All articles from September 9, 2019


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Plastic surgeon: Sex-change operation ‘utterly unacceptable’ and a form of ‘child abuse’

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By Lisa Bourne

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story contains explicit content.

September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The idea that you can change someone’s sex is a lie, an Alabama-based plastic surgeon said, and pursuing this avenue with children amounts to child abuse.

“It's a form of tyranny, exercising a form of tyranny over our own bodies,” Dr. Patrick Lappert said. “And in the case of children, it's child abuse.” 

Appearing on a recent broadcast of Relevant Radio’s Trending with Timmerie, Lappert said the view that the human body is something that someone owns, that they can do things in order to provoke happiness in themselves, is a self-reverential view divorced from the objective reality of the human person.

Lappert briefly touched on the negative physical effects of same-sex sexual activity, and he also explained in detail the disturbing reality of what happens when a person undergoes so-called sex-change surgery.

He called it “utterly unacceptable” on moral grounds for a plastic surgeon, because it disregards the surgeon’s call to balance respect for both form and function of the body in his or her work.

Regarding children, Lappert said, sexualizing them at a young age with these ideas is grooming them for later abuse. 

“It's atrocious,” he said. “And no one even knows how that's going to play out. There's no body of scientific evidence to even support the safety of doing that to children. But it's being done.”

“Children do not have the capacity to consent to those sorts of treatments,” Lappert said of sex-change procedures. “You cannot tell a pre-adolescent child anything about their adult life and expect that they're going to understand what you're telling them.” 

“Their concept of themselves is in the formative years,” he continued. “And to ask a child to think of their sexuality when they're pre-adolescent is utterly insane. And it's in fact another great evil that's being inflicted upon children because it's the sexualization of normal chaste friendships of childhood.”

Lappert also explained how suggesting to pre-adolescent children that they may be gay sexualizes chaste friendships and prompts them to think this way. 

‘They will never be the other sex’

Asked “What is a sex change?” Lappert responded, “Well, to begin with, the idea that you can change someone's sex is a lie.”

“Many people have been led to believe by a lot of very clever programs and advertising from plastic surgeons and whatnot that you can actually change a man into a woman or a girl into a boy or anything like that,” he said. “You cannot. Essentially all you can do is you can modify people's bodies both with medicines as well as with surgery to make them appear to be the other sex, but they will never be the other sex.”

Lappert, a board certified general surgeon and plastic and reconstructive surgeon, is a Navy and Marine veteran, as well as a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama. He is also chaplain for the Courage apostolate in the Birmingham diocese.

Experts have said for years that surgery or hormone treatment for gender-confused individuals, and certainly encouraging transgender ideas in children, is not the solution, and can result in exacerbating their condition

Nonetheless, sex change surgeries have been on the rise, transgender ideology continues to be pushed in schools, civil government, and healthcare associations and institutions, while gender confused-individuals are also appearing more and more in pop culture, sports, media, and advertising.

The beginning stages

Lappert said gender confused individuals will typically begin by adopting a lifestyle and persona, change their name, hair and other aspects of their looks, and then move onto other identity components such as changing their driver's license and so on. Then hormonal medications are often introduced, and while sometimes these may initially make someone feel better about their gender confusion, this gives the false impression that surgical intervention will result in success, and taking hormones of the opposite sex over time can have a negative physical impact. 

Irreversible

Most of the chemical interventions and cosmetic procedures done to alter a person’s face or neck are to a degree reversible. However, Lappert warned, more invasive surgeries, such as mastectomy and procedures involving genitalia, are not.

A counterfeit vagina

In the case of men seeking to present as women, after they've had the other initial interventions performed, a definitive genital surgery includes castration, removal of the testicles, and the opening of the penis and removal of the erectile tissue, which is a procedure called penile inversion. This is where the penis is turned inside out and suspended up in the pelvis, turning it into “a receptive structure,” Lappert explained. 

The tissues of the scrotum are then turned into labia, meaning the external genitalia portions of the phallus itself are used to create the labia minora. In creating the receptive structure, the surgeon is trying to preserve the nerves, so that those parts of the genitalia that provoke erotic sensation can do so. 

“Which is a very challenging thing to try to do when you're essentially mutilating the penis,” he said, “to try to preserve the neurological support for it, so that the person can have erotic sensation from this counterfeit vagina that you've created.” 

“The problem is that this counterfeit vagina doesn't want to keep its dimensions,” said Lappert. “And so you're constantly having to attend to the dilation of it to try to preserve its dimensions and so on. You also are taking the urethra that was in the penis and shortening it down so that it essentially is just an opening at the top of this counterfeit vaginal orifice that you've created.” 

This is the most commonly performed operation for males trying to present as female, he said.

A counterfeit penis

In the case of women trying to present as men, it begins with the removal of the ovaries and the uterus, removal of the vagina and the creation of a neo phallus, or a counterfeit penis.

This can be done a couple of different ways, he said, one being a high dose of testosterone, which will produce an enlargement of the clitoris, and then when you have exhausted those very high levels of testosterone, and they've had this effect on the clitoris, an operation is done to lengthen the urethra so that the urethra is extended along the underside of this enlarged clitoris, so that the urine empties at the tip of this structure. 

That operation is called a metoidioplasty.

“And essentially what you get there is a small phallus,” said Lappert, “and that's usually supplemented by creating a neo scrotum into which are placed two prosthetic testicles.”

For women seeking a more developed physique, Lappert continued, a neo phallus is produced by what's called a flap operation. 

This is where an area of tissue, typically from the leg, is raised up and surgically turned into a cylindrical structure inside of which is a urethral tube. That urethra tube is then connected to the native urethra, which appears at the base of the clitoris. The clitoris tissue itself is draped over the base of this neo phallus and then, again, a counterfeit scrotum with prosthetic testicles. 

“And then in that whole apparatus you can also implant malleable or inflatable prosthetics that can produce the appearance of an erection,” explained Lappert. “So that's called a phalloplasty by flap operation.”

The most common flap operation done today is to harvest the skin for the neo phallus from the forearm, said Lappert. 

“It's called a radial forearm flap and it's a tremendously disfiguring surgery on the forearm,” he said. “And so these women who are presenting as men will tattoo their forearms to conceal the disfigurement.” 

“And then so (ultimately) what you wind up with is a counterfeit phallus or a counterfeit vagina,” stated Lappert.

Why are these counterfeit?

“Because they don't function the way those structures function,” said Lappert. “It’s obviously the case with the reproductive organ that what you're doing is you're robbing the person of an essential human capacity of the reproductive faculty. And that's not reversible or retrievable.”

“You cannot preserve the procreative function when you do these operations,” stated Lappert.

A sterile act

The doctor then touched on the spiritual component with these procedures.

“As Catholics, we recognize the human sexual embrace that's having two aspects, its unity and its procreative,” said Lappert. “It unites the two persons in an emotional-spiritual bond. But it's also a fruitful union.” 

“Well, (with sex change procedures) you've robbed it of its fruitfulness,” he said. “It's now become a sterile act.” 

The erotic sensation is never fully preserved

“The other thing that people don't understand is that because of the surgeries I’ve just described the desire to preserve erotic sensation from these structures that you're mutilating is never fully met,” said Lappert.

In the nature of our nervous system there is a thing called neural mapping, he continued, meaning even though the physician works to preserve those nerves, the nerves continue to recognize sensations from their original form and function.

