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Fr. James Martin, SJ
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LGBT activist priest meets with Vatican education chief to discuss doc critical of ‘gender theory’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― An American celebrity priest continued his tour of the Vatican by meeting with the Prefect and Undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. 

Fr. James Martin, S.J., 58, principally known for his LGBT activism, publicized his October 1 meeting with Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi and Fr. Friedrich Bechina in a series of messages on Twitter. 

Martin indicated that he had a “dialogue” with these officials about the Congregation for Catholic Education’s recent document addressing gender ideology. 

“Dear friends: I am happy to say, with their permission, that I met with Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the prefect of the Congregation for Education, and Fr. Friedrich Bechina, undersecretary, for a dialogue about the Congregation's document ‘Male and Female He Created Them’,” Martin wrote. 

“During our meeting I read aloud letters from a Sister who ministers to transgender individuals, from a family with LGBT children, and a transgender person himself. Again, with their permission, I can share that they spoke about the context and purpose of their document which was focused on Catholic schools,” Martin continued.  

“His Eminence (Cardinal Versaldi) expressed sorrow if people thought the Congregation was accusing people of being ideologically distorted, and they wish to share their care for transgender people and want to continue dialogue to reflect on their experiences.”

Martin underscored that he had his interlocutors’ permission to publish these details but said he would keep the rest of their meeting private. 

“I was happy to bring LGBT voices to this warm meeting and very grateful for their openness to dialogue,” he concluded. 

The full title of the Congregation’s statement is “Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education.” Published on February 2, 2019, the document is a gentle exploration of new and erroneous theories concerning human sexuality, particularly the divorce between physical reality and so-called “gender identity.” 

Whereas the document agrees with gender theorists that bullying and undue discrimination against any person is wrong, it critiques gender theorists’  battle against nature, their “dualist anthropology” that pits the human will against the human body, and “denies the difference as well as natural reciprocity that exists between men and women.” 

Quoting Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, the document states that gender ideology: 

“... inspires educational programmes and legislative trends that promote ideas of personal identity and affective intimacy that make a radical break with the actual biological difference between male and female. Human identity is consigned to the individual’s choice, which can also change in time. These ideas are the expression of a widespread way of thinking and acting in today’s culture that confuses ‘genuine freedom with the idea that each individual can act arbitrarily as if there were no truths, values and principles to provide guidance, and everything were possible and permissible’ (AL, 34).”

“Man and Woman He Created Them” also draws upon the writings of St. John Paul II, whose Love and Responsibility and other writings on human sexuality have sustained two generations of Catholics in the aftermath of the Sexual Revolution. It cites Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and other writings, addresses by Benedict XVI, documents from the Second Vatican Council and statements from both the Congregation for Catholic Education and from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  

Martin did not indicate that he had cited anything but the three personal letters he had in his possession.

This was the second high-profile Vatican visit for America magazine’s celebrated “editor-in-chief.” Earlier this week, Martin publicized his private half-hour meeting with Pope Francis in the papal library, stressing that the two men had, save for a translator, been alone.  

Although Martin’s religious order, the Society of Jesus, denied this meeting was political or strategic or had “a hidden agenda,” the Jesuit-run America magazine swiftly suggested that the meeting was a “highly significant public statement of support and encouragement” for the American priest. It found a coded meaning also in the fact that the pontiff had met Martin in the library where he normally greets heads of state. 

“By choosing to meet him in this place, Pope Francis was making a public statement,” America stressed. “In some ways, the meeting was the message.”

Martin himself took the audience “as a sign of the Holy Father’s care for LGBT people.”

The author’s interaction with Catholics who experience same-sex attractions, though celebrated, arguably does not fill a gap in the Church’s ministry. Since 1980, a faithful, orthodox ministry called “Courage,” founded by an unassuming priest named John F. Harvey (1918-2010), has served Catholics who experience same-sex attractions and their families. Now called Courage International, the apostolate prefers not to define human persons by their sexual inclinations and therefore does not use the English-language initialism LGBT. It encourages its members to find happiness through greater closeness to Christ and in chaste friendships.

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Young people receive solid Catholic formation during LifeSite-sponsored program in Rome

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits
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October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Voice of the Family’s youth program entered its first of two days of intensive conferences in Rome on Tuesday, offering some 20 young people an opportunity to better know their Catholic faith and to make good choices for their futures in light of clear Catholic teaching.

Many of these young adults who have been together in Rome since Saturday to join the “Acies ordinata” event near St. Peter’s Basilica come from the United States, Great Britain and also farther afield: Italy, Germany, Philippines and elsewhere.

Selected by LifeSite, the British Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and the pro-life and pro-family Catholic joint organization Voice of the Family, they are devout Catholics looking for a way to serve the culture of life. As such, they are preparing and, more important, being prepared to become key players in coming years.

The talks that will continue until Wednesday evening are being held at the foot of one of the oldest Roman basilicas, Santa Balbina, which was erected in the sixth century over the former home of a second century martyr born to a rich Roman family living in a desirable part of the city, close to the location where some 80 years later the baths of Caracalla would be inaugurated.

The session has been titled “Made for heaven,” a reality that is very palpable in the complex where the talks are taking place because of that constant reminder of the possibility of martyrdom. Walking among ancient brick walls of which some parts date to the second century, young people from the New World are communing in one ancient faith.

Daily Mass is celebrated in the traditional or “extraordinary” form of the Roman rite.

These young men and women, who are perhaps wondering what their vocation in life should be, are meeting with experienced, knowledgeable people in the pro-life movement who are taking time not only to talk to them but also to listen to them and to answer their questions.

First to speak was John-Henry Westen, co-founder of LifeSiteNews, who underscored the fact that together with Steve Jalsevac, he had been a fallen-away Catholic before rediscovering the faith of his baptism, a thing that should give hope to all.

That would not have been possible, he said, if his own father had not always insisted that he was on the wrong path, thus making his conversion possible. The “danger of hell” exists and should not be hidden from those we love, especially if we love them, he said in his opening remarks. “We shouldn’t sugarcoat it: it’s deadly,” he insisted, speaking in particular of abortion and sexual acts that are mortal sins and lead to hell if forgiveness is not sought for.

These opening words set the frame for a talk on the present-day confusion in the Church, whose leaders speak no longer in this fashion, preferring to show openness to all. In fact, Westen explained the grave ambiguities and errors coming from Rome since Pope Francis’ election.

To face this truth it is useful – if only to believe it – to make a catalog of the major scandalous deeds and words coming from the top of the Vatican, and it started together with Francis’ first appearance as Pope in the company of formerly disgraced Cardinal Danneels, who was implied in the cover-up of the sex abuse scandal in Belgium, his native country. Then Francis praised progressive Cardinal Walter Kasper’s theology “on day three” of his pontificate.

From then on, the list is long and has been closely followed by LifeSite. Remembering all of these incidents in a concentrated form is of course especially unsettling. Whether it be invitations to promoters of population control such as Paul Ehrlich, Jeffrey Sachs or Ban Ki-moon to events held within the Vatican itself, the nomination or promotion of the “anti-pro-life hierarchy” cardinals such as Blase Cupich, Danneels, Kasper or De Kesel, or the demotion of Cardinals Raymond Burke or Gerhard Muller, the pattern is a constant one.

Thus, Westen recalled that institutions such as the Pontifical Academy for Life or the John Paul II Institute are being stripped of their most traditional elements and confided to Archbishop Paglia, who famous for the homoerotic painting he commissioned opposite the altar of his former cathedral in Terni, Italy.

But that was not all. Receptions by the Pope of a practicing homosexual and his “lover” and a purportedly “married” woman who underwent treatment to become a “man” together with her “wife” also set the tone.

Particularly unsettling was the declaration by Pope Francis that he had seen a lot of fidelity in cohabitation: “I’m sure this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage.” The reminder of this papal quote by Westen came with a father’s anger: He recalled how his own daughter at that time asked him whether now cohabitation is OK.

And the list went on, with remarks about the death penalty that has been unduly condemned by Pope Francis and, very recently, his reception of Father James Martin, the pro-LGBT community Jesuit.

