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‘Barbie’ toy manufacturer launches ‘gender-inclusive’ dolls for kids

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By Lianne Laurence

EL SEGUNDO, California, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Mattel, the California toy company that created Barbie and Ken, has launched a line of “gender-inclusive” dolls in a move Time described as an “overt nod to trans and non-binary identities.”

The six androgynous dolls in the “Creatable World” line come in various skin shades, long and short hair options, and “six items of clothing, three pairs of shoes and two accessories that are both male- and female-presenting,” reported the Huffington Post. Each doll kit retails at $29.99.

“Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels,” senior vice president of Mattel fashion doll design Kim Culmone explained in a statement on the line’s launch.

“Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms,” she said. “This line allows all kids to express themselves freely, which is why it resonates so strongly with them.”

But some with such identities say the dolls don’t go far enough.

“I really worry that the cultural concept of nonbinary is this singular third androgynous gender, which is what this doll is portraying,” Molly Woodstock, a “gender educator” and co-host of the podcast Gender Reveal, told National Public Radio.

“That’s not the reality of a lot of nonbinary people. We can’t be liberated from the gender binary if we’re just making it a gender ternary,” said Woodstock, who has identified as “nonbinary” for three years.

Samantha, the pseudonym for a woman who runs a “sex-positive” blog, faulted Mattel’s gender-neutral dolls as limited by society’s current understanding of gender, such as long hair for women.

“There’s a question of how we should visually represent these super complex topics,” she told Well+Good.

“Mattel took symbols that we currently understand and simplified them, which raises the question: What would non-binary gender look like without just resorting to short hair, long hair, ‘boy clothes,’ ‘girl clothes’?”

Mattel “tested the doll with 250 families across seven states, including 15 children who identify as trans, gender-nonbinary or gender-fluid and rarely see themselves reflected in the media, let alone their playthings,” reported Time, quoting Monica Dreger, head of consumer insights at Mattel.

“There were a couple of gender-creative kids who told us that they dreaded Christmas Day because they knew whatever they got under the Christmas tree, it wasn’t made for them,” Dreger said.

Time also reported that the number of youngsters identifying as “gender-nonbinary” is growing.

“Though no large surveys have been done of kids younger than 10, a recent study by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that 27 per cent of California teens identify as gender-nonconforming,” it stated.

“In our world, dolls are as limitless as the kids who play with them,” Mattel tweeted:

Laura A. Jacobs, “a trans and gender-queer identified therapist specializing in LGBTQ issues,” told Well+Good that the gender-neutral dolls “validate” the experience of “gender fluid” children.

“Whereas beforehand, when we just had very heteronormative Barbies and Kens, a lot of people really felt like they were left out of that,” she said.

“I think that these dolls send a message to outsiders that these identities are becoming more and more a normalized society,” added Jacobs. “It’s a certain amount of ‘we’re here, we’re queer — get used to it’ or ‘we’re here, we’re gender-queer — get used to it.’”

Mattel’s gender-neutral dolls are “the latest sign that toys and media aimed at kids are expanding to reflect how diverse children and their families actually are,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told Huffington Post.

The National Center for Transgender Equality also tweeted kudos to Mattel:

Mattel launched the gender-neutral doll line a day after French toymakers “signed a pact” with the government to strip all “gender stereotypes” from their wares. A French minister had blamed games and toys for keeping women out of math and science careers, the Guardian reported.

The French Federation of Toy and Childcare Industries (FJP), the association of toy-manufacturers, and the government signed a charter for a “balanced representation (of genders) in toys,” last week, according to the Guardian.

France’s junior economy minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said many toys gave an “insidious” message that prevented girls from going into engineering or computer coding.

“There are toys for girls that are generally very pink and generally very focused on domestic life, whereas toys for boys are generally themed around construction, space travel and science and technology,” she told European broadcaster RTL.

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Canada’s conservative leader doubles down on continuing to fund abortion abroad if elected

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Conservative leader Andrew Scheer today removed all doubt that if elected prime minister on October 21, his Conservative government will not cut any of Justin Trudeau’s massive funding of abortion in developing countries.

Scheer told reporters in Toronto that the Conservative plan to cut Canada’s foreign aid budget by a quarter won’t touch the billions of dollars the Trudeau Liberals earmarked to fund abortion abroad, the Globe and Mail reported.

“We are not reopening this debate at any level,” Scheer said, adding that his party’s proposed foreign aid cuts would “not affect groups or programs going forward.”

LifeSiteNews reported yesterday that Scheer said the same last week to the French-language newspaper Le Devoir but that the Conservative Party had not confirmed if a Tory government would fund abortion abroad.

Abortion funding was banned as part of international aid under Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s Muskoka maternal and child health initiative.

But under programs subsequently put in place by the Trudeau Liberals, Canadian taxpayers will pay $7.1 billion by 2030 to fund and promote abortion in developing countries. 

Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s largest pro-life association and its national political lobbying group, strongly condemned Scheer’s position.

“By stating that he will continue to fund pro-abortion groups that Justin Trudeau has prioritized (IPPF, Marie Stopes International, Women Deliver etc.), Andrew Scheer signals that he supports the Liberal prime minister’s signature foreign policy goal, which is to make abortion ‘the core of Canada’s foreign policy’,” says Matthew Wojciechowski, Campaign Life Coalition vice president.

Moreover, if Scheer refuses to nix Canada’s funding of abortion abroad as prime minister, he will be “directly culpable in the killing of millions of innocent human beings,” added Wojciechowski, who also oversees Campaign Life’s lobbying at the United Nations.

“While Scheer could argue that he can’t single-handedly criminalize or defund abortion in Canada, he can stop funding abortion overseas. He does not need the support from the House of Commons to do so,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“If elected prime minister, Scheer would have the power to cease Canada’s international involvement in the world’s greatest human rights injustice, but he is choosing not to do so,” Wojciechowski said.

Scheer’s pro-abortion funding position also pits him against his own party’s policy.

“The Conservative Party’s policy book is committed to a maternal health initiative that does not include abortion, and Scheer should heed the wishes and wisdom of his party’s base,” Wojciechowski said.

That would mean committing to restoring Harper’s “signature foreign policy initiative — the widely lauded maternal and child health initiative — instead of maintaining Trudeau’s policy of promoting western pro-abortion ideology abroad,” Wojciechowski told LifeSiteNews.

And while Scheer’s defenders may claim that the Conservative leader is “only saying what he needs to say in order to get elected,” that’s demonstrably not the case, as “Harper’s Muskoka Initiative didn’t prevent him from being re-elected,” he added.

“We strongly urge Andrew Scheer to reverse his position and instead publicly and unapologetically commit that a Conservative government will end Canada’s involvement in ideological colonialism,” said Wojciechowski.

Campaign Life has downgraded Scheer’s status as a leader on voteprolife.ca from a C to a D as a result of his clearly stated position that he would maintain Liberal global abortion funding.

Campaign Life had already red-lighted Scheer as not supportable as a candidate after he said he would not vote for pro-life legislation.

Scheer has consistently maintained that a Conservative government will not reopen the abortion debate.

He said in August that if elected prime minister on October 21, he will “oppose” any “measures or attempts” to reopen the abortion debate and other “divisive social issues” such as homosexual “marriage.”

“Canadians can have confidence that these issues will not be reopened under a future Conservative government,” Scheer told reporters.

And while he would allow MPs to “express themselves on matters of conscience,” Scheer said, he would “ensure” that a Conservative government would not reopen “divisive social issues.”

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Nigerian bishops rail against ‘attacks’ on pope from ‘higher levels of the Church’

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By Martin Barillas

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ABUJA, Nigeria, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — At the end of their conference in Ogun State, the Catholic bishops of Nigeria issued a statement deploring what they called “attacks” on Pope Francis from unspecified “higher levels of the Church.”

After conducting their plenary conference in the city of Abeokuta, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) issued a statement on September 20 that especially criticized those within the Catholic Church who they say are attacking Pope Francis. They said in their communiqué, “The Holy Father Pope Francis has come under attacks in recent times. Of more serious concern are the attacks coming from some higher levels of the Church in some parts of the world. As members of the Episcopal College, of which the Holy Father is the Head, we regard these attacks as the proverbial ill wind that blows no one any good, bearing in mind that there are other more legitimate and traditionally tested avenues of expressing our opinions to the Holy Father.”

The statement continued: “We reaffirm our faith in and commitment to the Pontificate of the Holy Father Pope Francis. Consequently, we pledge our loyalty and availability to him in the exercise of his Petrine office, and we promise to continue to cooperate with him fully in the discharge of his divine mandate as the Pastor of the Universal Church.”

The Nigerian bishops’ statement did not specify which are “the higher levels of the Church” that are ostensibly attacking Pope Francis. Emails from LifeSiteNews to the Nigerian Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as to Cardinal John Onaiyekan and coadjutor Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Abuja and Bishop Emannuel Badejo of Oyo, went unanswered.

Among Pope Francis’s critics can be numbered at least one high-ranking Nigerian bishop. In 2015, Cardinal Francis Arinze, formerly prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, gave an exclusive interview to LifeSiteNews in which the cardinal blasted propositions that would soon become codified in Pope Francis’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Chief among these propositions was the idea that people living in a state of objective and persistent mortal sin can licitly receive Holy Communion according to their consciences.

Other African bishops have forthrightly criticized some of the pope’s initiatives as well. For example, Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, who now heads the Congregation for Divine Worship, said the forthcoming Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazon Region, because it is a regional assembly, should not be a forum for discussing priestly celibacy throughout the Latin rite. Celibacy will one of a number of topics that are due to be discussed when the synod begins on Sunday.

In an interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, Cardinal Sarah said last month that the crisis in the Church is driven by atheism and the widely shared wish to impose “personal opinion as truth.” They are “false prophets,” he said, who announce “revolutions and radical changes” that are not for the “good of the flock.” A firm defender of the traditional Latin Mass, he told Pentin that a “demon” is among those prohibiting it. He said, “How can we not be surprised and deeply shocked that what was the rule yesterday is prohibited today?”

In 2017, Pope Francis issued a letter to Cardinal Sarah that was seen by the pope’s defenders as a “correction” of Sarah’s concerns over translations of the liturgy from Latin into various vernacular languages. The papal rebuke came after the cardinal published an article in L’Homme Nouveau, which stated that Pope Francis’s motu proprio Magnum Principium does not alter the authority of the Holy See over liturgical translations. The pope wrote that provisions of St. John Paul II’s Liturgiam Authenticam on the use of the vernacular in liturgical books of the Latin rite have been “abrogated.” The pope also stated that he was shifting responsibility over the fidelity of translations from the Vatican to local bishops’ conferences.

In another instance when Cardinal Sarah was at odds with the pope, the cardinal praised the martyrs of the Vendée region of France, who in the late 1700s resisted revolutionary armies (“infernal columns”) bent on destroying the Church and killing believers. He told French Catholics in 2016 that modern advocates of abortion, contraception, and sterilization are the modern equivalent of those infernal columns. “Once again today, more than ever, revolutionary ideologists want to annihilate the natural place of self-giving, joyful generosity and of love. I want to talk about the family! Gender ideology, and contempt for fertility and fidelity are the many slogans of this revolution.”

In contrast to Cardinal Sarah, Pope Francis told reporters in 2017 that contraception is the “lesser of two evils” in cases of danger of fetal deformity. He also recalled approvingly “a difficult situation in Africa,” in which Pope Paul VI is alleged to “have permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.” While he repeated that there is no moral basis for abortion, the Pope said, “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”

Other high-ranking churchmen whom the Nigerian bishops may be referring to include Cardinals Raymund Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller, and Joachim Meisner, who published five yes-or-no questions (dubia) pressing the pope on the controversial points of Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal George Pell, then-prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, also voiced concerns about Amoris Laetitia and the dubia. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has several times criticized Pope Francis’s papal actions, even earning a rebuke from the pontiff.

The superior general of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa, told the press on September 16 that the “attacks” on the pope are “a fight between those who want the church dreamed of by the Second Vatican Council and those who do not want this.” Sosa acknowledged that there is a “political fight” in the Church today, explaining that the pope’s emphasis on synodality “creates unity” that he sees in the preparations for the coming synod on the Amazonian region.

The full statement by the Nigerian bishops’ conference can be found below.

MOVING BEYOND PRECARIOUS LIVING IN NIGERIA

A Communiqué issued at the end of the Second Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at the Divine Mercy Pastoral Centre, Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta, Ogun State, 11-20 September 2019.

1. PREAMBLE

We, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria held our Second Plenary Meeting for the year at the Divine Mercy Pastoral Centre, Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta, Ogun State from 11-20 September 2019. Having prayerfully reflected on issues affecting the Church and the Nigerian State, we now issue this Communiqué.

2. IN COMMUNION WITH THE HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS

The Holy Father Pope Francis has come under attacks in recent times. Of more serious concern are the attacks coming from some higher levels of the Church in some parts of the world. As members of the Episcopal College, of which the Holy Father is the Head, we regard these attacks as the proverbial ill wind that blows no one any good, bearing in mind that there are other more legitimate and traditionally tested avenues of expressing our opinions to the Holy Father. To be able to lead the flock of Christ in the right direction in a world filled with many contradicting and confusing voices, we as a College must speak with one voice. We therefore recognise that “The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the Bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (Vat II, Lumen Gentium 23). We reaffirm our faith in and commitment to the Pontificate of the Holy Father Pope Francis. Consequently, we pledge our loyalty and availability to him in the exercise of his Petrine office, and we promise to continue to cooperate with him fully in the discharge of his divine mandate as the Pastor of the Universal Church (cf. Code of Canon Law, Cann. 331, 334).

