All articles from August 30, 2019


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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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Doctor forbidden to practice medicine after telling patient ‘a fetus is a human’

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

August 30, 2019 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — A South African doctor is facing charges of unprofessional conduct after telling a woman scientific facts about unborn children.

According to Sowetan LiveJacques de Vos allegedly told a patient that "a foetus is a human" and claimed that abortion kills a human. After de Vos stated these scientific facts, his employment was terminated and he was prohibited from practising medicine.

De Vos is now facing four charges of unprofessional conduct from the Health Professions Council of South Africa at an inquiry which has commenced this week. According to the report, de Vos allegedly "infringed" the patient's "autonomy with his anti-abortion utterances."

"Based On Ideology, Not Scientific Fact"

SPUC Education and Research Director, Dr Anthony McCarthy described the charges as "based on ideology, not scientific fact."

Dr McCarthy said: "From a scientific point of view, the question of when a new human life begins is relatively uncontroversial. Human life begins at fertilisation as a single cell. Conception marks a change from cells produced by the father and mother, to a cell with a complete human genome that constitutes a new human being."

He continued: "The unborn life in the womb is undoubtedly human, and the evidence for this is overwhelming. As the parents are human — belonging to the species Homo sapiens — and the embryo is oriented to growing up just like them, the new living being is also human. That new life is obviously both very young and very small, but is no less human than we are now.

"From a scientific and medical standpoint, the facts stated by Jacques de Vos are undoubtedly true."

The Continuing Vilification Of The Pro-Life Community?

With the inquiry against de Vos commenced, there has been speculation that charges brought against him, are part of the growing attempts to vilify pro-life persons throughout society.

Throughout the year, SPUC has been reporting on the escalating media and legal attacks against pro-life individuals. According to SPUC, these attacks are an attempt to expunge any visible pro-life presence in society and include legal attacks aimed at censoring pro-life speech. 

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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Vandals attack newly finished Texas pro-life pregnancy center

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean
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AUSTIN, Texas, August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Vandals attacked a pro-life pregnancy center in Austin last weekend.

Unknown opponents of Austin LifeCare disfigured the new paint on its new building, painting the words “Liars” and “Fake Clinic” across the side and the front.

Andy Schoonover, CEO of Austin LifeCare, indicated that the graffiti did not come as a shock. 

“We are not surprised,” Schoonover said. “After all, we had a rock thrown through the window just a couple of months back. We are in [left-leaning] Austin. We are fighting for women and their babies. This just comes with the territory.”

The idea that pro-life pregnancy care clinics are “fake clinics” is frequently used by pro-abortion activists as an excuse to protest the life-saving medical establishments. In 2017, opponents of pro-life care burst into the Atlanta Women’s Care Clinic to shout at patients that they were being lied to. 

Shoonover said that while the vandalism to the Austin center is “an inconvenience,” his team knows that the people who did this “are most likely hurting, either having had or facilitated an abortion, and are in need of the healing power of the gospel.”

“I don’t feel the need to defend ourselves, but I do feel the need to shine light on the propaganda that these folks are trying to spread,” Schoonover continued.

“These folks think that we are trying to lure women into our clinic by convincing them that we provide abortions, then trying to strongarm them into keeping their babies. This is the farthest from the truth.”

Schoonover stated that Austin LifeCare staff let every client know when she makes an appointment that they neither perform nor refer for abortions. “We make it abundantly clear to ensure that we do not mislead our clients.”

“As for the ‘Fake Clinic,’ I invite anyone to come down and see us, meet our R.N., Nurse Practitioner, and RDMS licensed sonographers to see for themselves whether or not we are a fake clinic.”

The Christian Post reported that the new building was used as an abortion clinic by Whole Women’s Health, “the second largest abortion provider in Austin.” Austin LifeCare took over the lease this summer and transformed it into a center that helps babies and moms.

According to its website, Austin LifeCare was founded in 1984 to serve the multiple needs of women and families coping with an unplanned pregnancy. It has since developed a sexuality education program for schools throughout the Austin area and a post-abortion counseling program.

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Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia.
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Virginia governor refuses to apologize for appointee’s anti-Catholic remarks

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By Lisa Bourne

August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Virginia governor Ralph Northam refuses to admit that his appointing a Democratic activist responsible for anti-Catholic tweets to a state-level advisory council was a mistake. Nor will he apologize.

Northam confirmed for reporters Thursday he did not ask his Virginia Council on Women appointee, Gail Gordon Donegan, to resign after it was learned that on social media she’d derided Catholics as pedophiles, bashed Church teaching on abortion, and ridiculed Catholic tradition.

Donegan resigned Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.

Pressed on the matter by reporters at a press conference for Virginia’s plan to replace its diesel-fueled school buses with electric buses, Virginia’s Democratic governor declined to condemn Donegan’s remarks outright, concede her appointment was a mistake, confirm whether he knew about her anti-Catholic and Republican-disparaging comments ahead of time, or address the anti-Catholic nature of what Donegan had said.

“I just wanted to reiterate that I don’t condone that kind of language and if she had chosen to stay on the commission I would have encouraged her to refrain from any type of language that would be offensive to other folks,” he said.

Asked if he believed that her appointment to be a misstep, Northam refused to respond, stating, “I don’t have any other comment on that.”

Foul language and attacks

Donegan has made numerous anti-Catholic comments on Twitter over the years.

Among them, “Abortion is morally indefensible to Catholic priests bcuz it results in fewer children to rape.”

On Ash Wednesday in 2011, Donegan tweeted, “Go tell a Catholic they have dirt on their forehead,” followed by the hashtag “#waystooffend.”

In 2010 she wrote, “Saw a bumper sticker: ‘You can’t be both Catholic & Pro-Choice.’ Add: You can be a pedophile though!”

Also in 2010, Donegan retweeted a tweet that said Christmas is “the one time of year the Catholic Church is allowed to focus on a little boy.”

Donegan has also made numerous other profanity-laced and offensive statements and attacks on other people and groups on Twitter.

“Her statements are offensive to Catholics and our faith”

Virginia’s two Catholic bishops, Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington and Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond, jointly called for Northam to rescind Donegan’s appointment in an August 27 statement, CNS News reports.

“Ms. Gordon Donegan has demonstrated a pattern of ridiculing Catholic beliefs and employing stereotypes designed to malign people of faith,” the statement said. “Had these comments been directed toward any other group of persons, they would have disqualified her from this role.”

And the Virginia Catholic Conference had issued an action alert asking Catholics and others to join the Virginia bishops in calling on the governor “to rescind this troubling appointment.”

“We expect anyone appointed to a council, board or commission for the Commonwealth to be respectful of all faith groups and civil in his or her public comments,” Bishop Burbidge said. “Her statements are offensive to Catholics and our faith.”

“A vicious anti-Catholic bigot”

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights had also called upon Northam to withdraw the appointment in a statement.

“Gail Gordon Donegan is a local political activist. She is also a vicious anti-Catholic bigot. Now, thanks to Gov. Ralph Northam, she is an appointee to the Virginia Council on Women,” it said. “It is an appointment the governor must withdraw — at once!” 

Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, concurred.

“Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's appointment of an anti-Catholic activist to the state council on women’s issues is the most recent and blatant example of bigotry emanating from the Democratic party’s leadership,” McGuire said. “We call on Governor Northam to withdraw the appointment and apologize to the Catholic community for the insult it represents.” 

A women’s advocate

When asked by the Richmond Times-Dispatch whether Northam still believes that Donegan is the most qualified person for the Virginia Council on Women appointment, spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky declined to answer. She did, however, declare that Donegan “has spent years advocating on behalf of issues important to women across the Commonwealth[.] … The governor certainly does not condone this language.”

Donegan’s Twitter handle, labeled “Satirical Alexandria — Rated Fx by the NRA,” is now protected, inaccessible without her approval.

Prior to her Tuesday resignation, Donegan defended her social media posts to the Times-Dispatch on the phone last week.

“Psychological studies show that people who swear make better friends,” she said. “... And they’re smarter.”

“I will say for the record that my father was severely beaten in Catholic foster homes and I am an atheist,” Donegan said in a subsequent call. “My father was orphaned at age 4, sent to live in Catholic foster homes and severely beaten until he ran away at age 14.”

Donegan then stated, “My husband is an ex-Catholic and he’s not offended by my tweets.”

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Liberal columnist accuses pro-lifers of alliance with white nationalists

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

NEW YORK, August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A freelance journalist alleged this week that “white nationalists” had formed an alliance with the American pro-life movement.   

Marissa Brostoff also accused Catholic writer J.D. Vance, who is married to a woman of East Asian descent, of valuing white babies over others when he spoke out against population decline.

“How white nationalists aligned themselves with the antiabortion movement” appeared on August 27 in the The Washington Post. 

Brostoff believes that American opposition to “immigration” and to abortion are linked. She suggested that so-called “reproductive freedom” began to be “curtailed” over a hundred years ago by racist eugenicists who encouraged white American women to have more babies. 

She claimed that today white supremacists “have latched onto antiabortion extremism in an attempt to bolster white population growth, while aiming to restrict the growth of nonwhite populations through campaigns of terror against immigrants.” 

“In some cases, antiabortion politics provide cover for white nationalist sentiments, allowing sympathizers to speak broadly about ‘population’ rather than race, even as they value some unborn lives over others,” she continued. 

Brostoff gave no evidence for these assertions. She also claimed that a 19th century movement against abortion and contraception was fueled by racism and that the “Catholic church, too, joined forced with eugenicists against birth control advocates.” 

Writing a rebuttal in the National Review, Michael Sean Dougherty pointed out that Brostoff made this claim “in a passage with no supporting evidence, or even acknowledgement, that the Catholic Church was almost the only significant American institution that stood against eugenics when it was fashionable.”  

Brostoff does admit later in her piece that there certainly were eugenicists among pro-abortion advocates, including Margaret Sanger, who “sought the support of eugenicists and adopted their anti-immigrant views.” She also notes that in the 1960s, “John Tanton, alarmed about overpopulation, established Planned Parenthood clinics in northern Michigan.” 

The writer, who is a graduate student at City University of New York (CUNY), is concerned about “pronatalist” movements in which nations or populations encourage their members to have more children. In a section of her essay, which was since removed by The Washington Post, Brostoff accused writer J.D. Vance of agreeing with white nationalists that white people are committing “race suicide” by abortion and being “replaced” by immigrants. 

