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State senator Eric Giddens of Iowa's 30th District. Iowa Senate Democrats / YouTube
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Iowa boy and family fear retribution for resisting LGBT propaganda at school

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By Martin Barillas

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa, October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An Iowa boy and his parents are fearful of retaliation by teachers and school officials after the stepfather objected to seeing his stepson subjected to LGBT propaganda sponsored by a local junior high school.

Judd Saul, a local Christian activist and documentary film director, told LifeSiteNews that Robert Michael is worried about the repercussions of his encounter with a state senator, a former teacher, and a junior high school principal on September 23. That morning, Michael’s stepson sent a text to his mother asking to be taken home. It read: “Can I leave school today? Everyone is in gay flags and the gays are taking over.” It went on to say, “They are handing out gay stickers and donuts. You should let me leave.”

The text was accompanied by a photo that showed that rainbows and pro-LGBT messages and paraphernalia were being distributed to kids at the public Peet Junior High in Cedar Falls. When Michael arrived at the school with his wife, they found that the event had ended and that organizers were preparing to leave. According to Saul, members of the school’s gay/straight alliance slapped rainbow stickers on students as they arrived or handed rainbow flags. Colorful doughnuts were also made available.

Saul is a founding member of Cedar Valley Patriots for Christ.

Michael recorded a video of his encounter at the school with Sen. Eric Giddens (D) and wife Kendra Wohlert, who identified herself as a teacher. Giddens is a former member of the local school board. He and Wohlert claimed in the video that they were merely trying to welcome students to the school. As Giddens walked on the sidewalk leading to the school, Michael approached him and asked, “What’s going on?” Giddens was wearing a rainbow flag on his shirt. Michael asked, “What’s with the rainbow?” Giddens said, “It’s welcome to school.” However, when Michael asked Giddens’s name, Giddens turned his back and walked into the school. Wohlert had a rainbow sticker on her face.

According to Saul, parents were never informed by the school of the LGBT event or that adults would be handing out rainbow stickers and flags representing various sexual preferences to students.Saul said in the interview that he believes that the junior high school counselor had organized the event. In a report by the Iowa Standard (linked above), Principal Bill Boevers acknowledged that counselor Theresa Kenser had approached him earlier in the month about a welcome-to-school event. According to the report, Boevers told Michael that he was aware that it had a rainbow theme.

In the video, Wohlert then approached Michael and offered to answer questions. Michael continued toward the school, where Giddens finally identified himself and offered to go to the school office to explain the event. When Michael told Giddens that his stepson felt uncomfortable with the LGBT event, Wohlert interrupted, saying, “I’m sorry he feels uncomfortable. Can you imagine how it feels?” She then led the trio into the school, while confirming that the school approved the event. When they arrived in the school office, Wohlert asked to see the principal and announced an “emergency.” Appearing to taunt Michael, Wohlert said, “Imagine how it feels for kids who are not accepted for who they are.” Michael said he objected to the fact that he was not informed of the event.

When Principal Boevers appeared, he confirmed that he had approved the event. When he asked Michael to turn off his video recorder, Michael refused.

The video picks up later in an office with Michael’s wife present. There she explained that her son was not comfortable when people put rainbow stickers on him. “I have a son texting me that he’s not comfortable with what’s going on. It’s not what he believes. He has the right to believe that. Normally, he keeps his mouth shut, but when it came to a push like that, that’s not right in school.” She said, “Kids so different from him, if they want to wear t-shirts, whatever, that’s fine, there’s nothing we can say about it. But something like this, when you’re walking into it and running up to him and want to put stickers on him.” The mother theorized that the organizers of the LGBT event would probably refuse stickers advertising Donald Trump if they were offered.

Boevers claimed in the video that the event was intended to promote harmony at the school, to which Michael said the rainbow theme obviously shows support for the LGBT agenda.

Michael told Iowa Standard that there were adults at the tables lining the sidewalk leading to the school entrance that morning, as can be seen in a photo. According to Michael, Giddens loaded the tables into his truck at the end of the event. On Facebook, Wohlert was listed as “our fearless leader.”

Giddens, a Democrat, has represented Cedar Falls and Iowa’s District 30 Senate seat since March. At the swearing-in, according to The Courier, Giddens said he wore a purple necktie to symbolize his support of the University of Northern Iowa and the fact that he represents both Democrats and Republicans. The district is characterized by 32% active Democrat voters, as opposed to 30% Republican voters. Currently, there are 32 Republicans and 18 Democrats in the state Senate.

In the interview, Saul told LifeSiteNews that the Michael family is afraid of retaliation by teachers and students at Peet Junior High and are considering sending their son to a Christian school.

According to a Facebook post by LeAnn Saul, the Gay Straight Alliance is planning to “flood the school board meeting on Oct. 14 to defend their slapping your kids with pro gay stickers without your knowledge and without permission by your child.” The post called on parents to attend the board meeting to voice their objections.

The Iowa Standard reported on Thursday that school district spokesperson Janelle Darst confirmed that a group that calls itself “Difference” hosted the event last week. Darst commented that Boevers had indeed approved a “kindness” event and that the school district was aware of it. However, she added that the event, “as it took place,” was “not expected nor approved.” She added that the district will review how to handle events like this in the future so that “something like this, or similar, will not take place again.”

LifeSiteNews reached out to Giddens and Boevers via email but did not receive a response.

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Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, N.Y.
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Vatican appoints Brooklyn bishop to investigate Buffalo diocese amid abuse scandal

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By Martin Barillas

BUFFALO, New York, October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Following a Vatican directive, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, N.Y. will investigate the Diocese of Buffalo as part of an “apostolic visitation.”

In an official statement, Bishop Richard J. Malone welcomed the visitation. The statement read that the papal nuncio in Washington, D.C. will join Bishop DiMarzio in the review of the Buffalo diocese. Released on Thursday, it said Bishop Malone is “committed to cooperate fully and stated that this Visitation is for the good of the Church in Buffalo.” It defined an apostolic visitation as “an exceptional initiative of the Holy See which involves sending a visitor or visitors to evaluate an ecclesiastical institute such as a seminary, diocese, or religious institute” on behalf of the pope. The stated purpose is to assist the diocese in carrying out “its function in the life of the Church” and “improve the local Church’s ability to minister to the people it serves.”

Following revelations of alleged misconduct and sexual abuse committed by clergy, Bishop Malone has been the focus of criticism for more than a year over his handling of the claims. He has been accused of ignoring complaints about priests’ misbehavior with adults and alleged inappropriate comments by a priest on Facebook to an eighth-grade boy. In September, private audio recordings appeared to show that Malone had tried to hide alleged sexual harassment by a priest of an adult seminarian, as well as a love letter to that seminarian from another priest.

Bishop DiMarzio will submit a report to the Congregation for Bishops at the Vatican once the visitation is complete. He declared in a statement on Thursday: “This is a difficult period in the life of the Church in Buffalo. I pledge I will keep an open mind throughout the process and do my best to learn the facts and gain a thorough understanding of the situation in order to fulfill the mandate of this Apostolic Visitation.”

According to a memo from the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Washington, D.C., apostolic nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the visitation is a “fact-finding mission” and a “non-judicial and non-administrative process that requires confidentiality.” However, the memo said the visitation is “not subject” to Vos Estis Lux Mundi, a Motu Proprio and set of protocols implemented in June by Pope Francis for investigating alleged cover-ups of sexual abuse committed by clergy.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York said through a spokesman that he has been “closely monitoring the situation in Buffalo for over a year” and consulting with clergy and laity in Buffalo, in addition to discussions with Bishop Malone and papal nuncio Pierre. Under terms outlined by Pope Francis, metropolitan archbishops are responsible for conducting the appropriate investigations. Dolan is the metropolitan archbishop for dioceses in New York State, including Buffalo.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June approved a new document, “Affirming Our Episcopal Commitments,” in addition to Vos Estis Lux Mundi, in which the bishops said they would “respond directly and appropriately to cases of sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable persons, sexual misconduct, and the mishandling of such cases by bishops.” The USCCB noted that some bishops failed in their oaths of ordination “by not responding morally, pastorally, and effectively to allegations of abuse or misconduct.”

The 75-year-old Bishop DiMarzio will be assisted by Monsignor Steven Aguggia, judicial vicar of the Brooklyn diocese and pastor of St. Margaret parish in Queens. The statement did not note when or if Bishop DiMarzio will go to the Buffalo diocese.

Retired Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits told the Buffalo News that he had sexually abused “probably dozens” of boys, starting in the 1960s and through the 1980s. This was followed by news of clergy sex abuse that was covered up decades ago. A $17.5-million settlement ensued to satisfy the claims of 106 childhood sex abuse victims. There was also an FBI probe and an  investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of the State of New York. This included subpoenas of diocesan records. There were also more than 165 lawsuits filed against the diocese under the Child Victims Act.

Bishop Malone assumed the see of Buffalo in 2012, and there has been no evidence that he covered up any new allegations of clergy abuse. Almost all of the cases of alleged sexual abuse committed by clerics date from before 2012. The most recent known accusation of child sexual abuse in the diocese dates to 2001, more than a decade before Malone’s arrival.

Last month, Malone said at a news conference that he had received no request from the Vatican to resign despite growing complaints about his administration. He has insisted that he will remain in the see until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75 in 2021, notwithstanding that a group of lay Catholics known as the Movement to Restore Trust has called for his resignation.

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

Malone has placed 22 priests on administrative leave due to allegations of abuse lodged since March of last year. Claims against nine of the priests have been substantiated, and they remain suspended while the Vatican reviews their cases. An investigation cleared nine other priests, while four more are still on leave while the diocesan probe advances.

The experience of another diocese may be an indication of how long any process to remove Malone from Buffalo may take. Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph became in 2012 the first Catholic bishop in the United State to be convicted of protecting a priest from prosecution over child pornography charges. Finn was found guilty of a misdemeanor for failing to tell police that one of the diocesan priests had images of nude girls on his computer. Despite an online petition signed by 263,000 people demanding his resignation, and widespread media attention, Bishop Finn remained in his see for almost three more years. In 2015, Pope Francis accepted his resignation without explanation.

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Mexican Catholics defend churches against pro-abortion feminists, shouting ‘Viva Cristo Rey!’

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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Catholic faithful defend the cathedral in Guadalajara (LifeSiteNews)

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Groups of pro-abortion feminists in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and several other Mexican cities rampaged through the streets on Sunday in a pro-abortion “march” last Saturday that included attempts to set churches and government buildings on fire, spray-painting of graffiti, vandalism, and attacks on bystanders, including reporters. 

However, in Guadalajara and Mexico City, Catholics responded to the call to line up in front of their churches to protect them from the vandalism that churches have suffered in previous marches by feminists. The Catholics held banners of Our Lady of Guadalupe and chanted “Viva Cristo Rey,” in imitation of the Cristeros, who defended the Catholic faith from government oppression in the 1920s. 

In Guadalajara, hundreds of Catholics lined up around the city’s cathedral to protect it from the marchers, and no damage was inflicted on the building, despite the fact that the marchers’ rout took them directly next to the building.

In Mexico City, the women tried to set fire to both the gates of the city’s cathedral and the national Chamber of Commerce building. They spray-painted graffiti on sculptures on the Paseo de la Reforma (the city’s main avenue), as well as on the national Government Palace, on walls of businesses, parts of the subway, and on sidewalks.  They chanted, “Abortion yes, abortion no, that is something I decide!” and held signs demanding “legal, safe, and free abortion.”

