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Watch historic Amazon Synod roundtable discussion for free

The event will be live-streamed Friday, October 4 from 9am to 12 noon U.S. Eastern Standard Time
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By LifeSiteNews staff

By LifeSiteNews staff
LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

ROME, Italy, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews)— Catholics from across the world will now be able to watch online at no cost next month’s historic roundtable discussion on the upcoming Amazon Synod of Bishops. The event will be live-streamed Friday, October 4 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m Rome Time (9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon U.S. Eastern Standard Time).

Click here to register for the roundtable online for free!

Hosted by Voice of the Family, “Our Church – reformed or deformed?" will feature for the first time ever lay leaders like Dr. Taylor Marshall, Michael Matt, Professor Roberto de Mattei, and John-Henry Westen joining forces to tackle the hard questions being discussed at the Synod.

LifeSite originally charged viewers to watch the event – partly because of the approximately $15,000+ cost associated with holding the event at Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio in Rome.

After extensive discussions, LifeSite is now offering the event free to everyone who registers. We do not want to put the slightest obstacle to having thousands of people signing up for this incredibly important discussion. We believe the Amazon Synod poses a real threat not just to the Catholic Church, but to the whole world in general. EVERYONE should be able to view this event. 

The Pan-Amazonian Synod will take place between October 6 and 27. At stake are the gifts of celibacy, the nature of the priesthood, and the concept of evangelization itself. Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the two remaining dubiacardinals, called the synod's working document “heretical” and an “apostasy” from Divine Revelation.

Given the gravity of the synod, this roundtable discussion is too important to miss! Instead of a mandatory fee, LifeSite is asking its registrants to donate a charitable gift of whatever they can to help cover the costs for this one-of-a-kind event. Again, do not miss out on this opportunity. Click here to register to watch the roundtable online for free!

Participants in the roundtable discussion, which will be moderated by John Smeaton, chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (UK), include:

  • John-Henry Westen (LifeSiteNews, Canada)
  • Prof. Roberto de Mattei (Corrispondenza Romana, Italy) 
  • Dr. Taylor Marshall (author, USA)
  • Michael Matt (The Remnant, USA)
  • Michael Voris (Church Militant, USA) 
  • Jeanne Smits (Journalist, France)
  • Marco Tosatti (Stilum Curiae, Italy)
  • José Antonio Ureta (TFP, France)
  • Riccardo Cascioli (La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, Italy) 

The discussion will be held in English with simultaneous translation into Italian. More details are available on Voice of the Family’s website.


YouTube kills 5 times more videos, channels as Christians allege persecution

YouTube has quintupled the number of 'hate' videos and channels removed from the platform, the website announced this week.
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Lisa Bourne By Lisa Bourne

Lisa Bourne By Lisa Bourne
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By Lisa Bourne

September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — YouTube has quintupled the number of “hate” videos and channels removed from the platform, the website announced this week.

YouTube removed more than 100,000 videos and over 17,000 channels for violating its “hate” speech policy from April through June, CNN reports, five times the number it had removed in the three months prior. YouTube also took down over 500 million comments due to “hate speech.”

In a Tuesday blog post, YouTube ascribed the increase in removals from the platform to its recent efforts to counter the spread of hate content. 

The announcement of YouTube’s fivefold increase in the volume of content removal comes amid continued criticism that the platform and other tech companies act to suppress speech by conservatives, Christians, and pro-life supporters, at times attempting to conflate conservatives with objectionable groups by assigning the speech or content of the former defamatory labels like “hate.”

At the same time, the left continues to criticize YouTube for allowing “misinformation,” “conspiracy theories,” and “extremist views” to spread on its site, and for any sort of recommendation of such content.

YouTube, owned by Google, announced in June it was expanding its policy to ban “supremacist” content and remove videos denying well documented violent events, such as the Holocaust and the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The company had said in June it would be removing hundreds of thousands of videos that previously had not been considered in violation of its policy.

YouTube’s recently updated policy bans “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.”

The platform said as well it’s been able to take down more “objectionable” content before it was widely viewed, resulting in an 80% decrease in views on content later removed for violating YouTube’s rules.

YouTube also said Tuesday that its machine learning systems are getting better. More than 87% of the 9 million videos it had removed during the second quarter were flagged first by its automated systems.

In addition to “hate speech,” YouTube videos can be removed for a number of reasons, including copyright infringement, violence, nudity, and spam.

Christians, conservatives, and pro-life supporters have reported examples of suppression of content by YouTube and its parent company Google along with other big tech companies for years.

A former Google employee, an anonymous whistleblower, recently confirmed manual suppression of search topics at the apparent bidding of left-wing media figures.

Last month, YouTube deplatformed a 14-year-old conservative girl following her video critical of Pride Month. Her channel had also been completely banned from YouTube.

In July, YouTube suppressed an ad for a charity supporting military veterans because it contained the word “Christian.”

YouTube completely demonetized conservative commentator and comedian Steven Crowder in June, responding to calls from left-wing news outlet Vox to ban Crowder entirely.

In May, YouTube demonetized a video conversation between Catholic apologist Patrick Coffin and LifeSiteNews editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen, saying “it wasn’t suitable for all advertisers.”

Coffin confirmed for LifeSiteNews that certain topics on his podcast — gender confusion, overcoming homosexual tendencies, the damage of the sexual revolution, and anything with the word “Muslim” or “Islam” in the title — have resulted in demonetization.

Earlier this year, Christian author Michael Brown had his entire channel demonetized by YouTube.

Conservative pundit Dennis Prager and his educational organization Prager University (PragerU) sued YouTube beginning in 2017 for censorship, discrimination, and breach of contract related to YouTube’s suppression of PragerU videos.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in June he wanted YouTube to further suppress videos the company considers “harmful,” even if, by its own admission, the videos don’t actually violate YouTube’s stated policy.


‘The term ‘life’ must be redefined,’ new head of Vatican Life Academy declares

The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life claims that Pope Francis wants several changes in the academy's operations.
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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia
Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LOS ANGELES, California, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life has declared that the academy must broaden its scope and welcome non-Christian “experts.” 

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, 74, presented the speech at Loyola Marymount, a private Jesuit university in Los Angeles, yesterday. After introducing the pontiff’s January 6 letter Humana Communitas, the prelate explained that Francis wishes both the Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute, of which Paglia is grand chancellor, to work “more broadly.”

“The Academy in particular is to become more and more a place of competent and respectful meeting and dialogue among experts, including those from other religious traditions as well as proponents of world views the Academy needs to know better in order to widen its horizons,” he said.

Paglia promised that both foundations would “protect and promote” human life and assured “friends” and “enemies” that “our dialogue with others who do not share our understanding of God’s fruitful love and of the nature of the human family and its challenges, does not mean that we are abandoning Catholic orthodoxy.”

But Paglia also made it clear that the pope wants them to widen their horizons.

“We must also make it clear that the Pope wants the Academy, and the Institute, to (1) widen its scope of reflection, not limiting itself to addressing ‘specific situations of ethical, social or legal conflict,’ (2) articulate an anthropology that sets the practical and theoretical premises for ‘conduct consistent with the dignity of the human person,’ and (3) make sure it has the tools to critically examine ‘the theory and practice of science and technology as they interact with life, its meaning and its value,’” he said.

One widening Pope Francis and Paglia envision is a rejection of absolute norms regarding human life and a redefinition of what it means.

“[Francis] warns us that it is risky to look at human life in a way that detaches it from experience and reduces it to biology or to an abstract universal, separated from relationships and history,” Paglia said.

“Rather, the term ‘life’ must be redefined, moving from an abstract conception to a ‘personal’ dimension: life is people, men and women, both in the individuality of each person and in the unity of the human family.”

Notably, Paglia referred only to the “family” of the Blessed Trinity and to the “human family” — i.e the human race — but not once to the kinship groups most commonly known as “families.” He also decried a “schism” between the individual and the human community and warned that technology is “becoming” a threat to human life.

The archbishop briefly mentioned the controversies around the changes that have swept the pro-life institutions originally founded by John Paul II. In October 2016, Pope Francis promulgated new statutes for the academy, which included the dismissal of its life members and the inclusion of new members of dubious orthodoxy. Then, in September 2017, Pope Francis refounded and renamed the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. 

Most recently, the students and faculty of the “John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences” were dismayed to discover that the entire teaching staff had been temporarily suspended, two of its tenured professors dismissed, and advertised courses eliminated.

Paglia’s response was that the “theological basis” of Humana Communitas will inevitably “overcome” concerns. 

“In his letter, the Holy Father attempted to give us such a solid and loving theological basis for the work of the Academy that we will be able to address and overcome the concerns and the hesitancies that have greeted the renewed structure of the Academy (and I might add of its sister entity, the John Paul II Institute as well),” the archbishop said.

Paglia’s address closely resembles a speech he gave earlier this year at Sacred Heart Catholic University in Milan.


UN rights chief: Climate change to ‘generate ... restrictions and harm’ to people’s rights

‘I know that climate change is going to generate, voluntarily or not, restrictions and harm to people’s rights.’
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Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Government of Chile
By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018, has warned humanity against upcoming “harm to Human Rights” and “major conflicts” that will occur in the future due to “climate change.” 

The former liberal Chilean president gave a lengthy interview to, a major news site in her own country, in which she used the “climate scare” in order to promote widespread migration and globalist solutions, suggesting that refusal on the part of sovereign states to follow the United Nations on those counts would lead to disruption and injustice the world over.

The interview marked Bachelet’s first anniversary as figurehead of the UN Human Rights Commission, a position she reached after giving many proofs of her political correctness. she was responsible for the partial lifting of Chile’s total abortion ban during her tenure in 2017 and she has also been a vocal proponent of same-sex “marriage” and “women’s rights.” Daughter of a Pinochet opponent, she chose to study German and medicine in former communist East Germany long before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Back in Chile, she made her political career in the socialist party.

This “communist” option as well as her very positive attitude towards freemasonry define her political thought. Of freemasonry, she has said “it has been a firm defender of the liberty of conscience and the autonomy of thought,” a commendation that underscores freemasons’ refusal of dogma. It is precisely the Gran Logia de Chile, one of the country’s most important and influential masonic lodges, that today is making the rounds of Chilean High Schools to encourage youngsters to join the upcoming UN climate conference in Santiago de Chile, the COP25.

How can “climate change” – the words that have replaced “global warming” since local temperatures have failed to obey the doomsayers’ announcements promising that temperate zones would no longer see snow from 2010 and that summer hot spells would reach unequaled levels – affect Human Rights?

“For me, climate change has been a reality for a long time and in the various jobs I had I’ve not only tried to be an advocate but to take concrete action in order to implement the Paris agreement. I know that climate change is going to generate, voluntarily or not, restrictions and harm to people’s rights. Obviously, it isn’t nature that violates Human Rights, but when people need to displace themselves because of drought, lack of food or fighting for water, powerful conflicts will be generated,” she explained.

Several points arise here. One, is climate change certain, as are its purported consequences? All the doom and gloom predicted by Paul Ehrlich in 1969 – worldwide famine and population-related catastrophes by the 1980s and 1990s never happened. Many prophecies made by the “global warming” UN specialists and their mainstream friends have already proved wrong, as LifeSite recalled as recently as August 21. But they have given rise to policies that include population control and a shift to so-called “renewable,” expensive energy in developed countries that are thus put at a disadvantage towards the “emerging” nations.