She wrote: 

(A)s replacement discourse enters the conservative mainstream, talk of birthrates comes along with it. “Our people aren’t having enough children to replace themselves. That should bother us,” J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy,” told his audience at the National Conservatism Conference last month; earlier this year, he described himself as “appalled” by Democrats’ permissive attitudes toward abortion. Vance did not spell out exactly who was included in the word “our.” He didn’t need to.

Vance didn’t need to because it was clear from the context that he meant Americans, not white people. Ramesh Ponnuru reproduced the words that prefaced Vance’s remark about “our people” in the National Review:

There are a lot of ways to measure a healthy society, but the most important way to measure a healthy society is by whether a nation is having enough children to replace itself. Do people look to the future and see a place worth having children in? Do they have economic prospects and the expectation that they’re going to be able to put a good roof over that kid’s head, food on the table, and provide that child with a good education? By every statistic that we have, people are answering “no” to all of those questions.

“Vance ‘didn’t need to’ say that he was talking about white people — and note (Brostoff’s) technique: Vance’s not saying something is evidence he meant it — because he had already explained he was talking about our “nation” and “society” as a whole,” Ponnuru wrote.  

“Brostoff didn’t need to quote any of those sentences, of course; to carry off her smear, she needed not to.”

After the outcry about the libel to JD Vance, The Washington Post added an editor’s note, saying,  “An earlier version of this story suggested that the author J.D. Vance lamented a falloff in white births; he was actually talking about American births.”

Brostoff indicated that she was unhappy with this clarification by tweeting: “Welp, the JD Vance stans (fans) freaked out the Wash Post bad enough that they pulled a line suggesting he was worried about “declining white birthrates” & confirmed that he was rlly talking about ‘declining American birthrates,’ a very not-white-nationalist thing to be worried about.” 

Brostoff’s article began by attacking Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King for recent remarks he has made linking American population decline with abortion. She stated that his recent remarks defending unborn babies conceived in rape implied “that sexual violence, at least if it led to childbirth, was a good thing.”

King had actually just pointed out that many, if not all, of us are descended from babies conceived in rape:

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest?” he had asked. “Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” 

“Considering all the wars and all the rape and pillage that has taken place … I know I can’t certify that I was not a part of a product of that,” he continued. 

“I’d like to think that every one of (our) lives (is) as precious as any other life.” 

When reproducing King’s remarks, Brostoff did not include his statement that every life is as precious as any other. 

Also missing from Brostoff’s article, which commentators were keen to supply, were facts about the current abortion rate in non-white communities. 

“According to the Guttmacher Institute ... in 2014 the ‘abortion rates by race and ethnicity” were as follows (number per 1,000 women ages 15-44),” Richard W. Fulmer wrote in the comments box of National Review:  

Black non-Hispanic..... 27.1

Hispanic...................... 18.1

Other non-Hispanic ... 16.3

White ......................... 10.0

“Given the numbers, wouldn't white supremacists be in favor of abortion?” he asked.

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Bishop R. Walker Nickless (right) with Lutheran Pastor Jay Deanne (left) and 'Bishop' Lorna Halaas in the background Facebook
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Catholic bishop says he was ‘happy’ to attend installation of female Lutheran ‘bishop’

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By LifeSiteNews staff
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Updated August 30, 2019 at 7:36 p.m. EST to include comment from Bishop Nickless.

August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Sioux City, Iowa, Bishop R. Walker Nickless appeared at the installation ceremony of a female “bishop” in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) earlier this month, posting on social media that he was happy about attending, and upsetting some Catholics.

“I attended the installation of Bishop Lorna Halaas as Bishop of the Western Iowa Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,” Bishop Nickless said on his Facebook page.

He went on to say, “I was happy to represent the Catholics of the Sioux City Diocese at the ceremony and promised her our prayers.”

The ceremony took place on Saturday, August 17, and according to the Sioux City Journal, Halaas is the first female “bishop” for the Western Iowa Synod of the ELCA – overseeing 125 congregations.

In 2019 of the ELCA’s 65 synods eight elected female “bishops,” making 23 of the 65 synods headed by women. A female, Elizabeth Eaton, was reelected presiding “bishop” of the ELCA earlier this month, a position she has held since 2013. Eaton presided over Halaas’ installation.

The Catholic Church teaches that women cannot be ordained priests or bishops, as Christ chose a male priesthood. And although the Church recognizes the baptisms of some Protestant faiths, the Church would consider neither a female’s “ordination” to the priesthood nor the consecration or installation of a female “bishop” valid.

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

While Catholic bishops would be expected in their role to appear alongside faith leaders of other denominations and faith traditions at varied civic events – and some ecumenical appearances might be considered prudent – a Catholic bishop attending what Church teaching would deem an invalid ceremony, and subsequently posting about it on social media, raises the issue of scandal and confusion among the faithful.

Nickless’ attendance at the event and subsequent social media post left some Catholics in the diocese dispirited and angered, Church Militant (CM) reports, as his actions appear to put Protestantism on the par with Catholicism.

Articles of the Lutheran faith include support for contraception, the CM report said, along with rejection of the authority of the Catholic Church, transubstantiation, the doctrine of Purgatory, and Catholic teaching on all seven sacraments.

A private note in lieu of a public appearance and accompanying affirmation would have been the better route, the CM piece said.

Nickless told LifeSiteNews his attendance was an opportunity for ecumenism.  

“Ecumenism is still a priority of the Catholic Church’s outreach to non-Catholic Christians,” he said. “As a bishop, my attendance at this event was both an obligation of the public aspect of my office, and an opportunity to build a personal relationship with leaders of other denominations in my diocese. One cannot expect people to be willing to listen to one’s views, no matter how true, if one is not able to demonstrate one’s own willingness to listen.”

Nickless was in news reports in February after the Sioux City diocese published the names of 28 priests it said are credibly accused of sexually abusing minors between 1948 and 1995.

Bishop of Sioux City since 2006, Nickless is among the bishops to support investigation into former U.S. apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s claims that knowledge of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct and predation extended to the Church’s top level and denotes a homosexual power network.

Nickless was also among the bishops critical of the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama to speak and receive an honorary law degree at its May 2009 commencement ceremony. He was critical as well of the abortion-subsidizing Obamacare legislation.

He has also written critically of the so-called “spirit of Vatican II,” or a misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council to move the Church away from its tradition and teaching. 

“We must stop speaking of the ‘Pre-Vatican II’ and ‘Post Vatican II’ Church,” Nickless wrote, also agreeing with Pope Benedict XVI that the Council's meaning “must be found only in the letter of the documents themselves.”  

“The so-called ‘spirit’ of the Council has no authoritative interpretation,” he said. “It is a ghost or demon that must be exorcised if we are to proceed with the Lord's work.” 

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Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, SJ, is the General Superior of the Jesuit order.
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Exorcists correct Jesuit superior: The devil is real

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By Lisa Bourne

August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Satan is a real and a personal being, an international group of Catholic exorcists said, and this is a part of Christian doctrine.

The International Association of Exorcists responded to recent comments by Father Arturo Sosa, SJ, that the devil only exists as a symbolic reality, calling Sosa’s remarks “grave and confusing.”

“The real existence of the devil, as a personal subject who thinks and acts and has made the choice of rebellion against God, is a truth of faith that has always been part of Christian doctrine,” the exorcists said.

Sosa, superior general of the Jesuits, had suggested in an interview last week that the devil was just a “symbolic reality” of the conflict in the human conscience between good and evil.

The devil “exists as the evil personified in different structures but not in people, because it is not a person, it is a way of implementing the bad,” Sosa said. “He is not a person like a human person. It is a way of evil to be present in human life.” 

“Good and evil are in a permanent struggle in human consciousness, and we have ways to indicate them,” he said. “We recognize God as good, entirely good. Symbols are part of reality, and the devil exists as a symbolic reality, not as a personal reality.”

The exorcist organization said it released its August 22 press statement to give “doctrinal clarification.” The Catholic Herald picked up coverage of the statement.

Referencing the longtime body of Catholic teaching on the devil, including Pope Francis and his recent predecessors, the International Association of Exorcists said that Catholics are compelled to believe that Satan is a real and personal being, a fallen angel.

“The Church, founded on Sacred Scripture and on Apostolic Tradition officially teaches that the devil is a creature and a personal being, and she cautions those who, like Father Sosa, consider him only a symbol,” the group said.

The exorcists said the Jesuit superior general’s remarks were “outside the ordinary and extraordinary-solemn magisterium.”  

In making the comments Sosa is rejecting an article of faith, which is an element in the canonical crime of heresy, noted canon lawyer Ed Peters said

Peters said Sosa’s statements warrant an official response and pointed out in his blog that this would mean from either the bishop of the Diocese of Rimini, where Sosa made the remarks, or Pope Francis as bishop of Rome.

Sosa, 70, has been the head of the Society of Jesus since 2016. He is from Venezuela and was a Jesuit provincial superior there from 1996 to 2004 before taking on an administrative role for the Jesuits in Rome in 2014.

He is the first person from Latin America to lead the Jesuits. Similarly, Pope Francis is both the first Jesuit pope and the first Latin American-born pontiff.

Sosa’s controversial comments on the existence of the devil were not his first problematic statements on Satan’s existence.

In a May 2017 interview with the Spanish paper El Mundo, Sosa also said the devil is a “symbolic figure” that doesn’t really exist. 

“We have formed symbolic figures such as the Devil to express evil,” he said at the time.

After the controversy created by the 2017 remarks, a spokesman for Sosa said his comments must be read in context and that Sosa “does not hold a set of beliefs separate from what is contained in the doctrine of the Catholic Church.”

The Church teaches that Satan is a fallen angel who rejected God by free will.

“Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy,” the Catechism says. “Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called ‘Satan’ or the ‘devil.’ The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: ‘The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.’”

Satan is “powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit,” the Catechism states, “but still a creature.” 

The International Association of Exorcists is an “association of the faithful” officially approved by decree of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy in 2014. It consists of some 300 exorcists from 30 different countries. One of its founders was Fr. Gabriele Amorth, who died in 2016, and was known as the chief exorcist of Rome. The group has reported in recent years that there has been a significant increase in demonic activity

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Tesla’s Elon Musk: ‘Population collapse’ is ‘biggest problem’ facing world

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By Pete Baklinski

August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The “biggest problem” facing the world is not population explosion, but “population collapse,” said Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk.

Musk made the comment in a live-streamed debate with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. chairman Jack Ma in at the August 29 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai.

When Ma reflected on the low birth rate in China — which formerly had a one-child policy but now has a two-child policy — Musk agreed that there is a “birth rate” problem.