Their attempts to set fire to the city’s cathedral were impeded by the shutting of the gates in front of the structure, but attempted to set fire to the gates themselves, until they were repulsed by police.

The women and girls, some of whom seemed to be teenagers from local high schools, wore green headscarves and shirts, many of them hiding their identities by covering their faces. Some wore witches costumes or dressed as nuns in acts of mockery of the Catholic faith. Others held red flags with the communist symbols of hammer and sickle. 

In Guadalajara, where this reporter witnessed much of the march, many sprayed buildings with pro-abortion graffiti, including at least one church in the hours before the march.  Some simulated perverse sex acts in front of an elderly man who called out “Viva Cristo Rey.” Others attacked a reporter for the eminent newspaper El Universal and damaged his camera. The reporter, who wished to remain anonymous and said he was merely doing his job in covering the march; organizers had previously warned that male reporters were not welcome and might be attacked.

The women and girls call themselves “Marea Verde” (“Green Tide”) in imitation of a feminist pro-abortion movement in Argentina that goes by the same name, and which called for pro-abortion demonstrations in multiple countries to achieve the legalization of the killing of the unborn.

As LifeSite has reported on many occasions, similar feminist marches in Argentina have repeatedly resulted in attacks on Catholic churches and on the Catholics who have lined up to defend them. In March of this year such rampages occurred in Argentina, Spain, and Uruguay, where berzerk feminists also sought to set Catholic churches on fire and chanted anti-Christian slogans. Other similarly violent and vandalistic marches have been taking place in Mexico City in recent weeks.

High school girls brainwashed by feminism

Jaime Cedillo, president of the Jalisco division of the National Front for the Family, noted the sharp difference between the violent and aggressive feminist march and his own organization’s peaceful march the week before, in which an estimated 250,000 people demonstrated in favor of life and family.  He believes that the feminist Marea Verde organizers, who were from other countries, managed to obtain access to local public and private schools to ideologically indoctrinate the students and to incite them to join a movement they don’t fully understand. 

“In reality, these are international movements, definitely, and here we could see the infiltration of foreigners, that’s a fact,” Cedillo told LifeSite. “They riled up students from high schools. We could see many young women, many young girls, who don’t yet have the ability to be taking this type of attitude, and we can see how excited they are, shouting, very loud, that really doesn’t correspond to a demonstration of this kind. They’re ideologically indoctrinated, and convinced of a cause that they don’t even understand.

“But in any case it is an international expression, which is seeking to position gender ideology, and particularly, to introduce abortion in all countries. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that abortion is a big industry, a big business, and there are international forces that seek to impose this in our country as well,” Cedillo added. 

Abortion is illegal under most circumstances in Mexico’s 31 states, but in its Federal District (Mexico City) it has been legal on demand for the first trimester (and in other more limited cases in later trimesters) since 2006. Since then, over 200,000 unborn children have perished at the hands of the city’s abortionists, the vast majority from Mexico City or the state of Mexico that borders it. 

The legislature of the state of Oaxaca recently legalized abortion on demand during the first trimester, but the law violates the constitution of the state, which protects life from conception. It is not yet clear if the governor will sign the law or if the state’s highest court will permit it to stand. 

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Huge win: Judge strikes down city’s ban on counseling minors with unwanted same-sex attractions

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By Doug Mainwaring

TAMPA, Florida, October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In a ruling issued today that will have national repercussions, a federal judge permanently struck down a city ordinance that prohibited licensed counselors from providing voluntary talk therapy to minors seeking help to reduce or eliminate their unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity.

Judge William F. Jung ruled that the city of Tampa had overstepped its bounds by instituting a regulation forbidding therapists from helping minors. “Local governments do not have authority to regulate counseling because it is the prerogative of the state,” according to statement from the Liberty Counsel. 

Matthew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, averred the ruling will “gut every counseling ban in Florida and leave no room to redraft them.”

The judge’s order “shreds the arguments to justify these bans and will provide a strong basis for First Amendment challenges to the statewide bans,” said Staver in letter announcing the victory.  

The court issued an order granting summary judgment to Liberty Counsel in a suit in which it represented marriage and family therapist Robert Vazzo and his minor clients, as well as the Christian ministry New Hearts Outreach, Tampa Bay.

Judge Jung said the city’s ordinance violates the state’s constitution by thrusting  itself into the center of the most private of matters faced by adolescents seeking help from licensed professionals: 

“Nothing is more intimate, more private, and more sensitive than a growing young man or woman talking to a mental health therapist about sex, gender, preferences, and conflicting feelings. The Ordinance inserts the City’s code enforcers into the middle of this sensitive, intense and private moment. But this moment is already governed by Florida’s very broad rights of privacy, something the Ordinance ignores …The Florida Constitution’s privacy amendment suggests that government should stay out of the therapy room. The Tampa Ordinance does not address this constitutional issue, and in doing so the City attempts to occupy a very private space, contrary to a strong statewide policy.” 

Tampa’s ordinance also denies parents’ rights to care for their children, rights which the judge said are “fundamental”: 

“The Ordinance eliminates this long-standing parental right without discussion or exception — Florida already occupied this ground. Parental rights, which the Florida Supreme Court has noted are fundamental and protected by the state constitution,11 are reduced or increased within Hillsborough County, Florida, depending on whether one steps across the Tampa city line or not.”

“With due respect for the citizen legislators on the Tampa City Council, none are skilled in mental health issues, nor are any of the City’s code enforcement personnel,” said the judge. “In contrast, the Florida Department of Health, with its skilled adjudicatory bodies, is equipped to address this dynamic area of psychotherapy.”

In Judge Jung’s ruling, he offered a long list of points agreed upon by the city’s own experts in the field that demolishes the arguments of government bureaucrats, council members and legislators, and other proponents of banning therapy to minors: 

  • Minors can be gender fluid and may change or revert gender identity. 

  • Gender dysphoria during childhood does not inevitably continue into adulthood. 

  • Formal epidemiologic studies on gender dysphoria in children, adolescents, and adults are lacking. 

  • One Tampa expert testified there is not a consensus regarding the best practices with prepubertal gender nonconforming children. 

  • A second Tampa expert testified consensus does not exist regarding best practices with prepubertal gender nonconforming children, but a trend toward a consensus exists. 

  • Emphasizing to parents the importance of allowing their child the freedom to return to a gender identity that aligns with sex assigned at birth or another gender identity at any point cannot be overstated. 

  • One cannot quantify or put a percentage on the increased risk from conversion therapy, as compared to other therapy. 

  • Scientific estimates of the efficacy of conversion therapy are essentially nonexistent because of the difficulties of obtaining samples following individuals after they exit therapy, defining success, and obtaining objective reassessment. 

  • Based on a comprehensive review of this work, the American Psychological Association 2009 SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts) Task Force concluded that no study to date has demonstrated adequate scientific rigor to provide a clear picture of the prevalence or frequency of either beneficial or harmful SOCE outcomes. More recent studies claiming benefits and/or harm have done little to ameliorate this concern. 

  • No known study to date has drawn from a representative sample of sufficient size to draw conclusions about the experience of those who have attempted SOCE. 

  • No known study (looking at same 2014 article) has provided a comprehensive assessment of basic demographic information, psychosocial well being, and religiosity, which would be required to understand the effectiveness, benefits and/or harm caused by SOCE. 

  • Although research on adult populations has documented harmful effects of SOCE, no scientific research studies have examined SOCE among
    adolescents. 

  • With extraordinarily well-trained counseling “in a hypothetically perfect
    world” it may be an appropriate course of action for a counselor to aid a gender-dysphoric child who wants to return to biological gender of birth. There is a lack of published research on efforts to change gender identity among childhood and adolescents. 

  • As of October 2015, no research demonstrating the harms of conversion therapy with gender minority youth has been published. In 2018, an article was published on youth, but causal claims could not be made from that 2018 report. 

While this ruling may well provide the basis for First Amendment challenges to current statewide and other local bans, it should be noted that nearly every contender for the Democrat presidential nomination has promised to institute a federal ban on any thereputic or religious counseling deemed to be “conversion therapy.”

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Pope hosts tree-planting ritual where indigenous bow to topless pregnant statue

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By Doug Mainwaring

VATICAN CITY, October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a move which will most likely heighten the concerns of critics of the upcoming Amazon Synod, Pope Francis today participated in a “highly symbolic tree-planting ceremony” in the Vatican Gardens, where indegenous leaders offered prayers for the Earth and people bowed before carved images of pregnant women.  

Participants planted the tree in dirt from the Amazon region (“celebrating the wealth of the bioregion’s cultures and traditions,” Vatican News explained) and India. Also brought in was “soil representing refugees and migrants, forced to leave their homes because of war, poverty, and ecological devastation” and “more soil from the Amazon, earth bathed in the blood of those who have died fighting against its destruction.” 

“There was earth from places of human trafficking, and from sustainable development projects around the world,” according to Vatican News. The tree that was planted came from Assisi, a nod to today’s feast day of St. Francis, and Pope Francis used the occasion to consecrate the upcoming Synod for the Amazon to the protection of St. Francis of Assisi.

A female in ritual dress approached Pope Francis and appeared to place rings on his fingers, and then made the Sign of the Cross.

To some, this resembled a pagan fertility ritual taking place within the walls of the Vatican. 

“The ceremony...looks like it was lifted from the Berkeley campus in the 60s,” said one priest in a Tweet. “How am I supposed to take it seriously?”

“The only question that interests me is what His Holiness's prepared comments were and why he set them aside,” he added.

After event participants knelt and bowed to the statues of pregnant women, Pope Francis “set aside his prepared remarks, opting instead to offer the Our Father without comment,” CNA reported.

The event was organized by the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, the Order of Franciscan Friars Minor, and the left-wing Global Catholic Climate Movement. The Global Catholic Climate Movement includes working groups that “coordinate Catholic engagement in the Paris Agreement” and promote “Climate Strikes” and “fossil fuel divestment” to youth. Its executive director “served in the UN Climate Secretariat doing political outreach and comms for the COP21” – a UN climate conference – and has worked for Google, according to his bio. The group also offers a free guide that teaches strategies on forming parish “green teams,” “engaging parishioners on low carbon lifestyle choices” and “advocating for climate justice.”

“Various religious congregations and representatives of the indigenous people of the Amazon Region played important roles in providing colour and creativity” for the tree-planting ceremony, according to Vatican News. 

Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Francis-created Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, also participated in the unusual Vatican ceremony. He said the “Season of Creation” is also “a season to respond to the ecological crisis” and suggested that Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation is “a time of change: humanity’s turning a new leaf to save the planet.”

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Left-wing group files complaint against Christian judge who hugged, gave Bible to remorseful killer

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By Calvin Freiburger

SUPPORT Judge Kemp - the judge who gave her Bible to a convicted killer Sign the petition here.

DALLAS, Texas, October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The week’s sentencing of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger for the shooting of an unarmed man has earned widespread attention featuring a powerful display of Christian forgiveness, but one left-wing organization is taking issue with Judge Tammy Kemp expressing her own faith in the aftermath.

Guyger has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing Botham Jean, a man who lived in the apartment above hers. Guyger had mistaken his apartment for her own, and shot him on the assumption he was an intruder.

