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Congressman suing Twitter: ‘I’ve run out of patience’ for biased tech giants

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Republican lawmaker who has taken Twitter to court over “shadow-banning” him and other conservatives sat down with Breitbart over the weekend to discuss his case, the broader stakes of tech giants’ political bias, and what remedies are available to conservatives heading into the 2020 election.

Last summer, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was one of several prominent Republicans whose Twitter accounts had disappeared from the drop-down menu that normally populates when typing in a name, without comparable figures such as Democrat National Committee Chair Tom Perez or any of the 78-member Progressive Caucus being affected. Twitter soon corrected the problem and denied that it engaged in shadow-banning (the practice of restricting a user’s visibility without notifying him).

In March, Nunes filed a complaint in Virginia state court accusing Twitter of attempting to undermine his work as then-chairman (now ranking member) of the House Intelligence Committee. He seeks damages for shadow-banning “calculated to interfere with and influence the federal election and interfere with Nunes’ ongoing investigation as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence” and for “knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory.” The suit also seeks an order compelling Twitter to produce the identities of various users he claims harassed and defamed him.

“Well, in general, I have a real concern overall about what I call the ‘tech oligarchs,’” Nunes told Breitbart News Sunday this weekend. “But Twitter has been the worst, especially to me. So if you look at what they’ve done, specifically to me, is they enforce their rules selectively. So I’m arguing they’ve operated their property negligibly. They’ve been negligent with the operation of their property, and they’re actually content developers. 

“They have had it their way for a long time by having this ability to get out from lawsuits because Congress has actually carved out a special provision in law for them because they were supposed to be an open square — an open public square; they’re the Internet,” he explained, referring to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which many conservatives have identified as a key factor in the problem. “So they’re not treated like someone like, say, some other kind of product would be treated like a car, for example, or a kitchen appliance. They’ve had this special carveout for 20 years.”

“They now are regulating the content, and they’re deciding how to regulate the content — and it’s clearly biased against conservatives,” Nunes continued. “So we are looking at them for operating their property in a negligent way, and then we’re suing others for defamation. Look, this is not the way I want to go about it, especially for someone like me. I don’t like going to have to use the court system, but it’s really the system of last resort.”

The congressman said the “easiest way that this can all be solved” would be if internet platforms and services simply withdrew from content development and returned to the old status quo of being more hands-off “open squares.” But “this is just not going to happen,” he lamented, and “I’ve run out of patience.”

Nunes noted that “nothing can be done” legislatively before 2021 at the earliest because Nancy Pelosi “controls the House, and she is going to ensure that nothing happens to these companies as we sit right now.” That leaves lawsuits like his as the best response for the time being, he argued. (Conservative pundit Dennis Prager is also suing YouTube for restricting his PragerU videos under false pretenses.)

“I’m in the best position to do it because I’m one of the ones who’s been most slandered,” Nune said. “So hopefully, the courts will step in, right? If I can win one of these cases, it will really set these guys back. If the Covington school kids can win a case, that would set them back. So I think between defamation laws and treating these tech companies what they are, which is property, this is going to be the fastest and only way to solve it before 2020.”

Facebook, Twitter, Google/YouTube, and Pinterest all suffer from ongoing bias and censorship scandals. Dr. Robert Epstein, a research psychologist with the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, estimates that Google’s search results swung as many as 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016 (potentially accounting for the Democrat nominee’s popular-vote margin of just under 2.9 million). Epstein also testified that he has identified “nine different blacklists Google maintains to suppress information worldwide.”

Last week, Judge John Marshall asked Twitter for more information pertaining to two of the anti-Nunes accounts in question, the Fresno Bee reports. Marshall has yet to decide on Twitter’s request to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds.

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Nearly 200 scholars demand removed JPII Institute profs be reinstated

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

ROME, September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Almost 200 scholars have signed an open letter to the leaders of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences, protesting the removal of two senior faculty members.

In the short August 20 letter, addressed to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the grand chancellor of the institute, and Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri, its president, the academicians ask for the reinstatement of professors Monsignor Livio Melina and Fr. José Noriega.

“We have learned with great concern that Professors Livio Melina and José Noriega have been deprived of their tenured positions,” the scholars wrote.

“We do not see any convincing reason, whether of a scientific-academic nature or of a doctrinal or disciplinary nature, that would justify their removal from their positions,” they continued.

“So that your Institute may maintain its high academic profile and its international prestige, we implore you to revoke this decision and to reinstate the aforementioned scholars into a tenured teaching position at your Institute.”

Melina and Noriega were effectively fired from the John Paul II Institute in July when their chairs (positions) were eliminated. Melina had been a tenured professor of fundamental moral theology at the institute since 1991, and in 2006, he was nominated the president of the institute by Benedict XVI. The then-pontiff reconfirmed Melina in the position in 2010. In 2016, Pope Francis chose Sequeri as Melina’s successor. Fr. Noriega had been a tenured professor of special moral theology at the institute, where he had taken his doctorate, since 2008.

The professors’ dismissals were only two of a number of changes to the institute that caught both its faculty and students off guard. The entire faculty was temporarily suspended, some lecturers ― including personal friends of St. John Paul II ― were dismissed, and the students discovered that some of the courses for which they had signed up in June would not be offered after all.

David Mulroney, a former president of the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, is one of the letter’s signatories. He told LifeSiteNews that what is happening at the John Paul II Institute “should worry all Catholics.”

“What we’re seeing is an attempt to undermine a significant part of Saint John Paul II’s legacy, namely his dedication to a faithful and intellectually rigorous understanding of the sanctity of human life and the centrality of the family in human society,” he said via email.

My experience at a Catholic University taught me that those who seek to undermine an institution’s Catholic identity often display two tendencies that, at first blush, seem mutually exclusive: a public show of support for academic and intellectual freedom, coupled with the ruthless suppression of such freedom by underhanded methods,” he continued. 

“We need to shine a bright light on what’s happening at the JPII Institute.”  

Other signatories included renowned apologist Scott W. Hahn, a professor at the Franciscan University of Steubenville; Robert P. George of Princeton University; theologian C.C. Pecknold of the Catholic University of America; and the celebrated Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School.

The Franciscan University of Steubenville was particularly well represented among the signatories.

 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Open letter to Msgr. Paglia and Msgr. Sequeri

Open letter to His Excellency, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and the Family, and to Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, President of the Institute.

20 August 2019

Your Excellency, Msgr. Paglia,

Rev. Msgr. Sequeri,

We, the undersigned, professors and researchers from various academic institutions throughout the world, have learned with great concern that Professors Livio Melina and José Noriega have been deprived of their tenured positions.

We do not see any convincing reason, whether of a scientific-academic nature or of a doctrinal or disciplinary nature, that would justify their removal from their positions.

So that your Institute may maintain its high academic profile and its international prestige, we implore you to revoke this decision and to reinstate the aforementioned scholars into a tenured teaching position at your Institute.

With kindest regards,

List of Signatories (Alphabetical Order)