“Most people think we have too many people on the planet, but actually this is an outdated view,” said Musk.

“Assuming that AI (artificial intelligence) is fine — we’re assuming there’s a benevolent future with AI — I think the biggest problem the world will face in 20 years is population collapse,” he continued.

“Collapse: I want to emphasize this. The biggest issue in 20 years will be population collapse, not explosion, collapse,” he added.

Ma said in response: “I absolutely agree with that, the population will be facing a huge challenge.”

Musk said the “accelerating collapse” will not be able to be checked by immigration.

“The common rebuttal is: ‘Well, what about immigration?’” he said.

“Like from where?” he added.

Demographers have for years already been warning Western countries with below replacement-level birth rates about what some call the “demographic winter” as a result of the decline. In such a collapse, the old outnumber the young, creating severe imbalances. Economies suffer. Some could even crash. The result could negatively impact, and could prove detrimental, to some of the main infrastructures — such as financial systems and healthcare — that contribute to living in a western democracy.

Population Research Institute president Steven Mosher said Musk’s comments on population collapse are accurate.

“An old-age tsunami is hitting not just the West and China, but all of humanity. China is now facing a demographic repression caused by the wanton elimination of 400 million people. So will the world as a whole in decades to come. Elon Musk is right,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Mosher said that governments should follow Hungary’s example where pro-family policies are making it easier for young people to marry and have children. Some of these measures include massive tax breaks for families, housing programs, interest-free loans for married couples, and many other incentives, all geared toward encouraging Hungarians to have children.

“People should be advocating for robust, very robust pro-natal policies,” he said.

Mosher noted that it is also “God advice,” as can be found in the Bible, that babies are a blessing. And, he added, it turns out that this advice is true “even in our secular age.”

“Scripture tells us that babies are blessings and not burdens. And they’re blessings for everybody. They’re blessings for their family, for the parents, for their community, for their society, for the economy, and for the nation as a whole. So, I think that if people kept that scriptural perspective in mind, they'd be better: they themselves would be better off, and their countries would be better off in the long run,” he said.

This is not the first time Musk has warned about population collapse.

In a July 2017 tweet, Musk noted that the world's population is “accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care.”

His comment was in relation to a November 2016 New Scientist article titled "The world in 2076: The population bomb has imploded" that projected a measured decline of global population over the next 60 years, because half of the countries in the world have fertility rates below the replacement rate. The replacement fertility rate is 2.1 children per woman. Most developed countries are far below this.

Musk also told CCCMoney in a March 2017 interview that people “should be concerned about demographic implosion.”

“So if you look at countries like Japan, most of Europe, China,” Musk said, “and you look at the birth rates, in a lot of those places it is only at about half of the sustaining rate.”

He described an inverted demographic pyramid, where older people are on top who are not able to be sustained by the too few numbers of young people beneath them.

“So it will sort of fall over,” he said, “it will not stand.”

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UK man with Down syndrome celebrates 77th birthday: ‘He is such a miracle’

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By Lianne Laurence

NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom, August 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Georgie Wildgust wasn’t expected to live past age 10, but the Nottingham man celebrated his 77th birthday last Saturday in good health and in the company of family and friends.

Born with Down syndrome, Wildgust is a retired gardener and described as “very independent” by his niece, Nikki Wright, who visits him every week at Watcombe Circus, a disability care home in Carrington where he lives with 11 other residents, reported the Nottingham Post.

“He is so happy all of the time. He is amazing. His mum was told he wouldn’t live past 10 when he was born but look at him now!” Wright said.

“He was always told by his mum that he can do anything and because of that, he has always been very independent. He doesn’t like being told what to do really but I do think that is why he has reached 77,” she told the Nottingham Post.

Wright also credits her uncle’s longevity to his “active social life” at the centre, where he moved in 1993 after his mother died.

Wildgust loves to dance and sing karaoke, and “used to do drama classes every week, which he loved. He does less of that now but he does keep busy,” she said.

“I think being kept busy and socialising here has really helped him. The staff are amazing and it is such a family here.”

Care assistant Javine Lacey told the Nottingham Post that Wildgust will spend hours drawing and colouring.

“He absolutely loves it. He also only watches BBC1 on TV. He will know if it isn’t on the right channel straight away,” she said.

“He is such a miracle. He has been through some medical issues this year and he was put on end-of-life care but he bounced right back,” added Lacey.

“When he came back from hospital, he just said ‘y’all right darling?’ like nothing had happened.”

Wildgust is one of three children. His older brother, Colin, died three years ago, and his younger sister, Jean, keeps in touch with him by Skype from Australia, the Nottingham Post reported.

The local Down’s Syndrome Association lauded the milestone on Twitter:

 

 

“Everyone at the Down’s Syndrome Association wishes Georgie a very happy birthday and all the best for the future,” the association told the Nottingham Post.

“Thanks to medical advances and the care and love of those around them, the average life expectancy for people with Down’s syndrome is now between 50 and 60 years, with a small number of people living into their seventies and beyond,” it stated.

Wildgust is thought to be one of the oldest people in the world with Down syndrome, but his countryman Kenney Cridge of Tintinhull, Somerset, was officially named the world’s oldest living man with Downs by Guinness World Records officials in 2008. Such records are no longer kept because Downs is a disability.

Cridge, who was known for his humor, love of sweets, and harmonica playing, died April 16, 2019 at the age of 79.

According to U.K. Metro, the oldest man with Down syndrome was American Bert Holbrook, who died in 2012 at age 83.

But such landmarks come in the midst of what Lauren Bell of Pregnancy Help News described in 2017 as a global “holocaust of Down syndrome babies.”

Iceland boasts of being a Down syndrome–free country, but that’s because 100 percent of babies diagnosed in utero with the condition are aborted, she noted.

In 2009, only three babies in Iceland were born with the genetic condition. By 2017, no Down Syndrome baby had been born there in five years.

Denmark is following suit, predicting that it will be a “Down syndrome–free” nation in the next 10 years, Bell wrote.

And 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb are aborted in Great Britain and the United States.

“It is never easy for a parent to receive devastating news during a pregnancy. But the overwhelming majority of parents who have a child with Down syndrome report their outlook on life is much more positive because of their child,” observed Bell.

“The value of a child born with any disability cannot be eradicated by any nation. They are created in the image of God.”

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Steve Jalsevac / LifeSite
Phil Lawler

Opinion ,

Cardinal Pell’s conviction disgraces the Australian justice system

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

August 30, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org)  —  The conviction of Cardinal George Pell on sex-abuse charges, despite the complete absence of evidence against him, was a shock and a black mark against the Australian justice system. The decision by an appeals court to uphold that verdict compounds the problem and the disgrace. The cardinal will appeal to Australia's highest court. And in that appeal, Australian society will be on trial.

The prosecution of Cardinal Pell threatens to become Australia's version of the Dreyfus Affair, the disgraceful conviction that troubled the French political world for more than a decade around the turn of the 20th century. Captain Albert Dreyfus, accused and twice convicted of espionage, was a convenient target: unpopular because he was Jewish. When evidence emerged showing that he was not guilty, powerful military officers concealed that evidence and falsified evidence against him. The French public was howling for a conviction, and the ruling class decided that it was better to betray an innocent man than to admit an injustice.

In Australia today, the government — specifically the justice system — is now also heavily invested in the conviction of Cardinal Pell. To admit an error would be to admit an unreasonable verdict, brought about by an unreasonable prosecution, and now buttressed by an unreasonable appeals-court decision. To say that Cardinal Pell is not guilty is to imply that the judicial system is guilty in its treatment of his case. Will the country's top court have the courage to reach that verdict?

Like Captain Dreyfus, Cardinal Pell is an unpopular figure in his own country. He has been vilified by the media, hounded by accusations that he covered up sexual abuse, made to appear as the principal cause of the scandal in Australia. That characterization is unjustified. Although he was not blameless in his handling of abuse cases — and has admitted as much — his "Melbourne Response" was the best set of policies at the time; his reaction to the crisis was considerably better than that of other Australian prelates. The truth of the matter is that Cardinal Pell became the favorite target of the media because he was an unapologetically orthodox (call him "conservative" if you must) Church leader, in a country where such courageous Catholic leadership is a rarity. He was, like Dreyfus, a convenient target; ideologues wanted him to be guilty.

However, the cardinal's unpopularity is — or rather should be — irrelevant to the case at hand. The question at issue before the courts is not whether he was likable, not whether he was sympathetic, not even whether he was effective in dealing with abusive priests. The question was whether or not he personally molested two choir boys. And there was — and is — absolutely no evidence to support that charge, except the word of one accuser.

The appeals court ruled that the jury was not unreasonable to believe the cardinal's accuser. But as Notre Dame law professor Gerard Bradley points out, the court was obliged to weigh the accuser's testimony against the other available evidence, and when weighed in that balance, it was indeed unreasonable to credit the accusation.

Consider:

  • The accuser said that he was one of two choir boys molested by then-Archbishop Pell. But the other boy, who is now deceased, denied that he had ever been molested.
  • The accuser said that he was molested in the cathedral on two separate occasions. But on one of those occasions the cathedral was closed for renovations.
  • The accuser said that he and his alleged comrade had left the procession of choristers, but no one noticed that they were missing and choir directors said that it was highly unlikely anyone could slip away unnoticed.
  • The accuser said that he was in the sacristy sipping sacramental wine, but the wine was locked away. He said the wine was red. It was not.
  • The accuser said that the archbishop came upon him alone in the sacristy. But multiple witnesses said that the archbishop was never alone in the cathedral sacristy: a room in which the door was always open, a room buzzing with priests and acolytes and other archdiocesan functionaries.
  • The accuser said that the archbishop parted his vestments to expose himself. But an archbishop's vestments do not allow that action.

Unless there had been a video camera running constantly in the cathedral sacristy, what more could the Pell defense team have done to defend the cardinal against this charge?

Consider, too, that the accuser said nothing about this alleged crime for years. He came forward in June 2015 — two years after police began hunting for evidence of wrongdoing by Cardinal Pell. And his story of the alleged incident in the sacristy was suspiciously similar to a story that had been published in Rolling Stone nearly four years earlier. Keith Windschuttle of Australia's Quadrant magazine remarked that "the two accounts are so close to being identical that the likelihood of the Australian version being original is most implausible."

Justice Mark Weinberg, the appeals court jurist who voted in favor of the cardinal's appeal (in a 2-1 decision), made the obvious point that the accuser's credibility was questionable at best. He remarked that "the complainant's account of the second incident seems to me to take brazenness to new heights, the like of which I have not seen."