During her sentencing hearing, Jean’s brother Brandt Jean told Guyger that he forgives her, and that God will do the same if she asks Him to. “I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do...and the best would be: give your life to Christ,” he said, before tearfully asking for permission to hug her.

Judge Kemp agreed, then gave Guyger her own Bible, embraced her, and prayed with her.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an organization dedicated to challenging benign intersections of religiosity and every level of government, filed a complaint Thursday with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Times reports.

“Delivering Bibles and personally witnessing as a judge is an egregious abuse of power,” the FFRF contends. Kemp “transmitted her personal religious beliefs as a state official in an official proceeding of the gravest nature.” 

In fact, Kemp’s official duties had already concluded; the sentencing was over and the jury dismissed, meaning the case hinges on whether judges may share their faith in any capacity while at court.

“We want our judges to be human and to show their humanity,” University of Houston judicial ethicist Renee Knake told the Times. “That’s why our cases are decided by human beings and not machines.”

“FFRF is protesting Judge Kemp rather than joining the rest of the nation celebrating the compassion and mercy Judge Kemp demonstrated,” First Liberty Institute responded in a statement. “We should all be thankful the law allows Judge Kemp’s actions and we stand with her and will gladly lead the charge in defending her noble and legal actions.”

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Republicans introduce bill to require states to report when babies survive abortions

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As lawmakers debate Republican legislation to crack down on infanticide, the Democrats’ chief talking point against it has been the claim that babies are virtually never born alive during abortions anyway. This week, a group of Republican senators introduced legislation aimed at answering the question once and for all.

Sponsored by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, the Ensuring Accurate and Complete Abortion Data Reporting Act of 2019 requires states to report any occurences of a child being delivered alive after an attempted abortion, and would make this data publicly available, National Review reported. It is the companion to a House bill introduced in June.

“America’s main source of abortion data comes from a biased think tank (the Guttmacher Institute) that only collects information on a voluntary basis,” Ernst told National Review. “That’s unacceptable. Why wouldn’t we want the most reliable and complete data possible surrounding such an important issue?”

“The American people deserve to know how many babies are born alive during abortion attempts in our country,” Cotton added. “This is life-or-death information, yet most states don’t collect it. Our bill would require states to report accurate and complete data about abortion, including instances where babies are born alive during abortions.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledges that it only collects abortion data voluntarily submitted by states, whose reporting requirements (if they have any) vary significantly. California, Maryland, and New Hampshire – three states that are populous as well as relatively abortion-friendly – submit no data whatsoever, further limiting the public’s and policymakers’ understanding of just how common late-term abortions and abortion complications really are.

According to the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, for example, only 43 states “report gestational age with enough granularity to allow for a count of late-term abortions.”

The problem has taken on particular significance in the debate over the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would require abortionists to transfer infants who survive abortions to hospitals, where they would be given the same degree of care as any wanted newborn. Democrats have justified repeatedly blocking the measure by claiming infanticide isn’t a real problem.

“There have been many cases and multiple witnesses who have come forward and admitted that they saw babies either actively or passively killed after they survived an abortion,” retired OB/GYN and former abortionist Dr. Kathi Aultman testified last month. “In Florida, a woman who had laminaria placed in her cervix to dilate it returned for her procedure, but the doctor was late, and she delivered a live baby girl at 23 weeks. A clinic owner with no medical experience sniped the cord and placed the still living baby and the placenta in a biohazard bag. The remains were found by police a week later after several calls from an informer.”

Tessa Longbons, a Lozier research associate, also testified that CDC data found 143 infant deaths from 2003 to 2014 that had been coded as induced abortion or spontaneous miscarriage, which “may be a considerable undercount” as just seven states (Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Texas) have provided data on at least 160 babies to survive abortions.

Readers can click here to read, sign, and share the LifeSiteNews petition urging the House to vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. At the time of this writing, the petition has amassed more than 21,000 signatures.

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Leaked audio reveals Zuckerberg defiant about political crackdown efforts

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg struck a defiant tone against the various criticisms facing the social media giant in two hours of leaked audio published this week by The Verge

The audio came from July question-and-answer sessions between Zuckerberg and Facebook employees, and covered a range of topics, including potential government action to break up Facebook.

“You have someone like Elizabeth Warren that thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies,” Zuckerberg said (the Massachusetts Democrat’s proposal is based on privacy and monopoly considerations, not political bias). “I mean, if she gets elected president then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge.”

“And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government,” Zuckerberg continued. “We care about our country, and want to work with our government and do good things. But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and fight.”

The Facebook chief doubled down on Facebook’s self-adopted role as a guardian against “election interference” and “hate speech,” stressing that breaking up tech giants only “makes it more likely because now the companies can't coordinate and work together." That, he added, is “why Twitter can’t do as good of a job as we can ... they can’t put in the investment. Our investment on safety is bigger than the whole revenue of their company.” 

Zuckerberg did claim to support a “regulatory framework where people feel like there’s real accountability” in order to keep frustrated critics from eventually deciding, “Screw it, take a hammer to the whole thing.” Critics remain skeptical of such promises in light of the first report from an internally-commissioned audit team, which summarized complaints against the company but abstained from judging their veracity. Zuckerberg has refused to submit Facebook to a fully-independent audit.

In the leaked audio, Zuckerberg also acknowledged that understandable concerns stem from Facebook’s sheer size and power but maintained the status quo was good for Facebook’s ability to “focus on doing what we think are the right things over a multiyear period” despite fiscal setbacks. “I think we need to internalize that if (the criticism) weren’t that, it would be something else,” he added.

Zuckerberg responded to the leak in a Facebook post stating simply that the audio presents “an unfiltered version of what I'm thinking and telling employees on a bunch of topics like social responsibility, breaking up tech companies, Libra, neural computing interfaces, and doing the right thing over the long term."

The audio came amid ongoing concerns about Facebook suppressing and discriminating against right-of-center content from sources such as LifeSiteNews, Live Action, Save the Storks, the Susan B. Anthony List, the American Pregnancy Association, Choice For Two, Elizabeth “Activist Mommy” Johnston, 500 Mom Strong, theologian Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon, The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher, video bloggers Diamond & Silk, and more.

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

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US Bishops’ pro-life chair is one of the strongest voices for the unborn

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Faithful Shepherds, a website launched by LifeSiteNews to hold the Church hierarchy accountable for its actions, has chosen to profile Archbishop Joseph Naumann for this week’s “Bishop Report Card.” He currently serves as the chair of the U.S. Bishops' pro-life committee, having beaten out liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich in 2017.

Sign up for the FaithfulShepherds.com email newsletter by clicking here.

Archbishop Naumann is the current head of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas. Unlike many members of the Church hierarchy across the globe, Archbishop Naumann has unflinchingly supported Church teaching on many topics, especially abortion and marriage and family life.

Naumann has shown time and again to actively engage in pro-life leadership and stand against “Catholic” pro-abortion politicians. His advocacy for life extends back many decades. In 1984, he served as the pro-life coordinator for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. During his tenure in that role, Naumann helped the archdiocese found a Project Rachel ministry and Lifeline Coalition, an organization that unites Catholic hospitals and pro-life groups with the aim of helping single mothers. 

The archbishop was also a founding member of the Vitae Foundation, a pro-life group established to fight against pro-abortion advocates who were working to add the right to an abortion to the Missouri state constitution. For all of his work advocating for the pro-life mission, Archbishop Naumann was awarded the Lumen Vitae award in 2018. 

Naumann has also been a long-standing proponent of the Church’s teaching on not giving the Eucharist to obstinately pro-abortion politicians. In 2008, he publicly told then-Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to refrain from receiving Communion. He directed her to not present herself for Holy Communion until she takes “the necessary steps for amendment of her life which would include a public repudiation of her previous efforts and actions in support of laws and policies sanctioning abortions.”

More recently, Archbishop Naumann defended the Church’s teaching on denying Communion for pro-abortion politicians at the 2018 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. Naumann stated that these pro-abortion politicians need to be held to “accountability.”

In addition to the issue of abortion, Archbishop Naumann has been orthodox in matters concerning “LGBT” ideology and homosexuality. During a 2018 interview with LifeSiteNews, Naumann stated that those who identify as transgender or homosexual face “real obstacles” when it comes to participating in the sacraments. Naumann explained that we cannot “change the gender that we’ve been given, even a person who’s had surgery, that doesn’t change their basic identities.”

Sign up for the FaithfulShepherds.com email newsletter by clicking here.

Archbishop Naumann also boasts an extensive history of supporting traditional families. At the Fall 2017 USCCB assembly, Naumann encouraged his brother bishops to support traditional marriage and let married couples know “what they’re doing is so important, not just for them and for their families, but for society and for the culture and for the Church.”

Later in a 2018 interview with LifeSiteNews, Archbishop Naumann denounced the now growing trend of cohabitation. He boldly called cohabitation “dishonest” and stated that couples who cohabitate are not in a position to welcome children into the world. The “optimal circumstance” for child rearing, according to the archbishop, is within marriage where the child’s biological parents have committed to each other in a lifelong bond.

Also in 2018, Archbishop Naumann published a column titled “Pseudo-feminism pits women against their own children.” In this column, the archbishop explained how the sexual revolution and feminism have been a “disaster for children, women and men.” He wrote that because of the sexual revolution, men “have been formed to believe their responsibility to women they impregnate is to pay for a portion of the cost for the abortion of their child,” and they “no longer seem to be needed to be a protector and provider for their spouse and children.”

Archbishop Naumann has proved he is among the loudest voices in the Church defending the unborn. During this time of rampant liberalism infecting many in the Church hierarchy, it is exceedingly important to support the bishops who remain true to the Church’s teachings. Please visit Faithful Shepherds to learn more about Archbishop Naumann’s views and past actions as well as contact him to show your support.

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Lay Catholic leaders warn about Amazon Synod: ‘Pope Francis has gravely harmed the faith. It is time to say it out loud.’

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By Doug Mainwaring

ROME, October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Lay Catholic leaders from around the world, increasingly alarmed about the upcoming Amazonian Synod and how it threatens to disfigure and “Protestantize” the Church, gathered not far from the Vatican today to discuss their grave concerns. 

The roundtable discussion, titled “Our Church – reformed or deformed?” was hosted by the international pro-life association Voice of the Family. Over 5,000 people across the continents tuned in.   

On the eve of the synod, they described the multifaceted diabolical menace to the Catholic Church it portends to be. Their choice of strong language reflects the peril they sense: That after the synod, what will emerge will no longer be the Catholic Church.    

“We have arrived. This week the Amazonian Synod will be underway,” said John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews. “It is expected to be the most severe calamity for the faith the Church has ever known and let’s pray that it won’t turn out as dire as it threatens.” 

“A few cardinals have warned of apostasy and heresy in the working document prepared for the Synod, but most have remained silent,” continued Westen. “We, the faithful, cannot remain silent because it is the faith of our children that is being threatened. It is our right as Catholics to have the faith of Jesus Christ handed down faithfully by our priests and bishops and especially the Pope.”

“There are, at this moment, two religions within the Catholic Church,” declared Professor Roberto de Mattei.  

“The first is the traditional Catholicism, the religion of those who, in the current confusion, continue to be faithful to the immutable Magisterium of the Church,” said de Mattei.

“The second, until a few months ago without a name, now has a name: it is the Amazonian religion because, as declared by the person currently governing the Church, there is a plan to give the Church ‘an Amazonian face,’” explained de Mattei. 