“The brain is still thinking that, even though you've turned your penis into a counterfeit vagina, whenever it is stimulated the brain is still thinking that there is a penis down there,” said Lappert. “So here's a person trying to live as a woman hoping that they're going to be able to conduct their lives as women, who enters into a relationship with a man, and then in a sexual act is constantly being reminded by their own bodies that they are in fact still men, and that's a hard one to get over.” 

The malpractice of medicine

Lappert also warned that a whole generation of children is being raised whose psychosexual, physical, and neurological development are being stunted in hopes of supporting this cross-sex idea of themselves – pushed by the transgender industry. 

He pointed out that if you took 100 children with cross-sex idea of themselves, 91 percent of them will desist. 

“Ninety-one percent of them will stop thinking of themselves as the other sex,” said Lappert. “But if you take the same hundred children to a transgender clinic at your local urban center, 100 percent of them will persist in it, which on the face of it tells you that this is this is the malpractice of medicine.” 

“If 91 percent of them would have gotten over the disease and 100 percent of them persistent and obviously you're doing something wrong here,” he added. “But nonetheless that's how it's being presented.”

“People are being led to believe that if you have the surgery your sorrows will go away,” said Lappert. “But what's called gender dysphoria, this interior sense of sadness that the persons who suffer with transgender feel, they're being told that if they have all of this medical and surgical therapy, that those bad feelings will go away. And the best study looking into that tells us that that is not the case.”

After a period of observation beyond some eight to 10 years, the suicide rate goes right back to where it was if nothing had been done for these people. 

“If you didn't offer them any care at all, you'd have the same suicide rate that people have now after all of the surgical interventions,” said Lappert. “And after the excitement dies down, and eight, 10 years later, they're right back to a 40 to 42 percent suicide rate. So that's a huge misrepresentation of benefit that is just not true.” 

Advocates for gender-confused individuals continually say these individuals need authentic psychological help that focuses upon the source of the confusion.

This kind of surgery is utterly unacceptable

Lappert called sex change surgery “an intentional destruction of a human faculty,” and  “so on moral grounds from the perspective of a plastic surgeon this kind of surgery is utterly unacceptable.”

The language of slavery

Because these procedures result in sterilization, they are tied to assisted reproductive technology, Lappert explained, with patients asked how they want to “preserve their fertility,” donating either sperm or ova, should they want children later.

“Those things will be put aside and for future assisted reproductive technology, essentially turning human persons into commodities,” Lappert said.

A huge evil

“Because they will be told, you have a right to have a child even though you're having this transgender surgery,” he said. “You have a right to have a child. So we're going to do these things for you. Well, that's the language of slavery, to speak of a person that's having a right to another person is the language of slavery.” 

“It's leading us to seeing the human person as a commodity that is regulated by the government, by government institutions, universities, and by laboratories,” Lappert continued. “And that is a huge evil. It's a huge evil and never forget, that transgender surgery is right at the heart of that evil.” 

“First of all because it utterly perverts our sense of human sexuality,” he said. “It internally divides the human person from their very own bodies. And now it's separating the human community from their reproductive faculties, in the era of assisted reproductive technology. So this is diabolical in every sense of the word. Diabolical.”

Rejecting objective truth

Encouraging people to pursue sex-change surgery rejects understanding of who the human person is, said Lappert. 

“One of the mistakes that people are making in contemporary life is viewing themselves as sort of a spirit creature and their bodies as something that they own or something that they possess,” he said. “They view their own bodies as something that they can do things to in order to provoke happiness in themselves. It's a very self-referential view of the human person and it has at its heart this division of the nature of the human person.” 

Plastic surgery can never divorce itself from objective reality just as no form of medical care can separate itself from the objective truth of who the human person is, he said.

“So if I aim to be a good surgeon, then the very first thing I have to understand is the subject upon whom I am working,” Lappert stated. “If I have met grave misunderstandings about the objective reality of that of the person, I'm going to be making some serious mistakes when I embark on medical or surgical care.” 

“To view the body as a thing, but somebody that a person owns, to view themselves, their personhood is something separate from their own bodies, is a very grave mistake,” he said. “And then to set about modifying the body in ways that you hope will bring about a lasting happiness can't possibly succeed, because it begins with a lie, it begins with an error about the objective truth of who the human person is.” 

The full interview with Dr. Patrick Lappert is available HERE.

Two positive resources for gender-confused and same-sex attracted individuals featured in the discussion were the Roman Catholic Courage apostolate and Walt Heyer’s outreach titled Sex Change Regret. Heyer had transitioned to living as a woman and then returned to living as a man, and now performs outreach for gender-confused people.

Information on Courage is available HERE and HERE.

The Sex Change Regret website can be accessed HERE.

James Shupe, formerly Jamie Shupe, ex-transgender and former non-binary person, writes about his experience and chronicles transgender issues HERE

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline provides free and confidential help and resources to individuals in distress 24/7. The number is 800-273-8255.

Additional resources are available here, here and here.

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Rosary protest against a drag queen story hour in Kansas City.
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Protesters will pray the rosary against Missouri drag queen story hour tomorrow

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By Lisa Bourne

September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A prayer protest is planned against the drag queen story hour scheduled for this coming Tuesday evening at the public library in St. Joseph, Missouri.

The public library in the northwest Missouri city joins others across the U.S. and elsewhere in hosting cross-dressing adult males reading stories at an event that has historically been geared toward instilling a love of reading in children.

“I was horrified to see that a conservative Midwestern city like St. Joseph would hold such an event, especially at a city named after a saint,” Francis Slobodnik told LifeSiteNews.

“Drag queen story hours are a form of child abuse”

Slobodnik, district manager for The American TFP and America Needs Fatima, is among those opposed to the drag queen story hour at the Missouri library.

He will drive the one and a half-hours from his Topeka, Kans., home to lead a rosary of reparation at the downtown branch of the St. Joseph Public Library Tuesday at 5:30 P.M. The drag queen story hour is scheduled for 6 P.M.

“I tell everyone I can that drag queen story hours are a form of child abuse,” he told LifeSiteNews. “It is child abuse to manipulate and confuse a child’s mind, especially about something fundamental as to who they are.”

“The drag queen story hour is seeking to destroy children’s innocence by featuring adult males dressed as women reading to impressionable children,” Slobodnik’s material on the rosary protest states. “The program features drag queens in often suggestive and vulgar costumes. These men have access to children in order to read books that promote the homosexual lifestyle.”

“We are trying to groom the next generation”

Slobodnik quotes Dylan Pontiff, a drag queen who’d helped organize a drag queen story hour at the Lafayette Public Library in Louisiana in October 2018, and who made the shocking admission before the Lafayette City-Parish Council during a Sept 2018 meeting that the events enable drag queens to groom children for LGBT acceptance.

“This is going to be the grooming of the next generation,” Pontiff said. “We are trying to groom the next generation.”

LifeSiteNews has reported on numerous drag queen story hour events with shocking behavior and problematic readers.

A drag queen in England was caught on camera last month teaching small children at a library story hour how to perform the sexually suggestive dance move known as “twerking.”

Last October, children at a Portland, Ore.–area drag queen story hour were allowed to roll around on the floor and lie on top of the drag queen. Following the report, the Multnomah County Library deleted the photos from its Flickr account.