Against this single shaky witness, the court heard more than twenty witnesses who testified not simply that the archbishop did not molest the boy, but that it was literally impossible for him to have committed the crime as described.

The appeals court seems to have fastened on that concept — the notion that the crime was impossible — and found it wanting. It's true; it is possible that Cardinal Pell committed this crime — in the same sense that it is possible I'll be hit by lightning this morning, although at the moment I don't see a cloud in the sky. Nearly anything is possible. But is it plausible? Does it satisfy the standard — in Australia as in the US — that a defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? Not even close.

So how is it that the Australian courts found the accuser's evidence compelling? The only possible explanation, I think — apart from the evident eagerness to convict an unpopular figure — is the growing tendency to believe that anyone who brings an accusation of sexual abuse must be believed, regardless of the specific circumstances. And haven't we seen that tendency at work in our own American courts — especially in the court of public opinion?

In the vast majority of sex-abuse cases — especially those involving incidents from the distant past — there is no hard physical evidence, and the only witnesses are the accuser and the accused. A "credible accusation" is not a legal conviction. How many innocent priests have been suspended from ministry on the basis of a single "credible accusation," which they cannot disprove? After years of winking away reports of abuse, have we swung so far in the opposite direction that we now demand convictions without evidence? Angry Americans want to see abusers punished, and rightly so. But beware of empty accusations and convenient victims.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, Wash. Called to Serve as Christ Capital Campaign / YouTube
Phil Lawler

Opinion , ,

Seattle bishops’ response to suicide caused grave scandal, not just ‘confusion’

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

August 30, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — After the publication of an an AP story about a man who received a blessing in a Catholic church just a few days before committing suicide, the Seattle archdiocese released a statement that read in part:

The Associated Press story about Mr. Fuller is of great concern to the Archbishops because it may cause confusion among Catholics and others who share our reverence for human life.

Confusion? The AP story was not confusing at all; its message was crystal-clear. A man had received a blessing in a special ceremony arranged by his parish before he carried out his plan to take his own life — and, for good measure, to enter into "marriage" with his male partner just before the suicide. The implication was unmistakable: the parish approved of Robert Fuller's plans. The problem was not "confusion"; it was scandal. If the AP story was accurate, this was an outrage, a grotesque offense against the faith.

So, was the AP story true? Neither in its original response nor in a follow-up statement did the archdiocese deny the essential accuracy of the news report. The statements, taken together, claim that while the report was not inaccurate, it was misleading — "confusing," you know — because "a very different reality was at work."

"At the time of this photo, parish leadership was not aware of Mr. Fuller's intentions," the archdiocese said in the initial statement. "It wasn't until later that parish leaders learned of his plans." The follow-up made a subtle distinction between the priest who gave the blessing and the pastor, but insisted that neither was aware of Fuller's intentions. Once the pastor was made aware of Fuller's plan to kill himself, the archdiocese said, the pastor met with the man "and tried to convince him to change his mind." That effort failed, obviously.

Nevertheless the parish — with the support of Archbishop J. Peter Sartain — allowed a Catholic funeral for the deceased, "with certain conditions to ensure there was no endorsement or other perceived support for the way in which Mr. Fuller ended his life." And what might those conditions have been, do you suppose? They certainly failed, too. Several months later, thanks to the AP story, the world was given the very clear impression that the parish did support Fuller's choices.

Thanks to some solid reporting by Christine Rouselle of CNA, we now know that Fuller was a longtime member of the Hemlock Society, which supports euthanasia, that he admitted to helping a friend commit suicide years ago, that he had discussed his own suicide plans with friends in the parish, and that he claimed: "my pastor/sponsor has given me his blessings. And he's a Jesuit!!!"

The pastor of St. Therese parish is not a Jesuit. But the priest who gave that blessing on May 5, Father Quentin Dupont, is  —although it is not clear that he is the Jesuit to whom Fuller referred. The archdiocesan statement claimed that Father Dupont was a visiting priest, who did not know Fuller's intentions. Rouselle's CNA report gave a rather different perspective: that Father Dupont "regularly celebrated the Sunday Mass that Fuller normally attended." On May 3 — before the Mass at which he received his special blessing — Fuller announced that he had a week to live, and invited parishioners to his "end of life celebration party."

After a quick investigation of the facts, the archdiocese admitted that "some of Mr. Fuller's friends at the parish knew of his intentions," while continuing to maintain that the pastor, and Father Dupont, did not. That is possible, certainly. It is possible that the priests were in the dark, that Father Dupont was not the Jesuit who gave Fuller his approval, or even that there was no Jesuit who gave his blessing to the suicide. All possible. But probable? Unfortunately the past twenty years have not been kind to the credibility of Catholic bishops, and one reads the statements from the Seattle chancery with a skeptical eye.

The AP story includes a line that encourages such skepticism: "St. Therese Parish was known for accommodating a range of beliefs." You get the message, don't you? This is one of those parishes: a parish in which a man can be active and comfortable although he espouses (and practices) homosexuality, euthanasia, and shamanism. There may be some confusion about the exact circumstances of the ceremony that was captured by the AP photographer. But there should be no confusion about the spiritual health of that parish.

This was a case of grave scandal. To call it "confusion" is unworthy of successors to the apostles.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Climate scientist Michael Mann. Insight SBS / YouTube
Thomas Lifson

Opinion ,

Leading global warming scientist ordered to pay opponent’s legal costs in libel suit

Thomas Lifson
By Thomas

August 30, 2019 (American Thinker) — Michael Mann, a climatologist at Penn State University, is the creator of the "hockey stick graph" that appears to show global temperatures taking a noticeable swing upward in the era when humanity has been burning fossil fuels and dumping CO2 into the atmosphere. The graph was first published in 1998, was prominently featured in the 2001 U.N. Climate Report, and formed part of Al Gore's 2006 movie An Inconvenient Truth.

The graph's methodology and accuracy have been and continue to be hotly contested, but Mann has taken the tack of suing two of his most prominent critics for defamation or libel. One case, against Mark Steyn, is called by Steyn likely to end up in the Supreme Court. But another case, against Dr. Tim Ball, was decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, with Mann's case thrown out, and him ordered to pay the defendant's legal costs, no doubt a tidy sum of money.  News first broke in Wattsupwiththat, via an email Ball sent to Anthony Watts. Later, Principia-Scientific offered extensive details, including much background on the hockey stick.

The Canadian court issued it's [sic] final ruling in favor of the Dismissal motion that was filed in May 2019 by Dr Tim Ball's libel lawyers.

Not only did the court grant Ball's application for dismissal of the nine-year, multi-million dollar lawsuit, it also took the additional step of awarding full legal costs to Ball. A detailed public statement from the world-renowned skeptical climatologist is expected in due course.

This extraordinary outcome is expected to trigger severe legal repercussions for Dr Mann in the U.S. and may prove fatal to climate science claims that modern temperatures are "unprecedented." (snip)

Dr Mann lost his case because he refused to show in open court his R2 regression numbers (the 'working out') behind the world-famous 'hockey stick' graph[.]

Real science, not the phony "consensus" version, requires open access to data so skeptics (who play a key role in science) can see if results are reproducible. Of course, there are no falsifiable experimental data associated with the global warming predictions of doom, so it doesn't really stand as science as Karl Popper defined it.

This is an important victory in the process of debunking the warmist scare.

Update 1: Michael Mann disputes the notion that he lost (and more):

Update 2: Technology.news has a rather different take from Mann's, noting that further legal steps are on their way.

Penn State climate scientist, Michael 'hockey stick' Mann commits contempt of court in the 'climate science trial of the century.' Prominent alarmist shockingly defies judge and refuses to surrender data for open court examination. Only possible outcome: Mann's humiliation, defeat and likely criminal investigation in the U.S.

The defendant in the libel trial, the 79-year-old Canadian climatologist, Dr Tim Ball ... is expected to instruct his British Columbia attorneys to trigger mandatory punitive court sanctions, including a ruling that Mann did act with criminal intent when using public funds to commit climate data fraud. Mann's imminent defeat is set to send shock waves worldwide within the climate science community as the outcome will be both a legal and scientific vindication of U.S. President Donald Trump's claims that climate scare stories are a "hoax." (snip)

Michael Mann, who chose to file what many consider to be a cynical SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) libel suit in the British Columbia Supreme Court, Vancouver six long years ago, has astonished legal experts by refusing to comply with the court direction to hand over all his disputed graph's data. Mann's iconic hockey stick has been relied upon by the UN's IPCC and western governments as crucial evidence for the science of 'man-made global warming.' (snip)

The negative and unresponsive actions of Dr Mann and his lawyer, Roger McConchie, are expected to infuriate the judge and be the signal for the collapse of Mann's multi-million dollar libel suit against Dr Ball. It will be music to the ears of so-called 'climate deniers' like President Donald Trump and his EPA Chief, Scott Pruitt.

As Dr Ball explains:

"Michael Mann moved for an adjournment of the trial scheduled for February 20, 2017. We had little choice because Canadian courts always grant adjournments before a trial in their belief that an out of court settlement is preferable. We agreed to an adjournment with conditions. The major one was that he [Mann] produce all documents including computer codes by February 20th, 2017. He failed to meet the deadline."

Punishment for Civil Contempt

Mann's now proven contempt of court means Ball is entitled to have the court serve upon Mann the fullest punishment. Contempt sanctions could reasonably include the judge ruling that Dr. Ball's statement that Mann "belongs in the state pen, not Penn. State' is a precise and true statement of fact. This is because under Canada's unique 'Truth Defense', Mann is now proven to have wilfully hidden his data, so the court may rule he hid it because it is fake. As such, the court must then dismiss Mann's entire libel suit with costs awarded to Ball and his team.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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LifeSiteNews staff

Opinion ,

Founding prof laments ‘destruction’ of John Paul II Institute

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

Editor’s note: The following is an English translation of the “Public Statement Concerning the Turmoil Surrounding the Pope John Paul II Institute for the Family in Rome,” released on August 28.

Addressed to:

Archbishop Vincenco Paglia, Great Chancellor of the Institute
Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, President of the Institute
Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Prefect of the Congregation for Education
Archbishop Vincenzo Zani, Secretary of the Congregation for Education

August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Due to the vast coverage in the media (Tagespost, Kath.net, CNA, and many others in foreign countries) and due to the publication of the letter written by representatives of the Institute’s student body with now more than 1,500 signatures from students and alumni, as well as the release of an extensive interview with the vice president [of the Institute], Prof. Granados, and of the interview with Professors Melina, Grygiel, and Prof. Pesci of the State University La Sapienza/ Rome, the facts and the current situation of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family at the Lateran University — as founded by Pope John Paul II in 1981 — are generally known. Therefore, we assume in the following that our readers are informed about them.