“Two religions cannot coexist within the same Church,” he reaffirmed. 

“At the Pan-Amazon Synod, will we see the Church abandon that Divine Commission to convert and baptize all nations?” wondered Michael Matt, publisher of The Remnant, who spoke about the disappearance of traditional missionaries and religious orders. 

He asked: “Will the Vatican bless and approve a certain indigenous theology whose animating principle is essentially pagan? Will the Church teach that pagan cultures themselves are of God because to suggest otherwise would be to engage in a sort of religious supremacism that holds Christianity as the only true religion?”

“Now we face a synod of bishops that promises to embrace an indigenous theology that would essentially abandon the Church’s missionary effort altogether while embracing an eco-theology that would send forth missionaries of climate change to teach all nations to listen to the cry of Mother Earth,” declared Matt.

“Please God, may this not come to pass, for if it does it will surely represent the Catholic Church’s formal surrender to the world and to the spirit not just of the age but also the jungle,” he pleaded.  

José Antonio Ureta, a leader of the international Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) movement in France, warned that if the synod fathers and Pope Francis approve the measure in the Instrumentum laboris (working document) to ordain elderly married men as priests, “neo-Lutheranism will have defeated the Council of Trent.” 

“But, alas! Such new ecclesiastic structure based on a non-ministerial and non-hierarchical priesthood will no longer be the Catholic Church,” said Ureta. 

“Pope Francis and his clerical allies are creating a globalist organization with a Catholic-appearing face,” said Church Militant’s Michael Voris. “What is emerging is not Catholic. The façade should be dropped and for once truth be allowed to prevail.”

Voris explained that Pope Francis has moved the Church to “align with a counterfeit kind of theology inspired by godless atheism, and in the rush to advance this, he’s surrounded himself with numerous clerical scoundrels — some who have been complicit in the performing of or cover-up of sex abuse of minors or young adults, mostly male.” 

“The Catholic Church has been infiltrated from within and this infiltration goes back at least to the pontificate of Pope Pius IX,” said Catholic author Dr. Taylor Marshall. “It is an attack on the supernatural faith, miracles, divine revelation, and upon the origin of our creation: God’s identity of male and female, the institution of human matrimony, and the natural law precept to be fruitful and multiply with marriage. Moreover, it is a resurrection of paganism ‘that you might become gods.’” 

“Pope Francis has signed a document in Abu Dhabi which contains a sentence which has explosive consequences for the Catholic faith,” said Italy’s Marco Tosatti. “Here it is: ‘The pluralism and diversity of religions, colour, gender, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom.’ The implications of a sentence of this kind are evident: if God has willed … that several religions should exist, it can be inferred that all religions are the divine will and therefore any person is free to choose the religion most suited to him or her.”

“This sentence is profoundly wrong from a Christian – and Catholic – standpoint,” said Tosatti. 

“Personally, I believe that this declaration is one of the most devastating sentences for Catholicism ever uttered by a Pope, and that it is a substantial affirmation of relativism,” he added.  

“Among the most obviously threatening innovations that are being introduced by the upcoming Amazon Synod is the promotion of some form of ordained ministry for women,” asserted French journalist Jeanne Smits.  

She warned that the Indian theology which the synod will promote demands the ordination of women as ministers. “It is within the logic of traditional indigenous spirituality, that is, paganism. Or if you want to take it a bit further: idolatry.”  

“The Amazon Synod will be arguing about the role of women in the Church, when the Church already has the most beautiful answer to that argument: the Virgin Mary,” declared Smits. “When God made the Cosmos – which means beauty – He was making a fitting earthly home and dowry for His Daughter, Mother, and Bride. She is our Queen, the Queen of the universe and even the Queen of the Angels, much to Satan's discontent, since he must submit to and be conquered by a mere woman, by a mother who can communicate to us eternal life through the sacrifice of her Beloved Son.”

“Our vision of woman is defined by that. What more could we possibly want?” asked Smits.    

Accusation, fervent intercession, and a ‘time for heroes and saints’

“With all respect owed to the ecclesiastical authorities, I accuse all those who have approved, or will approve, the Instrumentum laboris on the Amazon, of polytheism and, more specifically, polydemonism because, quoting Psalm 95, ‘All divinities of the Gentiles are Demons; our Lord has instead created the heavens,’” said de Mattei.

“I call upon the cardinals and bishops who are still Catholic to raise their voices against this scandal. If their silence continues, we will continue to seek the intervention of the Angels and Mary Queen of Angels, to save the Holy Church from every form of reinvention, distortion, and reinterpretation,” added de Mattei. 

John-Henry Westen pointed out that despite all the grave concerns raised by the panelists, This “is not to say that we don’t love Pope Francis. Indeed, it would not be love at all to gloss over these monumental concerns and be silent about them, because they harm him most of all. He will have to answer to Christ at judgement just like we all will.”

“We must continue to pray for the Pope every day, pray for his conversion,” said Westen.  

“It doesn’t take a theologian to recognize when the faith is being distorted,” he added. “We won’t leave the Church; it is the One True Church and there is no other. We shall fight for Christ’s truth in the Church because we are ready to die for this faith.”

During the question and answer period, when the inevitable question about the possibility of schism was raised, Professor de Mattei said we must pray for “a real counter-reformation, a counter-revolution, a restoration of the real Christianity.”   

Though we are waging war against the forces of chaos in the Church, “The division of our enemy is our strength,” said de Mattei. 

“This is a scary moment,” said Michael Matt. “If this synod goes as predicted by several cardinals, this is the biggest news story in the history of the world with the exception of the crucifixion of God. Nothing is bigger than the Bride of Christ raising, hoisting the flag of surrender.” 

“If this happens, this is a huge story and great people are going to come to the defense of the Church – heroes and saints,” proclaimed Matt. “Let’s prepare our children for a crusade, and let’s inspire them.”   

LifeSiteNews is pleased to publish the text of the addresses given at the Amazon Synod Roundtable:

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Amazon synod’s relentless push for female ministry is rooted in paganism and idolatry

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

Note: On Oct. 4, 2019, Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion in Rome to address critical questions for the Church and for the family on the eve of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Read LifeSiteNews’s report on this event here. Below is the full address given by Jeanne Smits of LifeSiteNews.

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Among the most obviously threatening innovations that are being introduced by the upcoming Amazon Synod is the promotion of some form of ordained ministry for women. This is clear in the Instrumentum Laboris which wants the Church to “value and respect cultural identities,” in particular “by strengthening the community-family structure” of the Amazonian peoples. She must “promote the role of women, recognizing that fundamental functions in the formation and continuity of cultures, and spirituality, and communities and families. Women must assume a leadership role within the church,” it says.

The preparatory document published in 2018, when it referred to the shared priesthood of all the people of God and Christ proclaimed by Vatican II, spoke of the “urgent need to evaluate and rethink the ministries that today are required to respond to the objectives of ‘a church with an Amazonian face and the church with a native face’.” It said in particular that “it is necessary to identify the type of official ministry that can be conferred on women, taking into account the central role which women play today in the Amazonian church.”

Obviously, if you add “viri probati” and women as categories of people who can play a ministerial role in the Church, you considerably augment what you might call the talent pool of possible ordained ministers. But why use the Amazon to promote this? Lack of priests? We have that in so many places. The central role played by women? East and west of the Atlantic, we know how many parish activities have been taken over by women, and in rural France at least, very feminine “liturgical teams” are the dread of many a parish priest. It would seem the Amazon is no exception, so why should the Amazonian women be getting a special deal here?

In fact, I couldn't help asking myself why the Amazon is being used, rather than Western countries where gender mainstreaming and the evolution of the role of women in society, helped along by the UN, would seem to be much better arguing points. We already have girls as altar boys, after all.

The answer, you will not be surprised to hear, lies in a passing remark, and in a footnote, in the 2018 preparatory document for the Amazon Synod. It said: 

“In the process of thinking a Church with an Amazonian face, we dream with our feet grounded in our origins, and with our eyes open we consider the future shape of this Church, starting from its peoples’ experience of cultural diversity. Our new paths will impact ministries, liturgy, and theology (Indian theology).[4]”

The footnote referred to the 6th symposium on Indian theology of the Latin American bishops in Paraguay in 2017.

Indian theology: the answer is there. A throw-off from liberation theology, very close to the “theology of the people” of which Pope Francis is so fond, it is defined by the importance it gives to land and community: the “Pachamama,” or Mother Earth. The feminine element is paramount.

A progressive Dominican from La Tourette in France, Alain Durand explains how it works: “Man and woman are made to live in harmony, never one without the other. The idea that a man or woman should be able to live without being linked to a person of the other sex is completely foreign to Indian culture. In liturgical ceremonies themselves, it is necessary that women should assume functions. When immediately sees what difficulty that creates regarding the access of the indigenous to the Catholic priesthood.”

So the whole point is to make Catholic liturgy more palatable from the point of view of traditional spirituality, that is pagan and immanentist, and that profoundly bears the mark of sexual duality. This is all the more necessary from the Indian point of view, because the fundamental divinity of that culture is the Mother Earth that bears life. Fr. Durand remarks that “in liturgies that imply indigenous populations, God can be invoked under the name of Father-Mother.”

“Faith in the God Father-Mother Creator” is precisely what is proclaimed a number 121 of the Instrumentum Laboris, and as Fr. Durand correctly remarks, this renewed vision of God involves acknowledging the practically divine role of Mother Earth.

Having women as ordained ministers, if not immediately as priests, is simply necessary from the point of view of Indian theology; it is within the logic of traditional indigenous spirituality, that is, paganism. Or if you want to take it a bit further: idolatry. “For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens,” warns Psalm 96. 

There is always a diabolical inversion in the wildest proposals of false religion. In this case, the idea is to have women participating actively, as ministers of a sort, in the Holy sacrifice of the Mass. It would be somewhat like promoting women soldiers in fighting roles. Soldiers are meant to kill enemies. Priests are meant to sacrifice the Immaculate Victim, and to lay down their own lives with Him, so that the Church, our Mother, can give us grace, that is, life. Women are meant to give life, not to kill. They share out to their children what they receive, and so does the Church.

The Amazon Synod will be arguing about the role of women in the Church, when the Church already has the most beautiful answer to that argument: the Virgin Mary. I profoundly believe that when God made the Cosmos – which means beauty – He was making a fitting earthly home and dowry for His Daughter, Mother and Bride. She is our Queen, the Queen of the universe and even the Queen of the Angels, much to Satan's discontent, since he must submit to and be conquered by a mere woman, by a mother who can communicate to us eternal life through the sacrifice of her Beloved Son.

Our vision of woman is defined by that. What more could we possibly want?

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Michael Matt

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Amazon Synod seeks to abandon Jesus’ command to convert, baptize all nations: Michael Matt

Michael Matt
By

Note: On Oct. 4, 2019, Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion in Rome to address critical questions for the Church and for the family on the eve of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Read LifeSiteNews’s report on this event here. Below is the full address given by Michael Matt of The Remnant.

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Over the past half-century, there has been a paradigm shift in the Catholic Church’s attitude toward missionary activity and evangelization—a shift which, based in doctrinal reorientation, has naturally led to a dramatic decline in traditional missionary priests and religious orders throughout the world. 

These days, we hear much about the New Evangelization and no doubt much good has come from this effort, which essentially is introspective in essence and pertains to those who are already baptized Catholics.  