Is it wise to show young people these stark and even frightening events that might lead some to doubt about the Catholic Church in itself? Assuredly, it is truth that sets us free, and clearly all the youngsters present were worried that at the same time deeply attached to the institution, whatever the shortcomings of the human beings in charge.

And as Westen concluded, we know the words of the Virgin Mary in Fatima: “At the end, my Immaculate Heart shall win,” inviting all of his listeners to be the “happy and joyful warriors” because they have every reason to be thanks to this assurance.

The second speaker was Professor Roberto De Mattei of the Lepanto Institute hosting the event in Rome. His talk about “the Soul of the Apostolate” aimed to show all of the young participants that Catholics are more all built on a single model but that their very “inequalities” are willed by God and contribute to the harmony of the universe.

“God loves each one of us in a unique and unrepeatable way. The beauty of the church is expressed in a variety of vocations that will converge to the final end of the universe,” he said, encouraging his young listeners to make efforts to discern them without relying on the extraordinary, which is the error of the charismatics.

His call to action was above all a call to the nurturing of the “interior life” that is the life of the soul whose “vital principle is God himself.”

De Mattei then showed that other religions, and in particular post-Christian Judaism and Islam, know no interior life, relying on “formal acts” that are required of their faithful. “Christianity, on the other hand, qualifies as an interior religion” that does not propagate itself by holy war but “by sacrifice and preaching.”

“It is the only religion that has social fruits,” he added, showing the young people who certainly desire a more just society that the interior life inherent to the Catholic faith “changes and transforms” society by civilizing it, as can be seen in the role of women or the abolition of slavery, which was so present in the pagan world.

For the first time in the youth program, separate talks were held for the young women and the young men on the subject of personal vocation. Three nuns from the Consoling Sisters of the Sacred Heart, an Italian religious order founded in the 1960s that since 1996 has relied on the spiritual assistance of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, came to speak of their personal choices in life. Most remarkable was their joy. It was certainly the best witness they could give of the peace and happiness brought by answering God’s personal call.

Two American sisters explained how they had crossed the Atlantic to come and fulfill what they understood from providential signs to be their own vocation. They acknowledged that it was not easy. “But if you are called, you also get all the necessary graces to persevere. God is there every step of the way.”

They also insisted on the deeply feminine nature of the call. “Renouncing marriage and family life is a big sacrifice for any girl; we could also see it as against nature if we were hostile to it; but God gives us spiritual maternity. So fruitful his virginity that it gives supernatural life to many more souls than natural motherhood,” insisted one sister.

Another commented that the community life the sisters commit to allows them to “prove” their love of God through love of their neighbor in “fraternal charity.” “We are rocks rubbing against each other and making each other smooth,” she said with a smile.

In another more homely remark, eliciting a wave of approval from the listeners, a sister noted that their whole lives are filled with prayers and thoughts of their heavenly spouse: “We keep in contact, like a girl would with her boyfriend, texting him all day and rushing to defend him if he had been unjustly offended in any way.”

They also wanted to make clear that religious life is the “lung of the Church:” “The Church will never be able to do without the religious life” and its “fervent and constant prayer,” attracting graces for all “as a lightning rod.”

Speaking as an unmarried lay woman with responsibilities in the pro-life movement, Virginia Coda Nunziante recalled that while some choose compromise in a society that is “difficult” for women, and others “isolation,” that is, living according to the faith in their families and homes, there is also a “third way” that involves “public witness.” She recalled that this is not something new since the church is always given a high role to women and in particular nuns who have been counselors of popes and kings.

Since revolution, and in particular the sexual revolution often were pushed along by women, be it in the Bolshevik era, in Spain or in Poland, it is also up to women, and perhaps especially so to consecrated virgins living in the world, as an answer to the particular needs of these times, to be forces of the counterrevolution in society.

Coda Nunziante quoted a Masonic publication in France in 1968, L’Humanisme, which wrote: “To bring down Catholicism, bring down the dignity of woman.”

Events have shown us that this is done by creating a false equality between men and women and by making the latter lose their “sense of reserve.”

Calling on her listeners to “respond with a supernatural response,” through the restoration of “customs and modesty,” she told the young women to rely first of all on prayer. “Both action and contemplation come from a profound love of God. The more we love God, the more we hate evil and want His kingship over persons and society,” she insisted.

In the present day, those women who do not have a purely contemplative vocation, she added, have a mission “that also extends to very important political and social action. Because we do not live in normal times, we must be ready to embrace different vocations for the greater glory of God, always the feminine virtues of purity, sacrifice, self-denial, sweetness. We need to rediscover the pride of being Catholic, also in the public square, where we need the virtue of fortitude.”

“The most charitable work today is to carry on the fight against relativism, even if it’s only in your free time,” she said in an answer to a question about women who are obliged by circumstances to have an ordinary paid job. Coda Nunziante also suggested that girls should go and help large families and their extended family.

For those who have the common vocation to marriage, Colleen Bayer of Family Life in New Zealand gave a deeply stirring talk about her own marriage that has always been anchored on “Eucharistic life.” “The vocation of marriage takes three: husband, wife and God,” she said, giving many concrete and touching examples of the self giving that has been part of her own wedded life with Terry Bayer, whose love she described as “unlimited.”

The young women listening to Colleen said they were particularly interested to have her insights on “submissiveness” to one’s husband. “Terry is submissive to God and I to him, and that has brought freedom, also freedom from my self-willed personality,” she said.

One example was her husband’s insistence that after the birth of their daughter, Michelle, and the adoption of three special-needs children, the couple should take in and adopt a little girl with Down syndrome born to a 10-year-old raped and abused child when Colleen was already 55. She admitted that she had thought it would not happen. But her husband said, “Bring her home,” and now little Elizabeth is the light of his life.

Girls in the Voice of the Family youth program listened in silent awe as Colleen described the generosity of a couple so deeply involved in pro-life work that its love spilled out toward children with psychological or mental handicaps, finding its strength in sacramental life and daily Mass.

“Develop your backbone and do what God is calling you to do,” she concluded.

That is exactly what the youth program is trying to help these young people to achieve.

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Pope Francis greets priests and seminarians during his weekly general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on February 26, 2014. Giulio Napolitano / Shutterstock.com
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Vatican relaxes restrictions on married ex-priests, hints they may be allowed to return to ministry

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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Religion Digital openly celebrated what it sees as a move towards a married priesthood with this cartoon. The caption reads: 'A priest with his little child in his arms would be a greater testimony of the love of God than all of the celibates in the world.' religiondigital.org / screen grab

October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has begun to eliminate restrictions on the activities of men who have been removed from the priestly state and allowed to marry, according to Religion Digital, a Spanish-language leftist news portal sometimes used by members of the Francis regime to announce new initiatives and respond to critics.

Moreover, the Vatican appears to be hinting that such people may be allowed to continue to carry out priestly functions in the future, even if they marry.

A trusted source close to the information has told LifeSite that the Vatican has also facilitated the process of obtaining dispensations for leaving the priesthood, and no longer places waiting periods or minimum ages on priests before they may receive such dispensations. 

The same source tells LifeSite that the new rescripts are connected with the Amazon Synod agenda, which includes permitting the ordination of married men as priests.

Religion Digital describes the new approach as an “absolute and radical change in the procedure that priests have to follow when they hang up their garb and ask for a dispensation.”

Copy of new version of rescript – translated by LifeSite

According to a recent decree or “rescript” issued in Spanish by the Vatican in response to a request by a priest to be returned to the lay state, which was published by Religion Digital and has been translated into English by LifeSite, such priests may now remain in the communities that they served, where they must be “accepted,” even after marrying, and may even marry publicly in that same community.

In previous rescripts, laicized priests were prohibited from distributing Holy Communion or directing pastoral activities.  These restrictions are reversed in the current version of the rescript, which instead states that “the dispensed cleric will be able to exercise those ecclesiastical offices that do not require sacred Order, with the permission of the competent Bishop.”