Since 1981, when Pope John Paul II called me (Prof. Martin) to be the first sociologist at the Institute, I was for approximately two decades intimately involved, with the help of the Institute’s first president — the later cardinal Prof. Carlo Caffarra — in its establishment and growth. In several meetings with the entire international academic staff, together with Pope John Paul II, there took place intensive consultations about the vision of the pope and his objectives. The pope (and after him, in a similar fashion, Pope Benedict XVI) hoped that, with the help of the founding of this new institution, there would take place a far-reaching renewal of Catholic theology and pastoral care for marriage and the family. We all were and still are convinced that Divine Providence gave the Church and the world, through Pope John Paul, a charismatic new beginning in the field of the Church’s teaching on marriage (anthropological explanation of Humanae Vitae, personalism, expansion of the Sacrament of Matrimony, etc.), which was at the same time a bulwark against the anti-family ideologies that in the meantime had sprung up.

Under the leadership of its president and leading moral theologian, Carlo Caffarra (who in the end was the cardinal of Bologna); his successor, Cardinal Angelo Scola (Milan); and Livio Melina, the Institute developed an enormous impact and expanded in many countries in the world (foundation of different affiliated institutes). From my own experience, I can testify as to how here, in amicable collaboration, an interdisciplinary and international institute was built up, in which in heretofore unknown ways different academic disciplines and its professors and teachers (theology, sociology, anthropology, pedagogy, spirituality, psychology, NFP [Natural Family Planning], political science) taught and researched together in an integrative way in the field of marriage and the family.

This beneficial development now has found an abrupt end due to the arbitrary approach of Grand Chancellor Archbishop Paglia — newly appointed by Pope Francis — and the new president, Monsignor Sequeri. I, together with many colleagues in the whole world, follow with shock, deep dismay, and sadness the decisions that have been implemented in an unprecedented “cloak-and-dagger operation”: the replacement of the old statutes with new ones, the dismissal of all professors, and the new study conditions for the students. This places before us the following questions: Cui bono? What is going on here? What kind of “ruse of the idea” [“List der Idee”] is behind the whole thing? Which motivations, ideological intentions, and expedient strategies of action do the protagonists have? Could it be that the line as given by its founder — that is to say, to orient oneself toward the heretofore teaching of the Church (e.g., the encyclicals and apostolic exhortations Humanae Vitae, Fides et Ratio, Veritatis Splendor, Evangelium Vitae, etc.) — appears to the leading persons to be partially obsolete and that therefore, one now wishes to bring about, with the help of all kinds of conceivable methods, a “more liberal” change? Such a change would be possible only if one thereby would abolish the original vision of Pope John Paul II.

They say a “refounding [of the Institute] is necessary” because “certain aspects are not anymore up to date.” Which aspects are these, and which ones are now more “up-to-date”? It is very obvious that these questions refer primarily to the field of moral teaching. It is known that here in the Church, there has been going on for a long time a fierce battle between different orientations. Was it that for Prof. Livio Melina and all the other professors who were dismissed, their loyalty toward Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor, as well as their orientation based on the teaching traditions of the popes, from Paul VI to John Paul II, up to Benedict XVI, became their fate? Do the current academic authorities dislike this theological orientation? Why this subtle and enigmatic approach? Why does one not fight openly? It seems to be a question of time until the teaching body that follows the intentions of the founder of the Institute will be replaced by a new one, which then will be in accordance with the new, “more updated” aspects. That this indeed is the case can been seen in the arbitrary restrictions that are already placing pressure on the teachers and others — see, for example, the case of Prof. Grygiel of the Woityla Chair of the Institute, and Prof. Luisa di Pietro, both of whom have now been dismissed. The relativism that destroys here the foundations of the relevant Church teaching becomes clear when now, instead, teachers are being hired who are reflecting upon the moral justification of contraception or who consider that homosexual practices are possible and acceptable in some situations. The actions of man are subsequently not anymore judged according to the principles of a moral teaching grounded in the natural law, according to which there are “intrinsically” bad and evil acts (“intrinsice malum”), which are always and under all circumstances forbidden to man.

In the new approach, the actions of man would, instead, be judged by man himself, assessing them as “good or bad” according to the principles of a new morality, the so-called “autonomous morality” (proportionalism, weighing of competing values), or according to their consequences (consequentialism). This is a teaching diametrically opposed to the teaching of Pope John Paul II as it has been taught up to now at his Institute and which the encyclical Veritatis Splendor has clearly rejected as not being Catholic. In this context, one could also read the lucid analysis of the real reasons for the “abuse crisis,” as it has been recently presented by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. It clearly presents the destructive role of this so-called “autonomous morality” and of the revolution of 1968. The moral theologian Schockenhoff (Freiburg) has just criticized and rejected publicly, in a talk in front of the German Bishops’ Conference, Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” and he did so by referring to this autonomous morality as it has been heretofore rejected by the Church.

Is it the case that here the deepest and the true reason for the destruction of the old Roman Institute is being revealed that is to say, the replacement of a teaching body which altogether supported the grounding of morality in the natural law by a teaching body that accepts the “autonomous morality”?

After the dust slowly settles after the battle, the extent of the damage will become visible: first of all, it is obvious that, in a stunning manner, the procedural rules that stem from the laws of the European university traditions have been violated. In this light, one can understand and fully support the protest rising in the academic realm of the ecclesiastical and state universities against this bold violation and defiance of the academic freedom. After all, no personal or academic misconduct on the part of Professors Melina and Noriega — the two persons who are most affected and who have been dismissed from out of the blue from their secure chairs — or of the others are known. They were dismissed overnight without fair process, without a prior hearing or a legal procedure, and without any involvement of the legitimate boards or panels. The same applies to the other professors who now have been dismissed and who are waiting for their possible rehiring. On what and on whom does their re-hiring depend, after their qualifications had already been checked before their initial hiring? Did they lack in expected diligence? Are there certain aspects of importance that pertain to a certain form of “good conduct” (toward whom?), a certain “suitability” in light of new ecclesial orientations of doctrine or any kind of unpopularities? The arbitrariness and the subjective decisions — which are possibly driven by interests — on the part of those who have the power have free rein. Insecurity is hanging over the heads of these professors like the Sword of Damocles.

If one considers the sum of the innovations, one cannot avoid the impression that behind these red herrings and obvious intrigues, there is indeed a hidden goal: the destruction of the heritage of Pope John Paul II, the setting aside of foundational documents of his pontificate (Familaris Consortio, Fides et Ratio, especially also Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae and other magisterial texts), as well as of his Wednesday catechesis on the “Theology of the Body,” whose teaching and distribution now begin to have a beneficial effect. For this purpose, one is willing to make use of an unprecedented intrusion into the academic freedom and into the self-administrative competence of university bodies. It is not yet even foreseeable what consequences this bang will have in its entirety for the Church's universities in the world and especially for the Roman universities (which are, after all, bound, by juridical contracts among them, to the “Bologna Process” to keep the European university standards). But that the consequences will be grave is already now clear. Like a pyroclastic flow during the outbreak of a volcano, the consequences will spread throughout the landscape of the universities. One cannot avoid having the impression that those who are responsible for this misery have laid a cuckoo’s egg in the nest of Pope Francis!

Considering the general decline of Faith – especially in Europe — it becomes clear what a gift of Providence the pontificate of Pope John Paul II was — with his initiatives of the “Family Synod 1980,” the “Pontifical Council for the Family,” the “John Paul II Institute,” and his different magisterial documents. What “aberrations” and dangers should be corrected, then, if not those who have not sufficiently resisted the zeitgeist that dislikes marriage, family, and the Church’s teaching in these fields?

The methods of the protagonists show two things: a lack of willingness to dialogue, which is always being demanded by their superior, Pope Francis, for all levels of the Vatican, and a strong clericalism as an abuse of power, which the pope has often bemoaned. Here is not shown selfless service for the sake of the cause, but rather cold dominance. The instrumentalization of the Institute, of its professors and students (see their reactions), has caused a smoldering fire with unforeseeable consequences for the reputation of the Church in the field of the universitas. For the enemies of the Church’s teaching, these are flaring bonfires.

Where is the fire department that will put out this fire? How could one picture a solution of this dead-end situation? When weighing all known facts, one gets the impression that a leader who consciously aims at other goals is doing much harm — out of which there can only be one clear conclusion: one has to dismiss him and replace him with a trusted leader who restores again the status quo ante (withdrawal of the authoritarian measures, especially the rehiring of those professors who were dismissed without cause), so that the Institute can continue to further develop its beneficial effects. Pope Francis has the key to it.

One of the most crucial consequences of the developments at the Institute might be the future development of the “Theology of the Body.” This teaching, whose discovery, development, and importance for theology as a whole will go off in the 21st century “like a bomb,” according to George Weigel, gains academic importance in the German-speaking countries only at the Pope Benedict XVI Philosophical-Theological University Heiligenkreuz near Vienna. (In addition, there are promising projects in Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, and other countries, and especially also in the U.S., which are getting more and more interconnected.) Obviously, Pope Francis highly esteems this teaching of his predecessor, because in his apostolic document Amoris Laetitia (“On Love in the Family”), he quotes eleven times the Theology of the Body and altogether 24 times from Familiaris Consortio, which is the great Summa of his holy predecessor on the family. Thus it is all the harder to understand this sharp breach in the development of the Institute that now has been accomplished, especially also in light of the fact that Pope Francis, still in September of 2017, in the context of the “refounding” of the Family Institute, attested that his predecessor John Paul II had a “far-sighted intuition” (see the letter from the students). One will have to await what significance the “Theology of the Body” still will have in the future of the Institute  of his holy predecessor up to now, it played a central role in the fields of teaching and research. Let us hope that its further worldwide development will not be thwarted by the “tsunami” currently sweeping over the Institute, and that it will be able also in the future to exercise its beneficial influence for the sake of a modern, genuinely Catholic marriage catechesis that has already attracted so many young spouses.

