All articles from September 4, 2019


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McCarrick used intimidation, sexually harassed seminarians, investigation finds

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By Doug Mainwaring

SOUTH ORANGE, New Jersey, September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a departure from standard policy, Seton Hall University has made public key findings of a yearlong investigation into now defrocked Theodore McCarrick’s predatory sexual behavior toward seminarians while he was Archbishop of Newark.     

The review by the law firm Latham & Watkins found that McCarrick “created a culture of fear and intimidation” and that he “used his position of power as then-Archbishop of Newark to sexually harass seminarians.”

“Individuals, communities and parishes across the country have been affected by former archbishop McCarrick and others who have profoundly and forever negatively altered so many lives,” the report stated. 

Last year, reports of McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians while serving as their archbishop were widely circulated as news of Catholic priest and prelate sexual predation mounted.  

It came to light that Fr. Boniface Ramsay, a professor at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University from 1986 to 1996, sent a letter to the papal nuncio in November 2000 detailing complaints from seminarians about McCarrick. Archbishop Carlos Maria Viganò referred to Ramsey’s letter in his now famous testimony, first published in English by LifeSiteNews.   

“I complained about McCarrick’s relationships with seminarians and the whole business with sleeping with seminarians and all of that; the whole business that everyone knows about,” Ramsey told Catholic News Service. 

The Archdiocese of Newark admitted last year that it had reached legal settlements with two adult males who had been abused by McCarrick a few decades ago while they were seminarians.  

The review also revealed that while Seton Hall University’s Title IX policies are consistent with state and federal law, they “were not always followed at Immaculate Conception Seminary and St. Andrew's Seminary, which resulted in incidents of sexual harassment going unreported to the University.”   

St. Andrew's College Seminary is the undergraduate seminary of the Archdiocese of Newark, and Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology is the Archdiocese’s major seminary.  Both are part of the Seton Hall University campus and are now deemed to be fully compliant with Title IX requirements.

In the report issued by the university, the Board of Regents said it has established what it decsribes as five “proactive” in-progress measures to prevent further sexual abuse on campus, including commissioning an independent and thorough Title IX review of the McCarrick allegations, and exceeding Title IX compliance expectations by “conducting prompt reviews of any allegation of sexual harassment with assurances of non-retaliation.” 

Seton Hall is the oldest Roman Catholic diocesan university in the country, founded in 1856 by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, who named the school after his aunt, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The campus has about 10,000 students.

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Gavin Grimm
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Virginia school district appeals mandate forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms

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By Calvin Freiburger

RICHMOND, Virginia, September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The school district at the heart of one of the United States’ most high-profile transgender bathroom controversies has filed another appeal in hopes of not being forced to mandate students share restrooms with members of the opposite sex.

Gavin Grimm is a female Gloucester High School graduate who “identifies” as male, and rose to prominence after challenging the school’s restroom policy starting in 2014. The Gloucester County School Board originally attempted to accommodate her request by letting her use a private restroom, but Grimm demanded access to the same restrooms used by male students.

District Judge Arenda Wright Allen sided with Grimm in May 2018, ruling that the policy “classified Mr. [sic] Grimm differently on the basis of his [sic] transgender status and, accordingly, subjected him [sic] to sex stereotyping.” The year before, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear the case.

The board appealed, but Allen ruled again last month there was “no question” that it was discriminatory to keep gender-confused males out of female restrooms. The judge rejected school board attorney David Corrigan’s argument that gender is a physical reality rather than a social construct.

Now the school board is appealing the case to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Associated Press reports. The two sides’ briefs have not yet been submitted to the court.

Earlier this year, the school board floated a compromise in which “transgender” students would be allowed to select their preferred bathroom provided they submitted medical documentation and could show a track record of “consistently asserting” their claimed gender via social transition or hormonal therapy, but withdrew it following outcry from community members.

Schools that haven’t yet surrendered to transgender activists generally accommodate gender-confused students by allowing them to use private staff restrooms or other single-occupancy facilities. Conservatives argue that forcing children and teens to share intimate facilities with members of the opposite sex violates their privacy rights, subjects them to needless emotional stress, and gives potential male predators a viable pretext to enter female bathrooms or lockers.

The 20-year-old Grimm is no longer a Gloucester student affected by the policy, but continues to pursue the case in hopes of setting a precedent that will forbid public schools across the country from restricting restrooms to actual members of a biological sex.

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‘God has a great sense of humor’: Major league pitcher agrees to adopt, then learns wife is pregnant

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By Doug Mainwaring

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher and his wife found out she was pregnant 24 hours after agreeing on Divine Mercy Sunday to adopt a newborn baby.

The heartwarming story of Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams and his wife, Jackie, was revealed to the world via Williams’ social media accounts, calling attention to God’s sense of humor and grace.

“On Divine Mercy Sunday, Jojo’s birth mother told us that she wanted Jackie and I to be the adoptive parents of her daughter,” Williams announced on Instagram. “The very next day Jackie and I found out God has a great sense of humor by showering us with the grace of another child.” 

“Baby boy is due in January ��Holy Family, pray for us,” added Williams. 

The Pirates starting pitcher and his wife already had a young son, Issac, who will now within the space of a few months gain a younger sister and brother in rapid succession.  

Their newborn daughter, Josephine Marie, was born July 5, just before the All-Star break. 

Trevor and Jackie Williams began to work toward adopting a child after the conclusion of the Pirates’ 2018 season. They were matched with Jojo’s birth mom and the deal was sealed on Divine Mercy Sunday.  

“We just wanted the first baby available,” Williams told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “She was the first birth mom that said she wanted us. It’s been awesome. It’s been a really good relationship with the birth mom and the entire birth family.”

“On 7/5, our daughter Josephine Marie Williams was born,” tweeted the proud Dad shortly after her birth.  

“Through the gift of adoption & the selfless love of her birth mom, Jojo has blessed our family,” said Williams. “We are overjoyed and can’t imagine our family without her. We ask for prayers for our family and for Jojo’s birth family.”  

The vibrant Catholic faith of the Williams family has come across loud and clear for a long time via their social media accounts.  

“Please pray for my family and me, this Lent and always,” Williams wrote on Instagram  as Lent began this year. Williams included an image of an icon, inscribed, “Protecting Veil of the Theotokos,” the centennial Icon of St. Mary Orthodox Church, Southside Pittsburgh.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Please pray for my family and me, this Lent and always.

A post shared by Trevor Williams (@mellamotrevor) on

At the outset of Lent the previous year, Williams posted a picture of the Vatcian’s Pieta – Mary holding the body of her son Jesus after he was taken down from the Cross.  

“Less memes and more prayer, sacrifice, and charity,” Williams said. “See you in 40 days. Have a fruitful Lent.”

“I know that baseball is not the most important thing in the world,” the major league pitcher said in a Knights of Columbus video. “I take my job very seriously, and I do have bad days where I feel really down because I let my team down and I let myself down.”

“But at the end of the day I know the sun comes up tomorrow morning,” he added with a smile. 

Watch video here.

“My faith, to me, is more than just going to Mass on Sundays,” Williams said.  