The second point is this: need Human Rights be damaged by the consequences of “climate change?” This sounds like another form of a “great scare” made to measure to obtain a form of public approval of a number of unpopular policies that would otherwise be rejected. The fear of conflict here acts as a tool for change.

Third point: What did Bachelet mean by the words “voluntarily or not?” Is she suggesting that “climate change” could be used by governments to “generate, voluntarily or not, restrictions and harm to people’s rights?” Who exactly will make restrictions? Will damage to Human Rights be one of the deliberate consequences of the whole thing?

One thing is quite certain: Bachelet, as an official spokeswoman of the UN, is repeating the obligatory lesson of the day. “Governments need to listen to civil society because in the face of climate change changes of conduct are necessary and this has to do with the situation in the Amazon. Part of the fire problem has to do with a set of practices on the part of human beings that are harmful to such a fantastic region of biodiversity,” she said, repeating after the members of the G7 most developed countries of the world that the indigenous peoples in the protected areas of the Amazon “will be one of the groups that will be most affected by climate change.”

Having accused certain unnamed countries of “decreasing” the space available to their “civil society,” while some “elected” persons “have started to weaken institutions and lessen civil society’s participation” because of “populism, nationalisms and anti-multilateralism,” Bachelet went on to plead mainly for the respect of the UN Marrakech Migration Pact that restricts sovereign states power to manage the migration and refugee problem.

Here it is easy to verify that the required answer to “climate change” and its “Human Rights” issues is, according to Bachelet and the organization she represents, lies in facilitating population movements and considering the problem as a “global” one that requires “global,” that is, supranational solutions.

The signing of the Marrakech Pact by 152 countries last December, Bachelet added, “means that the large majority of countries does understand that this is a global problem that cannot be solved individually, and I believe that the big problem nations have really lies there: believing you can solve problems alone through that are usually restrictive of regressive…”

In a nutshell: to avoid the largest possible amount of Human Rights violations linked to “climate change,” sovereign countries should let the international community lay down the rules for migration and refugee welcoming, because it knows best. And obviously, accepting large numbers of foreigners from different countries and, above all, cultures, leads to restrictions, as many western Europeans have already experienced: the cost of welcoming the newcomers and the security problems that have been seen to accompany the sudden arrival of masses of non-European people – mostly alone-standing young men.

Bachelet’s comments about the changes that will or should be wrought by the fight against “climate change” and its human consequences recall a number of statements by Ottmar Edenhofer of the IPPC (International Panel on Climate Change) in 2010, which LifeSite already quoted here last October.

He was quoted by the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung as saying: “We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate politics.” Was he indicating that the fight against climate change’s true objective is to “redistribute” (in a very socialist sense) the “world’s wealth?”

Not quite so clearly. His full quote (as translated to English by blogger Victor Venema on is more nuanced:

“Fundamentally, it is a big mistake to discuss climate politics separately from the big issues of globalization. The climate summit in Cancún at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. Why? Because we have 11,000 gigatons of carbon in the coal reserves under our feet – and we can only add 400 gigatons more to the atmosphere if we want to stay within the 2 °C target. 11,000 to 400 – we have to face the fact that a large part of the fossil reserves must remain in the ground.

“De facto, this is the expropriation of the countries with these natural resources. This leads to an entirely different development than the one that has been initiated with development policy.

“First of all, we as industrialized countries have quasi expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must explicitly say: We de facto redistribute the world’s wealth due to climate politics. That the owners of coal and oil are not enthusiastic about this is obvious. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate politics is environmental politics. This has almost nothing to do any more with environmental politics, [as is was with] with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.”

He appears to have meant that fighting against “climate change” cannot do otherwise than have economical implications and end up by redistributing wealth to the detriment of those nations who have profited by fossil fuels and industrialization at the expense of the developing nations – as the most consequent and candid “climate change” fighters have been saying for quite some time.

The question remains: Is “climate change” real? What is the value of the innumerable scares that continue to accompany talk about “climate change,” and of which a staggering majority have indeed never come true? And if the “climate change” story is untrue, or unduly attributed to humankind (together with the idea that a change of conduct could influence the climate for better), then is it not reasonable to assume that the real, deliberately unstated, main objective is to forcibly or otherwise “redistribute the world’s wealth?”


Bishop Strickland: Rector of DC shrine should be on leave as he’s investigated

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Bishop Joseph Strickland
Lisa Bourne By Lisa Bourne

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By Lisa Bourne

September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – It is contrary to canon law for the Pennsylvania priest who leads Washington, D.C.’s national Marian shrine to remain in active ministry while under investigation for sexual misconduct, Tyler, Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland has said.

Monsignor Walter Rossi is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct toward Catholic University of America (CUA) students and aided a former priest caught in a police sexting sting attempting to harass young men.

Rossi, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception adjacent the CUA campus in Washington D.C., is currently under investigation by both the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Scranton, PA, where he is incardinated.

But he remains in ministry at the Basilica, one of the most prominent Catholic churches in the United States.

“This is contrary to canon law,” Bishop Joseph Strickland tweeted Wednesday, “a canonical Preliminary Investigation is called for and Msgr Rossi should be on administrative leave.” 

The bishop made his remark sharing a tweet from Church Militant Sr. Executive Producer Michael Voris, who’d also questioned why Rossi had not been removed from ministry while under investigation for misconduct.

Rossi, who has worked for the Shrine in different roles since 1997, according to his bio on the Shrine website, has been the rector of the Basilica since ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick appointed him to that role in 2005

He is a priest of the Diocese of Scranton, putting him under the authority of Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera. However, Washington, D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory possesses the authority to determine which priests are given faculties in his archdiocese – where Rossi serves and the alleged misconduct is said to have occurred.

The Archdiocese of Washington did not respond to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews on Strickland’s comment.

Bishop Strickland expressed concern to LifeSiteNews that some interpreted his words as passing judgment prematurely, and said his intention was to emphasize that following canon law benefits all parties involved.  

“No legal system is perfect,” Strickland said, “but I believe there are a lot of tools in canon law that could be used more effectively for the sake of each individual and the wider community of the Church.”

Learn more about Bishop Strickland’s views and past actions by visiting Click here.

Strickland said that just as with civil law, there is a presumption of innocence prior to any proof of guilt in canon law, though it is difficult today to maintain that balance with the tendency to presume guilt just because the priest is put on leave.  

However, he told LifeSiteNews, “The point I see is that canon law has a clear process which can be utilized in this type of situation and it is designed to respect the rights of all involved.”  

A Preliminary Investigation is an administrative action meant to give the diocesan bishop a sense of the probability that an offense did or did not occur, and is focused on facts, circumstances, and the responsibility the parties in question have before the law for a given action. 

Journalist George Neumayr has reported on Rossi for about a year, and a lay-established petition urges CUA President John Garvey to investigate the charges and for Rossi to step down from the CUA Board of Trustees while the investigation is pending.

Former U.S. apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò had said in a June 2019 interview that during his time as papal nuncio he’d received complaints that Rossi had engaged in homosexual harassment and predation of male students at CUA.

Viganò said, “The Vatican, in particular Cardinal [Pietro] Parolin, is well aware of the situation of Msgr. Rossi, as is Cardinal [Donald] Wuerl.”

Viganò’s June comments follow a series of statements beginning last August from the former Vatican envoy to the U.S. implicating various prelates at the highest levels of the Church in knowing about the serial sexual predation of Theodore McCarrick and homosexual power networks in the Church protecting him and others like him.

When McCarrick appointed Rossi as rector of the Basilica in 2005, Rossi was replacing now-Bishop Michael Bransfield, who left the Basilica to become bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, WV.

Earlier this year, accusations that Bransfield was a serial sexual harasser of young men were judged “credible.” 

The investigation also revealed that Bransfield had spent millions of Church dollars funding an extravagant lifestyle for himself.

The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Scranton launched a “comprehensive investigation” into Rossi, announced in mid-August.

The Scranton diocese said in a statement that, “Approximately one year ago, concerns were raised in the public sector regarding Monsignor Walter Rossi.”

The diocese had referred those initial concerns to the Archdiocese of Washington, the statement said, which had investigated “certain specific allegations and determined them to be unfounded.” 

“Additional concerns have now surfaced, however,” the statement continued, “requiring a broadened investigation.”

At an August 13 Archdiocese of Washington Theology on Tap event, a participant had asked Archbishop Gregory about misconduct allegations against Rossi and why they hadn’t been investigated.

Gregory replied that as far as he knew, no one who had come forward and identified him or herself as a victim.

Responding to a follow-up question on allegations Rossi had aided Matthew Reidlinger, a former priest of the Diocese of Trenton, NJ, alleged in 2013 to have sexually harassed male CUA students, Gregory said he was unfamiliar with the allegations but welcomed a forensic investigation.

When the questioner pressed the archbishop on why Rossi remains in active ministry at the D.C. Shrine, Gregory replied the investigation has to come from Rossi’s bishop.

“He’s a priest of Scranton,” Gregory said. “The investigation has to begin with his bishop. That’s just how things are done.”

The following day the announcement was made that “a full forensic investigation” undertaken “jointly and cooperatively” by the Diocese of Scranton and the Archdiocese of Washington was underway.

Gregory, installed in May as Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s successor at the helm of the Washington see, had pledged transparency in the sex abuse crisis during the homily of his installation Mass.

A Vatican summit on sexual abuse called by Francis this past February focused on abuse of minors while failing to address sexual abuse suffered by seminarians and other vulnerable adults, and also did not address the issue of active homosexuality in the clergy.

To respectfully express concerns regarding Msgr. Rossi remaining in active ministry while an investigation is ongoing into misconduct allegations against him:

Archbishop Wilton Gregory
Archdiocese of Washington
5001 Eastern Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20782
PO Box 29260
Washington, DC 20017-0260
[email protected]

Bishop Joseph Bambera
Diocese of Scranton
300 Wyoming Avenue
Scranton, PA 18503-1279
(570) 207-2216          
[email protected]


Parents, media attack priest who removed Harry Potter from school library on exorcists’ advice

'The decision was within his authority as the Pastor of the parish in which the school is located,' said a layman who works for an exorcist order, calling the decision 'prudent.'
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Harry Potter books
Claire Chretien By Claire Chretien

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By Claire Chretien

NASHVILLE, Tennessee, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic parochial school has drawn international media attention after its pastor removed the Harry Potter series from its library, citing the concerns of several exorcists.

The Washington Post, The Guardian, Business Insider, and Newsweek all published articles on an email Father Dan Reehil wrote to faculty at St. Edward Catholic School providing them with his detailed reasons for removing the books. The Telegraph produced an article about the history of “Harry Potter-inspired ‘satanic panic.’”

The Washington Post breathlessly reported on the concerns expressed by “parents” in “an anonymous letter,” which “suggested that the decision raised larger questions about the priest’s ‘fringe’ views and his ability to ‘critically assess and discern fact from fiction,’ and complained that the decision had been made unilaterally without input from parents or other school administrators.”

However, the reasons Fr. Reehil gave for removing the books are some of the same reasons Pope Benedict XVI and various exorcists, including the late chief Vatican exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, have cautioned against the series. 

“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception,” wrote Fr. Reehil. “The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells, which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.”

“The books also use nefarious means to attain the goals of the characters, including the ‘good’ characters,” he continued. “From a moral perspective, this is a problem, especially in the formation of young Catholic children.” 

The priest went on to explain that Catholic moral theology teaches the ends do not justify the means.