Prof. em. Dr. Norbert Martin, University of Koblenz; from 1981-1993 Sociologist at the John Paul II Institute; Vice President of the MEDO-Institute in Rolduc/Netherlands; Auditor of the Synod of Bishops on the Family 1980; a member of the “Pontifical Council for the Family” from 1981 to 2016; Professor at the Study Program “Theology of the Body” at the Benedict XVI Theological-Philosophical University at Heiligenkreuz near Vienna

Prof. em. Dr. Manfred Spieker, Christian Social Teaching at the University of Osnabrück

Prof. Dr. Katrin Keller, teacher at the University of Koblenz and at the Interdiciplinary Center for Health Sciences at the PTH Vallendar

Renate Martin, Marriage Spirituality, teacher at the Medo-Institute in Rolduc/Netherlands and at the Study Program “Theology of the Body” at the Benedict XVI Theological-Philosophical University at Heiligenkreuz near Vienna; a member of the “Pontifical Council for the Family” from 1981 to 2016; Auditor of the Synod of Bishops on the Family 1980

Academic Director Dr. Helmut Müller (ret.), Social Ethics, Moral Theology, and Philosophy at the University of Koblenz

Prof. Dr. Jean Marie Meyer, Associate Philosopher at the University of Paris

Prof. Dr. Thibaut-Colliste, Associate Philosopher at the University of Paris

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Robert 'Uncle Bob' Fuller is pictured days before his self-inflicted death. Facebook
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

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I cried while writing report on gay man who was granted Catholic funeral before killing himself

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

EDINBURGH, Scotland, August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ―  The other day someone asked me how I do my job without hating or resenting the people who commit the evil deeds in my stories. 

I responded by saying that I focus on the evil, not on the people doing the evil. Evil rules people; people don’t rule evil. People do evil things because evil has taken the reins. Abortion is a perfect example of this. Abortion is clearly evil, but it is hard to say that the frightened or desperate woman who thinks it’s the answer to her problem is evil. It’s even hard to say that the abortionist or clinic worker who firmly believes he or she is helping that woman is evil. But abortion is evil nonetheless. 

This is not to say I rise above all my stories on a cloud of peace. This week, I wrote about a story that was so utterly steeped in evil, and so potentially damaging to the innocent, that I burst into tears. I cried so hard, my husband rushed into the room to see what was wrong. 

What was wrong was the ongoing story of Robert “Uncle Bob” Fuller, an elderly gay man who planned out his self-inflicted death in detail, got his Catholic parish involved, invited the mainstream media to take photos and videos, and got a Catholic bishop to sign off on his funeral. 

Bob Fuller lived out loud, and he loved to surround himself with people. A professional nurse, he was very community-minded, and it is clear that many people liked and even loved him. He lost many friends during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s -- one apparently through being euthanized by Bob -- and by 1985 he too was HIV+. Nevertheless, his life was saved by new drugs for HIV, and he made it to his 70s before he got throat cancer. 

Bob went through a round of chemotherapy, decided it was “killing his soul” and decided that he would follow his beloved grandmother’s example (she ended her life in the Merrimack River) by killing himself. He, however, would inject himself with euthanasia drugs after a splendid party. 

Bob had many unorthodox beliefs, and he apparently saw no contradiction in receiving Holy Communion at St. Therese Catholic Church and writing nostalgically on Facebook about a homosexual summer romance. He belonged to the parish gospel choir, and his choir director told a reporter from the Associated Press that Bob had also served as a lector, amusing everyone by punctuating the scriptural texts with his ad-libs. 

Bob loved St. Therese Catholic Church, but he did the priests who serve it a real unkindness by roping them into his death plans. Saying only that he was dying, Bob presented himself for a blessing at Sunday Mass on May 5, 2019. The Jesuit priest who was covering Mass for the pastor that day asked a party of children in their First Communion clothing and other parishioners to join him in the blessing. It was photographed and then published by AP. 

Whether or not the Jesuit priest knew Bob planned to take his own life was a matter of fierce debate for three days. The optics were terrible. What kind of a priest would encourage little children on their First Communion Day to bless a suicide? The Archdiocese assured the public that the priest, the pastor, and the “parish leaders” did not know of Bob’s plans, but then a sharp-eyed reporter from CNA noticed that in March Bob had published on Facebook that his “pastor/sponsor” had given his plans “his blessings.”

“And he’s a Jesuit!!!” Bob exulted, as if that were still a sign of hard-headed orthodoxy.

Having written several unanswered emails in the hopes of exonerating the St. Therese Jesuit, I filed my updated story sadly and went to bed. 

But in the morning I woke up to two emails that firmly stated that Fr. Quentin Dupont, SJ, had not known Bob’s intentions when he led the blessing at St. Teresa’s. One email asserted that the Jesuit priest hadn’t known Bob at all. Thus, I rushed to update the text of my story.

It seems that Fr. Dupont had been dragged by Bob into what seems to have been some sort of covering-all-bases spiritual insurance five days before his death.  But as for Dupont’s actual culpability, I checked and there are at least 26 other Jesuits in Seattle, any one of whom could technically have been the Jesuit who told Bob in March that self-murder was fine.

(By the way, Dupont has professed his innocence in America magazine: “I was absolutely, unequivocally unaware of Mr. Fuller’s intention.”) 

But I also know, thanks to a gay British comedian, that sometimes people who consult Jesuits hear only what they want to hear. When Stephen K. Amos told Pope Francis he didn’t feel “welcome” as a gay man, the pontiff told him that anyone who privileged the adjective (i.e. gay) over the noun (i.e. man) lacked a human heart. Not a close listener, Amos told the cameras that the pontiff had said anyone who didn’t accept homosexuality lacked a human heart. 

Thus, I am not convinced any Jesuit actually blessed Bob’s suicide plans. 

I studied at a Jesuit theologate, and one of my most vivid memories was of a Jesuit professor of ethics telling us that the first question to ask in a moral dilemma is “Who is the weakest person in this situation?” He would be the first to point out that it was not actually Fr. Quentin Dupont, SJ, as embarrassing and unjust as his situation may be.

The weakest person in this situation is the sick, lonely and dying person who reads the AP story about Bob and decides that’s the kind of death he would like, too. And I can see the appeal because, from a worldly perspective, I thought it sounded great. 

Bob’s suicide party went like this: He exchanged “marriage” vows with a handsome man about 20 years his junior, and then had a party with friends. He listened to a gospel choir and a soprano and then, after injecting his feeding tube with a mixture of drugs and Kalhua, died holding hands with his loved one as his friends stood before his bed singing “Amazing Grace.”  

I’m not sure what happened to Bob next. Bob was convinced he was going to heaven, which he thought would be like “a state of mediation.” He clearly did not believe that hell was an option, even though the Roman Catholic faith of the church he was buried from has always taught that deliberately choosing suicide in cold blood is a mortal sin.

And you know, if hell is not an option, why shouldn’t we all have a suicide party to end our lives? If you remember the death of the cultured pagan Petronius in Quo Vadis, you’ll know what a very enjoyable and glamorous thing that can be. 

But it’s the glamor of evil because deliberately murdering yourself is evil. Deciding you, not God, have the power of life and death is evil. Trying to grab the “crown” of heaven without embracing the “cross” sent by God is evil. Perhaps Bob was not evil. But I think he was ruled by evil, even if on Facebook he bragged “it’s me, Uncle Bob, who’s calling the shots.”

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The future Pope Francis (right) with Leonardo Boff (left) in 1972. Leonardo Boff / Twitter
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47-year-old photo shows future Pope Francis with dissident priest who helped engineer Amazon synod

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By Maike Hickson

Register for the free Historic Amazon Synod Roundtable live stream  Click here.

August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A 47 year-old photograph has surfaced showing the man who would become Pope Francis standing in a small group of people, one of whom is a Brazilian Liberation-theology proponent and priest who would become laicized and who is now widely credited for being the “theologian of reference” for the upcoming controversial Amazon synod. The picture takes on significance due to the claim of the laicized priest that Pope Francis remembered their meeting in 1972 and had recently sent him the photo. 

On August 5, Leonardo Boff placed on his twitter a picture from a conference that took place in San Miguel, Argentina on February 23-29, 1972 and that shows both Boff and then-Father Jorge Bergoglio, the later Pope Francis. Boff says that the Pope had just sent him this picture, recalling their time together. 

“In an exchange of letters, Pope Francis recalled our meeting in San Miguel-AR [Argentina] from 23-29/02/1972 and sent me this photo,” Boff writes.

This incident suggests that Pope Francis and Leonardo Boff have had a friendly relationship long before Bergoglio became pope in 2013. As a matter of fact, Boff claimed in 2016 – in an interview with the Kölner Stadt-Anzeigr – that Pope Francis is “one of us. He has turned Liberation Theology into a common property of the Church. And he has widened it.” 

‘You will be astonished what Francis will achieve’

In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel days after Jorge Bergoglio's papal election, Boff revealed that he knew Bergoglio personally. “Yes, [I met him] a few years ago [sic], at a conference in Argentina. He made a wise presentation there, we liked each other immediately.” (It is not clear whether Boff refers here to the 1972 conference, which took place much earlier than only “a few years ago.”)

In that same 2013 interview, Boff announced: “He [Bergoglio] is now Pope. He can [do] everything. You will be astonished what Francis will achieve.” 

“But for that,” Boff continued, “there is needed a breach with traditions. Away from the corrupt Curia of the Vatican, toward a Universal Church. And toward new, central topics: the gap between the poor and the rich, the lack of justice. It is revolutionary what has happened there in Rome: a religious from Latin American is being elected onto the Chair of Peter.” 

Boff defends Pope Francis in the Spiegel interview against the suspicion that he is an “arch-conservative,” that he is opposed to contraception, married priests and a larger role of women in the Church. “The Vatican prescribed it that way, all high-ranking prelates had to file suit there. Nothing was to be questioned. But that can change now.”

Boff also predicts the longer-range agenda of Pope Francis, and does it just a few days after his election. When asked as to whether he had indications that Bergoglio “thinks in more liberal terms,” the liberation theologian answers: “Yes. A few months ago, for example, he explicitly permitted that a homosexual couple could adopt a child. He kept contact with priests who were rejected by the official Church because they had married. And he never let himself be distracted from his own line. And that was: We have to be on the side of the poor, and if need be, also in contradiction to those in power.”

Still in the year of 2013, Boff wrote a book about Francis of Assisi and Francis of Rome (i.e., Pope Francis), endorsing this Pope as someone who will “rebuild the Church” after an “ecclesiastical winter” and thereby inviting his followers to drop old disagreements of detail between his own Liberation Theology and the Theology of the People as it had been developed by the Jesuit Fr. Juan Carlos Scannone, among others, one of Bergoglio's important friends and teachers. 