Previous rescripts for laicizing priests stated that they must leave the communities they served and live in a place in which they were not known as having been ordained as a priest, and in addition, any marriage contracted by the laicized priest had to be “carried out with caution and without pomp and outward display.” Such rescripts also required laicized priests to carry out a penance through “some work of devotion or charity,” another requirement that has disappeared from the rescript.

However, the text of the new rescript hints that the prohibition on the priest continuing to function as a priest while married may be lifted in the future, stating that the dispensation “includes, inseparably, the dispensation from celibacy and, at the same time, the loss of the clerical state. These two elements can never be separated, because according to current practice they are part of a single procedure” (boldface added).

Religion Digital openly celebrates what it sees as a move towards a married priesthood, even including a drawing of a priest holding his child with the caption, “A priest with his little child in his arms would be a greater testimony of the love of God than all of the celibates in the world.”

The new rescript also relaxes prohibitions on laicized priests taking teaching positions. Although it still prohibits them from being involved in the formation of priests, it now allows them to teach theology and even to exercise leadership positions in the teaching of theology at the high school level. They may even teach theology at a Catholic university if permission is given by the Congregation for the Clergy. All such activities were prohibited to laicized priests in the past, mostly without exception.

A translation made in 2006 of the earlier rescript on dispensing a priest can be found here on pages 45-46.

Previous restrictions “turned to dust” under Francis administration

A source with immediate knowledge of the situation tells LifeSite that the restrictions on such dispensations, which placed delays on priests asking to be laicized, have been lifted in recent years. Previously, priests had to be over 40 and had to wait five years from their initial request to receive laicization.  Now, it appears, priests can receive such dispensations virtually immediately, and with little to curtail their activities in the Church after they have left the priesthood.

“The prohibition of granting dispensation before the age of 40 or the need for the priest to abandon an irregular cohabitation before being eligible for the granting of a dispensation... all those rules are being turned into dust,” LifeSite’s source stated. Who added that now the priest is “viewed as a functionary,” with “a job one may peacefully abandon at any time.”

In leaving the priesthood, there is “an all around aura of normality,” the source added.

The Catholic Church teaches that priestly ordination places an “indelible mark” of the sacrament of Holy Orders on the recipient, which can never be nullified. When men are removed from the priestly state and allowed to marry, they technically remain priests, but may exercise their priestly faculties only under extraordinary circumstances, normally only to hear confessions of a person in danger of death.

The lifting of restrictions on laicized and married priests would seem to lend weight to concerns that the Amazon Synod, which begins on October 6, will begin to allow the ordination of married men, ostensibly to address the shortage of unmarried men willing to be ordained as priests.

The synod’s working document or “instrumentum laboris” states that “it is requested that, for the most remote areas of the region, the possibility of priestly ordination be studied for older people, preferably indigenous, respected and accepted by their community, even if they have an existing and stable family, in order to ensure availability of the Sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life.”

The Spanish original of the recent (July, 2019) rescript from Pope Francis can be found here

LifeSite’s translation of the rescript can be found here

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Teacher fired for refusing to use transgender pronouns sues school for $1 million

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A high school French teacher fired late last year for respectfully refusing to refer to a female student as male has filed a lawsuit against the school for violating his conscience rights and infringing on his religious beliefs.

Peter Vlaming taught at West Point High School in Virginia, where one of his female students returned from summer break having “transitioned” to living as a boy, and wanted to be recognized as such. Vlaming agreed to use the masculine name she had chosen and attempted to avoid referring to her with female pronouns, but said his Christian faith prevented him from calling a girl “he” or “him.”

The girl said the compromise made her feel “singled out” and her family complained to the administration, which placed him on administrative leave. The West Point School Board held a four-hour hearing earlier this month to consider the matter, where they voted unanimously to fire him despite an outpouring of support for Vlaming from parents and students.

Vlaming filed a lawsuit Monday against various West Point officials in King William County, NBC News reported. It seeks $1 million in damages for violating Vlaming’s free speech and conscience rights, as well as attempting to force him to violate his religious convictions.

"Mr. Vlaming's conscience and religious practice prohibits him from intentionally lying, and he sincerely believes that referring to a female as a male by using an objectively male pronoun is telling a lie," the suit argues. It says Vlaming repeatedly explained his position to school administrators, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.

The school “did not have any written policy regarding using pronouns,” the suit maintains. “Defendants made up an uncompromising interpretation of their policies to compel Mr. Vlaming to take sides in an ongoing public debate regarding gender dysphoria and use pronouns that express an objectively untrue ideological message.”

“Peter went out of his way to accommodate this student as he does all his students; his school fired him because he wouldn’t contradict his core beliefs,” said attorney Caleb Dalton of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Vlaming. “The school board didn’t care how well Peter treated this student. It was on a crusade to compel conformity. He works hard to make his students feel welcomed.” Tolerance,” Dalton added, “is a two-way street.”

A GoFundMe page established last December to support Vlaming and his family has raised over $50,000 of a $55,000 goal.

The West Point School Board told NBC News simply that it "denies any liability" and intends to defend itself against the lawsuit.

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Fr. Pavone: Abortion is ‘the foundation of every issue’ and here’s why

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By LSN

October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – On this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with Father Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life, the largest pro-life ministry in the Catholic Church. He is also the President of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, the National Pastoral Director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and of Rachel's Vineyard, the world's largest ministry dealing with healing after abortions. He travels throughout the United States to an average of four states a week preaching and teaching against abortion

Van Maren speaks with Fr. Pavone about his experiences as a pro-life priest and leader. Fr. Pavone discusses his dedication to the pro-life movement as a high school student and then as a seminarian. After he was ordained a priest, he preached about abortion almost every weekend from the pulpit, leading to a profound impact on his parish. 

Fr. Pavone shares about his encounters with Dr. Bernard Nathanson, an abortionist who helped found NARAL but later became pro-life. Dr. Nathanson stated that the silence of the Church played a large role in the early spreading of abortion. Fr. Pavone summarizes, “the Church was quiet when she should have been shouting from the rooftops.” 

Because of that, it is the responsibility of pastors to be vocal about abortion and life issues because doing so encourages others to stand up for the truth. Fr. Pavone works to educate and train priests, deacons, and seminarians to speak out against abortion. He says he is often told by others that just his being out there and being a public presence encourages them to be more vocal.  

Fr. Pavone spends some time sharing his most memorable and meaningful stories from his decades in the pro-life movement. One awesome story is how he developed a friendship with Norma McCovey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. He also tells Van Maren about his encounters with Mother Teresa and his friendship with Pope John Paul II.  

One key point Van Maren and Fr. Pavone discuss is the centrality of the abortion issue. There is a tendency to think of abortion as “just one of many issues.” However, “it is the foundation of every issue.” Fr. Pavone emphasizes the importance of abortion as the most pressing issue of our time.  

Van Maren and Fr. Pavone wrap up the podcast, talking about Fr. Pavone’s involvement in pro-life politics. Fr. Pavone has spoken with President Trump on a handful of occasions and interacts with his staff more frequently. Fr. Pavone says that President Trump “truly personally believes in and is committed to what we are committed to – protecting children from the violence of abortion.”  

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Planned Parenthood unveils abortion ‘mega-clinic’ in Illinois

Calvin Freiburger
By Calvin Freiburger

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Illinois, October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood revealed Wednesday that over the past year it has secretly been constructing an 18,000-square-foot “mega-clinic” in Illinois, which is expected to become an abortion destination for women traveling across the nearby Missouri border.

CBS affiliate KMOV reported that Planned Parenthood secretly began constructing the facility in August 2018 under the auspices of a shell company to avoid pro-life protesters and delays from dealing with vendors who wouldn’t want to do business with the abortion industry. CBS additionally reported that it cost almost $7 million and is expected to see an estimated 11,000 women a year.

"We were really intentional and thoughtful about making sure that we were able to complete this project as expeditiously as possible because we saw the writing on the wall,” Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri chief medical officer Colleen McNicholas said. “Patients need better access, so we wanted to get it open as quickly as we could.”

The facility, one of the largest in the United States, is slated to start taking patients later in October. It is expected to help Missouri abortion seekers compensate for any loss of “access” caused by the possible closure of Missouri’s last remaining abortion center, which is just 13 miles from the “mega-clinic.”