  1. Paul Adams. Professor Emeritus — Social Work (University of Hawai'i)
  2. Jane Adolphe. Professor of Law (Ave Maria School of Law)
  3. Marta Albert Marquez, PhD. Professor — Philosophy of Law (Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid)
  4. Jacob Alexander. Adjunct Professor of Philosophy (University of St. Thomas, Houston)
  5. Salvador Antuñano Alea, PhD. Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy(Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Madrid)
  6. Richard S. Arndt, PhD. Adjunct Professor of Political Science (Marquette University)
  7. Donald P. Asci. Professor of Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  8. Romeo Astorri. Professor of Canon Law (Università Cattolica Milano)
  9. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, OP. Professor of Biology and of Theology (Providence College)
  10. Michel Bastit. Professor of Philosophy (Université de Bourgogne et Archives Poincaré — CNRS)
  11. Andrew Beards. Professor of Philosophy (School of the Annunciation, Buckfast Abbey, Devon, England)
  12. John Sietze Bergsma. Professor of Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  13. P. Bracy Bersnak. Associate Professor of Political Science (Christendom College)
  14. Philip E. Blosser. Professor of Philosophy (Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
  15. Mark Healy Bonner. Professor of Criminal Law and Constitutional Criminal Procedure(Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, Florida, USA)
  16. Paweł Bortkiewicz. Professor of Moral Theology (Adam Mickiewicz University)
  17. Gregory Bottaro. Associate Professor of Psychology (Institute for the Psychological Sciences/Divine Mercy University)
  18. Carole M. Brown. Professor of Theology (Catholic Distance University)
  19. Janusz Bujak. Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Ecumenism (Uniwersytet Szczeciński)
  20. Juan Manuel Burgos. Professor of Philosophy (University San Pablo CEU, Madrid)
  21. Martin Cajthaml. Associate Professor of Philosophy (Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic)
  22. Franco Caron. Associate Professor (Politecnico di Milano)
  23. Francisco Carpintero Benítez. Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Law (Universidad de Cádiz, Spain)
  24. Gloria Casanova Mayordomo. Professor — Philosophical Anthropology (Universidad Católica de Valencia, Spain)
  25. Rodolfo José Castro Salinas. Professor — Humanities (Universidad Católica San Pablo, Perú)
  26. Aquilino Cayuela Cayuela. Professor — Moral and Political Philosophy and Moral Theology (Institut für Philosophie — Priesterseminar RM des Erzbistums Berlin — affiliiert PUG)
  27. Teresa Cid. Professor — Humanities (Universidad CEU San Pablo, Madrid)
  28. Peter J. Colosi, PhD. Associate Professor of Philosophy (Salve Regina University, Newport RI, USA)
  29. Francisco José Contreras. Professor of Philosophy of Law (Universidad de Sevilla, Spain)
  30. Óscar Corominas. Professor of Ecclesiastical and Civil Law (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid)
  31. Francisco José Cortes Blasco. Professor — Theology of Marriage and Family (Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Spain)
  32. David P. Deavel. Assistant Professor of Catholic Studies (University of St. Thomas)
  33. Tomasz Dekert. Professor of Religious Studies (Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow)
  34. Rafael Del Río Villegas. Professor — Health Sciences (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid)
  35. Patrick J. Deneen. Professor and David A. Potenziani Memorial College Chair — Political Science (University of Notre Dame)
  36. Raphaël Dila Ciendela, STD. Professor of Ethics (Université de Mbujimayi, Congo Republic)
  37. Alexandra Diriart. Professor — Family Spirituality (Pontificio Istituto Teologico Giovanni Paolo II, Rome)
  38. Eduardo Echeverria, PhD. Professor of Philosophy &Theology (Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
  39. Rene Ecochard, MD, PhD. Professor of Epidemiology (Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France)
  40. Jean Baptiste Edart. Associate Professor of Dogmatic Theology (Université Catholique de l'Ouest — Angers)
  41. Dr. Laura M. Eidt. Assistant Professor — Modern Languages and Humanities (University of Dallas)
  42. Kent Emery, Jr.. Professor of History of Philosophy and Theology (University of Notre Dame, USA)
  43. Dr. Chad Engelland. Professor of Philosophy (University of Dallas)
  44. Ignacio Esteban Monasterio. Associate Professor of Procedural Law (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
  45. Jesús Ignacio Falgueras. Professor of Philosophy [emeritus] (Universidad de Málaga, Spain)
  46. Robert L. Fastiggi. Professor of Systematic Theology (Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA)
  47. Maria Fedoryka. Associate Professor of Philosophy (Ave Maria University)
  48. Fernando Fernández Rodríguez. Founder and President — Association for the Study of the Social Doctrine of the Church (AEDOS — Asociación para el Estudio de la Doctrina Social de la Iglesia)
  49. Dr. Richard Delahide Ferrier. Tutor — Liberal Education (Thomas Aquinas College)
  50. Jan Frei. Professor of Philosophy (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences)
  51. Ana Isabel Gallardo Martín. Professor — Bioethics (Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Spain)
  52. Carmen Gallardo Pérez. Professor — Science (Francisco de Vitoria University, Madrid)
  53. Pavel Galuzska. Assistant Professor of Family Studies (The Pontifical University of John Paul II, Krakow)
  54. Francisco Galvache Valero. Professor — Philosophy and Education (Universidad Juan Carlos I, Madrid)
  55. Felipe García Díaz-Guerra. Adjunct Professor of Moral Fundamental Theology(Instituto Superior de Estudios Teológicos San Ildefonso, Toledo, Spain)
  56. Véronique Gay-Crosier Lemaire. Professor of Moral Theology (Université di Fribourg, Suisse)
  57. Marie I. George. Professor of Philosophy (St. John's University, NY)
  58. Robert P. George. McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence (Princeton University)
  59. Anna Geppert. Professor — Human Sciences (Sorbonne)
  60. Dr. Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz. Professor — Philosophy of Religion (TU Dresden — Hochschule Benedikt XVI. Heiligenkreuz)
  61. Manfred Gerwing. Univ.-Prof., Dr. phil. et theol. habil., Dogmatik und Dogmengeschichte (Theologische Fakultät der Katholischen Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany)
  62. Rafael Giraldo. Professor of Biotechnology (Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain)
  63. Luke Gormally. Professor Emeritus of Bioethics — Director Emeritus (Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford.)
  64. Jose Granados. Professor of Dogmatic Theology (Pontifical Theological John Paul II Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and the Family, Rome)
  65. Anna Władysława Grzegorczyk. Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies (Institute of Cultural Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland)
  66. Rev. Benedict M. Guevin, O.S.B., Ph.D, S.T.D.. Professor of Moral Theology (Saint Anselm College)
  67. Scott W. Hahn. Fr. Michael Scanlan Professor of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  68. James A Harold. Professor of Philosophy (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  69. Theodore K. A. Harwood. Assistant Professor of Classics (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  70. Stanley Martin Hauerwas. Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Theological Ethics(Duke Divinity School)
  71. Mary Healy. Professor of Biblical Theology (Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
  72. Michael J. Healy. Professor of Philosophy (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  73. Daniel Heider. Associate Professor of Philosophy (Faculty of Theology, University of South Bohemia)
  74. Anne Hendershott. Professor of Sociology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  75. Douglas Henry. Associate Professor of Philosophy (Baylor University)
  76. Susana Herrera Damas. Professor of Communication (Carlos III University of Madrid)
  77. Stephen M. Hildebrand. Professor of Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  78. Rodney Howsare. Professor of Theology (DeSales University)
  79. Agnieszka Kalinowska. Professor of Patrology [Maître de conférences — HDR](Université de Lorraine)
  80. Stephan Kampowski. Professor of Philosophical Anthropology (Pontificio Istituto Teologico Giovanni Paolo II, Roma)
  81. Dybeł Katarzyna. Professor of Philology (Faculty of Philology, Jagiellonian University, Cracow)
  82. Daniel A. Keating. Professor of Theology (Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
  83. Daniel R. Kempton. Professor of Political Science. Vice President for Academic Affairs(Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  84. Daniel-Maria Klimek, T.O.R., Ph.D.. Assistant Professor of Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  85. Joseph W. Koterski, S.J.. Associate Professor of Philosophy (Fordham University)
  86. Tomasz Kraj. Associate Professor — Bioethics, Moral Theology (Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow)
  87. Richard Kucharčík. Professor — Social Work, Marriage and Family (Katolícka univerzita v Ružomberku, Slovakia)
  88. Jaroslaw Kupczak OP. Professor of Theology (Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow)
  89. Carlo Lancellotti. Professor of Mathematics (City University of New York)
  90. Michele Lanzetta. Associate Professor of Manufacturing Processes (University of Pisa, Italy)
  91. Cristian Langa. Professor of Theology (Romania Cluj Eparchial Theological Institute — UBB Cluj)
  92. Patrick Lee. John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Philosophy (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  93. Marta López-Jurado Puig. Professor of Education (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia/UNED, Spain)
  94. Alejandro J. López Oliva. Business Law (Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Martir, Spain)
  95. Oswaldo Javier Lozano de la Garza. Former Assistant Professor — Theological Anthropology and Theology of the Body (John Paul II Institute in Monterrey, México)
  96. Arturas Lukasevicius. Professor of Catechetics (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania)
  97. Marian Szczepan Machinek. Professor of Moral Theology (University of Warmia and Mazury in Poland)
  98. Tomáš Machula. Professor — Philosophy and Ethics (University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Czech Republic)
  99. Teresa Malecka. Professor of Musicology (Academy of Music in Kraków)
  100. Piotr Malecki. Professor of Physics (IFJ PAN)
  101. Christopher J. Malloy. Associate Professor of Theology (The University of Dallas)
  102. Franco Marabelli. Professor of Experimental Physics (University of Pavia, Italy)
  103. Norbert Martin. Professor emeritus of Sociology (University of Koblenz, Germany)
  104. Regis Martin, S.T.D.. Professor of Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  105. John M. McDermott, S.J.. Professor of Dogmatic Theology (Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
  106. Bronwen McShea. Associate Research Scholar — Early Modern History and History of Christianity (Princeton University)
  107. Jaroslaw Merecki. Professor of Philosophy (Pontificio Istituto Giovanni Paolo II, Roma)
  108. Jennifer E. Miller, STD. Professor of Moral Theology (Notre Dame Seminary, Graduate School of Theology, New Orleans)
  109. Kevin E. Miller, Ph.D.. Assistant Professor of Moral Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  110. Christopher V. Mirus. Professor of Philosophy (University of Dallas)
  111. Suzanne Mulrain. Coordinator and Adjunct Professor of Theology (School of Theological Studies — St Charles Borromeo Seminary)
  112. David Mulroney. Administration — President and Vice Chancellor [2015-2018](University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto)
  113. Virgil P. Nemoianu. Professor of Comparative Literature [retired] (Catholic University of America)
  114. Lukáš Novák. Professor of Philosophy (University of South Bohemia, Faculty of Theology)
  115. Daniel Novotny. Professor of Philosophy (University of South Bohemia)
  116. Maciej Nowak. Assistant Professor of History and Theory of Literature (The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin)
  117. Gerard O’Shea. Professor — Religious Education (University of Notre Dame, Australia)
  118. Raúl Orozco Ruano. Professor of Dogmatic Theology (Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso, Madrid)
  119. Thomas M. Osborne, Jr.. Professor of Philosophy (University of St. Thomas — Houston)
  120. Petr Osolsobe. Professor — Aesthetics and Philosophy (Masaryk University, Czech Republic)
  121. Michael Pakaluk. Professor of Ethics and Social Philosophy (The Catholic University of America)
  122. Petr Pavlas. Comenius studies and Early Modern Intellectual History (Institute of Philosophy, The Czech Academy of Sciences)
  123. C.C. Pecknold. Professor of Dogmatic Theology (The Catholic University of America)
  124. Juan José Pérez-Soba Diez del Corral. Professor of Pastoral Theology (Pontificio Istituto Teologico Giovanni Paolo II, Roma)
  125. Robert Plich OP. Professor of Moral Theology (Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow)
  126. Diego Poole. Professor of Philosophy of Law (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid)
  127. Ctirad Václav Pospíšil, Th.D.. Professor of Dogmatic Theology (Teologiká fakulta JU v Českých Budějovicích, KTF UK v Praze, HTF Uk v Praze)
  128. Charles Presberg. Associate Professor of Spanish Renaissance Literature (University of Missouri)
  129. Patrick Quirk. Associate Professor of Law (Australian Catholic University)
  130. Matthew Ramage. Associate Professor of Theology (Benedictine College)
  131. Lucrecia Rego de Planas. Interdisciplinary Research (Anahuac University, Mexico City)
  132. José Luis Requejo Aleman. Professor of Communication (Carlos III University of Madrid)
  133. Benedetto Rocchi. Professor of Economics (Department of Economics and Management — Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy)
  134. Carla Rossi Espagnet. Professor of Dogmatic Theology (Pontificia Università della santa Croce, Rome)
  135. Christopher Ruddy. Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology (The Catholic University of America)
  136. Ignacio Sánchez Cámara. Professor of Philosophy (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid)
  137. Carmen Sánchez Maíllo. Adjunct Professor — Philosophy of Law (Universidad CEU San Pablo, Madrid)
  138. Jorge Sánchez-Tarazaga y Marcelino. Professor of International Private Law(Universidad Europea de Valencia)
  139. Deborah Savage. Professor — Philosophy and Theology (St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity)
  140. D. Brian Scarnecchia. Professor of Law (Ave Maria School of Law)
  141. Michele M. Schumacher. Professor — moral and dogmatic theology (University of Fribourg)
  142. Susan C. Selner-Wright. Associate Professor of Philosophy (St. John Vianney Theological Seminary)
  143. Juan Luis Sevilla Bujalance. Professor — Civil Law (Universidad de Cordoba, Spain)
  144. Dr. Mark Shiffman. Associate Professor of Humanities (Villanova University)
  145. Jeremy Sienkiewicz. Associate Professor of Theology (Benedictine College)
  146. Vojtech Simek. Professor — Philosophy and Theology (Teologicka fakulta Jihoceske univerzity)
  147. Fernando Simón Rueda. Adjunct Professor — Moral Theology (Facultad de Teología Universidad San Dámaso, Madrid)
  148. Michael G. Sirilla, PhD. Professor of Systematic Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  149. Janet E Smith. Professor of Moral theology [retired] (Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit)
  150. Carmen María Solís Martí. Professor — Family therapy (Universidad Católica de Valencia, Spain)
  151. Manfred Spieker. Prof. für Christliche Sozialwissenschaften (Universität Osnabrück)
  152. Josef Spindelböck. Professor of Moral Theology (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule St. Pölten)
  153. Teresa Stanton Collett. Professor of Law (University of St. Thomas — MN, USA)
  154. Isaila Ana Stefania. Professor of Psychology (UBB Cluj)
  155. William Bennett Stevenson. Associate Professor of Dogmatic Theology (St. Paul Seminary, University of St. Thomas)
  156. M. Brigid Strader. Tutor — Medieval & Renaissance Classics (Rome Institute of Liberal Arts)
  157. Alberto Strumia. Professor [retired] — Mathematical Physics — Logic — Philosophy of science — Philosophy of nature — Fundamental theology (State University of Bari and Theological Faculty of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna)
  158. Christopher Tollefsen. Professor of Moral Philosophy (University of South Carolina)
  159. Christian Trottmann. Directeur de recherche. Histoire de la Philosophie et de la théologie médiévale et renaissante (CNRS)
  160. Matthew A. Tsakanikas. Professor of Theology (Christendom College)
  161. Piotr Tylus. Professor — Humanities (Jagiellonian University in Cracow)
  162. Erika Valdivieso López. Professor of Law (Universidad Católica Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo, Chiclayo, Perú)
  163. Jan Vančura. Professor — Social Psychology (Caritas, College of Social Work Olomouc, Czech Republic)
  164. Julián Vara Martín. Professor — Philosophy of Politics and Law (Universidad San Pablo CEU, Madrid)
  165. Giorgio Vassena. Professor — Engineering (Università di Brescia)
  166. Salvador Villa Herrero. Adjunct Professor of Sacred Scripture (Facultad de Teología San Vicente Ferrer, Valencia, Spain)
  167. Andre Villeneuve, S.S.L., Ph.D.. Assistant Professor (Azusa Pacific University)
  168. Owen Vyner. Professor of Theology (Christendom College)
  169. Mats Wahlberg. Associate Professor of Systematic Theology (Umeå University, Sweden)
  170. Michael Waldstein. Professor of Theology (Franciscan University)
  171. Susan Waldstein. Adjunct Professor of Theology (Franciscan University)
  172. Matthew Walz. Associate Professor of Philosophy (University of Dallas)
  173. Bernadette Waterman Ward. Associate Professor of English (University of Dallas)
  174. Helen Watt. Research Fellow (Anscombe Bioethics Centre)
  175. Petroc Willey. Professor of Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  176. Peter S. Williamson. Professor of Sacred Scripture (Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit)
  177. Jacob W. Wood. Associate Professor of Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville)
  178. Terrence C. Wright. Associate Professor of Philosophy (St. John Vianney Theological Seminary)
  179. Katherine del Cisne Zambrano Yaguana. Professor — Education (Universidad de Navarra, Spain)
  180. Kevin Zilverberg. Assistant Professor of Sacred Scripture (Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, University of St. Thomas — MN, USA)
  181. Luigi Zucaro. Adjunct Professor of Bioethics (Pontificio Istituto Giovanni Paolo II. Istituto di Teologia Pastorale, Università Lateranense, Roma)
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4 men sue Pennsylvania diocese, including 2 bishops, for sex abuse cover-up

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By Lisa Bourne

SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Four men filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Scranton, Pa., and its current and former bishops August 28, claiming sexual abuse by a priest and cover-up by the diocese.

The men say Father Michael Pulicare sexually assaulted them as children and accuse the diocese of conspiracy and fraud in concealing widespread abuse that Church leaders knew about for decades, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.

Pulicare died in 1999. The statute of limitations to file suit on the abuse has expired, as Pennsylvania law requires that childhood sexual abuse victims file lawsuits prior to turning 30. The men, some of whom are in their fifties, are instead suing over the alleged cover-up, the report said, and they are part of an increasing number of alleged clergy abuse victims pursuing this alternate course to challenge the Church in court.

At least eight similar lawsuits have been filed in Pennsylvania since a state appeals court ruled in June that one suit accusing the Altoona-Johnstown diocese of a conspiracy to cover up abuse could proceed, the WSJ report said.

“Given the situation in Pennsylvania with the statute of limitations, this is a major development,” Richard Serbin, the attorney representing the plaintiff in the Altoona case said. Serbin said he has heard from lawyers all over Pennsylvania interested in filing similar suits.

Attorney for the Scranton plaintiffs Kevin Quinn said the Pennsylvania grand jury report released last year found that the Diocese of Scranton had engaged in a conspiracy, local ABC affiliate WNEP reports, which includes current bishop Joseph Bambera.

“We know from the grand jury report that Bishop Bambera, while he played an administrative role as vicar for the diocese, was specifically involved in relocating a priest known to have sexually abused a minor to a different location,” Quinn said.

The Diocese of Scranton said via a statement that the lawsuit against it relies “on a novel legal theory in an attempt to circumvent the long-established statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. That theory relies entirely on a recent case that remains on appeal.”

“The actions alleged in these suits took place decades ago and long before Bishop Joseph Bambera was ordained bishop in 2010,” it said. “The independent Survivor Compensation Program [is where] survivors of child sexual abuse can be compensated swiftly and without the rigors and delays of the litigation process.”

The Scranton diocese is one of seven of the state’s eight dioceses establish victim compensation.

In exchange for the compensation, the victims must agree not to sue the Church.

Church leaders have said the programs are efforts to make amends, but critics say they amount to the Church simply trying to limit legal liability, offering far less money than plaintiffs have won in court.

The Altoona-Johnstown case is expected to be appealed to the state supreme court, the WSJ report said, and could bring the new approach to holding the Church legally accountable for clergy sex abuse to a halt.

“I don’t expect the ... case to stand up to further appeal,” said Matthew Haverstick, a lawyer representing the Diocese of Harrisburg in one of the cases alleging conspiracy. “The idea that all these actors conspired and talked to each other strains credulity.”

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown declined to comment to the WSJ on the litigation.

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office released its grand jury report last August detailing sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children on the part of more than 300 Catholic clergymen in six of the state’s eight dioceses. Since then, lawmakers across the U.S. have been exploring possible litigation against the Church related to abuse and its cover-up.

At least five states and Washington, D.C. have lifted the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse this year, according to the WSJ, opening the door to a flood of litigation from decades-old abuse allegations.

More than 400 lawsuits were filed in New York on the first day after the statute of limitations on older abuse cases was lifted earlier this month.

Pennsylvania’s state legislature is still in the process of debating whether and how to change its statute of limitations.