Williams said he keeps a Saint Benedict crucifix in his locker and that before pitching a game he prays “Jesus, I trust in you.” 

In the video, Williams explains that his tattoos are a way to evangelize. On his left upper arm is a huge depiction of St. Michael the Archangel. On his right arm is a raven, a reference to St. Benedict of Nursia, who is credited with having played an important role in the development of liturgical worship and in the preservation of Western civilization.

On the inside of his left wrist is AMDG, the Jesuit motto “Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam,” Latin for “for the greater glory of God.” Williams explained that each time he goes to pitch, he sees that and is reminded to “do everything for the greater glory of God.”

“As a Catholic man,” Williams noted, “I want to be visible and be present.”  

 

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Facebook censors LifeSite, claims opposition to giving kids trans hormones is ‘hate speech’

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook has removed yet another LifeSiteNews post on “hate speech” grounds, this time suggesting it’s beyond the pale to argue that children should not be given puberty blockers.

On August 1, LifeSite published an article by Radiance Foundation founder Ryan Bomberger criticizing TV personality Mario Lopez for apologizing to pro-LGBT activists who were outraged that he said children were too young to decide whether they should “transition” to another gender.

“As parents, something should stir inside of us to see this for what it is — brokenness,” Bomberger argued. “While mainstream media celebrated a 11-year-old boy in drag being sexualized in a gay bar, who would be celebrating the same if it were a dad hustling his 11-year-old daughter in a ‘gentlemen's club?'”

This week, Facebook notified LifeSite that it had removed a LifeSite post linking the article because it “violated Community Standards,” specifically the platform’s definition of hate speech as any “direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics” including “gender identity.”

“We define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation,” Facebook declared. In fact, Bomberger’s piece does not assert that the gender-confused are unequal, inhuman, or should be shunned from society. It merely argues that it’s unhealthy to reinforce gender confusion in children, and warns that the broader “gender fluidity” push will “erase” society’s understanding of “actual womanhood.” 

LifeSiteNews sought another review, only to receive another notification later on Tuesday that the post was still removed and the review case was marked “closed,” with no option to see further details on the matter.

The incident is not the first time Facebook has suppressed LifeSiteNews content, or pro-family content generally. Other individuals and organizations to see ads rejected or posts suppressed include Save the Storks, the Susan B. Anthony List, the American Pregnancy Association, Choice For Two, Elizabeth “Activist Mommy” Johnston, theologian Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon, ex-gay speaker Joseph Sciambra, and recent pro-life films about Kermit Gosnell and Roe v. Wade. Facebook also opted to block foreign pro-life ads in Ireland’s 2018 abortion referendum, despite Irish law not requiring such a ban, nor did Irish officials request one.

Most recently, Facebook came under fire for labeling Live Action stories as “false news” based on the word of two abortionists affiliated with far-left advocacy groups.

In addition, multiple analyses have found that Facebook’s algorithm changes instituted at the beginning of 2018 disproportionately impacted conservative politicians and websites. Earlier this year, an insider revealed that Facebook “deboosts” traffic to several mainstream conservative sites.

Last month, Facebook released the first interim report from a team it commissioned to review bias allegations, which detailed a broad range of conservative grievances but rendered no verdict on their veracity and pledged few concrete reforms beyond greater “transparency.” Media Research Center (MRC) president and longtime conservative leader Brent Bozell responded that the report “stunningly fails to admit fault or wrongdoing,” and its proposed solutions were “empty and insulting.”

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Alessandra Bocchi at the Hong Kong riots
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Special Report: The influence of Christians in the Hong Kong riots

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By LSN

September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In today’s special episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with Alessandra Bocchi, a journalist who just returned from Hong Kong, about the historic protests happening there. 

The Hong Kong protests started months ago as a peaceful demonstration against an extradition bill passed by the Hong Kong government. The people of Hong Kong are concerned the authoritarian government will use this extradition policy to bring individuals accused of political crimes back to mainland China. 

Amazingly, according to Bocchi, the protests aren’t organized by a single person, but were more of a spontaneous combustion. Extraordinarily, everyone has been, and continues to be, on the same page as the protests and demands develop. 

What most people don’t realize is many of the protesters in Hong Kong are Christians.

“I was very surprised because I've seen various protests in the Western world and I've never witnessed people singing Christian hymns. In Hong Kong where Christians are a minority, where you don't even expect to hear any hymns anywhere you have them chanting, thousands of them chanting, together and holding hands,” Bocchi tells Van Maren. “You see this collaboration with Christians and they're very active in their protest.”

Bocchi recounts her conversations with the Christian protestors as they expressed their concerns that they would be persecuted just like Christians are persecuted in mainland China – Bibles are burned, churches are burnt down. They feared the extradition bill would be used to arrest Christian leaders and establish a belief system that aligned with the Chinese government. The people are afraid of speaking out for fear of retribution, Bocchi shares, but they are also afraid of losing their rights to worship freely. 

The fearlessness of the protestors struck Bocchi. “They know how to deal with tear gas. They know how to deal with rubber bullets. I mean, they use the umbrella, for example, as a shield.”

Although the protests started peacefully, once the police got involved it became dangerous, according to Bocchi. “I was hit by a rubber bullet on my arm when I was on the side of the protesters. So the police don't really discriminate even though I was wearing a press vest, which is a yellow vest.”

These protestors aren’t just activists, but everyday people afraid of being suppressed, persecuted, and silenced, like they see happening on mainland China. 

You won’t want to miss this special inside look at what is happening on the ground in the Hong Kong protests.

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Pope Francis claims climate in state of ‘emergency’, asks world to ‘abandon’ fossil fuels

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, September 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has called upon the world to give up fossil fuels, claiming that the climate is in a state of “emergency” and that this has been caused by human activity.  

In his Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, an ecumenical celebration held on September 1, the Argentine pontiff encouraged the world to adopt “simpler lifestyles” and to abandon fossil fuels.

“Now is the time to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels and move, quickly and decisively, towards forms of clean energy and a sustainable and circular economy,” he said.

James Taylor, Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at the Heartland Institute, a conservative research and education organization, told LifeSiteNews that the Vatican “should be careful” when making theological pronouncements on certain worldly issues, like the use of fossil fuels. 

“Pope Francis’ desire for humans to be good stewards of creation is admirable,” he said. 

“As a theological entity rather than an entity with particular scientific or economic authority and expertise, the Vatican should be careful about assigning theological weight to particular economic theories or scientific questions,” he continued.  

“Forcing people off of abundant, affordable energy and imposing expensive, unreliable ‘clean’ energy sentences too many people in the world to perpetual poverty and all the human misery that accompanies it.”

Taylor added that there is “nothing clean” about the “environmentally devastating mining of rare-earth minerals necessary for wind and solar power equipment” and observed that the deaths of millions of birds and bats can be blamed on wind turbines. He also suggested that hundreds of square miles have been destroyed to make room for enough wind turbines to produce the same amount of energy as a single power plant. 

“I share Pope Francis’ desire for humans to be good stewards of the environment,” Taylor added. “I hope the Vatican will avail itself of better information if it decides to weigh in on the science and economics of particular energy sources and environmental impacts.”

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Institute, told LifeSiteNews that real science can get  “drowned out by polemics”.