3. STATE OF THE NATION

i) Continued Insecurity and the Need for Respect for Human Life

There are, unfortunately, still many instances of killings as a result of banditry, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, reckless use of force by security agencies and lynching. Lately, too, there is an upsurge in the cases of suicide, even among our youths. Furthermore, the clashes between herdsmen and communities, and the activities of Boko Haram insurgents have continued, in which many innocent people lose their lives. These make living in Nigeria very precarious. We recognise the efforts being made by the government to fight insecurity in the land. However, we emphasise that a lot more still needs to be done in this regard. We pray for the peaceful repose of the victims and sympathise with the bereaved families. We reiterate that without adequate security of lives and property, there can be no stability and enabling environment for meaningful development. We observe that the Federal Government, in which the power to control the major security agencies is vested, is overwhelmed. There is, therefore, need for proper decentralization of these agencies for effective results. We call on all citizens to be law abiding and vigilant, be one another’s keeper, live by sound moral principles and, above all, obey the commandments of God. We urge governments at all levels to provide the enabling environment that would make it possible for both the government and the private sector to create job opportunities for our teeming youth population. This would certainly minimise the menace of insecurity in our land. We continue to urge the government and security agencies to do all they can to secure the immediate release of Leah Sharibu, the remaining Chibok girls and all the other persons still in captivity.

ii) Necessity for National Integration

We thank God for making it possible for our country to continue to exist as a sovereign nation. Yet, much effort is required from both government and citizens in order to have a nation in which everyone and every part, irrespective of differences of tribe or religion or political affiliation, will have a sense of belonging. We note with dismay that many months after the general elections, many parts of our nation are still in disarray. The country is badly divided. This is evident in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources, and distribution of social amenities. We urge especially the Federal Government, to ensure that it does not allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail in our multi-religious and secular state. No one religion should be favoured over another. There should be fairness, justice and neutrality in relation to all religions and ethnic groups, for where there is no justice, there can be no peace, unity and development. We therefore enjoin all Nigerians to see themselves as one united people and work for justice in order to ensure a peaceful and united nation.

iii) Religion, Politics and Life

We are grateful to God that in these trying times, many Nigerians remain manifestly religious. Our practice of religion, however, seems to have little effect on our moral, socio-economic and political lives. While praying for solutions to our problems, we must endeavour to be just in our dealings with others, work hard in fulfilling our duties, and collaborate with others in the social transformation of our country. We observe that our democracy is derailing from what it should be. The qualities of accountability, transparency, independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights, observance of the rule of law, and fair and credible electoral process, to mention only these, are still lacking. We therefore urge all politicians, businessmen, religious leaders, public servants and indeed all citizens to live out the values of their faith for the common good. To all of us we address the challenge of our Lord Jesus Christ: “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world” (Mt. 5: 13-14).

4. XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS IN SOUTH AFRICA

We denounce the horrendous xenophobic attacks in South Africa in which many non-nationals, including Nigerians, lost their lives and/or have their property looted and/or forced to flee the country for their dear lives. We condemn the unfortunate reprisals on perceived South African investments in some part of Nigeria, as two wrongs do not make a right! We pray for the peaceful repose of those who lost their lives and sympathise with those who have suffered bereavement, injuries and heavy losses. We commend the South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) for being prophetic in their condemnation of the attacks and urging the government to take decisive steps to end them. We join our brother Bishops in vehemently condemning the attacks and with them draw the attention of all nations to Deuteronomy 10:18: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” At the same time, we note that South Africa and Nigeria have come a long way in fraternal and diplomatic relations. We advise Nigerians living at home and abroad to be good and law abiding.

5. THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FAMILY

Marriage, the sacred and inviolable union between one man and one woman, is under pressure throughout the world. In our country, this pressure has been increased by the economic and social crises that have lasted for several years. As a result, many a family is no longer stable enough to fulfill the traditional roles of the family in the Church and in the society. We therefore reiterate that the family, as the cradle of life and development, needs to be helped to rediscover as well as to cherish its divine mandate as the first school of virtues and values. Parents are called upon to, by their words and examples, uphold the ideals of decency, discipline, honesty and marital fidelity. The pursuit of wealth and ‘success’ must be guided by those values if families are to bequeath to the wider society responsible young people, who cherish hard work and merit, who respect elders, value the sacredness of life, the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage and are willing to honestly contribute to the building of the nation and the growth of the Church. Parents are also enjoined to keep vigilance over their children and wards, in order to provide moral guidance and protection from unhealthy influences, sexual deviance and exploitation. In spite of present economic challenges, we urge the members of families never to throw away the important African and Christian values of respect and care for the elderly.

6. A CALL ON THE PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS

In union with the Holy Father Pope Francis, we thank and encourage those priests and religious who continue to put themselves at risk in serving the people of God and giving themselves up unreservedly, never to give up. However, we also insist that the times call for holiness of life and more sacrifice on the part of all priests and religious if we are to be true to our vocations. All priests and religious must exercise discretion and be committed to a life of simplicity that is consistent with the life of the Master, who had nowhere to lay his head (cf. Lk 9:57-58). An ostentatious and materialistic life of luxury draws unnecessary attention and portends counter witnessing.

We also enjoin all priests and religious to have a healthy relationship with young people and do more to inculcate the faith in them. Altar servers, members of the Association of the Holy Childhood, teenagers, members of Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON), Young Catholic Students (YCS), Nigeria Federation of Catholic Students (NFCS) and others, need faith mentoring to ensure a fruitful future for the Church. All forms of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults are to be abhorred, since they are a betrayal not only of the confidence our people repose in us but also of our vocations and ministry as priests and religious.

7. EVENTS IN THE CHURCH

This year marks the centenary celebration of the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XV, Maximum Illud, on the Church’s missionary role, issued on 30 November 1919. To mark the celebration, Pope Francis has drawn the attention of the entire Church to the Extraordinary Mission Month of October 2019. This month serves as a momentous opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the missionary mandate of Christ, to assess the effectiveness of our response to this mandate, to reignite our zeal for the mission, and provide prayerful support for missionary efforts all over the Catholic world.

The International Young Catholic Students (IYCS) held their World Council meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, from 30 August to 10 September 2019 with the theme: “Taking Action for Peace, Here and Now.”

The Golden Jubilee of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) was celebrated in Kampala, Uganda, 19-29 July 2019. The Conferences of Africa and Madagascar were represented. The Jubilee celebration provided a significant opportunity for the Church in Africa to evaluate her evangelizing strategy and effectiveness of her becoming Family of God in the true and rich sense.

The third Plenary Assembly of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) was held in Ouagadougou 13-20 May 2019. Thirty-four Nigerian Bishops were in attendance. The Assembly called on the governments and civil authorities in the West Africa region to pay more attention and commit more resources to the development of the youths. The next Plenary Assembly comes up in the year 2022 and will be hosted by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). We take this opportunity to congratulate Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, the Co-adjutor Archbishop of Abuja and the Apostolic Administrator of Jos Archdiocese, on his re-election as the President of RECOWA.

We congratulate the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Abuja, Benin City, Calabar, Ibadan, Jos and Owerri for celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their erection this year. May the Church of Christ continue to flourish in our land. Amen. We thank God for the increase in the number of Bishops in Nigeria. Most Rev. Francis Obafemi Adesina, the Bishop of Ijebu Ode Diocese, was ordained on 25 April 2019. Most Rev. Patrick Eluke, the Auxiliary Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese, was also ordained on 9 May 2019. We wish Most Rev. Albert Fasina, the Bishop Emeritus of Ijebu Ode Diocese, a happy retirement and thank him for his services. We thank God for Most Rev. Paul Olawoore who on 12 July 2019 officially assumed office as the substantive Bishop of Ilorin Diocese. We rejoice with and thank Most Rev. Ayo Maria Atoyebi, OP, the Bishop Emeritus of the same Diocese for his stewardship. We regret the death of Most Rev. Kevin Joseph Aje, the Bishop Emeritus of Sokoto Diocese, who died on 27 May 2019 and has since been buried. We condole with the Bishop, Priests and the Laity of Sokoto Diocese and pray God to grant his servant eternal rest.

We equally congratulate the Dioceses of Maiduguri and Ijebu Ode on their epoch-making achievements. The Diocese of Maiduguri dedicated her St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 10 July 2019. Ijebu Ode Diocese celebrated the Golden Jubilee of her canonical erection as a Diocese on 18 July 2019.

8. CONCLUSION: A CALL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE

The Nigerian State is much endowed with natural, human and spiritual resources. Sadly, political authorities have not been completely diligent in relating to these resources neither have they been fair and equitable in distributing them. Justice requires them to give everyone their due, from sharing of resources to caring for the human person. Where there is no fair sharing of wealth and opportunities, there is bound to be crisis. It is only when we have justice that we can have true peace and sustainable development. We enjoin all Christians and people of good will to preach daily this message of justice and peace, and to live it out coherently. May the Blessed Virgin Mary our Mother, the Queen of Peace and Patroness of Nigeria intercede for us.

Most Rev. Augustine Obiora AKUBEZE
Most Rev. Camillus Raymond UMOH
President, CBCN Secretary, CBCN
Archbishop of Benin City Bishop of Ikot-Ekpene

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Judge nixes two Virginia abortion regs, upholds most pro-life requirements

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By Calvin Freiburger

RICHMOND, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia delivered a split ruling on abortion Monday, striking down two safety regulations while upholding a range of pro-life measures including ultrasound and informed-consent requirements.

The pro-abortion Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and Center for Reproductive Rights had sued the state on behalf of several Virginia abortion providers who claimed that the laws were “burdensome” and “medically unnecessary.”

Hudson sided with the abortion lobby on two questions, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, striking down a requirement that non-surgical second-trimster abortions be performed only in a hospital and a requirement that centers that perform five or more abortions per month be held to the same facility requirements as hospitals.

At the same time, he upheld Virginia’s ultrasound and informed consent requirements, the ban on non-physicians committing abortions, the mandatory waiting period, and clinic inspection requirements.

“Once again the abortion industry failed in their zealous attempt to use the courts to do their bidding,” Family Foundation of Virginia president Victoria Cobb said. “We’re pleased Judge Hudson confirmed the legality of Virginia’s informed consent laws including the law that allows women the opportunity to see their ultrasound prior to an abortion if they so choose.”

The response from the abortion industry was decidedly less pleased, the Washington Times reports. Whole Woman’s Health Alliance CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller lamented that Hudson “did not see clearly how the other restrictions it left in force are not supported by medical evidence and place undue burdens on families on the Commonwealth.”

Hudson is the same judge who in May struck down part of a requirement that only licensed physicians could commit abortions in the first trimester, then reversed himself a week later.

Pro-lifers argue that the safety regulations they favor are standard practice in legitimate health care and that relaxing the criteria for who can commit abortions will both increase the number of abortions in the state and put abortion-seeking women in greater danger by subjecting them to abortion workers with less training or experience.

Measures such as offering to show women ultrasounds of their babies have been found to help reduce abortion rates.

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City council bans pro-life speech outside Mississippi’s last abortion center

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By Calvin Freiburger

JACKSON, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Jackson City Council voted Tuesday to approve an ordinance banning pro-life activists from protesting near abortion facilities, effectively establishing a “bubble zone” around the last abortion facility in Mississippi.

The ordinance forbids picketing within fifteen feet of a facility, coming within eight feet of people entering or exiting the building, and erecting speaker systems within 100 feet. Violators face fines of up to $1,000 and a maximum of 90 days in prison. The ordinance passed by a  3-1 vote.

Mississippi Agriculture and Commerce commissioner Andy Gipson, a Republican, lamented the vote as a blow for free speech:

The biggest effect of the new ordinance will be to shield Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which operates the state’s last abortion facility in Jackson’s Fondren neighborhood. The facility has been a source of questions and controversy for years, from allegedly failing to report chemical abortions to the 2018 birth of a baby to a woman at the facility for a consulation, raising questions as to just how late Jackson WHO would have committed her abortion.

“Proponents of the regulation have cited noise complaints and the potential for heightened conflict as the reasoning behind the legislation,” the Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) wrote. “However, opponents of the regulation have noted that the noise is often escalated by the abortion center who will turn up music while sidewalk participants attempt to speak with those around the abortion center and that the regulation curtails their free speech rights.”

“At the end of the day, the abortion center can paint itself bright pink colors, play music, and attempt to be a part of the more hip, growing Fondren community, but it can’t cover up what happens inside its walls, a continued dark stain on the neighborhood and the city,” MCPP declared.

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US priest praises 12-step programs for helping Catholics overcome porn addiction

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

MONZA, Italy, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― An American priest who graduated from the John Paul II Institute has revealed that pornography is viewed even by eight-year-old children and it is causes 25 percent of divorces. 

Upon obtaining a License in Sacred Theology from the Institute in 2013, Fr. Sean Kilcawley became the director of religious education for the Archdiocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. Kilcawley gave an interview last month to La Nuova Bussola about his work combating porn addiction. 

“As a priest who is entrusted with the ministry with families, (I believe) the most significant statistics are that children are exposed to pornography between the ages of 8 and 11 and that pornography or other forms of virtual sexual interaction are the cause of one divorce in four,” he told the Italian newspaper. 

Kilcawley, who was ordained in 2005, is a world expert on the problems caused by pornography and a well-known speaker in the United States on the Theology of the Body, human love, and porn addiction. He also trains priests and others in the caring professions, like teachers and psychologists, to help minister to Catholics who are struggling against porn addiction. 

Kilcawley noted that Americans are more aware of the problems than Europeans. 

“A growing movement (in the USA)  recognizes pornography as a public health crisis,” he said. 

“Various organizations, both religious and secular, work to protect young people from the harm of pornography and to enact laws to protect children and victims of sexualization in society,” he continued. 

“Of course, there are still members of society who believe that pornography is a legitimate pastime and an activity that does not create victims, but the growing debate within our country gives me hope that those who want to be free from the use of pornography have the resources to get that freedom.” 

Different American states have enacted programs and legislation to protect children from porn, Kilcawley noted. However, the law against selling porn to children under 18 doesn’t prevent them from accessing it on the internet. He hopes that one day internet porn will be filtered at the source, so that people who want to see it will have to ask for it explicitly.   

Kilcawley indicated that parents who downplay the problem of children’s porn use by citing their own youthful glimpses of porn magazines and videos don’t understand contemporary realities. He said that young people today have access to porn that is more violent, more explicit and more accessible than ever before. 

“Even if it is true that pornography has always existed, it’s never been available on a pocket device before,” he said. “Never before have parents who want to bring up their children in Christian virtues also discovered that their children are looking at pornography in their rooms.” 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has confronted the problem of internet pornography by signing November 2015’s declaration “Create in Me a Clean Heart.” In this “pastoral response,” for which Kilcawley served as a consultant, the bishops expound on God’s plan for sexuality, explain the damage done by pornography and encourage the American Church to solve the problem. 

Kilcawley also indicated that various dioceses have begun to tackle the porn crisis. One important method is by training priests for ministry to those addicted to porn. He told his interviewer that the most common feedback he gets from both American and Italian priests is that their seminary formation did not sufficiently prepare them for working with penitents who struggle with porn addictions or other compulsive sexual behavior.  

The expert advises his fellow priests to educate themselves on sex addictions and on recovery; to form alliances with other professionals, like psychologists, and 12-step groups; and to not be afraid.  

“We are called to proclaim the Gospel ‘in and out of season’,” Kilcawley said. 

“Particularly in the current climate of the Church, where ever more attention is paid to the sins of priests and bishops, we must continue to proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ who came to call sinners to conversion,” he continued.  

