, at this stage of the proceedings and on the record evidence currently before the Court, plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their argument that (the ban) unconstitutionally restricts pre-viability abortions and, therefore, is facially unconstitutional," Baker wrote in her decision. 

Baker said the "plaintiffs are likely to prevail" in their argument that deferring to the Arkansas Legislature's factual findings on fetal development would be "inappropriate," because "those findings contradict binding Supreme Court precedent with respect to how viability is to be determined."

Arkansas’ 18-week abortion ban cites fetal development beginning at five to six weeks when the child’s heartbeat can be detected, continuing with developments through 12 weeks’ gestation.

The abortion activist groups are arguing that rushing the 24-week deadline encroaches on the constitutional right to privacy established by Roe.

The three laws had been set to go into effect July 24.

On July 23, Baker had issued a 14-day injunction, saying the laws “cause ongoing and imminent irreparable harm” to patients, and the acts are “unconstitutional.” That injunction was due to expire August 6.

Baker’s new injunction means the pro-life laws won’t take effect as long as legal challenges against them are argued in court.

Rutledge filed an appeal of Baker's temporary block in the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday.

"Following the court's adverse ruling, the Attorney General immediately filed an appeal to the Eighth Circuit," Amanda Priest, Rutledge's communications director, said in a statement. "She continues to defend Arkansas law protecting women's health by requiring a board certified or eligible OBGYN to perform an abortion, as well as Arkansas laws that (protect) unborn life by prohibiting abortions after 18 weeks and at any time if based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis."

Arkansas is one of two U.S. states with an 18-week ban. 

Utah passed a similar ban in March, but has agreed to not enforce the law while it’s being challenged in federal court.

Arkansas currently has a 20-week abortion ban, which was enacted in 2013.

The state is also one of a number of states to enact a “trigger law,” which would ban most abortions should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.

Several states have laws prohibiting abortion for genetic anomalies, including Down syndrome. However, North Dakota’s is the only one in effect. The others are tied up in court.

Several states have moved to ban abortion based on the unborn child feeling pain during the abortion procedure, and some have also banned abortion based upon detection of the fetal heartbeat.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood are also challenging Alabama's near-complete abortion ban as well as heartbeat bills in Georgia and Ohio.

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Satanic Temple in Ottawa plans to hold first black mass in Canada August 17

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By Lianne Laurence

PETITION: Stop Black Mass in Ottawa! Sign the petition here.

OTTAWA, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Satanic Temple in Canada is planning to hold a “black mass” at a heavy metal bar in Ottawa this coming Saturday.

The Satanic Temple’s national coordinator Nicholas Marc is selling 50 tickets at $20 each for what he says is a public black mass planned at The Koven on August 17.

“To (the Satanic Temple’s) knowledge this will be the first organized public black mass in Canadian history,” Marc told Global News.

Marc told Global News the Satanic ritual is “an expression of personal liberty and freedom” and that the “freeing expression is found in the blasphemy.”

He said there will be “the use of symbols and Latin text” at the black mass.

“Essentially, it involves using traditional symbols and inverting them to create a ritual that is meant to be the opposite of traditional [M]ass,” he said.

Encyclopedia Britannica describes a black mass as “a blasphemous and usually obscene burlesque of the true mass performed by satanic cults. The naked back of a woman often serves as an altar, and a validly consecrated host is generally used to intensify the mockery. The rite commonly incorporates other elements of satanic magic such as philtres or abortifacients.”

“The black mass is a parody of [the Catholic] Mass, in which one adores and exalts Satan,” former Vatican chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth wrote in An Exorcist Explains the Demonic. “During the celebration, the words and external signs of the Eucharistic liturgy are used, but always in a contrary sense, in order to manifest opposition to God.”

Marc told LifeSiteNews that while “blasphemy will be part of” the ritual he will not have a consecrated Host.

His group are “atheistic Satanists” who don’t believe in “supernaturalism” but “look to science as our arbiter,” said Marc, who was raised in a Catholic home where the family attended the Tridentine Mass.

“We’re an atheist organization so as such we don’t recognize the theological value of a consecration,” he said. “We are Satanists who revere the symbolic and literary tradition of the Satanic mythology.”

Marc says he is calling the event a “black mass” because “there’s no stringent blueprint” and “we have done all sorts of black masses that look different and feel different.” 

He refused to give further details about the ritual, saying: “We’re not attacking Catholics by doing this. This is a private event and a private venue.”

However, exorcists warn there is significant spiritual peril in attending a blasphemous ritual, even one that does not involve desecration of a sacred Host.

“You cannot attend such an event – even if one does so merely out of curiosity, and not with any firm desire to worship Satan – without being adversely affected,” an anonymous exorcist told Aleteia in 2014 when a black mass was planned in Oklahoma City.

“I suspect that some people will go simply to be entertained. What they may not realize immediately is that simply by going, they will open themselves to the power of the demonic,” the exorcist said.

That was echoed at the time by Monsignor Patrick Brankin, an exorcist in the diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

“I would think that there would be a real strong possibility, especially if they’re in the state of sin, that they would walk out possessed,” Msgr. Brankin told Aleteia.

“They’re going into a situation where people there are calling upon Satan to exercise dominion over everything in the state – dominion over people, places, our very land…If someone went there out of curiosity, especially if there was a possibility that they were not in the state of grace, they could easily come out with a demonic attachment, whether it would be an oppression, obsession or a full possession.”

The 2014 black mass at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City was planned by Adam Daniels, a registered sex offender who said he had obtained a consecrated Host, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights reported at the time.

Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley obtained a restraining order against Daniels on the grounds the Host had been stolen, and the attorney for the Satanic group returned the Host to a Catholic priest, it reported.

“For more than one billion Catholics worldwide and more than 200,000 Catholics in Oklahoma, the Mass is the most sacred of religious rituals,” Archbishop Coakley said.

“The ‘Black Mass’ that is scheduled for the Civic Center in September is a satanic inversion and distortion of the most sacred beliefs not only of Catholics, but of all Christians,” he stated.

Although Daniels returned the consecrated Host, a black mass simulation took place at the Oklahoma City Civic Center September

Archbishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, as well as Archbishop Coakley asked Catholics to fast and pray in the lead-up to the black mass reenactment, Aleteia reported.

“It’s really got to be fought by prayer,” Msgr. Brankin said.

In 2014, a Harvard University student group planned to hold a black mass reenactment, which did not involve desecrating a consecrated Host, on campus, but it was cancelled after public outcry.

The archdiocese of Boston issued this statement: “For the good of the Catholic faithful and all people, the church provides clear teaching concerning satanic worship. This activity separates people from God and the human community, it is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil.”

According to Global News, the Satanic Temple has grown rapidly in the last six years into a global movement with more than 100,000 members and 18 official chapters in the U.S., with headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts.

Marc has run the Satanic Temple’s Ottawa group since 2016, and says interest in it has burgeoned during that time. 

“We have to put a moratorium on new chapters because we literally have too much growth right now,” he told attendees at The Koven, Global News reported.

Please contact Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa asking him to oppose the planned August 17 black mass in Ottawa:

The Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J.
Archbishop of Ottawa
613-738-5025 ext. 233
[email protected]

Also contact:

Mayor Jim Watson
[email protected] 
Tel.:613-580-2496

Councillor Mathieu Fleury
Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier (where The Koven is located)
[email protected] 
Tel.:613-580-2482

Click HERE for a link to prayers for deliverance and healing from Fr. Amorth’s book.

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Cardinal Pell warns against ‘low-quality’ Amazon Synod working document in prison letter

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

MELBOURNE, Australia, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Cardinal George Pell believes there is “reason to be disturbed” by the working document for the Amazonian Synod. 

On August 1, the cardinal wrote a letter from Melbourne Assessment Prison, where he was incarcerated after a controversial conviction for sexual abuse, to a pro-life activist and the “Support Cardinal Pell” group. In the handwritten note, Pell implied that the Instrumentum Laboris for October’s Synod is a “low-quality document.” 

“I agree that we have reason to be disturbed by the Instrumentum Laboris of the Amazonian Synod,” he wrote. 

“This is not the first low-quality document the Synod secretariat has produced.”

He added that Cardinal Gerhard Müller, formerly the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had written “an excellent critique.”

Pell comforted his correspondents, however, with the suggestion that the Amazon region itself is not synonymous with heterodoxy. 

“I am no expert on the region, but I have been to Iquitos in Amazonian Peru, where a Sydney priest, Fr John Anderson, runs a parish of exemplary piety, pastoral activity and orthodoxy,” he wrote. 

“As in the Amazon, a lot of water has yet to run before the Synod.”

The cardinal was firm on one point, however: the Apostolic Tradition must be preserved. 

“One point is fundamental,” he wrote. 

“The Apostolic Tradition, the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, taken from the New Testament and taught by Popes and Councils by the Magisterium, is the only criterion doctrinally for all teaching on doctrine and practice,” he continued.  

“Amazon or no Amazon, in every land, the Church cannot allow any confusion, much less any contrary teaching, to damage the Apostolic Tradition.” (Full letter below.) 

Another prelate who has found fault with the working document for the Amazonian Synod is Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, who deemed it “heretical” and “apostasy” and called upon Church leaders to reject it. 

Thanks to this Instrumentum Laboris, the Synod on the Amazon, which will take place in Rome, is expected to present arguments to end the celibacy requirement for Roman Catholic priests, to advocate for women deacons, and to extol the pagan spirituality of the Amazon region.   