“When scientific questions are heavily politicized―as questions concerning the cause, extent, and threat of global warming are―real science tends to get drowned out by polemics,” he said via email.  

“Think about how the theories of the Soviet biologist Lysenko―the nonsensical idea that acquired characteristics could be inherited―was so appealing to Stalin that the entire Soviet academic establishment was forced to endorse it,” he continued.   

Mosher said that the world needs fewer “grand pronouncements” on climate change and more research into Earth's environment.  

“Right now, we can't even predict the path of Hurricane Dorian with any certainty,” he stated. “How can we possibly predict what the climate will be one hundred years from now!”

The alarmist tone of the pontiff’s message does not sit well with everyone. Some fear that Pope Francis’ blessing of the worldwide environmentalist movement emboldens those who want to reduce the human population

And then there’s the difficulty of doing without fossil fuel. 

Becky Williams, a geologist on an oil rig in North Dakota, told LifeSiteNews that it would be impossible to give up fossil fuels right now ― or even ten years from now. 

“Truth is we can't,” she said via social media. 

“It's not that simple. Ten years is not long enough. Oil is the lifeblood of our modern way of life. Everything we use and wear and touch and eat is because of oil,” she continued. 

“It's not just the lights and the gas for cars, it's the plastic to package our food. It's the spandex we wear. It's the cheap avocados we eat.”

Williams noted, however, that oil is not an “unlimited resource, as most people think” and people need to “look for ways to reduce our dependence on it.”

Elsewhere in his message, Pope Francis suggested that humanity take advice on the environment from “indigenous peoples.”

“Let us also learn to listen to indigenous peoples, whose age-old wisdom can teach us how to live in a better relationship with the environment,” he said. 

The pontiff called upon humanity “to repent” of acting like tyrants over the earth, “to be converted and to return to our roots.” He counseled humanity to say “no to consumerist greed” and to “inaugurate farsighted processes involving responsible sacrifices today for the sake of sure prospects of life tomorrow.” 

Francis looks forward to intergovernmental meetings that will set the environmental agenda. 

“In this regard, the forthcoming United Nations Climate Action Summit is of particular importance,” he said.  

“There, governments will have the responsibility of showing the political will to take drastic measures to achieve as quickly as possible zero net greenhouse gas emissions and to limit the average increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius with respect to pre-industrial levels, in accordance with the Paris Agreement goals,” he added.

The United Nations Climate Action Summit  2019 will take place in New York City on September 23. 

In a previous 2016 message celebrating the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the Pope called on Catholics to go to confession for sins of not being respectful of creation. He gave as examples of an examination of conscience points such as “avoiding the use of plastic and paper,” “separating refuse” and “turning off unnecessary lights.” He called on Catholics to have an “ecological conversion.”

In his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ (Praised be), Pope Francis said climate change “represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

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Christine Blasey Ford | Brett Kavanaugh
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Kavanaugh accuser motivated by desire to taint future Roe ruling, book reveals

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A new book released Tuesday on last year’s bitter fight to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is drawing attention for shedding light on the motives of last-minute rape accuser Christine Blasey Ford.

Near the end of Kavanaugh’s fall 2018 confirmation hearings, a trio of women – Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick – came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault. The judge forcefully denied all of their claims, all of which lacked corroborating evidence.

None of the people Ford claims attended the party where Kavanaugh allegedly tried to rape her could recall any such event, and critics identified numerous inconsistencies in her various accounts of the incident. Swetnick changed several details of her own story, and had been involved in multiple lawsuits pertaining to false harassment claims and other forms of fraud. Ramirez, meanwhile, had admitted to former classmates she wasn’t even sure of her alleged assaulter’s identity.

Nevertheless, many on the Left ran with the allegations, which delayed but ultimately didn’t thwart Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.

Search and Destroy: Inside the Campaign against Brett Kavanaugh, written by National Law Journal reporter Ryan Lovelace, is billed as a “deeply researched account” of “the massive funding, sophisticated organization, and fanatical zeal behind the campaign to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the nation’s highest court.”

The Washington Examiner reported that as part of his research, Lovelace uncovered an April 2019 speech by Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, to the University of Baltimore’s 11th Feminist Legal Theory Conference, in which she acknowledged both she and Ford were motivated by something other than truth and justice.

“In the aftermath of these hearings, I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanaugh on the court,” Katz told the audience. “Elections have consequences, but (Kavanaugh) will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”

“Ford’s audience was not the Senate, as Katz had previously suggested, but the American people,” Lovelace wrote. “If they could be persuaded that Justice Kavanaugh was a predator, then they might not accept a future ruling by the five Republican-appointed justices altering the right to obtain an abortion established by Roe v. Wade. Had the Senate understood Ford’s real motivation, as described by Katz, it might have appreciated more fully the pressure that ‘organized forces’ were applying.”

Ironically, Ford and Katz’s fears for Roe may have been unfounded. While President Donald Trump’s selection of Kavanaugh quickly won high praise from pro-life groups and bitter condemnation from the abortion lobby, the judge’s thin record of abortion-related rulings and statements left both sides settling for inferences from mixed signals.

Pro-lifers were heartened by a 2017 speech in which Kavanaugh seemingly-endorsed the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s view that a right to abortion was not “rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people,” and that Roe exemplified the “freewheeling judicial creation of unenumerated rights.” 

On the other hand, during his confirmation hearings Kavanaugh expressed significant respect for Roe’s status as precedent and appeared reluctant to reiterate his 2017 commentary on unenumerated rights – so much so that pro-abortion Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine specifically cited her confidence that Kavanaugh would uphold Roe as part of why she voted to confirm him.

Since joining the court, Kavanaugh’s tenure so far has not reassured pro-lifers. Last year, he joined the court’s liberal wing in declining to hear Kansas and Louisiana’s appeals defending their efforts to cut off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood, a decision Justice Clarence Thomas excoriated as “abdicating our judicial duty.” In February, he concluded that Louisiana’s abortion facility standards should have been allowed to take effect, rejecting abortionists’ complaint on technical grounds, but appeared to concede their underlying premises about the “undue burden” standard for abortion restrictions.

In June, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway and the Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino released another book on the Kavanaugh battle, Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court. Both it and Search and Destroy are published by Regnery.

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Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York at the November 2017 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Embattled Buffalo prelate: ‘This could be the end of me as bishop’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

BUFFALO, New York, September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A second secretary to Buffalo’s Bishop Richard J. Malone – this time a priest – has blown the whistle on the prelate for failing to act against a predatory priest.

On August 2, Malone had a private conversation with his secretary Fr. Ryszard Biernat in which he related that staffers believed the sexual harassment of a local seminarian by one of Malone’s priests would spell the end of his own career. 

Unbeknownst to Malone, Biernat was taping the exchange. The recording was published today by Charlie Specht of Buffalo’s 7 Eyewitness News

Specht, a Catholic, has been the lead reporter on the Buffalo diocese’s abuse and cover-up scandals since last summer. When Siobhan O’Connor, another secretary of Malone’s, decided to blow the whistle on abuse cover-up in the diocese, she spoke to Specht. 