That facility, in St. Louis, is currently locked in a legal battle with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services over the renewal of its abortion license. State health officials have given the Planned Parenthood facility 30 citations of medical malpractice, including complications in four surgical abortions.

“Planned Parenthood pretends that abortion is just another form of healthcare, but their practice of deceiving local communities shows otherwise,” Pro-Life Action League executive director Eric Scheidler said in a statement. “Abortion is violence, and even those who support legal abortion don’t want to live next door to that violence.

“Planned Parenthood pretends they’re all about choice, but they repeatedly deny any choice to local communities about whether or not they want an major abortion facility in their town,” he added. “They likewise deny pro-life contractors any choice in whether or not they want to help build an abortion center, by lying to them about what they’re actually building.

“But they will not go unopposed,” Scheidler vowed. “We will confront this latest abortion center in Fairview Heights with our peaceful, compassionate, life-saving outreach.”

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Canada’s state broadcaster embarrasses itself in failed exposé on pro-life ‘fake news’

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October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – On September 18, Canada’s state-funded broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, aired a segment on their nationally-broadcast flagship news program, The National, accusing LifeSiteNews of playing a leading role in the spread of fake news and misleading content. It was a classic mainstream media hit piece, masquerading as investigative journalism.

LifeSite's Managing Editor, Patrick Craine, breaks it down in this video, showing that the CBC is the real agent of "disinformation." (See full transcript below.)

 

Full transcript

On September 18, Canada’s state-funded broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, aired an 8-minute segment on their nationally-broadcast flagship news program, The National, accusing LifeSiteNews of playing a leading role in the spread of fake news and misleading content. 

Entitled “How a real story turns into online disinformation," the segment was a classic mainstream media hit piece, masquerading as investigative journalism. 

LifeSiteNews has had incredible growth in the last 12 months, and, by God’s grace, our impact is growing and growing. So it’s inevitable that our enemies would start to take notice.  

But despite the CBC’s intention, the segment gives a good glimpse into how LifeSite has increasingly been able to drive stories and take a lead in framing the narrative on major news items with a social conservative lens. 

The CBC could not, of course, directly accuse us of fake news because we set high editorial standards and strive as best we can to be painstakingly factual. But they insinuate that LifeSite is “fake news” by trying to show that our reporting somehow led to fake news reporting. 

They highlight an over-the-top headline at another outlet, and purport to show that LifeSite helped spawn it. They claim that we got the ball rolling in a chain of “disinformation.” 

I want to walk you through this story and how it developed so you can see that it’s actually the CBC that is “the agent of disinformation” here. This instance is relevant and important because it shows the deep bias of the mainstream media and how they are trying to weaponize the “fake news” phenomenon against their ideological opponents, to get conservative media shut down by Facebook, Google, and other tech giants. 

So here’s what happened. 

On March 20, 2019, Ontario politician Roman Baber introduced a private members bill in the Ontario legislature that would ban any demonstrations outside the legislature that the Assembly’s Speaker deems to be promoting hate speech or inciting violence. The bill passed second reading and is now before a committee. 

When social conservatives in Ontario got wind of the bill, they were incredibly alarmed because we are increasingly seeing our causes denigrated as expressions of “hatred.” Campaign Life Coalition, the largest pro-life group in Canada, denounced the bill out of concern that it could be used by ideologues to ban rallies opposed to radical sex ed or the LGBT agenda. 

Faithful to our mission, we ran a story on April 16 reporting on the facts of the bill, and highlighting the legitimate concerns of social conservative activists. We ran another op-ed against the bill on May 9 by social conservative advocacy group Real Women of Canada. An article at The Post Millennial by lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, also gets a mention by CBC. 

Baber, the bill’s author, told the CBC that he’s targeting rallies that have happened previously at the legislature that called for murder - obviously vile events. His motives for the bill here are good – the rallies he’s describing are evil, and they should not be allowed. A rally calling for the murder of anyone is deplorable, and should be shut down at Queen’s Park, or anywhere.

But there are real concerns about how such a bill will also be used against people of faith and social conservatives in a culture and political climate that’s increasingly attacking Christian moral teachings by labelling them as hate.  

The CBC completely ignores these concerns and essentially accuses LifeSite of whipping up people’s emotions to drive traffic. They even bring on a supposed “expert” to drive home the point. 

However, Christians have every reason to believe that bans on “hate speech” will be used to ban our points of view. There is no disputing that in the eyes of Canada’s liberal politicos and elitist commentariat, we are “homophobic” and “anti-women,” among many other slurs. 

And government institutions are increasingly using the power of the state to shut us down and to indoctrinate vulnerable children in schools to become hateful, leftist culture warriors against social conservative persons. 

In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that a Christian activist’s condemnation of homosexual behavior made him guilty of hate speech. They ordered the activist, Bill Whatcott, to pay a fine, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in court costs. Whatcott is known for his direct style of activism and explicit signs, but he emphasizes that his outreach is rooted in love for homosexual persons and his desire to save them from a deeply damaging lifestyle. However, the nation’s highest court ruled that the classic Christian distinction, “love the sinner, hate the sin” no longer applies. 

In June 2019, Toronto Police arrested street preacher David Lynn for speaking out against homosexuality in Toronto’s gay village, indicating they were investigating him for a hate crime. 

In 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against a Christian marriage covenant at the Evangelical Trinity Western University’s law school, affirming that it was okay for the Law Societies in Ontario and British Columbia to reject their graduates. 

There are numerous other examples, but suffice to say, we have every legitimate reason to think that a ban on “hate speech” at the Ontario legislature will eventually be used to target Christian beliefs. 

Here’s what Campaign Life Coalition President Jeff Gunnarson told us in our initial report: 

“If anti-sex ed protests were deemed ‘homophobic’ or ‘transphobic’ based on a politically motivated definition of hate, or a single unofficial misplaced sign, or even infiltration by activists seeking to discredit pro-family protesters, they could be prevented by politicians or even security at Queen's Park.” 

“In fact, we do not think this is a slight possibility but a probability, considering how easily the terms ‘homophobic’ and ‘transphobic’ are thrown at pro-family activists and citizens.” 

Now, after we reported on the Ontario bill, the message spread far and wide and generated interest across the border in the U.S. The CBC video highlights the fact that our articles were picked up by a U.S. conservative outlet. That article, which got even more social media interest than ours did, heavily quoted us, but oversimplified it in a way that sensationalized the story. Yet CBC blames LifeSite for it. 

The headline, at Big League Politics, oversimplified the story considerably. But LifeSite’s articles did not instigate that, as CBC claims. We reported on, and ran, legitimate and serious opinions about the possible dangerous implications of the bill. That is standard practice for news agencies, including the CBC. The CBC just doesn’t like the particular opinions we ran. 

Ironically, CBC’s own so-called expose on “disinformation” was in fact guilty of grievous “disinformation” itself. Sadly, this level of disinformation from Canada’s state-funded broadcaster is no surprise. In fact, it is par for the course. CBC, supposed paragon of objectivity and watchdog against journalistic bias, is infamous as a propaganda arm for liberal ideology. 

I’ve often said that just as LifeSite is devoted to social conservative advocacy journalism, the CBC is ideologically committed to pro-abortion, pro-LGBT advocacy journalism. When the CBC runs a story on abortion, they can be relied on to give quotes that are solely drawn or heavily drawn from pro-abortion sources. While LifeSite is upfront that we are a news agency on a mission to defend the right to life, the truth of the natural family, and the freedom to express and promote our faith in the public square, the CBC falsely holds itself up as the gold standard of objectivity and impartiality. 

Let’s not forget, this impartial media agency is the same one that has repeatedly mocked Christian beliefs, used its news service to promote abortion, euthanasia, and all manner of evil for decades, and this year released a documentary called “Drag Kids” that featured kids doing sexualized dance moves for the entertainment of adults. 

The CBC’s brand of sanctimonious bias came through in a special way in October 2018. On the phone with LifeSite reporter Lianne Laurence, they touted their impeccable editorial standards as the reason for ignoring a viral story we broke showing an attack by a male abortion activist against a female pro-life demonstrator. 