“The Harry Potter books do not follow this premise; rather they promote a Machiavellian approach to achieving the ends they desire with whatever means are necessary,” wrote Fr. Reehil. “The books also glorify acts of divination; of conjuring the dead, of casting spells among other acts that are an offense to the virtue of religion – to the love and respect we owe to God alone. Many reading these books could be persuaded to believe these acts are perfectly fine, even good or spiritually healthy.”

He then went on to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. (CCC 2116)

All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity. (CCC 2117)

“St. Edward is committed to advancing the Catholic faith and teaching the standards of sound doctrine to instill strong Catholic moral values,” the priest concluded. “Books or other materials which present a possible threat to our faith will not be promoted by our church or school.”

“The chief priority of our Catholic system is education in the Catholic faith and the faith development of our students,” the St. Edward website says. “A major focus of our school system is the moral development and guidance of all our students in accordance with Christ’s teachings.”

Part of the school library’s mission is to “Encourage students to embrace and model the gospel of Jesus Christ by providing materials that support the values and mission of the Catholic Church,” its website says.

“As a parent of (five) children, high school age down to (nine) months, I fully support Father Dan's guidance and authority in guarding our youth against things he believes could have a potential for harm. Also in paying for private, Catholic education we personally do not have any issue with limiting exposure to secular books and entertainment through the school,” Beth Robinson, a mother and spiritual directee of Reehil’s, told LifeSiteNews via email. “Ultimately as parents and as primary teachers for our children, if we decide to let them watch Harry Potter then that can be on our our time.” 

Fr. Reehil’s “love for the Church, (r)eligious life, and families is clear in everything he does,” said Robinson. “I appreciate his straightforward personality and his boldness in pushing back against the lies of today's culture, even if it makes him unpopular as a person. As a Shepherd, he cares more about getting his flock to Heaven and saving the lost than appeasing the masses ... I have the utmost respect for him as a person and priest.”

“The decision was within his authority as the Pastor of the parish in which the school is located,” commented Kyle Clement, SMD. Clement is the Case Facilitator/Administrator for Father Chad Ripperger, Superior of the Societas Matris Dolorisissimae, an order of contemplative, exorcist priests who provide consultation, evaluation, and oversight to bishops and their exorcists internationally. 

Clement screens and manages over 750 cases of suspected extraordinary diabolical activity each year.

“The decision is prudent as one of the primary obligations of a Priest to the souls placed under his authority is the task of determining ‘clean from unclean,’” Clement told LifeSiteNews via email. “This determination is directly related to things to be ‘consumed’ by those individuals and is not limited to education. The subject material is not consistent with the (tenets) of the Catholic faith.”

Commenting on the emotional response that questioning Harry Potter often elicits from Catholics, Clement observed, “Inordinate response to an authoritative statement or directive is often an indication that the person in opposition to the authority has an inordinate attachment to the thing or activity prohibited.”

“From what I have seen, the attacks against the Catholic Church, Father Dan(,) and St. Edward's school have been not just unfair, but callous and cruel in nature,” said Robinson. Fr. Reehil “is well within his authority to remove books and entertainment from the school he is helping guide, whether others agree or not. A difference in opinion is (OK) when expressed thoughtfully and opens a dialogue for understanding and mutual conversation. However, nasty personal attacks do nothing but reduce the opportunity for understanding and tend to cause unnecessary division.”

Catholic author, essayist, and artist Michael O’Brien told LifeSiteNews he sees Fr. Reehil’s actions as “a very good step forward.”

O’Brien, who wrote Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture, said there is a “growing awareness” among priests, exorcists, and even some educators that “it’s not enough to just get students and young people in general reading.”

“The crucial question is, what are they reading?” he continued. “Because the young are in a state of formation. They’re not reading Harry Potter the way an academic would.”

Why do some Catholic leaders oppose Harry Potter

Critics of the popular series say it negatively predisposes readers to a propensity for the occult.

As then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI expressed concern about the “subtle seductions” of the series. Fr. Amorth said in 2002, “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil.”

The exorcist repeated the condemnation in 2006, saying, “You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil. There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books.”

One of the main complaints critics like Fr. Amorth have against Harry Potter is that it portrays some “magic” as “good,” whereas the Church teaches any form of magic or sorcery is evil.

“Embedded” in the Harry Potter books are “layers and layers of subliminal messages that can influence the young in the direction of involvement in occultism,” said O’Brien. “Not all those who read the books will do so – they may read it superficially for fun … but the messages are being implanted nonetheless.”

Former astrologist Marcia Montenegro, who was involved in the occult before becoming a Christian, has said that although the Harry Potter books contain “fantasy and good story-telling ... the stories are infused with references to actual occult practices.”

This was one of Fr. Reehil’s concerns about keeping the books in his parochial school’s library.

According to Montenegro, the books do contain real “magic” used by those involved in the occult: “These books gave information on actual occult concepts and practices, and, in some cases, directions on how to perform spells.”

“Practices of magic by man are absolutely forbidden because they open the interior life to some degree to the influences, the promptings of demonic spirits,” said O’Brien. “Magic is about power. This is about power. Magic is about power – powers – that do not rightly belong to man. They are not good for us. Harkening back to Tolkien, especially in Lord of the Rings – and also in Lewis, you see that the corruption of Narnia and the corruption of Middle Earth in Tolkien begin with man seizing powers that do not belong rightly to him, especially in Narnia.”

“There is magic in Tolkien, but it’s mentioned that Gandalf is called a ‘wizard’ by the ignorant,” said O’Brien. “He is in fact an angel. He’s an angel with a little more incarnate dimension. If you read Lord of the Rings carefully, you will see that magic or the supernatural powers always corrupt man. Gandalf exercises his angelic powers sparingly, only in extreme situations. He does not give these powers to the hobbits or to man or anyone else. He is a moral guardian.”

In Lord of the Rings, said O’Brien, what is called magic by the ignorant is in fact a visible manifestation of divine assistance through angelic help, whereas in Harry Potter, magic is a power that is inherently a right or a property of man and just has to be awakened.

Another of O’Brien’s critiques of Harry Potter is that it’s morally relativistic and “you will find that every Christian virtue is reversed eventually” in a “subtle” way. O’Brien said that although the titular character is noted for his courage, he also lies and cheats throughout the series and that retribution is a recurring theme in the books.

“It would be nearly impossible for us to find … any work of literature or writing that is entirely without some good in it,” said O’Brien.

“Culture is not hermetically sealed component of our lives,” he concluded. “Culture is a powerful influencer of our subconscious attitudes (and) our consciousness.” Consciousness “strongly influences our conscience,” which in turn will affect our choices, he said.


Judges refuse to let prosecutors give a pass to Antifa members busted at Straight Pride march

A DA claimed the protesters were just 'exercising their right to free speech,' but police said they were pelted with urine, chemicals and rocks.
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BOSTON, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Saturday saw the much-maligned Boston Straight Pride Parade descend on left-wing Massachusetts, leading to a clash between marchers and far-left counter-protestors and dozens of arrests.

In June, an organization called Super Happy Fun America (SHFA) announced plans for a Boston Straight Pride Parade in August to “achieve inclusivity and spread awareness of issues impacting straights in Greater Boston and beyond.” The website’s semi-facetious tone and organizer Mark Sahady’s history of tweaking liberal sensibilities suggested the event was meant to lampoon the widely-accepted premise of “gay pride.”

The event drew various protestors, including members of the violent, far-left Antifa movement.

The Washington Times reported that the parade itself had just 200 participants compared with more than a thousand counter-protestors, culminating in 36 arrests for charges ranging from disorderly conduct to assaulting police officers. The Boston Herald quoted Antifa member Jon Crowley as both admitting and attempting to justify violent intent: “We’re covered in black so when we attack these guys we can’t be prosecuted. They are fascists, 100 percent. How else are you going to get them to shut up?”

Notably, prosecutors themselves attempted to have charges against 18 of the suspects dismissed, but two Boston municipal court judges refused to let the left-wing activists off.

Judge Richard Sinnott rejected prosecutors’ motion to drop low-level charges against several defendants in exchange for community service, and Judge Thomas Horgan warned three activists who had come from outside the city to “stay out of Boston.” 

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins complained that the defendants Sinnott refused to let off were being punished for nothing more than “exercising their right to free speech.” But Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association vice president Larry Calderone defended the outcome.

“A lot of the assaults that happened during the day, you only knew of a few of them,”he said. “Many officers were assaulted throughout the day with bottles of urine being thrown at them, bottles of chemicals, bottles of unidentified material, rocks.”

“Why is it that other people can have a pride parade and it’s considered OK, and they have about 2,000 LGBTQ events every year, but we want a few hours and they all get out and protest and give us the finger and swear at us?” SHFA’s John Hugo asked the Herald. “Give me a break.”

Meanwhile, left-wing Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, endorsed a fundraiser to help pay the legal defenses of the arrested counter-protestors. Ocasio-Cortez called the straight pride march a “white supremacist parade” and claimed the counter-protestors, which included violent Antifa members, were simply people who “put themselves on the line protecting the Boston community.”


Sanders declares funding abortions abroad part of his plan to address climate change

The Democrat presidential candidate called the Mexico City agreement 'totally absurd.'
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NEW YORK CITY, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Democrat presidential candidate and avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont endorsed taxpayer funding of abortions around the world as part of his environmental plan in response to a question at CNN’s seven-hour climate town hall Wednesday night.

"Human population growth has more than doubled in the past 50 years. The planet cannot sustain this growth," an audience member claimed. "I realize this is a poisonous topic for politicians, but it’s crucial to face. Empowering women and educating everyone on the need to curb population growth seems a reasonable campaign to enact. Would you be courageous enough to discuss this issue and make it a key feature of a plan to address climate catastrophe?"

"The answer is yes, and the answer has everything to do with the fact that women, in the United States of America, by the way, have a right to control their own bodies and make reproductive decisions," the Vermont lawmaker answered. "And the Mexico City agreement, which denies American aid to those organizations around the world that allow women to have abortions or even get involved in birth control, to me is totally absurd. 

“So I think especially in poor countries around the world, where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to the number of kids they have, something I very, very strongly support," he declared.

An absolutist pro-abortion stance is nothing new for Sanders, whose uncompromising abortion platform includes judges that would not only uphold but expand Roe v. Wade, directing the U.S. Department of Justice to “go after those states” that restrict abortion “in every way that I legally can,” support for federal abortion funding, voting against medical care for newborns who survive abortions, and refusing to answer whether abortion is ever wrong.

Restoring foreign aid to organizations that commit and promote abortion is also a standard Democrat position, but major candidates and officeholders tend to avoid acknowledging any connection between their abortion advocacy and population control or climate change.

“Bernie Sanders’ repugnant ‘solution’ to climate change – eliminating the children of poorer nations through abortion, paid for by American tax dollars – should be condemned across the political spectrum,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser responded. “This takes Democratic abortion extremism to a new low. Every Democratic candidate for president should immediately be asked where they stand on eugenic population control, especially frontrunner Joe Biden in light of his past comments condoning the Chinese government’s oppressive One-Child policy.”

While the CNN town hall was predicated on the idea that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) — the view that human activity rather than natural phenomena is primarily responsible for Earth’s changing climate — is an established phenomenon and the only question is how to respond, conservatives have long disputed both the underlying scientific claims as well as the idea that population control would be an effective response (let alone an ethical one).