Pell began his letter by thanking his supporters and explaining that he had not yet written to them because he had received “between 1500-2000” letters and had first responded to letters from fellow prisoners and a few other “special cases.” He intends to reply to every letter. 

The cardinal was handed a six-year jail sentence in March on five convictions for sexual abuse of minors. He was accused of having molested two choir boys in the late 1990s.

The trial was riddled with controversy, not only for the publication ban slapped on the Australian media but because the case against Pell was weak. The testimony presented by the only complainant to appear at the trial resembled a story about another priest published in an issue of Rolling Stone magazine. 

Cardinal Pell has steadfastly maintained his innocence, and an appeal is underway.  

Judge Peter Kidd ruled Pell could not be paroled for three years and eight months, telling the 77-year-old prelate he may die in jail.

“Facing jail at your age in these circumstances must be an awful state of affairs for you,” the judge said.  

Kidd also suggested that the cardinal "may not live to be released from prison."  

Pell wrote to his supporters that he had joined his own sufferings to the greater sufferings of Christ and suggested that they could be used for good in this way. 

“My faith in Our Lord, like yours, is a source of strength,” he stated. 

“The knowledge that my small suffering can be used for good purposes through being joined to Jesus’ suffering gives me purpose and direction,” he continued.  

“Challenges and problems in Church life should be confronted in a similar spirit of faith.”

The letter was subsequently posted to Facebook and other social media. This has created a new controversy because it is unlawful for prisoners in Australia to use social media. They are permitted to write letters but not to direct others to publish them online. However, there is no evidence that Pell asked his supporters to publish his letter. 

Pastoral Letter from George Cardinal Pell

[***** *****] · Friday, 9 August 2019 ·

Melbourne Assessment Prison

1/8/19

Dear [*****] and brothers and sisters in Christ of the Support Cardinal Pell group,

First of all, let me thank you for your prayers and messages of support. These bring immense consolation, humanly and spiritually.

A word of explanation. I have received between 1500-2000 letters and all will be answered. So far, I have only responded to letters from my fellow prisoners (to nearly all of those who wrote) and a few other special cases. Your kindness is not forgotten and will always be fondly remembered.

My faith in Our Lord, like yours, is a source of strength. The knowledge that my small suffering can be used for good purposes through being joined to Jesus’ suffering gives me purpose and direction. Challenges and problems in Church life should be confronted in a similar spirit of faith.

We must always remember that the Church is one, not just in the sense that good families stick together whatever their differences, but because the Church of Christ is based in the Catholic Church, which constitutes the Body of Christ. One ancient saying teaches that there must be unity in essentials (Jesus’ essentials), while there can be diversity in non-essentials. But everywhere and in everything, we must have charity.

I agree that we have reason to be disturbed by the Instrumentum Laboris of the Amazonian Synod. This is not the first low-quality document the Synod secretariat has produced. Cardinal G. Muller, formerly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written an excellent critique. I am no expert on the region, but I have been to Iquitos in Amazonian Peru, where a Sydney priest, Fr John Anderson runs a parish of exemplary piety, pastoral activity and orthodoxy. As in the Amazon, a lot of water has yet to run before the Synod.

One point is fundamental. The Apostolic Tradition, the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, taken from the New Testament and taught by Popes and Councils by the Magisterium, is the only criterion doctrinally for all teaching on doctrine and practice. Amazon or no Amazon, in every land, the Church cannot allow any confusion, much less any contrary teaching, to damage the Apostolic Tradition.

The Spirit continues to be with the Church. You have every right to make your voices heard, reasonably and in charity. We need not expect the worst.

Your grateful brother,

+ George Card. Pell 

 

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Universal cancels release of film about rich elites hunting, killing ‘deplorables’

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Universal Pictures will not release a controversial thriller about wealthy liberals hunting conservative Americans for sport following intense backlash against the film’s political connotations as well as concerns about the timing of releasing a violent movie so soon after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

Originally slated to open September 27, The Hunt “follows 12 red-state strangers who wake up in a clearing and realize that they’re being hunted by liberal elites,” according to Deadline. “Betty Gilpin and double Oscar winner Hilary Swank play women on opposite sides of the political spectrum, conservative and liberal, who are targeting each other.”

“We pay for everything, so this country belongs to us,” Swank’s character declares in the film’s trailer. Later, another character explains that “every year, a bunch of elites kidnap normal folks like us ... and hunt us for sport.” The Hollywood Reporter added that the screenplay features a character referring to the President of the United States (presumably Donald Trump) as “ratf***er-in-chief,” to which another quips, “nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables” (Hillary Clinton’s infamous label for Trump supporters).

It’s not entirely clear how the politics of the final product were to play out; the trailer depicts the “liberal elites” as the villains while at the same time one of their would-be victims, played by Gilpin, commits several brutal killings as well. Yet many on the right, including Rev. Franklin Graham and the president himself, condemned The Hunt as a violent, left-wing power fantasy:

Several ads for the film were pulled after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. On August 10, Universal announced that “after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film. We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

“I fully support the decision by Universal and the filmmakers regarding The Hunt,” Swank added. “It is a choice that I also personally felt was necessary. I can’t comprehend the violence happening in our county right now. We should all focus on healing, and above all else, kindness, sensitivity(,) and humanity.”

IndieWire reported that, according to its sources, Universal made the decision to scrap the release before Trump’s comments. It’s widely assumed that the company will eventually release The Hunt, but when is unknown.

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Trump defends retweeting video suggesting that Clintons had Jeffrey Epstein killed

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By Calvin Freiburger

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump is under fire for retweeting a conservative comedian’s video speculating that ex-Democrat power couple Bill and Hillary Clinton are responsible for the death of billionaire and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein was found dead from apparent suicide in his cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) last weekend, less than three weeks after a failed suicide attempt. He was being held on charges of trafficking underaged girls to be raped by himself and wealthy associates. 

The case has been a source of intense curiosity for months, due to the mysteries surrounding Epstein’s private Caribbean retreat, dubbed “Pedophile Island” by locals, as well as to the botched past prosecution and lax punishment for his previous crimes.

After Epstein’s death, Trump retweeted a video from conservative pundit and comedian Terrence Williams speculating that his suicide was actually a murder staged by the former president and failed presidential candidate.

“He had information on the Clintons, and the man ended up dead,” Williams says in the video. “I don’t wanna know if Bill Clinton eats boogers. Don’t tell me nothin’, I don’t wanna end up dead.”

The conspiracy theory stems from the fact that Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s private plane on dozens of occasions, and that the billionaire had visited the Clinton White House several times, as well as a long-simmering conspiracy theory about the 1993 suicide of White House counsel Vince Foster. (Trump also flew with Epstein in 1997 but later banned him from his Mar-a-Lago club for assaulting an underage girl.)

Democrat presidential contenders and anti-Trump media outlets condemned Trump as “reckless,” “bizarre,” and “sowing national chaos” for sharing the video. "The retweet was from somebody that is a very respected conservative pundit so I think that was fine," Trump responded Tuesday. "I want a full investigation.”

While speculation is running rampant, prominent conservatives such as author Ann Coulter (one of Trump’s earliest backers and a longtime Clinton critic) have dismissed the notion that the Clintons could have engineered a fake suicide of a high-profile prisoner. Further, Epstein’s death hasn’t ended the investigation; the FBI executed a raid on Epstein’s private island two days after he killed himself.

That said, more mainstream questions are also swirling over the management of the facility holding Epstein, particularly why he was taken off suicide watch and why the officers on duty neglected their regular checks of his cell. U.S. Attorney General William Barr has pledged that the Justice Department will investigate the “serious irregularities” apparent at MCC and continue the investigation into Epstein’s crimes.

“Let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein,” Barr declared. “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice, and they will get it.”

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WATCH: Go behind the scenes with LifeSite’s team of joy-filled defenders of Christ

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By John-Henry Westen
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Back Row (Left to Right): Jason Taylor, Paul Smeaton, Jonathon Van Maren, Martin Barillas, Patrick Craine | Middle Row (Left to Right): John Jalsevac, Calvin Freiburger, Clare Maagad, Doug Mainwaring, Jon Fidero, Brian Limas, Lisa Bourne, Steve Jalsevac, Bruce Sabalaskey, John-Henry Westen, Drew Belsky, Stephen Kokx, Scott Schittl, Jim Hale, Pete Baklinski | Front Row (Left to Right): Karolyn Heffernan, Lisa Stover, Danielle Zuccaro, Claire Chretien, Dorothy Cummings McLean, Rebecca Fidero, Mother Miriam, Madeleine Jacob, Rebekah Roberts, Lianne Laurence, Diane Montagna, Matthew McDevitt, Jeanne Smits
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August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSite fans will have noticed the site went quiet for Thursday, Friday, and Monday. As we explained, we were on retreat. Once a year LifeSite brings all our staff together from around the world for a face-to-face retreat with the whole crew which has ballooned to more than 30 of us – not counting members of the board who also attend. 

We spent the long weekend listening to updates from various departments within LifeSite, collaborating and setting goals for the year to come. The journalists experienced some hands-on learning that will only enrich our reporting. Of course, we also spent a great deal of time laughing, deepening our faith, and connecting as a team. 