But Quinn said the statute of limitations doesn’t apply in the Scranton case, because his clients could not have known about the diocese’s efforts to conceal abuse until the grand jury report last year exposed how the abuse was covered up.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday says Pulicare was assigned to at least nine different parishes in the diocese as part of the ongoing cover-up.

The suit also says former Scranton bishop James Timlin allowed one of the plaintiffs to sleep in Pulicare’s bed in the cathedral.

Bambera had restricted Timlin, who was implicated in the grand jury report for abuse cover-up, from representing the diocese in public following the report’s release last year.

“Up until the release of the grand-jury report last August, our clients thought they had only been victimized by Father Pulicare,” Quinn said. “They were unaware of the ... active role the diocese and its leaders played in covering up cases of clergy abuse and endangering them and others.”

The Pennsylvania state attorney general did not list Pulicare among the hundreds of accused priests, the WNEP report said.

The Diocese of Scranton decided earlier this year that alleged victims of Pulicare are eligible to receive money from the diocese’s settlement fund.

“The victim’s fund was a slap in the face,” said alleged victim John Patchcoski. “To me, I could have to just say it was almost like being molested all over again.”

“A crime was committed and I feel as though it should be handled by the court, not the Church,” alleged victim Jim Pliska said.

Quinn said the compensation program “is not the answer for our clients because it doesn’t hold the diocese and its leaders truly accountable.”

“Our clients look forward to the full discovery that the civil justice system affords, but the process created by the diocese through the fund does not,” Quinn said. “And having their fate and the fate of the diocese and its leaders should be decided by a jury of their peers.”

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James Grein speaking in public for the first time at the 'Silence Stops Now' rally on November 13, 2018.

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McCarrick victim responds to ex-cardinal’s new interview: ‘His denials are still the same’

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A man who says as a child he was sexually abused repeatedly by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has responded to the ex-prelate’s recent surprise denial of the many accusations that have been lodged against him.

Slate magazine tracked down the defrocked McCarrick at a Capuchin friary in off-the-beaten-path Victoria, Kansas. The friary is located next door to elementary and high schools. 

“I’m not as bad as they paint me,” said the former prelate who broke a year of silence. “I do not believe that I did the things that they accuse me of.”  

James Grein, whose credible allegations about being sexually abused by McCarrick at age 11 led to McCarrick’s eventual defrocking, responded to the interview via social media: “I am hoping McCarrick is not abusing children and adults in Kansas. His denials are still the same as he told me –  ‘who will ever believe you . . . ?’”

Grein’s attorney – Mitchell Garabedian, an internationally recognized advocate in sexual abuse cases – echoed his client’s concerns. 

“Cardinal McCarrick’s wholesale sexual abuse of children is emblematic of the sexual abuse that existed and does exist within the Catholic Church,” Garabedian told LifeSiteNews. “The depth and scope of the sexual abuse is infinite, and the denial, although not believable, continues.” 

“It’s time for Pope Francis to provide a comment which would clarify how Cardinal McCarrick and other high-ranking officials within the Catholic Church were allowed to sexually abuse innocent children over the course of decades in a wholesale manner,” declared the attorney.

“Because Cardinal McCarrick is in Kansas, the children of Kansas are at risk. The police should be watching Cardinal McCarrick very closely,” cautioned Garabedian. 

“Even Fr. John Geoghan when he was in a retirement home was sexually abusing children,” observed Garabedian. 

Over the years, Garabedian has famously won settlements for scores of victims of clerical sexual abuse, including those of notorious Fr. John Geoghan, who was accused by more than 130 boys.

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Radical liberation theologians push for overthrow of Catholic doctrine at Amazon synod

By Maike Hickson

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

September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of aging priests and theologians associated with Latin American “liberation theology” who are involved in the preparation for Pope Francis’ upcoming “Pan-Amazon Synod” have produced a document arguing for the overthrow of Catholic doctrine in a variety of areas, LifeSite has learned.

The document, called “Towards the Pan-Amazonian Synod: Challenges and Contributions from Latin America and the Caribbean,” was produced in April of this year as a result of a meeting in Bogota, Colombia, by theologians from two organizations promoting liberation theology: “Amerindia,” and “REPAM.” The synod’s working document refers explicitly to the Bogota meeting as part of the preparatory process for the synod. It can be found here in its original Spanish.

The Bogota document seeks to undermine or overthrow fundamental elements of Catholic doctrine, claiming that there is no one true religion and that non-Christian religions are capable of bringing “salvation” to people, while glorifying the pagan religious traditions of the indigenous people in the Amazon.

In addition, it redefines the Eucharist as a symbolic act of the community, attacks the hierarchical priesthood of the New Testament while asking the Church’s authorities to leave open the possibility of the ordination of women as priests, and calls for “the overcoming of a patriarchal perspective.” It advocates a “feminist and ecological theology” to replace current ones. It also urges the ordination of married men to the priesthood.

The document closes with a prayer to God as “Father and Mother of life,” after having referred to God as the “Creator-Creatora.”

LifeSite has learned that of the 28 contributors to the text of the Bogota document, four have exercised key roles at the Pan-Amazon Synod’s pre-synodal council, and two of them are key authors of the synod’s working document. Their authorship of the document is offering an indication of their intentions for the synod, the full name of which is the “Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region.” It will be held in Rome from October 6-27 of this year.

The synod’s official working document has been condemned by numerous Catholic prelates, including Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, who has called it, “heretical.”

The full text of the Bogota document can be found here.

'It’s not fair'

According to the Bogota document, the Catholic Church shouldn’t declare that only one religion is true, because “it’s not fair” to do so, just as “it’s not fair” to say that one species should prevail over all the others – an apparent rejection of the Catholic doctrine of man’s superiority over the animals taught in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The document approvingly quotes Leonardo Boff, a wayward priest (now laicized) and “liberation” theologian who abandoned the Franciscan order and entered into a union with a woman after being censured by the Vatican for attacks on Catholic doctrine. Boff is a strong supporter of Pope Francis and has known him since the 1970s. 

States the document: “It is not fair that we think and say that only one species should prevail, but on the contrary; all species have value and together they reveal the virtues of the mystery of life. Similarly, it is not fair to say that only one religion is true and the others are decadent, for they all reveal the mystery of God and reveal the many ways in which we walk in fidelity and love for God” (p. 86).

The document also claims that the Catholic Church must move “from intolerant exclusivism to an attitude of respect that accepts that Christianity does not have a historical monopoly on salvation” (p. 84), and that “pluralism and diversity of religions are expressions of a wise divine will” (p. 53).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Catholic Church is the “one and only Church of God” and “the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church.” It also reiterates the dogma of the faith that “outside the Church there is no salvation,” meaning that those who knowingly reject unity with the Church and die outside of it suffer eternal damnation. The same doctrine is contained in numerous verses of in the Christian New Testament.

The Bogota document contains various other statements promoting heresy or dissent against Catholic doctrine, including the following: 

1. The Eucharist and other sacraments are reduced to community “symbols” that express the “experience of people” and “the path of the community”

States the document: “In the liturgy, the Church expresses her faith in a symbolic and communal way. The constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium explains that the liturgy is the 'summit' and 'source' of Christian life. The liturgy is the ‘summit,’ because at the foot of the table is presented the experience of people, the path of the community and the socio-cultural context in which it operates. ‘Source,’ because from the living memory of the love of Christ and from the encounter with sisters and brothers the desire and the capacity for more coherent discipleship and more effective witness are born” (p. 94).

The Catholic Church teaches, however, that the Eucharist is not a mere symbol of human experience, but is the sacramental presence of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, and a re-presentation and participation in his sacrifice on the cross. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again.”

The reduction of Catholic doctrine to personal “experience” is expressly condemned by Pope Pius X in his condemnation of modernism, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907), where he notes that such doctrines lead to atheism: “With such theories . . . the way is opened wide for atheism. Here it is well to note at once that, given this doctrine of experience united with the other doctrine of symbolism, every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be true. What is to prevent such experiences from being met within every religion?”

2. The Church broke with its own tradition when it recognized elders as hierarchical priests and as members of the Order of Melchizedek 

States the document: “Within the post-council framework, theology questioned the model of the Old Testament priesthood that was introduced into ecclesial praxis and theology when Judaism's cultural institutions were transposed into the ecclesial community to show the continuity between the Old and New Testaments that Gnosticism challenged. As a consequence of the establishment of the institution of the priesthood, the leaders became officials of the cult and their office – a priestly office of cultural mediation - was interpreted as a rank, which designated them as priests, Levites, sons of Aaron, and even relating them to Melchizedek, which does not correspond to the experience of the first communities that had broken with the Old Testament forms of religious mediation” (p. 112).

The Catholic Church teaches, however, that Christ himself instituted the ministerial priesthood as a participation in his own priesthood: “‘The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons.’ Catholic doctrine, expressed in the liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice of the Church, recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the presbyterate. The diaconate is intended to help and serve them.”

3. This deviation from original doctrine was the basis for excluding women from the priesthood

States the document: “What served as an argument to respond to a particular circumstance became doctrine with the elaboration of the theology of the sacrament of order as the sacrament of the priesthood, closely and intimately related to the Eucharistic sacrifice. Thus, the cultural perspective on the priesthood was consecrated in the liturgy and in priestly spirituality, as well as in the symbols that confer a character of dignity and honor on men of the Church. In this process women were excluded . . .” (p. 113).

4. Catholic dogma on the exclusively male priesthood is a modifiable “position” that theologians should be able to “reflect on” to discern the “signs of the times” 

States the document: “We are fully aware of the Catholic Church's position on this issue. We recommend, however, that theologians, respecting in a reverent way the data of faith and in profound communion with the Magisterium, may continue with complete freedom the reflection on the priestly ordination of women, enriching their analysis with resources coming from psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, philosophy and hermeneutics, in order to be able to discern the presence of the Spirit in that sign of the times which is, according to John XXIII, the presence of women in public life” (p. 105).

The perennial practice and doctrine of the Catholic Church, however, are that women cannot be validly ordained to the priesthood. Pope John Paul II in his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, issued in 1994, wrote, “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.”

5. Women in the early Church were “deacons” who exercised “leadership functions,” but there was no hierarchy or priesthood 

States the document: “The New Testament texts do not record cultural activities, but communities of believers met in houses, which shows that women could carry the word and exercise leadership functions. On the other hand, in these communities there was no hierarchical organization or priestly figures: their leaders did not receive the title of priests and the diversity of ministries, whose denomination comes from secular language, was polarized into the triad episcopos, presbyters, male deacons and female deacons” (p. 116).

6. “A Church incarnated in the Amazon” means openness to ordaining women to the “diaconate” as well as ordaining married men, and embracing “feminist and ecological theology”

Such a church includes “Ensuring the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist in ecclesial communities by the ordination of married priests. . . . Welcoming and supporting . . . feminist and ecological theology as a support for the configuration of a Church with its own face. . . .  Discerning the opportunity for the ordination of women to the diaconate, as well as the creation of other ministries of one's own, according to the needs of the local Church” (p. 81).

7. Pagan indigenous religions are affirmed, never criticized 

In a way similar to the synod’s working document, the Bogota document affirms the pagan religious traditions of the indigenous while never mentioning erroneous beliefs or destructive practices among them. The whole document contains only two brief, passing mentions of “sin,” one in an ancient prayer the document quotes. The document calls for “understanding and recognizing once again the virtues, knowledge and cosmovisions existing among the ancestral ethnic groups, which still retain the ability to read and conceive nature as the true mother” (p. 34).

8. God is referred to as the masculine-feminine “Creator-Creatora” 

States the document: “They have their sacred histories, languages, knowledge, traditions, spiritualities and theologies. All of them seek to build a 'good life' and the communion of people among themselves, with the world, with living beings and with the Creator-Creatora. They feel that they are living well in the 'house' that the Creator-Creatora gave them on Earth,” the document states (p. 54).

The document closes with a prayer to “Father and Mother of life” (p. 129). 

Bogota document's importance 

In April of 2019, 28 theologians met in Bogota, Colombia, in order to discuss the upcoming October 6-27 Amazon Synod. Organizers of this event were two organizations: Amerindia and Repam (the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network). The result of this conference is to be found in the booklet, “Towards the Pan-Amazonian Synod.”

Importantly, it is the Vatican's own working document for the upcoming synod that refers back to this event in Bogota as one of the preparatory meetings for the synod. The working document states first that “this Working Document is the fruit of a long process that includes the drafting of the Preparatory Document for the Synod in June 2018; and an extensive survey of Amazon communities” and then adds in footnote 1: “In addition to this official process, numerous seminars have been held in Washington D.C., Rome and Bogota, with experts in different areas and representatives of Amazon peoples, to reflect on the issues analyzed here.”

Four people who are involved in the work of the pre-synodal council (either as members or as advisors) convoked by Pope Francis in March of 2018 were present at the Bogota gathering: Father Paolo Suess (a close collaborator of Bishop Erwin Kräutler who is a member of the pre-synodal council) – Suess participates as an advisor (peritus) at the pre-synodal council –  Mauricio López (the executive secretary of REPAM and a member of the council), the indigenous priest and advisor, Father Justino Sarmento Rezende, and finally Fr. Peter Hughes (also an advisor). These four people have been, according to a Spanish source, the main authors of the Amazon Synod's 2018 preparatory document. Paolo Suess is generally believed to have had the leading hand in the synod's 2019 working document.

Organizations devoted to promoting 'liberation theology'

Amerindia is an organization of ideologically progressivist theologians who since 1978 have counseled Southern American prelates, especially in light of their various episcopal meetings (to include Medellin and Aparedica). This group features most prominently Leonardo Boff as one of their bloggers. Boff is one of the most prominent defenders of Liberation Theology, for which he was censured by the Vatican in the mid-eighties. He subsequently left the priesthood and married. He posted, in July of 2019, an article on his Amerindia blog, in which he argues for female priests.