“We are in a true crisis situation,” Malone told Biernat.

“True crisis. And everyone in the office is convinced this could be the end for me as bishop. It could force me to resign if in fact they make a story…” 

In May Boston’s 7 Eyewitness News had reported allegations that Fr. Jeff Nowak, a parish priest, had made romantic overtures to seminarian Matthew Bojanowski and even attempted to blackmail him with information heard in the confessional. In June, Bojanowski’s mother contacted Malone to ask why he had allowed Nowak to remain in ministry. In August, Malone asked his secretary not to discuss the Nowak-Bojanowski story with the press.   

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

“I think we’re gonna blow this story up into something like an atom bomb if we start talking about that. You know?” Malone told Biernat. 

“Cause then it sounds like, it sounds like a soap opera. It sounds like a love triangle. And you know what the media can do with that.”

Malone’s principal concern in the conversation seemed to be his own reputation, especially as the bishop had received a letter from Bojanowski about the abuse back in January. 

“With all the else that’s going on in the diocese and all the, all the attacks on my credibility...that I’ve known that something’s going on here that shouldn’t be and I let it go...I mean this is a disaster,” the bishop said. 

A recent meeting with Steve Halter, the Buffalo Diocese’s director of the Office of Responsibility, and Kathy Spangler, its director of Communications, had frightened Malone. 

“You know, they really scared me,” Malone told Biernat. “They kept saying, ‘You know this could be the end, bishop. This could be the end.”

On August 6, Charlie Specht and 7 Eyewitness News released their investigative report on the Nowak-Bojanowski case, and on August 7, Malone announced that Nowak had been temporarily suspended from ministry and asked to submit to a “behavioral assessment.”  

In another, earlier, conversation taped secretly in January and given to WKBW, Malone referred to Nowak as a “sick puppy.” 

In this recording, the bishop discusses Nowak with Steve Halter, Fr. Peter Karalus, and Fr. Jim Croglio.   

“Father Jeff Nowak has some serious, serious issues,” Malone told the others. 

“It's very clear that Jeff Nowak had what I think was a very, very unhealthy and inappropriate attachment to this Matt Bojanowski.”

He said also that “It looks to me like [Nowak] wanted to have [a] relationship, and even intimate relations.”

The men discussed the priest’s Facebook comment to Bojanowski, in which Nowak told him, “when you become a priest, you will be what we call clerical eye candy.”

“Which is pretty sick, I have to say,” Bishop Malone said to his advisers.

After the men discussed allegations that Nowak stole correspondence between Bojanowski and Biernat and then spun it to suggest the two were having an affair, Malone underscored that he understood that Nowak had done wrong. 

“The simple version here is we've got victims and we have a perpetrator, and the perpetrator is Jeff Nowak, and he's done things that are clearly wrong, and I think he's a sick puppy,” the bishop said. 

In his article, Specht pointed out that sick puppy or not, Nowak was not removed from ministry until August. 

This lack of concern for the well-being of vulnerable parishioners is what led Fr. Biernat to start recording meetings. 

“I thought, ‘I need to do something,’ so I started recording those meetings because they say one thing but they do nothing,” Biernat told 7 Eyewitness News.

“And so you have one recording in March then (a) week later, another recording, and nothing is being done.”

Malone placed Biernat on leave on August 20, but he’s not the only person the bishop has banished from his presence. Today he announced a press conference for 2:30 p.m. but specifically barred Charlie Specht from the event

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Sandra Merritt and David Daleiden outside Superior Court room in San Francisco, CA, Feb. 11, 2019. Pete Baklinski/LifeSiteNews
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‘Historic’ Daleiden hearing begins, putting abortion industry’s ‘big players’ on stand

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By Lianne Laurence

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SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life advocates David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt’s historic criminal preliminary hearing began with a retired late-term abortionist describing the unborn baby as a “tough little object” in an undercover video shown in court on the first day.

The abortionist, referred to in court as “Doe 3,” also admitted in the video Daleiden covertly recorded at the 2014 National Abortion Federation’s abortion trade show that she routinely “didged,” or killed the baby in utero with digoxin, because that gave her and the mother more “peace of mind.” 

It also prevented the “delivery of a live fetus,” which is “the biggest disaster and it never goes away,” Doe 3 said.

Federal law obliges abortionists to attempt to resuscitate a baby who survives an abortion, the abortionist observed in her chat with Daleiden, who told her he was starting up a fetal tissue harvesting company.

The video’s screening in a San Francisco court is the first time the footage has been seen publicly because the undercover videos are under a federal injunction ban, says Peter Breen, of the Thomas More Society legal team defending Daleiden and co-worker Susan Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress.

The two CMP investigative journalists are facing 15 felony charges for “intentionally and without the consent of all parties” recording “confidential” communications. They could be sentenced to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Judge Christopher Hite of the Superior Court is presiding over the two-week preliminary hearing, which began Tuesday. Hite decreed in February that the names of the abortion providers who testify will be sealed during the prosecution.

Breen describes the case as “historic.”

It’s the “first time in California history” an attorney general has prosecuted under the illegal taping law, and is “actually bringing that claim against an undercover journalist,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“We as a society made a value judgement, we as a society value undercover journalism,” Breen said. “Undercover journalism requires surreptitious taping.” 

CMP’s undercover videos, most of which were recorded at NAF’s 2014 and 2015 abortion convention and trade show, exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal involvement in harvesting and selling aborted baby body parts.

The shocking recordings, which capture Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the prices of baby body parts, picking through bloodied arms and legs of aborted babies in a pie tray, and discussing how to alter abortion methods to obtain better body parts for sale, spurred a Congressional investigation and calls for the abortion giant to be stripped of its federal tax dollars.

They also spurred the abortion industry and allies to attack Daleiden and Merritt, who are being sued by Planned Parenthood as well as facing criminal charges.

Moreover, Daleiden lost a bid in June to overturn a $195,000 fine for contempt that District Judge William Orrick III levied against him in 2017. He has since launched a GoFundMe page to pay the penalty. 

When it comes to the criminal charges, Daleiden’s lawyers are arguing the illegal taping law allows for the reasonable expectation of a conversation that could be overheard.

“It’s pretty clear when you see these videos that everything can be overheard,” Breen told LifeSiteNews.

Indeed, Merritt’s lawyer Horatio Mihet of Liberty Counsel grilled “Doe 7”, a nurse practitioner and abortion provider who left Planned Parenthood in January, about a conversation Daleiden surreptitiously recorded at the 2014 NAF trade show in which she mentions Planned Parenthood Northern California chief of staff Gloria Martinez and abortionist Jeff Waldman. 

Doe 7 admitted under Mihet’s questioning that a number of people she did not know came within hearing distance of the conversation, but she made no attempt to lower her voice or take any precautions to ensure she was not overheard. 

Nor did she tell Daleiden she did not want to be recorded or that the information was confidential.

However, Doe 7 insisted that because attendees at the NAF trade show signed a confidentiality agreement, everything spoken of there was confidential.

That doesn’t matter under the law, Mehet argued.