LifeSiteNews has experienced greater growth in traffic and users this past year than in almost our whole history combined! We had a record 10.6 million page views in July alone! 

We have been blessed with an awesome team. Honestly, I believe they are some of the most talented people on earth. Secular society would also love to have their talents. But they’ve chosen to lay them out in the service of the Lord of Life.

These are faithful, hard-working, sacrificial young and older soldiers for the culture of life, family, faith, and freedom. They are my heroes. I’m blessed to call them colleagues, friends, and truly brothers and sisters.

Two of our newest additions at LifeSiteNews, Jim Hale and Jason Taylor, took some amazing photos and video of our time together and we’re so pleased to bring you their compilations.

At LifeSite we don’t trust in our talents, we lay them out in the service of the Lord and trust in Him alone. He has and will continue to see to the success of His Work. We need not worry about it. We can rejoice in His victories knowing honestly that they come from His hand and give Him the glory. 

Seek first the Kingdom of God and all the rest shall be given to you, the Scriptures tell us.

You, our supporters, are, like the LifeSite team, called by God to this work and have responded with great generosity, sacrifice, and love. The Lord has seen your sacrifice and your love and made your efforts shine to reach the world with the truth about the most difficult issues facing the globe today. 

This is not a job. It’s a mission – a mission for Christ, with Christ, in Christ.

I am humbled to serve with such great soldiers for Christ in this mission of His of LifeSiteNews.

 

Get to know the LifeSite team:

Steve Jalsevac - Co-Founder and President

John-Henry Westen - Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Patrick Craine - Vice President of Editorial

Jon Fidero - Vice President of Advancement

Clare Maagad - Operations Manager

John Jalsevac - Consultant

Peter Baklinski - Senior Editor

Claire Chretien - Associate Editor

Drew Belsky - Assistant Editor

Martin Barillas - Catholic Breaking News Journalist

Lisa Bourne - Journalist

Dorothy Cummings McLean - Journalist

Calvin Freiburger - Journalist 

Lianne Laurence - Journalist

Douglas Mainwaring - Journalist

Diane Montagna - Rome Correspondent

Maike Hickson - Journalist

Matthew Hoffman (not pictured) - Journalist

Jeanne Smits - Journalist

Jonathon Van Maren - Journalist/Podcaster

Lisa Stover - Major Gifts Officer

Danielle Zuccaro - Donor Giving Coordinator

Karolyn Heffernan - Donor Giving Coordinator

Rebecca Fidero - Business Manager

Rebekah Roberts - Director of Marketing

Stephen Kokx - Assistant Director of Marketing

Madeleine Jacob - Marketing Assistant

Paul Smeaton - Community Coordinator

Brian Limas - Assistant Multimedia Editor and Youth Formation Coordinator

Jim Hale - Video Editor

Jason Taylor - Video Editor

Scott Schittl - Campaigns Manager

Bruce Sabalasky - Web Developer

Matthew McDevitt - Assistant Web Developer

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Mexico Supreme Court refuses to strike down law requiring hospitals to abort babies conceived in rape

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Mexico’s Supreme Court rejected last week a proposed ruling that would have invalidated a federal regulation requiring the country’s public hospitals to perform abortions in cases of rape, despite questions raised by two state governments regarding its validity under federal law.

Moreover, the court's president has told the media that women claiming to have been raped will not have to secure a guilty verdict against the perpetrator, nor to file a criminal claim, in order to have the procedure. They will only need to sign an affidavit stating they were raped.

Mexican and international media widely reported that the Supreme Court had upheld the federal regulation, known as NOM 046, and had even ordered hospitals to do abortions. However, this was not the case; the court simply refused to strike down the regulation, which was being contested on technical and procedural grounds. The court is expected to issue a jurisprudential opinion on the regulation within a year.

Still, the Supreme Court President Arturo Zaldívar, who was on the majority that refused to strike down the law, strongly hinted in his declarations that the court intends to positively declare the constitutionality of the regulation at some time in the future, claiming that the killing of unborn children in rape cases is a “right” of women, and that the poor and vulnerable are in need of it.

“This kind of limitation, of obstruction of this right of women, normally affects the poorest, most vulnerable women, as well as girls and indigenous women, because there is a certain social sector of the Mexican population, which will in any case interrupt a pregnancy, because it has access to places where this sort of thing is done, but those levels of our people that are the most vulnerable, have this regulation to protect women and girls,” said Zaldívar.

Later, in an interview with Radio Fórmula, Zaldivar made it clear that he believes a woman should only have to submit a signed and sworn statement affirming she was raped, in order to receive a state-sponsored abortion. “Her word is enough, because what is sought here is to protect the victims," said Zaldívar.

Other justices on the court’s majority defending the regulation echoed the claim that abortion is a “human right,” that it was necessary to “protect” women, and that a “gender perspective” was necessary in the court’s approach.

The current version of the regulation has been in place since 2009, when the ostensibly pro-life administration of President Felipe Calderón acceded to pressure from international pro-abortion forces and modified the previous version of the regulation to require public hospitals to perform abortions in cases of rape.  

The regulation requires all of the country’s public hospitals to provide the abortifacient morning-after pill for rape victims within 120 hours of a reported rape, and adds that if the woman is impregnated, she has a right to an abortion by the hospital, with the previous permission of the “competent authority.” The regulation does not state how quickly this must be done, or what proof must be given of the rape. Doctors with moral objections to abortion are exempt from the requirement, although hospitals are required to hire medical personnel who have no qualms about killing the unborn.

Most Mexican states have long permitted abortion in cases of rape, although hospitals were not required by law to provide such abortions, and most Mexican doctors refused to do them. Mexico’s strongly Catholic cultural traditions and traditional love of children and family have produced a strong pro-life sentiment that led to the creation of pro-life constitutional amendments in a majority of Mexican states following the legalization of abortion-on-demand in Mexico City in 2007.

The state of Nuevo León became the latest to pass such an amendment in March of this year, making a total of 20 of Mexico’s 31 states that have such amendments. Nonetheless, all of the states continue to allow exceptions to their prohibitions on abortion.

In 2011, Mexico’s purported “Roe v. Wade” case was decided by the Supreme Court in favor of the pro-life constitutional amendments, when the court failed to reach a sufficient majority to overturn them as unconstitutional. The upholding of NOM 046 does not overturn that ruling.

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New Zealand government allows public to weigh in on abortion-on-demand bill

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By Michelle Kaufman

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A bill that would legalize abortion on demand up to birth in New Zealand passed its first reading last week. Local pro-lifers are urging New Zealanders who are concerned about the bill and its ramifications to voice to the government their opposition. 

The Abortion Legislation Act 2019 passed its first reading last Thursday in a landslide parliamentary vote of 94 to 23.  The vote took place just three days after the proposed extreme law was introduced.

In addition to legalizing abortion on demand up to birth with very few restrictions, the proposed legislation would remove abortion from the Crimes Act. Currently, limited protection is offered to pre-born children, giving specific circumstances when an abortion can be obtained.  

Pro-life witness and free speech would also be banned around abortion facilities with the introduction of “safe areas.”

Members of the public have less than six weeks to share their views through the submission process.

Submissions must be received by the newly formed Abortion Legislation Committee by Thursday, September 19.  The NZ Parliament website provides the most efficient way for critics to raise concerns. 

The Abortion Legislation Committee is headed by the Honourable Ruth Dyson.  Just two of the seven committee members voted against the bill, Agnes Loheni and Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki, raising concerns about how impartial the submission process will be.

After the Committee receives the public’s views, a report will be presented and a second reading and vote will take place.  If the Bill passes the second vote, a debate on the bill will occur and amendments can be put forward.  Finally, a third reading occurs at which point the fate of the Bill is decided.  If it passes, royal assent is granted and the Bill becomes law.

It is widely believed that the incumbent Labour government wishes to finalize the law prior to Christmas, as 2020 is an election year.

The vote in favor of the bill last week followed a series of ideologically driven parliamentary speeches.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern infused the debate with the work of pro-abortion advocates both inside and outside Parliament.  

Acknowledging her own religious upbringing, Ardern directed a comment to people of faith who oppose abortion. “I will defend always your right to hold that view,” she said, adding, “but I will draw a line when holding that view then impedes on the rights of others.”

Just a few politicians spoke in defense of human life before birth.  The strongest and most eloquent speech came from Simon O’Connor who has stood firm in his defence of human life from its beginning to its end. 

O’Connor proclaimed that human rights are for all. “They’re for mums and they’re for babies,” he said, “and where rights start to occur for some and not for others, we no longer have human rights.”

He pointed out that “the sad irony of this debate is those that proclaim their love of human rights are actively seeking to remove it from some.”

Finishing with a statement of hope, Mr. O’Connor said that “that which is right will always win. For the light will never be extinguished. And history shows that just when those who promote and celebrate death think they’ve won, life triumphs.”

With more than 13,000 induced abortions reported in New Zealand each year, approximately one in five pregnancies end in this way.

Submissions can be made online at Parliament.nz and must be received by Thursday, September 19.

Related stories:

Proposed extreme law would legalize abortion on demand up to birth in New Zealand

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Latin Mass, Church traditions bring boom in vocations for US order of nuns

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By Drew Belsky
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FAIRFIELD, Pennsylvania, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In an age where religious professions are in decline, especially in the United States, one order is looking back in time to buck the trend. The Discalced Carmelites have turned from the modern Church’s reforms of the 1960s and embraced ancient traditions – particularly the traditional Latin Mass. Now their order is booming, with multiple at-capacity monasteries dotting the eastern U.S.