But the very idea of a New Evangelization prompts two rather pressing questions: What was wrong with the old orientation? And why would the Church launch a new evangelization unless the point and purpose of the old one had changed? 

The old evangelization, let us recall, saw Catholic missionaries from France and Spain and Portugal and Italy and many Catholic countries and over the centuries send missionary priests all over the world in an effort to lovingly lead the world’s indigenous peoples out of the darkness of paganism and into the light of Christ. 

This meant conversion based—not on intimidation, not on coercion, and certainly not on black legends such as “forced baptisms”—but rather on one simple reality: Obedience to the great commission given to the Church by Jesus Christ Himself: Go forth and convert all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. 

The Church over the past fifty years has moved away from this idea, citing as its authority the Second Vatican Council—the spirit of which more or less reneged on the Catholic Church’s own claim to be the sole means of salvation. And if there are many other roads to salvation, the Catholic missionary mandate of old is not only pointless but offensive to the Church’s dialogue partners. 

At the Pan-Amazon Synod, the new and creative missionary spirit of the Church of Accompaniment (rather than conversion) will be taken to a new level from its foundational roots of 50 years of ecumenical outreach which evidently had nothing to do with conversion and everything to do with dialogue for endless dialogue’s sake. 

Perhaps some of you have wondered as I have: What is the endgame of interfaith dialogue when it’s obviously not conversion—unless by “conversion” you mean the Church’s converting from the  missionary Church of Christ into an ecumenical Church of Man, where even false religions will be regarded as good and holy…false religions which St. Paul warned in 1 Corinthians “make sacrifice to devils, and not to God.”

At the Pan-Amazon Synod will we see the Church abandon that Divine Commission to convert and baptize all nations?  Will the Vatican bless and approve a certain indigenous theology whose animating principle is essentially pagan? Will the Church teach that pagan cultures themselves are of God because to suggest otherwise would be to engage in a sort of religious supremacism that holds Christianity as the only true religion? 

We shall have to wait and see. But is it any wonder that the missionary spirit itself is fading into irrelevancy, when the Divine Mandate of Christ Himself has been undermined if not replaced altogether by the new and creative mandate of the Church of Accompaniment?  

After all, isn’t it true that Francis himself has proffered novelties no pre-conciliar pope ever imagined: that souls don't go to Hell, for example, but rather are somehow annihilated?  

After Abu Dhabi, isn’t it true that Pope Francis suggested diversity of religions is necessary and in accord with God’s permissive will, and that what God wants is a universal brotherhood of religions rather than a universal missionary campaign? 

Isn’t it true that Francis warns against the “solemn nonsense” of proselytism, which is nothing more than the active attempt to lead non-Catholics back into the bosom of Mother Church?  

Didn’t he rather famously say that atheists can go to Heaven, as long as they are of "good will"?

Given all this, is it surprising when the world begins to wonder if even the pope still believes baptism is necessary to salvation?    

When missionary activity is reduced to vague invitations to non-Catholics to join our religious club if they feel like it—even though they can be saved in their own religious club if they prefer—isn’t it only natural that missionary orders would decline? After all, the imperative is, it would seem, no more. 

Cardinal Walter Kasper—president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity—has said that the "ecumenism of return" is over! In other words, using truth and charity to share the good news and work to convert non-Catholics is no longer the Church’s goal.

And now we face a synod of bishops that promises to embrace an indigenous theology that would essentially abandon the Church’s missionary effort altogether while embracing an eco-theology that would send forth missionaries of climate change to teach all nations to listen to the cry of Mother Earth. 

Please God, may this not come to pass, for if it does it will surely represent the Catholic Church’s formal surrender to the world and to the spirit not just of the age but also the jungle.

To prevent this crisis of faith, may I suggest Catholics the world over make special appeal to the intercession of the great St. Boniface…and for obvious reasons.  

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José Antonio Ureta

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Scholar explains how Amazon Synod would abandon Church by changing priesthood

José Antonio Ureta
By José Ureta

Note: On Oct. 4, 2019, Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion in Rome to address critical questions for the Church and for the family on the eve of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Read LifeSiteNews’s report on this event here. Below is the full address given by José Antonio Ureta.

In his work Revolution and Counter-Revolution, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira explains that it was pride and sensuality, whose satisfaction is the pleasure of pagan life, which provoked Protestantism. The triumph of sensuality was affirmed by the introduction of divorce and the suppression of ecclesiastical celibacy, while pride led to the denial of the hierarchical priesthood, reducing it to a mere delegation of the common priesthood of the faithful.

The Council of Trent dealt a decisive blow to the claims of Lutheranism by defining the sacramental and indissoluble character of marriage and the divine foundation of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, based on the sacrament of the Order.

Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia enacted the practical acceptance of divorce by the Catholic Church. The virtual abolition of ecclesiastical celibacy is requested in paragraph n. 129 of the instrumentum laboris for the coming synod. The extension of such “experience” to the rest of the Church would be a matter of time.

But a neo-Lutheran offensive against priesthood and the hierarchical character of the Church has also been underway since long ago. In 1973, the Eighth Week of Theology in Kinshasa already claimed for “a new structuring of the ministries” and expressed “the desirability of ordering lay people for the presidency of the Eucharist.” Shortly after, French Jesuit Joseph Moingt envisioned such restructuring through a bipartition: a few celibate priests, trained in seminaries, would exercise a permanent, universal ministry, touring the communities, while laymen would rotationally ensure the presidency of the Eucharist in each location.

Liberation Theologian Leonardo Boff rehashed that “the power of Christ (exousia) lies not only in some members, but in the totality of the People of God” and that “all services arise within the community and for the community.” Consequently, “the head of the community by its ad hoc delegation” should “preside over the Lord's Supper.”

In reply to all this nonsense, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote an article for L’Osservatore Romano, stressing the need to avoid “an undervaluing of the ordained ministry and a falling into a ‘Protestantization" of the concepts of ministry and even of the Church herself.”

This and other Vatican interventions did not prevent the reappearance of the old Lutheran hat of a delegated priesthood of the community under the pen of His Excellency Fritz Löbinger, bishop emeritus of Aliwal (South Africa), who foresees, as a solution for the lack of vocations, two forms of priests, the “community priests” and the “diocesan priests”, similar to those imagined by Fr. Moingt 50 years ago. To stress the difference between these two models, a team of community leaders should be ordered simultaneously and assume the responsibilities together, with the advantage of preserving their commoners’ lifestyle. It is “possible to combine two things: a secular profession and the priesthood,” Löbinger claims, because “there are thousands of part-time presbyters in various Christian denominations.”

The practical details of Löbinger’s formula were given by Pope Francis during an aerial interview back from Panama: “One could ordain an elderly married man, but only so that he exercises the munus sanctificandi, that is, that he celebrates Mass, that he administers the sacrament of Reconciliation and performs the Anointing of the Sick. Priestly ordination gives the three munera: regendi — to govern, the pastor — docendi, to teach — and sanctificandi. This comes with ordination. The bishop would only give the faculties for the munus sanctificandi: this is the thesis.”

This thesis was transliterated into paragraph no. 127 of the instrumentum laboris. It says Amazonian tribes have a “high sense of equality” by which “authority is rotational” and “clericalism is not accepted in all its guises,” and thus invites one “to reconsider the notion that exercise of jurisdiction (power of government) must be linked in all areas (sacramental, judicial, administrative) and in a permanent way to the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

The German priest Paulo Suess, a member of the synod preparatory team and one of the editors of the first Lineamenta, later insisted on the communal aspect of the proposal: “We can imagine a group of viri probati who collectively celebrate the Eucharist. The Church summons them and instructs them to do in common what none of them can do alone [sic!]. The link with the community and for the community, within a diocese and a parish, can make the Church a ‘community of communities.’”

The Lutheran character of such new ministries emerging from the community is evident in no. 138 of the instrumentum laboris in which the evangelical pastors are praised for having “formed small communities with a human face, where people feel personally valued” and for remaining “people like the others, easy to meet, who live the same problems and become ‘closer to’ and less ‘different from’ the rest of the community.” These Protestant pastors, continues the document, “are showing us another way of being church where the people feel that they are the protagonists and where the faithful can express themselves freely without censorship or dogmatism or ritual disciplines.”

If the Synod Fathers and Pope Francis clearly or ambiguously approve paragraph no. 127 of the instrumentum laboris, neo-Lutheranism will have defeated the Council of Trent. But, alas! such a new ecclesiastic structure based on a non-ministerial and non-hierarchical priesthood will no longer be the Catholic Church (1).


(1) A thorough exposition of this subject may be found in four articles I published in the Pan-Amazon Synod.

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Bishop Fabio Fabene (L) and Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri (R) at Vatican press conference, Oct. 3, 2019. Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews
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Amazon Synod organizers downplay heresy charges: working doc should be ‘listened to’ and not ‘judged’

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, October 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Challenged to respond to the widespread criticism of the Amazon Synod working document as pagan, heretical and apostate, two key synod organizers on Thursday insisted that, paradoxically, because it is not a papal document, the text is not to be “judged,” and that it is “the voice of the people” and “the voice of the earth.” 

At an Oct. 3 press conference, LifeSite asked two cardinals at the center of Amazonian Synod planning for their response to the criticism the document has received from cardinals, bishops, experts and theologians. 

LifeSite noted in particular the searing critique offered by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, who warned that “decisive points” of the working document are “heretical,” and its questioning of Divine Revelation approaches “apostasy.”

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, insisted that criticism had been exaggerated and that the document, known as the Instrumentum Laboris, is the product of consultation with the Amazonian people “in the wide sense of the word,” a mysterious expression which may imply the involvement of European and particularly German theologians in the drafting of the document. 

The document took years to prepare and “wasn’t put together in a bar,” Cardinal Baldisseri insisted. 

He then went on to argue that the document should be “listened to” and not “judged” because it is not a “pontifical” or “magisterial document.” More usually, a magisterial document would not be open to judgment, whereas a non-magisterial document would. 

Cardinal Baldisseri further downplayed criticism, claiming that in the contemporary Church, “more than in the past, there is freedom of expression.” The recently fired faculty of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome, and the bishops, priests and laity who, for fear of reprisals, anonymously issued a four-point criticism of the Instrumentum Laboris, may hold a different view. 

He pointed out the Instrumentum Laboris is in the early stage of a synodal process which produces a final document, and concludes with an apostolic letter based on the final document and signed by the Pope.

These reassurances may be limited in their effect given that the various documents supposedly produced at the various synods under Pope Francis seem, at least in part, to have been prepared in advance. 

Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, general relator of the month-long meeting and president of REPAM (an ecclesial network at the center of synod planning), seconded Cardinal Baldisseri’s comments. 

Defending the document, he said the Instrumentum laboris is not a document by the synod but is for the synod, adding that “it is the voice of the Amazonian Church,” of “the people,” and indeed “the voice of the Earth.” 

Elsewhere in today’s news conference, when asked if the Church is ready to discuss greater roles being given to women, Cardinal Hummes said we “must pay attention to the Holy Spirit” and that it is possible to know “what the Holy Spirit is telling us” by “listening to the voices of the people and the Earth.”

There are scriptural references to the earth crying out in agony and in vengeance but the idea that it is a conduit of divine communication is apparently unprecedented in Catholic thought. 

“Pope Francis has always highlighted that we should truly listen,” Cardinal Hummes said, as he sought to reassure people saying, “in the end … we hope that we will all be together cum Petro et sub Petro [with Peter and under Peter], even those who express diversified opinions.”