“In our day, the most common sins are of a sexual nature, and we must be bold in proclaiming hope and healing in a world that has fallen into darkness.”

Kilcawley enthusiastically recommended 12-step programs, saying their methods are compatible with Christian life:

“What we find there, we also find in the Gospels,” he said. 

“They are a way of conversion for everyone.”  

The John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences was originally founded by St. John Paul II in1982 as the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. The Institute was mandated by the Polish pontiff’s Familiaris Consortio, and an interdisciplinary cohort of Catholic professors and students collaborated on effectively presenting John Paul II’s extensive theology of sexuality, marriage, and the family to a jaded world. 

In 2017, the Institute was refounded and renamed by Pope Francis after the promulgation of his own document on marriage and family life, Amoris Laetitia.

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Pregnant UK politician behind Northern Ireland abortion push furious over billboard of 9-week fetus

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By Doug Mainwaring

LONDON, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A member of Parliament who is leading the charge to legalize abortion in Northern Ireland has demanded that pro-life billboards popping up in the London suburb she represents be taken down.  

The billboards picture a nine-week-old living fetus and which direct people to “StopStella.com,” are part of a campaign targeting MP Stella Creasy in Walthamstow, north of London, where she resides.  

Creasy has called for the immediate removal of the billboards, which she claims are a form of “harassment.” 

Portraying the billboard posters as the “harassment of women” in Walthamstow, she asked the local police department if they still think this is just ‘free speech?’

Creasy asked her Twitter followers to put her in contact with the CEO of Clear Channel UK, the company which owns the billboards, and wondered, “how much did you get for this cr*p?” 

Clear Channel UK Direct Marketing wasted no time in capitulating to Creasy’s demands, responding on Twitter:  “We apologise for a recent billboard campaign in Walthamstow. We have removed this campaign and are reviewing our internal processes.”

Some of Creasy’s supporters didn’t wait for clear Channel to remove the billboards; they simply painted over them. One of the white-washed pro-life posters displayed a new hand-written message, “My body, my choice.”

London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, also joined the pro-abortion chorus and condemned the pro-life ads as creating “Sickening scenes in Walthamstow where anti-abortion campaigners are targeting Stella Creasy.”

The Pro-abortion MP has recently sought to railroad through an extreme new abortion regime in Northern Ireland without consulting the public.  

The unfolding drama over the pro-life billboards is occurring just as 800 health care professionals have written to the UK secretary of state opposing the imposition of the radical new abortion regime on Northern Ireland.

‘Saturating’ the pro-abortion MP’s hometown with ‘the humanity of the unborn child’

The billboards are part of a larger effort by the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBRUK) to get Creasy to “stop promoting human rights abuses of children in the womb.” 

“We are saturating Walthamstow, MP Stella Creasy’s constituency, with the humanity of the unborn child and the reality of abortion,” read a statement on the CBRUK’s website.  

“Whilst highlighting to constituents how their MP is working hard to promote abortion as a ‘human right,’” it continued.

The CBRUK site noted that Creasy voted last year to decriminalize abortion up to birth across the United Kingdom. 

Hypocrisy

The CBRUK website calls Creasy, who is pregnant, a “hypocrite” because of the  inconsistencies in ignoring the humanity of unborn children in order to support abortion, yet identifying her own child in utero as a “baby” and grieving the loss of a baby through miscarriage. 

Stella Creasy deliberately conceals in all her public statements and dialogue on abortion - the humanity of the unborn child and what an abortion procedure actually entails.  

Yet when she is speaking about her own baby in her womb, and her previous miscarriages, she speaks openly on their humanity.

Regarding her miscarriage, Creasy is quoted as saying, “I tried not to think about the fact my baby had died inside me” and “I can’t even protect my own child.” 

The Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform is asking supporters to contact Creasy and demand that she “stop promoting human rights abuses of children in the womb.”

Contact information for respectful communications: 

Stella Creasy, MP
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @Stellacreasy using #StopStella

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Court compels U of Iowa officers to personally pay for oppressing Christian group

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By Becket

October 3, 2019 (Becket) — A vice president and other officers at the University of Iowa must pay out of their own pockets for discriminating against a religious student group. In InterVarsity v. University of Iowa, a federal court ruled that the University and its officers violated the law when they kicked InterVarsity off campus for asking its leaders to be Christian. A dozen other religious groups — including Sikhs, Muslims, and Latter-day Saints — were also kicked off campus for requiring their leaders to share their faith. But all secular groups and a few religious groups favored by the University got a pass. In a ruling last Friday, the court held that this discrimination was so egregious that the officers involved would be personally accountable for any money InterVarsity lost fighting to stay on campus. The court left open the possibility that the University's president, Bruce Harreld, could also be found liable.

InterVarsity has been at the University for over 25 years. It welcomes all students as members, and only requires the students who lead its ministry to affirm its faith. In the past, the University has honored InterVarsity for its contributions to campus life. But in June 2018, the University claimed that, by requiring leaders to affirm their faith, InterVarsity was violating the University's nondiscrimination policy. The University then limited InterVarsity's access to campus, froze its bank account, shut down its website, and advertised that it was "defunct" for lack of student interest. As a result, InterVarsity suffered its sharpest membership decline in over twenty years. Friday's ruling confirmed that the University's actions violated the Constitution and ordered the University to respect InterVarsity's right to select religious leaders going forward.

"We must have leaders who share our faith," said Greg Jao, Director of External Relations at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. "No group — religious or secular — could survive with leaders who reject its values. We're grateful the court has stopped the University's religious discrimination, and we look forward to continuing our ministry on campus for years to come."

InterVarsity USA is on 772 campuses nationwide. Its University of Iowa chapter hosts weekly Bible studies and monthly meetings for prayer, worship, and religious discussions on current issues. In upholding the group's right to be on campus, the court noted that, just last January — in the related case of BLinC v. University of Iowa — it already warned the University against enforcing its policy unevenly. The court stated it "would never have expected the University to respond to that order by homing in on religious groups[]" like InterVarsity, while "carving out explicit exemptions for other groups. But here we are." The court did "not know how a reasonable person could have concluded this was acceptable," since it "plainly" doubled down on the exact same conduct the court had already held unlawful. In a hearing last week, the court described the University's conduct as "ludicrous" and "incredibly baffling."

"It's too bad it took twice for the University to learn its lesson," said Daniel Blomberg, senior counsel at Becket. "There was no excuse the first time for squashing students' First Amendment rights. University officials nationwide should now take note that religious discrimination will hit them in the pocketbook."

Published with permission from Becket.

Cardinal Raymond Burke
Cardinal Raymond Burke, Rome April 7, 2018 Edward Pentin
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Cardinal Burke: Amazon Synod working doc ‘is a direct attack on the Lordship of Christ’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Watch online for free as lay Catholics from across the world address critical Amazon Synod issues THIS Friday.  Click here to join.

October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke has spoken out against the misuse of the Amazon synodal process, blasting its recent exploitation to change both the doctrine and disciplines of the Catholic Church. The synod is set to take place in Rome this month from the 6-27. 

Urgent Prayer Pledge: JOIN the 9-Day Novena leading up to the Amazon Synod Sign the petition here.

“The fundamental concept of a synod was to call together representatives of the clergy and the lay people to see how the Church could more effectively teach and more effectively apply her discipline,” Burke told Sohrab Ahmari in an interview published Sept. 27 in First Things.  

The Cardinal, 71, explained that synods “never had anything to do with changing doctrine or with changing discipline.”

“It was all meant to be a way of furthering the mission of the Church,” he continued. 

Burke cited the Code of Canon Law when he explained that a synod is supposed to advise the pope “in the preservation and growth of faith and morals, and the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline.” 

“There’s nothing there about altering the doctrine or the discipline,” he added. 

The Cardinal then described the Instrumentum Laboris, or working document, for this month’s Synod on the Amazon as an attack on Christ Himself.

“The working document of the Pan-Amazonian synod is a direct attack on the Lordship of Christ,” Burke said.  

“It says to people, ‘You already have the answers, and Christ is just one among many sources of answers.’ This is apostasy,” he continued. 

Burke stressed that inculturation does not mean alteration of the truth of Christ. 

“Christ is Lord, and in every time and place—this is the genius of the Church,” he said. 

“When missionaries have preached Christ, they have also recognized the gifts and talents of the people to whom they were preaching,” he continued.  

“The people then expressed in their own art and architecture the truths of the Church. They added their own flavor to the expression of the underlying Truth.”  

The American Cardinal also addressed the synod that the German Bishops are organizing for themselves despite the disapproval of the Holy See. Burke told Ahmari that their “synodal path” is not valid. 

“This has been made very clear,” Burke said. 

“In the letter to German bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet of the Congregation for Bishops [told them] that they are undertaking a process that is basically outside the Church—in other words, attempting to create a church according to their own image and likeness,” he explained.  

The Cardinal believes that this German innovation must be stopped before “greater harm” is done to Catholics. 

“We’re talking about the salvation of souls, which means we need to take whatever measure is necessary,” he stressed. 

Burke said the German bishops believe that they can change doctrine to suit their nation, but that they are wrong. 

The German bishops believe that they can now define doctrine, which is false,” he told Ahmari. 

“Otherwise, we would end up with a whole group of national churches, each with their own preferences regarding doctrine and discipline.”

The Cardinal said that the very catholicity of the Catholic Church is at risk. 

“The Catholic Church is a church that has one faith, one sacramental system, and one discipline throughout the whole world, and therefore we’ve never thought that each part of the world would define the Church according to particular cultures,” he said. 

“That’s what’s being suggested in this working document of the Amazon and in Germany.”

For Burke, the Rhine flows not only into the Tiber but into the Amazon: the cardinal believes that the German bishops’ “binding synodal path” is “very much connected” to the Synod on the Amazon.  

“A number of the great proponents of the thrust of the Amazon Synod working document are German bishops and priests,” the Cardinal informed Ahmari. 

“And certain bishops in Germany have taken an unusual interest in this Amazon synod,” he continued.  

“For instance, Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen has said that ‘nothing will be the same’ after the Amazonian Synod process, the Church will be so completely changed, in his view.”

Burke indicated that Germans and other contributors to the Instrumentum Laboris believe that a national or ethnic culture is more important than the Gospel message itself. 

“They say that the Amazon region is a fount of divine revelation, and therefore when the Church goes there in her missionary capacity, she should learn from the culture,” he said.  

“This denies the fact that the Church brings the message of Christ, who alone is our salvation, and addresses that message to the culture—not the other way around!” he continued.  

“So yes, there will be objectively good elements in the culture, inasmuch as conscience and nature point to revelation; there are things in the culture that will respond immediately to the Church’s teaching. But there will be other elements that must be purified and elevated. Why? Because Christ alone is our salvation. We don’t save ourselves, either individually or as a society.”

Regarding the purported priest shortage in the Amazon region, Burke said that a Brazilian prelate, a bishop in the Amazon for over a decade, had told him that there are, in fact, a “good number of vocations” in the region. 

In addition, the people of the district understand and respect priestly celibacy. The Brazilian archbishop told Burke: “If you teach them about the celibacy of Christ himself and therefore the fittingness that his priests should also be celibate, they can certainly understand that.”

Burke added: “Amazonians are human beings like you and me, and they can order their lives with the help of God’s grace.” 

The Instrumentum Laboris for the Synod on the Amazon has attracted severe criticism since it appeared on June 17. The 64-page document, which will form the basis of discussion at the upcoming Synod, suggests that local bishops’ conferences “adapt the Eucharistic rite to their cultures,” that the Church consider ordaining married “elders” to the priesthood, and that Synod fathers identify the “official ministry that can be conferred on women,” given their prominent role in Amazonian culture. 

Critics also say the document promotes pantheism―worship of creation. They object to its declarations that non-Christian aboriginal people have already received revelation, that the priesthood needs to conform to the customs of the Amazon region, and that the world needs a new approach to what it means to be human.   

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller issued a strong critique of the guidelines ten days after they appeared. 

“It is to be stated now with insistence that the Instrumentum Laboris contradicts the binding teaching of the Church in decisive points and thus has to be qualified as heretical,” the 90-year-old German prelate wrote.

“Inasmuch as even the fact of Divine Revelation is here being questioned, or misunderstood, one also now has to speak, additionally, of apostasy.”

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Michigan petition drive to ban dismemberment abortions hits halfway mark

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By Martin Barillas

LANSING, Michigan, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life advocates in Michigan are more than halfway to collecting enough valid signatures to initiate veto-proof legislation that would ban dismemberment abortions in the second trimester. 

The state’s Constitution allows legislation to be initiated through a petition with 340,047 valid supporters that cannot be changed by the legislature or vetoed by the governor.

The Michigan Values Life coalition has over 200,000 signatures so far. 

Right to Life of Michigan spokesman Chris Gast told LifeSiteNews that the petition drive has reached a half-way point. The coalition has a goal of collecting 400,000 signatures in all. According to a press release, the pro-life group is reporting only those signatures thought to be valid. The effort began in July, finding distribution in churches, civic groups, and through the mail. The group has until Dec. 23, 2019 to reach the required threshold. 

Michigan’s bicameral legislature passed legislation in May to ban dilation and evacuation, or D&E, abortions in the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would veto the legislation when it came to her desk. 

The “dismemberment abortion" method involves using poison injections of digoxin or potassium chloride to kill the living baby and soften its bones. During the abortion, forceps and cutting instruments may be used to cut up the baby and extract it from the womb. The baby’s skull is cut open and the brains extracted by suction. 

According to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services data, the dismemberment procedure accounted for 1,777 abortions reported in Michigan in 2017, including more than 80 percent of late-term abortions.

“It is heartbreaking to hear about 1,777 innocent Michigan children being robbed by dismemberment abortion of their unique potential, their dreams, and the joy they could have brought to others,” bill sponsor Republican Sen. Tom Barrett said. “Much like partial-birth abortion, dismemberment abortion shocks the conscience, and it’s time we do something about it.”

Pro-life advocates saw the petition initiative as the only way to circumvent Gov. Whitmer’s promised veto. If Right to Life of Michigan, in cooperation with other pro-life organizations such as Michigan Catholic Conference, can collect 340,047 valid signatures, the legislation to ban dismemberment abortion will be introduced to the legislature. Once it passes the pro-life majority in the state’s legislature, it can then become law without the governor’s approval. 

According to Right to Life of Michigan, volunteers may continue to collect signatures at least through October and into early November. Michigan Right to Life President Barb Listing said, according to a release, “We are thankful for all the dedicated volunteers circulating petitions, and we are confident our incredible volunteers will collect the required number of signatures.”

Read Michigan Values Life coalition’s petition instruction here.