You’ll likely recall the moment when Jordan Hunt roundhouse-kicked Campaign Life Coalition’s Marie-Claire Bissonnette at Life Chain on the streets of Toronto. 

This viral video was picked up by big media across the world, including the Washington PostNewsweekHuffington Postmsn.comCanadian PressNational Post, and the U.K.’s Independent. It was widely reported by local media, including Global, City News, CTV, the Toronto Star, and the Toronto Sun

But the hugely government-funded CBC, with their massive team of reporters in Toronto, managed only a 226-word article that didn’t mention the video, or the attacker, even though he had already been named by police. CBC didn’t just ignore the story. In emails to LifeSite, they defended the fact that they ignored it. 

A producer told LifeSite that CBC has “journalistic practices and standards. Not every news organization in Toronto has that, but as the public broadcaster, we do. So I would have had to have seen the video to verify it as well. … We have a bar to meet. Just because a video goes viral doesn’t mean it becomes news and that we cover it.” 

CBC is selective about its editorial standards, however. And they seem to be far less choosy when it comes to attacking Christians and pro-life people of faith. In January 2019, after the U.S. March for Life in Washington, D.C., they were happy to rush to judgment against the pro-life young men of Covington High School on the barest of evidence: namely, a selectively filmed viral video. 

The next time CBC journalists feel the itch to expose some “disinformation,” they would do well to look in-house

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Girl admits making up hate crime media used to attack Karen Pence

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By Calvin Freiburger

SPRINGFIELD, Virginia, October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An alleged racist attack on a 12-year-old girl at the Christian private school where Second Lady Karen Pence teaches never happened, the accuser has admitted following national attention over the story.

Last week, reports surfaced of an alleged incident at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, in which three white sixth-grade boys allegedly pinned down a black female classmate and cut her hair. 

"They said my hair was nappy and I was ugly," accuser Amari Allen told NBC, adding that the boys had been bullying her all year. Her family reported it to the police, and Immanuel Christian said it was “deeply disturbed by the allegations.”

However, NBC Washington reports that security camera footage conflicted with her story, and Allen eventually admitted she had made up the incident and cut her own hair (though she still maintains she has been bullied in the past).

On Tuesday, CBS affiliate WUSA published statements by both the family and the school.

“While we are relieved to hear the truth and bring the events of the past few days to a close, we also feel tremendous pain for the victims and the hurt on both sides of this conflict,” Immanuel Christian head Stephen Danish said. “We will also continue teaching what we’ve taught for more than 40 years: that the love of God is for all people, and as His children we should demonstrate that love equally to all people regardless of their background, what they believe, or how they behave.”

The Allen family apologized to the boys and their families “for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” and to the broader school community “for the damage this incident has done to trust within the school family and the undue scorn it has brought to the school.”

“We understand there will be consequences, and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them,” they continued. “We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.”

NBC Washington adds that family attorney Michael Daniels said the family is “starting to look at a path forward, and that involves a lot of counseling and therapy and open discussion.”

One of the reasons the allegation gained national attention is that Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, teaches art part-time at Immanuel Christian (a connection left-wing activists have previously attacked over the school’s expectation that employees adhere to Biblical sexual morals, which preclude homosexuality and transgenderism).

Headlines from NBC News, The Week, Newsweek, LGBTQ Nation, Pink News, and others emphasized Mrs. Pence’s connection to the school, while media figures such as CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers demanded she “answer questions” about the alleged incident. Sellers later acknowledged the story was fake, but maintained that the Second Lady still “has a ton of questions to answer” about the school.

Read all LifeSiteNews coverage of hate crime hoaxes here.

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Judge temporarily blocks Georgia from banning abortion on babies with heartbeats

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled Tuesday that Georgia’s law banning most abortions on babies with detectable heartbeats will not take effect as planned next year, pausing the measure during litigation.

Signed into law in May, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act forbids abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, except in cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.” If allowed to take effect, it will ban abortions in all other cases as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – when a baby’s heartbeat can be detected – starting in January 2020.

A direct challenge to Roe v. Wade’s prohibition against pre-“viability” abortion bans, the law has been a subject of intense national debate, with prosecutors declaring they’ll refuse to enforce it, and various celebrities and entertainment companies threatening to boycott the state.

The so-called American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), and Planned Parenthood have challenged the law’s constitutionality, and in July requested a preliminary injunction to keep the law from being implemented before the merits are decided in court. Jones granted that request Wednesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Jones wrote that the Supreme Court has “clearly defined” that “under no circumstances whatsoever may a state prohibit or ban abortions at any point prior to viability, no matter what interests the state asserts to support it,” and by “banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, HB 481 prohibits women from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy at a point before viability.”

Pro-abortion groups celebrated the ruling, while Georgia Life Alliance executive director Joshua Edmonds called it “yet another demonstration of judicial activism against an overwhelming majority of Georgians who support protecting innocent life.” He vowed to “continue to fight to prevent Planned Parenthood and the ACLU from turning back the clock on human rights in Georgia.”

The LIFE Act’s supporters, such as lead sponsor Rep. Ed Setzler, have defended the law by noting that Roe itself acknowledges, “if this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument.”

Pro-lifers across the country hope that the current wave of state heartbeat laws will force a long-awaited Supreme Court review of Roe, and that at least five of the current justices would vote to overturn it and finally free states to directly set their own abortion policies. Questions remain as to how Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s newest member, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, will rule on abortion.

The office of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp says it is reviewing the ruling, and that they “remain confident in our position” and will “continue to fight for the unborn and work to ensure that all Georgians have the opportunity to live, grow and prosper.”

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David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, Sept. 18, 2019. Lianne Laurence / LifeSiteNews
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Biggest pro-life trial in 2 decades: Planned Parenthood civil case against pro-life journalists begins today

Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger
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Troy Newman, a founding board member of the Center for Medical Progress, whose undercover work exposed Planned Parenthood's selling of babies' body parts.

SAN FRANCISCO, California, October 2, 2019 (Operation Rescue) – Today, Troy Newman and three of his co-defendants will walk into Judge William Orrick’s federal courtroom and begin their defense against Planned Parenthood’s accusations against them in the biggest pro-life trial in two decades.

Planned Parenthood brought the case against Newman, Sandra Merritt, David Daleiden, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), and the CMP’s alter-ego, Biomax, in 2016, after the release of a series of undercover videos that revealed Planned Parenthood’s participation in the illegal trafficking of aborted baby remains for profit.

In an ironic twist, instead of Planned Parenthood being held accountable, the largest abortion organization in America brought the pro-life journalists to court and accused them of corruption and racketeering.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is representing Newman in this case, who was sued due to his service as a board member of the Center for Medical Progress during the three-year undercover investigation.

Why this case is important

Despite the Planned Parenthood case and an earlier lawsuit filed by the National Abortion Federation (which is currently on hold until the conclusion of the Planned Parenthood case), the CMP investigation was a game-changer.

The ACLJ wrote:

In light of CMP’s investigative reporting, the United States Senate and House of Representatives conducted thorough investigations into illegal, unethical, and immoral practices within the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industries.

The resulting House Report and Senate Report contain shocking, first-hand evidence of unconscionable criminal and illegal actions by abortion providers and fetal tissue procurement companies. The reports contain, among other things, evidence of profiting from the sale of fetal organs (including the payment of bonuses for procuring organs that were highly sought after by researchers), altering abortion procedures for financial gain, performing illegal partial-birth abortions, killing newborns who survived attempted abortions, failing to obtain informed consent for fetal tissue donations, and fraudulent overbilling practices.

The Congressional investigators asked various law enforcement and regulatory bodies to investigate the offending organizations for possible criminal prosecution. Additionally, a $7.8 million court settlement was filed in California under which DaVinci Biosciences, LLC and DV Biologics, LLC admitted liability for their role in the unlawful sale of fetal tissue and stem cells for profit. Further, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) concluded, based on the CMP videos and the Congressional investigation, “that [Planned Parenthood] at a minimum violated federal standards regarding fetal tissue research and standards of medical ethics.”