On its website, Amerindia says its mission is to “reaffirm the option for new models of a communitarian and participative church, and for liberation theology as an aid to the universal church.” It claims to represent “a new way of being and acting, which passes through self-comprehension and transformation based on solidarity with the cry of the excluded and of Mother Earth.” The organization claims that it “had a significant participation in the Aparecida Conference” in 2007, a conference in which the drafting of the final document was led by Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, who is now Pope Francis. 

REPAM, a coalition of organizations committed to Pope Francis' “ecological” agenda, was founded  in 2014, apparently at the behest of Pope Francis himself.  One of its members, the coalition of Catholic international aid agencies Caritas Internationalis, says of the organization that “It is a project of the nine Churches of the Amazon region, inspired by Pope Francis and backed by the Latin American Bishops’ Conference, CELAM. Caritas Internationalis is a founding member of REPAM, and national Caritas offices in the Amazon countries, Europe and North America also participate.”

Notably, Caritas’ description of REPAM does not include the conversion of the largely pagan and Protestant Amazon peoples to the Catholic faith but instead, lists such goals as “Enabling indigenous leaders to be heard on the world stage,” “Creation of a School for the Promotion of Rights,” “Support for human rights defense cases,” “Dialogue between the Church and indigenous peoples’ communities,” and “Protection for the 137 ‘contactless tribes’ of the Amazon.”

In addition to Amerindia and REPAM, the document is sponsored by five Catholic international development organizations, CAFOD (BRITAIN), CCFD (France), DKA (Austria), and MISEREOR (Germany).  It is also sponsored by the German Protestant organization EMW (“Evangelisches Missionswerk in Deutschland” – Evangelical Mission Work in Germany). LifeSite first reported on the involvement of the German aid agencies with the synod in July.

Amerindia won’t say who contributed what to Bogota document

LifeSiteNews reached out to Amerindia, asking for a program of the April 2019 meeting in Bogota. Dr. Óscar Elizalde Prada, its communications director (and also a participant of that event), answered, saying that “the meeting itself did not take place through conferences or panels, but through intense work sessions, aimed at building a joint reflection from a Latin American and Caribbean theological-pastoral perspective, always in the light of the Magisterium of the Church and, more specifically, the pontificate of Pope Francis. For this reason we have not limited ourselves to a program or agenda as such.”

Prada further declined to give LifeSite information as to who wrote which of the chapters of the Bogota document, explaining that “likewise, as is proper to the communitarian and collaborative spirit of our work in Latin America, it is not possible to attribute the authorship of the content of each chapter of the subsidy that we have published to a specific author or authors. In this we have followed the inspiration of the indigenous peoples, more concerned with the care of the common house than with their own protagonisms, opting also to make a synodal journey, in dialogue and listening to the cries that spring from the Church in the Amazon and the 'groan of sister Earth', as the Holy Father refers in Laudato Si (LS 53).”

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Theodore McCarrick at a US Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting before details of his predation were made public Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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McCarrick breaks his silence: ‘I’m not as bad as they paint me’

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

VICTORIA, Kansas, September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Ted McCarrick has broken his year-long silence. 

Disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick has granted an interview to a reporter and denied the accusations that have been made against him. 

Several men have complained that McCarrick made unwelcome sexual advances to them when they were seminarians, and there have been two “credible allegations” that McCarrick also sexually assaulted two minors, a 16-year-old altar server and an 11-year-old family friend named James Grein. Grein alleges that the cardinal abused him for years. 

McCarrick, who has been dismissed from the clerical state, was sent to live in a Capuchin friary in the small Kansas town where reporter Ruth Graham, whose story appeared today in the online Slate magazine, asked him to talk.    

It was almost time for lunch, McCarrick told me, but we could talk for a bit. He showed me to a small meeting room, and we began to talk about his life in Victoria, his defrocking, and the accusations against him.

All his answers to my questions were short and steady. McCarrick said he never leaves the friary, not even to enter the basilica next door. He is grateful for the company of the other men who live at the friary, and he participates in the daily routine: Mass at 7 a.m., a communal breakfast, evening prayers. He spends much of his time in the chapel, he said, and in the library. “They’ve really treated me as a brother,” he said.

Graham asked the former cardinal “if he had done it.”

“I’m not as bad as they paint me,” McCarrick replied. “I do not believe that I did the things that they accuse me of.”  

McCarrick would discuss only one of the accusations and, in fact, brought it up himself: James Grein’s allegation that the older man had groped him in the confessional. 

“The thing about the confession, it’s a horrible thing,” he said, sounding suddenly more urgent. “I was a priest for 60 years, and I would never have done anything like that. … That was horrible, to take the holy sacrament and to make it a sinful thing.” 

The former cardinal stated that he thought the seminarians who accused him of groping them at his Jersey Shore beach house were encouraged to do it. 

“I think that they were encouraged to do that,” he told Graham. “There were many [seminarians] who were in that situation who had never had any problems like that.”

Graham, however, was unconvinced. 

This was a point he made several times: that plenty of young men had come to the beach house and had no problems there. He couldn’t have done it, in other words, because look at all the people he didn’t harass. As for who would have orchestrated such a campaign, he declined to name names, but referred vaguely to “enemies.”

Meanwhile, McCarrick had an accusation of his own to make – against Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Bizarrely, the former prelate purported to believe that the former papal nuncio is a “representative of the far right.”

“He was talking as a representative of the far right, I [think],” McCarrick said of Viganò. “I don’t want to say he’s a liar, but I think some of the bishops have said that he was not telling the truth.”  

Archbishop Viganò is material to the McCarrick case, for he testified that a number of high-ranking prelates, Pope Francis among them, knew that McCarrick had been accused for many years of having sexually harassed priests and seminarians. Viganò’s testimony intensified the light that was already shining on McCarrick, leading to his eventual defrocking.   

Graham painted McCarrick as a small, stooped, pathetic, and lonely individual who does not get much mail – only, ironically enough, Catholic fundraising appeals. She stressed that McCarrick is very well known in the town where he now lives for his reputation as an abuser and that he is unlikely ever to leave it. 

A priest comes to the friary to hear confession once a week, and McCarrick participates. Confessionals—and the Catholic Church—are places where both honesty and secrecy are holy. It is impossible for me not to wonder what he says there, when he has the sacred freedom to tell the truth about his life, now winding to a close in lonesome notoriety. He reminded me several times in our conversation that he was a priest for 60 years, but no matter what he sees when he looks backward, he must know that he will not be remembered as a shepherd. In this small town in western Kansas, he’s a living icon of both the crime of clerical sexual abuse and the church’s toxic willingness to cover it up. He’s not optimistic about having the chance to move back east. “I don’t know how many years are in my calendar,” he said. “One tries one’s best to accept where one is.”

LifeSiteNews has reached out to James Grein, who indicated that he had not yet finished reading the Slate interview. 

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Cardinal Robert Sarah
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Cdl. Sarah: Amazon synod would ‘definitively break’ with tradition in allowing married priests, female ministries

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

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

September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – African Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, wrote in his most recent book that if the upcoming Amazon synod allowed priestly ordination of married men and fabricated “ministries for women and other such incongruities,” the situation would be “extremely serious” on account of the synod fathers breaking with Catholic teaching and tradition. 

“If by a lack of faith in God and by an effect of pastoral short-sightedness the Synod for the Amazon were to decide on the ordination of viri probati, the fabrication of ministries for women and other such incongruities, the situation would be extremely serious,” he wrote. 

“Would its decisions be ratified on the pretext that they are the emanation of the will of the synod fathers?  The Spirit blows where it wants, of course, but it does not contradict itself and does not create confusion and disorder. It is the spirit of wisdom. On the question of celibacy, it has already spoken through the Roman councils and pontiffs,” he continued.

“If the Synod for the Amazon took decisions in such a direction, it would definitively break with the tradition of the Latin Church,” he added 

Cardinal Sarah made the comments in his book Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse, (“It is almost evening and the day is now nearly over”) which was published in March. The book will be published in English on September 22. LifeSiteNews has translated relevant quotes from the book below. 

As the Amazon synod approaches (Oct. 6-27), an increasing number of Catholic cardinals and bishops are expressing their concern over how the synod is being used to push for priestly ordination of married men in Amazonia along with the beginnings of female ordination, if not by creating women priests, at least by inventing a form of female diaconate. 

Cardinal Sarah addressed both issues head-on in his book, specifically expressing his opposition to a practical evolution of priestly celibacy and of the role of women within the Church in the context of the upcoming Amazon synod.

The Cardinal criticized the Amazon Synod working document for presenting “anything but a solution” to problems in the Amazon region, stating that giving these people less than what the Church normally ordains is no answer to the specific difficulties they face.

Earlier in the book, Cardinal Sarah had spoken at length of the value of celibacy and complete chastity for those who, being “configured to Christ,” should follow His example in giving themselves, body and soul to the Church, in the same way that Jesus-Christ is truly the Spouse of the Church. Quoting the ancient practice of the Catholic Church of requiring complete continence from married men who became priests, even if they did continue to live under the same roof as their wife, the Cardinal made a clear link in these earlier passages between the celebration of the Eucharist and the constant practice of the Church that has since been upheld by its Latin part, even suggesting that the Catholic Church of oriental rite would do good to “evolve” to a return to that situation.

In his comments on the situation in the Amazon, Cardinal Sarah remarked: “I have heard it said that throughout its 500 years of existence, the Latin American church has always considered indigenous people as incapable of living in celibacy. The result of this prejudice is visible. There are very few indigenous bishops and priests, even though things are beginning to change.”

Whether this is true, and if it is true, whether this judgment on the part of the Church was a valid one is not under discussion here. What is certain is that a closer look at the “Indian theology” the Preparatory document of the Amazon Synod was already promoting in 2018, the concept of celibate celebrants of the liturgy is rejected on the grounds of indigenous traditions.

Cardinal Sarah’s remarks about the upcoming Synod were published in March, several months before the “Instrumentum Laboris” was made public last June.

Below is LifeSite’s working translation of the main passages concerning the Amazon Synod in Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse

***

I note with dismay that some people would like to create a new priesthood whittled down to a human scale. If Amazonia lacks priests, I am sure that we will not resolve the situation by ordaining married men, viri probati, who have been called by God not to the priesthood, but to married life so that they may manifest the prefiguration of the Union of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:32). In a missionary impulse, if each diocese of Latin America generously offered a priest for the Amazon, this region would not be treated with such contempt and humiliation through the creation of married priests, as if God were unable to raise in this part of the world generous young people who are willing to give totally their bodies and hearts, all their capacity to love, and all their being in consecrated celibacy.

I have heard it said that, throughout its 500 years of existence, the Latin American church has always considered indigenous people as incapable of living in celibacy. The result of this prejudice is visible: there are very few indigenous bishops and priests, even though things are beginning to change.

If by a lack of faith in God and by an effect of pastoral short-sightedness the Synod for the Amazon were to decide on the ordination of viri probati, the fabrication of ministries for women and other such incongruities, the situation would be extremely serious. Would its decisions be ratified on the pretext that they are the emanation of the will of the synod fathers?  The Spirit blows where it wants, of course, but it does not contradict itself and does not create confusion and disorder. It is the spirit of wisdom. On the question of celibacy, it has already spoken through the Roman councils and pontiffs.

If the Synod for the Amazon took decisions in such a direction, it would definitively break with the tradition of the Latin Church. Who can honestly say that such an experiment, with its risk of adulterating the nature of the priesthood of Christ, would remain limited to the Amazon? Certainly, the idea is to confront emergencies and necessities. But necessity is not God!  The current crisis is comparable in its severity to the great haemorrhage of the 1970s, during which thousands of priests left the priesthood. Many of these men no longer believed. But do we still believe in the grace of the priesthood?

I want to make an appeal to my brother bishops: do we believe in the omnipotence of God's grace? Do we believe that God calls workers to his vineyard or do we want to replace him because we are convinced that he has abandoned us? Worse still, are we ready to abandon the treasure of priestly celibacy under the pretext that we would no longer believe that he gives us the opportunity to live it to the full today?

(…)

I also want to emphasize that the ordination of married men is anything but a solution to the lack of vocations. Protestants, who accept married pastors, also suffer from a shortage of men who give themselves to God. Moreover, I am convinced that if in some oriental churches the presence of ordained married men is endured by the faithful, it is because it is supplemented by the massive presence of monks. The people of God intuitively know that they need men who give themselves radically.

It would be a mark of contempt of the inhabitants of the Amazon to offer them second-class priests. I know that some theologians, such as Father Lobinger, are seriously considering creating two classes of priests: one would be constituted by married men who would only give the sacraments, while the other would be constituted by fully-fledged priests exercising the three priestly offices: sanctifying, preaching and governing. This proposal is theologically absurd. It implies a functionalist conception of the priesthood, in that it considers separating the exercise of the three priestly offices, the tria munera, thus taking the opposite approach to the major teachings of the Second Vatican Council that stipulate their radical unity.  I do not understand how one can engage in such theological regressions. I believe that, under the guise of pastoral concern for poor mission countries lacking priests, some theologians are attempting to experiment with their whacky and dangerous theories.  Basically, they despise those peoples. A recently evangelized people need to see the truth of the whole priesthood, not a pale imitation of what it means to be a priest of Jesus Christ. Let us not despise the poor!

The people of the Amazon have a deep need for priests who do not just do their work at fixed times before returning to their families to care for their children. They need men who are passionate about Christ, burning with his fire, devoured by the zeal of souls. What would I be today if missionaries had not come to live and die in my village in Guinea? Would I have wanted to be a priest if they had been content with just ordaining one of the men of the village?

Translated by Jeanne Smits, LifeSiteNews

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Democrats endorse ‘nonreligious’ values, reject religious liberty in new resolution

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By Calvin Freiburger

SAN FRANCISCO, September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In what may be the starkest declaration yet that the party’s values have fallen out of alignment with the American mainstream, the Democrat National Committee (DNC) has passed a resolution declaring solidary with the “humanistic” values of nonreligious Americans.

The resolution passed unanimously during the DNC’s August 24 summer meeting, Fox News reported. It declares that “religiously unaffiliated Americans overwhelmingly share the Democratic Party’s values,” as evidenced by their voting habits and strong secular support for causes such as same-sex “marriage,” and recognizes them as the “largest religious group within the Democratic Party” at one in three.