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English women’s rugby refs protest chaos caused by transgender players

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Referees for women’s rugby in Great Britain are quitting their jobs in response to the participation of gender-confused men in the sport, which they say is injuring players as well as free speech.

Several anonymous referees told the Sunday Times that they have been warned not to challenge athletes who show up for women’s teams sporting beards or masculine builds. England Rugby rules require “trans women” to submit to a blood test showing their testosterone levels have been below five nanomoles per litre for a year, but after a player is cleared by the Rugby Football Union, the refs say they are forbidden from second-guessing the decision.

“Being forced to prioritize hurt feelings over broken bones exposes me to personal litigation from female players who have been damaged by players who are biologically male,” one referee told the Times. “This is driving female players and referees out of the game.”

Former Olympic swimming medalist Sharron Davies also questioned the logic, contrasting it with past conventional wisdom on mixed athletics.

“My daughter Grace was told at the age of 11 she could no longer play with the boys because it was no longer safe,” she said. “How can they have that rule in place and ... say it is perfectly OK for a transgender woman who is a biological man to play with the girls, but girls who are girls are not allowed to play with the boys because it is dangerous?”

For an example of just how trans inclusion is working out, the Daily Caller highlighted an August BBC report on trans rugby player Nicholas “Kelly” Morgan, whose coach Brian Minty joked, “she’s going to be a good, good player for the next few years, as long as we can stop her injuring players in training.”

The ongoing unrest over the issue appears to reinforce the argument that managing hormone levels is insufficient to account for the biological differences between male and female athletes. In July, researchers from New Zealand concluded that current Olympics guidelines pose an “intolerable unfairness” to actual women competing against gender-confused men, who retain male advantages such as superior “joint articulation, stroke volume and maximal oxygen uptake” despite hormone therapy.

“Healthy young men did not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” the researchers found, and “indirect effects of testosterone will not be altered by hormone therapy.”

Nevertheless, controversy will continue over gender-confused athletes competing in sports that are typically separated by sex to account for the biological differences between the men and women. In addition to practical considerations such as injury, many critics argue that allowing males to compete against women will rob female athletes of the opportunity to earn awards specifically meant to recognize female achievements. 

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Cardinal Maurice Piat presents Nissar Ramtoolah, president of the mosque, with two gifts from Pope Francis on Sept. 24, 2019. Diocèse de Port-Louis / Facebook
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Pope Francis sends gifts to mosque to show ‘esteem and affection to the Muslim community’

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By Lisa Bourne

PORT-LOUIS, Mauritius, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Maurice Piat, Bishop of Port-Louis, Mauritius, presented two gifts to a local mosque on behalf of Pope Francis last week, one a copy of the controversial Abu-Dhabi statement which claims that a diversity of religions is willed by God.

Piat went to the Jummah Mosque on September 24 to present Nissar Ramtoolah, president of the mosque, with the two gifts from Pope Francis, according to a translated report from the Diocese of Port-Louis.

Photos of the exchange show the cardinal dressed as a layman all in white.

The diocese’s report said the pope was touched by the gesture of brotherhood that the Jummah Mosque made for him during his recent apostolic visit to Mauritius, which was sending of a bouquet of flowers to Port Louis diocese when he was there. 

The pope “also wanted to show his esteem and affection for the Muslim community,” according to the report.

Francis visited the nations of Madagascar, Mozambique, and Mauritius earlier this month. Mauritius is an island country in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa.

Francis offered Ramtoolah a memorial medal created for his recent papal trip to Africa, and also the copy of the problematic Abu Dhabi statement, which says in part that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.”

The pope signed the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” with Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque in Egypt, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi in February.

The statement has continued to receive criticism in the months following its release for the assertion that God willed the diversity of religions, which many say is in conflict with the Catholic faith.

Pope Francis has made repeated affirming statements about Islam, and has also been dismissive of Islamist violence. He ignited controversy in 2016 when he likened Islamic violence to individual violent acts committed by some Catholics.

Asked by a journalist on the papal plane in August of that year why he never spoke about Islamic violence, the question coming in the wake of the brutal murder of French priest Father Jacques Hamel – who was beheaded in the name of Islam as he celebrated Mass, the Pope said he didn’t like to speak about Islamic violence.

“I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence,” Francis said, “because every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy … this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law … and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence.” 

A group of Muslims who had converted to the Catholic faith wrote an open letter to Francis in December 2017 questioning, “If Islam is a good religion in itself, as you seem to teach, why did we become Catholic?”

“Do not your words question the soundness of the choice we made at the risk of our lives?” the converts asked in the letter. 

Jummah Mosque’s Ramtoolllah and several of his associates received Cardinal Piat and the gifts from Francis “very cordially,” last week, the Port-Louis diocese report said. “They exchanged [gifts] around a cup of tea and some cakes.”

Pope Francis appointed Piat as a cardinal in November 2016, in the same consistory that created Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich, New Jersey Cardinal Joseph Tobin and Cardinal Kevin Farrell.

Piat, as president of the Mauritius Episcopal Conference, was named an attendee of the October 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family.

Cardinal Walter Kasper
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Cdl Kasper: Laity will ‘not accept’ future pope who doesn’t continue Francis’ legacy

By Martin Barillas

MADRID, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – German Cardinal Walter Kasper said that Pope Francis is securing his successor who will carry on his legacy by appointing the majority of cardinals who will vote in the next conclave. He added that if it was possible that a pope was  elected who would attempt to erase Francis’ mark upon the Catholic Church, then the people “would not accept him.”

“I think that in the next conclave, you cannot choose a pope who is ‘a contrarian.’ The people would not accept him,” said Cardinal Kasper in a Sept. 26 interview (read excerpt of interview below) with Religion Digital's José Manuel Vidal which took place while the Cardinal was visiting Madrid for a conference on world peace organized by the pacifist Sant’ Egidio movement.

When asked if Pope Francis has guaranteed his successor by having handpicked the majority of cardinals voting in the next conclave, Kasper replied: “Yes. It gives the impression that with the nominations to the cardinalate that what the Pope wants is to ensure his succession.”

Cardinal Kasper’s proposal during the 2014 Synod on the Family of admitting civilly 'remarried' Catholics who are living in adultery to receive Communion found its way into the synod’s final document. Pope Francis’ 2016 Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia has been interpreted by many bishops from around the world as adopting this proposal in footnote 351. The footnote states in the context of a discussion about the Church’s pastoral response to Catholics living in “irregular” unions that in “certain cases” such Catholics can receive the Church’s “help,” which “can include the help of the sacraments.” The footnote then makes a reference to the Eucharist and confession. Kasper has since asserted that the proper understanding of Francis’ Amoris Laetitia is to allow divorced and “remarried” Catholics to receive Holy Communion. 

Elsewhere in the interview, Cardinal Kasper acknowledged that neither the Pope nor he fear a schism over questions about the Pope’s theology. Affirming that the pontiff wants to guarantee a successor, Kasper said, “Those who are causing fears [about the schism] are small groups that are openly against the Pope. But you have to know and keep in mind that they are few, very few, although they make a lot of noise through the media. Do not attach any importance to them.” 

***

Translated excerpts from Religion Digital’s interview with Cardinal Kasper:

Religion Digital: You were just with Pope Francis. Is he as strong as ever?

Cardinal Walter Kasper: Yes, the Pope continues to be quite strong. He has an interior motion that pushes him to continue moving ahead, and he is not afraid of the criticisms that circulate around him, even within the Catholic world. He continues down his path and is quite well, even physically, for a man of 82 years. And the proof is that he works tirelessly.

He is not even afraid of a schism, as he just said.

Kasper: The Pope is not afraid of schism.

And you?

Kasper: Nor do I believe that there will be schism. Those who are causing fears are small groups that are openly against the Pope. But you have to know and keep in mind that they are few, very few, although they make a lot of noise through the media. Do not attach any importance to them.

What do you expect from the Amazonia synod?

Kasper: This Amazonia synod will be very important and meaningful for the churches incarnated in the cultures of that area of the world.

Will the synod approve of giving married men access to the priesthood?

Kasper: The problem of the lack of vocations in Amazonia is very serious and that issue of the ordination of married men, and others, will depend on the decision and the unanimity of the bishops of the region. The Pope, with his synodal spirit, will put those decisions into motion if there is sufficient consensus among the bishops.

The German Church will also celebrate a synod with which the Vatican apparently has some problems.

Kasper: Yes, there are some who have problems with the Vatican. There has always been tension between Germany and Rome. It is something historic, but I can say that at this time that the great majority of the German Church is totally and profoundly in tune with Rome. There is some nervousness around, but I believe that they can be overcome.

With the cardinals at the next consistory, those chosen by Francis will be a majority. Has the Pope therefore guarantee his succession?

Kasper: Yes. It gives the impression that with the nominations to the cardinalate that what the Pope wants is to ensure his succession.

In what sense?

Kasper: I think that in the next conclave, you cannot choose a pope who is ‘a contrarian.’ The people would not accept him.

Who do you think will succeed Pope Francis?

Kasper: That is an open question and not applicable.

Are you convinced that, after Francis, there is no turning back?

Kasper: No, it isn’t possible. The people will not accept it because they want a normal and human Pope, one that is not imperial like those of the past.

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Vatican police raid Secretariat of State looking for evidence of financial corruption

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican police raided its own Secretariat of State this morning to seize evidence connected to suspicious financial transactions that have been allegedly carried out over time.  

According to a bulletin released by the Holy See’s Press Office, “documents and electronic devices” were seized from “certain offices of the First Section of the Secretariat of State and the State Financial Information Authority.” 

The raid was authorized by Gian Piero Milano, the “Promoter of the Justice of the Tribunal”, i.e. the Vatican City prosecutor, and Alessandro Diddi, the “Adjunct Promoter.”   

The operation was “linked to complaints” made last summer by the Vatican Bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), and the Office of the General Auditor about a number of financial transactions “carried out over time”.  

The Secretariat of State is, roughly speaking, the civil service of the Holy See, directing the activities of the Curia, assisting Nuncios and handling diplomatic relations with other states. It is currently headed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who succeeded Cardinal Tarciso Bertone as Secretary of State in October 2013. 

The “First Section” of the Secretariat of State is the Section for General Affairs, which is concerned with filling curial offices, publishing official documents, and diplomatic work. It has been headed by the Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra since October 2018. As the “Substitute” of this section, Peña Parra is the equivalent of a “Chief of Staff” and the third highest-ranking prelate in the Holy See.    

Peña Parra is a controversial figure. According to Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, he has been accused of gross immorality by a group of laypeople in Venezuela. Also, the Substitute claimed in a letter to an Argentine judge this June that a bishop accused of sexual abuse against seminarians in Argentina had a job in Rome, even though this prelate, Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, had been suspended since this January.

The Substitute is also close friends with Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga and his ex-auxiliary bishop, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, who was credibly accused of sexually abusing seminarians and of financial impropriety. 

Developing… 

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Illinois Democrat pushes bill discouraging state travel to pro-life states

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By Calvin Freiburger

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Democrat state lawmaker in Illinois is pushing legislation to bar reimbursement for state employees who travel to states with pro-life laws, claiming he wants to “protect” employees from governments that protect the preborn.

Introduced last week, state Rep. Daniel Didech’s bill would forbid any branch of the state government from requiring employees to travel to states that either ban abortions or investigate miscarriages, as well as make voluntary travel to such states ineligible for reimbursement.

“What these other states are doing is, to me, very dangerous,” Didech claimed in State Journal-Register report. “To a large extent, yes, abortion is a big part of it, but it’s not entirely about abortion. As a member of the Legislature, I have the responsibility to protect our state employees,” particularly women “who may not be able to get the health care they may need when they’re traveling on official state business.”

“This is not like a boycott of those states or anything like that, although in effect, it may look similar,” Didech insisted.

In response, Illinois Catholic Conference executive director Robert Gilligan told Catholic News Agency the proposal was “absurd.”

“Do we prevent state employees from traveling to Flint, Michigan, where they have less safe water?” he asked. “This type of thinking is endless. State laws should pertain to what happens in Illinois, and this is an unjust law so it shouldn’t even be on the books.” He suggested that if the bill’s pretense of “protecting” state employees was sincere, then “we should have a list of all states with weaker air pollution laws, water laws, driving laws, gun laws, and we shouldn’t be sending people to those areas either.”

Over the past several months, Illinois has been working to establish itself as one of the most pro-abortion states in the Union. 

In June, the state enacted a law codifying a “fundamental right” to abortion, establishing “that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law,” and repealing numerous restrictions and regulations on abortion, including the state’s partial-birth abortion ban. That month, Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker also announced the state would withdraw from the Title X program and directly fund abortion centers.

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Denver archbishop hits back at German bishops’ conference over threatened schism

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By Lisa Bourne

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October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Denver Catholic archbishop Samuel Aquila said recently that leaders in the German Church are risking damage to unity in the Church by trying to go their own way on Church doctrine in convening a controversialsynodal path.”

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German Bishops’ Conference and archbishop of Munich-Freising, had announced in March that the Catholic Church in Germany was open to revisiting Church teaching in the areas of contraception, cohabitation, and homosexual relationships and that the German bishops would discuss these topics in a series of discussions they are calling a “synodal path.”

The “synodal path” as it’s called, it is feared, will ultimately undermine Church teaching on sexual morality and other areas such as female ordination and priestly celibacy.

“Unfortunately recent developments in the Church in Germany, led by Cardinal Marx and most of the German bishops, risk damaging the unity of the Church universal,” Archbishop Aquila said. “These bishops and a sizeable group of lay people plan to hold a synod that takes binding votes on whether to change doctrinal matters like the ordination of women, blessings of same-sex unions and sexuality-related topics.”

Writing in his September 26 column, Aquila noted that Pope Francis had spoken recently about the dangers of schism, the pope saying he’d prayed it would not happen.

Aquila wrote, “In schisms there is a failure to listen to the voice of God and the authentic voice of the Holy Spirit, who always keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.”

“One only need look at the history of those Protestant communities that are constantly splitting from each other over doctrine to see the impact of replacing the faith with societally acceptable beliefs,” the Denver archbishop said.

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

The Catholic bishops of Germany have been preparing since the March announcement to commence on a “binding synodal path” that questions Church teachings on priestly celibacy, women in ministry, and sexual morality.

The Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops recently warned the German bishops that their plans are “not ecclesiologically valid”; however, Marx defied the Vatican and responded that the German “synodal path” would go ahead regardless.

Cardinal Marx gave a press conference last week on the first day of the German bishops’ fall assembly and after having had a conversation with Pope Francis and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the head of the Congregation for Bishops who had communicated the Vatican’s censure to the German bishops. Marx said that neither Ouellet nor the pope gave him a red light on the German bishops’ plans.