Asked if it is “probable” that the discipline of priestly celibacy will be changed with the coming synod, Cardinal Baldisseri read n. 129 from the Instrumentumn laboris, which speaks of ordaining viri probati (i.e., married men), and said “the [Synod] fathers are free to express themselves and to discuss this topic and come up with proposals. 

Pressed on how the Vatican will respond if German bishops seek to use an eventual exception to priestly celibacy in the Amazon within their own diocese, Cardinal Baldisseri said, “a bishops’ conference can express itself. They belong to the Church and are expressing themselves, like many Christians, like some cardinals express themselves. Nothing more.” 

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Dr. Taylor Marshall at the Amazon Synod roundtable Jim Hale / LifeSiteNews
Taylor Marshall

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Amazon Synod is proof that Catholic Church has been infiltrated from within: Dr. Taylor Marshall

Taylor Marshall
By

Note: On Oct. 4, 2019, Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion in Rome to address critical questions for the Church and for the family on the eve of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Read LifeSiteNews’s report on this event here. Below is the full address given by Dr. Taylor Marshall.

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Why did Pope Benedict XVI resign the papacy on 28 February 2013? And why did lightning strike the Vatican in conjunction with these events? Was it prompted by scandal at the Vatican Bank? Was it a sex scandal blotting the highest cardinals? Was it a doctrinal crisis?

All these questions and doubts coalesce when we acknowledge a substantiated and collaborated fact: Satan uniquely entered the Catholic Church at some point over the last century, or even before. For over a century, the organizers of Freemasonry, Liberalism, and Modernism infiltrated the Catholic Church in order to change her doctrine, her liturgy, and her mission from something supernatural to something secular. 

Catholics are increasingly aware of a climate change in the Catholic Church.

Some point to the controversial pontificate of Pope Francis. Others highlight the confusion surrounding the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2013. Some are convinced that John Paul II was not whom we thought him to be. Most agree that the Second Vatican Council, the Novus Ordo Mass, and the Pontificate of Paul VI brought monumental confusion to the Catholic Church. But does the fall of the first domino begin in 1962 with the opening of Second Vatican Council?

I argue that the root of the rot extends back to an agenda put in play approximately one hundred years prior to Vatican II. It is an agenda to replace the supernatural religion of the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ with the natural religion of humanism and globalism. It echoes the primeval choice of Adam and Eve to make themselves divine by grasping at the fruits of nature, rather than kneeling in reception of the supernatural fruit of divine grace. Lucifer also rebelled against God because in his pride he sought to ascend to the throne of God, not by sharing in the supernatural life of God, but digging deep into his own nature and reaching for the stars—and thereby falling into the abyss of Hell.

Supernaturalism—relying on God who is above the natural—is Catholicism.

Naturalism—relying on our created nature without the aid of God—is Satanism.

The Catholic Church is in crisis because the enemies of Christ plotted an organized effort to place a Pope for Satan on the Roman Chair of Saint Peter. The enemies of Christ from Nero to Napoleon eventually discovered that to attack or murder the Pope only creates sympathy and martyrs. It is a failed strategy in every era. So instead, they sought to quietly place one of their own into the papal shoes. It would require decades, even a century to create the seminaries, the priests, the bishops, the cardinal-electors, and then even the Pope or Popes himself—but it would be worth the wait. It has been a slow and patient plan to establish a Satanic revolution with the Pope as puppet. 

Saint Paul stated: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) The crisis of the Catholic Church relates to the intrusion of these “rulers of this present darkness,” and she can only be purified by sanctified warfare against the demonic.

In a homily for Holy Mass on the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (29 June 1972) and in commemoration for the ninth anniversary of being crowned as Bishop of Rome, Pope Paul VI lamented: “We would say that, through some mysterious crack—no, it’s not mysterious; through some crack, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church of God. There is doubt, uncertainty, problems, unrest, dissatisfaction, confrontation.” (1) This testimony of Paul VI acknowledges not merely that the Catholic Church had experienced secularization. Rather, he affirms that the smoke of Satan himself had entered into the Catholic Church through a crack. 

The Catholic Church has been infiltrated from within and this infiltration goes back at least to the pontificate of Pope Pius IX. It is an attack on the supernatural faith, miracles, divine revelation, and upon the origin of our creation: God’s identity of male and female, the institution of human matrimony, and the natural law precept to be fruitful and multiply with marriage. Moreover, it is a resurrection of paganism “that you might become gods.” 

__________

1. Pope Paul VI. Homily on June 29, 1972, Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

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Prof. Roberto de Mattei Jim Hale / LifeSiteNews
Roberto de Mattei

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Catholic historian: There are now two religions within Catholic Church. One has an ‘Amazonian face’

Roberto de Mattei
By Roberto de Mattei

Note: On Oct. 4, 2019, Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion in Rome to address critical questions for the Church and for the family on the eve of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Read LifeSiteNews’s report on this event here. Below is the full address given by Prof. Roberto de Mattei

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – There are, at this moment, two religions within the Catholic Church. The first is the traditional Catholicism, the religion of those who, in the current confusion, continue to be faithful to the immutable Magisterium of the Church. 

The second, until a few months ago without a name, now has a name: it is the Amazonian religion because, as declared by the person currently governing the Church, there is a plan to give the Church “an Amazonian face”. 

What is meant by an Amazonian face is explained in the Instrumentum laboris for the October Synod and the many declarations of the theologians, bishops and cardinals who have prepared this document. It is a matter of “reinventing” the Church in the words of  Leonardo Boff (Ecclesiogenesis. The base communities are reinventing the Church, Borla, Rome 1978). The Boff ecclesiogenesis has become a cosmogenesis in line with post-modern environmentalism. Its objective is now broader: reinvention not only of the Church, but of creation as a whole on the basis of a new “cosmic pact”  (Cry of the Earth, cry of the poor - For a cosmic ecology, Italian translation Assisi, Cittadella, 1996). 

This objective is achieved through the method of reinterpretation of the truth of the Catholic faith. Modernism had previously taught that the most effective means of denial of the truth is distortion, rather than outright attack. Reinterpretation is an indirect negation of the teaching of the faith, more profound than outright denial, and means that the same words are ascribed a new meaning. 

For example, the first Article of our Creed teaches:  “I believe in God the Almighty Father, Creator of heaven and earth”.  

The Instrumentum laboris proposes a “worldview captured in the mantra of Francis: everything is connected ’” (section 25). However, in no part of the document is it affirmed that all things are hierarchically ordered to God, their Creator, and distinct from the latter. The Earth is presented as a biosphere, an ecosystem, which includes God within it and in which the supreme law is that of  equality of all things. In reality, the prime rule of creation is not the egalitarian interconnection of all things, but their ordinatio ad unum. The errors of ancient and modern pantheism, which absorbs God in the world or the world in God, have been repeatedly condemned by the Church. According to the Catholic faith, “God is distinct from the world”(Vatican Council I, Dogmatic Constitution Dei filius in Denz., section 3001) and, as reiterated in Vatican Council I, “if anyone says that the substance and essence of God and all things is one and identical, let him be anathema ” (section 3923 therein).

The new Amazonian religion reinterprets and distorts the first Article of the Creed, citing the “ancestral wisdom” of the indigenous peoples who see God in the physical elements of nature, without comprehending that God transcends these elements.  They have no notion of transcendence, because they have no notion of creation, and they confuse God with nature, which for them is a Whole which contains God. Christianity has instead explained that God created everything and is in everything, yet no place can contain Him because God is immense, not in a material sense, but in a metaphysical and transcendent sense. God fills the heavens and the Earth, but the heavens and the Earth do not contain Him. 

The Amazonian religion not only negates the transcendence of God by including Him in nature, as do pantheism, panentheism and monism; but also denies His Oneness, as does pagan polytheism.

By polytheism, we mean belief in a plurality of gods, contrary to monotheism, which is belief in one God. The Amazonian religion is a polytheistic religion because it applies the notion of God to individual elements in nature, reducing the Absolute to the level of the finite, the spiritual to the level of the material. 

Leonardo Boff, the liberation ecotheologian who collaborated in Laudato sì affirms: “However we wish to interpret it, we have to recognise that the pagans had this extraordinary capacity: they could glimpse the presence of gods and goddesses in all things. In woods, Pan and Silvanus, in the Earth, Gaia Demeter (= Mother Earth) or Ceres, in the sun, Apollo and Phoebus, and so on” (Cry of the Earth and cry of the poor, p. 355).

The Instrumentum laboris summarises the same pantheism and polytheism in these lines, which refer to Laudato sì: «The lives of Amazonian communities, still free of the influence of Western civilisation, are reflected in their beliefs and rituals in relation to the actions of spirits, of divinity  - invoked in many ways  - with and in the territory, with and in relation to nature. This worldview is captured in the mantra of Francis: everything is connected” (LS 16, 91, 117, 138, 240). This same worldview is expressed in many other passages in the document. 

With all respect owed to the ecclesiastical authorities, I accuse all those who have approved, or will approve, the Instrumentum laboris on the Amazon, of polytheism and, more specifically, polydemonism because “All divinities of the Gentiles are Demons; our Lord has instead created the heavens ” (Psalms, 95, 5). 

Two religions cannot coexist within the same Church.  

I call upon the Cardinals and Bishops who are still Catholic to raise their voices against this scandal. If their silence continues, we will continue to seek the intervention of the Angels and Mary Queen of Angels, to save the Holy Church from every form of reinvention, distortion and reinterpretation. 

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Marco Tosatti Jim Hale / LifeSiteNews
Marco Tosatti

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Amazon Synod working doc backs Francis’s devastating claim that God wills ‘diversity of religions’

Marco Tosatti
By Marco Tosatti

Note: On Oct. 4, 2019, Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion in Rome to address critical questions for the Church and for the family on the eve of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Read LifeSiteNews’s report on this event here. Below is the full address, in an English translation and then in the original Italian, given by Marco Tosatti.

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has signed a document in Abu Dhabi that contains a sentence that has explosive consequences for the Catholic faith. Here it is: “The pluralism and diversity of religions, color, gender, race, and language are willed by God in His wisdom.” The implications of a sentence of this kind are evident: if God has willed — and the verb “willed” must be emphasized — that several religions should exist, it can be inferred that all religions are the divine will and therefore any person is free to choose the religion most suited to him, with a clear conscience, in the awareness of doing the will of God, and in consequence deserving of salvation at the end of his earthly life...if the religion — “willed” by God according to the document signed in Abu Dhabi — presupposes salvation and life after physical death.

Subsequently, at the general audience on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, Pope Francis uttered these words: “Why does God permit the existence of so many religions? God has willed to permit this: the theologians of scholasticism refer to the permissive will of God. God willed to permit this reality.” One might think, after the criticisms expressed by many, in particular Msgr. Athanasius Schneider in person to the reigning pontiff, that the pope had accepted the advice to modify the meaning of the declaration signed at Abu Dhabi. Yet the document remains what it is, in its full gravity, to the extent that a committee has been formed whose specific function is to circulate the document, without a gloss — i.e. including the offending sentence.

This sentence is profoundly wrong from a Christian, and Catholic, standpoint (also from a Hebrew standpoint, if we wish to go back even farther; also, I believe, from an Islamic standpoint). This sentence contradicts the fundamentals of the divine Revelation because in the Decalogue, God says: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself any idol or image, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (Ex. 20:2–5).