Breen and his team will also be arguing the “633.5 defence, which is that if you have a reasonable belief that you are collecting evidence relating to a violent crime, you are clear under the undercover taping law,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Daleiden and Merritt “knew about babies being born alive, they knew about abortion procedures being changed” to harvest more valuable baby body parts, which amounts to “battery against pregnant women,” as well as “partial-birth abortion abuses,” he said. 

“They knew about this walking in.”

The hearing is historic as well because “it’s the first time in open court we’re getting sworn testimony” from witnesses who include “big players” and “some of the bad actors in the abortion industry,” said Breen, “folks that have said and done some pretty terrible things, in particular criminal things.”

Daleiden will also take the stand to tell the court “why he did what he did” and of the “disgusting, illegal and unethical conduct of abortion providers,” he said.

Hite will decide after the hearing if some of the charges could be dropped or reduced to misdemeanors, Breen told LifeSiteNews.

Daleiden’s lawyers unsuccessfully petitioned the court in April to drop the charges, arguing that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is spearheading Daleiden’s prosecution, is not neutral when it comes to abortion but is closely allied with and supported by Planned Parenthood.

Becerra succeeded current Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who began the political prosecution against Daleiden, and is also closely allied with Planned Parenthood.

The hearing continues Wednesday. LifeSite is on the scene and will be providing coverage throughout the case. 

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Father Erik Richtsteig stambrosecatholicchurch.org
Laurie Maddox

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‘Welcoming’ parish tries to get faithful priest reassigned over Catholic facebook posts

Laurie Maddox
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September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – It was quite a communion of saints that tried to destroy the Rev. Erik Richtsteig, the new pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Salt Lake City, for the alleged sin of “hate speech.”

The Salt Lake Tribune blared its outrage in a July 31 headline, “Utah Catholics protest priest who’s shared posts that are anti-LGBTQ, anti-woman and pro-assault rifle,” and a 2,100-word story that had room only for accusers.

Parents from the parish school had scoured Fr. Erik’s every online utterance, finding just blasphemies to the progressive religion to try and oust the priest before he’d even arrived.

Righteous leftism and a warped version of social justice were clearly at stake in the effort, causes too important to let any contrary voice or explication of Catholic teaching mar the beauty of the hit. 

Still it failed, due to the reality of Richtsteig’s character, his quarter-century of service as a priest, and the authority of Bishop Oscar Solis, head of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

The bishop likely forced the group’s Hail Mary pass to the Tribune after he refused to condemn an innocent man and rescind the appointment of Richtsteig to St. Ambrose and its affiliated J.E. Cosgriff Memorial School.

Conservatives, traditional Catholics, and anyone not on the shaming-and-doxing side of the partisan divide have seen this extreme game before, and we’re not having it.

Fr. Erik’s real sin, the one disguised as hate, was being a defender of the faith, an emphatic conservative maybe, who does not shrink from Roman Catholic teaching. He states it out loud. 

What’s more, he had the audacity to do it on Facebook and his own blog – to be irreverent, sometimes sarcastic, and outspoken in his conviction, and to express himself prolifically about religion, politics, culture, and a multitude of interests.

That was unforgivable to these Christians, the true reason he had to be silenced, shamed, removed, or re-educated.

They admitted the problem eventually, way down in the piece, where the parish and school were described as having “carved out a space for more liberal ideas and more welcoming views and more diverse voices in Salt Lake City.”  

In this particular welcoming liberal space, one parent wondered if she could even shake the pastor’s hand.   

So, the elaborately constructed narrative went like this: Fr. Erik posed a threat to the well-being of school children and the parish community because of his posts, deemed “homophobic,” “misogynistic,” “hateful,” “hurtful,” “bigoted,” “intolerant,” “horrifying,” and “hate speech.” And “pro-assault rifle” as well, whatever that means.

Some of the group’s suggested correctives were that the priest be made to apologize, ordered to never speak of guns or LGBTQ individuals, and that his homilies (“talks,” the Tribune called them) be checked in advance before every Mass.

Checked by whom, the Ministry of Truth? And what was the hate exactly?

An image and comment posted by the priest of a cartoon gnome spewing a rainbow were “horrifying” and “homophobic.” It could not possibly be a welterweight jab about gay Pride Month, exasperation over a monthlong celebration of gayness. 

Misogyny and bigotry? Strong charges that should demand strong proof. There wasn’t any. 

In Richtsteig’s case, the act of merely liking, following, or sharing a page/meme/comment constituted punishable wrongthink. Among the counts in the newspaper’s indictment was the revelation that Fr. Erik approved of a page advocating, “Obama has to go.” Ah yes, hate speech. 

Just as appalling as the hit was the censoring zeal of the Tribune and its ditching of basic objectivity. The newspaper was too down with the cause to question the pretense or push back against the notion of coercing a faith leader’s silence.

Instead, it piled on with its own verdict. Reporter Courtney Tanner affirmed that the shares and likes “promote hate of LGBTQ groups and mock women,” an editorial opinion transposed as objective fact.

Children would have to interact with the priest for Mass and sacraments, she noted repeatedly, the implication ominous.

Were this not just a hit piece, other viewpoints would have mattered, like those from St. James the Just Parish and St. Joseph’s School in Ogden who knew the priest best. 

How about a single non-protestor from St. Ambrose, an orthodox teacher, or a Catholic with more than hashtag awareness of Roman Catholic doctrine and catechism? 

Truth and understanding might have benefitted from those “diverse” voices, but none were allowed. In a 2,100-word news space there certainly was room.

Richtsteig called same-sex attraction a disorder, the story vaguely offered, as if it were a concept in isolation. Like it or not – and this group evidently does not – Church doctrine says a great deal about disorders, distinguishes between act, individual, and inclination, and rejects any concerted or aggressive push by groups to “seek public approval of homosexual behavior.”

It is straightforward from the Vatican, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law.” 

Homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered,” according to the faith, “an inclination that predisposes one toward what is truly not good for the human person.” 

The church also makes clear that same-sex attracted individuals must be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” 

However, “distant neutrality” in regard to teaching is not permitted, and pastoral care that departs from church teaching or silences it is “neither caring nor pastoral.” 

Pope Francis was said by the Tribune to be accepting of LGBTQ individuals. Not one word  further was added about his denunciations of gay “marriage” and gender theory, which he has described variously as a “global war trying to destroy marriage,” “ideological colonization,” and a threat to “God’s plan for creation.” 

Distinctions and clarity were suppressed in this episode amid woke rage, or disbelief possibly, that a Catholic priest would uphold the faith bluntly and that actual Catholic teaching would be taught at a Catholic school.

Parochial schools state up front in their parent handbooks – and occasionally have to reiterate during a school year – that they are founded upon Catholic teaching. Some of them mean it.

Missing from the newspaper’s account was the perspective of Nancy Essary, principal of St. Joseph’s Elementary in Ogden, who was invited to attend a special meeting of Cosgriff’s school board to provide insight on Richtsteig’s long association with her school.

Children at St. Joseph’s “loved him and enjoyed seeing him in the building,” according to Cosgriff board minutes summarizing her remarks. Not one St. Joseph’s faculty member in nine years ever had an issue with him.

He frequently visited students, led faith instruction for middle schoolers as well as teacher in-services, and had many requests to hear confessions. 