Two Houston, Texas, drag queen story hour readers were found earlier this year to be registered sex offenders. A Maryland drag queen story hour reader, it was learned this past summer, is connected to various lewd and pornographic businesses and activities.

In July, the American Library Association’s national conference presented workshops to librarians from across the country that included strategies for incorporating gender identity ideology in schools and finding ways to bring drag queen story times into public libraries in the face of objections from local communities.   

Last month, the Wichita library board was divided over whether to disqualify convicted sex offenders from presenting at its libraries. 

The St. Joseph Public Library website reads of the drag queen story hour event:

In this installment of Celebrating All of Us, we are celebrating our LGBTQ+ community and everyone’s inner child will be allowed to play! Children are naturally more accepting; loving their friends and family regardless of how they may be different from others. We also want young people to feel confident in who they are, that they can be what and who they want to be. Come listen to a fabulous Drag Queen read some stories and host a dance party!

“I am greatly concerned about the moral decline of America and its impact on innocent children” 

Slobodnik learned some weeks ago that a branch of the St. Joseph Public Library was hosting a drag queen story hour and immediately contacted the library director, the mayor’s office, and all city council members, urging them for the sake of the innocent children to cancel the event.

“I do not live in St. Joseph, however I do live in America,” he wrote to the public officials. “I am greatly concerned about the moral decline of America and its impact on innocent children.” 

“Even though the moral decline is national in scope, generally it has not been as disastrous in certain parts of America such as the Midwest,” Slobodnik said. 

“I can’t believe that such a disgraceful, disgusting event would be held in a city named after a Saint in a public taxpayer facility!” he continued. “I urge you for the sake of the innocence of children to do all that you can to prevent this from happening.” 

“Who can gauge the damage that such an event will have on anyone who attends?” Slobodnik asked.

Because “Diversity”

The response he received from St. Joseph Public Library director Mary Beth Revels said the drag queen story hour is part of an “ongoing family diversity series” called Celebrating All of Us.

“The series seeks to highlight different minority communities within our larger community and celebrate them,” Revels’s response said. “Our purpose for this series is to welcome all members of our community and reinforce that the library is for everyone.”

Other programs in the series have been geared for the deaf community, the blind community, and families with children with Down syndrome. The October program is themed to celebrate immigrants in the community.

Revels’s response also mentioned that drag queen story hour is “not a program only for children[.] This is a family program where any children in attendance will be with their families.”

St. Joseph City councilman at large Brian Myers told Slobodnik via email, “I think Drag Queen Story Hour is a wonderful event, and I’m proud to have it at our public library.”

“Part of being an American is allowing the free expression of ideas and thoughts in public spaces,” Myers said. “As a patriot, I’m sure you respect that aspect of our first amendment.”

District 1 council member Madison Davis briefly thanked Slobodnik “for reaching out with [his] thoughts.”

District 2 council member Marty Novak told Slobodnik by email that he agreed with Slobodnik’s sentiment.

“I have expressed my opinions to library board members on the event,” Novak said. “The sad fact is the St. Joseph public library is a separate entity.”

While the St. Joseph City Council has no direct oversight of the library, it does approve the governing board, he noted, and should the event go forward, he said he would support a recall of the entire library board.

“Sadly this is a platform that the LBGT+ community is using to accentuate and drive their agenda,” Novak said. “While I disagree with them, federal courts have supported their views.”

“We need” to “push the envelope”

Revels told a local news outlet that the controversial event was necessary.

“I agree that we are pushing the envelope but we need to,” she said in a KQ2.com report. “The LGBT community are taxpayers. We’re providing a program for our LGBT community. It’s also an affirming program.”

The “Celebrating all of us” series is designed for families with children between the ages of 3 and 8, she said.

Revels stated, “For little kids, what they’re going to see is a beautiful woman who is reading two books to them then dancing.”

Councilman Myers created a petition in support of drag queen story hour, according to the report.

“While I do respect that some people might be against this because they feel it’s a moral issue,” he said, “at the end of the day if you disagree with something happening in a public space, you have the choice of not taking your children.”

Slobodnik organized similar protests recently, one in May in Omaha and another in June in Kansas City. He attended another in Omaha in July. Those events took place at public venues other than a taxpayer-subsidized public library. Other TFP groups have organized rosary protests elsewhere as well.

He doesn’t know what attendance at the St. Joseph protest will be, he said, but he knows that many have spread the word extensively.

Prayer protesters at the prior demonstrations encountered some mocking, hostility, and false accusations that they were blocking the sidewalks.

This didn’t matter, Slobodnik told LifeSiteNews, as “the protesters were very happy to be there to stand up for God and for the innocence of children.”

To respectfully express concern:

Mary Beth Revels, Director
St. Joseph Public Library 
927 Felix Street, St. Joseph, MO 64501

816-232-4038

[email protected]

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*The rosary for reparation takes place at the Felix Street downtown branch at 5:30 P.M. Tuesday*

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Argentine pro-lifers to rally outside Canadian embassy in solidarity with jailed Mary Wagner

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By Martin Barillas

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Argentine pro-life champion Mariana Rodriguez Varela expects hundreds of pro-life activists to attend a rally outside Canada’s embassy on Tuesday in solidarity with Mary Wagner, a Canadian who has been in jail since April 17 because she tried to rescue babies from abortion.

Celebrated in Argentina for her media appearances during last year’s debate in the South American nation’s Congress over the legalization of abortion, Rodriguez Varela said she and other pro-lifers will assemble outside of the Canadian embassy in Buenos Aires to pray the Rosary and express solidarity and admiration for Wagner. They are hoping that Canadian authorities will recognize Wagner’s peaceful advocacy for the value of human life and release her.

Wagner has spent a total of over five years in jail for her frequent pro-life witnesses in violation of laws that prohibit her from quietly talking to abortion-minded pregnant mothers and offering them help. She has spent more than four months in jail as a result of her most recent conviction. This was for “mischief and illegal obstruction of property” after she peacefully pleaded on behalf of babies whose lives were being taken at an abortion facility in British Columbia.

Pro-life advocates who are not able to assemble in Buenos Aires are planning to pray at churches throughout the country on Tuesday. Rodriguez Varela said Wagner’s family members are asking fellow Canadians to do the same and draw attention to her sacrifice. Wagner is to face trial on Tuesday or Wednesday in Vancouver.

Rodriguez Varela told LifeSiteNews that Argentine pro-lifers will pray and bring roses to the Canadian diplomatic mission in tribute to Wagner and as a reminder of the value of human life. Wagner brings roses to abortion facilities, where she counsels women and abortionists against abortion and in favor of saving innocent lives.

Rodriguez Varela is known for her faith-filled and cheerful defense of human life in her public appearances and in the media. In a telephone conversation, she told LifeSiteNews about an incident that led her to become much more involved in the pro-life movement.

“I am one of eight children,” she said, “and our parents always taught us about the value of human life.” Her mother frequently told her that every human life bears the possibility of being “extraordinary.” Having reflected on the many gifts she had received in her life, including loving parents and siblings, marriage and children, Rodriguez Varela said that after prayer she was called to do more.

It was while she and a friend were counseling a woman against abortion that a change came about. She and her fellow counselor told the prospective mother about the risks of abortion, as well as the incidence of depression and suicide among post-abortive women. It was to no avail because the mother of the unborn child insisted that she wanted an abortion, despite their appeals and information they provided about alternatives that included adoption.