Nor can it be asserted that a correction was later made by our Lord Jesus Christ, because Jesus himself provided a confirmation: “It is written: You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve none but Him” (Matt. 4:10). In this regard, both the First Commandment and subsequent affirmations of the Holy Scriptures in the New Testament have always been interpreted by the Catholic Church as follows: that it is the will of God, His positive will, that all men should worship only God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the only Lord and God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Since they express man’s fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbour, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense with them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart” (section 2072).

What can be said? The reigning pontiff has for some time accustomed us to hearing from his own mouth questionable assertions of all kinds. However, this sentence has a particular value and is of serious gravity: it is written, signed, forms part of a document signed with a leader of another religion. From a pastoral viewpoint, this could be a bombshell of devastating effect. If there is no clarification — which will unfortunately not happen, knowing as we do the key protagonist in this matter — which should in reality be a recantation, the Catholic faithful will be left with the notion that they belong to one of the possible churches willed by God. Not the only Church, not the Church that points the way — alas, narrow — to eternal life, merely one of the possible churches.

At this juncture, therefore, one cannot imagine what value can be attributed by the reigning pontiff to the validity of the First Commandment in the Decalogue or what the pontiff may believe with regard to the divine obligation of all men, of their free will, to believe in and adore Jesus Christ as the sole savior of humanity. If we are to believe in the Gospel, God has commanded all men as follows: “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” (Matt. 17:5).

Free will has been given so that man is able to judge and choose, with complete freedom in deciding to follow and adore God in his truth, which, for Christians, is Christ, not to opt for any religion from a range of possibilities of equivalent value. Furthermore, one does not know — or indeed one knows only too well — what value the pontiff can ascribe to the Mission ad Gentes, after this sentence. Why do I have to become a missionary if all religions are willed by God?

Personally, I believe that this declaration is one of the most devastating sentences for Catholicism ever uttered by a pope and that it is a substantial affirmation of relativism. There is unfortunately confirmation of this in the instrumentum laboris for the Amazon Synod, to begin in the Vatican within the next few days. In this document, too, the figure and role of Christ as the sole savior and the Church as the path to eternal salvation are obscured by other concerns: ecology, listening to the indigenous tradition, the notion of the Amazon as a locus theologicus... A document judged with great severity by eminent scholars and cardinals.

**

Papa Francesco ha sottoscritto ad Abu Dhabi un documento in cui è contenuta una frase che ha conseguenze esplosive per la fede cattolica. Eccola: “Il pluralismo e la diversità delle religioni, il colore, il sesso, la razza e il linguaggio sono voluti da Dio nella sua saggezza”. Sono evidenti le implicazioni di una frase del genere: se Dio ha voluto – e bisogna sottolineare questo verbo, “voluto” che esistessero diverse religioni, se ne deduce che tutte le religioni sono volontà divina, e quindi ogni persona può scegliere la religione che più gli attaglia, tranquillo nella sua coscienza di fare la volontà di Dio, e di meritarsi di conseguenza la salvezza alla fine della vita terrena. Se la religione – “voluta” da Dio, secondo il documento di Sbu Dhabi – presuppone una salvezza, e una vita dopo la morte fisica.

Successivamente, nell’udienza generale di mercoledì 3 aprile 2019, Papa Francesco ha pronunciato queste parole: “Perché Dio consente che ci siano tante religioni? Dio ha voluto permettere questo: i teologi della Scolastica facevano riferimento alla voluntas permissiva di Dio. Egli ha voluto permettere questa realtà”. Si può pensare che dopo le critiche espresse da molti, e in particolare, di persona con il Pontefice regnante da mons. Athanasius Schneider, il papa sia stato consigliato di modificare il senso della dichiarazione firmata ad Abu Dhabi. Ma il documento resta quello che è, in tutta la sua gravità; e anzi è stato creato un comitato che ha il compito specifico di diffonderlo, sine glossa, cioè con la frase incriminata.

Una frase profondamente errata dal punto di vista cristiano, e cattolico. (E anche ebraico, se vogliamo risalire più oltre; ma anche credo dal punto di vista islamico). Questa frase contraddice la Rivelazione divina, alle fondamenta, poiché Dio nel Decalogo dice: “Io sono il Signore, tuo Dio, che ti ho fatto uscire dal paese d’Egitto, dalla condizione di schiavitù: non avrai altri dei davanti a me. Non ti farai idolo né immagine alcuna di ciò che è lassù nel cielo né di ciò che è quaggiù sulla terra, né di ciò che è nelle acque sotto terra. Non ti prostrerai davanti a loro e non li servirai” (Es 20: 2-5).

Né si può affermare che successivamente da parte di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo ci sia stata una correzione, perché anzi dalla bocca di gesù è venuta una conferma: “È scritto: Adorerai il Signore tuo Dio e solo a lui servirai” (Mt 4, 10). In questo senso sia il primo comandamento, che le affermazioni successive dei testi sacri del nuovo Testamento sono sempre state interpretate dalla Chiesa Cattolica in questo modo: che è volontà di Dio, volontà positiva, che tutti gli uomini rendano culto e adorazione solo a Dio Padre, Figlio e Spirito Santo, l’unico Signore e Dio. Il Catechismo della Chiesa Cattolica insegna: “Poiché enunciano i doveri fondamentali dell’uomo verso Dio e verso il prossimo, i dieci comandamenti rivelano, nel loro contenuto essenziale, delle obbligazioni gravi. Sono sostanzialmente immutabili e obbligano sempre e dappertutto. Nessuno potrebbe dispensare da essi. I dieci comandamenti sono incisi da Dio nel cuore dell’essere umano” (n. 2072).

Che cosa dire? Il Pontefice regnante ci ha abituati da tempo a sentire dalla sua bocca affermazioni di ogni genere, discutibili. Questa frase però ha un valore particolare e di grandissima gravità: è scritta, firmata, fa parte di un documento sottoscritto con un alto responsabile di un’altra religione. Da un punto di vista pastorale può essere una bomba dall’effetto devastante; se non c’è – come non ci sarà, purtroppo, conoscendo il protagonista principale di questa vicenda – una chiarificazione, che dovrebbe in realtà essere una smentita, i fedeli cattolici sono lasciati nell’idea che loro fanno parte di una delle possibili Chiese volute da Dio. Non l’unica, non quella che ti indica la strada – stretta, ahimè – verso la vita eterna; ma una delle possibili. E a questo punto allora non si capise che valore possa dare il Pontefice regnante alla validità del primo Comandamento del Decalogo, cosa possa pensare dell’obbligo divino di tutti gli uomini di credere e adorare, con il loro libero arbitrio, Gesù Cristo come unico Salvatore dell’umanità. Se dobbiamo credere al Vangelo, Dio ha comandato a tutti gli uomini: “Questo è il Figlio mio diletto, nel quale mi sono compiaciuto; ascoltatelo!” (Mt 17, 5). Il libero arbitrio è stato dato affinché l’uomo potesse giudicare, e scegliere, ma affinché potesse in piena libertà decidere di seguire e adorare Dio nella sua verità; che per i cristiani è Cristo. Non per optare fra una religione qualsiasi in un ventaglio di possibilità di eguale valore. Non si capisce inoltre – anzi, si capisce fin troppo bene – quale valore possa dare il Pontefice, dopo questa frase, alla Missione ad Gentes. Perché devo farmi missionario, se tutte le religioni sono volute da Dio? Personalmente, ritengo che questa dichiarazione sia una delle frasi più devastanti per il cattolicesimo mai pronunciate da un papa, una sostanziale affermazione di relativismo. E purtroppo trova una conferma attuale nell’Instrumentum Laboris del Sinodo sull’Amazzonia che si aprirà fra pochi giorni in Vaticano. Anche in quel documento la figura e il ruolo di Cristo come unico salvatore e della Chiesa come via di salvezza eterna sono messi in secondo piano da altri elementi: l’ecologia, l’ascolto della tradizione indigena, l’idea dell’Amazzonia come locus theologicus…Un documento giudicato in maniera molto severa da eminenti studiosi e cardinali.

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Michael Voris. Church Militant / YouTube
Michael Voris

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Amazon Synod will replace Universal Church with ‘Globalist Church’: Michael Voris

Michael Voris
By Michael Voris

Note: On Oct. 4, 2019, Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion in Rome to address critical questions for the Church and for the family on the eve of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Read LifeSiteNews’s report on this event here. Below is the full address given by Michael Voris.

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has brought such moral and political confusion to the world and the Church that he needs to recognize this — and resign.

The office of the papacy has as its specific aim a demonstration of unity in the Church — but not unity in the sense of a “majority rules,” but a unity, a union, a cohesion of the Ancient Faith demonstrated in modern times — whether those times are the ninth, 16th or 21st centuries.

This almost always, by necessity, means a conflict with worldliness, what theologians have often called “the spirit of the age,” and to which they add: Whoever marries himself to the spirit of the age finds himself a widower in the next.

Pope Francis — regardless of his intentions — seems to not recognize his fundamental duty as pope; the Church does not belong to him, as it does not belong to any pope, nation, or political ideology or any age. The Church is ageless precisely because it is not married to any age.

Likewise, it expresses timeless truths, truths outside of time, not dependent on time or place.

But this pope has from the earliest days of his pontificate (the opening month, in fact) moved the Church to align itself with a counterfeit kind of theology inspired by godless atheism, and in the rush to advance this, he’s surrounded himself with numerous clerical scoundrels — some who have been complicit in the performing of or cover-up of sex abuse of minors or young adults, mostly male.

The doctrine of Liberation Theology, born in the bowels of the KGB and unleashed on South America in a Soviet attempt to destabilize Catholicism on that continent, is by necessity anti-Western.

Western civilization was constructed by the Catholic Church following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West. This civilization was predominantly God-centered, not man-centered.

It recognized that what man today so freely tosses around as a universal concept of rights has no basis whatsoever if they are not rooted in God and His natural law.

The only “liberating” any authentic theology can accomplish is from an incorrect anthropology of man, an anthropology that enslaves him to purely modernist notions of equality being the same as justice.

Whether he realizes it or not, the Holy Father has entangled the Church in an anti-God philosophy, granting absolution to a political system that has as its primary end the overthrow of the Divine, of all that is sacred.

This system presents itself, for the necessary moment, as one rooted in a more complete understanding of God and man’s relationship to the world — and this system is wrong.

It is not a theological position. It is not a theological system. It is purely political, choosing for the time to use a merely theological-sounding narrative as cover.

This system is known by various terms and as such is a kind of political chameleon — able to adapt in appearance to whatever registers most favorably in a given survey or the latest poll.

Whether it goes by the name of socialism, globalism, Liberation Theology, environmentalism, or others, it is the same movement just viewed through a different prism. And at the core is an elevation of man or creation over God, pretending that God the Creator is desirous of this.

The pope is the pope of the Universal Church. He is not pope of the Globalist Church.

The Universal Church is one stretching through all time and eternity. The Globalist Church is one married to one time and political thought.

Furthermore, the very notion of speaking in terms of the Church as a pusher of globalist talk is repugnant to Catholic ears and sensibilities — as it is, or would be, if the Universal Church were spoken of in terms of a Capitalist Church or Socialist Church or Environmentalist Church.

The divinely constituted Church is larger than any man-made political system and therefore cannot be contained within any man-made, passing, temporary system or philosophy.