The DNC further declared itself to be an “inclusive organization that recognizes that morals, values, and patriotism are not unique to any particular religion, and are not necessarily reliant on having a religious worldview at all;” and praised the nonreligious for advocating “rational public policy based on sound science and universal humanistic values.”

The resolution also claims the nonreligious are often victims of “unfair bias and exclusion” in society and politics, and that religious conservatives have used “misplaced claims of ‘religious liberty’” to ”justify public policy that has threatened the civil rights and liberties of many Americans, including but not limited to the LGBT community, women, and ethnic and religious/nonreligious minorities.”

"America was founded as a secular government charged with representing and protecting the freedoms of people of all faiths and none," declared Sarah Levin of the Secular Coalition of America, which pushed for the resolution. "I am proud to see the Democratic Party take that to heart by bringing secular Americans into the fold." 

In fact, while America’s Founders wanted religious liberty for all, they also believed that religion was necessary to sustain a free society, and identified God as the source of individual rights and human equality.

“The party’s hostility toward Christian beliefs and values was clear enough before. Putting it on paper this way, however, raises the message to another level,” The Stream editor Tom Gilson wrote in response to the resolution. “We can’t vote Democrat and hold to our Christian values and beliefs. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything our president does. It doesn’t even mean we have to be Republicans. But for all the options seemingly open to Christians, one of them is shut tight, at least for now — by Democrats’ own decision.”

Democrat hostility to traditional religiosity and conservative values has grown steadily more overt over the past several years. In 2012, the DNC came under fire for removing mention of God from their party platform, and then receiving loud boos from convention-goers for reinserting it. The platform has grown more uncompromisingly pro-abortion every four years, and last December, DNC chair Tom Perez complained about people who vote Republican because “that person on the pulpit” supposedly preaches against abortion every Sunday, to the exclusion of “everything else” a candidate may be doing.  

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Woman enters scandal-plagued Ohio facility for abortion, dead next day

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By Cheryl Sullenger
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September 3, 2019 (Operation Rescue) — Tia Archeiva Parks was a 26-year-old mother of a little girl that had just turned four when she walked in to Preterm, a Cleveland abortion facility, on June 7, 2019, for what seemed like a routine abortion in her first trimester of pregnancy. 

But the results were anything but routine. By the time the sun set the next day, Tia Parks was dead.

Parks had a rare potentially life-threatening condition known as heterotopic gestation that went undiagnosed by Preterm staff.

The postmortem diagnosis of a heterotopic gestation means that Parks carried two pregnancies — fraternal twins — one of which was implanted inside the uterus, and one that implanted in her left fallopian tube.

Tia Parks died from internal hemorrhaging from a ruptured left fallopian tube that occurred either during the abortion of the baby in her womb — possibly due to the force of the suction procedure — or immediately after.

"It was reckless for Preterm to conduct Parks' abortion in their outpatient clinic — especially since they are so prone to inflicting life-threatening injuries on women during abortions. We have documented over two dozen medical emergencies there, and we know that is just a fraction of women who have been hospitalized after abortions at that facility," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. "Ms. Parks had several health issues that made her a high risk patient who should have been referred for proper medical care in a hospital setting where her tubal pregnancy may have been detected. That may have spared her life and the life of her baby in the womb."

Molly Smith, President of Cleveland Right to Life, was tipped off to Parks's abortion-related death then informed Operation Rescue, which obtained a copy of her autopsy report. That report shed further light on what happened to Parks.

At five feet seven inches tall, Parks weighed 305 pounds. This alone put her at increased risk of serious complications. 

She also suffered from an enlarged heart that the autopsy report described as "globoid and floppy in configuration." The average adult female's heart weighs about 285 grams. Parks's heart weighed 520 grams. All four chambers of her heart were dilated, making it unable to pump blood as efficiently as it should have done.

That condition also placed Parks at high risk for a surgical abortion in an outpatient setting.

Timeline

On June 7, Tia Parks underwent a surgical abortion at Preterm, an abortion facility located at 12000 Shaker Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio. Afterwards, she was released and sent home to recover.

Local pro-life activists who regularly offer help to women outside Preterm told Operation Rescue that abortionist Mitchell Reider was seen at Preterm that day and was believed to have been responsible for conducting the abortion procedures, including Parks's.

By the next afternoon, Parks's condition had seriously deteriorated and she was rushed by ambulance to the Cleveland Clinic complaining of acute abdominal pain and diaphoresis, the medical term for intense sweating.

She was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic at 1:48 p.m., where she was diagnosed with free fluids in the abdomen. Treatment began, but it was too late. Parks suffered a cardiac arrest and died at 5:01 p.m., leaving her young daughter motherless.

Autopsy findings

The autopsy report noted that the free fluids in the abdomen detected by staff from the Cleveland Clinic was actually 2300 ml (nearly 5 pints) of blood that was the result of hemorrhaging due to a ruptured left fallopian tube. 

The autopsy found placental tissue erupting from the tear in the tube and into the abdomen. It also found a placental attachment site on the inside of her uterus. Although Parks's abortion a day earlier was never mentioned in the autopsy report, the documentation of a placental attachment site confirms that her intrauterine pregnancy had been aborted.

Round marks were noted on her chest from the defibrillator pads that were used in a vain attempt to save her life.

Parks official cause of death was hemoperitoneum (blood in the abdominal cavity) due to a ruptured fallopian tube due to a heterotopic gestation.

Lakisha Wilson

Tia Park is the second woman to die from complications to an abortion at Preterm. In March 2014, Lakisha Wilson, 22, died from hemorrhaging that was not detected immediately after a second trimester abortion. By the time Preterm staff called 911 for help, Wilson had already stopped breathing.

Unfortunately, despite formal complaints and public calls for disciplinary action and closure of the clinic, no action was ever taken against Preterm or Wilson's abortionist Lisa Perriera. In fact, Perriera was given a promotion and an award the following year by the Physicians for Reproductive Choice.

Pattern of related emergencies

In another incident that reflects the dangers of out-patient abortions on women with high risk factors, a Preterm employee requested additional assistance from 911 for a hemorrhaging woman who weighed about 300 pounds and had to be carried down the stairs to an ambulance after the elevator at Preterm broke down. The woman's estimated blood loss was 600 ccs, or in American measures, over 20 ounces.

Preterm is also not above discharging women who have not been stabilized after surgical abortions. Last November, Preterm released a woman who was hemorrhaging badly because staff were in a hurry to close for the day. Bleeding through her clothes and in pain, the woman was forced to call 911 for herself just outside Preterm's front door without help from Preterm's staff.

Blood loss after surgical abortions at Preterm is common. During the most recent medical emergency at Preterm, which occurred on April 17, 2019, two ambulances responded for a 32-year-old second trimester patient who was also hemorrhaging uncontrollably.

Local pro-life supporters speak out

A press event will be held at Preterm on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, at 10:00 AM, led by Pastors Walter and Darleen Moss. The event will address the harm and loss of life at Preterm, which targets poor urban women of color for abortions. The public is encouraged to attend in support of efforts to protect women and their babies by closing the Preterm abortion facility.

Read Tia Parks autopsy report.

Published with permission from the Operation Rescue.

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Pence defends Bible at veterans hospital, declares VA not ‘religion-free zone’

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INDIANAPOLIS, September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – During remarks before the American Legion last week, Vice President Mike Pence took the opportunity to express the administration’s support for a Bible that has come under fire at a Veterans Affairs hospital in New Hampshire.

In May, the so-called Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) filed a lawsuit against VA medical center in Manchester, New Hampshire, over a Bible on display in its lobby, part of a Missing Man Table meant to honor soldiers absent from a dining hall because they are prisoners of war or otherwise missing in action. Every element of a Missing Man Table serves a symbolic purpose, from the table’s round shape symbolizing “everlasting concern” to a Bible representing “strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.”

“That is stamping it with the approval of raising one faith over all the others,” MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein said. “From our perspective, it’s a repugnant example of fundamentalist Christian triumphalism, exceptionalism, superiority, and domination, and it cannot stand.” The plaintiff in MRFF's lawsuit is veteran James Chamberlain, whom the group says is a "devout Christian" yet believes the Bible sends an "exclusionary" message to other veterans.

The VA responded at the time by explaining that they initially removed the Bible in January out of an “abundance of caution,” but restored it after an outpouring of pro-Bible complaints and consultation with legal counsel. The Bible will “remain indefinitely as part of the missing man display, a secular tribute to America’s POW/MIA community.”

The MRFF suit is “nothing more than an attempt to force VA into censoring a show of respect for America’s POW/MIA community,” national VA spokesman Curt Cashour declared in May. “Make no mistake, VA will not be bullied on this issue.”

Last Wednesday, Pence delivered a half-hour address at the 101st American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis, where he promised that the Trump administration “will always make room for the spiritual needs of our heroes at the VA as well” as their health needs.

“You might’ve heard even today that there’s a lawsuit to remove a Bible that was carried in World War II from a Missing Man table at a VA hospital in New Hampshire,” the vice president continued. “It’s really no surprise because, under the last administration, VA hospitals were removing Bibles and even banning Christmas carols in an effort to be politically correct.”

“Let me be clear: Under this (administration), VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones,” Pence declared. “We will respect the freedom of religion for every veteran of every faith. New Hampshire VA — the Bible stays!” 

The Indianapolis Star reported that Pence’s declaration of support for the Bible received “perhaps the biggest applause” of his speech.

The MRFF has taken credit for getting Bibles removed from Missing Man Tables across the country. The group has a long record of hostility to benign Christian expression in the military, including demanding punishment for chaplains who wore their uniforms to an event hosted by a religious liberty group and agitating for heavy restrictions on proselytizing by military chaplains.

“In 2015, (Weinstein) wrote a blog post calling for the ousting of Christian chaplains who disagree with same-sex ‘marriage,’ and also demanded that Satan, Allah Odin and others be added to a ‘God bless the military’ display in Hawaii,” Christian News noted.

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BC court to hear case today of dad forbidden to refer to daughter as ‘she’

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September 3, 2019 (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms) — The BC Court of Appeal will hear oral argument in the case of AB v. CD, in which the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) is an intervenor. The hearing begins at 2:00 p.m. in Courtroom 60 of the BC Court of Appeal, 400-800 Hornby Street, Vancouver. This hearing is open to the public. 

This case concerns a female-born minor proceeding with testosterone treatments to transition to the opposite gender. A lower court Order prohibits the publication of the names of the born-female child ("AB"), the child's father ("CD"), the child's mother ("EF") and the medical professionals involved in this case. The court's Order also prohibits using the pronouns "she" and "her" to refer to this born-female child.

The father and mother divorced about four years ago. Since that time, their female-born child was frequently in trouble in school, seeing school counselors on a regular basis. With the support and affirmation of school counselors, the female-born child began to transition to a male identity, including taking on a male name. This was kept secret from the father, even though custody is legally shared between him and his ex-wife, and despite his legal right to know all significant happenings and developments pertaining to his own child. The father only found out after seeing his child in a school yearbook, dressed up as a boy with a new male name below the picture. 

The child continued to meet with school counselors who supported AB presenting to others as a male. They referred the child to a psychologist ("Dr. IJ"), who then referred the child to "Dr. GH" at the BC Children's Hospital. In December of 2018, Dr. GH sent the father a letter stating that the Children's Hospital would begin giving the child testosterone within two weeks, without the father's consent. The father then filed a court application to prevent the treatment from going ahead without his consent.

On February 27, 2019, Justice Bowden of the Supreme Court of British Columbia declared that it was in the best interests of the child to receive the controversial cross-sex hormone treatments and/or pubertal suppressant drugs, and/or whatever other treatment may be recommended by the BC Children's Hospital, including surgeries such as mastectomy.

Justice Bowden ordered that the female-born child be acknowledged and referred to as male, and be referred to only by the child's new male name, both in the legal proceedings and generally. This Order applies to AB's father, and to all persons.

Further, Justice Bowden also specifically forbade the father from attempting to persuade AB to abandon this experimental treatment, which carries life-altering, permanent consequences. Calling the female-born child by the name assigned at birth, or trying to persuade the child not to proceed with irreversible treatments, would constitute "family violence" under BC's Family Law Act, according to Justice Bowden.

As an intervenor, the Justice Centre filed written submissions explaining how children have a legal right to the protection of those who love them the most and know them the best: their own parents. The Charter protects the liberty and security interests of parents in the raising and caring for their own children, including a right to make decisions for them in fundamental matters such as participating in elective irreversible medical interventions. The Justice Centre's Factum notes:

There are good reasons for parents across Canada to prefer psychologist therapy and puberty to affirmation and cross-sex hormones to deal with gender dysphoria. In addition to creating a life-long dependence on cross-sex hormones, full surgical "transitioning" for female patients includes removal of the female genitals, uterus and breasts. Canadian parents are justifiably concerned about the long-term well-being of their children, including the possible inability to engage in a satisfying sexual relationship, permanent infertility, and profound regret. These consequences are too grave for children's immature, developing minds to comprehend appropriately.

Regarding the Court compelling the child's father to refer to his child as male, and by a male name, the Justice Centre's submissions note that compelled speech violates free expression as protected by section 2(b) of the Charter. The Supreme Court of Canada has described compelled speech as "totalitarian, and as such alien to the tradition of free nations like Canada." In addition to protecting every person's freedom to speak, hear and listen, the Charter also protects the right not to be compelled by the government (including the courts) to utter words which are not one's own. By ordering the child's father to refrain from dissuading his child from pursuing an experimental and irreversible medical treatment, the BC lower court violated the father's Charter right to freedom of expression. The Justice Centre's Factum states: 

The state cannot lawfully compel parents to voice agreement and support for a Treatment which the parent with good reason believes is dangerous, harmful and against the interests of impressionable children. The state cannot compel parents to forget their daughters and remember sons in their stead.