AGW proponents suffered a blow in 2010 with the discovery that their leading researchers had engaged in widespread data manipulation, flawed climate models, misrepresentation of sources, and suppression of dissenting findings. Activists claim there is a “97 percent scientific consensus” in favor of AGW, but that number distorts an overview of 11,944 papers from peer-reviewed journals, 66.4 percent of which expressed no opinion on the question; in fact, many of the authors identified with the AGW “consensus” later spoke out to say their positions had been misrepresented.

In March, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore called AGW alarmism a “complete hoax and scam,” a “kind of toxic combination of religion and political ideology” that is “as bad a thing that has happened to science in the history of science.”

As for population control, overpopulation skeptics point out that multiple predictions throughout history that population growth would cause mass starvation have failed to come true. Even the Chinese government, which for decades practiced forced abortion and sterilization, now fears its current birth rates are too low to sustain its economy and support its retirees.

Finally, critics have questioned the sincerity of Sanders’ rhetoric about climate change, noting that he doesn’t appear to lead by example in his own life. He owns three homes, and last year his campaign spent almost $300,000 for a single month of private air travel (the campaign said it compensated by buying almost $5,000 in carbon offsets, essentially pledges that others will supposedly reduce emissions by an equivalent amount).


Twitter temporarily blocks Daleiden’s team from live-tweeting undercover-video hearing

Twitter briefly suspended Center for Medical Progress' Twitter access after Planned Parenthood lawyers made false reports about the tweets.
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PETITION: Support pro-lifers who exposed Planned Parenthood's sale of baby body parts Sign the petition here.

SAN FRANCISCO, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As the preliminary hearing for charges against pro-life investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt continues, Twitter temporarily barred the pro-life Center for Medical Progress (CMP) from live-tweeting the proceedings – based on a misrepresentation of the tweets from Planned Parenthood’s attorneys, CMP claims.

Watch this special report where LifeSite Managing Editor Patrick Craine speaks with reporter Lianne Laurence who is on the ground in San Francisco covering the criminal case against pro-life investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.

CMP has been locked in legal battles with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation (NAF) since the summer of 2015, when their undercover videos revealed abortion industry insiders expressing interest in profiting off organs from aborted babies, which is illegal. The abortion groups accuse the pro-life investigators of breaking California privacy laws, and obtained a gag order against the release of additional videos.

Last month, District Judge Orrick let stand Planned Parenthood’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations' (RICO) claims against CMP,  concluding that whether Sandra Merritt and other CMP journalists should be punished for “trespassing” at a Texas abortion facility was for a jury to decide.

While the pro-life investigators disputed the legal merits of Orrick’s ruling, Daleiden welcomed the opportunity to force abortionists and other industry figures to take the stand and answer questions about CMP’s revelations, under penalty of perjury.

The RICO trial is set to begin October 2, but preliminary hearings began this week, which offered the public its first opportunity to one of the CMP videos that had been previously suppressed. The video still cannot be released online, but LifeSite’s coverage of the hearing reveals that the abortionist featured in it, identified only as Doe 3, “admitted to knowing about babies born alive,” according to defense attorney Brentford Ferreira.

CMP also live-tweeted various revelations from the proceedings, as well as summarized them on their website:

On Wednesday, Twitter notified CMP that it was placing a 12-hour suspension on the account over “Tweets that violate our rules.” CMP says the move was based on “Planned Parenthood lawyers falsely describ[ing] CMP’s tweets reporting on the public hearing as ‘live streaming’ the hearing.” Daleiden added that the judge had specifically allowed CMP to live-tweet the hearing:

In addition to revealing Planned Parenthood’s fetal-parts harvesting, the CMP videos show abortion insiders referencing multiple illegal practices, such as performing federally-prohibited partial-birth abortions, and altering abortion procedures in order to procure intact organs. They also show personnel discussing their practice with callous and shocking language, including admissions that their business is “killing,” complaints about how “difficult” it is to tear fetuses apart, and references to “heads that get stuck that we can’t get out.”

Preliminary hearings in the case are ongoing; LifeSiteNews will continue to follow the story for further developments.


Pope Francis calls it ‘an honor’ to have Americans ‘attack’ him

'I think it’s an honor that Americans attack me.'
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Pope Francis being interviewed by Televisa journalist Valentina Alazraki, May 28, 2019. Vatican News - Español / Youtube screen grab
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ABOARD PAPAL PLANE, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Pope Francis told a French author that he felt it an honor to be attacked by Americans. 

According to Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register and several other reporters, the Argentinian pontiff made the remark soon after the papal plane took off from the runway September 4 en route to Mozambique.  

Francis had just been given a copy of a book called Comment l’Amerique veut changer de pape, (How America Wants to Change the Pope) by its author, Nicholas Seneze of the French Catholic La Croix magazine. Francis had allegedly recognized the book’s cover from a review titled “A plot from the USA to make the Pope resign” in an Italian newspaper. 

“He reads Il Messaggero every day so when he saw the cover of the copy I was holding, he instantly recognized it,” Seneze told Pentin, who was also on the plane.  

“When I explained the picture to the Pope, he said: ‘Per me è un onore che mi attaccano gli americani (I think it’s an honor that Americans attack me).’”

Ines San Martin of Crux added that when Pope Francis handed the gift to an aide he joked, “This is a bomb.”

Pope Francis’ press secretary Matteo Bruni confirmed that the pontiff had indeed made the remark about Americans but did his best to interpret them in a positive way. 

“In an informal context, the Pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honor, particularly when they come from authoritative thinkers and, in this case, an important nation,” Bruni said. 

But Seneze denies that he really believes in an American plot to make the Pope resign. His thesis is that in the wake of the American clerical sex abuse and episcopal cover-up scandal, rich American Catholics have stepped into the leadership void. They believe Francis has been an inadequate pope, and should step down. 

“I believe these people see themselves as invested in the Church and they feel they are not getting a return on their investment,” Seneze said. 

According to Crux’s San Martin, the book alleges that some of these wealthy Americans are connected to such media organizations as EWTN and the Canadian-founded LifeSiteNews.

Reactions from American Catholics

Church Militant’s Christine Niles told LifeSiteNews that she couldn’t understand why Pope Francis would “exult” in American criticism. 

"As an American — Vietnam-born with dual French citizenship — it's unclear why Pope Francis would exult in criticism from Americans, and his remark only reinforces the widely held belief that the Pontiff holds Americans in disdain,” she said.  

“The basis of his comments is a book that falsely portrays 'right-wing' Americans as his enemies based on theological and political differences, when in fact our loudest critique is based on his failure to adequately address the sex abuse crisis in the Church, which is neither a 'Right' or a 'Left' issue."

John Zmirak, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, believes that Pope Francis holds an antipathy towards Americans that is not unusual in the pontiff’s native country. 

“For a certain kind of Argentine, far-left or far-right, the United States is always the enemy,” he told LifeSiteNews.  

“Why? Bitterness, envy. The two nations were equally prosperous circa 1900. They had similar populations, and comparable natural resources. Each had a fierce national pride. But the Argentines followed demagogues with economic views much like Pope Francis and squandered all those advantages, turning their nation into a bankrupt backwater,” he continued. 

“Meanwhile, the U.S. prospered. How easy it is to blame not your own countrymen’s decisions, but the machinations of the powerful, wicked Yanquis, who for their part don’t even remember your nation exists. I think this bitter Argentine chauvinism is the secret ingredient needed to make Pope Francis Sauce.”

Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute told LifeSiteNews that Pope Francis is not the first to suggest attracting criticism is honorable. 

“Anyone can wear criticism as a badge of honor,” he said. 

“Martin Luther wore condemnations and criticisms of his work as an honor, but all it [did was] establish his disdain for the Truth.” 

“If Pope Francis truly feels honored to be criticized for perverting the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, Holy Communion, Marriage, and the doctrine of Hell, then he is only revealing his true entrenchment into ideological falsehoods,” Hichborn continued.  

"A humble man takes criticism and embraces the truth in it while kindly refuting the falsehood. A proud man, however, boasts of the prestige of his critics.”

Phil Lawler, founder of Catholic World News, was unconvinced, however, that the Pope welcomes criticism. 

“...Despite his claims and those of his spokesman, there’s precious little evidence that Pope Francis is ‘honored’ by criticism,” Lawler said in his Catholic Culture blog.

“Ask Cardinals Burke and Müller. Ask the other authors of the dubia. Ask the priests who were summarily dismissed from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for voicing concerns about the Pope’s thinking. Ask the ousted faculty members of the John Paul II Institute,” he continued. 

“One honors criticism by responding to it. The track record suggests that Pope Francis prefers to suppress it.”


Pope Francis raises concerns with surprise appointment of 13 new cardinals

One new cardinal has openly endorsed 'Europe’s most radical nun,' and another endorsed Fr. James Martin's pro-LGBT book.
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ROME, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) —In an unexpected move, Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including a Spanish archbishop tasked with implementing the controversial Abu Dhabi document, a Portuguese prelate who has openly endorsed “Europe’s most radical nun,” and an Italian bishop who has been praised by Fr. James Martin for his support of “LGBT” Catholics.

The new cardinals, 10 of whom will be eligible to vote in a future conclave, will receive their red hats during an Ordinary Consistory (a formal meeting of the College of Cardinals called by the Pope) on Oct. 5, the eve of the Oct. 6-27 Synod on the Amazon. 

Three controversial cardinal electors

While some observers view Pope Francis’s picks as consistent with his desire to go out to the peripheries and lift up the developing world, others see the new group as the “most liberal group ever assembled.”

Pope Francis’s list of new cardinals includes Archbishop Matteo Zuppi. In 2015, Pope Francis appointed Zuppi to succeed Cardinal Carlo Caffarra as archbishop of Bologna. According to veteran Italian vaticanist, Aldo Maria Valli, Archbishop Zuppi is “very popular in the Vatican.” He has close ties to the Sant’Egidio community, having served as a parish priest at Rome’s Santa Maria in Trastevere parish from 1981-2010, and then as ecclesiastical general to the community. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him an auxiliary bishop of Rome. 

In a full-length profile piece on the new cardinals, Vatican reporter Edward Pentin noted that he is “known as a ‘priest of the streets’ for his outreach to the elderly, immigrants, gypsies and drug addicts” and has also “participated in Sant’Egidio peace initiatives in Africa, in particular its mediations to liberate kidnapped missionaries and its successfully brokered peace deal in Mozambique and Burundi, working with Nelson Mandela.” 

Valli adds that he is also a “champion for receiving migrants,” which has been a top priority of Pope Francis. During the Pope’s visit to Bologna two years ago, Archbishop Zuppi transformed a local basilica “into a large restaurant” where he hosted a lunch for the Pope with the city’s poor. The political left in Italy rejoiced at the news that Archbishop Zuppi would be given the red hat, crying out: “We have a cardinal!”

Yet Archbishop Zuppi has drawn the most controversy for having written the preface to the Italian edition of Jesuit Father James Martin’s book, Building a Bridge, which, according to America Magazine, endorses a “new pastoral attitude toward LGBT Catholics.”  Following the Pope’s announcement on Sunday, Fr. Martin took to Twitter, tweeting out: 

However, according to Pentin, Archbishop Zuppi’s supporters “told the [National Catholic Register] that his position is more nuanced than Father Martin has made it out to be … and that while the archbishop calls for a more sensitive pastoral approach in his foreword, he reasserts the Church’s teaching on the issue and calls faithfully Catholic outreach groups such as Courage ‘instructive.’”