Since 2000, the Carmelites have been faced with the sort of challenge many religious orders pine for: a boom in vocations. In that year, the nuns moved into the monastery at Elysburg, Pennsylvania from their original home in Nebraska, which they soon outgrew. They were thus granted permission to take over another declining Carmelite monastery, the Carmel of St. Joseph and St. Anne, in Philadelphia — and filled that one with vocations as well. So finally, with the community having overflowed its lodgings twice, the Carmelites received permission last summer from His Excellency Ronald Gainer, bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, to expand operations again, this time constructing a new monastery from the ground up.

That’s how the Carmel at Fairfield, still under construction but already in operation, was born.

Women interested in a life with the cloistered Carmelites must meet a number of qualifications. Postulants need a high school education and to be in good health, coming in at an age range of 17 to their late twenties — though Mother Stella-Marie of Jesus, who heads the Fairfield monastery, told LifeSiteNews that inquirers tend to be between 17 and 24.

Currently, the monastery at Fairfield has ten professed members, with more on the way from around the globe, including as far as Sweden. 

The cloistered nuns at the Carmel in Fairfield close themselves off from the world and devote the rest of their lives to strict silence, arduous labor, and prayer. Once they profess their vows, their faces may not be seen in photographs until after they die. When LifeSiteNews traveled to Pennsylvania to profile the monastery, Mother Stella gave her interview from behind a heavy grate – the same grate through which the Carmelites are permitted to speak to their family members a single time per year.

“I think the young women are drawn to beauty in the liturgy. They know that if God exists, if God is on our altars, if God is within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, then He needs to be worshiped as He deserves: with beauty and reverence,” she said of what she thinks draws young women to the Carmelites in particular. “They see that we have that here in our monastery, and they want to be a part of that. They also want something that is authentic, that goes back to the time of our holy mother, St. Teresa.”

St. Teresa of Avila (1515–1582), whom the Carmelites revere as their patroness, is one of the order’s most distinguished saints. A famous mystic and foundress of many Carmelite houses, she also wrote the famous works The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle. Pope Gregory XV canonized her in 1622, and Pope Paul VI declared her a doctor of the Church in 1970.

“One of the unique aspects of our monastery,” Mother Stella elaborated, “is that we do have the extraordinary form of the Mass. We also have the traditional Divine Office. We pray the Office in Latin. We have permission also to pray the traditional form of the Carmelite Office, and young women are very much drawn to that.”

The Carmelites had always had the Latin Mass up until the Second Vatican Council, Mother Stella told LifeSiteNews, so the transition back to form was “like hand in glove.” She said, “As soon as we took on the extraordinary form of the Mass and we returned to the traditional Carmelite rite, just everything made sense. All of our customs — we understood why we had them, because they all flowed from the liturgy, whereas before that, there had been a disconnect there.”

Re-embracing the traditional Mass, Mother Stella explained, effected a “complete explosion of grace and joy for the sisters.” The nuns switched from the Novus Ordo  in 2000, “and ever since then, we’ve had a great increase in vocations, and the spirit of the community has been one of joy and growth in the spiritual life.”

With the Church’s ancient liturgy and traditions now firmly ensconced in the order, “young women are writing, are knocking at the door to enter,” said Mother Stella. “The growth is very clear and very palpable.”

Nor should the Latin Mass remain confined to the monasteries, Mother Stella insisted. On the contrary, “it should flow out into the world. And it starts with the monasteries, and then it will flow out to families, and even to the parish life also.”

Per their website, the Fairfield Carmelites “are building a monastery to last the ages.” The project comprises only “authentic materials” — “stone masonry, timber framing, slate, plaster, and reclaimed wood for flooring.” Justin Money, a skilled stonemason and the project’s supervisor, explained to LifeSiteNews that the techniques involved in the monastery’s construction are meant to last centuries. They also take a long time.

“There are very few modern innovations that are able to speed up our work here,” Money said. “Every stone has to be individually selected, shaped, and placed on the wall. That essential act of choosing the next stone, dressing it, and fitting it in — we’re doing the exact same thing that people did when they were building Notre Dame.” 

The painstaking nature of the construction makes for a good parallel to the ancient liturgies and customs that will fill the monastery when it’s finished. The buildings’ endurance speaks to the rootedness of Catholics and their traditions in the land, spanning generations of continuous, unbroken worship.

“This is the first of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of stones,” Money explained, “that stonemasons will lay on this monastery long after I’m dead. What a privilege to be there at the start, to be part of a vision that is going to continue well past my lifetime. I hope that my grandchildren, my great-great-grandchildren will come to this monastery long after I’m gone and say, you know, ‘Our great-grandpa played a part in this.’”

Mother Stella did not mince words regarding the importance of the contemplative orders. She told LifeSiteNews that the Carmelites follow the example set forth by Christ in chasing a demon from a possessed child whom His disciples could not cure. In Matthew 17:21, Christ admonishes his followers, saying, “[T]his kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.”

“Here our Lord was extolling the monastic life,” Mother Stella explained. “Young women know that there are certain evils out in the world that can only be healed in this way — just through prayer and through fasting.”

In the Body of Christ, Mother Stella declared, “the missionaries are the hands and the feet, and they do all the very hard manual labor — but they could never do what they do without the heart. And the heart of the Church is the contemplative life.”

What, LifeSite asked, would happen if the contemplative orders were to vanish, as, indeed, many orders today are? Mother Stella responded from behind the grate: “I think that there would be a complete collapse of the faith throughout the whole world if there wouldn’t be the contemplative monasteries to be praying for those out in the world who are striving to convert souls to Christ. It would be absolutely impossible.”

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Family of murdered El Paso couple gets death threats for meeting with Trump

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By Calvin Freiburger

EL PASO, Texas, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The family of a couple killed protecting their baby in the deadly El Paso shooting says they’ve received death threats for taking a picture with President Donald Trump, but they refuse to wade into the political blame game.

Twenty-two people were killed and two dozen injured after 21-year-old Patrick Crusius opened fire inside an El Paso Walmart, apparently motivated by a range of ideological grievances including “racial and cultural replacement of the European people” as well as corporations “shamelessly over-harvesting resources.”

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

Among the victims were Andre and Jordan Anchondo, who died shielding their two-month-old baby from harm.

"From the baby's injuries, they said that more than likely my sister was trying to shield him," Jordan’s sister, Leta Jamrowski, said. "So when she got shot she was holding him and she fell on him, so that's why he broke some of his bones. So he pretty much lived because she gave her life." Andre was in turn trying to shield his wife’s body.

On August 7, the president and First Lady Melania Trump visited the University Medical Center of El Paso to meet with victims and their families, including Andre’s brother, Tito Anchondo, which has sparked a backlash among left-wing activists and pundits who have tried to blame the shooting on Trump’s hard-line stance against illegal immigration.

The president "was just there to give his condolences and he was just being a human being,” said Tito, the Houston Chronicle reported. "Is it that hard to try and understand that a family is trying to not be sad at a moment like this?"

He added that he has received death threats over a photo taken with the Trumps. "We should be coming together as a country at this time instead of threatening each other with hate messages," Tito said.

He also said that he had “definitely” felt consoled by the conversation with the president, and that Andre had been “very supportive of Trump.”

Another relative of the slain couple, Vibora Anchondo, issued a stinging rebuke to two unnamed local politicians for warning Trump to stay out of El Paso.

“I cannot believe how these monsters are using the tragic event to push their political agenda,” she wrote on Facebook. “I lost my brother and sister-in-law on Saturday. My family and I are living a horrible nightmare. The visit from our President will be more than comforting to my family. He will not be here for a political agenda.”

Tito Anchondo has set up a GoFundMe to help with future expenses for the murdered couple’s baby and their two older children. As of Tuesday morning, it has raised more than $148,000.

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Florida appeals court rules in favor of 24-hour waiting period for abortion

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By Martin Barillas

GAINESVILLE, Florida, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Florida appeals court reversed a ruling that declared a 24-hour waiting period for abortion unconstitutional, handing pro-life advocates a partial victory. 

The First District Court of Appeal determined on August 1 that a lower court’s blocking of the Sunshine state’s abortion waiting period in State of Florida vs. Gainesville Woman Care should be reversed and sent back to the lower court.

According to the Miami Herald, the case could become a key test for the Florida Supreme Court. While the court has historically been dominated by pro-abortion jurists, there is now a “conservative” majoirty, which may rule more favorably on pro-life cases. 

The appeals court “breathed new life into this important law,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, noting the ruling cited the group’s brief.

“The 24-hour waiting period is critical because abortion is a life and death decision,” Staver continued. “Abortion advocates oppose a waiting period because they fear the mother will choose life. How sad that a mother can kill her pre-born child without waiting even 24 hours, and yet, when someone other than the mother kills the same child, it is a criminal offense.”

Writing for the majority in the 2-1 decision, Judge Timothy Osterhaus ruled: “Rather than singling out and burdening abortion procedures with arbitrary requirements, the state’s evidence indicates that the 24-hour [law] brings abortion procedures in Florida into compliance with medical informed consent standards and tangibly improves health outcomes for women.” Judge Harvey Jay voted with Osterhaus. Both were appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican. Scott is now the junior U.S. Senator for Florida.

Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis had ruled in 2018 that the 24-hour waiting period was unconstitutional, despite the fact that 27 other states have similar waiting period requirements. 

Denise Harle of Alliance Defending Freedom indicated that the appeals court focused on the issue of standards of care for women seeking medical treatment. In a statement, she declared, “Abortion is a life-altering decision, and no woman should be rushed or pressured into it. Abortion advocates, with the help of the ACLU, sought to strike down this commonsense protection for women, even though the U.S. Supreme Court already upheld a similar law. The appeals court noted evidence from medical experts that the standard of care for significant, non-emergency medical procedures is that they are not and should not be done on a drop-in basis.”

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Steven Mosher. LifeSiteNews
Monica Showalter

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New film shows Chinese horrors, proves shunned China expert Steven Mosher right

Monica Showalter
By Monica Showalter

August 13, 2019 (American Thinker) — Funny how truth will out sometimes.

Here's news of a new documentary out that's being promoted by the left-leaning Daily Beast:

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and premiering in select theaters on August 9 courtesy of Amazon, directors Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang's heartrending documentary examines their native China's one-child policy, which functioned as a systematic attack on its female population—and which resulted in collateral damage on an international scale.

In effect from 1979 to 2015, China's policy placed strict guidelines on reproduction in order to curb population growth, which Wang's mother proclaims (parroting the Communist Party line) might otherwise have led to famine and potential cannibalism. Urban citizens were limited to a single child, while rural inhabitants were, in the mid-1980s, granted the opportunity to have a second kid. The law outlined strict punishment for non-compliance: the destruction of homes, forfeiture of property and valuables, and steep fines. Those who suffered those penalties, however, got off easy, since local Family Planning Officials — empowered by the Communist Party — also had the authority to abduct women, tie them up, and force them to undergo sterilizations and abortions as late as eight to nine months into their pregnancies.

They're reporting this as if it's news, and in some ways, it is. But it's not as though it's something no one knew before. Perhaps in their left-wing intellectual elitist bubble it was, but in the greater world at large, it was known.

In fact, the horrors described were always out there. They were put out there by people who were reviled for doing it, back when China chic was the "in" thing, and everyone who was anyone in Beltway power and academic circles fell all over himself to kowtow to the Chinese government.

Remember Stanford scholar Steven Mosher? Way back in the 1980s, the man was reviled in scholarly circles for exposing just these brutal realities about China. Instead of being praised for adding to the scholarly body of knowledge, he was abused, slandered, accused of process crimes, and eventually kicked out of his Ph.D. program because he reported the truth about what was happening. This was at the urging of the Chinese government, which wanted all news of its cruelty kept hidden — the lies-violence cycle that Alexander Solzhenitsyn described as so necessary to all totalitarian tyrannies. I recall that controversy back when I was a student studying Chinese history, and my professor (I won't name him, because, well, I liked him) called Mosher "a rat" because his revelations about China's forced abortions and human rights violations angered the Chinese communist government and caused it to limit opportunities for scholarly research on China.

Yet the only thing Mosher was really guilty of was the highest responsibility of a scholar, which was to tell the truth.

There were all kinds of signs that Mosher was telling the truth over the years. Remember this woman? This is a saint to rival Mother Teresa based on her defiance of China's inhuman juggernaut in the name of saving helpless discarded babies even in her own penury. She knew the truth and witnessed to it, too. It was only a few years ago that word of her great deeds got out.

Now that the luster is off China, its economy is in the crapper, its internet repression is getting famous, its military machine is getting aggressive abroad, and its brutal totalitarian machine is revving up to destroy the tiny island of freedom of Hong Kong, it seems it's safe for the elites to come out with the truth. Glad they made this documentary, of course, but it's not exactly news or even courageous to do at this point.

What it reveals, in its own way, is the cowardice of the elites. This documentary is out; it's making news; and it doesn't make Stanford, which expelled Mosher, look good. It doesn't make any of the academic elites who badmouthed Mosher (and, for that matter, people like the late Harry Wu, who told the truth about China's laogai gulag system and systematic repression in Xinjiang) look good. It highlights how repressive this stateside apologist system for China has been.

The movie is out, it says the same things Mosher says, and Mosher now stands vindicated. Maybe the next documentary should go beyond China's atrocious record to the enabling racket in the West that did so much to vilify the truth-tellers of the past fifty ears. It would be the right sort of vindication for those who spoke the truth and paid a price.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Pope Francis at 2016 Rome consistory, when "progressive" archbishops Cupich, Joseph Tobin, and Farrell were made cardinals. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSite
William Kilpatrick

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Pope Francis appointments paint disturbing picture of Church governance

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

August 13, 2019 (Turning Point Project) — One would assume a radical pope like Francis would at least keep a few token conservatives in his entourage. On the contrary: many of his appointees are well to the Left of his own public image. Much can be gleaned about the Holy Father's mind by studying the men he entrusts with power and authority.

Take the appointment of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia to head the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family. The regime-change took place two years ago; now, as expected, Paglia is conducting a Stalin-style purge of the Academy. All the members of the Institute who subscribe to John Paul's view of marriage and morality are being handed pink slips — a color which suggests the new direction that Paglia has in mind for the Institute.

Of course, this is the man now famous for having commissioned an enormous homoerotic fresco to "grace" an interior wall of his cathedral. In the picture, a semi-nude (his lower half is mercifully shielded by a sheet) Archbishop Paglia is seen clutching a nude man who returns his embrace.

It may be that Italians have a more relaxed view of such things; but, with a few possible exceptions, it's difficult to imagine any Catholic church in America that would dare to impose such a painting on its congregation. Likewise, it's difficult to imagine that many Catholic families would consider hanging a reproduction of the morally confusing painting on their living room wall.

Yet the bishop in the buff is now the man in charge of explaining to the rest of us what marriage, family, and sexuality are all about. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, there's no need to say any more about Archbishop Paglia and why he hardly seems a suitable choice for the office he now holds.

Let's move on, then, to some other examples of Francis appointees who set off the alarm on the bias detection meter.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is the most obvious example. After his pattern of predation was well established, and after Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance, McCarrick was rehabilitated by Pope Francis and became unofficial nuncio to various totalitarian states. The roving ambassador with the roving eye was also put in charge of recommending key episcopal appointments, although that job rightfully belonged to the real nuncio to the United States.

As a result, several McCarrick protégés quickly rose through the ranks. Cardinal Donald Wuerl was elevated to the Congregation for Bishops, LGBT-friendly Blase Cupich was made Archbishop of Chicago, and staunch LGBT supporter Joseph Tobin was appointed to the Archdiocese of Newark and the Congregation for Catholic Education. And then, of course, there's Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who was McCarrick's housemate for six years. Pope Francis promoted Farrell from Archbishop of Dallas to Prelate of the Dicastery of the Laity, Family and Life.

"Wait a minute," you might ask, "Isn't Archbishop Paglia in charge of family affairs?" Well, yes and no. Paglia is in charge of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family; Farrell oversees the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. But rest assured that, one way or another, the pro-LGBT Paglia and the pro-LGBT Farrell have got the family covered. Farrell, you may remember, was in charge of organizing the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin which featured such rising stars as — wait for it — Cardinal Cupich and the pro-LGBT Fr. James Martin, SJ.

As Pope Francis likes to say, "everything is connected." He should know. He's the one who's been making all the connections. Only in this case, the connections look like the flow chart for a Mafia family.

The Archdiocese of Washington, DC is a web of corruption unto itself — all of it centered, of course, on the infamous Mr. McCarrick. When McCarrick protégé Cardinal Wuerl was forced to resign as Archbishop of Washington, Francis replaced him with yet another McCarrick protégé: Bishop Wilton Gregory, who's also quite LGBT-friendly.

Meanwhile, strange things were happening at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The first rector of the Shrine, Msgr. (now Bishop) Michael Bransfield, was recently suspended from public ministry after allegations of a long history of homosexual misconduct and misappropriation of diocesan funds.

At Bransfield's consecration, a certain Cardinal Theodore McCarrick acted as co-consecrator. Bransfield also just happened to be the first president of the board of trustees of McCarrick's Papal Foundation — a position which latter passed to one Cardinal Donald Wuerl. A Washington Post investigation later revealed that Bransfield had given $350,000 in cash gifts to various cardinals and bishops, including a hefty $29,000 to the selfsame Cardinal Kevin Farrell.

But that's not all. When Bransfield left the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, he was succeeded as rector by Msgr. Walter Rossi, who was "handpicked" by McCarrick. An investigative article in The American Spectator alleges that Rossi sexually harassed seminarians. This was subsequently corroborated by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who said that, as papal nuncio, he also had received complaints about Rossi's sexual predation.

Get the picture? Admittedly, it's a big complicated picture. A visual aid would help. Perhaps Archbishop Paglia could be persuaded to commission a mural to illustrate the tangled web of connections.

Perhaps the mural could replace the highly judgmental mosaic of Christ in Majesty which is situated above and behind the altar in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Some people complain that the figure of Christ doesn't appear to be particularly welcoming. But considering what he has witnessed in the vicinity of the basilica, it would be unrealistic to expect to see Christ with a winsome smile.

This article originally appeared in the August 8, 2019 edition of Crisis. It is published here with permission from the Turning Point Project.

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Phil Lawler

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Politics was ugly before Donald Trump. Why are bishops rushing to condemn him?