‘I have given him my counsel’

Pope Francis, when visiting Brazil in July of 2013, was trying to meet with Leonardo Boff in person. In a German interview, Boff confirms this fact: “Yes, but only after he had concluded the reform of the Curia. In Rio, the Pope explicitly asked to receive a book from me. It was just published and is called  Francis of Assisi and Francis of Rome: a new Church spring? The Archbishop of Rio has given it to him.” Thus, Bergoglio reached out to Boff, not long after his election. Not long after that, the Pope asked Boff to help him write his encyclical Laudato si (published in 2015). Boff also says that Francis read some of his books: “More than that [reading Boff's books]. He asked me for material for the sake of Laudato Si. I have given him my counsel and sent to him some of what I have written. Which he has also used. Some people told me they were thinking while reading: 'Wait, that is Boff!'” 

Boff, in a 2013 interview with El Pais, insists that Jorge Bergoglio himself is a liberation theologian: “Francis is a liberation theologian elaborated by Scanone, who was the one who somehow sustained some attitudes of Peronism,” Boff then explained. He reminded his interlocutor that Bergoglio had been Scannone's student in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

As a matter of fact, Scannone himself happens to be in the same picture at the 1972 conference in Argentina which Pope Francis had just sent to Leonardo Boff. (We owe this information to Giuseppe Nardi from Katholisches.info in Germany.) Scannone was at the time the rector of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology at the Jesuit College of San Miguel, Argentina, which explains his presence in the photo. 

Scannone is counted as one of the founders of the Theology of the People, and in an interview also shortly after Bergoglio's election, in May of 2013, he said about Bergoglio that “in Argentina, he defended what I call the 'Argentine line of liberation theology,' called by some 'Theology of the People,' and I assume that he will continue to promote it, without ignoring other theological orientations.” 

Also Bergoglio's own long-term theological adviser, Father Carlos Maria Galli, has just published, in July of 2019, a book together with Boff and other liberation theologians – among them Paulo Suess who is one of the key figures at the pre-synodal council for the upcoming Amazon Synod. This  new book, which is titled The Winds Blow from the South, is about how the missionary spirit of the Southern Hemisphere – especially Latin America and the Carribean – is now changing the Church. The book intends “to look at the world from another perspective (from the periphery) and to break with Eurocentrism,” as an announcement of the book expressly states. The time has come for the “new churches” of the Southern Hemisphere, churches “with a new face” that has been formed by the “creative reception” of the Second Vatican Council. 

For the authors of this new book, with the election of Pope Francis, and from the very beginning, the winds have been “blowing from the South and forging a new ecclesial situation.” There is a “strong and disconcerting wind” which shows itself “in bold initiatives, such as the reform of one's own house, the Roman Curia.”

Galli, therefore, does not seem to have any difficulties to co-authoring a book with Leonardo Boff who, in 1985, was silenced by the Vatican. But that was then under another pontiff, and under the influence of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, who at the time as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with Boff in Rome in 1984 in order to challenge his theological views. “What I can say is that the dominant tendency in the Vatican under this pontificate [of John Paul II] is highly fundamentalist,” commented Boff still in 2001.

Boff accused Pope Benedict of ‘fundamentalist rigidity’

Boff also has some strong denunciatory words about Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become Pope Benedict XVI: “A Cardinal like J. Ratzinger who publishes an official [Vatican] document in which he says that the only true Church is the Catholic Church and that the rest are not even churches, that the only legitimate religion is the Catholic religion and that the others have no faith (they are only convictions and beliefs) – he commits religious terrorism and is in grave theological error, as well.”

Some ten years later, in 2012, Boff retained his critical views of Ratzinger who had then become Pope Benedict XVI. Speaking then once more with the Spiegel, the theologian says that he would, if he could, tell Pope Benedict to “stop spreading fear among the faithful, stop your fundamentalist rigidity! Do not perceive yourself as doctrinal teacher, but, rather finally as a shepherd, as someone who encourages the faithful, because that is your main task as Pope!” At the moment of Benedict's election in 2005, Boff explains, “I said: it will be difficult to love this Pope. In the seven years that he has exercised his office, I have found nothing that would encourage me. It all only became worse.” “Discipline, nothing else than discipline,” he comments. Boff also claims that Benedict “is mainly interested in fortifying the power apparatus of the Vatican.”

Boff further complains that Pope Benedict “repeated on his trips the same old story, preaches his no to contraception, his no to women in the priesthood, his no to homosexuality. He misses the real theological problems.”

The liberal theologian claims that the Pope did not understand Liberation Theology. “Had he [Benedict] read a little bit of Marx and less Augustine and Bonaventura, then he would have better understood the suppression of the poor and Liberation Theology,” Boff said in an April 2010 interview with the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

In line with these many critical thoughts about Pope Francis' predecessor, Boff even goes so far as to call Benedict an “angel of death” (“Würgeengel”): “He [Benedict] has ruled with fundamentalist rigidity, an angel of death of the Church.” 

Boff’s support of Pope Francis

But now, with Pope Francis, Boff is full of support. On 14 October 2017, he published, together with other liberation theologians of the network Amerindia (which is involved with preparing the Amazon Synod), an open letter to Pope Francis. 

“We are theologians from Latin America and the Caribbean, convened by Amerindia, a network of Christians committed to the processes of resistance and hope in our continent,” they state. They had gathered in Puebla, Mexico, working to “contribute to the processes of transformation and liberation of our peoples,”  and “emphasizing the mystical-prophetic and methodological resorts of Liberation Theology.”

They go on to state that they wish to express “our support for giving centrality to the cry of the Earth and to the cry of the victims of the anti-life system that sacrifices millions and millions of impoverished brothers and sisters.” These theologians further show sympathy with Pope Francis when they write that they “sympathize with you for the suffering imposed on you by this prophetic and pastoral attitude that concerns not only the Church, but all of humanity at this dramatic moment in history.”

This closeness to Pope Francis could also be seen in Boff's own interview with the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger in December of 2016. “He [Pope Francis] has sought a reconciliation with the most important representatives of the Liberation Theology: with Gustavo Gutierrez, Jon Sobrino, and likewise with me,” Boff then said. 

But he also reveals that he cautioned Pope Francis as to whether he is prudent to seek such a reconciliation while Pope Benedict is still alive. “I have said to him with respect to Pope Benedict – that is to say, Joseph Ratzinger – 'But that other is still alive, after all!' He [Pope Francis] did not accept this. 'No,' he said, 'Il Papa sono io' – 'The pope, that is me!' We were welcomed to come. That is where you see his courage and his decisiveness.”

Being asked in 2016 as to what he expects Pope Francis to do, Boff answers: “Perhaps a diaconate for women, after all. Or the possibility that married priests may be again engaged in pastoral care. That is an explicit request from the Brazilian bishops to the pope, especially from his friend, the retired Brazilian Curial Cardinal Claudio Hummes. I have heard that the pope wants to meet this request – for now and for a certain experimental period in Brazil.”

Boff, who in 1992 left the priesthood and then entered the married state, says in public that he still says Mass. “I personally do not need such a decision [of admitting married priests]. It would not change anything for myself because I still do what I have always done: I baptize, I give Christian burials, and if I happen to come into a parish without a priest, then I also celebrate Mass together with the people.”

When in the mid-1980s, Rome silenced Boff, he turned his energies into the field of ecotheology, laying the foundation for his ideas that then were later included by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato si’. Boff said in an interview in 2016: “The imposition of “silentium obsequiosum” in 1985 by the Vatican forbade me from speaking and writing. That is when I began to study ecology, Earth science, and their relation to human activity. This coincided with an invitation to participate in a small, international group convened by Mikhail Gorbachev and Steven Rockefeller to explore universal values and principles essential for saving Earth from the multiple threats she faces.” 

After describing his work with prominent public figures, Boff then goes on to speak about his work with Pope Francis: “I had the opportunity to meet leading scientists while actively participating in drafting a text that significantly inspired Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si’. I was determined to ensure that the views of the Earth Charter would be based on a new paradigm incorporating the interdependency of all creatures—indeed the whole living fabric—and the need for mutual care.”

Boff’s decades-long ties to Pope Francis along with the Liberation-theologian’s influence on the Amazon Synod do not bode well for the synod’s outcome with respect to Catholic teaching on celibacy and male-only ordination. 

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Dave Chappelle. Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock
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Dave Chappelle’s point on abortion and child support is driving the Left crazy

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By Jonathon Van Maren

August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Ever since the trash-talking (and over-rated) George Carlin used his comedy stand-up tours to engage in longwinded and profanity-laced defences of abortion, edgy comedians seeking to shock and offend have followed in his footsteps in an attempt to use their platforms to fire up support for feticide. Sarah Silverman triggered widespread outrage in 2012 when she tweeted out a photograph of her flat stomach and the caption: “Got a quickie aborsh in case R v W gets overturned.” She later admitted that her abortion jokes weren’t funny — but she’s certainly not the only one giving them a try.

Many late-night hosts go for abortion jokes, as well, but they have so transparently abandoned neutrality and so brazenly embraced Planned Parenthood’s agenda that they can scarcely be called comedians. Samantha Bee returns to the subject obsessively and peppers her performance with outright lies about abortion. Chelsea Handler devotes a good deal of time to it as well and has used her own prior abortions to lend credibility to her position. Michelle Wolf got explicit at last year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner while mocking Mike Pence: “He thinks abortion is murder. Which, first of all, don’t knock it ’til you try it — and when you do try it, really knock it. You know, you’ve really got to get that baby out of there.”

Louis CK also tackled abortion, expressing in stark terms the position on abortion that most of his ideological ilk are moving toward: abortion “definitely kills a baby” but should be permitted. “Either abortion is like [defecating], or it’s like killing a baby. It’s only one of those two things,” he told his visibly uncomfortable audience. Interestingly, he even defended pro-life protesters: “People hate abortion protesters,” he noted, his expression indicating he was clearly enjoying the audience’s discomfort. “They’re so shrill and awful! They think babies are being murdered! What are they supposed to do? Well, that’s not cool. I don’t want to be a d‑‑‑ about it though. I don’t want to ruin their day as they murder several babies all the time.”

And this brings me to the legendary Dave Chappelle’s latest comments. I’ll state up front that I haven’t watched his Netflix special because I do not have Netflix (for a long list of reasons that I’ll deal with some other time). Additionally, Chappelle (like Louis) is famously crude and profane. However, several clips of his sketches on abortion are currently making the rounds through pro-life Twitter, and (especially since millions of people will be watching Chappelle’s take) I found his subversive formulation clever — especially since people seem to be divided on whether his take is genius or horrific.