The Italian traditionalist blog “Messa in Latina” also noted in Archbishop Zuppi’s defense that he “has always, when asked, celebrated the Tridentine Mass.” 

The pope also appointed Archbishop José Tolentino de Mendonça, the archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church since June 2018. According to Pentin, the Portuguese prelate has had “a meteoric rise.” He was “virtually unknown outside Portugal until the Pope chose him to preach at his Lenten retreat last year,” Pentin writes. The 74-year-old archbishop, who holds a doctorate in biblical theology, was appointed a consultor of the Pontifical Council of Culture and soon after elevated to archbishop. 

Yet Archbishop Tolentino de Mendonça is also a highly controversial figure, having written the introduction to a book on feminist theology by Benedictine Sister Maria Teresa Forcades. Labelled as “Europe’s most radical nun” by the BBC, Sister Forcades is known for promoting “queer theology” and supporting abortion and the morning-after pill. She also advocates women’s ordination. Stridently anti-capitalist, she was dubbed by The Guardian as “one of the most outspoken ... leaders of southern Europe’s left.” In 2015 Forcades received permission from her superior and the Holy See to leave behind her habit in order to enter the political realm and lead the Procés Constituent movement.

In his introduction to her book, then-Father Tolentino de Mendonça stressed that the apostolate of Forcades must be taken as a model to “free” Christianity from the dogmatic ties of the past and present. The merit of Sister Forcades, stressed Tolentino de Mendonça, is “having highlighted the importance of a morality of relationships which is free from rigid and codified rules.”

Another appointment is 67-year-old Sevillian Archbishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, a Comboni missionary who has served as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue since May 2019. Appointed to the dicastery by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, Archbishop Ayuso Guixot speaks several languages, including Arabic. 

Before his appointment as head of the pontifical council, Archbishop Guixot served as president of the Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies in Rome. In this role, he was in charge of overseeing the dialogue between the Vatican and the prestigious Al-Azhar mosque and university in Egypt, considered the Vatican of the Sunni Islamic world. Archbishop Ayuso played a key role in drawing up the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” co-signed in early February by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar, in Abu Dhabi.

The document has drawn considerable controversy for stating that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.” Despite Bishop Athanasius Schneider's appeal to Pope Francis to officially correct the text, last week, the Vatican announced that a “Higher Committee” had been established in the United Arab Emirates to implement the uncorrected document. Members of the seven-member (Catholic and Muslim) commission include Pope Francis’s personal secretary, Fr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, and Archbishop Ayuso Giuxot.

A full list of 13 new cardinals appointed by Pope Francis on Sunday may be viewed here. The Pope made the announcement at the Sunday Angelus, after being stuck in an elevator for 25 minutes due to a power failure, until the Vatican fire department rescued him.

Raising the number of cardinal electors

Pope Francis’ new appointments will raise the number of cardinal electors to 128, eight more than the maximum number set by Pope Paul VI in 1975. Pope John Paul II also exceeded the 120 limit on occasion, Pentin noted. He also pointed out that the new number “is to swiftly decline in the coming months.” 

“Three electors — Congo Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Italian Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli and Indian Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo — are soon to lose their eligibility to vote, as they turn 80 later in October, with others exceeding the voting age next year,” he said on Monday.   

After the creation of the new cardinals at the Oct. 5 consistory, the College of Cardinals will include 67 electors (i.e. those who can vote at the next conclave) created by Pope Francis, 42 chosen by Pope Benedict XVI, and 19 appointed by Pope John Paul II. With his sixth consistory, Pope Francis will therefore have appointed over 50% of the cardinal electors.

On Sunday, Pope Francis said that the national origin of the new cardinals “expresses the missionary vocation of the Church, which continues to proclaim God’s merciful love to all people on earth.”

Although their addition will further internationalize the College of Cardinals, Pentin further noted that “with the exception of Bologna, Francis continues to overlook other episcopal sees historically headed by a red hat — in Italy, most notably the Patriarchate of Venice, Palermo and Turin; and in the United States, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.” 


Former Planned Parenthood medical director caught in contradiction at undercover video hearing

'Doe 9' previously said she didn't care if undercover video footage of her was released publicly, but now says she does.
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SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A former senior director of medical services of Planned Parenthood Federation of America was caught in a contradiction while testifying at the criminal preliminary hearing of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt Wednesday.

The pro-life investigators from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) are charged with 14 felony counts under Penal Code section 632 of “intentionally and without the consent of all parties” recording “confidential” communications, and another count of conspiracy to violate section 632, in connection with undercover videos they released in 2015.

Watch this special report where LifeSite Managing Editor Patrick Craine speaks with reporter Lianne Laurence who is on the ground in San Francisco covering the criminal case against pro-life investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.

The result of CMP’s three-year investigation, the videos exposed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in selling baby body parts and spurred a Congressional investigation and calls for the abortion giant to be stripped of its federal tax dollars.

These videos included one of “Doe 9” discussing her participation in the fetal tissue market during a lunch with Daleiden and Merritt.

Doe 9 said Planned Parenthood abortionists use ultrasound guidance to dismember babies in utero to leave marketable body parts intact, and infamously elaborated: “I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

She also seemed to describe herself and others performing the illegal partial-birth abortion method.

“Some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex [head first],” she says in the video. “So, if you do it starting from the breech presentation [feet first]...often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium [the head] at the end.”

Doe 9’s identity cannot be revealed because presiding judge Christopher Hite of the San Francisco Superior Court ruled the names will be sealed during the prosecution.

CMP’s legal team of Peter Breen from the Thomas More Society, Horatio Mihet of Liberty Counsel, Brentford Ferreira, and Nic Cocis are arguing the law states conversations are not confidential when there is a reasonable expectation they will be overheard. 

They also are arguing that undercover taping is allowed when those doing so have a reasonable belief they are collecting evidence relating to a violent crime.

Doe 9 told the court she was “shocked” by the video because her two-hour lunch with Daleiden and Merritt, who were posing as buyers from a fetal tissue procurement company, was “edited to make it seem I was saying things I was not.”

Deputy Attorney General Johnette Jauron began asking Doe 9 about repercussions she suffered from the video’s publication, but defense lawyer Mihet repeatedly objected this was irrelevant.

When Hite agreed Jauron had to show probable cause for her line of questioning, she dropped it. 

This reveals the prosecution’s case is “not just without merit, but downright frivolous,” Mihet told LifeSiteNews later.

“What the attorney general was trying to do was to introduce supposed evidence of threats and harassments that some of these supposed victims received after the videos came out,” he said.

Those claims have “no place whatsoever in these proceedings,” which are “about whether or not the conversations that took place in public places were legally or illegally recorded by the defendants,” Mihet said.

He asked Doe 9 if she cared whether the videos surreptitiously recorded by Daleiden and Merritt were released publicly.

“Of course I care,” she said.

Mihet then pointed out Doe 9 said otherwise in her deposition under oath in the Planned Parenthood civil suit against Daleiden and Merritt and other pro-life organizations.

“I haven’t done anything wrong in any of the videos,” Doe 9 said then. “It doesn’t matter to me if any of them are released publicly.”

“When the supposed victim herself says, nah, I don’t care if these videos are published to the public, well, that shows without any doubt there wasn’t anything in these videos that should have been kept from the public,” Mihet told LifeSiteNews.

Moreover, Doe 9 was not even aware she was in other CMP recordings until told so by prosecution lawyers, he noted. 

“This is the DA, the attorney general coming forward to bring a prosecution on behalf of victims who don’t know they’re victims and who don’t care if these videos are ever published,” said Mihet.

“This whole thing is a farce…And this is only the preliminary hearing.”

Moreover, Doe 9 admitted under questioning that her conversation at the lunch could be overheard, he said.

“The law is crystal clear” that communications that “can reasonably expected to be overheard” by parties not involved in the conversation “cannot be confidential, and therefore cannot be illegally recorded,” Mihet told LifeSiteNews.

The CMP legal team asked in April that the case be dropped to no avail, and Mihet expects a jury trial will follow this preliminary hearing, which is scheduled to continue until September 13.

“We’re looking at this as just a chance to show the court, to show the public, to show anyone who cares and who’s listening the injustice that’s being perpetrated against Sandra Merritt and David Daleiden for merely bringing out the truth, for merely exercising their First Amendment rights,” he said.

Doe 9’s testimony continues Thursday.


Celebrity abortionist at baby parts hearing: Born-alive babies ‘one of the worst nightmares’

The undercover activists led by David Daleiden are trying to establish that abortionists prioritize drugs and techniques designed to keep the baby intact for harvesting.
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CMP project lead David Daleiden
Lianne Laurence By Lianne Laurence

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By Lianne Laurence

PETITION: Support pro-lifers who exposed Planned Parenthood's sale of baby body parts Sign the petition here.

SAN FRANCISCO, September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A celebrity abortionist who boasted in court she “starred” in a documentary on late-term abortion testified at the criminal preliminary hearing of two pro-life undercover investigators Wednesday that born-alive babies are “one of the worst nightmares” for an abortion center.

Doe 3 is one of 14 individuals the state of California claims were criminally victimized by being secretly taped by David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress during their undercover investigation into the illegal selling of baby body parts.

Daleiden and Merritt are charged with 14 felony counts of illegal recordings under Penal Code section 632, and a 15th count of conspiracy to violate section 632, in connection with undercover videos CMP released in 2015.

If convicted, they could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Their legal team is arguing that the law does not apply when there is a reasonable expectation that the conversation will be overheard, and that undercover taping is permitted when those doing so have a reasonable belief they are collecting evidence of a violent crime.

Presiding judge Christopher Hite of the San Francisco Superior Court ruled that the names of abortion providers be sealed during the prosecution.

Doe 3’s celebrity status made it clear that “she didn’t really care about her conversation with [Daleiden] and she didn’t care about whether it was confidential or not, and I think that came through during her testimony,” defense lawyer Brentford Ferreira told LifeSiteNews.

Doe 3, who sported a tiny silver coat-hanger dangling from a chain around her neck, volunteered during Ferreira’s cross-examination that a documentary “starring me” had been shown on PBS.

“I was in no way secretive about being an abortion provider,” she told the court. “I loved my work.”

That work was specializing in late-term abortions at Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico, one of two abortion centers owned by Curtis and Glenna Boyd.

Now retired, Doe 3 told the court that “one of the worst nightmares” for the abortion facility was “if a living fetus is delivered out of center,” that is, in a hotel.

A late-term abortion in which labor is induced by injections of Misoprostol can take up to four days — for example, if a woman has never given birth before, Doe 3 testified.

So mothers coming to Southwestern Women’s Options would stay in a hotel after “being treated during the day,” she said.

Doe 3 used an injection of digoxin, a drug intended to overwhelm the unborn baby’s heart, for babies over 18 weeks’ gestation to kill them before inducing labor, thus virtually eliminating the possibility of live births. “Our failure rate is about two percent,” she said.

When Ferreira asked Doe 3 what dose of Misoprostol she used to induce labor, Deputy Attorney General Johnette Jauron objected that the information wasn’t relevant.

“It has to do with the pain and suffering of the woman,” Ferreira retorted. “It has to do if the baby is born alive if the didge [the digoxin injection] doesn’t work.”

Doe 3 testified she used a dose of 400 milligrams of Misoprostol every three to four hours.