None of that found its way into the Tribune, which said it had a recording of the meeting. Likewise banished, any parishioner from St. James the Just, where Richtsteig was pastor for 16-plus years, more than half spent commenting, blogging, posting and podcasting.

Readers might have been interested, too, in a fuller, less-biased look at the man. Such as this:

He was six-months-old when his Marine Corps father was killed in action in the Vietnam War; he grew up Latter-day Saint before converting to Catholicism at age 15, one of millions of teenagers impacted by the election of Pope John Paul II; he served in various parishes throughout Utah and was previously a chaplain to the Air Force Reserve.

Just before leaving St. James for St. Ambrose, it was Fr. Erik who helped another military family defy death’s sting and ease their warrior’s way to God, offering the funeral Mass for Army Sgt. 1st Class Elliott Robbins, a Green Beret medic who died in Afghanistan.

The military background should have tempered the histrionics over “assault weapons.” Same with his gun advocacy in light of the fact that he personally experienced a shooting – the attempted murder of a St. James parishioner while Mass was under way on Father’s Day, 2013. That usually makes one a “survivor” in media lexicon.

If the son of an artillery officer supports packing a more modest caliber and is a strong proponent of armed self-defense after a shooting, that’s inappropriate? No, it makes sense.

John Paul II used more than a photo-shopped image to combat Soviet oppression. St. Michael the Archangel brandishes a “weapon of war” in a battle waged against darkness until eternity.

A father who gave his life for the nation and a pope who fought communism were powerful influencers apparently, shaping the priest’s outlook on America, freedom, totalitarianism, good and evil, not to mention politics, religion, God, country, and family.

That was the profile offended parents might have seen had they looked beyond identity politics and liberal pieties or even met the pastor first before declaring him persona non grata at their welcoming blue sanctuary.

For leftists, the Catholic faith, like America, must be fundamentally transformed to be welcoming or even good. The teachings of Catholicism, timeless across millennia, remain bitter, clingy, and deplorable, too naturally aligned with conservative ideology and politics. 

Among orthodox Catholics, the sacrament of confirmation makes us defenders of the faith, as it is now and always will be. For us speech is not violence, catechism is not hate, and there will be no silencings or apologies.

Laurie Maddox is a former reporter with The Associated Press and Salt Lake Tribune, and a lifelong Catholic.

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Joshua Hren

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How the violent dictatorship of relativism can and must be overthrown 

Joshua Hren
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September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – It would seem that relativism should be the most merciful of rulers. The doctrine that “truths” and moralities have no foundation in unchanging absolutes, but are rather mere conventions constructed out of a vast number of cultures or historical contexts: is this not the perfect incarnation of humble prostration before the indefinite number of notions naming what is “right” and “wrong”? Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s revelatory metaphor “dictatorship of relativism” is especially apt because it captures relativism’s paradoxical duplicity: reassuring us of its dialogic, democratic character, it executes and enforces its tenets with violence. 

Tocqueville touches something of this paradox when he describes the incredible censoring power of the majority in democratic regimes. Princes, he writes, “materialized violence,” whereas the “democratic republics of today have made violence as entirely intellectual as the human will that it wants to constrain.” When one man governed absolutely, “despotism, to reach the soul, cruelly struck the body, and the soul, escaping from these blows, rose gloriously above it.” In democratic republics, on the other hand, “tyranny does not proceed in this way; it leaves the body alone and goes right to the soul.” Instead of threatening dissenters with death, the majority opinion says “You are free not to think as I do; your life, your goods, everything remains with you; but from this day on you are a stranger among us.”

Democracy and Relativism: Estranged Allies or Strange Bedfellows? 

Benedict XVI knows we are political animals. Although relativism has won sacrosanct respect for a number of reasons, in a little-known address he delivered as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope Emeritus offers one primary cause: relativism is credited with enshrining modern democratic tolerance, ensuring that whatever knowledge we might obtain can only come through perspectival dialogue. One truth, valid for all, would undermine this purported unity through irresolvable diversity. “Relativism,” he writes, “appears to be the philosophical foundation of democracy.” The democratic spirit, Benedict XVI continues, ushers in a world apparently “enriched by the fact that all roads are mutually recognized as fragments of the effort toward that which is better.” Most proponents of democracy forcefully prefer the marketplace of ideas, and typically affiliate monotheistic precepts with an outdated monarchy. Our political regime must become a polyphonic competition of truth claims, and we can only preserve this precarious “system of freedom” if, writes Benedict, channeling the relativist, we usher all opinions into a “a system of positions that are connected with one another because they are relative as well as being dependent on historical situations open to new development . . . a liberal society would be a relativist society: only with that condition could it continue to be free and open to the future.”

We face a seemingly intractable problem: ruled by the dictatorship of relativism, democracy may fast become the worst form of government, for if the majority of its citizens are soft or steadfast relativists, the regime will be increasingly swayed by fanaticism. Relativists who believe that our actions are founded on nothing but vague principles ultimately rooted in blind choice cannot “wholeheartedly” act upon those principles. Still more, such a relativist must silence reason, which reminds him that his principles are neither better nor worse than any other; that is to say, when we reason through the implications of relativism, we must either reject it or accept the nothingness it uncovers at the heart of our every conviction and persuasion, our every conclusion and preference.

The Spirit of the Democratic Ethic and the Specter of Relativism

Typically, at least in the United States, those who simultaneously decry relativism and defend liberal democracy present the latter as salvageable for one of two reasons—or both at once. First, the Declaration of Independence seems premised not on the Founder’s preference for a power shift but on a certain understanding of natural law, which is to say a law not subject to the vicissitudes of history and convention—a law that ought to serve as a universal principle for all peoples. In addition to citing the “self-evident” truths that “all men are created equal,” Jefferson insists that it is man’s “Creator” who endows them “with certain unalienable Rights” among which “are Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Moreover, when appealing to the colonies’ right to a “separate and equal station,” Jefferson announces that this entitlement is given by “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” making his appeal to natural law even more evident.

Those who defend democracy and decry relativism may reasonably argue that although democracy— driven as it is by the principle of majority rule—does not in and of itself contain any principles that prevent relativism, nonetheless the Founders intended the laws to be written with natural rights in mind. In other words, according to these defenders of democracy, the relativism that is rampant in the United States is an offense against the precedents evident in the documents our Founders left us. Even if one assumes this position, he must soberly admit that these precedents have been insufficient protection against the standing army of relativistic citizens and the moral and spiritual ruins they leave in their wake as they march from sea to shining sea.  

Others, religious proponents of democracy, point to Tocqueville’s observation that although the positivist form of laws permitted the people to do what they pleased, religion prevented them from conceiving, and forbade them from committing what is rash and unjust. Truth teems from Tocqueville’s observation that religion both moderates the democratic passions and nurtures a certain concrete, even impassioned innocence in the imaginations of souls shaped by democratic regimes. For this reason no one in the U.S. (in Tocqueville's time) dared to advance the maxim that everything is permissible. Because of this, Tocqueville tells that religion, “must be regarded as the first of [the American] political institutions.” But Tocqueville’s taxonomy of the theological-political bind then climbs to a provocative claim: “Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed”?