In fact, Planned Parenthood is currently under investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice based on criminal referrals made by the House and Senate committees. On June 18, 2019, Senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley, current and former members respectively of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr seeking an update on the progress of the investigation. There has not yet been any public response, but one is expected soon.

The videos are also credited for providing the inspiration for the Protect Life Rule, which disqualifies organizations that conduct or refer for abortions from receiving Title X family planning grants. This new rule deprives Planned Parenthood of $6 million in taxpayer funding each year.

Case meant to punish pro-life journalists

Perhaps because of the outstanding criminal investigation, the civil case against the pro-life activists has been aggressively pursued by Planned Parenthood and its phalanx of attorneys from the powerful Morrison & Foerster law firm, which boasts of over 1,000 employees in 17 offices around the world, and a client list that includes Intel, Yahoo!, and UPS.

The case has been anything but routine. Due to a gag order and a designation of “for attorneys’ eyes only” on many details of the case, much of what should be said cannot be discussed in public at this time.

There can be no doubt that this case is meant to punish pro-life journalists from speaking out when they uncover criminal conduct within the abortion cartel, with the hope that it will act as a deterrent to any future abortion-related investigations.

What’s at stake

While there are no criminal penalties associated with this civil case, Planned Parenthood is accusing Newman and the other defendants of violating the Racketeer-Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for going undercover at Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation meetings.

Should the pro-lifers lose, Planned Parenthood is seeking seeking $16 million from the pro-life defendants in addition to potentially crippling punitive damages and millions in attorney fees.

This case could also forever change the way journalists collect information and conduct undercover investigations, which would stifle the First Amendment freedom of the press. The media are at their best serving the public good when their investigations uncover and expose criminal conduct, and aid in the administration of justice, just as Newman and the CMP journalists did when they uncovered Planned Parenthood’s underground baby parts trafficking business.

What to expect

Jury selection will begin on October 2, 2019. The case is expected to last six to eight weeks. 

Operation Rescue is asking those who are so inclined to pray for Newman, and his co-defendants Sandra Merritt, Albin Rhomberg, and David Daleiden, as well as their attorneys during this lengthy trial.

Today, we are asking specifically for prayer for the jury selection process and wisdom for the attorneys. We are hoping to get impartial jurors who will fairly hear the facts of the case.

Operation Rescue will post updates as they become available.

View Operation Rescue’s Fact Sheet on Planned Parenthood v. CMP, Newman, et al.

Reprinted with permission from Operation Rescue.

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Cardinal Ouellet at CCCB meeting in 2017.
Sandro Magister

Opinion

Even a cardinal close to Pope Francis is condemning dangers of Amazon, German synods

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By

Watch online for free as lay Catholics from across the world address critical Amazon Synod issues TOMORROW, October 4th.  Click here to join.

October 2, 2019 (L'Espresso) – A few days before the beginning of the synod on the Amazon, another cardinal of the highest rank has come out against the guidelines for the session, expressed in its base document, the “Instrumentum Laboris,” and forcefully propagandized by the progressive wing of the Church, especially German-speaking, guidelines that even hypothesize the extension of the priesthood to married men.

The cardinal is Marc Ouellet, 75, Canadian, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He has done so with a book on sale as of today, which right from the title makes it clear on what side he stands in the dispute over married priests: “Friends of the Bridegroom: For a Renewed Vision of Priestly Celibacy” (EWTN, Irondale, 2019).

Unlike the other cardinals before him who have publicly contested the aims of the synod – Brandmüller, Müller, Sarah, Burke, Urosa Savino – Ouellet has never been classified among the opponents of the current pontiff, on the contrary. And this makes his taking the field even more explosive.

During these same days, moreover, there have been other public position statements that have also been very critical of the aims of the synod.

The first is from the “Ratzinger Schülerkreise,” meaning the old and new circle of pupils of Pope Benedict XVI when he was a philosophy professor.

On Saturday, September 28 they held a symposium in Rome entitled: “Current challenges for holy orders,” entirely aimed at “resituating holy orders in a sacramental perspective,” and not instead in the purely functional one propounded by those who would like married priests where a need for them may be found, starting with the Amazon but then also in countries like Germany.

Among the presenters was Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who again denounced the serious danger that “the so-called ‘synodal path’ in Germany or the Amazonian synod could end up in the disaster of a further secularization of the Church” (Il cardinale Müller e gli allievi di Ratzinger criticano i due sinodi d’Amazzonia e di Germania).

And a talk was also given by Marianne Schlosser – professor of theology in Vienna, member of the international theological commission, and awarded in 2018 with the Ratzinger Prize – who dedicated much of her talk precisely to the defense of celibacy, explaining it above all as “sharing Jesus’ way of life,” all the more appropriate for those who with the sacrament of orders “participate in the priesthood of Christ.”

It must be noted that Marianne Schlosser resigned last September 21 from the synod scheduled for Germany, where she had been included as an expert in the forum on the role of women in the Church, clearly aimed at conferring holy orders on women as well.

The second position statement is from a bishop of Papua New Guinea, Cesare Bonivento, who for decades has been on mission precisely in one of those regions of the world, the islands of the Pacific, singled out even by Pope Francis as the most unequipped with celibate clergy and therefore most in need of married priests.

Bonivento has taken the field with a book in which he documents how the celibacy of the Catholic clergy was reaffirmed by Vatican II because of its theological foundation, and not because of the utilitarian reasons that instead today are brought forward to call for its retirement (“L’itinerario conciliare del celibato ecclesiastico,” Cantagalli, Siena, 2019).

The third position statement is from “quite a number of prelates, priests, and Catholic faithful all over the world,” who in a manifesto made public in multiple languages on October 1 accused four “theses” of the base document of the synod of being “in contradiction both with individual points of the Catholic doctrine always taught by the Church, and with faith in the Lord Jesus, the only savior of all men”: “To the Pope and the Synod Fathers.”

The first of the four “theses” judged as erroneous is also the most serious. It is where the “Instrumentum Laboris,” at no. 39, states that “a corporatist attitude, that reserves salvation exclusively for one’s own creed [editor’s note - meaning the creed of the Catholic Church] is destructive of that very creed.”

The authors of the manifesto contrast this thesis with the key statement of the 2000 declaration “Dominus Iesus,” which says that “those solutions that propose a salvific action of God beyond the unique mediation of Christ would be contrary to Christian and Catholic faith.”

But even before this there are the unequivocal words of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles (4:12): “Neither is there salvation in any other [than Jesus]. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.”

So then, on this last point as well Cardinal Ouellet weighs in firmly, right from the first pages of his book.

To which it is helpful to return now.

In the introductory chapter of the book, in fact, Ouellet sets before the question of clerical celibacy another question that is even more paramount, which is precisely the same one on which John Paul II and then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger held it necessary to publish “Dominus Jesus,” not by coincidence the most contested and debated doctrinal declaration of the Church over the past half century.

The cardinal writes:

“The new paths of the future will bear evangelical fruit if they are consistent with a complete proclamation of the Gospel, ‘sine glossa,’ which sacrifices nothing of the permanent values of the Christian tradition. […] In this light, seeking new roads for the evangelization of the indigenous in the Amazon means going beyond an approach that would be reduced to proceeding on the basis of Amazonian world views,  in an effort of intercultural synthesis that runs the risk of being artificial and syncretistic. The  unicity of Jesus Christ and, to a certain extent, of biblical culture imposes a dialogue that is respectful of cultures but clearly oriented to conversion to the mystery of the incarnation of the Word. The transcendent unicity of this irruption of the Word into human history confers upon biblical culture a place apart in the concert of nations, and justifies its being taught to all cultures, for the sake of bringing to them that to which they aspire and toward which their values and limitations lead, for the purpose of being illuminated and healed by it, and taken up beyond themselves.”

Two pages further on, Ouellet also applies this warning to countries like Germany, where he sees underway “modernizations” that in reality endanger the reason for being of the whole Church.