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

August 13, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — "The growing plague of offense and disrespect in speech and actions must end," says Archbishop Wilton Gregory in his highly publicized response to President Trump's remarks about squalor in Baltimore. "I fear that recent public comments by our President and others and the responses they have generated, have deepened division and diminished our national life."

Who could disagree? Whether you're a fan or a foe of President Trump, you cannot deny the nasty partisan divisions in America, the ugly tone of public debates that have degenerated into shouting matches and worse.

The problem that I see with Archbishop Gregory's message lies in the fact that our bishops have (as usual) arrived late on the scene. The "politics of personal destruction" had become a regular feature of our nation's political discourse long before Donald Trump — and his vociferous critics — arrived on the scene.

When did it all begin? That's a question worthy of a doctoral dissertation by some aspiring historian (if one hasn't already been written). But for a quick answer, I'd point to July 31, 1987, after President Reagan nominated Robert Bork for a seat on the Supreme Court. A leading member of the US Senate promptly rose to say:

Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.

Unlike Donald Trump, the man who delivered that wild diatribe — the late Ted Kennedy — identified himself as a Catholic and relied heavily on a base of support with Catholic voters. Unlike Trump, who tosses off insults with the insouciance of a TV personality, Kennedy spoke in deadly earnest.

And unlike Trump, Kennedy was not, as I recall, rebuked by any Catholic prelate for that disgraceful speech.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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President Donald Trump celebrates the passage of the Tax Cuts Act with Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, December 20, 2017 White House / Flickr
Brad DeFlumeri

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How Democrats are unwittingly pushing Americans to elect Trump and Pence for second term

Brad DeFlumeri
By

ANALYSIS

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, after 15 minutes on CNN defaming President Trump, said recently: “If you get in a mud wrestling match with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it. And every Democrat should remember that.”

Fair enough.

But when you get into a mud fight with a Democrat, you lose your private health insurance, pay extortionate taxes, become pathologically obsessed with racial guilt, and your daughter has an abortion.

President Trump is no one’s leading exemplar of moral responsibility, but his administration’s policy agenda, taken in sum, has served the country well. He has rightly come to the defense of law enforcement officers as the mob-like Left aims to repeal the entire criminal code and elevate drug offenders to national-hero status. Most importantly, by my lights, he has advanced the pro-life cause more effectively than any president in recent memory, firmly entrenching the political and judicial foundation needed to overturn Roe v. Wade, and so enable right-thinking states to protect innocent life.

For these reasons, and because the Democrat Party is... 

  • increasingly beholden to ghoulish, unhinged, far-left agitators who fiendishly yet admittedly aim to vilify the Founding Fathers
  • subversively condemning and distorting our nation’s history & traditions 
  • instilling shame and self-hatred in Americans who have a good-faith affection for, and pride in, our nation 
  • bludgeoning Americans of European descent with the heavy hatchet of faux racial guilt
  • dividing Americans into arbitrary & politically-categorized groups of “oppressor” and “oppressed” to subtly sow caustic racial divisions among these self-defined groups for the often-concealed purpose of accumulating, and preserving, political power
  • suffocating personal-responsibility-focused, common-sense traditional values in a muddy dumpster of moral relativism
  • stimulating hatred of, and violence against, the law enforcement community
  • and, among other cultural atrocities, rewriting the Constitution, the Ten Commandments and the Hippocratic Oath to promote the so-called right to abortion 

...Americans should, and will, return President Trump and Vice President Pence to office for a second term.

Like other derelict, misguided leftists who stay up nights baying at the moon, tormented by micro-aggressions, wokeness, intersectionality, toxic masculinity and all manner of other wretched, power-grabbing, social-experiment outrages, the moonbat malcontents recently disrupting the Democrat debate may indeed have a place at the table shaping the Democrat Party’s policy agenda, but their ideological preoccupations are so wildly outside the American mainstream — and so directly in contradiction to the values that have shaped and sustained our nation — that they ought to have the same role in crafting legislation and defining the national discourse that Jeffrey Epstein — now silenced forever — had with the local Girl Scouts.

Leftist Democrats seek to lead moderate, hard-working Americans down a destructive path to a socially gruesome dystopia where down is up, front is back, and left is mandatory. Any clear-thinking American should politely decline the invitation.

“Biologically distorted, socially perverted, racially extorted, routinely aborted and likely deported” may be the Democrat Party’s 2020 vision for America, but that is no way to go through life — or win a presidential election.

In college, my conservative club often articulated — with sincere affection — the timeless wisdom that feminists aim to “leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.”

But such a policy agenda would be decried as “too moderate” and “not woke enough” in today’s left-of-Sodom, Gomorrah & San Francisco” Democrat Party.

Indeed, that shrieking leftist howling that consistently disrupted a recent Democrat debate — the boring, inarticulate gusher of grievance typically reserved for oppressively drowning out conservative speakers — is the voice of the 2020 Democrat Party in all its full-throated wokeness.

And with each illiterate outburst, President Trump grew urgently more (re-)electable.

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Jakub Baryła. Gloria.tv
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Lone boy holds crucifix high to protest LGBT march, police carry him away

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By Doug Mainwaring
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15 year old Jakub Baryła stands against police and LGBT Activists. (Photo: Gloria.tv)
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Police carry away Jakub Baryła from LGBT March. (Photo: Gloria.tv)

August 16, 2019 2:46 EST update: This report now includes additional quotes from Jakub Baryła.

August 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A picture of a 15-year-old boy standing alone with his crucifix and rosary held high as police in riot gear and LGBT protesters march toward him has gone viral.

The photo of brave schoolboy Jakub Baryła — standing in the middle of a street as rainbow-flag waving protesters march toward him with government police leading the way — is an awesome visual metaphor, perfectly depicting the very real threat of weaponized, politicized LGBT ideology against the children of the entire world.

This picture is worth more than 1,000 words. 

It is an echo of the iconic 1989 picture of a lone man standing against approaching tanks in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The Chinese communist government had called in heavy artillery in order to suppress a student-led demonstration calling for democracy, free speech, and freedom of the press in China.

It’s also an echo of the 1957 photograph in which a courageous young African-American student attempted to enter a newly desegregated Little Rock, Arkansas high school while surrounded by a mob of white racists spewing hate at her. As the crowd yelled, “Lynch her!” and “Go home, n-----!,” young Elizabeth Eckford walked alone.

Baryła stood his ground as the phalanx of heavily armed police bore down upon him. In the end, he was physically removed by police while still holding high his Crucifix and Rosary.

The drama occurred during an “Equality March” in Płock, Poland. 

The 15-year-old explained afterward that he was inspired by a similar gesture made by Fr. Ignacy Skorupko during the 1920 Warsaw battle with the Bolsheviks.

He later wrote on Twitter that he held the cross to oppose the "bad deeds that are promoting homosexuality."

"Jesus and the cross stood against evil and sins. Our holy faith commands us to counteract evil deeds. I also tried to do it. Saying that I was going against people is harmful, I was going against the bad deeds that are promoting homosexuality," he wrote.

Baryla also said that he was highly motivated to take action after he saw a depiction of the Virgin Mary with an LGBT-rainbow halo around her head and the Polish flag profaned with the LGBT rainbow. 

"Later I sat on the pavement and prayed in Latin with the words Salve Regina. I directed my prayer to the Mother of God, the ideal of purity. Policemen came to me and asked me to get out of the way. I said I couldn't do it because the participants of the march are destroying my Catholic faith and profaning the Polish flag by placing a rainbow on it," he told wPolityce.pl.

Young Jakub Baryła said he wanted to “give people something to think about and make them reflect.”

In our current age, the threat of transgenderism backed by government-sanctioned surgical and hormonal mutilation of children in defiance of their parents’ attempts to protect them is very real. State-coerced child gender “transitioning” is already here

Forced government indoctrination of schoolchildren in order to make them more open to questioning their sexuality while undermining their gender identity as either males or females has become totalitarian in nature. Public libraries have become a battleground for grooming the smallest of children for transgenderism thanks to the proliferation of Drag Queen Story Hours in Western countries.

The worlds of media, global and national corporations, and even professional sports are part of the juggernaut threatening children and families.

Poland’s young Jakub Baryła is now an international symbol. His now iconic picture clearly displays the nature of the important battle we now face: LGBT ideology seeks to suppress and destroy the influence of Christianity, and it especially hates the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Ironically, as they march for “freedom,” LGBT activists seek to suppress the message of the Cross, the only means through which they might discover true freedom.

August 15, 2019, 3:51 EST correction:  An earlier version of this report stated that the student receiving insults in the 1957 photograph was Hazel Bryan when it was Elizabeth Eckford. This has now been corrected. 

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Pick-up artist Roosh V. Roosh V / YouTube

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Man who seduced women for living becomes Christian, admits sex didn’t make him happy

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — It is good to hear every now and then of someone who has turned away from a self-destructive way of life. The conversion of Daryush Valizadeh, known as “Roosh,” is an example that deserves some attention. It has received less, I think, at least partly because he has not become a Catholic, but joined the Armenian Apostolic Church, presumably because of his own religious and cultural heritage (he describes himself as half-Armenian and half-Iranian), and partly because he still harbors some peculiar views (more on that later). But it is still an astonishing turnaround. He announced his Christian commitment on March 29, 2019.