The German bishops on the whole have been extremely liberal over the years and have openly flouted Church teaching on sexuality and other issues a number of times.

They are involved to a significant degree in financing preparation for the upcoming Amazon Synod this month, which will consider some of the same topics as the Germany synod and has been criticized as being used by some as a vehicle to water down Catholic identity and circumvent Church teaching in the areas of priestly celibacy, women’s ordination, human sexuality, liberation theology, and pagan religions — with implications for the wider Church.

The German “synodal path,” it has been said, mirrors the upcoming Amazon Synod with an eye on “a restructuring of the Universal Church.”

Some faithful German bishops have warned against the “binding synodal path” and the Amazon Synod’s controversial working document, including Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the two remaining dubia cardinals; Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith; and Regensburg bishop Rudolf Voderholzer.

Back on 2015, prior to the two controversial Synods on the Family, Marx had also stated that Germany’s Catholic bishops might go their own way regarding allowing Holy Communion for those living in “irregular unions.” “We are not a subsidiary of Rome. The Synod cannot prescribe in detail what we should do in Germany.”

“It is disappointing that the German bishops have pledged in recent days to forge ahead with their plans,” said Aquila, “despite the intervention of Pope Francis and a letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet that called their proposal “not ecclesiologically valid.”

He cited John 15:5–6, where Christ teaches, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither...”

“One can easily observe in history that changing teaching to remain in step with the modern morality does not fill churches,” Aquila stated. “Only encountering Jesus Christ, remaining faithful to him no matter what the cost, and staying attached to the vine bears fruit and fills churches.”

Catholics have been leaving the German Church in high numbers in recent years, and Mass attendance is likewise markedly down. Vocations there have dropped parallel to the rising liberal reform to the Church pushed by much of its hierarchy there.

“It is vitally important that we remember our unity comes from remaining in relationship with the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit, not from adopting the values of the world,” Aquila wrote in his column.

The Denver archbishop has been a reliable voice in support of the Church and its teaching.

He continued, “The unity of the Church is not just for our own sake, it’s also for the world, so that it will believe that the Father sent Jesus.”

“The antidote to this potential wound to the Body of Christ is seeking union with the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, who are the source of the Church’s unity,” said Aquila. “Those who remain in love with each person of the Trinity, do not seek out their own path.”

Aquila said we must put our faith in Jesus Christ “and be confident that he is faithful to his promises” and eschew what the world teaches.

“For the Church to remain united,” he said, “we must all strive to love and remain connected to Jesus Christ and his teachings and not those of the world.”

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Bishops, priests challenge Amazon Synod working doc for ‘contradicting’ Catholic faith

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By Diane Montagna

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ROME, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In view of the upcoming Amazonian Synod, an international group of Catholic prelates, priests and laity, who have chosen to remain anonymous due to a “climate of intimidation” in the Church, today addressed a brief statement to Pope Francis and the synod fathers identifying four areas of the working document which they say are “contradictory” to the Catholic faith.

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The Oct. 1 statement (see below), issued by a group which calls itself the Coetus Internationalis Patrum Working Group (International Group of Fathers), states: 

We, numerous bishops, priests, and Catholic faithful from all over the world, hereby affirm that the Instrumentum Laboris prepared for the coming Synodal assembly raises serious questions and very grave reservations, because of its contradiction of individual points of Catholic doctrine which have always been taught by the Church, as well as its contradiction of faith in Jesus Christ, the One Savior of all mankind.

Using what it calls a “classical method,” the group summarizes into four “propositions” or “theses” the main points of the Instrumentum Laboris, which they regard as “unacceptable.” The group then contrasts them specific magisterial texts to support their position.

Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, who was among the first to report on the statement, explained that the group is named after “the most influential interest group at the Second Vatican Council which submitted numerous amendments to conciliar documents in a bid to uphold tradition.”

He also noted that, “although ‘numerous’ bishops, priests and laity share the concerns, no names will be revealed ‘because of the growing climate of intimidation and purges present in the Roman Curia and in the Church in general.’”

The Instrumentum laboris will form the basis of discussions at the Oct. 6-27 Special Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, being held at the Vatican. 

Four areas of concern

The first area of concern noted by the group is the working document’s call to respect “Amazonian diversity” which means “to recognize that there are other paths to salvation, without reserving salvation exclusively to the Catholic faith.” The working document calls on the Church to “integrate” other non-Catholic Christian “modalities” of “being Church.”

The group of prelates, priests and laity contrasts this assertion with the teaching of Dominus Iesus, the declaration issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2000, which reiterates that “the universal salvific will of the One and Triune God is offered and accomplished once for all in the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God” (14) and “the unicity (oneness and uniqueness) of the Church founded by him” (16) must be “firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith.”

The second area of concern is the working document’s assertion that Pan-Amazonian theology is required in all educational institutions (IL 98, c3) and the proposal that the Church “adapt the Eucharistic rite to their cultures” (IL 126 d).

The group rejects this assertion again on the basis of Dominus Iesus, which reiterates that “it would be contrary to the faith to consider the Church as one way of salvation alongside those constituted by the other religions.” While affirming that “some prayers and rituals of the other religions may assume a role of preparation for the Gospel,” it firmly states that “one cannot attribute” to them a “divine origin” or the “salvific efficacy” which is “proper to the Christian sacraments.”

The third point of contention is the notion that the “territory [of the Amazon] and the cry of its peoples” is in some way a place of revelation and source of theology — like Sacred Scripture, the Councils and the Fathers of the Church.

The Coetus Internationalis Patrum rejects this notion, citing the Vatican II dogmatic constitution on divine revelation Dei Verbum, which reasserts the nature of divine revelation, its closure with the death of the last Apostle, and the sacred bond between Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Catholic Church (4, 7, 10).

Lastly, the group rejects the “new vision of Holy Orders” proposed by the synod’s working document, which they argue “does not come from Revelation, but from the cultural usages of the Amazonian people.” This new vision includes the proposal that “ordination be conferred on older persons who have families” and that “official ministries” be conferred on women.

The group opposes this “new vision” on the basis of five magisterial texts, including the Vatican II dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentiumand its decree on the ministry and life of priests,  Presbyterorum Ordinis; Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on priestly celibacySacerdotalis Coelibatus; Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation on the formation of priests, Pastores Dabo Vobis; and his apostolic letter on reserving the priesthood only to men, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

Today’s statement comes as the latest in a chorus of voices criticizing the synod’s working document. In June, German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, warned that “decisive points” in the working document are “heretical” and that “inasmuch as even the fact of Divine Revelation is here being questioned or misunderstood” we may speak of “apostasy.”

Here below is the full statement by the Coetus Internationalis Patrum Working Group (International Group of Fathers).

***

To the Pope and the Synod Fathers:

We, numerous bishops, priests, and Catholic faithful from all over the world, hereby affirm that the Instrumentum Laboris prepared for the coming Synodal assembly raises serious questions and very grave reservations, because of its contradiction of individual points of Catholic doctrine which have always been taught by the Church, as well as its contradiction of faith in Jesus Christ, the One Savior of all mankind. We have drawn up, following the classical method, four propositions in the form of “theses” summarizing the main points of the Instrumentum Laboris. In conscience and with great frankness, we affirm that the teaching of these theses is unacceptable.

1. Amazonian diversity, which is above all religious diversity, evokes a new Pentecost (IL 30): respect for this diversity means to recognize that there are other paths to salvation, without reserving salvation exclusively to the Catholic faith. Non-Catholic Christian groups teach other modalities of being Church, without censures, without dogmatism, without ritual disciplines and ecclesial forms (IL 138); the Catholic Church ought to integrate these modalities. Reserving salvation exclusively to the Creed is destructive of the Creed (IL 39).

Against this, among other texts: Dominus Iesus 14 and 16.

2. The teaching of Pan-Amazonian theology, which takes special account of myths, rituals, and celebrations of indigenous cultures, is required in all educational institutions (IL 98 c 3). Non-Christian rites and celebrations are proposed as “essential for integral salvation” (IL 87) and we are asked to “adapt the Eucharistic rite to their cultures” (IL 126 d). On rituals: IL 87, 126.

Against this: Dominus Iesus 21.

3. Among the various Loci Theologici (that is, among the various sources of theology, such as Sacred Scripture, the Councils, the Fathers of the Church) there is included the territory [of the Amazon] and the cry of its peoples. (IL 18, 19, 94, 98 c 3, 98 d 2, 144).

Against this: Dei Verbum 4, 7, 10.

4. It is suggested that ordination be conferred on older persons who have families and to confer “official ministries” on women. There is thus proposed a new vision of Holy Orders which does not come from Revelation, but from the cultural usages of the Amazonian people (which provide for a rotating system of authority, among other things). Therefore, there ought to be separation made between the priesthood and the munus regendi (IL 129 a 2, 129 a 3, 129 c 2).

Against this: Lumen Gentium 21, Presbyterorum Ordinis 13, Pastores Dabo Vobis 26; and also: the entire document Sacerdotalis Coelibatus, especially 21 and 26, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis1, 3 and 4; Pastores Dabo Vobis 29.

Coetus Internationalis Patrum Working Group

October 1, 2019

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Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Rome, Sept. 2019.
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Dubia Cardinal warns Church in Germany against synodal path that leads to ‘final decline’

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By Maike Hickson

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October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A German cardinal is warning Catholics in his country that proceeding down a so-called synodal path — one that aims at questioning the Church's teaching on celibacy, an all-male priesthood, homosexuality, etc. — could lead to a “national church” without “nearly any ties to Rome,” stating that this would be “certainly be the surest path into the final decline.”

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller – the former President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences and one of the two remaining dubia cardinals – made this comment in a statement in light of the developments in Germany where the German bishops have decided to enter into the controversial “synodal path.” He published his statement today on the Austrian Catholic news website Kath.net. LifeSiteNews has published an English translation of it (read full statement below).

“It cannot be overlooked anymore: the phantom of a German national church shows itself more and more,” writes the Cardinal, adding that “national isolation of the remnant of German Catholicism into a national church without nearly any ties to Rome would certainly be the surest path into the final decline.”

Cardinal Brandmüller noted that Jesus “speaks of His Church in the singular” and called it “absurd” for the Catholic Church in Germany to be pursuing a “self-destructive, national particularism.” 

The Cardinal’s warning is similar to that of Cardinal Rainer Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, who earlier this month warned of a “schism within the Church in Germany” that would lead to a “German national church.”

Cardinal Brandmüller in his statement today traced the history of German ideas of a “national church” and of anti-Roman resentments. The anti-Roman resentments have come to a fuller development in the second half of the 20th century, when the German bishops increasingly disobeyed decisions from Rome.

Cardinal Brandmüller explained: “One is tempted to think that, with the announcement of the Council, John XXIII opened the German 'Pandora's Box.' What had continued to smolder under the blanket since the unresolved Modernism crisis [in the early 20th century], now broke out visibly, loudly, with new vehemence.” 

As an example, Cardinal Brandmüller mentioned that the German bishops “relativized” Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae's ban on artificial contraception and that they never revised their position.  

“Thus it came to the 'Königstein Declaration,' which left it up to the decision of conscience of the spouses whether they use contraceptive means or practices, or not. None of the subsequent Popes succeeded with their demand that the decisions of the time would be revised,” he wrote. Piercingly, he added that “the German episcopacy remained in resistance against the Papal Magisterium.”

The cardinal mentioned the 1971-75 German Synod of Würzburg, which, he noted, has some similarities to today's “synodal path.” For example, he pointed out, this earlier synod “clearly broke with the synodal tradition of the Church, both with its statutes and with its agenda, because it gave equal voting rights to lay people who had the same number of members at the synod as the bishops and priests.” This same problem exists now also with regard to the “synodal path.” 

Furthermore, showing the intensity of the conflict at the time, Brandmüller explained that “Professor Joseph Ratzinger [the later Pope Benedict XVI] and Prelate Karl Forster – who at the time was the secretary of the Bishops' Conference – left the synod under protest.” Today, it is Professor Marianne Schlosser – a member of the synodal path's discussion forum on women – who announced that she has left the discussion forum, and Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg has announced that he might at some point leave the synodal path altogether.

Cardinal Brandmüller, in his historical overview, also touched upon the German bishops' resistance against Pope John Paul II.

“John Paul II received an even stronger resistance when he forbade the Church's counseling centers for pregnant women from giving out the 'counseling certificate' which was by law a precondition for a legal abortion, which was de facto a death sentence of the unborn children,” he wrote. Here, again “there arose such strong and insistent resistance on the part of most of the German bishops, especially of Cardinal Lehmann and Bishop Kamphaus,” he added. 

The Cardinal’s history lesson sheds light on why the German bishops are once again trying to go their own way in what appears to be an attempt to form their own “national church” that is separate from Rome. Brandmüller also points out that the German bishops seemingly have taken it upon themselves to be the “school masters” of the Universal Church as they export their ideas to other nations. The Cardinal noted how the German Bishop’s attempt at “influencing” the Universal Church is supported by the fact that “the abundant money” now “flows from German Church tax desks into poorer regions,” thus strengthening German influence in the world. The German influence on the Amazon Synod, for instance, has been well established.  

But in light of the fact that the numbers of Catholics in Germany decrease in dramatic numbers, Cardinal Brandmüller mentioned what he called an “embarrassing arrogance” in the German Bishops' Conference. Here, he quoted the well-known question as to whether “the world may not once be healed by the German being?” The German Cardinal noted that there is a resemblance to this idea in the recent letter from Cardinal Reinhard Marx to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops: “One may compare the answering letter of the President of the German Bishops' Conference to Cardinal Ouellet from 12 September 2019,” Brandmüller stated.

According to a CNA report, Cardinal Marx had written to Cardinal Ouellet that he hoped the German synodal path will also be of benefit for the Universal Church: “We hope that the results of forming an opinion [on these matters] in our country will also be helpful for the guidance of the universal Church and for other episcopal conferences on a case-by-case basis. In any case, I cannot see why questions about which the magisterium has made determinations should be withdrawn from any debate, as your writings suggest.”

In conclusion, Brandmüller warned the German Catholics not to go the way of building their own church. 

***

Statement by Cardinal Walter Cardinal Brandmüller on the Catholic Church in Germany

October 1, 2019

“Without Judah, without Rome, we shall build Germany's Dome [Cathedral]”

“Without Judah, without Rome, we shall build Germany's Dome [Cathedral]” – this slogan from Hitler's early inspirer, Georg von Schönerer (1842-1921), gives expression to a German resentment, which – ultimately – had its expression in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. The defeat of Rome in that 9 AD “Hermann Battle” [the Arminius Battle] has been at least for the last two hundred years an essential part of the “Teutonic” culture of remembrance.