Should the accidental presence of religion recede, should relativism reshape those of its populous who claim dual citizenship in the City of God into a relatively humane species ashamed of its “absolutist” history, the dictatorship of relativism will have won the right to govern absolutely. And not even an unevolved ostrich could fail to see that American believers have by and large “progressed” into lives of individualized spirituality marked by radical openness and pastoralizing appeals to contingencies.

Conquering the Benevolent Dictator through Tyrannicide?

Under the dictatorship of relativism, citizens of the City of God are as displaced persons faced with one of three choices. They can seek asylum in “reactionary” bunkers where they can join their co-conspirators who continue to conduct their conversation, conserving capital-T truths in a foreign tongue—in a language the dictator cannot comprehend. Or, by some combination of serpentine shrewdness and dovelike simplicity, these disciples of first things can infiltrate the ranks of relativism’s dictatorship, completing little “inside jobs” when, say, they pass positive laws that accord with natural ones? But these “double-agent” spies for God know yet another option, one rooted in St. Thomas Aquinas’ tentative defense of tyrannicide. According to the Dumb Ox, a regime that is “ordered by an authority” in a manner “opposed to the object for which that authority was constituted: not only is there no obligation to obey the authority, but one is obliged to disobey it, as did the holy martyrs who suffered death rather than obey the impious commands of tyrants.” 

Aquinas goes so far as to insist that one ought to be “praised and rewarded” for being the “one who liberates his country by killing a tyrant.” However, he advances a crucial qualification, indicating that the tyrant’s rule may be disturbed so inordinately that his subjects may suffer still worse from the disturbances of resistance than from the tyrant’s government.  

To be clear: I am not speaking of active physical resistance to the human incarnation of relativism’s dictatorial, intellectualized violence. True as it may be that we find relativists reigning at the highest echelons of States, Corporations, and even the human face of the Church, the dictatorship of relativism is a regime far more powerful and pervasive than these particulars; it lacks the locatable center occupied by the tyrant of classical politics. And this is what makes the problem of unseating it so hard; the metaphorical character of relativism’s dictatorship raises difficult questions. If a citizen of the City of God were to reason it just to commit tyrannicide against the dictatorship of relativism, what would he take as the object of his justified violence, given that he is striving to unseat a pervasive ideology rather than a person? By what means can one unseat an ideology? An aggressive shift from dialogue that seeks to prudentially apply first principles to particulars to absolutist assertiveness that drowns out the relativistic blather?

Remember Tocqueville’s contention that while Princes “materialized violence,” the “democratic republics of today have made violence as entirely intellectual as the human will that it wants to constrain.” Let us apply Aquinas’ aforementioned cautions to this intellectualized violence: given that the dictatorship of relativism reigns largely by means of this intellectualized violence, wouldn’t the would-be-tyrannicide reach his end by means of the same sort of intellectual violence? Wouldn’t this metaphorical tyrannicide bloody his own mind beyond recognition, leading him to assume the character of his enemy? Are there other ways of tyrannical resistance? 

It is for these sorts of reasons that Aquinas bids us be cautious: by acting against the tyrant, we can “become involved in many perils more grievous than the tyranny itself.” Thomas reminds us that if we do not prevail against the tyrant, then he (in this case the dictatorship of relativism) will rage all the more. Still further, active resistance to the dictatorship of relativism could result in some new tyrant’s ascension—a dictator (if we can imagine) still worse. Is this true also of our actions against the dictatorship of relativism? If so, does this leave us with the unpleasant conclusion that it is better to abide the dictatorship, doing work as “double-agents” and “reactionaries” where we can, refraining from metaphorical tyrannicide?

The Return of the Kingship of Christ

St. Augustine goads us: “Not to resist an error is to approve of it; not to define a truth is to reject it.” It is the Church, however, more than in any political or economic entity that (rightly understood) does—always does, via the Deposit of Faith—and, in its members can and must resist the dictatorship of relativism. True, especially of late, through (among other means) modernist theologies, through a problematic “collegiality” and “synodality,” powerful churchmen are (intentionally or unintentionally) goading the Church toward dangerous, docile subjection to relativism’s reign. And many of the faithful, in ways less visible, freely collaborate or follow suit. Too often prelates and catechists, their own souls formed by relativism’s regime, channel this confusing, compromised chaos of opinions through liturgy and preaching and teaching.

Christ must reign. As Pope St. Pius X writes, this means that “we owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him.” Restoration of the Kingship of Christ means a concerted rejection and a zealous submission to Christ the King. Submission to Christ the King means absolute rejection of compartmentalization: no more can ensure the relativistic regime that “our private opinions (ie. those dogmatic and doctrinal truths, those truths of Divine Revelation and Sacred Tradition) shall not impinge upon our public life.

Prudence may dictate that muscular resistance to relativism may, in certain situations, result in still greater evils, such as a still more vicious, selective “tolerance.” But prudence allows us to identify occasions that demand our courageous truthfulness. We can only be confident in our own truthfulness if, as subjects of Christ the King, we rejoice in our patrimony, cleaving to the clear and continuous teachings of His Magisterium.

The great difficulty is that, to employ the words of Fr. Felix Sarda Y Salvany, relativism (like liberalism) equivocates “firmness with fanaticism, the uncompromising with the intolerant, consistency with narrowness.” Given this, only a relatively small number of Catholics may be prepared to pay such allegiance. It’s Founder, the cause of longsuffering, the Heart of all courage, will in time reach the ends of the earth. Reorienting ourselves ever more to the Kingship of Christ, we can be confident that the dictatorship of relativism will, in due time, collapse. As one of evil’s most sophisticated manifestations, it contains the causes of its own destruction.

Still, crumble though it will, so long as democracies remain unmoored from religion, relativism will continue to govern with a duplicitous combination of “humility” and violence. We must take our bearings from the “the holy martyrs who,” Aquinas says, “suffered death rather than obey the impious commands of tyrants.” 

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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Transgenderism’s war on language is a war on truth and reality. Here’s another example

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

September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In the current war on biological reality as it pertains to gender, the first intended casualty is language itself. In truly Orwellian fashion, the transgender activists have made tremendous progress on this front—as I pointed out in this space earlier this year, at some point almost the entire news media quietly climbed on board with the transgender agenda, obediently using the pronouns requested (even if they were factually inaccurate) and transforming their language overnight.

Thus, “sex change surgery” became “gender affirmation surgery” or “gender confirmation surgery.” I remember noticing the shift and wondering who wrote the new guidelines, who signed off on them, and how the trans activists had managed to get nearly the entire media on board with a cause nobody had heard of less than a decade ago in such a short period of time. These subtle shifts in language are actually tremendously important: “Sex change surgery” is a surgery performed to change somebody’s sex (or at least, attempt to make it appear that way through a series of alterations). 

Gender “affirmation” or “confirmation” surgery, on the other hand, infers something quite different. This terminology conveys the idea that the biological male is a female and the biological female is a male, and that the surgery being undertaken thus does not change anything at all. Rather, it affirms or confirms what the recipient of the mastectomies and castrations and other nips and tucks already knows with absolute certainty. In short, it corrects a profound mistake made by nature or nature’s God. There is an entire ideology packed into these small terminology changes, and very few people seem to have noticed the overnight transformation of the media into an obedient purveyor of transgender talking points.