When the woman prepared to leave, Rodriguez Varela’s companion told her, “If you go through that door and have the abortion, it will be as though a truck has struck you. You will never be the same.” This prompted Rodriguez Varela to understand both the finality of abortion and its effects on women. 

Three years ago, Rodriguez Varela suffered a miscarriage at age 46 that caused sadness and months of depression. Already being a mother of six, she had feared the consequences of giving birth later in life. After her loss, her depression grew even while she prayed for deliverance. However, it was not until her brother suggested that she name the baby that the cloud lifted. “I named her Felicitas, and the depression went away,” she told LifeSiteNews.

Since that time, Rodriguez Varela said he has dedicated her free time to campaigning for life. In gratitude to God for her deliverance and for many other favors, Rodriguez Varela said she wants to help prevent abortion but also assist post-abortive women. She has received hundreds of letters and phone calls from women who have attested to their own sadness and suicide, which she and her allies have sought to alleviate through counseling and resources after abortion.

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Raymond Arroyo defends American Catholics against Pope’s accusatory remark: They love the Church

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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo defended traditional American Catholics and their faithfulness to Church teaching in a blistering analysis of Pope Francis’ recent off-the-cuff remark, “It's an honor that Americans are attacking me.” 

The Pope made his accusatory comment aboard the papal airplane on the way to Mozambique after being handed a copy of the new book How America Wanted to Change the Pope, by French journalist Nicholas Seneze. 

On EWTN’s The World Over, Arroyo criticized the book’s premise that “an American cabal is determined to take down Pope Francis” – a premise with which the Pope apparently agrees.  

“This is tired and, frankly, a fact-free narrative that we’ve heard mostly from European quarters and American progressives for years now,” declared Arroyo. “It is predicated on the idea that traditionally-minded American Catholics from columnists to bishops to cardinals to entrepreneurs – even media types, like this network – are bent on undermining the papacy of Pope Francis.” 

Arroyo reminded his viewers of how two years ago, papal adviser Father Antonio Spadaro “sought to promote the fantasy that American Catholicism has been infected by an alliance with fundamentalist Protestants leading to what he called an ‘ecumenism of hate.’” 

“Now papal biographer Austen Ivereigh is strumming that same chord in a forthcoming book titled Wounded Shepherd, which promotes the same foolishness that the Pope's reform agenda is under attack by well-financed traditionalists,” said the EWTN host.

These depictions “are factually and culturally misreading the situation,” said Arroyo, which end up “destroying or castigating or demonizing others.”  

“They make the mistake of casting orthodox Catholics in America as right-wingers,  players in a political plot to undo the agenda of Francis.” 

“The truth is much more simple,” noted Arroyo. “American Catholics actually believe what the Church has always taught and they are loud enough and have big enough platforms to broadcast that belief.” 

These American Catholics “are pro-life, devotional,” and “they love the church and the Pope,” he added.  

Arroyo described the “absurdist ‘guilt by association’ conspiracy theories” being promoted in the upper echelons of the Church as “laughable.” 

“If this American cabal is so powerful and well-financed, why does it have absolutely nothing to show for its efforts?” asked Arroyo. “Near as I can tell the progressive winds are blowing pretty powerfully through Rome these days with appointments, cover-ups, synods going full steam ahead.”

And over the last few decades, those “progressive winds” of change have produced serious unintended consequences. Arroyo observed:

  • Attendance at weekly Mass is down from 55 percent in 1970 to 21 percent today; 
  • There are now 30 million former Catholics in the United States; 
  • The number of people identifying as Catholic in 2015 were 81.6 million. By 2017 it was down to 74.3 million. 

“Why is this happening?” he asked. “Certainly the sex abuse crisis and loss of trust is a huge factor, but so are things like belief in the Eucharist, marriage, a celibate clergy.”

“We must ask those questions and we will continue to do so,” he promised. 

Arroyo believes traditional American Catholics are being demonized simply for asking important questions, by those who would like to silence them. “This is all a craven attempt to … purge voices from the Church who dare to question the radical changes underway and the brutal tactics used to enact [them].” 

“Given the sexual and financial corruption in the church, it's incumbent upon all of us, laity and clergy, to ask questions and demand answers in love. That’s true mercy: Caring enough to ask the uncomfortable questions,” he said. 

“If people wish to criticize traditional Catholics, have at it! They did it to Mother Angelica, John Paul II,  Benedict XVI,” exclaimed Arroyo. “But let's not demonize people for engaging in dialogue.” 

“Let's not create silly conspiracy theories in an effort to dismiss their concerns or questions. Most of these traditional Catholics have deep reverence for the office and the person of the pope. And like the saints of old, they are, to the best of their ability, trying to keep him from making tragic mistakes or from being deceived by voices with their own agendas,” he added.

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Buttigieg’s pastor ‘brother-in-law’ calls on 2020 Dem to ‘repent’ for pro-abortion claims

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Christians are pushing back against 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for his claim that the Bible suggests human life does not begin until breath, including one critic that hits especially close to home: an evangelical pastor who is also the brother of Buttigieg’s “husband.”

On Friday, Buttigieg, who is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, appeared on the Breakfast Club radio program for an interview with host Lenard "Charlamagne tha God" McKelvey, where he tried to make the case that President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are the ones who actually fall short of Christian teaching due to their positions on economics and healthcare, but “hold everybody in line with this one kind of piece of doctrine about abortion.”

“Then again, you know, there’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath,” he countered. “And so even that is something that we can interpret differently.”

Pro-lifers assailed Buttigieg’s claim for twisting Scripture and ignoring science to justify abortion, particularly the idea that Genesis 2:7’s account of God creating Adam – “Then the Lord God formed a man(a) from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” – is representative of how every subsequent human being came into existence (long-settled biological criteria establishes that a living human being is created upon fertilization).

Among the critics was Rhyan Glezman, a Michigan pastor who is also the brother of Buttigieg’s “husband” Chasten.

"I feel a sense of responsibility and stewardship of my faith to stand up and say something, to say, 'No, that's not true,'" Glezman told the Washington Examiner. "God places a very high value on all human life. Everyone is created fearfully and wonderfully in the image of God with intrinsic value. That doesn't start at the first breath, it starts when we enter our mother's womb."

"If we're going to say we're for all people and we love all people, but we don't value human life in the womb, that's being a hypocrite,” Glezman continued on Buttigieg’s “outrageous” use of Scripture. “You're hypocritical if you don't stand up for all life. So that's why I'm speaking out."

Glezman went so far as to call Buttigieg a “modern-day pharisee,” who has “manipulated” and “weaponized” Scripture in the name of politics, and is “making up their own rules and regulations and, basically, if we don't celebrate and endorse their interpretation of Scripture, our religion is fallible.”

"This isn't a little issue, especially when we're talking about life," he declared. "This is not just a political conversation. We're talking about human life. These are human beings." Glezman added that he considered the entire 2020 Democrat presidential field “very anti-life” and “very anti-God.”

The Bible repeatedly condemns “murder” and “shed(ding) innocent blood” as “detestable to” the Lord, because “in the image of God has God made mankind.”