"Neither the government nor the courts will pick up the pieces of children's lives if they are wrong regarding these treatments. It will be the parents," stated lawyer Jay Cameron, the Justice Centre lawyer arguing this case in BC.

Background Information

During the fall of 2018, B.C. Children's Hospital staff pressured the child's father to consent to the treatment for months prior to him launching a court application. The father had grave concerns about the treatment. He was also concerned about starting the treatment prior to proper consideration being given to treating AB for depression. 

According to a 2011 Swedish study, people who receive affirmation therapy, cross-sex hormone therapy and surgical manipulation of their bodies, experience life-long psychological trauma and a suicide rate 19 times higher than the general population.

Further, cross-sex hormones result in irreparable changes such as increased risk of cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis and permanent infertility. Other changes include permanent voice changes, facial hair, and lower bone density.

In 2018, Brown University published Lisa Littman's findings from a case study with 256 parents evidencing the rapid onset of gender dysphoria in adolescent girls. The study evidences a correlation between social media use and peer influence as twin factors contributing to the phenomenon.

Gender dysphoria is often linked with mental health problems and childhood trauma. It may be triggered by peer pressure, or by social environment. But gender confusion typically desists following puberty.

The psychologist who was treating AB, Dr. IJ, has publicly stated that only 2% to 20% of transgender kids stay transgender. The vast majority grow out of it. Dr. IJ's claim is consistent with medical research, which shows that more than 80% of gender-confused children accept their biological gender by the time they are 18, absent "affirmation therapy" and cross-sex hormones.

However, if gender-confused children receive pubertal suppressant drugs and opposite-sex hormones, most will continue with the gender transition process past the age of 18.

Parents across Canada, regardless of creed, race or political view, have a deep personal and abiding interest in their children's health and long-term happiness. The Charter, like the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of the Child, recognizes that parents are typically in a far better position than the state to raise children, and to make decisions regarding their care. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the Charter gives parents rights generally to make decisions for the good of their children. The law recognizes that nobody is more invested in protecting children then their parents.

What makes for a "mature minor" at law?

Part of what qualifies a minor to be recognized as legally "mature" (able to make adult decisions independently from her parents and from government) is her ability to think through difficult issues, and deal maturely with opposing viewpoints. In cases involving teenage Jehovah's Witnesses who refuse life-saving blood transfusions, one of the things considered by courts, when assessing whether the minor is legally "mature" and able to make this decision on her own, is her capacity to hear and consider differing viewpoints. If a child is already dealing with significant emotional and mental stress that impedes her ability to rationalize and consider competing medical opinions, she will not be able to handle differing advice (for example, doctors urging her to accept a blood transfusion while religious leaders urge her to refuse this) and cannot therefore be deemed legally "mature."

Justice Bowden's Order prohibits the father from trying to persuade his female-born child to refrain from experimental and irreversible testosterone treatments. This assumes that the child is not sufficiently mature to handle differing opinions, and to think through the pros and cons of different options. If true, this means the child is not a mature minor. If the child is not a mature minor, the child cannot decide on serious and irreversible medical treatments; it's up to the parents. Yet the lower court views the child as mature enough to decide on experimental medical treatments, but not mature enough to deal with the father's objections.

There should be no irreversible medical treatment until the parents agree, or the child reaches the age and acquires the maturity of a "mature minor." 

Published with permission from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

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Facebook uses abortionists to ‘fact-check,’ then suppress pro-life content

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Notice received from Facebook, labeling Live Action as "false news."
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Screenshot, Physicians for Reproductive Health, where "fact checker" Robyn Schickler is a fellow

September 3, 2019 (Live Action News) — Early Friday morning, Facebook began notifying users who had posted certain Live Action content that an allegedly "independent fact checker" had rated one of Live Action's claims as false — specifically, the claim that "abortion is never medically necessary." The content affected was a video of Live Action president Lila Rose speaking on the topic at Young America's Foundation, as well as a Live Action News article premiering Live Action's Pro-Life Replies video on the same topic — narrated by Dr. Kendra Kolb, a board-certified physician specializing in pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine.

What happened as a result of this allegedly impartial "fact check" is nothing short of jaw-dropping.


Facebook notified users who shared certain content than an "independent fact-checker" had reviewed it.

Live Action was notified by Facebook that links from the domain LiveAction.org (including Live Action News), as well as content shared on founder and president Lila Rose's Facebook page will now have "reduced distribution and other restrictions because of repeated sharing of false news." Live Action has the largest total online reach of any pro-life organization.

The publish date of the fact check is August 30, 2019. And early that same morning, Facebook also issued its directive.

So, just who were these "independent fact-checkers"? And was their "fact-checking" accurate?

The answer? Two abortionists. That's right, two doctors — Dr. Daniel Grossman with ANSIRH and Dr. Robyn Schickler with Physicians for Reproductive Health, two highly pro-abortion organizations — who directly profit from abortion and who oppose the idea that abortion is never medically necessary were used as impartial "fact-checkers" by Facebook. The site on which the "fact check" was published, HealthFeedback.org (with sister site ClimateFeedback.org), has a grand total of just over 30 claim reviews at the current time, so the site itself is very new; its first "claim review" is from December 2018 and its first article review is from just over a week prior. See its list of reviewers here.

And...no, their fact checking was not accurate. Grossman, for example, completely misrepresents Live Action and Lila Rose's statements in the two videos. He claims:

These comments made by Lila Rose, who is not a clinician, are not medically accurate. The piece that is missing in her comments is the gestational age of the pregnancy. If the pregnant woman develops a life-threatening condition at a gestational age when the fetus is likely to survive, it is true that in most cases, obstetricians would proceed with expedited delivery. But if the pregnant woman develops a serious condition at 20 weeks, such as ruptured membranes with signs of infection or heavy bleeding from a placenta previa, it is critical to terminate the pregnancy quickly to save her life. There is no chance that the fetus can survive, and an abortion would be the fastest and safest way to terminate the pregnancy.

But neither of the videos — none of Live Action's videos on the subject, in fact — made the claim that the preborn child must survive, or the procedure is an abortion. Quite the opposite. These abortion providers claimed in their fact check, "While it is possible for early delivery to preserve both the life of the mother and child in the event of a life-threatening condition, as the video suggests, it does not mention that this is only applicable when a fetus' gestational age is advanced enough that its survival outside the womb is possible (generally >24 weeks old). In situations where a fetus has not developed sufficiently, it would not be possible for expedited delivery to save its life." (emphasis added)

This is utterly misleading. Live Action has never claimed that the child's life can be saved every time. But physicians do say that every effort should be made, and no life needs to be intentionally killed. Live Action has stated for years that the intentional killing of a preborn child (an abortion) is never medically necessary — and has made this claim with the support and backing of over a thousand medical professionals, who signed the Dublin Declaration, which states:

As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn child – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.

We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.

We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.

In the Pro-Life Replies video featuring neonatologist Dr. Kolb, which was labeled as "false" by Facebook, she states, "Some babies do need to be delivered before they are able to survive outside of the womb, which occurs around 22 to 24 weeks of life. Those situations are considered a preterm delivery, not an abortion." And in a separate video interview, Dr. Kolb states, "... in that 22 to 24 week zone, you know, that's still a bit of a gray zone, as far as the outcomes, as far as the survival goes."

In the Young America's Foundation video featuring Lila Rose (also labeled "false" by Facebook), she, too, makes clear that preterm delivery is not an abortioneven if the child is too premature to survive. She also makes clear that in cases where it is certain the preborn baby cannot survive (e.g. ectopic pregnancy), removing the child is still not an abortion, because abortion is the direct and intentional killing of the preborn child.

In a previous Live Action video featuring former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, he states, "You never need late-term abortion to save a woman's life. If necessary, you accomplish the delivery. Now, did every one of those children make it because they were preterm? No. But at least they had a chance. And most of them did make it."

If too premature to survive, delivering a child early to save the mother is not an abortion. Abortion isn't accidental. It's purposeful. Grossman and Schickler have completely misrepresented the facts and claims made by Live Action and Lila Rose.

Notification of "false" rating for Lila Rose.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists also responded Grossman and Schickler's erroneous "fact check" of Live Action's content. Dr. Donna Harrison, AAPLOG's executive director, released a statement today:

These fact-checkers need to be fact-checked. They are in error to claim that elective abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the mother. They did not cite even one example where an abortion, the intentional killing of a living child in utero, would be superior to delivering that child.

The two Live Action videos state that there will be cases when a child is delivered too early to survive outside of the womb in order to save a mother's life. There is a very big difference between previable separations and elective abortion. In these situations where a mother and her fetus must be separated in order to save the life of the mother we would try to optimize the conditions of the separation so that the fetus has the best possibility to live. But there are cases when the baby will not survive the separation due to gestational age. We call these previable separations. These separations are done with the intent to save both if possible, but at least to save the life of one. Previable separations are not the same as elective abortions.

The intent of an abortion was made very clear at the Supreme Court hearings over the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. The abortionists argued that the product the abortionist is paid to produce is a dead baby, and that is what distinguishes a delivery from an abortion. The intent of a delivery is to produce, if possible, both a live baby and live mom. The intent of an abortion is to produce a dead baby.

In addition, AAPLOG says Grossman and Schickler's claims about the possible reasons why an abortion could be "medically necessary" are inaccurate. The abortionists claimed that abortion is necessary in cases of placenta previa as well as HELLP syndrome. AAPLOG's Chairman of the Board, Dr. Christina Francis, addressed this in a statement:

... Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix, making a vaginal delivery impossible due to the possibility of life-threatening hemorrhage if labor occurs. These are frequently diagnosed in pregnancy on ultrasound around 20 weeks, however approximately 90% of these will resolve on their own before delivery. If significant hemorrhage occurs due to a placenta previa (which again is so rare prior to viability that no incidence is even reported), the patient should be taken for an emergency C-section which is the most expedient way to get her bleeding under control. It would be medically dangerous and irresponsible to try to do an abortion since any instrumentation through the cervix would pierce the placenta and cause immediate massive bleeding. An abortion would take significantly longer in this case and be much riskier for the mother.

Secondly, the incidence of pre-eclampsia with severe features and/or HELLP syndrome prior to viability is exceedingly rare. Per the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine, the incidence of severe pre-eclampsia prior to 34 weeks is only 0.3% of all pregnancies (incidence of HELLP syndrome would be significantly lower). Prior to 22-24 weeks the incidence is significantly lower. It is not the common situation in the pre-viable period that Drs. Grossman and Schickler would like people to believe. When HELLP syndrome does occur, it necessitates early delivery — not an abortion. In this situation, separation of the mother and fetus can occur in a way that respects the dignity of both of their lives, and if possible, save both.

Twenty-five hundred OB/GYNS of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists affirm that direct abortion — the purposeful destruction of the preborn child — is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman. Add that to the 1,000+ medical experts who signed the Dublin Declaration, and this "fact check" seems an awful lot like cherrypicking.


Notice of "false" rating for Pro-Life Replies post from Facebook.

Regular readers of Live Action News have likely heard of Dr. Daniel Grossman before. He is an abortionist and the senior advisor of Ibis Reproductive Health, an organization which receives funding directly from abortion pill manufacturer Danco Laboratories. He is on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice America and is a liaison member of Planned Parenthood Federation of America's National Medical Committee. He is also an abortion instructor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), which trains future abortionists. Grossman is leading the push for so-called "self-managed" abortion.

Robyn Schickler is an abortionist and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, an organization also focused on abortion, as noted in the screenshot below. PRH is also funded by original investors of abortion pill manufacturer Danco (Packard Foundation and George Soros' Open Society Foundation), and also trains future abortionists. Schickler is also notably of the opinion that preborn children don't have heartbeats starting at 21 days after fertilization but mere "cardiac activity." (Even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called them "heartbeats" until this year when using the term in reference to preborn children suddenly became controversial due to pro-life legislation.)

Surely Grossman and Schickler are not the most "impartial" fact checkers Facebook could come up with.

Live Action president Lila Rose responded to the news in a press release, stating:

With thousands of OB-GYNs and medical professionals on the record agreeing with us that the direct killing of a child is never medically necessary, it is telling that Facebook decided to fact-check our information, which we have posted about for over three years, using two abortionists for their sourcing.

Not only did they fail to get disinterested perspectives, they appear to have gone out of their way to find pro-abortion activists whose public opposition to our views is indisputable. This is clear evidence of bias and discrimination against our over three million strong Facebook community members and an outrageous act of censorship on the part of Facebook.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Fr. Paul Sullins

Opinion

Sociologist: New study ‘explodes’ narrative that people are born ‘gay’

Fr. Paul Sullins
By Fr. Paul Sullins

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 3, 2019 (Mercatornet) – The findings of a recently published study explode the false narrative that being “gay” is an innate condition that is controlled or largely compelled by one's genetic makeup.  

Rebutting decades of search by LGBT scientists for a "gay gene," the study's first author flatly concludes "it will be basically impossible to predict one’s sexual activity or orientation just from genetics.”  

This is putting it gently.  

The study found that a person's developmental environment -- the influence of diet, family, friends, neighborhood, religion, and a host of other life conditions -- was twice as influential as genetics on the probability of adopting same-sex behavior or orientation, and that the genetic influence did not come from one or two strong sources but from dozens of genetic variants that each added a small increased propensity for same-sex behavior.

A genetic arrangement based on a large number of markers across the genome means that virtually all human beings have this arrangement, or large portions of it. In other words, not only did the study fail to find some controlling gene for gay identity, it also established that “gay” persons are not genetically distinct from all other human beings in any meaningful sense. “Gay” persons, we might say, have a perfectly normal human genome.

Proponents of LGBT normalization, which includes the publishing journal and mainstream media reporters, have tried to put the best face on this result. As if the issue were tolerance of “gay” people's lifestyle choices, The New York Times quotes one of the authors saying, “I hope that the science can be used to educate people a little bit more about how natural and normal same-sex behavior is,” and LGBT activists declaring that the study "provides even more evidence that being gay or lesbian is a natural part of human life."