As I mentioned last month, the media are engaged in a full-out gaslighting campaign, straight-facedly using phrases such as “her penis” and “his breasts” and then viciously attacking any sane soul who wanders onto the rainbow minefield and points out that there really is no such thing, strictly speaking. Those who point out that men can’t get pregnant or that getting castrated doesn’t make you a woman are instead attacked with the same ferocity with which the media have embraced this new nonsense, and thus what could once have been written off as ridiculous has become decidedly sinister. Don’t laugh, bigot, or we’ll destroy your life.

By way of example, today I spotted, for the first time, a brand-new phrase that I’d never seen before, gracing a news article from Long Island. It referred inelegantly to “genital gender confirmation surgery,” which presumably means that surgery, through creative mutilation, confirms that a vagina is now a penis, or vice versa (I won’t describe how they do these surgeries or the completed result, but let’s just say that it isn’t particularly effective nt the final product only loosely resembles what it is intended to, generally speaking). The article spoke glowingly of the surgical team at North Shore University Hospital, who stand ready to carve up physically healthy patients should they so request it.

Reading the article was a bit like reading a wartime report where the writer had to be very intentional in ensuring that nothing actually true is expressed. For example, this line: “The surgical team has already performed vaginoplasty for transgender women, which surgically constructs female genitalia out of the patients’ tissue.” You could be forgiven for not realizing that the “patients’ tissue” here referred to is, in fact, his penis, which the doctors will splice and dice until it is unrecognizable. No matter: Dr. David Whitehead told the eager press that he is “happy to work with every patient to determine how I can help them have their body better match their gender goals.”

I know it is tiresome to consistently read reminders that the press is lying to us, and doing so with a specific ideological goal. It is tiresome to constantly draw attention to it, as well. I would much rather be writing about literature, or something else I genuinely enjoy. But these are the times we live in, and we cannot stop speaking the truth, loudly and clearly. If we do not, eventually everybody will quietly knuckle under, and those who dare speak out will be “whacked” by what atheist comedian Bill Maher referred to as the LGBT “mafia.” The media may have lost its collective mind. That simply makes it all the more important that we do not do so, too.

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 Alessandra Bocchi, a journalist who just returned from Hong Kong, where she was reporting on the protests. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

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German cardinal warns about country entering into ‘schism,’ becoming ‘German national church’

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By Maike Hickson

September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Rainer Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, describes in a new interview his recent visit to the United States, his impressions, and his many conversations with Catholics during his trip. Speaking to the local diocesan newspaper, Kirchenzeitung Köln, Woelki says that he feels “encouraged” by his visit in the U.S., but that also many people showed their concern about the developments in Germany.

 “Everywhere I was confronted with concern about the current developments in Germany,” he explains. “In many encounters, the concern was palpable that the 'synodal path' leads us onto a German separate path [“Sonderweg”], that we, at worst, even put at risk the communion with the Universal Church and become a German national church.” “Nobody can want this,” Woelki adds, “and so we should take seriously this warning.”

Many of those with whom he spoke in the U.S. “shook their heads” when seeing “that we in Germany seem to be ready willfully to change the deposit of the Faith as it has been entrusted to us, because we demand it so loudly,” the German prelate stated. 

Cardinal Woelki's interlocutors in the U.S. spoke “openly” about the “fear that thereby, it could come to a schism within the Universal Church or even to a schism within the Church in Germany.”

While Cardinal Woelki is aware that there are challenges in the U.S., as well, he noticed that “there, answers are being given based on the Faith of the Universal Church, and not in form of a unilateral path or of a theological overestimation of one's own abilities.”

Asked as to what these comments on the part of his U.S. interlocutors mean for him, Cardinal Woelki stated that “I feel strengthened in my attitude. I believe that the path as it is currently being taken in Germany bears great dangers – especially in light of a schism within the Church in Germany.”  Here, the prelate referred back to a recent letter written by Pope Francis which is addressed to the German Catholics and in which the Pope calls upon the Germans to preserve the Church's sense of the Faith.

Cardinal Woelki described in his interview how impressed he was by the Catholics in the U.S. and how there takes place a “new evangelization.” He noticed during his trip to Boston, Washington, D.C., and New York City “how natural it is there to live as a Christian and Catholic. To be Catholic is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, for many people whom I met it is a true joy to live their Catholicicity with a natural normality.” Woelki said.

Additionally, the German cardinal noticed how the flourishing parishes and religious orders that he visited had a “deep sacramental life.” 

“Eucharistic adoration, the Sunday Mass and the Holy Masses during the week are essentials in the parishes, the schools, and universities. Part of it is also the access to the Sacrament of Penance,” Woelki explained. The “sacramental is placed at the center of the pastoral care.” Such a spiritual life centered upon Christ Himself, Woelki later added, “leads to an attitude which encourages us also to stand against the mainstream.”

Cardinal Woelki, who visited at different places the Sisters of the Poor, the Sisters of Life, and the Franciscans of the Renewal, noticed that these religious communities are “young, dynamic communities” with a “life connected with the Eucharist.”

“I return home encouraged and I have concretely felt what it means to belong to the Catholic Universal Church,” Woelki concludes. “To have this connection surpassing all national borders is very precious, especially for us Germans. We should hold on to it.”

Cardinal Woelki is one of the few German bishops who have publicly expressed their resistance to the plans of the German Bishops’ Conference of a “synodal path” questioning the Church's teaching on celibacy, sexuality, and the role of women in the Church's ministries. In March of 2019, he stated that German preachers have “failed” when laity now calls for a change of the Church's teaching on sexuality. He then challenged his fellow Catholics, saying “To put it in a pointed way, the alternative before us is: either the de-secularization of the Church or the de-Christianization of the world, at least in that part of the world where we Germans live.”

Moreover, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, of Regensburg, has also made public his opposition to the German reform plans which well might include an impending Church blessing for homosexual couples, a new form of a female diaconate, as well as a widening of intercommunion. Voderholzer said in May of 2019 that this “synodal path” in Germany might very well turn out to be a “path of destruction.” 

“A synodal process,” he then explained, “which aims at inventing a new Church is a path of destruction," said Bishop Voderholzer while speaking at the Austrian monastery Heiligenkreuz on May 11. “It splits Christians apart, it cuts the Church into pieces and finally also damages our society and is a burden also for the Protestant communities.”

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Special Report: The influence of Christians in the Hong Kong riots

By Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

In today’s special report, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with Alessandra Bocchi, a journalist who just returned from Hong Kong, about the protests happening there. The extradition bill was rescinded today, but Bocchi doesn’t necessarily think this will completely quell the protestors.

 

The Hong Kong protests started months ago as a peaceful demonstration against an extradition bill passed by the Hong Kong government. The people of Hong Kong are concerned the authoritarian government will use this extradition policy to bring individuals accused of political crimes back to mainland China. Amazingly, according to Bocchi, the protests aren’t organized by a single person, but were more of a spontaneous combustion. Extraordinarily, everyone has been, and continue to be, on the same page as the protests and demands develop. 


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