Glezman added that he loves both Pete and Chasten, but hopes the South Bend mayor will “repent from teaching these false claims of Christianity; that he would just have an absolute encounter with God. ... Anyone who makes those claims, anyone who's going to weaponize the (Bible) in that way, I would say to anyone that you need to repent. This is leading people astray and it's very, very dangerous."

Glezman has previously spoken out about the “very broken” relations within his family, particularly since he became a Christian and Buttigieg became a national figure, and accused the mayor’s presidential campaign of misrepresenting his family as having kicked Chasten out of the house and into poverty after coming out as homosexual.

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European abortionist sues FDA for cracking down on abortion-by-mail scheme

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The European physician behind an organization that circumvents medical regulations by sending abortion pills through the mail has filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) over actions it has taken to block their activities.

Created by Dutch abortion activist Rebecca Gomperts, “Aid Access” sends women the abortion-inducing drugs mifepristone and misoprostol after just an online consultation with a “doctor,” for the express purpose of getting around the costs and unavailability of abortions in their area, as well as regulations such as waiting periods or parental involvement requirements. The group claims it’s safe to take the pills at home, without medical supervision.

The FDA opened an investigation into Aid Access last October, and in March warned the organization that it was “facilitating the sale of...unapproved and misbranded” products, and to “promptly cease” doing so or face regulatory action potentially “including seizure or injunction, without further notice.”

On Friday, Gomperts filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho against the FDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar for seizing up to ten doses of abortion drugs Aid Access had “prescribed” since that letter, NPR reports, as well as allegedly blocking some payments to the group. The suit seeks to stop what Gomperts calls “bullying” and “intimidation” by the FDA.

Gomperts' attorney Richard Hearn claims that Aid Access merely helps women carry out the so-called “right” to abortion. “Some women in the United States can exercise that right just by going down the street if those women happen to live in New York or San Francisco or other major metropolitan areas on either one of the coasts,” he told NPR. “But women in Idaho and other rural states, especially conservative states...cannot exercise that right.”

“FDA remains very concerned about the sale of unapproved mifepristone for medical termination of early pregnancy on the Internet or via other channels for illegal importation, because this bypasses important safeguards designed to protect women's health,” the agency responded in a statement to NPR. It didn’t comment on potential future actions against Aid Access, but said it “generally does not take enforcement action against individuals” who receive such unapproved drugs.

Part of the FDA’s March warning to Aid Access was that its business circumvents federal requirements that the approved prescription version of mifepristone, Mifeprex, be only made available via a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program and obtainable only from REMS-certified healthcare providers. This, it said, ensures that providers can “assess the duration of the pregnancy accurately, diagnose ectopic pregnancies, and provide surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding, or to have made arrangements for others to provide such care”; give women “access to medical facilities for emergency care”; and more.

Pro-lifers also warn that even when “properly” taken, abortion pills are not only lethal to preborn children but more dangerous to women than advertised.

“As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal,” the FDA warns, on top of 2,740 cases of severe complications from 2000 to 2012.

“Protecting women from the known dangers of abortion-inducing drugs is good and safe policy,” Students for Life of America spokesperson Kristi Hamrick said in a statement about the lawsuit. “Risking women's lives so that an international sales team for abortion pills can more easily operate is not in the interests of American women. It's easy to understand why a profit driven industry for chemical abortion pills wants fewer health and safety standards but protecting women from the known dangers of the pills is the right public policy.”

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Over 20,000 pro-lifers march to protest UK imposing abortion on Northern Ireland

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BELFAST, September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As many as 20,000 pro-lifers descended on Belfast this weekend for the March for Their Lives, an event registering the public’s anger that the parliament of the United Kingdom has imposed legal abortion upon Northern Ireland.

In July, Parliament voted 328-65 to repeal Sections 58 and 59 of Northern Ireland’s 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, which forbid both women and doctors from committing abortions. Pro-lifers in and out of the province were outraged that the UK imposed their will on the people of Northern Ireland.

On Saturday, concerned pro-lifers responded by marching to the Stormont parliament buildings where the Northern Irish assembly is located, The Independent reports. There, they bowed their heads in six minutes of silent witness. The event was organized by the pro-life groups Precious Life, the Life Institute, and Youth for Life NI, according to CatholicIreland.net. The organizers say they saw a turnout of more than 20,000 marchers.

Prominent attendees included Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armag, former Northern Irish police ombudsman Baroness Nuala O’Loan, and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster. A so-called Rally for Choice supporting the impending abortion regime also marched through Belfast, the BBC reports.

“We organised this event which was open to people of all religions, all political persuasions and all cultural backgrounds so we could come together and unite on this issue, and stand in silent protest,” pro-life march organizer Sarah Crutchley said. “We want our silence to say two things: that first, we, as the people of Northern Ireland, were not asked about this change in legislation, and that it actually goes against public opinion here, and that every sitting MP from Northern Ireland voted against this change, and that the unborn children, they have no voice, they cannot speak so they were not considered in this legislation.”

Further complicating the issue is the fact that Northern Ireland’s assembly has been suspended for more than two years and has been unable to reach an agreement on reconvening. The UK Parliament has set a deadline for the province’s assembly to come together by October, otherwise it will begin legalizing abortion.

“We can see children suffering, not able to get to school. Hospitals not functioning, we can see so much that is wrong” without a functioning provincial government, O’Loan said. “And to compound all that's wrong, to bring in abortion, unregulated abortion, up to 28 weeks. Just like that. And then to move to march, to pass a set of regulations, which cannot be debated and amended. That is wrong.”

Faithwire’s Will Maule notes that Northern Ireland saw just 13 abortions from 2016 to 2017, whereas England and Wales saw an estimated 200,000.

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81-year-old liberation theologian is an architect of the Amazon Synod

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By Maike Hickson

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

September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In recent weeks, there has been much discussion among solicitous Catholics about one of the inspirers of the upcoming October 6-27 Pan-Amazon Synod, Leonardo Boff. He is one of the founders of Liberation Theology and a co-author of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on environmental problems.

However, on a practical level – that is to say, in the concrete preparation of the Amazon Synod's preparatory and working documents – there needs to be another man named as a key inspirer of the Amazon Synod: the 81-year-old Father Paulo Suess. 

Suess is a professor of Mission Studies in São Paulo, Brazil and a member of the group Amerindia, which is a group of defenders of Liberation Theology. Boff belongs to this group, as well. Over many years, they have been trying to influence the conferences of the Latin American bishops, and in 2007, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga even officially invited them to make direct contributions to the final document of the 2007 Aparecida meeting of Latin American Bishops. Since Suess was among those counselors, it is highly probable that Suess had already met the later Pope Francis, since then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was the head of the commission responsible for the final document.

In any event, authors of Amerindia are now writing essays in which they show how much influence they had already at Aparecida, and how then-Cardinal Bergoglio had sympathy for many of their causes, but that some of them were later deleted from Aparecida's proposed final document – by order of Rome.

One of these Amerindia authors is Agenor Brighenti. In a 40-page long study written in 2016, entitled “The Aparecida Document: the Original Text, the Official Text, and Pope Francis,” Brighenti shows how the final 2007 document of Aparecida was censored by Rome. This was after the Latin American bishops had approved of it under Bergoglio’s guidance. The study says that the parts that were taken out or weakened (such as the enforcement of the Liberation Theologian's Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC), their “option for the poor,” as well as some comments weakening the authority of the local bishops) were actually close to Bergoglio's heart. 