It is then no surprise that from thence there falls a strange light upon the relationship of the German Catholics to “Rome” – from the “Gravamina Nationis Germanicae” against the “Rome” of the early 16th century up until today. 

If we follow this aspect, we shall find traces of it at the turn of the 19th century. Some people accused Rome of having been guilty for the decline of the “Imperial Church” because it did not move at all in order to save the old prince-bishoprics and imperial abbeys when the Holy Roman Empire collapsed – a stab-in-the-back myth avant le mot [before the word was created]. 

In this very context – the Congress of Vienna was in full swing – the diocesan administrator Ignaz Henrich von Wessenberg (Constance) developed the idea of a German National Church. A rebuilding out of the rubble then was meant also to overcome the confessional split and to achieve peace between State and Church.

Upon this foundation, then, the political unity of the nation was also to be built. It was, of course, very far away from reality when he [von Wessenberg] thought that such a national church would still be Catholic. In any event, he demanded a concordat with the Holy See – Napoleon's example might have inspired him here. Wassenberg's idea was that a German primate would thereby head a German church with loose connections with the Roman center... However, these ideas remained as mere ideas.

Admittedly, these ideas still occupied the minds, when they were revived during the emergence of a new German sense of nationality around the revolutionary year of 1848 when the Frankfurt National Assembly took place [“Paulskirchenjahr”].

It was Professor Ignaz von Döllinger – who was already highly respected at the age of 50 – who, with a tinge of awareness of the problem – said: “The largest part of the Catholics who, in their appreciation of German nationality, have wished for a national church, did not enter into any contradiction to  the Catholic Church.” However, this Church historian from Munich overlooked here the meteor-like phenomenon of “German Catholicism” – or perhaps he intentionally ignored it? – which at the time troubled the religious landscape.

There were two chaplains – Ronge and Gersky – who were separated in matters of faith and with regard to celibacy and who went ahead and founded, in protest against the “Holy Shroud Pilgrimage” in Trier in the year 1844, their “German-Catholic church.” It found considerable approval in the north and in the west of the Empire. 

“Ha! I am trembling in that we are already so close! But now it is over. The great success has come, the progress of this century has been secured. The genius of Germany is already reaching for the laurel wreath, and Rome has to fall!” Thus spoke Johannes Ronge.

Well, it was not Rome that fell. Around 1860, no one spoke of him anymore. That he indeed had some success with his ideas was not only due to the continued influence of the Enlightenment. It was the national sentiment that was emerging in the Romantic Era and with its admiration of the Middles Ages, which also highlighted the broken religious unity in Germany. To regain that unity seemed then to be a worthy goal: one German nation, one German national church.

These were ideas which remained alive here and there, until Bismarck's Kulturkampf created a completely new situation. The state according to Hegel's understanding could not incorporate the “alien element, the Catholic Church” and therefore it made use of force. In this situation that was life-threatening for German Catholicism – bishops were imprisoned or expelled, hundreds of priests were removed from their offices and also imprisoned – the German Catholics rallied unanimously around Rome, around the Pope – those Catholics who were too loyal to the state soon found their “church” to be in the [schismatic] Old Catholic Church.

Now Ultramontanism – whose forerunners always stressed the universality of the Church and her loyalty toward the state, while at the same time clearly rejecting every form of nationalism, and especially the Prussian militarism – bore its fruits: an impressive revival of popular piety, a loyalty toward the Catholic Faith, to the bishops, and to the much-cherished Pope – it was Pius IX.

To put it briefly: the consciousness of being part of the Church of Jesus Christ that spanned the whole world did not give any scope for national-ecclesial thinking.

However, there took place one relapse – with serious consequences for German theology – that can be seen in the conduct of some German bishops and Catholic intellectuals in the Modernism crisis at the turn to the 20th century. The philosophy of German Idealism – which is fixed on human consciousness – and its connection with evolutionary thought had led to the result that one regarded religion as a product of the depth of the human soul which develops from one stage to the next higher one in the course of evolution and that religion therefore is subject to change. From today's perspective, one might consider some of the actions on the part of “Rome” in those years to have been rigid, but one cannot put into doubt the danger of these ideas – which one since then summarizes with the name of “Modernism” – which were indeed undermining the foundations of the Faith

That Pius X here pulled the emergency brake in this situation by demanding from theology teachers that they make the Oath Against Modernism, one should not demean or ridicule it as an expression of “Roman alarmism.” It can, instead, astonish us that, of all people, the German theology professors were excluded from fulfilling this demand. They feared for their freedom in teaching and research, whose loss would have exposed them to some disdain in the academic world.

Well, it is a German Sonderweg [separate path]. It was in a large part due to the outbreak of the First World War and, in its wake, due to the “Third Reich” and the victory of National Socialism that a fundamental debate about Modernism within German theology never took place. After the catastrophe and the recovery of Germany, and in the run-up to the Second Vatican Council, however, the Modernism problem re-emerged with a new intensity.

One is tempted to think that, with the announcement of the Council, John XXIII opened the German “Pandora's Box.” What had continued to smolder under the blanket since the unresolved Modernism crisis, now broke out visibly, loudly, and with new vehemence. The German Catholic Convention of the consequential year of 1968 became the stage for angry, vulgar protests against Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, whose prophetic character is more and more being recognized today.

In the same year, the German Bishops' Conference tried to calm the waves by relativizing the encyclical's ban on artificial contraception. This had some superficial success; Cardinal Döpfner, the President of the West-German Bishops' Conference, did not pass on to the addressees – and thus misappropriated – some letters from Cardinal Bengsch who, in the name of the bishops of the GDR [German Democratic Republic, Eastern Germany], called for support of the encyclical. An unbelievable event!

Thus it came to the “Königstein Declaration,” which left it up to the decision of conscience of the spouses whether they use contraceptive means or practices, or not. None of the subsequent Popes succeeded with their demand that the decisions [of the German bishops] of the time would be corrected. The German episcopacy remained in resistance against the Papal Magisterium.

In this anti-Roman atmosphere, soon there emerged the “Common Synod of the German Dioceses” in the years 1971-1975. It clearly broke with the synodal tradition of the Church, both with its statutes and with its agenda, because it gave equal voting rights to lay people who had the same number of members at the synod as the bishops and priests. With this decision, conflicts became unavoidable. Here, we may recall only the debates concerning the lay homily. Professor Joseph Ratzinger and Prelate Karl Forster – who was at the time the secretary of the Bishops' Conference – left the synod under protest.

Finally, we might also recall the Cologne Declaration of the year 1989, “Against the Deprivation of the Right to Decide [“Entmündigung] – for an open Catholicity,” which was signed by 200 theologians. First, it was a protest against the appointment of Cardinal Meisner as archbishop of Cologne, but then it turned against “Rome's” Magisterium as such.

John Paul II received an even stronger resistance when he forbade the Church's counseling centers for pregnant women from giving out the “counseling certificate” which was by law a precondition for a legal abortion, which was de facto a death sentence for the unborn children.

One cannot anymore understand today that there arose such strong and insistent resistance on the part of most of the German bishops, especially of Cardinal Lehmann and Bishop Kamphaus. Only from the year 2000 on, one decided to obey the Pope. Nevertheless, there was still resistance which led to the creation of the association Donum Vitae – a truly cynical name – which continued to give out the counseling certificates.

If one then adds the Church Referendum and the formation of protest groups such as We Are Church, as well as the degeneration of the formerly loyal Catholic organizations – not to forget the Marxist infiltration of the Association of the German Catholic Youth – then one can see the extent of the centrifugal dynamic, with the help of which the “National Catholicism” (what a “contradictio in terminis”) has distanced itself after World War II from the Rome of Pius XII. That Rome was in 1945 the only international authority that had reached out its hand to the destroyed Germany when it re-entered the community of free nations.

Today, however, the “German Church” – the German Bishops' Conference – tries to influence the Universal Church. Are not Emanuel Geibel's stanzas of the poem “Germany's Vocation” (from the year 1861) once more here of interest: “... then the fisher from Rome in vain casts out his nets … and the world may not once be healed by the German being?” One may compare the answering letter of the President of the German Bishops' Conference to Cardinal Ouellet from 12 September 2019.

Such a claim of course has for a long time not been any more justified by special achievements of German theology. There are lacking today – except for a few remarkable exceptions – great names, as they existed around the time of the Second Vatican Council and they then were the foundation for the international reputation of German theology. Much less is German Catholicism characterized today by religious aliveness, since the Church statistics show a constant decline what pertains to Church attendance, use of the Sacraments, priestly vocations and so on.

In the meantime, it is rather the abundant money that flows from German Church tax desks into poorer regions of the Universal Church which lays the foundation for the German influence. That makes the arrogance even more embarrassing, with which the representatives of German Catholicism present themselves as school masters to the Universal Church.

It cannot be overlooked anymore: the phantom of a German national church shows itself more and more. Already in the middle of the 19th century, some people dreamed of a national council, which – that was already then the thought – would establish the unity of the nation on the religious level. But even if such ideas remained mere dreams: national isolation of the remnant of German Catholicism into a national church without nearly any ties to Rome would certainly be the surest path into the final decline.

One may only ask what, then, is left at all of “church,” where the nation, the state, is the true element of structuring, and the point of reference for the church.

In Scandinavia now, there are state churches which have abandoned for a long time the Apostolic Creed. In the Church of England, the Queen is the head of the church and the “Prime Minister” names the bishops. One cultivates a highly aesthetic ritual, and everybody believes whatever he wants. A similarly close connection with the state can be seen in the “autocephalous” churches in the areas of the Byzantine culture. 

However, in light of these or similar models of “churches,” one has to present the simple fact that Jesus Christ speaks of His Church in the singular. His Apostle Paul, who calls the Church the – of course unique – Body of Christ, did the same.

It is therefore nearly absurd when, at a time where the whole world speaks of globalism, there takes place within the Church a self-destructive, national particularism. The attempt to have a German Sonderweg has now also to be seen in light of such reflections.

Translation by LifeSiteNews’ Dr. Maike Hickson

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Rep. Adam Schiff of California. NBC News / YouTube
Clarice Feldman

Opinion

Understanding Democrats’ impeachment crusade against Donald Trump

Clarice Feldman
By
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October 1, 2019 (American Thinker) — In tacit recognition that his party will never beat the president in 2020 with the gang of whackos vying to head their ticket and that no real impeachment will ever occur, Congressman Adam Schiff, with the acquiescence of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, called to order what they are calling an "impeachment inquiry." It's presumably designed to see whether formal impeachment proceedings should begin. (Impeachment proceedings cannot take place without a vote to do so in the House. Vulnerable Democrats would never vote for it any more than would almost all Republican congressmen. And conviction and removal from office for impeachment would have to occur after a full hearing and two-thirds vote in the Senate — which also will not happen. The Democrats, again, are counting on the civics and constitutional ignorance of their base.) It flopped, in any event. The hearings, in fact, show that this is simply the rerun of the Russian Collusion scam. Only the name of the country has changed — this time, it's Ukraine, a country that, you may know, is a major enemy of the Russians.

As Daniel Greenfield persuasively argues, these investigations are attempts to delegitimize the president and his administration, and I predict that people are sick of this nonsense. I urge you to read this article in its entirety. Here's but a sample.

The impeachment push is the same discredited scam that the Democrats had pushed on the country at the cost of millions of dollars, years of legislative stalemate, ruined lives and fake news. It's like getting a scam email from a Nigerian prince, turning him down, and then receiving another email from the same address, except he now claims to be a Zambian prince, but still wants you to cash the same check. [snip] In April, the Mueller report was released. And it was a big, giant nothing. Democrats tried to play it for all they could. At the end of May, Mueller officially called it quits. At the end of July, despairing House Dems dragged him in to testify. Mueller had more trouble remembering things than Joe Biden.

The vicious scam that had begun with the Steele Report was finally dead. Time for a new edition.

The day after Mueller killed the Russia smear dead, President Trump spoke to President Volodymyr Zelensky of the Ukraine. And the Democrats immediately slotted it in as the new Steele Report. A few weeks into August, the complaint was filed. And by August's end, it was passed along to Rep. Adam Schiff through the connivance of an intel oversight official who made sure it ended up in Adam's sweaty hands.

That's the same scheme which took a product of the Clinton campaign and routed it through the DOJ, FBI and intelligence agencies in order to give the Steele Report a veneer of official legitimacy. This time around the key players fixed the problem that came up when the Steele Report was traced to its source, who turned out to not only be an FBI informant, but was being paid to smear Trump by Hillary Clinton.

Background

There's a backstory (or two) behind the president's call to Ukrainian president Zelensky, which forms the basis of the "whistleblower's"(actually gossip's) complaint.

Treaty

There's a treaty signed by then-president Bill Clinton and ratified on October 18, 2000, which provides that the U.S. and Ukraine are to mutually assist one another in "the prosecution of a wide variety of crimes" and includes "taking of testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, records and articles of evidence; serving documents; locating or identifying persons; transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; executing requests for searched and seizures; assisting in proceedings related to restraint confiscation,, forfeiture of assets, restitution, and collection of fines; and any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the requested state."

Right now, presumably in accord with this provision, Department of Justice attorney John Durham is exploring the role Ukraine (and other countries) played in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. At the same time — perhaps in connection with this — the president's counsel, Rudy Giuliani, at the request of the State Department, is working with the recently elected new Ukrainian government on how to proceed. 

Hunter Biden 

We've earlier noted Joe Biden's boasting (captured on video) that he extorted Ukrainian officials, warning that he'd hold up a billion-dollar transfer to them if they did not fire the prosecutor looking into the payoffs to Hunter, then on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm registered in Cyprus.

The fired prosecutor has written a notarized statement dated September 4 of this year stating that he was fired because of Joe Biden's demand that he be removed:

Less attention has been paid to the letter in May of last year that three Democrat senators, Robert Menendez, Richard Durbin, and Patrick Leahy, wrote to Ukraine's prosecutor general, who had closed out four investigations they deemed critical to Mueller's probe. The letter carries a not very subtle hint that if their wishes were denied, support for the new government was at stake.

This letter is in direct contrast to Speaker Pelosi's claim this week:

Ironically, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared Tuesday that the mere possibility that President Trump had asked Ukraine to continue an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden — even without a quid pro quo — was enough to trigger an impeachment inquiry. 