So what was he before? To put it bluntly, he made his living from fornication. On the basis of vast experience persuading women to sleep with him, he wrote books and gave talks and workshops about it, facilitating the sexual sins of other men. He was one of the premier “pick-up artists” of the world.

“The road of excess,” wrote William Blake, “leads to the palace of Wisdom.” It is dangerous to take too much comfort from Blake’s idea. Not everyone is given the chance to follow that road to its conclusion; others prefer to move from one vice to another, when they get bored, and there are always more to try. Nevertheless, it does happen occasionally. Roosh discovered by the age of forty that the vast amount of time, effort, and thought he put in to casual sex did not give him deep satisfaction. Not only that, it was warping his personality.

For the longest time, I thought I was just an animal that could “do what thou wilt.” I wanted to sleep around, be “free,” spread my “wings,” experience all I could, and design my own lifestyle in a faraway land, but there are built-in limitations to my existence that have blocked those attempts. If I chose to ignore those limitations and continue transgressing moral law, the subconscious guilt would start controlling me like a parasite controls its host, and I would soon find that my resulting “self” is merely a manifestation of behavior that is not compatible with life as it was created for me.

In particular, he attributes the bitterness toward women that characterized his writing and speaking to this guilt. He came to hate the very women he was pursuing.

I do not wish to link to his website because it is clear that this bitterness still lingers — not only toward women, but toward conservatives, liberals, and indeed apparently more or less everyone. Conversions are not, usually, instantaneous, miraculous cures. We only gradually free ourselves from the consequences of a sinful lifestyle lived for decades. It is interesting and important, nevertheless, that such a prominent proponent of sexual depravity should publicly repudiate it.

Roosh did what countless men do today — approach women in bars and so on with the hope of chatting them up and sleeping with them — but he did it not dozens of times, but tens of thousands of times, taking note of how women reacted to slight variations in chat-up routines, comparing the responses of women in different countries, and writing it all up.

Three things in his experience evidently contributed to his eventual rejection of this way of life. One is the obvious one: that sleeping with hundreds of people may be what you think you want, but it doesn’t actually make you happy.

The second is related to this, which is that he began to consider marriage and children. He could see that casual sex was destructive of women’s moral character, and that the last women he would consider for marriage were the one who fell most easily into his bed. This created a tension. While keeping an eye out for a more classy woman who could, and would want to, sustain a marriage, he was not only gravitating towards the less classy ones, but actually contributing to their moral degradation by having casual sex with them.

The third is that his exhaustive research led him to conclude that the key aspect of male attractiveness to women, which men have some control over, is in appearing to be not “needy” or “desperate,” but instead independent, or even aloof. This rapidly sent him on a collision course with feminism, which in some of its forms is in favor of female promiscuity but hates the idea of women looking up to their men. Anything resembling traditional gender roles makes for serious tension with the free-for-all of the modern “sexual marketplace.”

Sexual sins are not the most serious sins, but as Our Lady of Fatima observed, “the sins which cause most souls to go to hell are the sins of the flesh.” Not many commit murder, and few have the chance to engage in sacrilege, but fornication kills the soul, too, and it is almost compulsory for unmarried people today. Let us hope Roosh’s conversion is an inspiration to others to leave this way of life behind.

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Marriage’s hardest but most beautiful truth: You belong to your spouse

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — By the rubrics of the Solemnization of Matrimony in the Book of Common Prayer, the man is instructed to say to the woman as he places the ring upon her finger: “With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship [i.e., reverence], and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

The spouses give of themselves because they belong to each other. Their mutual homage and lifelong union is a ratification of the covenant written that day upon their hearts by the fiery finger of the Holy Spirit, written with the word of the entire person and the absolute weight of past, present, and future as a testimony to the immortality of the human soul and the divine origin of its love. If vows like this are not possible, human beings are not rational animals or children of God.

The nuptial vow is an imitation of the Virgin Mary’s faith: “Be it done to me according to thy word” (Lk. 1:38). This one timeless utterance — said by Eve to Adam, Sarah to Abraham, Rebecca to Isaac, Rachel to Jacob, Mary to Joseph, Christ to His Father, the Church to Christ — is the solemn attestation of undying love, the triumph of love over death. “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (Song 6:3).

This is why, for the Christian, divorce is not merely cruel and wrong, but impossible and inconceivable. To make oneself, one’s life and destiny, into a yes, and then to say no, is to erase the genuine freedom of the will and annihilate one’s own identity as a bearer of promises. Freedom can survive only in a climate of love, and love in a climate of exceptionless commitment, not a storm of chance or a desert of uncertainty. In marriage vows seriously intended, the man becomes the woman’s, and the woman becomes the man’s — in St. Paul’s words, “you are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:19). Like father and child, husband and wife are correlative. If the father had never existed, the child, too, would vanish. Divorce of what is intrinsically united is no more possible than separating rationality from humanity. In this sense, the rejection of plighted love (divorce) is like the rejection of plighted religion (apostasy), which is itself an image of the rejection of reason (nihilism).

Think of the devotion of the Virgin Mary to her Son. He asked everything of her, and she was not found wanting. When a man or woman plights faith with God, it is done in promise of a future beatitude we do not presently enjoy. The grandeur of faith consists in this free and unconditional surrender to a lover whom we do not see, but whose solemn word we trust.

Imagine the wife of a young man gone off to war. She knows she may never see him again, she knows that nothing can give her certainty of his faithfulness overseas. But if she loves him, she will keep faith with him in expectation of reunion. Scripture says of Jacob that he “served seven years for Rachel: and they seemed but a few days, because of the greatness of his love” (Gen. 30:20). Although in human love, betrayal or death may intervene, the will to love is stronger than either because it springs up from the deepest spiritual core of man’s heart.

In the case of our divine Lover, He longs to make Himself known to us: He has not left us orphans. Why the Incarnation? Why the parables and Passion of Jesus Christ? Why miracles? Why saints and scholars? Are these not the bouquets, the love letters, the passionate outpourings of God to man? Furthermore, if God creates the universe in a fecunditive overflow of His perfect goodness, will He make it impossible for us to find Him, and when He is found, impossible for us to keep Him?

Unlike the ephemeral dreams and tragic fractures of human love, which by its very nature remains subject to change, the love of God remains everlastingly: He is faithful; He will not betray His children. They are His, and He would have them return to Him, as the father wants the prodigal son back in his arms, under his roof. We begin our mortal life in a state of alienation from God; our entire life is a pilgrimage to find our way back to Him. The Father waits for us with a feast, and for our sake, He has allowed the killing, not of a fatted calf, but of His very own Son, that we might return to Him with confidence and rest our weary head on His bosom, like the poor beggar Lazarus reposing in the bosom of Abraham.

Here on Earth, we can but search and follow the star: we must follow whatever light is visible to us with the unwavering faith of the Magi. Thomas Valpy French, Monsignor Ronald Knox’s grandfather, wrote these words about his religious struggles: “I own I have been much perplexed ... I can but come to this, that when full light is not given, one must accept the best light one has, and move slowly forward with some hesitancy but still more trust.” That is what it looks like to abide in hope, and be faithful to one’s promises, waiting in joyful hope for the coming of Our Savior Jesus Christ.

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Pope Francis’ biographer: Pope Benedict’s circle opposes Francis, must be controlled

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By Maike Hickson

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Austen Ivereigh, the British journalist and biographer of Pope Francis, has stated that the circle surrounding Pope emeritus Benedict — which he said includes the Vatican's former doctrine head Cardinal Müller — must be brought under "control" since it is a source of "scandal and of division."

Ivereigh made these comments in an August 10 interview to the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, in which he speaks about his upcoming book on Pope Francis, titled The Wounded Shepherd.

Speaking about those who he holds as resisting Pope Francis, Ivereigh points especially to the circle around Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, and most especially to Cardinal Gerhard Müller — the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — whom he describes as a “leader” of the opposition. 

“We have to find a way to control his [Benedict's] court, which is at this moment a source of scandal and of division,” he said. 

Ivereigh singled out Cardinal Müller as one of the most senior voices of opposition against the way Pope Francis is leading the Catholic Church. He mentioned a “very vociferous and potent” group of Catholics which launches “a missile every month,” trying to “discredit him [the Pope]”.

“Cardinal Müller has become the leader, the main figure of the opposition. His tactic is to make people believe that there is confusion in the Church and that only he can solve it,” Ivereigh, the former press speaker of the deceased Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, stated.

For Ivereigh, Müller has attempted to “regain” his previously prominent “role” in the Church and that he is “pretending to be the watchdog of doctrine.” “But in the end,” Ivereigh continued, “he is a retired official of the Curia, that is to say, he has no position in the Church.” Ivereigh said that while there have always been “accusations of heresy” addressed to a Pope, it is now “unprecedented” that a former official of the Roman Curia “attacks a Pope so openly.” 

When touching upon the relationship between Pope emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis, Ivereigh noted that the retired pope is “always very loyal” to Pope Francis. “But I also see a court around the Pope emeritus which is very tied to the resistance to the Pope,” he continued, adding that these people surrounding the pope emeritus are “manipulating” him.

“We have to find a way to control his [Benedict's] court, which is at this moment a source of scandal and division,” the author added.