Brighenti writes: “On the other hand, no one could have imagined, much less the censors themselves, that, a few years later [after 2007], the then-President of the Drafting Commission of the ‘original [uncensored] text’ of the [Aparecida] document would come to be Pope. And more than that, that the then-Cardinal Bergoglio – now Pope Francis – would bring up again practically all those changes or suppressions that the censors had made in the ‘original text’,  and that he would propose them to the Church as a whole.”

Brighenti just co-authored a book on Pope Francis with Fr. Carlos M. Galli – the Pope’s theological advisor when he was Cardinal Bergoglio in Buenos Aires – Leonardo Boff, and Paulo Suess.

Pope Francis met with Suess in 2014

As to the Amazon synod itself, Suess was already involved in its preparations when Bishop Erwin Kräutler, in April 2014, had a private audience with Pope Francis: Kräutler took Suess with him, due to the fact that these two German-speaking clergymen had been working together for the indigenous cause for decades. Part of the conversation with the Pope in 2014 was that the Pope's guests should make “bold proposals” with regard to the lack of priests in Brazil. Pope Francis also asked Kräutler to provide him with further material for his encyclical Laudato Si. This Austrian bishop is therefore held to be among the co-authors of that encyclical.

Kräutler and Suess worked together for decades in Brazil, also in the Brazilian bishops' Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI). Suess was for many years CIMI's general secretary and then its theological advisor, while Kräutler was CIMI's president for over two decades. CIMI is also a member of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network REPAM, which has been tasked by the Pope with the preparation of the Amazon Synod. (Kräutler is Vice-President of REPAM Brazil.) Professor Suess also edited a collection of texts written by Kräutler to which he added a foreword. For another of Kräutler's books, Leonardo Boff wrote a foreword

Kräutler is famous for his expression that “I have never in my life baptized an indigenous [person], and I also do not have the intention of ever doing so.”

Not long after that private audience with Pope Francis, Paulo Suess, still in 2014, quoted the Pope as saying that “accompaniment” of indigenous peoples is important, “to walk with them. Conversion? That is not what you should do, no. Conversion? Jesus does that.”

“It is so liberating,” Suess then continued, “that this has now been received on the highest levels [of the Church], because, for a long time, that was suspicious, that we do not really evangelize, not properly catechize, and that we do not truly bring the indigenous to the Church.”  

“But for us,” added the theologian, “the principle of life was the most important: that they [the indigenous people] have life, and for that they need land and have to be strengthened in their identity.” 

Is Suess one of the authors of the synod working document?

In this 2014 interview, Fr. Suess proposes to use a new understanding of Revelation: “It is also important to historicize the notion of Revelation and that we can discover God's Revelation among these indigenous peoples.”

Here, one may clearly see Suess' influence upon the Pan-Amazon Synod's working document, inasmuch as it presents the Amazon region as “a particular source of God’s revelation.” This is one of the key statements of this Vatican document that provoked much criticism from faithful prelates such as Cardinal Walter Brandmüller.

Different progressivist sources say that Bishop Erwin Kräutler is the author of the synod's working document. Knowing well how closely this bishop has been working for decades with Paulo Suess, we may better see the influence of the latter, especially since Suess is the professor and expert, whereas Kräutler himself is more prone to activism than scholarship.

In numerous additional, mostly Spanish-speaking documents, Paulo Suess is being named and interviewed as an expert for the Amazon Synod and as one of five key authors of the Amazon Synod's preparatory and working documents.

The Secretariat never replied to multiple e-mails from LifeSiteNews, while the the Vatican press office gave LifeSiteNews a link to the Amazon Synod's own website showing the 18 official members of the pre-synodal council as Pope Francis established it in March 2018.

But Suess' name does not show up here, whereas his close collaborator, Kräutler, is named as an official member of the council.

The probable reason for this omission is that Suess has been called by the Vatican to be one of the experts and counselors of the pre-synodal council, but not as a member of the council which consists mostly of cardinals and bishops. Suess was, however, already present at the first meeting of the pre-synodal council in April 2018. Yet he still seldom officially appears as a person involved with the synod. 

LifeSiteNews contacted Suess about this matter. He said that he prefers not to respond to such questions before the synod itself. (However, LifeSiteNews did send him one of our reports on his involvement with the synod, so that he could possibly deny the named facts, but he did not respond to that.)

Suess criticized Pope Benedict’s comments on evangelization in South America

One of the likely reasons that he is being kept in the background by the Vatican, in spite of his crucial influence on the synod, could be that he, in 2007, publicly rebuked then-Pope Benedict XVI after his speech before the assembly of Latin American bishops in Aparecida. In that speech, Pope Benedict had insisted upon the many blessings of the evangelization of the continent since its discovery by Christopher Columbus, rather than merely seeing it as an act of violence and abuse. He spoke of a “purification” of the indigenous culture that was then “longing” for God.

Suess, who was already a theological advisor of the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference, commented on this papal speech and used strong words. 

“The Pope doesn’t understand the reality of the Indians here, his statement was wrong and indefensible,” Suess told the news agency Reuters. “I too was upset.”

In an analysis of some of Pope Benedict's earlier February 2007 remarks with regard to the evangelization of the Southern American continent, Suess wrote that “The [papal] statement that indigenous cultures [accepted] the Catholic Church and its message of faith is historically without documentary evidence, approaches, theologically, a certain fundamentalist providentialism and is anthropologically unacceptable.”

Suess – who is an important representative of Liberation Theology, as well as a developer of the concepts of inculturation, Indigenous Theology, and of the Theology of the Other – is opposed to the coming of the West into South America. He said in a 2000 interview that “the landing of the Portuguese 500 years ago is of course for the indigenous not a reason for celebration.” This event meant for the indigenous cultures, says Suess, “years of exploitation, of the destruction of their cultures and nationalities.” 

‘We do not have the right to proselytize’

Suess, who was born in Cologne, Germany, but has now spent more than 40 years working in the indigenous mission in Brazil, claims that only in the 1970s and 1980s have “we in the Latin American Church started to stress the specific aspects [of the indigenous people].” This development included a new pastoral care for the indigenous people.

“Before that, the work with the indigenous always had the perspective of integration,” which means to integrate the indigenous people into the Brazilian culture. Suess calls this “pseudo-integration,” against which he has helped to develop a pastoral care which “recognizes the other, the specific aspects of the indigenous cultures, and [defends] them.” 

“If we do not believe that the indigenous have their own future, then we do not have any faith,” he then bluntly explained. These people, he believes, have a perspective, “if not in this Brazil, then in another Brazil.”

In other interviews, Suess makes it clear that for him, indigenous missionary work is not about “conversions,” as he puts it. 

“We do not have the right to proselytize, to belittle the religion of the other or to entice [others] to conversions,” he stated this year. “The people themselves must resolve which one is the best religion for this historical moment.” The Constitution Nostrae Aetate of the Second Vatican Council, Suess assertively states, insisted upon “religious self-determination.” 

A Marxist perspective 

It is also Suess who insists that, up until now, the Church imposed upon the Amazonians a “European face,” and that now they need to discover an “Amazonian face.” 