After noting that he doesn’t like abortion and then reeling out the boilerplate talking point that as a man, he shouldn’t have anything to say about the choice, he then headed into new territory. “If you can kill this [baby],” Chappelle noted to nervous titters, “I can at least abandon him. It’s my money, my choice. And if I’m wrong, then perhaps we’re wrong. Figure that s‑‑‑ out for yourselves.” That’s precisely what people are attempting to do right now — and they’re also trying to figure out what Chappelle’s opinion on abortion actually is.

His opinion is so clever precisely because he highlights the hypocrisy of the pro-choice position so subtly and effectively. In reality, it has nothing to do with choice and everything to do with granting women the ability to have their children killed if they find them inconvenient. While many men are enormous fans of this so-called right, as it gets them off the hook as well, their responsibility is harnessed directly to whether or not the woman decides to keep the baby. And so, as Chappelle noted, if it is so insane to say men shouldn’t have to pay child support, maybe it is also insane to say we can kill those children in the first place: “Figure that s‑‑‑ out for yourselves.” 

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 Lynn Mills, a pro-life activist since the early ’80s, focusing mainly in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Among many other accomplishments, Mills carried her pro-life investigative work into uncovering the evidence that shut down Dr. Jack Kevorkian, also known as Dr. Death, the doctor who is known as the euthanasia pioneer. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:

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Most of the photos shared by politicians and celebrities are, in fact, not of this year's Amazon rainforest fires. This one probably isn't, either. pixundfertig / Pixabay
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Global elites’ myths and lies about Amazon fires burning hot and heavy

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

August 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The fires in the Amazonian rainforest in Brazil could not have been more superbly timed: they burned opportunely at the time of the G7 summit of developed nations in Biarritz, France, and its internationalist, anti-sovereign solutions. The media hype surrounding the scenes of desolation also comes less than two months before the Synod on Amazonia called for by Pope Francis. And we now know that in Rome in October, fascination with the indigenous way of life — tribalism, socialism, and “traditional” religious rites — will be expressed while calls will be made for its international protection.

Is this a textbook case of mind control?

Users of the media cannot have missed the eerie superlatives on news shows or on the Twitter and Instagram accounts of celebrities. Even (or should we say “especially”) French president Emmanuel Macron, a would-be Superman and defender of the planet, made a number of catastrophic predictions. The “lung of the world” is burning, he proclaimed, adding that the Amazonian rainforests account for “20 percent” of the Earth’s oxygen.

The future wrought by the Amazon fires is clear, if this rhetoric is to be believed: the Earth is being collectively suffocated, and the desolation of a field of ruins awaits us. The most anxious among humankind already feel as though they are running out of air.

The great culprit is to our right: Jair Bolsonaro, the new Brazilian president whom the international community does not hesitate to blame for a situation with supposedly global consequences. He — a right-wing, Christian leader — is the bad guy: has he not relaxed environmental rules and promoted the deforestation that is burning the primordial forest for the benefit of big business? Has he not encouraged unscrupulous farmers to destroy the precious tropical fauna and vegetation in order to plant palm trees and soybeans for exportation, as Brazil slowly transforms into one of the top global agricultural producers?

Clearly, we have here a dialectical exploitation of the facts: a whole new version of the class struggle, where big owners eager for profit attack the oppressed — the oppressed of the day being precisely the Amazonian forest, now promoted to the rank of the Earth’s nurturing mother.

It is referred to as “our home” in order to better involve each and everyone. By this manipulation, the aim is to “extinguish” those who are contemptuously referred to as the right-wing populists: Bolsonaro, already named, but also the climate skeptic Donald Trump and a few others.

The ideological fire hose is over-selective. One can only wonder why there is not a great movement to denounce the political leaders of sub-Saharan Africa, where seasonal fires are causing as much, if not more, damage right now than in Brazil. As RTBF.be, the Belgian institutional radio and television station, recently remarked, Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, and the Congo are heavily affected, and even the local African press does not report it. “Quite simply because it is a common, regular phenomenon,” even if it is always “worrying,” commented RTBF, explaining that it is the phenomenon of slash-and-burn farming, practiced by local farmers who fertilize their soils by voluntarily burning cut wood, that accounts for many fires in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the same article, dated 24 August, the European Space Agency (ESA) “estimates that sub-Saharan Africa accounts for about 70 percent of the world's burnt area, according to global satellite databases[.]”

And who is even thinking of blaming Vladimir Putin, who received a cordial welcome from Emmanuel Macron before and through the G7 meeting, when the Siberian tundra was also hit by great fires at the beginning of August?

A look a little farther west from Brazil, toward Bolivia — which includes a large part of the Amazonian forest — is enough to better understand how the disinformation mechanism works. The volume of fires there is significantly higher than last year, and 800,000 hectares of the Chiquitano "Model Forest" went up in smoke between August 18 and 23. But the international media do not blame President Evo Morales. This indigenous, socialist, and environmentalist left-wing president is a good man. Whatever he does.

Yet it was Evo Morales who encouraged local farmers, often indigenous people from his electoral constituency, to burn wood in the rainforest to make charcoal for resale or to conserve arable land. He also refused international assistance to fight the forest fires. The situation was generally much more serious than in neighboring Brazil, it seems. But no threats regarding trade relations with Bolivia were made, even as the French president was invoking the fires in Brazil to put a stop to Mercosur negotiations.

Where was the bashing of Evo Morales by international political media? Or calls to stop all international aid (an idea of U.S. Democratic senator Brian Schatz for Brazil) until a policy change would take place?

No: “Populists” (or those dubbed as such by the media) and sovereignists are the true target. Interestingly, the subject of global forest fires is making headlines this year even though it should in fact, all things being equal, come to the forefront of the media scene every year.

We are told that this year’s fires are exceptional. Not so much: Macron’s apocalyptic tweets included a photo that dates back nearly twenty years, signed Loren McIntyre — who died in 2003. Other clichés “shared” by celebrities come from Peru, where the fire front is currently calm. Madonna, according to Agence France-Presse, has published an image of a forest on fire dating back to...1989.

The same AFP debunked several other photos that were shared thousands of times to call attention to the Amazon fires: other times, other catastrophes, other places were being used to feed the big scare.

The truth is that fires are partly a natural phenomenon — in the dry season, they are lit by electrical storms — partly deliberate, in order to recover land for planting or fertilizing; and partly criminal.

The media were not quick to report, for example, that the fire episode in the Amazon was about average compared with the last twenty years. There were peaks in the states of Amazonas and Rondônia but rather low activity in Mato Grosso and Pará.

These are data published by NASA, based on satellite images that everyone can consult online.

Nor is it reported that deforestation remains at a low average level, compared to data from 1990 to 2008, and that it tends to decline as per capita incomes increase — a phenomenon that has been widely observed in Brazil since 2004.

Nor will the mainstream media talk about the ambiguity of the words “Amazon fires.” The Amazon rainforest is shared by nine countries. Surely, Brazil accounts for the larger part — 60.8 percent — but many of the present fires were burning in French Guiana, in Bolivia, and elsewhere. So why would Bolsonaro be the only culprit?

Also, the “legal” region of Amazonas in Brazil is much larger than the Amazonian rainforest. Many of the fires are actually burning in agricultural regions or the dry “cerrado” regions, which have nothing to do with the tropical biosphere, observed Xico Graziano, a Brazilian agricultural engineer, in a recent article. They are regions where agriculture is naturally present. Of the rainforest properly speaking, he wrote, it is estimated that about 95 percent is untouched by deforestation.

This does not mean that there has been no criminal arson in Brazil, but the instigators of these fires risk heavy sanctions, and they are not all “evil capitalists.” While illegal deforestation due to large industrialists does occur, local landowners who benefited from agrarian reform, private owners, and indigenous tribes also account for legal or illegal tree-felling. Less than 12 percent of deforestation touches protected areas, Graziano also remarked.

This is the more remarkable since Brazilian preservation laws are among the most severe on the planet: according to the regions where they own their land, owners are not allowed to exploit anywhere between 20 and even 80 percent of their property. This “legal reserve” of 80 percent is precisely in Amazônia, remarks Denis Lerrer Rosenfield, showing that this restriction on personal property rights would be unheard of anywhere else on Earth.

As for the myth of the “20 percent” of oxygen produced by the Amazonian forest, it exploded in mid-air. The oceans are the largest absorbers of CO2 and produce the most oxygen and as such could claim to be the “lungs of the planet.” Young, growing forests are also excellent producers — unlike the ancient Amazon jungle, which by definition is not maintenanced as are, for instance, European forests and woods. Deforestation produces carbon dioxide, but so does decomposing matter, such as old and dying trees, at the same time as photosynthesis releases oxygen, so even there, the balance can be negative.

It was the Huffington Post that published an interview with a French academic specialized in all things Amazonian, Alain Pave. To say that the Amazonian rainforest produces “20 percent” of the Earth’s oxygen is “very, very optimistic,” he told the media. It would account “at the most” for a few percent, but even that is difficult to assert, given the many variables we ignore.

“Despite a major effort over a long period of time, data for the Amazon are still fragmentary and imprecise. The forest is not just a collection of trees, it is an ecosystem with other plants, animals, micro-organisms, irrigated by a hydrological system, with multiple interactions. Beware of simplistic messages and detailed descriptions that are more poetic than scientific,” he said.

But anything is good enough to maintain the great climate scare.

Colonel Gregory Allione, president of the National Federation of Firefighters in France, went on record on France Info radio, saying: “We have not seen this in the entire history of human beings on this planet.” He demanded “coordination, anticipation and a global approach on the part of all countries” to react to the situation in Brazil.  Is this all a necessary step to bring Brazilian sovereign territory under international, even U.N., control?

Emmanuel Macron used the same logic when he stated that we must “find a form of good governance.” “We need to involve NGOs, indigenous peoples much more than we do. And the process of industrialized deforestation must be stopped,” he added on the Élysée site.

This “involvement of indigenous peoples” is all the rage. It’s what a large part of the upcoming Amazon Synod is all about. It seems the Catholic Church is not alone in its strange endeavors; the internationalist community is on the same line.

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What it takes to find a truly Catholic school for your kids

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Today Mother discusses the difficulties in finding a truly Catholic school. She highlights the Cardinal Newman Society as a resource she trusts in guiding educational decisions. 

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