Cardinal Müller has raised his voice of opposition to many controversial ideas coming lately out of the Church, such as Communion for Protestant spouses, Communion for “remarried” divorcees, the female diaconate, and the reform of the Roman Curia. He has pointed out the avoidance in the hierarchy of discussing the real reasons for the clerical sex abuse crisis. Finally, he has strongly criticized the working document of the upcoming October 6-27 Amazon Synod. At the beginning of 2019, the German prelate issued a Manifesto of Faith, in which he restated the main tenets of the Catholic Faith. 

Ivereigh also named Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò as a key critic of Pope Francis. After claiming that the resistance is “potent in the sense that it involves several cardinals and very rich and potent organizations in the United States,” the book author adds that they “saw last year's [clerical sex abuse] crisis as an opportunity.” “In Chile,” he continued, “they saw that the Pope was weak, so they took advantage of that with an unusual ferocity.” 

“But those who attacked him [the Pope],” he goes on to say, “led by [Carlo Maria] Viganò are the same ones who have rejected the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.” The tactics to “discredit him,” Ivereigh alleged, “are very typical of the United States, of the techniques the conservatives used against [President] Obama.”

Moreover, Ivereigh also pointed out that the first Family Synod, which gave the Church the “possibility of change” had at first caused a “fierce opposition.” In his view, the critics did not like that Pope Francis allowed “spaces” and then “respected” the larger “consensus in the end.” Some “who thought they owned the doctrine of the Church” were furious about this development, according to Ivereigh. “Since then they have felt powerless and angry.” For the author, this conflict is about “privileges” and about “power” and about the idea to “own the truth.”

Giuseppe Nardi, a German journalist and commentator, has reported on this new Ivereigh interview and has placed it in the larger context of the current situation in the Catholic Church. He calls Ivereigh one of the “shadow speakers” (“Schattensprecher”) for the Pope. Nardi also points out that it was Ivereigh himself who in his papal biography for the first time revealed the existence of the Sankt Gallen Group. 

Nardi sees in the title of Ivereigh's new book – The Wounded Shepherd – an indirect reference to Dr. Philip Lawler's own critical book The Lost Shepherd.

The German journalist noted how Ivereigh, when commenting on the sex abuse crisis in Chile, omitted the fact that Pope Francis “had, for three and a half years, dismissed all indications concerning the Barros case, calling them 'slander.'” Pope Francis had displayed a compromising role by first defending Bishop Juan Barros, one of the key people involved in the Chilean abuse crisis. Only years later was Pope Francis pressed to admit his own fault in this matter.

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VIDEO: Prof Janet Smith talks about Pope Francis and the sex abuse crisis

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By John-Henry Westen

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Dr. Janet Smith has been a professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit for the last 18 years. She retired this past July (one year earlier than originally planned) because of her interest in investigating the sex abuse crisis in the Church. In this episode 21 of the John-Henry Westen Show, she talks to me about the root causes of the crisis as well as the “disappointing” papacy of Pope Francis.

A revert to the faith in the 1970s, Smith says the current crisis is a test for Catholics and that they must not abandon the Church. “Do we believe because we like our bishops, our priests…or do we really believe it’s Jesus’ Church?” “It doesn’t matter how bad the priest is…the sacraments are valid…I need that to live.”

She told me the bishops “are the problem” and that there’s only “a precious few” doing their jobs. “They aren’t doing very well.” In some dioceses, 90% of the priests are living manifestly immoral lives. In others, that figure can be as low as 5%. Either way, “most bishops inherited terrible priests…different dioceses, at any given time, have 50% of priests that are not faithful to their vow of chastity.”

Aware of the abuse crisis in the Church thanks to reading The Wanderer and other Catholic magazines in the 1970s and 80s, Smith, a staunch defender of Church teaching on contraception, told me the scales “fell from my eyes” when the McCarrick scandal went public. “This Church is corrupt,” she thought to herself.

Smith said she was “offended” by the words Pope Francis had for pro-life Catholics “obsessed” with abortion. Some of his prose early on in his pontificate was eloquent, she admitted, but “he has done so many things that are troublesome, ambiguous.” His attacks on the Pontifical Academy for Life, funded by John Paul II in 1994, are at once discouraging, distressing, and scandalous.

Smith also spoke to me about the way priests were able to keep their abuse victims quiet throughout the decades, what the future may look like, and the role Mary will play. "I don't know what's going to happen...we have to pray...we need to stay with Jesus and we need the sacraments." 

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel, and right here on my LifeSite blog.

It is also available in audio format on platforms such as SpotifySoundcloud, and Pippa. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe for the audio version on various channels, visit the Pippa.io webpage here.

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Dad horrified as public school convinces daughter she’s a ‘boy’…and he can’t stop it

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By Jonathon Van Maren

August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Over the past several years of writing on the subject of the transgender phenomenon, I’ve received many phone calls and emails from despairing parents. The details are always different, but the stories are always very much the same: Their child, often struggling with body image issues, autism, or mental illness, was persuaded by peers and the public school establishment that he or she—usually she—was transgender. Other possibilities are almost always rejected, and often the parents face threats from the school authorities or social services for not being “affirming” enough of their child’s desire to switch genders. The results are always heartbreaking.

One recent example was detailed this month in USA Today by Jay Keck, a suburban dad who lives just outside of Chicago. His nightmare began in April of 2016, when his 14-year-old daughter became convinced that she was in fact a boy—with the staff of the public school in Hinsdale District #86 emphatically endorsing this delusion and opposing Keck’s attempts to help his daughter every step of the way. In fact, the teenage girl, who had shown no indication of gender dysphoria or a desire to be male throughout her childhood, is on the autism spectrum—a fact her school ignored when she declared herself to be transgender after beginning to hang out with another girl who professed to be a "boy" trapped in a female body. 

Keck’s daughter chose a male name, and the school staff—“who had full knowledge of her mental health challenges”—began using that name without telling either Keck or his wife. They began to treat the teenage girl as a male, referring to her as “he” and “him,” and when her parents finally discovered what was going on and requested that their daughter be referred to by her legal name, they ignored their wishes. When challenged, the assistant superintendent of the school district claimed that this was because they were simply following the law, but as Keck pointed out, there was no such law, only a 2016 directive from the Obama administration “that said schools need to officially affirm transgender students”—guidelines that were blocked by a judge that same year and rolled back by the Trump administration in 2017.

Things soon got even worse. As Keck described it:

My daughter told me that the school social worker was advising her about halfway houses because he thought we did not support her. The social worker confirmed this when I scheduled a meeting with him to discuss it. This felt like a horrifying attempt to encourage our daughter to run away from home.

We had our daughter evaluated by a psychologist approved by the school district. He told us that it was very clear that our daughter’s sudden transgender identity was driven by her underlying mental health conditions, but would only share his thoughts off the record because he feared the potential backlash he would receive. In the report he submitted to us and the school, he did not include these concerns that he would only share in person.

In my attempts over the past several years to get help for my daughter, what I have learned has shocked me.

The National Education Association has partnered with the Human Rights Campaign and other groups to produce materials advocating automatic affirmation of identities, name changes and pronouns, regardless of parents’ concerns. In 18 states and the District of Columbia, including in my home state of Illinois, there are “conversion therapy” bans, which prevent therapists from questioning a child’s gender identity. No wonder my daughter’s therapist would only speak to me off the record.

Some agencies, like the New Jersey Department of Education, warn school districts to “be mindful of disputes” between children and their parents over gender identity. The department's “Transgender Student Guidance” document refers educators to the state’s "Child Abuse, Neglect, and Missing Children" webpage, suggesting that school staff might be encouraged to report parents if they disagree with their child transitioning.  

In short: the introduction of transgender curriculum in public schools is quite literally resulting in the recruitment of children to the transgender cause, introducing confusion that is having predictable but devastating effects. Parents are often afraid to speak out, and professionals often decline to state their actual analysis on the record for fear of being attacked by the LGBT mob. As a result children and teenagers are being given so-called “treatments” that are blocking puberty—and some are even getting mastectomies and orchiectomies (which consist of the surgical removal of the testicles.) The results are irreversible.

School officials are determined to cut parents who are desperate to help their children out of the equation—when Keck and his wife requested that her legal name be used at graduation, the school rejected this and used a male name, instead.

“Now, thanks in large part to my daughter’s school, my daughter is more convinced than ever that she is a boy and that testosterone may be necessary for her to become her authentic self,” Keck wrote. “She turned 18 in late June and life-altering, dangerous testosterone injections are just one ‘informed consent form’ away. She can turn to any one of Illinois’s 17 Planned Parenthood clinics for cheap and easy access. No extensive mental health assessment will be required, and there will be nothing I can do to stop her.”

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: The transgender phenomenon is destroying children and teens, and there will be much suffering in the years ahead as boys and girls grow up to grapple with the permanent decisions that adults are facilitating and enabling. In the meantime, if your children are in public school, pull them out—now. You won’t regret it. Our public schools are now the ground zero of a grand cultural experiment, and children are the guinea pigs. Make sure that your children are safe. 

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 Kristen Jenson, founder of Protect Young Minds who works to help parents porn-proof their homes and their children. Jenson is the author of Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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Prof Janet Smith on the sexual abuse crisis: ‘The Bishops are the problem’...and ‘disappointment’ with Francis

By John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

Dr. Janet Smith has been a professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit for the last 18 years. She retired this past July (one year earlier than originally planned) because of her interest in investigating the sex abuse crisis in the Church. In this episode 21 of the John-Henry Westen Show, she talks to me about the root causes of the crisis as well as the “disappointing” papacy of Pope Francis.


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