The question is significant because the defense plans to introduce expert evidence that the dosage of Misoprostol “abortion doctors give to initiate labor actually throws the uterus into severe contractions and causes severe pain and nausea,” Ferreira told LifeSiteNews.

“Because the contractions are so severe the abortion doctor really has very little control over whether there’s going to be a partial birth abortion, or even a live birth,” he said.

This is “an absolute defense” for Daleiden and Merritt because if they are “investigating violent felonies it doesn’t matter if the conversation is confidential or not, it is allowed.”

In his Human Capital Project, Daleiden “outlined all of the violent felonies that he was investigating, including infanticide, partial-birth abortions, changes in procedure by abortion doctors that harm the woman that are used to get more intact fetal organs or even whole fetal cadavers,” said Ferreira.

“I was trying to develop with Doe 3 that if she didn’t use digoxin, and she did use a large dose of Misoprostol, then the chances of a baby being born alive go up exponentially.”

Doe 3 testified that she met Daleiden at the 2014 National Abortion Federation trade show and convention, where he was posing as Robert Sarkis of BioMax Procurement Services, a fetal tissue–harvesting company.

She is recorded in the undercover video demonstrating a set of forceps “used for very small parts” of the unborn baby that don’t require “much of a crush” and discussing fetal tissue procurement insofar as “didged” babies delivered after days lying dead in the womb weren’t suitable.

The “entire meeting” of the NAF conference is “very secretive” and “very confidential,” Doe 3 told the court.

Ferreira introduced evidence from the congressional hearing into the selling of baby body parts that Southwestern Women’s Options provided fetal tissues to the University of New Mexico but withdrew it after Doe 3 said she didn’t know who testified at the hearing.

Doe 3 “did testify that Southwestern does provide fetal tissue to the University of New Mexico and that that tissue comes from fetuses who are not given digoxin” and would be “no older than 17 weeks, six days gestation,” Ferreira told LifeSiteNews.

Doe 3 also “admitted to knowing about babies born alive, saying it’s the worst nightmare for an abortion doctor,” he said.

Defense lawyer Nic Cocis questioned Doe 3 at length using the video clip as to whether or not she could agree that the conversation in the exhibit hall could be overheard, but Doe 3 hedged, saying she doubted it, she couldn’t say, there was a “huge amount of background noise,” and that she couldn’t judge how far people were from her in the video.

The hearing continues Thursday.


How the condemned heresy of modernism has infiltrated the Amazon Synod

The upcoming Amazon Synod is more and more looking like old-school modernism bottled in exotic vessels.
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By Joshua Hren

By Joshua Hren
Joshua Hren

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

September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Pope Saint Piux X proclaims the impossibility of approving those Catholic publications that, “inspired by unsound novelty,” envisage and propagate “a new order of Christian life” or “new directions of the Church.” It is bewilderingly ironic that publications proceeding from cavalier novelties have for some time been approved and even authored by the Church’s highest authorities. The most recent synod of surprises promises us that the Amazon “bursts” into the life of the Church like a “new entity”; this “epiphanic place” is a “source of divine revelation.” With these pseudo-mystical assurances, the document does more than court confusion: it crosses the border into blasphemy. Although the modernist character of such pronunciations is plain, the Instrumentum laboris mingles new herbs of error into its heretical concoctions, suggesting a diabolical inversion of Christ’s depiction of the scribes “instructed in the kingdom of heaven” as “like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old” (Matt. 15:32).

The modernist believer holds the existence of a divine reality as “an established and certain fact.” He founds this fact, however, on “the experience of the individual,” for it is only “the existence of a real experience” that guarantees the “truth” of the individual’s faith. For the modernist, whenever Christianity lacks “vital immanence” felt as a “religious sentiment,” it steps down the rungs of the “authenticity” ladder, making way for any comers animated by that energetic experience — regardless of their formal religious credos and rituals. Saint Pius teases out the perilous consequences of this premise. So long as it can embody experiential vitality, “every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be true.” The Instrumentum laboris demonstrates a heretical hermeneutic of continuity when we are told that Amazonians live in “intercommunication” with the whole cosmos; when we are told the “Amazonian community” embodies, in its relation to nature, a “cosmo-vision” that corresponds with “Francis’s ‘mantra’: ‘everything is connected’; their “ancestral wisdom,” which “integrates human beings with nature, becomes a point of reference for the construction of a new paradigm of integral ecology.” When the authors of the Instrumentum laboris tell us these things, they are simply asserting that the Amazonians are spiritually superior on account of their “vital immanence”; the pulsating experiences of these incredible individuals set them apart, regardless of their credo or orthodoxy. Thus, “the native people of the Amazon have much to teach us.” Although the document doesn’t quite stop shy of saying the Catholic Church has anything to teach the native people of the Amazon, the spirit of the Instrumentum laboris enunciates indigenous immanence at the expense of the deposit of faith.

All of the aforementioned is merely old-school modernism bottled in exotic vessels. The new brew of the Amazon Synod has as one of its distinctive ingredients ambiance of place, which the Instrumentum laboris adds to the familiar valorization of human vitality as the source of valid values. The Amazon is apparently distinct from other geographical locations in that it is a “reality full of life and wisdom.” Because of this, the Church must hear the “cry, of both the people and the earth.” Still more, the document tells us, in a passage that extends the synod’s misguidances beyond the human and into the whole of creation: “the [Amazonian] land is a theological place by which the faith is lived. It is also a unique source of God’s revelation.”

Saint Pius X reminds us that for the modernists, “to live is a proof of truth, since for them life and truth are one and the same thing.” Now, what does it mean to live? What does vital immanence actually mean, for the modernists? Pope Pius admits that “it is not easy to determine” an answer to this question because their own opinions on the subject differ. On the one hand, in a manner he calls “free from reproach,” some simply mean that God is more intimately present in man than even man himself is. This understanding echoes St. Augustine’s searching questions at the start of his Confessions: “Do heaven and earth contain you because you have filled them? Or do you fill them and overflow them because they do not contain you? Where do you put the overflow of yourself after heaven and earth are filled? ... Why do I request you to come to me when, unless you were within me, I would have no being at all?” On the other hand, Saint Pius says, other advocates of immanence “hold that the divine action is one with the action of nature,” a postulate that, if it were true, would destroy the supernatural order. To this number we can add all who advocate a “theological place.” Language such as this, which “savors of pantheism,” seems to be finding its full flowering in the Amazon Synod.

It would seem, given the document’s pantheistic savor, that speaking of the “Amazonian face of the Church” would smack, to the minds that made it, of “anthropomorphism.” After all, the Church’s Amazonian countenance “finds its expression in the plurality of its peoples, cultures and ecosystems.” It would seem that these ecosystems should be able to express themselves without being absorbed into the all too human metaphor of the face. But the document betrays, via the “Amazonian face” metaphor that has furrowed so many of our brows, the internal inconsistencies that emerge once modernists assume that both individuals and places are vehicles of vital immanence. Do not the Amazonians purportedly derive their vitality from the Amazon? Surely, the Amazon does not derive its grandeur from the fervent spiritual experiences of its inhabitants! Does it just so happen that in the Amazon, both place and people possess palpable immanence?

One might, with Francis, respond by professing that “everything is connected,” Still, one of the most salutary marks of that Western world that the Instrumentum laboris indiscriminately denigrates (“the life of the Amazonian community has not yet been influenced by Western civilization”) is the search for particular natures — that movement by which the mind understands things not merely in relation to other things, but in and of themselves. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas inherited this pursuit of essences from Plato and Aristotle, thus allowing for clear delineation between the “divine action” and the “action of nature,” a delineation that the modernists seek to erase, as evidenced in the document’s insistence that the Amazon is a “unique source of God’s revelation.”

It is important to distinguish this philosophical pursuit of the distinct natures of things from modern man’s inclination to mentally separate the Great Chain of Being into compartmentalized “objects” that can be manipulated and mastered at will. In his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis rightly notes that modern man has “taken up technology and its development according to an undifferentiated and one-dimensional ... technocratic paradigm[.] ... It is as if the subject were to find itself in the presence of something formless, completely open to manipulation. Men and women have constantly intervened in nature, but for a long time this meant being in tune with and respecting the possibilities offered by the things themselves.” Those who live outside the technocratic paradigm approach nature as receivers, gaining from creation in accordance with its nature. Modern man disregards all dimensions of an object that falls outside the technocratic paradigm’s ambition to maximize extraction from that which is mastered so that all of creation becomes, as it were, mere material standing reserve for man’s consumption and use.

A corrective to this reductive vision is to be found not in valorization of nature and place as having a pseudo-mystical character, but rather in real tutelage under of what St. Augustine called “the book of nature.” Augustine makes its existence and evidential character very clear. He goes so far as to say that the book of nature, rightly understood, can correct error and blasphemy: “But had you begun with looking on the book of nature as the production of the Creator of all, and had you believed that your own finite understanding might be at fault wherever anything seemed to be amiss ... you would not have been led into these impious follies and blasphemous fancies.” But when Augustine speaks of “the book of nature,” he does not locate its pages in the not yet harvested trees of the Amazonian rainforest; nature is universal. Thus, John Senior, from even Kansas (“the non-epiphanic state”), can call us to look up at the stars that bespeak the grandeur of God; thus, Dante can educate our eyes, too used to seeing the universe as disenchanted and mechanistic, to see the cosmos as caused and moved by love.

Of course, sanctifying grace is of a wholly other order — an order that transcends nature. And the Amazonians, just like the tea farmer in China and the employee living in a Seattle high-rise, have the natural law written on their hearts. It is bizarre that one needs to even make such basic clarifications, but ambiguity follows modernism around like a New Age aura.

In casting doubt upon the revelatory qualities of a particular place, it is essential that we do not fall into a reactionary error that would see all spaces as equally leveled, juxtaposed absolutely with the transcendence of God. For the Trinitarian God has made sacred many, many places throughout salvation history — from the burning bush on mount Horeb to the temple of Jerusalem. St. Helena followed this sense of sacred places when she traveled to the Holy Land and had the Church of the Holy Sepulchre erected over the tomb where the body of Our Lord lay dead, anointed with spices before his body defied decay. Guadalupe. Lourdes. Of course, each of the aforementioned places received its sacral character from transcendent acts of God. In the Amazon Synod’s Instrumentum laboris, the Amazon receives its sacral character because it is paradigmatic for a “new ecology”; because the inhabitants are characterized by their “sacred sense of the land,” they can be entrusted with “transmission of the ancestral experience of cosmologies, of spiritualities and theologies of the indigenous peoples.”

In the face of this “new ecology,” this poisoned flora of modernism’s new frontiers, let us turn to the blessed countenance of Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to the three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria and whose Son made the sun spin through the storm clouds. O, Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us who have recourse to thee.


Transgenderism is a fad worth rejecting

Transgenderism is a dangerous fad made by progressive elites.
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By Denise Shick

By Denise Shick
Denise Shick

September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Ken Hakuta—a multimillionaire better known as host of the Dr. Fad TV show—famously said, “Contrary to what most people believe, fads are made, not born.” On the more cerebral side, Nobel prize-winning scientist Eric Betzig pronounced, “Science goes through fads, and there are big ups and crashes.”

Add those two statements together and you have the explanation for the recent explosion of people declaring themselves transgender. It’s a fad, made by progressive elites, embraced by progressive commoners, and given unwarranted credence by progressive scientists eager for recognition as cutting-edge progressive visionaries.