Indeed, the study found that genetic propensity for same-sex behavior is not much different from that of 28 other complex traits or behaviors, and is related to a propensity for other risk-taking behavior such as smoking, drug use, number of sex partners or a general openness to new experience. But the longstanding and emphatic claim of gay activists in law and public policy has not been that same-sex activity reflects upbringing or lifestyle factors, but is an inborn difference that is discovered, not developed, a distinct and fixed element of a person's nature that is unchangeable. Emotionally and sexually, same-sex orientation is not a matter of who persons choose to become, they have claimed, but who they already are.  

A linchpin of the evidential basis for the U.S. Supreme Court decision sanctioning same-sex “marriage,” for example, was that same-sex orientation reflected an "immutable nature (which) dictate(d) that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment." (Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, p. 4). And the point of conflict for tolerance today is not so much for people who want to identify themselves as gay or lesbian but for people who want for themselves personally to avoid or resist such an identification.

On the grounds that they would be denying their immutable nature, numerous legislative and judicial efforts are currently underway to outlaw voluntary therapy for or deny the legitimacy of adults who experience some level of same-sex attraction but do not want to engage in same-sex relations or identify themselves as gay or lesbian. In the very jurisdictions where persons with same-sex orientation are now free to identify as gay and to engage in same-sex “marriage,” LGBT ideologues are working to deny the same persons the freedom to decline to identify as gay and to engage in opposite-sex marriage, on the premise that they would thereby be doing violence to who they really are.  

This study pulls the rug out from under such thinking. If “gay and lesbian” persons are genetically normal, what basis is there for considering them a distinct protected class subject to preferential treatment under the law or for prohibiting other genetically normal persons from refusing to engage in same-sex behavior?

The study finds that most persons with the identical genotype as “gay or lesbian” persons (by an approximate ratio of 2 to 1) end up, for various reasons of social environment or development or personal principle, not engaging in same-sex relations. Shouldn't such persons have equal freedom and legitimacy to do so?

In a free society that values personal autonomy, it is not an appropriate function of law to penalize personal lifestyle choices, no matter how vehemently some may disagree with them or politically incorrect they may be. If it ever did make sense on the premise that “gay” persons were born that way, in the absence of such a compelling genetic difference, it is impossible to reasonably maintain that tolerance of homosexual behavior requires intolerance of heterosexual behavior.

In light of these implications, some of the scientists involved in the study, who are themselves gay, have publicly opposed its publication. Strikingly unaware of their own bias, they expressed concern that the study findings would be "misconstrued" to "advance agendas of hate." In less heated language, they are concerned that it might be interpreted in ways with which they disagree. For them, the benefits of increased understanding of human behavior in this area did not outweigh the perceived negative political implications of the findings for the expression of gay identity.  

The lead authors of the study, some of whom are also gay, are to be commended for resisting the impulse to suppress scientific evidence for the sake of political expediency.  Although sadly often violated today, the conviction that the dissemination of evidence and ideas should not be censored by political considerations is fundamental to modern science. While we can dispute, hopefully with mutual respect, who may be being hateful to whom in their interpretation of the results, in the end we will all find our best modus vivendi on the basis of policy and law that reflects solid objective evidence, honestly presented, as this study exemplifies. 

Or as a wise man once said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Fr. Paul Sullins is a Catholic priest and former sociology professor at the Catholic University of America who is now serving as senior researcher at the Ruth Institute. This article first appeared at Mercatornet and is republished here by permission. 

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Mark Deutschle

Opinion , ,

Why it’s crucial for Westerners to pay attention to crisis in Hong Kong

Mark Deutschle
By Mark Deutschle

September 3, 2019 (American Thinker) — The citizens of Hong Kong (H.K.) have taken to the streets to protest Beijing's attempt to annihilate their democracy. Beijing, through H.K.'s chief executive, Ms. Carrie Lam, recently proposed a new law allowing Beijing to extradite anyone in H.K., citizen or foreign national. This new law would empower China to remove anyone from H.K. to be tried under Beijing's courts and judges, all of whom are beholden to the ruling class of China.

H.K. correctly perceived that this law was a direct threat to its democracy, because the presumption of innocence would no longer exist. In effect, this new rule meant that Beijing could simply label someone an enemy of the state deserving incarceration, without having to provide any proof of any crime. China could at any time for any reason street-sweep H.K. of any and all dissidents, creating a level of intimidation that would eventually shut down H.K.'s democracy for good. This proposed new law would anoint Beijing as the master of all H.K. even though H.K. was supposed to enjoy self-rule until 2047, according to the Joint Declaration that transferred H.K. from British to Chinese authority.

H.K. has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the freest economies in the world and recently ranked 35th in the world for overall GDP. H.K. makes sure that its youths are taught the origins of their prosperity, as well as having opportunities to study economics, commerce, and history. Most students grow up knowing that governments can either succeed or fail at providing an opportunity for the average citizen to prosper. If China is allowed to remove H.K.'s self-rule, H.K. citizens understand that their freedoms, their way of life, and their opportunity to succeed will all but disappear. This is why the H.K. protests have erupted so quickly and with such force.

Here in the United States, we are in the midst of a similar struggle, where those on the Left share Beijing's desire for totalitarian control. As is so clearly laid out in the Democrats' proposed Green New Deal, the Left desires government to be empowered to dictate almost all aspects of life in America, including but not limited to medical care, energy usage, food consumption, housing, taxes, and so on. Unfortunately, many Americans haven't got the street smarts to see where the Left wants to take them. They haven't been educated in American history, government, or economics, but instead have been taught by the public schools and popular culture to regard America as the world's greatest villain. Our schools are designed to convert our children into leftist acolytes who believe that America is racist, capitalism is racist, Republicans are racist, and so on. Literally, from kindergarten on up, the message stays the same: things are so bad in America that fundamental change is the only possible solution. Our youths are told every day that the best thing America can do now is to atone for our past sins by peacefully transferring our freedoms, our guns, and our wealth to our betters in Washington so they can somehow make everything better.

China is pursuing the same goal that the American Left pursues: full governmental control of all citizens. China will soon be rolling out its social credit score, which will be used to reward compliance and punish non-compliance with government dictates. H.K. sees its future with the social credit score, realizing that now is the moment to stand up, say no, and resist the oncoming totalitarian wave.

American Millennials seem to be largely unaware that they are being conscripted in the battle to change America into a totalitarian country where personal freedom is tiny but the government is huge. So far, many of our Millennials haven't exercised their societal due diligence to determine if turning America into Venezuela or China is really their best choice.

But perhaps there is more hope for our country's future than many might expect. A ray of hope can be found in the fact that only about 20% of Millennials trust government and their news sources. This healthy skepticism may prove to be a deciding factor as the evidence grows daily that a future America designed by the Left is going to be nasty and brutish. For example, Americans still enjoy the right to peaceful assembly and protest, unless you happen to be on a college campus or in one of those cities where leftist politicians forbid the police to aid protesters being attacked and beaten by leftist mobs.

So we see in Hong Kong that the populace is running away from totalitarianism, with members risking their health, their livelihoods, their freedom, and perhaps even their lives to join in the protests. Besides wearing heavy duty goggles, helmets, and even gas masks to protect themselves from being injured by the thuggish police, many of the protesters wave American flags, a dramatic visual known worldwide as a powerful symbol of freedom. How ironic it is that H.K. protesters use the American flag to signal to the world their intense drive to preserve their freedoms while American companies publicly disparage the same flag in hopes of selling more sneakers.

Similar to the H.K. protesters, America's Founding Fathers risked their lives and fortunes as they publicly proclaimed the truth that all men are created equal, and all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America, by and large, with some notable failures, has continued to travel on the road of truth. However, we now have a strong push from those on the Left who do not value truth, but instead seek increasing personal and political power. The Left in America is powerful, and loud, and it controls academia, most of mass media, and most of the culture. But, be it H.K. or America, the Left can continue to prosper only where it suppresses truth. China threatens H.K. with the suppression of truth by brute force. In America, we see suppression of truth occurring in both our public schools and in our popular culture. Mass media serve as a willing megaphone for the Left, delivering a constant stream of inflammatory and dishonest rhetoric. The Left is very effective at targeting the emotions of the under informed with a constant diet of incendiary speech and misinformation.

So will America choose to embrace the move toward socialism and totalitarianism being offered by the Democrats running for president in 2020? Will voters heed the message H.K. is sending, or will voters decide that they will be better off by allowing the government more and more control of their lives?

The answer to these questions will be revealed on Election Night 2020, when America will choose her future direction while pausing for a moment at the intersection of truth and emotion. Will America turn left and allow totalitarianism to rule our country, or will America turn right, choosing to govern ourselves with truth and freedom?

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Peter Skurkiss

Opinion

Mainstream media panicking as new group exposes damning social media posts

Peter Skurkiss
By Peter Skurkiss

September 3, 2019 (American Thinker) — The anguish at the New York Times is palatable. The mother ship of fake news is now complaining that conservative activists are scrutinizing journalists for signs of bias that can be found on the internet and social media. The lead paragraph in the Times' front-page story of lament is:

A loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House is pursuing what they say will be an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to President Trump by publicizing damaging information about journalists.

The most prominent member of the media exposed thus far is Tom Wright-Piersanti, editor at the political desk of the Times itself. After Breitbart exposed this bigot for mocking Jews and Indians, Wright-Piersanti was demoted by the Times (but not terminated). His excuse for his bigotry was that he was in college. 

There are others. Through it all, the Times confesses that, although the information released so far is stripped of context — "context" meaning the excuses liberals give for themselves but not for others — it has been authentic and harmful to its targets.

Arthur Schwartz is a central player in this media exposure operation. When the NYT apologized for its editor's ant-Semitic comments, Schwartz tweeted that if the people at the Times think this settles the matter, they're wrong, adding that we have "lots more where this came from."

Lots more, indeed. According to people familiar with this effort, information on several hundred people in the mainstream media has been collected from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so far. And stored images of the posts can be publicized even if the user deletes them. The unearthed information has the potential of leading to the offenders being fired. 

One who was forced to resign for anti-Semitic tweets was CNN photo editor Mohammed Elshamy. His excuse was that he did it while growing up in Egypt and did not fully grasp the meaning of words in English. 

The Times sees this as taking the war on the media to a new level. Nonsense. What is happening is that the bigots in the media are being exposed. If they are purged, then there may be a chance that the public will get some unbiased reporting. The liberals don't like this. It's okay for them to smear any conservative they want with immunity, but it's not cricket for the opposition to hit back. Such have been the rules for the longest time. No more.

The difference between Schwartz's operation and what the media regularly do is that Schwartz's information is factual. The media, on the other hand, often make things up out of thin air. Anyone remember Sarah Palin, Brett Kavanaugh, or a boatful of others? This is why Rush Limbaugh coined the term "the drive-by media." The media will slime a conservative with innuendos and falsehoods and call it news, and then, when facts later come out to refute the original charge, they will be long gone, their damage long done.

This effort to put the spotlight on the media and the personalities therein is long overdue. It is healthy for the country and, in the long run, even for the media themselves. And it is coming just in time, as the Left is gearing up to go after President Trump and all those who support him for the 2020 election. 

The Times will go to the pains to say Donald Trump is behind this. Actually, he is, but not in the way the media think. Trump has done it by showing that the media are not invulnerable. Just as importantly, by his example, Trump has shown conservatives how to fight.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Cdl. George Pell. CBS News / YouTube

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Human respect trumps justice in persecution of Cdl. Pell

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — As I have written before, the conviction of Cardinal Georgy Pell, despite being upheld on appeal, is difficult to understand. On the one hand, as Pell’s legal team painstakingly explained, it was essentially impossible for Pell to have abused two choristers (as alleged) in a sacristy, while still vested, without anyone noticing, at a time when he would actually have been outside the front of the cathedral talking to Mass-goers. On the other hand, the only evidence against him is the word of one accuser; the other alleged victim denied that the abuse took place.

However the jury and two court of appeal came to their decisions, doubts will continue to be voiced, especially in light of the carefully argued dissenting opinion by one of the appeal-court judges.

In England we have been through the whole range of emotions about the credibility of alleged victims of sexual abuse, particularly in the context of the alleged ‘VIP pedophile ring’. The accuser, whose testimony was prematurely described by the police as ‘credible and true’, is now beginning a prison sentence of 18 years for perverting the course of justice. (He has appealed.)

A parallel case arose in the context of the late George Bell, an Anglican Bishop of Chichester. Bell’s posthumous reputation was destroyed by a single accuser who was paid compensation by the Church of England. Bell’s supporters demanded an investigation into the matter, and reports commissioned by the Church of England have cast doubt on the credibility of the accusations.

‘Believing the victim’ sounds attractive, until you realize that until matters are investigated, and ideally tested in court, it is impossible to say who the victim is. It is facile to talk of ‘striking a balance’ between accusers and the accused. What is needed, instead, is a degree of moral seriousness about these cases, which has not always been on display.

Terrible cases of abuse have not been promptly or properly investigated because of concerns about damaging race relations. Again, the local prominence of an abuser has stifled investigations. In the cases noted earlier, it was political or public relations concerns which led to accusations being investigated, and even individuals condemned, without sufficient scrutiny. The problem in all cases is that a concern for justice is being brushed aside by a concern about human respect, public opinion, and emotions. Past failures in one direction lead to new failures in the opposite direction, because instead of coming to see the moral seriousness of these cases, those in authority were too concerned about looking good in the newspapers.

It is not a question of being harsh or lenient. It is a question of being genuinely open to the truth, however painful that might prove to be.