“If this reflection on evangelization is valid for the Amazon, a similar reflection holds true for the ‘new evangelization’ of countries that have long been Christian. If this is confused with a modernization of habits and customs, for the sake of making Christianity more acceptable in spite of certain negativities in its history, it is doomed to fail, and the people will not be fooled by superficial recipes that are offered to them to keep up their interest in the ecclesial institution. The Church either proposes the authentic Jesus who is identical with the Christ of faith, or it loses the reason for being of its mission, and the new powers of the media wielded by hostile hands will very soon render it superannuated and superfluous.”

The question of the priesthood and of celibacy is addressed by Cardinal Ouellet precisely against the backdrop just described. Presenting reasons that show its “pertinence today, all the more so in difficult contexts.”

Ouellet is among the participants in the upcoming synod on the Amazon. It will be interesting to see how much agreement these criticisms of his will receive.

Reprinted with permission from L'Espresso.

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“Miss Richfield 1981” at “Stories together with Drag Queens” in 2018 Miss Richfield 1981 website
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Library hires blasphemous adult entertainer for toddlers’ drag queen story hour

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By Doug Mainwaring
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“Miss Richfield 1981” at “Stories together with Drag Queens” last Saturday.

RICHFIELD, Minnesota, October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A public library in the Midwest has invited a drag queen known for his adult entertainment show titled “Gender Fluids” to read to toddlers during its Saturday story hour on multiple occasions. 

Billing himself as “Miss Richfield 1981,” Russ King is a drag artist who has previously been photographed in a sacrilegious pose, spread eagle on top of what looks like an altar beneath a large cross at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco.  

King’s website and Facebook page display many disturbing photos of him dressed in garish clothing in exaggerated feminine poses, sometimes with nearly naked or naked men.    

The Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) events took place at Richfield, Minnesota’s Augsburg Park Library, located in Hennepin County. Richfield is Russ King’s hometown where his drag queen persona was launched, although his 20-plus-year career performing as Miss Richfield 1981 has led him far away to regular gigs in gay meccas on both coasts: Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Palm Springs, California. He has also appeared on national television and has been a spokesman in Orbitz commercials.

Citizen journalist and activist Peggy Traeger Tierney, who attended King’s most recent appearance at the Augsburg Park Library, reported:

Russ (King) was wearing a very short skirt and very high heels, and when he bent over, or his legs spread apart, he revealed his underwear to a dozen toddlers who sat before him. Children between eight months and 13 years were there. Russ ended Story Hour with a vocal rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which he belted out in his deep baritone voice.

I went to the Drag Queen Story Hour event, by myself, to observe. I live a mile from the library. This is my neighborhood. I grew up here and still live here. Drag Queen Story Hour was organized by the Richfield Library (Augsburg Park location) Youth Services Librarian named Alison Reiter, who approached me upon arrival, after I identified myself through my library card, and told me "everybody knows who you are" and they were watching me. I was quickly surrounded, and monitored, by several members of the “Richfield Social Justice Community” (RSJC) -- three large women who served as bouncers for the event. In other words, the library used my private information to “dox” me to the activists.

Tierney explained that both books the drag queen King read to the young children were LGBT-oriented: Neither explained how some people are neither a boy or a girl and are called “this or that or they,” and Rainbow was used by King to teach the kids the meaning behind every stripe in the rainbow flag “so they could pledge allegiance to the Rainbow Flag -- not the American flag.”

“Pure indoctrination,” noted Tierney, who asked a member of the RSJC why Miss Richfield “didn’t read well-known children's books instead of books focusing on sexuality?”   

The RSJC member responded, telling Tierney that if she is anti-LGBT or anti-Drag Queen, she should “leave the public library immediately.”  

A reporter for StarTribune.com confirmed the heavy-handed policing of the DQSH event:  

Richfield librarians were in force Saturday, dressed in their rainbow best and braced for trouble. Online, there had been ugly talk and threats of protests. Anyone who wanted to disrupt story time would have to get through a united front of book lovers in “All Are Welcome Here” shirts.

The Hennepin County Public Libraries plan 14 more “Stories Together with Drag Queen” events in the next month, where children can “celebrate self-expression, dress-up, and gender fluidity through stories, rhymes, music and movement with drag performers from our community.”   

The Hennepin County Public Library system observes “LGBTQIA+ History Month” in October to “celebrate members of our communities who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual, as well as others who don’t identify with a gender norm,” according to a statement on the library website. 

“Kids are usually completely delighted to see a performer who is so open and willing to embrace just the extreme of dress-up, which is something all children enjoy,” said Ashley Bieber, the county’s youth services librarian, in the StarTribune.com report.  

“They’re just over the moon and fascinated,” continued Bieber, and yet in their group picture with King, many of the kids look as if they’re nervous and would prefer to be someplace else. 

Libraries across the country complicit in normalizing LGBT behaviors in children

Though many are appalled by “Drag Queen Story Hours” and local library systems may resist attempts to hold them, the sprawling national American Library Association (ALA) is working to not only promote DQSHs but to teach librarians and others how to sneak these events into libraries in rural or conservative jurisdictions. 

The ALA’s summer national conference provided librarians from across the country with strategies for advancing gender identity ideology in schools and finding ways to bring “Drag Queen Story Hours” into public libraries despite the objections of local communities.   

Over the last few months, disturbing stories have come to light about DQSHs held in public libraries. On the West Coast, young children were photographed lying on top of and crawling on a drag queen — something that goes against standard school, camp, and church child protection policies — and on the East Coast a drag queen who read to young children was discovered to be involved with numerous lurid and pornographic sexual businesses and activities.

In Texas, two drag queens who participarted in DQSH events were revealed to be convicted sex offenders.

“The goal is to normalize abnormal, sexually deviant homosexual behavior by enticing children to question their sexuality,” pro-family activist Georgia Kijesky recently told LifeSiteNews. “The more children see men dressing up as women, the more normal it will become.”

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Males copying violent porn scenes are inflicting life-changing injuries on females

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By Jonathon Van Maren

October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Those of you who regularly read my weekly columns here know that I have consistently attempted to highlight the impact of ubiquitous porn use throughout our culture, especially the ways in which these digital toxins are profoundly transforming the way men and women relate to one another. Indisputable evidence of the fact that pornography is mainstreaming sexual violence within the romantic context continues to pile up. 

One recent study noting that teenage boys who are exposed to violent porn are two to three times as likely to assault girls. Pornography is consistently playing a pivotal role in violent sexual crimes, and another recent study indicated that nearly a quarter of adult American women feel fear during sexual intimacy due to the rise of porn-inspired choking.

And now, the New York Post has again highlighted the increasingly horrific impact of porn use in a news article titled “Teen suffers life-changing injury trying to imitate porn.” 

The story, unfortunately, is an increasingly common one: I’ve had teenagers at Christian schools ask me why their boyfriends increasingly ask for (or demand) anal sex—and the reason is that both their worldview and their understanding of sexuality is being informed by pornography. 

According to the New York Post:

In a tragic case illustrating the sinister effects of online porn, a 16-year-old girl’s bowel was so badly injured during group anal sex that she needs to use a colostomy bag for the rest of her life. The teen reportedly suffered the life-changing injury while copying scenes seen in violent porn, according to an Australian Broadcasting Company News investigation.

But, sadly, Australia’s national broadcaster was told that the girl’s horrific experience was just one in a string of serious injuries to result from porn-addicted Australians trying to imitate aggressive sex they’ve watched online. Australia GP and former Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Dr. Bastian Seidel told the ABC he has seen first-hand how copying behavior seen on porn videos can go dangerously wrong.

“We have seen anal fissures more and more. I’ve seen that more in women, so that’s caused by men having anal sex with women,” he said. The ABC’s hard-hitting investigation also revealed the horrendous experience of a woman, “Sarah,” whose former boyfriend forced her into having anal sex. The 41-year-old was left with nerve damage to her bowel and can no longer cope with hugging her mom because she was so traumatized by the rape. “In pornography, it’s not how it is in real life. It’s just not how it is. It looks like they enjoy it, but it really hurts,” she said.

This trend has been exploding for years. 

Over a decade ago, Dr. Robert Jensen of the University of Texas described in his book Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity how porn consumption was leading young men to believe what is now referred to as “rape myth.” 