What transgenderism is not is genetic. Like fads, transgenders are made, not born. A pending Supreme Court case makes this truth demonstrably evident. One of the several amicus briefs in R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considers the declarations of nine adults, all of whom once claimed to be born transgender. Now, each of the nine admits that his or her “gender fluidity” was not a biological reality; it was, in fact, little more than a fad, a phase they went through. 

One of the nine, Laura Perry, a female who endured the unnecessary pain and expense of a double mastectomy in an effort to try to become a male, now says, “These people [in the LGBTQ community] are the most depressed people in the world.” Not too surprising. As Conway Twitty once said, “Fads are the kiss of death. When the fad goes away, you go with it.”

Will Sergeant, another singer/songwriter, put it this way, “You go through these little phases and fads, and it never turns out the way you think it's going to turn out.” 

Yes, that’s the way of fads; they never live up to the hype. These days, if an impressionable young person wants to impress other impressionable young people, declaring oneself transgender is a sure winner—until the new wears off. Then, if the vulnerable young person took the fad very far, he or she is left with deep physical and psychological scars, probably some big financial debt—and, sooner or later, regrets.

That young person likely basked for a time in the adulation of his progressive peers. But after a while, those fellow progressives move on to another progressive cause and the one-time object of praise is left to assess the confused state of his being and the probable tangled trajectory of his future.  

All this is not meant to discount the substance of what many gender-confused people feel and genuinely believe. Many—perhaps even most—gender-confused individuals sincerely believe, at least for a time, that they were meant to be the opposite sex. But the fact that many have awoken from that illusion and reverted to their birth gender argues strongly against the notion that transgenderism is biological.

The above-referenced Supreme Court amicus brief states the following: 

Seeking to align one’s mind with reality has always been the preferred method for treating dysphorias, such as anorexia, xenomelia (the feeling that one or more limbs do not belong), or transdisability (believing one has a physical disability that does not actually exist). No one would ever address an anorexic person’s needs by providing a low-calorie diet, diet pills and stomach stapling. Moreover, one of the most comprehensive scientific studies tracking individuals who underwent sex-reassignment surgery revealed that (1) the rate of psychiatric hospitalization was approximately three times higher for postoperative individuals than a control group; (2) mortality rates and rates of criminal conviction also increased; (3) suicide attempts were almost five times more likely than before surgery; and (4) the likelihood of suicide following surgery was 19 times higher than the control group, adjusted for prior psychiatric illness.

Progressives might truly believe that their enablement of gender-confused individuals is an act of compassion, but, as the brief makes clear, indulging in this fad is downright dangerous. Some fads, like pet rocks, are innocuous. Others, like tattoos, might be expensive but mostly harmless. Others should be avoided at all costs. Currently, science is going through a fad of endorsing a dangerous sociological fad. Let’s pray both fads soon crash before they harm too many more lives.

Denise Shick is the Founder and Executive director of Help 4 Families Ministry. She is the author of My Daddy’s Secret, When Hope Seems Lost, Understanding Gender Confusion: A Faith Based Perspective, and When Daddy Leaves to be a Girl.


How priests can help Catholics believe in Real Presence once again

Apart from catechesis and preaching, one traditional response to error about one doctrine or another is to emphasize the correct teaching liturgically.
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Joseph Shaw By Joseph Shaw

Joseph Shaw By Joseph Shaw
By Dr. Joseph Shaw

September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Recently, it was reported that more than half of self-described Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence at all. As I have written before, this represents an emergency, a pastoral crisis, which has received a somewhat lethargic response. Not long before the survey about beliefs came out, Stephen Bullivant’s survey on lapsation recorded lapsed Catholics complaining that their parish catechists didn’t believe the Faith and were not passing it on. It seems that some of our lapsed brothers and sisters would like to insist on higher standards of orthodoxy than some of our priests and bishops.

Apart from catechesis and preaching, one traditional response to error about one doctrine or another is to emphasize the correct teaching liturgically. Bowing or kneeling at references to the Incarnation (in the Creed, when we say “and was made man”), for example, helps to hammer home the truth about that. I am a strong believer in the power of the liturgy to reinforce the Faith: for one thing, it is impossible to get adult Catholics to go to catechism classes, but if they come to church at all, they will experience the liturgy. Can Eucharistic Adoration help, then, in restoring the sense among Catholics that Christ is truly present in the Host?

It might, but we should beware of problems with this idea. One problem is that, by their nature, Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament expose the Sacrament to disrespect and even abuse. The Blessed Sacrament is normally kept locked in an immovable box on the altar. We know He is there, and we can pray before Him, and it is a pity if people chatter or conduct profane business in front of the tabernacle. It is far worse, however, if they do those things before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. If it were not, then exposing Him would not mean anything.

Now, many people do respond to the heightened sense of the sacred created by Benediction and Exposition, and these practices increase their devotion. But it does so on the basis of an existing formation in those individuals. Those nominal Catholics who do not believe in the Real Presence and pay no attention to the tabernacle will have little reason to take Exposition more seriously. They think it is just a symbol, however it is presented.

Another way of expressing the problem is this. One thing that can effectively communicate the meaning of something is to see how other people behave around it. If a non-Catholic witnesses Mass and sees people kneeling at certain points, for example, this signals quite powerfully the importance of those points in the liturgy. Suppose a non-Catholic, or a nominal Catholic who does not believe in the Real Presence, wanders into a chapel where Exposition is going on, what is there to see? Too often, what he will see is neglect: a chapel that is almost or even completely empty of worshipers. The Blessed Sacrament exposed, they could conclude, is of a similar level of importance to the statue of a saint.

This is not the way to revalue the Blessed Sacrament in the eyes of those who do not understand. It would be better, actually, to show respect to Our Lord in the Eucharist by locking Him securely in a veiled ciborium inside a veiled tabernacle. That shows that we are taking the whole thing seriously.

I am not suggesting that Benediction and Exposition should be stopped, or that people are wrong to promote them. My point, rather, is about what exactly we think these things are going to achieve, and how. The point of them is to give Catholics who believe deeply in the Real Presence an opportunity to honor Christ in the Blessed Sacrament with ceremonies, incense, sacred music, and prayer. This devotion will bring blessings on those who take part, and on the parish. It does not function, on its own, as an effective liturgical catechesis about the Real Presence, and in this regard, it can even backfire.

For that purpose, I would suggest that priests and others involved in the liturgy consider a quite different approach. Those who do not understand about the Real Presence will learn from how others, those more closely engaged in the ceremonies, behave toward Our Lord. How does the priest handle the consecrated host? Casually, or with respect? Are the sacred vessels that hold Him worthy of doing so — are they the best the parish can afford, or are they deliberately made of non-precious materials? Who handles them, and how? Who distributes Holy Communion, and how? Is anyone concerned about spillages of the Precious Blood, or fragments of the Host?

It may not be a simple matter to get members of the congregation to behave differently, but they will be influenced, without even thinking about it consciously, by what is going on in the sanctuary. There, during Mass, and especially during Communion, is the place to start showing what we really believe.


Protestants might be surprised at what Catholics actually believe about the Bible 

'For Catholics, Scripture in every word of every page is inspired by God.'
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Peter Kwasniewski By Peter Kwasniewski

Peter Kwasniewski By Peter Kwasniewski
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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Recently, the Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, declared that “the devil exists only as a symbolic reality.” He has said similar things in the past. He also made news in 2017 when he asserted, concerning Christ’s condemnation of divorce and remarriage, that we can’t know for sure what Jesus really said because no one recorded him on the spot. 

These and similar remarks make it clear that at least this Jesuit does not believe that Scripture—which teaches manifestly both the reality of the devil and the sinfulness of active divorce and remarriage—is actually the word of God, inspired by Him and altogether free from error. 

It is surprising how often nowadays one hears Catholics and Protestants contrasted in the following way: it is as if “evangelical” or “fundamentalist” Protestants believe the Bible to be all these things, whereas Catholics believe it to be an interesting record of the religious experiences of certain men and women over a long period of time, a witness to their “pilgrimage” or “journey of faith,” through which we can learn some good stuff that, duly modified and updated, is applicable to our own lives. Protestants see the Scripture as solid gold, while Catholics see it as (mostly) reliable on big questions, but sketchy in the details, where it doesn’t matter so much.  

This is a totally flawed description of Catholic doctrine. Indeed, it fits to a T the description given by St. Pius X of the Modernist.

Pope Leo XIII taught in his 1893 encyclical Providentissimus Deus:

It is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration only to certain parts of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage, we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose which He had in mind in saying it—this system cannot be tolerated. For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can coexist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. ( bold added)

The same pope reminds us that this is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, as solemnly defined by three ecumenical councils—Florence, Trent, and Vatican I. He then quotes Vatican I’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith:

The Books of the Old and New Testament, whole and entire, with all their parts, as enumerated in the decree of the same Council [Trent] and in the ancient Latin Vulgate, are to be received as sacred and canonical. And the Church holds them as sacred and canonical, not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority; nor only because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author, and were as such committed to the Church. (Dei Filius, ch. 2, nn. 6–7)

Having cited Vatican I, Pope Leo goes on to explain that the fact that God is the primary author means that the true but secondary human authors could not have “gotten in the way,” so to speak, of God’s proclamation of the truth, however much their personalities may have colored the manner or style in which they wrote:

Hence, because the Holy Ghost employed men as His instruments, we cannot therefore say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write—He was so present to them—that the things which He ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. Otherwise, it could not be said that He was the Author of the entire Scripture. … It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration, or make God the author of such error.

Pope Pius XII is often said to have “softened” or “modified” Pope Leo XIII’s trumpet-like assertions, but at least on the question of the absolute authority and error-free truthfulness of the Bible, Pius XII taught exactly the same thing—something that will surprise only those who expect popes to disagree with one another on matters of faith, which of course is impossible. (The only thing it would show is that the later pope is wrong.) He opens his 1943 encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu by quoting and agreeing with Vatican I and Leo XIII on just these points. Later, he notes: “For as the substantial Word of God became like to men in all things ‘except sin’ (Heb 4:15), so the words of God, expressed in human language, are made like to human speech in every respect, except error” (n. 37). The “Catholic commentator,” the pope says, should demonstrate and prove Scripture’s “immunity from all error” (n. 38). 

The Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum of 1965 states:

Since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation. Therefore “all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind” (2 Tim 3:16–17). ( bold added)

Some have tried to twist these words into saying that Scripture is without error only in regard to “truths pertaining to salvation”—as if there are elements in Scripture that are altogether disconnected from or indifferent to salvation. This interpretation of Dei Verbum, however, is ruled out for three reasons: first, the Constitution teaches that everything asserted by the authors must be held to be also asserted by the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth; second, the well-chosen quotation from 2 Timothy emphatically says “all Scripture is divinely inspired and useful for teaching the truth and refuting error”; and third, the footnote given by the Council at this point sends us to exactly the passages in Trent, Leo XIII, and Pius XII that we have cited above (in addition to some equally clear passages in Augustine and Aquinas).

In summary: the Catholic Church teaches that Sacred Scripture is written by God as the primary author and by men as true secondary authors, “intelligent instruments” employed by the Lord to convey a message that, rightly understood, is always and only true. Scripture is true as a whole and in all of its parts, according to the meaning that its authors (primary and secondary) intended for these parts. Catholics therefore accept the literal meaning of every passage of the Bible, yet not according to a superficial notion of what “literal” means, but with a nuanced understanding of what the “letter”—i.e., the meaning intended by the author—really is in this or that passage (see the good treatment of this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 105–119).