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

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VIDEO: Clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church: It’s about homosexuality

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

September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Gabriele Kuby is a German sociologist and prolific author, an acquaintance of Pope Benedict XVI who has visited him in his post-retirement monastery and still exchanges regular correspondence with him. She is the foremost European culture warrior protecting the family from the sexual revolution. Pope Benedict XVI has called her "a brave fighter against the ideologies that ultimately result in the destruction of man.”  Kuby recently published a book with Michael O’Brien, titled The Abuse of Sexuality in the Catholic Church

In this episode of The John-Henry Westen Show, Kuby talks about the sexual abuse crisis in the Church, specifically the root cause of the abuse crisis: homosexuality.  She cites the work of Fr. D. Paul Sullins, who reviewed numerous reports on abuse. Fr. Sullins’ findings clearly indicate the abuse crisis stems from something much deeper than just clericalism — the most widely accepted cause of the crisis. Sullins notes that nearly 80% the abuse in the Church involves young men at or around the age of puberty. Additionally, the prevalence of homosexuality in the priesthood is eight times higher than it is in society.  

Sadly, the topic of homosexuality is largely ignored as the Church addresses the abuse scandal. During the February summit on the abuse scandal, the word “homosexuality” was never mentioned according to Kuby.  

Kuby, a convert herself, has a deep love for the Church and challenges the Church to return to the teachings of Christ. “We have to come back to the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Bible. The beautiful teaching of the Christian teaching on sexuality, marriage and family. Make that shine. Inspire people with it,” she explains on the show.  

“Every straight or homosexual person, has this deep longing for love in the heart and the Mother Church, the calling of our Mother Church is to show people the way, how that deep longing can be fulfilled. It is not fulfilled by any kind of promiscuity, or any kind of satisfaction of your body because we are one, we are soul and body always together and only if soul and body are in the sexual act, if the soul and body are equally engaged and it is an act of mutual giving and love, only then will that desire be fulfilled, that longing for deep love be fulfilled.”

Kuby calls on the Church to clarify its rich and beautiful teachings on sexuality, rather than the modern teachings of the sexual revolution. Sadly, with Pope Francis’s famous comment, “Who am I to judge?,” and the destruction of the JPII Institute for Marriage and Family, the Church seems to be heading in the wrong direction.  

Shorty after Pope Francis’s “Who am I to judge?” statement, Kuby responded, ‘The words of Pope Francis ... may go down in history as the fanfare for relativization of Christian sexual morality.”

In addition, Kuby weighs in on the tragic destruction of the JPII Institute for Marriage and Family: “It is a complete shock!”

“The Church hasn’t proclaimed its beautiful teaching of sexuality, marriage, and family and has not really made use of the incredible richness of the heritage of JP II,” she states. She calls on the Church to return to the true teaching of the Church on sexuality, marriage, and family to help in solving the sexual abuse crisis.  

The best solution to the abuse crisis according to Kuby? Penance. In her book, she writes:

Just imagine the bishops and cardinals ensnarled in the abuse scandal initiating a penitential movement and leading the faithful in prayer and fasting. Just imagine bishops who would use their power to clean the Church, with the full knowledge that this would put them on the Way of the Cross.  

In Nineveh, everyone from the king to the cattle repented, and God spared the city. What a testimony that would be to the world! This is the only way for the Church to regain its moral authority. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

In reality, Kuby believes that the purification of the Church will come through persecution, not widespread penance initiated by the bishops and leaders of the Church.

She states that a new totalitarianism is coming that will challenge and strengthen the laity. Kuby encourages listeners to cling to the Mary the Mother of God for strength in the persecution she states has already started.  

You won’t want to miss this episode! 

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

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

We’ve created a special email list for the show so that we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel, and you’ll be notified by YouTube when there is new content.

You can send me feedback or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected]

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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Aborting offspring frees men to be successful and happy, researchers suggest

Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – We’ve known for some time that feminism, an ideology that originally purported to be dedicated to the advancement and equality of women, has long since devolved into a shoddy cover for abortion activism. Anything can be sacrificed to ensure that babies can always be sacrificed so that the parents of these hapless children can live as they wish. In post-modern feminism, female freedom has been chained to the fictitious right to feticide, and mothers have been pitted against their own children. Babies, who were once seen as a source of joy, are now presented as a threat to female happiness.

But rarely have researchers come out and so blatantly appealed to the selfishness of men in their bid to push back recent pro-life gains on the state level. Back in July, a team at the University of Utah announced (to the surprise of nobody) that young men have an easier time of things if their children get aborted. This fact, the researchers opine, shows that abortion is very beneficial—and their study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, is, what Medical Xpress called “timely given renewed efforts to limit access to abortion.”

Led by Bethany G. Everett, an assistant professor in the university's Department of Sociology, the study provides insights into how male adolescents are "abortion beneficiaries"—a term used by Katie Watson in "Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law and Politics of Ordinary Abortion" to explore the social contracts at play and how abortions benefit individuals beyond the patient…"It is important that we recognize the stigma women who have abortions and abortion providers face, yet there are people—namely, their male partners—who reap the benefits of this emotional labor and about whom we never talk," Everett said. "What we found is that women's use of abortion during adolescence increases the likelihood that their male partners will graduate from college."

The authors make no attempt to disguise the fact that the intended impact of this study is to appeal to the self-interest of men in the raging abortion wars, with Everett noting, in the words of Medical Xpress,  that “the study demonstrates important implications in restricting access to abortion services that may be neglected in current debates” and adding later that “restricting access to abortion will not only negatively impact women, but has far reaching damaging effects for partners and families.” 

It is simply taken for granted that abortion, the intentional physical destruction of one’s offspring, will not have a negative impact or far-reaching damaging effects for partners and families.

Further to that, Everett noted that abortion is financially beneficial to men, stating that: "Given what we know about the links between education and future income, it is likely that the wage gap will widen as these men age, allowing men whose partners reported abortions to continue to reap financial benefits from access to abortion.” 

In short, men who have fewer children (or have their first children aborted) have fewer financial responsibilities, a fact that we scarcely needed a study to tell us. It is not news that children cost money, and those deliberating the abortion decision often do so for financial reasons, out of selfishness, fear, or both. Men often bully women into abortions by insisting that they will not stick around to care for the child, and many pay child support only when forced to by the state.

This is another example of how the abortion activists are fully willing to pit men and women against their children by promising them that killing their offspring will free them to be successful and happy—and to pit men against women who want to keep their children by telling them that they have a better chance of living the life they want if abortion, rather than a baby, enters the picture. 

The authors of this study have not told us anything new about abortion—they have simply reminded us how ugly their worldview is, and how barren their view of family and children is. In their world, men and women should sacrifice their babies to get ahead, and people should rise in society by climbing atop the corpses of their own children.

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, the pro-life activist who was instrumental in taking down abortionist "Dr. Death" Jack Kevorkian. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

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Why God hates Satan’s malice and Christians should too

Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

September 4, 2019 note: This article has been revised. 

September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Recently, an esteemed Catholic has said — in the course of refuting Fr. Arturo Sosa's claim that Satan exists only as a ‘symbolic reality’ — that “God does not hate Satan” and that “God is love, and love does not hate—and neither should we.” There is a sense in which these statements are true, but they could be misleading.

St. Thomas Aquinas treated the question of God’s hatred for evil with consummate skill. He said God does not hate the nature or being of anything He has made (thus Scripture says: “Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which thou hast made,” Wis 11:25), but He does hate the malice of the sinner’s will, by which the sinner acts against him, as many other verses in Scripture bear witness, e.g.: “The boastful may not stand before thy eyes; thou hatest all evildoers. Thou destroyest those who speak lies; the Lord abhors bloodthirsty and deceitful men” (Ps 5:5–6); “Thou hatest those who pay regard to vain idols” (Ps 31:6 [30:7]).

The truths of Revelation are meant to illuminate our minds and form our hearts, day in, day out. It used to be the case that the entire psalter was recited each week by clergy and religious, a practice followed since ancient times. Those who prayed the psalter would necessarily have prayed the famous Ps 138[139]:21–22, so often commented on by Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and so highly pertinent to the issue we are considering:

Do I not hate them that hate thee, O Lord? And do I not loathe them that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

Fifty years ago, “difficult” verses like the foregoing were removed from the prayer of the Church by Pope Paul VI (see here for more detail). If Catholics still had these God-inspired words on their lips — once a week, no less — would they not be compelled to search out the truth they contain? That is how Catholic theology develops: by wrestling with challenging truths, not by running away from them or sugar-coating them. We are meant to be able to pray this verse, to pray it with understanding, with conformity to God’s holy will.

What, then, does it mean for God’s inerrant word to say: “Thou hatest all evildoers” and “I hate them with a perfect hatred”?

As existing parts of the universe of beings, the damned are loved by God, the first and proper cause of being. God’s antecedent will to save all intellectual creatures is eternal, and so in this way, too, He loves the persons of the damned. But God’s consequent will looks to the angel or soul in its determinate or “particular” identity as just or unjust, and therefore as actually meriting and enjoying the beatific vision or not. God loves the nature, being, and persons of the damned, but He hates the malice of the damned; He loves and hates them in different respects. That is why Scripture can speak in both ways and we do not have to “explain away” either side.

It is above all on the basis of the will that a man or angel is called good or evil. When I say of someone “he is a good man,” I do not mean he is a metaphysically good entity or a standard example of the species homo sapiens. I mean he is morally good or righteous. When I say “he is an evil man,” I don’t mean his existence or personhood is evil, but rather that he is a sinner. Since good is the object of love, and evil of hatred, it follows that a good person (human or angelic) is loved by God, and an evil person hated, in regard to their righteousness or lack thereof. But it is on account of the state of the will that anyone merits (with God’s grace) heaven or hell. Therefore those who are in hell — whether an angel that fell after its creation, or a man who dies without sanctifying grace — are hated by God in precisely that respect in which they deserve to be in hell as a just punishment for their sin.

In the quotation with which we began, we saw the blogger stating: “Love does not hate.” St. Thomas disagrees: in reality, love, and only love, hates. Well-ordered love leads to a virtuous hatred, while disordered self-love leads to vicious hatred. Love hates imperfection (evil) because it wills the good of the creature, of which evil is the deprivation. It is our very love of the goodness of God and the goodness of the creatures He has made that motivates our hatred of their imperfection (that is, their evil). Those who do not hate what is evil, do not love what is good either.

The ultimate thing we will or want for someone is our most important attitude towards him. For a man en route to heaven, I want not merely existence, a nice car, a vacation, or even virtues, but the beatific vision: I want him to share in God’s life forever. For those who are damned — be it an angel like Lucifer, or a soul like that of Judas — I do not will the beatific vision, but rather, the just punishment they deserve, because that is what God Himself wills, and we ought to conform our wills to His. In heaven, the blessed angels and souls rejoice in God’s just and merciful judgments, which include not only the salvation of the righteous but also the damnation of the wicked.

A failure to understand the foregoing leads to another common error. Here is how the esteemed Catholic blogger phrases it: “Justice requires God to recognize the final disposition of a person (angelic or human). Some are justly permitted to live apart from God’s kingdom in a hellacious parallel universe; that is their permanent choice.”

The language here suggests that God does not positively send the demons or wicked souls to hell, but rather, that they send themselves there by rejecting His love. They choose it, He does not. He does not positively will their punishment, but permits it. We can see how this idea follows directly from denying that God loves the just in their justice and hates the wicked in their wickedness. The idea is a partial truth, not the whole truth. Demons and souls are indeed in hell because of their abuse of free will; but it is no less true that God actively wills their punishment.

God is the first cause of all reality. If any being exists anywhere and does or suffers anything, He is causing it to be and to be there and to do or to suffer; He wills it to be so — unless we want to claim there is some being or activity of which God is not the cause, which entails Manichaeism or Gnosticism. God must be the first cause of demons or souls being sent to hell and remaining in hell, as He is the first cause of angels or souls being admitted to the beatific vision and abiding in it. (Again, He does not do this without some disposition on the part of the creature’s will, whether good or evil; we are not looking at Calvinistic double predestination. That is the point of the aforementioned distinction between God’s antecedent will and His consequent will.)

Moreover, the angel or soul in hell does not will its own punishment — most basically, the bodily fire to which a soul is chained, as Aquinas says, in order to humiliate it for choosing bodily goods over spiritual ones. Rather, the spiritual creature suffers it against its will, otherwise it would not be a punishment. A mentally disturbed person might choose pain for its own sake in this life, but in the life to come, all minds will be operating clearly. The demons and souls in hell do not want to be lacking the beatific vision or happiness; they want the fulfillment of their natures, which they have forfeited by sin. This is why Our Lord, in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, tells us that Abraham says to the rich man: “Between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us” (Lk 16:26). In other words, God doesn’t just “let” the rich man end up in hell, as if powerless to do otherwise; He puts him there and keeps him there, as He keeps all things in being.

Lastly, the esteemed blogger is concerned that hating demons — which means willing, with God, their punishment — might lead an exorcist astray: “As he is dealing with a being who is both a creature of God and a fallen angelic person, the exorcist must find a balance. Sadly, he must usually inflict pain upon demons in order to drive them out.”

If the exorcist were supposed to be “sad” to inflict pain upon demons, he would be setting his will against the Lord’s, implicitly accusing God of wrongdoing by inflicting pain on these demons. What God wills, we should will. Our love of God, who is the common good of the universe, and our love for the good of our souls and their salvation, prompts a necessary and salutary hatred of the malice of demons. This hatred is in the will, not in the sentiments.

We might be legitimately concerned about entertaining or cultivating vengeful emotions or feelings towards demons — “getting worked up” about them, and thus making ourselves more vulnerable to their temptations. This could happen. Someone’s fear or wrath could get the better of their reason and cause them to do foolish things, to deviate from what is right and good. Certainly we can agree that emotions should be kept in check so that they do not disturb the order of reason.

In conclusion, God loves the devil or demons in a certain respect, but not without qualification, and that is how we should love them. Similarly, we can and must say that God hates the malice of Satan and his angels, and we too hate the same thing.

Understanding hell aright and seeking to avoid it and lead others away from it doesn’t mean obsessing over it, or neglecting the more beautiful truth of our calling to heaven. Nor does having a proper hatred for sin, vice, error, and ignorance make us sinful, vicious, errant, or ignorant. On the contrary, if we did not hate these things, we would ourselves become hateful.

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