Rape myth is essentially the porn-inspired belief that women want whatever sex acts men demand, and that if they resist these acts, their resistance can be overcome with a little force. In pornography, of course, pleasure appears to be the result—at least for the male. In real life, the girls and women who are subject to this violence often suffer profound psychological and physical pain, as well as bodily harm. But as this type of pornography has become nearly omnipresent in youth culture, girls often feel trapped into accepting sexual demands that are now presented as “normal.”

More from the New York Post

Experts and teachers have all agreed that porn-addicted men are making their girlfriends suffer in an attempt to copy what they see online. Cyber safety expert Susan McLean, who advises the Australian government and speaks at schools, was among several experts revealing how high school girls were being seriously injured when their boyfriends try to imitate what they’ve watched in porn.

She said their copycat behavior involved using objects and tended to be “quite violent.” The girls “often feel very powerless to say ‘no,'” McLean added…Porn education organization Reality And Risk told the broadcaster its research showed that close to 90 percent of the most popular porn viewed includes physical aggression. This issue has also been delved into by Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology senior lecturer Meagan Tyler, who said overseas pornographers, particularly in the US, have deliberately made their content more violent.

Consider this fact carefully for a moment: American porn companies are deliberately producing pornography in which women are abused, degraded, and subjected to bone-chilling sexual violence (and if you doubt this, feel free to listen to one of the two interviews I conducted on my LifeSiteNews podcast with former porn actresses.) Such pornography is being consumed by millions upon millions of young men and women every day, as well as teenagers, and even children. That pornography is informing their views on sexuality, relationships, and the opposite sex. By permitting this industry to spread this poison unchecked, we are creating the conditions for sexual violence, marriage breakdown, and profound distrust between the sexes. 

It is an unpopular view, but countless conversations with the girls and boys who have borne the brunt of this evil industry have led me to the inescapable conclusion that Ross Douthat is right: we should be taking government action against this industry. 

We would never allow any other industry to create a product that has resulted in so much misery and victimization, and the scale of the digital porn threat is so great that some scientists admit they simply do not fully comprehend how profoundly pornography will transform our society in the coming decades. I have my own predictions on that, and one of them is simple: Expect to hear many, many more of these awful stories in the years to come. 

Such awful stories are not only probable. In this porn-infused culture, they are inevitable. 

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Fr. Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life, the largest pro-life ministry in the Catholic Church. Van Maren speaks with Fr. Pavone about his experiences as a pro-life priest and leader. Fr. Pavone shares how his dedication to the pro-life movement starting in high-school and continuing while he was in seminary. After he was ordained a priest, he preached about abortion almost every weekend from the pulpit, leading to a profound impact on his parish. 

 You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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German church historian: Amazon synod is ‘moment of decision’ to open ‘new paths’ to priesthood

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By Maike Hickson

Watch online for free as lay Catholics from across the world address critical Amazon Synod issues TOMORROW, October 4th.  Click here to join.

October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Professor Hubert Wolf, a priest and German church historian from the University of Müster who recently attended a private pre-Amazon-synodal meeting in Rome, presented yesterday his new book against priestly celibacy at the Catholic Academy in Berlin. 

The book, titled Celibacy: 16 Theses, aims at showing the negative sides of priestly celibacy and at presenting arguments that would help to promote the agenda to abolish it. One of his theses is that “Obligatory abstention from marriage is a risk factor with respect to sexual abuse by priests.”

During his October 1 book presentation, Professor Wolf reportedly said that he hopes the upcoming Amazon Synod (beginning on Sunday, Oct. 6) will open “new paths to the priesthood,” in the words of the German bishops' news website Katholisch.de.
“Now is the moment of decision,” Wolf told his audience. “If this chance is not being seized,” he continued, “the window is closed.”

The Amazon Synod's working document itself proposed that, “instead of leaving communities without the Eucharist, change is requested in the criteria for selecting and preparing ministers authorized to celebrate the Eucharist. 

The private pre-synodal meeting which Wolf attended in June, together with Cardinal Baldisseri, Cardinal Kasper, and other key prelates involved in the preparations of this synod, called for a married priesthood. In a final report, the participants state: “This symposium suggests that married men with Christian experience be ordained to the priestly ministry to serve the community from their profession and family life, and to celebrate the Eucharist, penance and the anointing of the sick in their community.” 

Professor Wolf, during his book presentation in Berlin, insisted accordingly that the regular celebration of Holy Mass is important for the Church. Therefore, he added, the priesthood should not be linked with celibacy. Here, he pointed out that both the Orthodox Church and the Protestant churches have allowed their clergy to be married. On these century-old traditions, the Catholic Church could build upon in her own reform.

Wolf does not think that the abolishment of priestly celibacy would lead to a schism. He believes that this would not be a breach with the Church's tradition.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, a distinguished church historian and the former President of the Pontifical Committee for historical sciences – responded in July of this year to Wolf's critique of priestly celibacy in a detailed statement published in the national newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

LifeSite's contributor Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has also written a detailed critique of Professor Wolf's new book, saying that it is “full of misconceptions, factual errors, leaps of logic, and ideological baggage.” 

A 2016 book by Father Gary Selin has pointed out in a detailed manner the positive aspects of priestly celibacy, its historical roots, and different reasons as to why priestly celibacy should be preserved.

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VIDEO: Proof the Amazon Synod proposes apostasy

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By John-Henry Westen

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

October 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In this episode 29 of The John-Henry Westen Show, LifeSite's Latin American correspondent Matthew Hoffman discusses what he calls the “heretical” working documents being used at the Pan-Amazonian Synod. Matthew recently discovered the existence of a document produced by radical liberation theologians for the synod that is intended to overthrow Catholic doctrine in a variety of areas.

Matthew and I talk about that document and the Synod itself. His conclusion is that a new religion is being imposed on the Church and that an “apostasy” may occur at the Synod. A sort of “eco-theology” is being installed into the Church, he says. It will put man at service of the natural world, and not the other way around — as God intended it. He also believes there is going to be an “all-out assault on the hierarchical priesthood” and that some attendees want women to be sacramentally ordained deacons. 

Matthew believes the Amazon region was deliberately chosen to introduce these radical changes so liberal clergy across the world could point to the region and be able to look at the "precedent such that the exception will become the rule." They would then implement the results of the Amazon Synod in their own countries.

Liberation theology in Latin America has led to the loss of faith in the region and the growth of Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism, Matthew also told me. Liberation theology is very much related to socialism, he said. It “wants us to forget” about life being primarily about growing in holiness and being in communion with God. Instead, it makes us “focus on secondary issues” like economics and the environment. It “turns Catholicism into an ideology.” 

Matthew states that Pope Francis is aware of all this but he is still pushing ahead. “He understands how grave it is…he’s heard the words of the cardinals…and he’s going forward with it.” Matthew says that previous popes have been condemned but with the situation under Pope Francis, “it’s never been this bad…this really is unprecedented.”

Despite that, the crisis in the Church is giving Catholics a “wonderful opportunity” to know their faith and to show that Catholicism is not a religion where the laity blindly trust clergy who may be leading them astray. The Church will endure, he said, no matter what. “Christ made that promise.”

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

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

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

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Fr. Pavone: Abortion is ‘the foundation of every issue’ and here’s why

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By Jonathon Van Maren

On this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with Fr. Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life, the largest pro-life ministry in the Catholic Church. 

Van Maren speaks with Fr. Pavone about his experiences as a pro-life priest and leader. Fr. Pavone shares how his dedication to the pro-life movement starting in high-school and continuing while he was in seminary. After he was ordained a priest, he preached about abortion almost every weekend from the pulpit, leading to a profound impact on his parish. 


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Cardinal Muller’s Manifesto of Faith film illustrates ‘dire crisis’ in Church

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By John-Henry Westen

In this Special Edition of The John-Henry Westen show I highlight the beautifully made "Manifesto of Faith: The Movie," which was just released by Arcadia Films. This 22-minute cinematic presentation focuses on Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s February 2019 manifesto of faith, which he wrote in order to combat what he called "growing confusion about the doctrine of the Faith" in the Church. Watch it by clicking here.


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