In 2014, speaking in German, Suess explained that, for him, the indigenous are the “revolutionary agents in South America,” thus showing that he never left the ideological mentality of the Marxist perspective of the Liberation Theology movement, out of which Indigenous Theology has flowed. The revolutionary agent as a tool for implementing changes in society now is simply not anymore the worker, but the indigenous.

Still in May 2019, in an interview posted on the official Amazon Synod website, Suess claims: “In the end, we want to build a new society, because this capitalist society, this killing system, does not work, as Pope Francis says. How can we be announcers of life? We must change society. Who are we going to do it with? With Amazonian peoples, with indigenous people, with young people. Are we willing to build a less unequal society? That is why we have to strengthen the new paths.”

Suess’ work in São Paulo has been suspect to the Church hierarchy in Rome and in Brazil, so much so that, in 2001, he was sidelined and excluded from his own post-graduate program for Mission Studies at the Pontifical Theological Department of the Nossa Senhora da Assunção University in São Paulo (Brazil), where he was a founding professor. Here, too, some similarities to Leonardo Boff's personal history may be seen. 

Fr. Suess favors female ‘priests,’ ‘deacons,’ says Pope Francis is ‘practitioner of Liberation Theology’

But now, under Pope Francis, many things have changed. Suess has now participated in all the key preparatory gatherings for the Amazon Synod in Rome, Quito, Bogotà, and elsewhere, so that he was able work the findings of these gatherings into the synod's working document. 

Suess and Kräutler have also helped build a direct bridge to the German Bishops' Conference, which has given over the years, by way of one of its relief agencies, around 22 million euros to CIMI (this is according to Ralph Allgaier, the spokesman of Misereor), as well as supported Amerindia with 100,000 euros. They are also generous supporters of REPAM. Suess was “project partner” with the other episcopal relief agency, Adveniat. The German bishops also invited Suess to be involved in the fundraising campaigns of these relief agencies. Markus Büker, an employee of Misereor, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the work of Suess and worked with Suess in the Amerindia group preparing proposals for the discussions at the 2007 episcopal gathering in Aparecida.

It is not surprising that Paulo Suess is also in favor of women “priests” and women “deacons.” He stated in February 2019: “ Unfortunately, because of the unity of the Church, it will be difficult at this time to discuss the priesthood [sic] of women. In the perspective of a certain graduality of solutions, what could be discussed today would be the female diaconate [sic].”

Long forgotten are the earlier restrictions under former popes. Pope Francis, it is claimed, now brings a new wind, the “wind of the south.” That expression was first used by Cardinal Walter Kasper. It became part of the title of a new book on Pope Francis written by Paulo Suess, Carlos M. Galli (then-Cardinal Bergoglio's theological adviser in Argentina), and Leonardo Boff, among others. 

Speaking about Pope Francis in 2014, Suess compared the new Pope with a bird “who by his election has been freed from his prison, from his cage, and with it, he also brought to Rome the Latin American theology, and with it also the Latin American Magisterium.”

In 2013, Suess said about Pope Francis: “Bergoglio is a practitioner of Liberation Theology.”

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Amazon Synod working document earns strong criticism from Amazon experts

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By Maike Hickson

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September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In recent weeks, unexpected clergymen and laymen have raised their voices against the Amazon Synod. These individuals come from the Amazon region or have worked there and thus have deep knowledge of the larger situation of the Amazon. Based on their own experience, they have come to criticize the Amazon Synod’s working document that is to be the foundation for the October 6–27, 2019 event.

Only recently, LifeSiteNews reported about the words of retired bishop José Luiz Azcona Hermoso, who has lived in Brazil for thirty years and who pointed out that the Amazon Synod’s working document (instrumentum laboris) omits important parts of the life of the Amazonian people. He pointed out that the majority of these people are not even Catholic anymore — Pentecostalism is on the rise — and that there exists a significant amount of child abuse, most prominently pedophilia, in these regions. Both facts are not mentioned in the Amazon Synod’s working document.

In an additional interview with the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, Bishop Azcona argues that the authors of the instrumentum laboris neglect altogether to mention portions of the population of the Amazon — for example, the Afro-Americans, as well as the “absolute majority” of the Amazon, the “Ribeirinhos.” “The ‘face of the Amazon’ of the IL [instrumentum laboris],” he explains, “is not Amazonian. The indigenous peoples that are a very small minority in the Amazon region are dominating the largest part of the ‘Amazonian face.’” He considers it a new “form of colonialization,” as if “now the indigenous culture would be imposed upon the entire Church.”

Azcona also criticizes certain forms of “indigenous theology” — the ones that dominate the synod’s working document — that are “clearly pagan.” The indigenous theology as it is used in the instrumentum laboris, he states, “is in no way legitimate.” It “would be a perversion of the notion of ‘evangelization,’ an indigenous messianism, a watering down of the redemption of Christ, a pagan doctrine on the Last Things and a dialogue without roots in the Gospel.”

“This kind of indigenous theology does not belong to the deposit of the Faith,” Azcona forcefully concludes.

The bishop is also opposed to the idea of introducing married priests in the Amazon region, saying the region most needs “a personal conversion.” But in the synod’s working document, “it is not the Gospel, which — as the unique divine power — can save, liberate, and build up those people who believe, as well as the family, society, culture, and identity.” In conclusion, the prelate states that the synod document is “theologically and therefore pastorally weak and dangerous, because it bans the Crucified and Resurrected Christ from the center, thus also running the danger of causing a schism.”

Without this concentration on an evangelization and this conversion to Christ, the prelate goes on to say, “the Catholic Church has no future. Then the synod would altogether turn into a gigantic propagation of important topics such as ecology, cultures, and dialogue.” Here, Azcona speaks of “pastoral naïveté,” and “a betrayal of the Gospel, of mankind, and of the indigenous people in the Amazon region.”

Other voices can now be added to this critique. First, there is a German missionary priest in Brazil, Herbert Douteil, who in an interview with the German Catholic journal Vatican Magazin speaks about the animist religion of many indigenous people. He stresses that, unlike the idealistic depictions in the Amazon Synod document, the indigenous people are “afraid” of the forest and its spirits. For them, there are “good and bad spirits in the jungle, in the plants, trees, animals, rivers, and in the weather,” Fr. Douteil explains. “The indigenous personn always lives in fear, to get in trouble with the evil spirits and not sufficiently to honor the good spirits. Each trip into the jungle is a renewed encounter with the threatening unknown.”

When these people hear from Fr. Douteil that Jesus Christ Himself has the power to drive out demons, and that the demons even needed permission from Him to drive themselves into pigs, “it was a liberation for them,” the priest states. “When we have Christ in our hearts,” they told him, “then we do not need to have fear of any kinds of evil spirits!”

This missionary priest thereby debunks the Amazon Synod’s document and its idea that somehow we Catholics have to learn from the religions of these indigenous people. They, too, are in need of God’s redemption and Christ’s liberating truth.

Douteil, who is very much aware of the social injustices of that region and who has also worked for the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Amazonian peoples, skeptically says about the so-called Indian theology itself that “I am not aware of it. Perhaps it exists at some universities, as there supposedly exists also a specific ‘feminist theology’ at European universities.”

Being involved in charitable work for victims of drug abuse in the Amazon region, Douteil does not shy away from criticizing the synod document’s false use of mercy. Asked about the lack of priests in the region, he states that to him, the instrumentum laboris “demands here too much and builds a new Trojan horse, as it was already once the case with the document Amoris Laetitia with regard to the notion of mercy, with the help of which one wanted to revamp the sexual morality.”