As Congressman Devin Nunes notes, this isn't the only such irony: 

  • Joe Biden bragged that he extorted the Ukrainians into firing a prosecutor, who happened to be investigating Biden's own son.
  • Three Democrat senators wrote a letter pressuring the Ukrainian general prosecutor to reopen investigations it reportedly froze on former Trump campaign officials.
  • Another Democratic senator [Chris Murphy D. CT] went to Ukraine and pressured the Ukrainian President not to investigate corruption allegations involving Biden's son.
  • According to Ukrainian officials, Democratic National Committee contractor Alexandra Chalupa tried to get Ukrainian officials to provide dirt on Trump associates and tried to get the former Ukrainian President to comment publicly on their alleged ties to Russia.
  • Ukrainian official Serhiy Leshchenko was a source for Nellie Ohr, wife of Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr, as she worked on the anti-Trump operation conducted by Fusion GPS and funded by the Democrats.
  • And of course, Democrats on this very committee negotiated with people they thought were Ukrainians in order to obtain nude pictures of Trump. 

The Trump-Zelensky Phone Call

Doubtless assuming that the president was the usual Republican, clueless to their machinations, Democrats lied about the nature of the phone call. Here is the full transcript (unlike the "annotated ones" the NYT and Washington Post published to make it seem other than what it was). I suspect that Schiff thought the president would not do that, and their fake interpretation would rule the day as a fight over executive privilege was fought. Similarly, Schiff probably thought the administration would refuse to release the complaint by the person described as the "whistleblower." Outsmarted again.

Both documents show that there is no there there. As Britt Hume tweeted when the transcript was released:

As of Wednesday morning, when the Ukraine phone call transcript was released, the public knew more about what transpired on the call than the whistleblower knew when he/she filed the complaint.

Indeed, the transcript was so devastating to the Democrats' claims that Schiff, instead of reading it, read what he called a "parody" of it — but conceded that it was faked only after he was called out for manufacturing what it actually said.

At first, some Democrats claimed that the transcript was faked. It wasn't. Two CIA employees detailed to the White House made the transcription. Others claimed that the ellipses in the transcript revealed hidden redactions. Actually, they simply signified a pause by the speaker. Interestingly, sometime between May 2018 and August of this year, the form for filing a whistleblower report was changed substantially with little if any notice. As of May 24, 2018, the relevant Form (I.C. I.G. ICWPA FORM 401) required that the report involve "urgent concerns," be about an "intelligence activity," be "reliable first-hand knowledge," and not be "second-hand knowledge." If, like me, you believe that coincidences like this in D.C. are too rare to mention, this should get your antennae twitching. This complaint merely repeats secondhand knowledge. It is utterly false about the nature of the Trump-Zelensky conversation and reflects, instead of wrongdoing by the president, that there are some in the bowels of the government who have policy differences with him and wish to wound him

The Ukraine call complaint against Trump is riddled not with evidence directly witnessed by the complainant, but with repeated references to what anonymous officials allegedly told the complainant: "I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials," "officials have informed me," "officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me," "the White House officials who told me this information," "I was told by White House officials," "the officials I spoke with," "I was told that a State Department official" [snip]

The complainant also cites publicly available news articles as proof of many of the allegations.

"I was not a direct witness to most of the events" characterized in the document, the complainant confessed on the first page of his August 12 letter, which was addressed to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)... Hearsay is generally inadmissible as evidence in U.S. federal and state courts since it violates the constitutional requirement that the accused be given the opportunity to question his accusers.

... While the complaint alleged that Trump demanded that Ukraine physically return multiple servers potentially related to ongoing investigations of foreign interference in the 2016 elections, the transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky shows that such a request was never made.

The complainant also falsely alleged that Trump told Zelensky that he should keep the current prosecutor general at the time, Yuriy Lutsenko, in his current position in the country. The transcript showed that exchange also did not happen.

Additionally, the complaint falsely alleged that T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a U.S. State Department official, was a party to the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. [snip]

In a legal opinion that was released to the public along with the phone call transcript, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) determined that the complainant's submission was statutorily deficient and therefore was not required to be submitted to Congress. The White House nonetheless declassified and released the document to Congress late Wednesday evening.

Dissecting the complaint, Henry Olsen, writing in the Washington Post, sagely suggests that the Democrats' best option is to stop relying on this confection (something clearly written by several people, some of whom probably are on Schiff's committee staff):

Democrats now have a difficult choice to make. The wisest course of action would probably be to drop the complaint as a significant piece of evidence, since it raises almost nothing new. That would be politically embarrassing since they have made so much of it, but they could claim that the whistleblower's job has been done since it unearthed the alleged wrongdoing and placed it in the public domain.

The alternative course sets the Democrats on a dangerous path. If the whistleblower's complaint is probative of impeachment, then the whistleblower must testify to find out who gave the person the information that is described. That cannot be done without Republicans present and likely means the whistleblower's identity must be disclosed. It is one thing to keep that person's identity secret when the matter is largely handled internally; it is quite another when it is being used to try to remove the democratically elected leader of our nation. The accused must have a chance to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him, and that right applies as much to Trump as it does to anyone accused of wrongdoing.

Investigation of the whistleblower's allegations also inserts the House Democrats into the deepest workings of the administration, such as the alleged discussions among White House officials to "lock down" records of the phone call. The president would be remiss if he did not assert executive privilege over these discussions. That will inevitably present Democrats with a Hobson's choice: Either delay the impeachment hearings to fight such assertions of privilege in court or drop the matter to proceed to a vote without having all the evidence before it. Neither will help them achieve their likely aim: the swift resolution to impeach the president before the election year starts in earnest.

The last year has seen an avalanche of fake news — about one major story a month by my count. In my view, they have only further discredited the already on its last legs major media and the Democratic Party they promote. I'm inclined to agree with Scott Adams that the political and media elites cannot fathom that their globalist worldviews were wrong and that Trump was right. Rather than concede that Trump and the voters have popped their narcissistic bubble, they invented a movie in their heads in which he's a monster and the evidence of that is just around the corner.

I agree as well with Conrad Black that in 2020, Trump will steamroller this ragtag crew of kooks and retreads desultorily arrayed against him. 

Congress has now scheduled a two-week recess. Schiff promises that work on the funhouse probe will continue. I hope so. As long as it continues, funds will keep pouring in by the millions to both Trump's re-election campaign and his impeachment defense fund.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Republican former speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com
Fletch Daniels

Opinion

Republicans don’t need Paul Ryan’s advice, and Fox should get rid of him

Fletch Daniels
By Fletch Daniels

October 1, 2019 (American Thinker) — One of the greatest public services President Donald Trump has done for the nation is forcing institutions and people to reveal their true character.

While this has been the most valuable when it comes to the media, it has also been valuable when it comes to unmasking globalist Republicans.

This was again on display last week, most notably in the revelation that Paul Ryan was inciting Fox News from his position on the board of Fox Corporation to "decisively break" with President Trump. Ryan has apparently graduated from providing the worst advice to the president as the speaker of the House to providing the worst advice to Fox News.

Were Fox to follow this advice, the network would have even fewer viewers than CNN, which can at least count on hapless airport captives to boost its numbers. I find it hard to believe that any of Fox's viewers are not to the right of Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace. If Fox management thinks it can somehow compete for liberal viewers, it is delusional.

These people are supposedly preparing for life after Trump, but more likely, they are preparing for life without viewers. For when they speak of chasing moderates, what they are really suggesting is appealing to liberals. These viewers are never going to tune in to the object of their hatred when they have so many long established liberal echo chambers, no matter how many Donna Braziles they bring on board. But Fox management can certainly chase off its audience by following Ryan's advice. One America News, or another network to be named later, would welcome their viewers.

Most Republican voters did not realize how in thrall so many of its leaders were to globalism and open-border insanity. They do now.

Trump has realigned the Republican Party, and there is no going back any time soon — not without completely destroying the party and likely the country in the process. That realignment has offset what looked to be a permanent demographic advantage for the Democrats as Trump's commonsense nationalism is chewing into voting blocs Democrats thought they had locked up for generations.

This is why the latest impeachment gambit is an act of pure weakness, a sign that the Democrats do not think they can beat Trump's message at the ballot box.

Trump's approval rating is at least 91% among Republicans. But that number tells only part of the story. That approval runs deep.

Why? Because Trump kept his promises to his voters. His record of accomplishment on the full gamut of issues that his voters care about is impressive. He has been the best Republican president of the modern era on what matters the most (energy independence, unleashing the economy, appointing Constitution-minded judges, keeping the U.S. from further foreign entanglements, advancing the pro-life cause, the Second Amendment, etc.).

A Trump-hating liberal colleague and friend asked me what Trump would have to do to lose my support. The answer was easy: abandon both his principles and his supporters. Judging from his splendid speeches last week in defense of religious freedom and serving the national interest, that is not going to happen. A national election is a binary proposition. It is simply not possible for Trump to devolve to the point where any of the current Democrat options would be preferable.

Republican voters are no longer going to tolerate globalists or Weekly Standard–reading foreign adventurists. That era is gone. Those voters are all too aware of the rigged system that was passed off as free trade, even as the U.S. and working-class Americans were ripped off.

Any Republican politician who thinks his constituency is the media and not the voters is in for a rude awakening. Mitt Romney, who once all but rolled over onto his back so Candy Crowley would scratch his belly, has been one of the worst offenders. Apparently, Crowley is way scarier than Trump, since Romney did not have a bad word for her as she eviscerated his campaign.

Even though Utah is not among the most pro-Trump Republican states, Romney's approval is crashing among the broader Republican electorate. He is of that breed of Republican, following in the footsteps of George W. Bush and John McCain, who would not dare criticize a Democrat, reserving his fiercest barbs for a fellow Republican. Why? Because these politicians become addicted to being a hero in the media's story.

Romney is more Fredo than Lando, too foolish to realize how badly he is being used even as he listens to the media sirens calling from the rocks. It's bad enough when Republican voters see Democrats opposing Trump. But the way so many Republicans do it is disgraceful and dispiriting.

This is not to say the president is above criticism. But adding Republican voices to obvious liberal insanity is a sad spectacle of self-loathing. It's mostly a media phenomenon. If you are a Republican, the media are the enemy. Any Republican who does not understand this dynamic is not fit for office.

Barack Obama could always count on full party loyalty, and the media would have crushed any dissenting Democrat voice that broke from him. Those same media will celebrate any Republican who breaks from their party. John McCain practically built a career out of bowing to the media, and Romney seems committed to being his heir to that party-bucking label.

When Republicans go bad, they quickly progress through the seven stages of stupidity. Bill Weld suggested that President Trump should face the death penalty over Ukraine. For what is anyone's guess. He must really seek media adoration to have eclipsed the insanity emanating from the Democrat clown car. Shocker that he is down by only 67 points in New Hampshire. Hey, there is still time for George Will to jump into the race to really shake things up.

Many former Republican pundits and washed up former politicians labor under the delusion that Trump is an aberration and that their audience will come back begging them to toss their pearls of wisdom before deplorable swine. It's never going to happen. Their audience is gone unless they have a serious conversion moment.

Without Trump, many Americans would not know how awful so many of these politicians and pundits truly were, even as they helped advance the Democrat anti-nation globalist nightmare vision.

It was a good con while it lasted, but it's over. While the Paul Ryans of the world were vastly preferable to most Democrats, they were still awful, wrong on far too many issues and not committed to actually championing anything of value or opposing the destructive forces arrayed against the Republic. This latest outrage brings further clarity to Ryan's long track record of failure in the House of Representatives.

Most Republicans will never again care what Mitt Romney thinks about anything, nor will they look to Paul Ryan for guidance or direction. Unless the Murdochs really are set on CNNing their empire, they would do well to send Ryan packing.

Fletch Daniels blogs at deplorabletouchdown.com and can be found on Twitter at @fletchdaniels.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Trump at the September 2016 Values Voter Summit. Andrew Parish / LifeSiteNews
Brian C. Joondeph

Opinion

Presidential polls are leftist media propaganda, not real data

Brian C. Joondeph
By
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October 1, 2019 (American Thinker) — According to the latest presidential opinion polls, the 2020 presidential election is over. Newsweek is giddy, having reported, "The latest Fox News poll about the 2020 election shows President Donald Trump losing to every Democratic frontrunner including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren."

Propaganda, used extensively in the past by communists and Nazis, is information put out by governments, or their media allies, to push an agenda and influence people rather than to inform them. Much of mainstream journalism today falls into the category of propaganda, with the media presenting only part of a story, or fabricating news entirely, in order to further their political agendas.

Recent examples include baseless accusations against Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh, accusing him of sexual assault, omitting the fact that the accuser has no knowledge of the events in question. Or presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani stealthily meeting with Ukrainian officials, omitting the fact that the U.S. State Department requested that he do so.

The Fox News poll noted above was not actually conducted by Fox, but instead commissioned to Beacon Research and Shaw and Company Research. Calling it a "Fox News Poll" is part of the propaganda, meaning that if Trump's favorite news network thinks his electoral prospects are nil, then it must be really bad for Trump and his supporters.

This poll was based on about 1,000 random registered voters. Note that 120 million–plus voted in the last election. And only about half of registered voters actually vote. Newsweek reports, "Biden had a double-digit lead on Trump" as the most popular Democrat in the field. Bernie Sanders, at number two, beats Trump by eight points. Third-place Elizabeth Warren defeats Trump by six points in the hypothetical matchups.

Yet the same survey asked, "Do you think Donald Trump will be re-elected president in 2020, or not?" By a 46-40 margin, those surveyed answered yes. Despite their preference for anyone but Trump, a plurality believe that Trump will be re-elected easily. I'm surprised the survey didn't ask if respondents believed that Russia would hack the election again and hand it to Trump, as many Democrats and CNN anchors still believe happened in 2016.

Surveys are as good as their samples. Ask who is preferred for president at a Trump rally or a Code Pink rally, and the results will be diametrically different. A fair survey of American voters' political preferences should reflect the approximately equal split in political affiliation of voters between the two major parties as reflected in the last election. How well did this Fox poll select a representative sample?

The political identification of those surveyed was heavily weighted toward Democrats by 49-39 percent, a ten-point difference. All of a sudden, the poll's 14-point lead for Biden over Trump is down to 4 points, within the margin of error, assuming also that Biden can "misremember" his way through the rest of the campaign.

This poll is not alone in the propaganda parade. A recent Quinnipiac poll trumpeted, "Every major 2020 Democrat beats Trump by at least 9 points in new poll." Game, set, match. Trump might as well report to prison now, so Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler don't have to bother with additional congressional hearings, impeachment, indictments, and maybe even drawing and quartering Trump and his family.

Far-left Vanity Fair proclaims, "Trump is losing his mind over another bad Fox News poll." Really? Watch any Trump rally or his famous "chopper pressers" before boarding Marine One, and see if he is losing his mind. Instead, listen to some of the silly media questions and realize that they are the ones going insane.