It is true, of course, that the Bible does not interpret itself and that it contains many passages challenging due to their philological obscurity, a lack of historical knowledge on our part, or apparent contradictions. But we know, from Scripture itself, from Tradition, and from the Magisterium, that there are no actual contradictions in the Bible (as, e.g., between St. Paul and St. John in the New Testament), no assertions of fact that are factually incorrect, and no obscurity that would prevent us from having access to saving truth, since, as St. Augustine reminds us, nothing of salvific importance in the Bible is taught obscurely in one place if is not also taught openly and clearly elsewhere. 

These things being so, we cannot simply dispense with the aid of the Fathers of the Church, the great exegetes from the Middle Ages, and the guidance of popes and councils in doubtful or controversial matters. But this is a far cry from saying that Scripture itself has positive errors or substantive omissions that are subsequently corrected by human wisdom, as in the false notion of “development of doctrine” so popular among today’s progressives.

For Catholics, Scripture in every word of every page is inspired by God. It is inerrant, that is, free from any error of any kind. It is a more certain foundation than any merely human source of knowledge. It is an infallible guide to faith and life, such that when we understand its teaching and follow it, we can never go astray. Should we be surprised, then, that every great saint of the Catholic Church has made the prayerful, trustful, humble reading of the Bible (lectio divina) a basic part of his or her daily routine? It seems that Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal could learn a thing or two from the saints, beginning with St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Readers who are interested in a fuller exposition of these points may find helpful my article at OnePeterFive, “The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Sacred Scripture.”


Pope Francis criticizes former doctrinal head Muller: he has ‘good intentions’ but is ‘like a child’

The Pope said Cdl. Gerhard Müller has 'good intentions, he is a good man. The Pope likes him. But he is like a child'
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Maike Hickson By Maike Hickson

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By Maike Hickson

September 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has criticized Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Vatican’s former head of doctrine who continues to raise concerns about the direction the Church is taking under the Francis pontificate, stating that the cardinal “has good intentions” but is “like a child.”

In the context of Pope Francis' September 4 flight to Mozambique, the news websites of the German and Austrian Bishops' Conferences, and, both report that Pope Francis was also asked about Cardinal Müller and his recurrent interventions that now seem to have a “critical view of the current pontificate.”

Pope Francis is reported to have answered: “He has good intentions, he is a good man. The Pope likes him. But he is like a child.”

The Pope made these comments in front of a smaller group of journalists on his flight to Mozambique, Africa, while greeting the journalists on board. states that “the Pope made these comments at a short greeting of media representatives who are traveling with him. In this context, he [the Pope] was asked about some contributions of the former chief of the Congregation for the Faith which indicate a critical view of the current pontificate.” Dr. Paul Wuthe, the editor-in-chief of, informed LifeSiteNews that "the Pope made these comments in an informal conversation with a German-speaking journalist on the flight to Mozambique. Among the journalists on the flight was also a correspondent of Kathpress who reported on it."

Roland Juchem, Rome Correspondent of Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur (KNA), which works with Kathpress and, told LifeSiteNews that the Pope’s remark on the Cardinal “stems from the usual papal walk on his flight to greet [the journalists]. In this case, a colleague briefly asked the Pope about Cardinal Müller and his distancing statements about his pontificate.” 

The Austrian Catholic news website – which also reported on these papal comments on Pope Francis (based on the Kathpress report) – reached out to Cardinal Müller himself, asking him for comment. 

Cardinal Müller answered, saying: “with Jesus, one could ask His Vicar: why do you call me good? 'No one is good but God alone ' (Luke 18:19), and one could console oneself with the words of Scripture: 'we should be called children of God; and so we are' (1 John 3:1).” The German prelate continues, saying that to be a child of God in Christ “is the greatest dignity to which the Son of God has raised us (Rom. 8:17).”

Commenting on Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller added:  “Also, I think that the Pope is a good man and I like him from my heart, especially for everything that he does for the poor and the wounded. Whether many or few in his own surroundings are 'children' in the sense of Jesus (Luke 18:15-17) is known to God alone.”

In a new and longer interview with, Cardinal Müller – independently of these new spontaneous comments of the Pope – criticized the advisors Pope Francis has chosen to surround himself with. 

In light of the fact that Cardinal Müller has already repeatedly criticized the Amazon Synod's working document (Instrumentum Laboris), he explained that this document “leaves out the essential content of the revealed Faith,” for example concerning the very notion of Revelation and of the Church. 

The German prelate quoted one “theological ignoramus with a bishop's hat” who stated that the Instrumentum Laboris is “merely the application of the encyclical Laudato Si and therefore an expression of the infallible Magisterium of the Pope who stands above the word of God or, as a source of revelation, right next to it.” Further presenting the claims of this one depreciative bishop, Müller continued: “Who therefore makes the Instrumentum Laboris subject of a theological critique, is said to be a heretic who calls upon himself eo ipso eternal punishment in hell. This great thinker and most worthy successor of the Apostles only missed where there is to be found in Laudato Si an irreversible doctrinal statement ex cathedra which has to be believed by every Catholic for the sake of his salvation – except, of course, that it is a dogma that the world has been completely created (=creation) in its being and in its order. But this should be known by every child from its first catechism class.”

Cardinal Müller’s above comments make it clear that Catholics are free to criticize the Amazon Synod's working document.

The German Cardinal continues his critique of this bishop, saying that “I feel sorry for Pope Francis when he is being defended with their lives by such courageous friends who, with their shameless half-education, undermine the Roman Primate, by abusing the Pope's authority for their anti-Catholic agenda. He who still yesterday was prominently defaming the predecessors [of the Pope] and purportedly congratulated Pope Benedict for his courage to retire, is completely untrustworthy as a defender of the current Pope.”

Cardinal Müller also makes it clear that such attempts at intimidating the critics of Pope Francis or of the Amazon Synod document will not silence him. “As bishop,” he stated, “who at his episcopal consecration has promised to proclaim loyally the Catholic Faith I will not be intimidated through the media by such ideologues with their ridiculous super-papalism which stands in direct contradiction to the First and the Second Vatican Council. Who is impressed by the arrogance of such theological illiterates who try to cover up the weakness of their argumentation with the help of personal insults?”

Further commenting on the duty of a pope as such, the prelate says that “every pontificate is dependent upon the fact that it is in accordance with Revelation in Holy Scripture and Tradition and the doctrinal continuity with his predecessors and especially with the ecumenical councils.”

He later goes on to explain that he has written in defense of the papacy in the time before Pope Francis' pontificate, and during. “Church history will speak its judgment as to the question upon whom Pope Francis should have better relied,” Müller commented.

Cardinal Müller also commented about some fundamental aspects of the current debates in the Church where it is, “unlike in politics, not about power, but about God's Truth Who wishes our salvation (1 Tim. 3:15).” Here, “every Catholic and especially every bishop has the task” to help “build up the Church, which is the Body of Christ.”

“All Catholic bishops, and especially the cardinals of the Roman Curia, have the duty – in union with the Pope – to witness to, and to proclaim – in this world and in an unadulterated manner – the truth of Revelation,” Müller said.

He also stated in this new interview that “I expect each Catholic to make use of his own reason in the Faith (the sensus fidei fidelium).” 


Ancient pagans had redeeming qualities. Today’s neo-pagans are far worse

Ancient pagans were aware of their shortcomings. For the new pagans, things are quite otherwise.
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Joseph Shaw By Joseph Shaw

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By Dr. Joseph Shaw

September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A recent study by the London-based Benedict Centre has shown that up to half of self-described atheists and agnostics across different countries believe in ‘underlying forces of good and evil’ and that ‘significant events are “meant to be”’. This is a reminder that a large part of the decline of religious practice and belief in the West is not about rejecting the supernatural realm, but adopting a kind of vague paganism. This should not be confused, however, with the paganism of the ancient world.

Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, the people of ancient Greece and Rome had an uneasy conscience about many of the practices Christianity later suppressed, which are re-emerging today. The Greek historian of Rome, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, praised Rome’s mythical founder, Romulus, for making marriage a holy and indissoluble institution (Roman Antiquities II.25), from which it later declined. It’s far from clear what historical basis there might be to this claim, but it represents an ideal, a golden age, from which the Romans and Greeks of Dionysius’s own day fell short.

Dionysius lived in the first century before Christ; by the time Christianity began to have an effect on Roman law, four hundred years later, divorce was widespread, for any or no reason. And yet ancient pagans would have understood God’s declaration, through the prophet Malachi (2:16), ‘I hate divorce’, just as they, like the Jews of Old Testament times, lived with the de facto toleration of the practice. Christianity raised the pagan world to a standard the pagans could understand but lacked the strength, and the grace, to attain.

Similarly, infanticide, which was widespread in pagan antiquity, left them a little uneasy. It is a commonplace of the literature of ancient paganism that the sight of these poor creatures abandoned on hillsides and elsewhere elicits pity, and sometimes rescue, in good people, and even, on occasion, in the hearts of wild beasts, like the she-wolf who is said to have suckled Romulus and his twin brother Remus. Pity for the innocent babe is not a foolish or irrational impulse for the pagan authors of antiquity. It is human and noble.

Ancient pagans were aware of their shortcomings. As St Augustine of Hippo observed, they had a sense that true nobility required the restraint of the appetites and the love of truth and justice. Their society was not based on these principles, and this pained them. They were uneasily aware that their own religion could veer towards the demonic, as with the human sacrifices offered by the Greeks before the battle of Salamis (according to Plutarch), or by the Romans when threatened by Hannibal (according to Livy). Such brutality sat ill at ease with their ideals of humanity, rationality, and virtue.

Christianity could not banish sin completely, but it brought these noble principles from the margins of life to the center. What had been distant ideals of poets and philosophers were purified and made the more immediate models of everyday legal and family reality.

For the new pagans, things are quite otherwise. Those who reject Christianity and look back to ancient paganism for inspiration rejoice in the liberty of which the high-minded pagans of old were ashamed. Those who wish to rescue infants from the slaughterhouses of new paganism are not admired, but hated. The ideal of a lifelong marriage is regarded not as an inspiration, but as oppressive. I wonder how long the new pagans will take to embrace that other important institution of the ancient world: slavery.

The rejection of the ideals of Christianity, which can never be perfectly realized in this fallen world, implies the rejection of what was best about pre-Christian paganism. The small-scale patriotism of ancient city life, which inspired so much benevolence and self-sacrifice; the honoring of parents and ancestors, which underpinned social stability; the realization that what ‘the gods’ ultimately wanted was justice — the new pagans don’t want to hear about any of this.

On the contrary, those who reject Christianity tend to look towards a society in which there are no ties, either to human communities today or to family across time, and where the good life requires selfishness. One thing they do have in common with ancient paganism is a dim and confused realization that they are not alone: there are supernatural forces at work in the world that are more powerful than they are. Whether they adopt the naïve optimism of the New Age about these or the disturbing thoughts of Satanism, they lack the resources to protect themselves from their own darker desires, let alone anything that might really be ‘out there’.

We can only hope they will come to share the realization of one of the first of this new breed, the 19th-century French magician Eliphas Levi:

A simple scapular worn by a truly Christian person is a more invincible talisman than the ring and pentacle of Solomon. The Mass is the most prodigious of evocations. Necromancers evoke the dead, the sorcerer evokes the devil and he shakes, but the Catholic Priest does not tremble in evoking the living God.

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