For this priest, the idea of introducing married priests in the Amazon region is merely a “functionalism” and “not a true solution.” His idea is rather to promote morally proven men as lay catechists who, in the case of need, could also distribute Holy Communion.

Further asked about the question of inculturation, Fr. Douteil points out that he himself is a liturgy scholar and that, according to his expertise and experience, “I could not name one single liturgical element that is not also accessible to the indigenous people, and, on the other hand, that there is none that should or could be introduced into our liturgy.”

“Again and again,” he continues, “we have to be careful not to dissolve the liturgy into a social ritual that is oriented toward man and misses the Mysterium Tremendum, that is to say, where one wants to make everything naturally understandable.”

A third source of critiques, once more by way of an interview with Die Tagespost, is a German missionary, Reinhold Nann, who worked for a long time in the Peruvian Amazon region and has been the bishop of Caravelí, Peru, for the last two years. While is has great sympathy for the Amazon Synod’s purposes and puts great hope in the synod and Pope Francis, he nevertheless warns against unrealistic expectations at the synod and reveals some stunning facts about the Amazon region.

Due to the vast regions that a priest has to cover in the Amazon region, due to the poverty of the population, and due to the lack of priests, the Church has not yet been able to present herself in her hierarchical structure and with her moral teaching. “The people live their own morality, not the Church’s morality, which is very much due to the Church's absence in their lives,” Nann explains.

This fact has consequences for the plans to allow married priests in the region: how can one have married priests if the couples in the region seldom marry? Nann says he would first like to work with catechists and married deacons, “but also there exists a problem: there are only a few married laymen.”

In addition to this fundamental fact, Bishop Nann also points out that the people in the Amazon region are so poor that even if a priest could be found, they could not support him financially. “If I had more priests,” he explains, “they could barely live from the meager income of these villages.”

Due to the lack of evangelization in the region and its weak faith, Bishop Nann also does not see that the local parishioners have much yearning for the Eucharist. He sees that the people in the Amazon region “do not really ask for the Eucharist. A Liturgy of the Word is for most of them as good as a Mass.”

Last but not least, there comes to us a lay voice, a social anthropologist from South America who wishes to remain anonymous, who is an expert with regard to the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region. In a lengthy critique of the synod’s working document, this author points to its numerous inaccuracies. Most importantly, he insists that this document presents an “abstract and invented ‘world of the indigenous,’” using “stereotypes and clichés.” The description of the indigenous, as they are found in the Vatican document, often does not correspond to reality.

For example, the anthropologist states that the indigenous peoples have a type of family “which is alien to the Catholic understanding of family,” inasmuch as the children are often raised by the community and inasmuch as the people often have sleeping arrangements in groups (“Maloca”).

Therefore, the anthropologist calls it a “myth” when the synod document speaks of the “good life” of the indigenous. He points to the “extreme poverty,” as well as to “alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and abuse of women and children.” In addition, he finds in certain regions even a “high inclination to suicide” among the indigenous, due to malnutrition, high mortality rates among children, and a life expectancy of about 20 years of age.

Another “myth” of the instrumentum laboris is to be found with regard to the purported closeness of the indigenous peoples to nature, according to this expert. He speaks of a “myth of the harmony between the indigenous and the environment” and proceeds to describe “the reality” that the “ecological practices of the indigenous peoples of the tropical American rain forest often are in conflict with the ideas of the synod specialists.” Here, the anthropologist shows how many indigenous communities still use the traditional agricultural method of “slash and burn,” by which trees are felled and then burned, so there can be some harvest before the soil is soon exhausted.

At the end of this lengthy analysis of the instrumentum laboris, this anthropologist says that what would be of help to these indigenous people would be “scientific knowledge, not magic” — not the traditional practices, but “agriculture and a sustainable economy” would help them in their poverty and needs. “Modern medicine, not the traditional ethnobotany” will be of help in order “to get rid of the endemic suffering of these groups of the population,” the anthropologist explains.

“Literacy and higher education, not shamans, will be able to free the indigenous from their historic submission, from the marginalization” in which they find themselves, the expert states. And this submission is present also due to those people “who still pretend today to speak for them, to tell them what to think, what they desire, and, most of all, what they are supposed to be.”

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UK woman demands gov’t identify her as a ‘father’ on baby’s medical documents

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By Jonathon Van Maren

September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – If one transgender activist has her way, the United Kingdom will soon be recognizing some biological women—who bore their own children—as “fathers.” According to the Metro UK earlier this week, trans activist Freddy McConnell “has appealed to be recognised as his child’s father after legal medical documents [indicate] that he can only be registered [as the child’s] mother.” The reason for this fact, which the media is presenting as a grave injustice, is that Freddy is, in fact, a biological female identifying as male. She “used a sperm donor” to become pregnant two years ago, and this journey was glowingly covered by the BBC in their new documentary Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth. Seahorses, of course, are one of the few species where the males carry the young.

Considering the fact that the taxpayer-funded state broadcaster has already produced what amounts to an extended advert for McConnell’s legal challenge, the BBC has provided an obvious opportunity for Freddy, and it is one that the trans activist intends to take advantage of. McConnell is already hitting the interview circuit, sporting a close-clipped haircut and a well-trimmed mustache and goatee. 

“Someone in my position at the moment as it stands would be registered as the mother,” she stated to one pair of sympathetic interviewers. “There are actually lots of ways in which the laws actually hasn’t [sic] kept up with society and different kinds of families and the ways families are being created now.”

It is not enough for McConnell that the media obediently calls her a “him,” or that an entire documentary was created at the taxpayer’s expense based on the premise that a man gave birth, accepting the idea that someone can, in fact, switch genders. Scientifically speaking, McConnell is a woman, and no amount of external surgery will change the fact that her DNA is female through and through (and even surgery can only roughly approximate a male body). McConnell has every right to claim to be whatever she wishes—but of course, what she actually wants is for the government to legally recognize her as a male. Once this is done, anybody who says otherwise can be persecuted or even prosecuted as discriminatory (and the United Kingdom has already begun down this path).

This is not about people who identify as LGBT being permitted to live as they wish, regardless of the confusion they inflict upon children in the process. This is about demanding that society at large affirm their views in law, regardless of what their views are actually based on. “There’s lots of struggles for lots of LGBTQ+ families and parents and it does need to change, and it’s a struggle,” McConnell told the hosts of This Morning. The documentary, McConnell hopes, will begin to break down barriers and highlight the errant claim that men can give birth: “If there was a way that someone like me could go through this experience, and be gendered correctly on forms and by midwives, and I was lucky because I generally was. Or if I could just attend ante-natal classes and pregnancy yoga and just know that I’d be totally welcomed and safe.”

Despite the fact that McConnell is quite obviously asking that civilization’s fundamental understanding of sex and be gendered to accommodate her belief that she is a man who gave birth, she was coy about it during her interview: “Again, not to totally change something to accommodate someone like me, but just to make a little bit of extra space—then it would’ve been so much easier psychologically [to be pregnant.]” Apparently allowing a biological female to register on legal documents as a biological male, thus confirming that according to the state, men can give birth—this is just a “little bit of extra space.” And if that concession is just “a little bit of extra space,” then we can only imagine what is coming down the road. 

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