Are there contrary polls out there? Look at Rasmussen Reports, the most accurate pollster in the 2016 election. In its daily presidential tracking poll on September 23, Trump had a 52-percent total approval percentage, compared to only 46 percent for President Obama at the exact same point in his presidency.

Screenshot.

Obama easily won re-election despite being 6 points less popular than Trump at the same point in their respective presidencies.

Some pollsters believe that "Rasmussen has a pro-GOP bias." Perhaps this is because Rasmussen wasn't part of the gaggle of pollsters predicting a Hillary Clinton landslide victory. To appease these critics, let's look at another poll: Gallup.

Gallup's Presidential Job Approval Center, similar to Rasmussen, allows comparisons of different presidents at comparable points during their presidential terms. President Obama began his administration with a much higher job approval rating compared to President Trump, perhaps because he was "the one we have been waiting for," lowering sea levels and winning a Nobel Peace Prize for simply showing up.

A funny thing happened over time. Obama gave us his namesake takeover of healthcare, while Trump gave us an economic boom with record low unemployment. Notice how the lines drew closer and eventually converged. The latest comparative snapshot, noted below, shows Trump with a 43-percent job approval rating compared to Obama at only 40 percent, confirming the Rasmussen results.

Screenshot.

For another take, forget the pollsters and follow the money. PredictIt, the stock market for politics, predicts Trump as the 2020 winner at 42 percent, compared to Warren at 30 percent, Biden at 16 percent, Yang at 9 percent, and Sanders trailing the field at 7 percent. Didn't the Fox poll say Biden was the Trump-slayer by double digits?

In 2016, on the evening of Election Day at 10:20 P.M. EST, when most voting across the country was completed, one of the top propagandists, the New York Times, was still determined to push its agenda and perhaps keep a few western state Republicans from voting before their precincts closed. Ignoring reality, the N.Y. Times still claimed that Hillary Clinton had an 85-percent chance of winning an election she had already lost.

Just keep in mind that when you see the Democrat media proclaiming, "Trump is trying to discredit recent polls because he's losing in nearly all of them," Trump is simply pointing out the obvious: that these polls are neither legitimate nor accurate and instead are simply political propaganda.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D. is a Denver-based physician, freelance writer, and occasional radio talk show host whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, the Daily Caller, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedInTwitter, and QuodVerum.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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John Eidson

Opinion

Is it possible anymore to be both a patriot and a Democrat?

John Eidson
By John Eidson

October 1, 2019 (American Thinker) — My California cousin is a hair-on-fire liberal Democrat. That fact notwithstanding, he admirably belongs to the rapidly shrinking number of patriots in the party he's supported all his adult life. According to a 2018 Gallup survey, patriotism is cratering in the modern Democratic Party, with less than a third of today's Democrats extremely proud of their country. Less than a third, and trending sharply downward. 

That should be troubling to my cousin.

When he started his career in the 1960s, patriotism ran so deep in both parties that I doubt it even occurred to Gallup to do a survey on love of country back then. According to CNN, Gallup's first survey on patriotic fervor wasn't done until 2001. But attitudes in political parties can change dramatically over time.

A sharp turn toward the hardest edge of the hard left

In addition to Gallup's finding that love of country is dropping like a rock among Democrats, there are other clues that the party once led by genuine American patriots — Democrat icons such Adlai Stevenson, JFK, and Hubert Humphrey — has soured on the country those great men loved with all their hearts.

From rank-and-file Democrats siding with NFL anthem kneelers to the San Francisco School Board voting to conceal a Depression-era mural depicting George Washington, indications abound that today's Democrats see their country as an irreparably unfair and oppressive place. And no wonder, because the modern Democratic Party has also given up on the two-party capitalist system that created the most free and prosperous nation the world has ever known. According to another 2018 Gallup survey, an astounding 57% of today's Democrats are infatuated with socialism. A more recent poll, by Public Opinion Strategies, reported an even more mind-boggling finding: that 77% of Democrats are advocates of socialism, the principles of which are outlined in The Communist Manifesto.

My cousin once told me that during trips he'd taken to socialist countries in connection with his job, he'd witnessed the glaring failures of socialism many times. I don't remember what got him started, but he began venting about the wretched conditions he observed in every socialist country he ever visited, all of them. Obviously grateful that he was born in capitalist America — he lives in a million-dollar home and owns a private plane — he ended his anti-Marxist speech with this unambiguous declaration: "I want nothing to do with socialism."

My cousin is a patriotic Democrat and a strident anti-socialist. He loves his country and hates socialism, yet he is totally blind to the profoundly un-American direction the party he supports has taken. When I present him with credible information in that regard, such as the respected surveys cited above, he reflexively reaches deep into his tiny bag of rational rebuttals and then, upon finding it empty, responds with the kind of sarcastic, non-serious political comment that pollutes the web.

Birds of a feather

From the time Barack Obama announced for the presidency, my cousin was among his most enthusiastic supporters. Having grown up in an era when black people were still being lynched, he saw the prospect of a black president as cause for hope that America would continue on the noble path of moving ever farther away from its deplorable history of slavery and segregation. One of our aunts told me that the night Obama was elected, my cousin called her literally crying tears of joy.

My cousin still believes that Obama is the messianic figure he was portrayed as by a fawning media: a flawless American leader in love with his country and its two-party capitalist system. Assuming that my cousin is a patriot who sees socialism for the lie it is, he had to be taken aback to learn that Obama has associated all his life with a long line of influential mentors with deep contempt for America and its capitalist system. The list of those Marxist birds of a feather includes:

Barack Obama, Sr., a Harvard-educated Kenyan Marxist whose political views inspired his son to write Dreams From My Father, the memoir in which the younger Obama revealed his "affinity for Marxist professors and radical student groups."

Frank Marshall Davis, a pro-Soviet, card-carrying member of Communist Party USA mentioned by Obama in reverent terms 22 times in Dreams.

William Ayers, a self-declared communist revolutionary in whose living room Obama chose to launch his political career.

Saul Alinsky, the socialist community organizer so admired by Obama that he (Obama) taught Alinsky's "ends justify the means" tactics to students at the University of Chicago.

Rev. Jeremiah "G‑‑ d‑‑‑ America" Wright, whose sermons on Black Liberation Theology were regularly attended for twenty years by the Obamas.

Thanks to me, my cousin knows about those troubling associations with people who detest this country. (What he doesn't know is that there were many more such people in Obama's past.) He also learned from me that Obama vowed five days before his first election to fundamentally transform the United States of America. To fundamentally transform a nation means to bring about profound changes to its principles, values, and institutions. In the case of America, that means upending its economic and governing systems. America always needs improving, but is it such a sorry place that it must be fundamentally transformed? Obama and the Democratic Party obviously think so, but I don't think my cousin does, unless his views have undergone a fundamental transformation of their own.

For the sake of argument, let's say his views on socialism haven't changed and that he is a patriot. If that's the case, why won't he acknowledge the devastating truth about the party he supports, a truth that's staring him squarely in the face?

Here's my theory.

No informed person can fail to recognize that the modern Democratic Party is attempting to fundamentally transform America into a single-party socialist nation. But because the human ego is loath to admit it's been duped, especially about politics, many Democrats who love their country will likely continue allowing themselves to be led like sheep into the closing noose of the hammer and sickle.

Like distracted grazers in lion country, patriotic Democrats like my cousin won't realize what happened until it's too late.

An electrical engineering graduate of Georgia Tech and now retired, John Eidson is a freelance writer in Atlanta.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Senator Mitt Romney of Utah. Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
Jared Peterson

Opinion

Republican senators must defend Trump against Democrats’ impeachment theater

Jared Peterson
By Jared Peterson

October 1, 2019 (American Thinker) — The impeachment events in Washington now gathering momentum are cause for great concern among American patriots, conservatives, and Republicans who want their party to survive.

When an important one of their own is attacked, Republican senators, many of them swamp things themselves, and mostly men of much wealth and little political judgment or knowledge of history, simply don't have the circle-the-wagons, defend-the-power and-the-agenda-above-all attitude of the Democrats. They can be stampeded and rolled.

Already once in living memory, Republican senators participated in the lynching of one of their own, Richard Nixon, whose trivial infractions would not have cost him his presidency had he been a Democrat. Nixon was politically assassinated [i] because longstanding Democratic hatred of him engendered a relentless war to bring him down that weak-willed Republican senators were not intellectually, politically, or psychologically equipped to win. Democrats saw their chance after Nixon's great '72 landslide victory, and, with the aid of an already heavily biased media and goody-two-shoes, feeble Republican senators, many of whom never liked Nixon personally, they succeeded.

The parallels today to the events of 45 years ago are striking, with the negatives for Trump magnified manyfold.

Democrats' hatred and media bias are logarithmically greater. Trump is psychologically tougher than Nixon, but his opponents are infinitely more fanatic and ruthless, and the media today reduced to a mere microphone for leftist hatred. And the leftist haters have an eager Republican Senate ally in the increasingly nauseating Mitt Romney, who despises Trump and would love to bring him down. At this moment, Romney is no doubt quietly laying his plans — loathsome, no-core traitor to American conservatism that he is.

Someone needs to firmly explain to Republican senators that their failure to defend Trump, and the conservative agenda that Trump has thus far so magnificently advanced, will mean the end of the Republican Party. This needs to be done soon — in the Washington bubble, events like these move quickly, and intellectually weak Republican senators, lacking the Democrats' single-minded instinct for defending their power and agenda, will be easily swept up in them.

The war will be on soon. It is not too soon to start lining up both the defense and the counterattack.

At this moment in history, Trump's political survival and re-election are key to American patriots' and conservatives' slim chance of halting the nation's slide into one-party, leftist self-destruction.

This latest attempt to destroy President Trump must be met with an immediate, united, and withering response. In these circumstances, the conservative base of the Republican Party would punish Republican senatorial timidity that supplies less with electoral capital punishment. 


[i] See the book Silent Coup, by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, for the real story.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Dominican Sister prays before a Crucifix in the St Cecilia Motherhouse in Nashville, TN. Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (Creative Commons)
Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

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Without monasteries, convents, and contemplative prayer, the Church will die

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

October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In the opening week of October, the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar brings before our eyes a trio of religious, one Carmelite, one Franciscan, and one Carthusian — or rather, the most famous modern Carmelite, the founder of the Franciscans, and the founder of the Carthusians: St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Bruno of Cologne. Each one of these reminds us in a different way of the radical following of Christ in poverty, chastity, and obedience; in silence, solitude, and penance; in contemplation, liturgy, and fraternal charity. “Put nothing before the Work of God” — that is, the sacred liturgy, said St. Benedict of Nursia, who also said “prefer nothing to the love of Christ.” Where is this radical witness to the primacy and centrality of Christ still given?

The Lord has blessed me in my life with visits to many monasteries and convents, both in Europe and in the United States, where men and women are living the religious life to the full — chanted solemn liturgy, a demanding horarium, fasting and abstinence, much study and lectio divina, manual labor, the whole nine yards.

In many cases, these monks and nuns are living a life little different in essence from that of the desert fathers and mothers of ancient times — quite as if the modern world, with its ever multiplying complexities and ever deeper confusion, has nothing important to say to them. And they are right: it could only speak to them at lurid length of the world, the flesh, and the devil, when they are seeking heaven, grace, and God, for themselves and for others. They have no need to be up to date, rushing around with all the other people rushing around in a frantic desire to be noticed, to be relevant, to be on the cutting edge. In reality, it is the world that desperately needs these monks and nuns, their prayer, their peace. By being irrelevant and unnoticed in their daily round of prayer and penance, they possess a medicine that heals the victims of relentless change, frenetic activity, and self-negating indulgence.

These visits have done more than impress me. They changed my thinking about what is really important in life — and in the Church.

As I participated from the sidelines in the life of Christians for whom the Eucharist, the Bread of Angels come down from Heaven, is truly the font and apex of their entire being and the source of their joy, I began to feel how great a catastrophe was the death of traditional religious life in the period after the Second Vatican Council. In monasteries and religious houses, observances going back for centuries were suddenly thrown off; habits were modified or discarded; the daily round of prayer was severely cut back or even replaced with paltry novelties; the Holy Mass lost its contemplative spirit, degraded to arbitrary and subjective experiments. Places that had been epicenters of devotion for towns, provinces, and countries could no longer offer thirsty laymen the concentration of prayer and the purity of vision they longed for. Those who have seen the statistics know what happened: within a few years, the monastic life collapsed almost everywhere, as thousands gave up their vocations. Whole congregations and orders disappeared off the face of the earth.

Although a vastly larger number of the faithful were harmed by innovations and dissent at the parish and diocesan levels, the loss of the fullness of Christian life as it is lived in convents and monasteries, in total conformity to Christ the High Priest and Victim, was a devastating blow struck to the very heart of the Mystical Body of Christ on Earth. If prayer is the oxygen of the soul, as Padre Pio once said, the collapse of monastic life was a deoxygenation of the Church’s lifeblood. It has often been said that the external and missionary vitality of the Church is in direct proportion to the vitality of the hidden contemplative life within her, as the health of one’s complexion depends on the health of one’s heart.

It is only because the Church was once convinced of the truth of this unbreakable relationship between activity and contemplation, work and prayer, the exterior and the interior, that she declared a cloistered Carmelite, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, co-patron of the missions with St. Francis Xavier, who baptized hundreds of thousands of pagans. It is as if we are being told: there will be no Xaviers if there are no Little Flowers.

We are fortunate to be alive right now in the very earliest preliminary phase of recovery, as the number of authentic religious communities of men and women slowly grows by the mercy of God, in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword (or their ecclesiastical equivalents). May the Lord who loves the fruitfulness of the hidden life, the jewel of heavenly contemplation, the burning sun of interior righteousness, have mercy on us and save us, for He is gracious and loves mankind, and to Him we render glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and always and for ever and ever, amen.

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St. Thérèse of Lisieux: the little flower who had a BIG impact

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Watch Mother Miriam's Live show from 10.1.2019. Today Mother speaks about St. Thérèse of Lisieux, her life, her writings, and the impact she made on the Church during her short life.

You can tune in daily at 10 am EST/7 am PST on our Facebook Page.

Subscribe to Mother Miriam Live here.


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Proof the Amazon Synod proposes apostasy

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

In this episode 29 of The John-Henry Westen Show, LifeSite's Latin American correspondent Matthew Hoffman discusses the heretical working documents being used for the Pan-Amazonian Synod. His conclusion is that a sort of 'eco-socialism' is being introduced into the Church by liberation theologians, and that an apostasy is taking place. The radical changes being proposed would introduce a new religion, he argues.


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