The Church owes obeisance to no earthly order, which indicates and presupposes that the temporary bishop of Rome, whoever he may be at a given time, likewise owes nothing to the world other than proclamation of Eternal Truth.

The United Nations does not supersede the Holy Catholic Church. Marxist-inspired Liberation Theology does not supersede the Holy Catholic Church. Rampant capitalism does not supersede the Holy Catholic Church.

A cooperative alliance among nations, which diminishes or even abolishes national sovereignty does not supersede the Holy Catholic Church. And likewise, and even more importantly, a cooperative approach to other religions, for whatever imagined good, does not supersede the only true religion.

This current pontificate has lost nearly all sight of its obligation to the world, which is to lead the highest of all God’s creation to the Creator, toward salvation.

The entire purpose of this so-called Amazon Synod is to complete the work of revolutionaries within the Church who began their undermining of the Church many decades ago.

Since Pope Francis, far from having attempted to prevent this evil, has actually contributed to it, sensible, faithful Catholics, be they political conservatives or not, Americans or not — for those are all categories far more confining in scope than our shared love of the Ancient Faith — we assert that Pope Francis has forsaken his sacred duty and needs to step down.

This becomes more and more clear with each passing pronouncement, exhortation, consistory, ecclesiastical appointment, shuffling of the Curia, and so forth.

Pope Francis and his clerical allies are creating a globalist organization with a Catholic-appearing face. What is emerging is not Catholic. The façade should be dropped and, for once, truth be allowed to prevail.

Thank you.

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John-Henry Westen in Vatican press room, covering one of many synod press conferences. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
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Pope Francis has ‘gravely harmed the faith,’ must be called out: LifeSite co-founder

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By John-Henry Westen

Note: On Oct. 4, 2019, Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion in Rome to address critical questions for the Church and for the family on the eve of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Read LifeSiteNews’s report on this event here. Below is the full address given by John-Henry Westen.

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — We have arrived. This week, the Amazonian Synod will be underway. It is expected to be the most severe calamity for the Faith the Church has ever known, and let’s pray that it won’t turn out as dire as it threatens.

A few cardinals have warned of apostasy and heresy in the working document prepared for the synod, but most have remained silent. We, the faithful, cannot remain silent because it is the faith of our children that is being threatened. It is our right as Catholics to have the faith of Jesus Christ handed down faithfully by our priests and bishops and especially the pope.

But in this time we have had the opposite, especially from Pope Francis. He has gravely harmed the Faith and it is time to say it out loud. For the love of Christ, for the love of His Church, for the love of Our Blessed Mother in Heaven, for the love of our children for whom we live to pass on the One True Faith, we must proclaim from the housetops: enough!

Let the Mystical Body of Christ cry out to God as our Lord cried out to the Father from the cross, for many ministers in His Church have betrayed her. The faithful clergy who have fought to defend the teachings of Christ are downtrodden by the pope, while those who seek to spread confusion and error are promoted and honored.

The pope has gained the friendship of the world but at the price of betraying the truth of the Savior. In crushing good cardinals, faithful orders, orthodox institutions and academies; by elevating and promoting heterodox prelates; by personally giving signs of approval of homosexual acts and abortionists; by proclaiming a false ecumenism; by giving false teaching on contraception, cohabitation, and adultery, the pope has shown he allows himself to be led by a spirit contrary to that of the Gospel, rather than by the Holy Spirit, who would be available to the pope as to no one else.

Pope Francis has encouraged pastors to have the smell of the sheep. Also, however, a pastor should have the smell of Christ. The sheep know the smell of a pastor in the mould of Christ. Faithful Catholics all know when we encounter a faithful son of Our Lady in a pastor. We see it in his devotion at Mass, in his demeanor at prayer, in his homilies and teachings, in his advice in the confessional, in his admonishing sinners and encouraging the faithful. His friends are the most faithful, while those who seek to destroy the Church by remaking her in their own image make themselves his enemies, while the good priest prays for their conversion nonetheless.

The faithful know a good priest. We may be fooled for a time, but eventually, we come to know the truth.

All that is not to say we don’t love Pope Francis. Indeed, it would not be love at all to gloss over these monumental concerns and be silent about them, because they harm him most of all. He will have to answer to Christ at judgement just as we all will.

We must continue to pray for the pope every day — pray for his conversion.

I’m not judging his motive. In fact, I’m assuming that he believes that what he is doing is benefiting the Church. But what is plainly obvious is that what is being set up is a false Church and a false image of Christ.

A “reasonable” church that contravenes doctrine in hard cases, a church that suggests that Hell is empty, a church that sows doubt about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, a church that puts political considerations such as immigration policy above non-negotiable teachings on abortion, is a false church.

These are serious charges yes, but it doesn’t take a theologian to recognize when the Faith is being distorted. We won’t leave the Church; it is the One True Church, and there is no other. We shall fight for Christ’s Truth in the Church because we are ready to die for this faith.

We pledge to be truly devoted to Our Lady as we have never been before. For we know that in the end, Her Immaculate heart will triumph. She warned us these times were coming...that the final battle between Our Lord and the reign of Satan would be over marriage and the family. It is here. Standing with Our Lady, we are not fearful. We say with her amen — so be it — to all that the Father allows in the suffering of the Mystical Body of Christ.

We know the resurrection follows. We can rejoice even now in that knowledge, since the depths of the sufferings make the ultimate victory more miraculous.

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David Daleiden American Life League
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Jury members selected in Planned Parenthood baby body parts case

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By Lianne Laurence
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SAN FRANCISCO, California, October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — After an eight-hour day of jury selection Wednesday, the Planned Parenthood lawsuit against the pro-life journalists whose undercover operation exposed its trafficking in baby body parts began Thursday before U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick.

Nine men and three women make up the jury for what is arguably the biggest pro-life trial in decades, which will run six weeks.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and ten affiliates are suing five defendants from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) on several counts, the most serious of which is a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) charge in connection with CMP’s secretly recording conversations at Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation meetings in 2014 and 2015.

The defendants are David Daleiden, CMP project lead and one of its three founding board members; CMP founding board members Albin Rhomberg and Operation Rescue president Troy Newman; and CMP undercover journalists Sandra Merritt and Geraldo Adrian Lopez. CMP and BioMax, the fictitious company CMP created for its sting operation, are also being sued.

Pro-life lawyers argued in opening statements that Daleiden and his undercover investigators “were looking for evidence of fetal tissue being sold for profit, and babies being born alive, and of course, we know they found that evidence,” lead defense attorney Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel at the Thomas More Society, told LifeSiteNews.

“The case was framed clearly for the jury today, and it really is, do you buy Planned Parenthood’s story that David and his team are a criminal conspiracy, or, in the alternative, do you say hey, these folks did an undercover journalism project in good faith that shocked the nation with its disclosures?” he said.

“So if it’s the latter, there are no legal damages that you can claim from this good faith, legitimate, and fruitful undercover investigation,” Breen pointed out.

The pro-life defense is “at its heart a First Amendment defense,” he said. The First Amendment prevents public reaction to truthful information from being actionable.

“Any of the alleged harm that Planned Parenthood suffered stemmed from the public reaction to Planned Parenthood’s wrongdoing. It was not because of [CMP’s undercover journalists] being admitted into conferences, or the mere act of recording,” Breen explained. “It’s only because the videos were so damaging to the Planned Parenthood brand that they have hauled us into court.”

Moreover, “the plaintiffs have from day one have done everything possible to try to silence the truth of what was revealed in the investigation,” he said.

That included Planned Parenthood dropping claims on the eve of trial “to desperately try to avoid disclosure to the jury of the public interest motivating David and his team.”

Planned Parenthood has also “been successful in getting a significant amount of really strong and compelling evidence excluded” from the trial, Breen said. For example, “we had an expert who had calculated the profit that was being made by Planned Parenthood in their fetal tissue sales. That is not going to be coming in right now, unless something changes in the trial.”

“They are fighting us at every turn,” he added.

Moreover, Orrick “has issued a gag order, at the behest of the National Abortion Federation, preventing David from releasing hundreds of hours of hidden-camera footage, thereby impeding the defense’s ability to accurately portray the truth of the investigation,” Breen noted in an earlier press release.

Orrick was on the board of Good Samaritan Family Resource Center in San Francisco, which houses and partners with the Planned Parenthood Wohlford abortion center. CMP asked Orrick in June 2017 to recuse himself from the case, but he refused, and in May 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court tossed out CMP’s request to have Orrick replaced.

Nevertheless, “we believe we have strong defense,” Breen told LifeSiteNews. “We think these jurors are going to see this evidence, understand that this is a legitimate undercover journalism project, and that any harm was caused by the appropriate reaction of the public for these terrible disclosures,” he added.

Life Legal Defense Foundation’s Katie Short, who is defending Rhomberg, told the court in her opening remarks of his decades of pro-life advocacy, including Rhomberg’s role in the 1982 discovery of over 16,000 aborted preborn children packed into a shipping container at a pathologist’s home in southern California, according to a Life Legal report.

Short argued the defendants had to infiltrate Planned Parenthood and its allies because “it’s hard to get at the truth from a distance.”

Planned Parenthood attorneys tried to portray the pro-life defendants as “extremists,” citing Rhomberg’s statement that “we must destroy the evil Planned Parenthood empire” and calling abortion a “holocaust” as an example of such extreme anti-abortion views, Life Legal reported.

Jenna Tosh, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, also testified and “confirmed what we had understood, which is that there were no damages until after the public reaction to the videos,” Breen said.

Life Legal reported that when Tosh was asked whether she was bothered that a Planned Parenthood abortionist said she could use a “less crunchy” technique to obtain more intact baby body parts, she evaded the question. Tosh has worked for Planned Parenthood for more than a decade but said she was “confused” and that she “didn’t understand” the videos.

According to Breen, Planned Parenthood’s base claims for damages have been cut to around $700,000, “but under RICO you triple that damage, and you can get attorneys’ fees, and the attorneys' fees would easily be in the millions of dollars in this case.”

Defendants Merritt and Rhomberg are scheduled to testify Friday.

CMP groundbreaking undercover videos released in 2015 reveal Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the prices of baby body parts and discussing how to alter abortion methods to obtain more intact body parts for harvesting.

The videos sparked public outrage and investigations in both the House and Senate, which released reports documenting evidence of criminal actions by abortion providers and fetal tissue procurement companies, and referred the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is now investigating Planned Parenthood, Operation Rescue reported.

Senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr in June asking for an update on the investigation’s progress, and a response is expected soon, it reported.

Planned Parenthood also lost $6 million annually in taxpayer funding under the Protect Life Rule that bans organizations that conduct or refer for abortions from receiving Title X family planning grants, a rule credited to the CMP videos, Operation Rescue noted.

The size and scope of the pro-life legal team underscores the trial’s significance.

Dalieden is represented by the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, as well as Charles LiMandri’s California-based Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, and the Dhillon Law Group, which also represents CMP and BioMax. The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund is also defending CMP, BioMax, and Lopez.

Merritt is represented by Horatio Mihet of the Florida-based Liberty Counsel and California attorney Nicolai Cocis. Rhomberg is represented by Short and California attorney Michael Millen, and Newman is represented by the Michigan-based American Center for Law and Justice and California law firm Myall Hurley.

Daleiden and Merritt are also facing a California state prosecution on 14 felony counts of illegally taping confidential information.

The preliminary hearing ended September 19, and Judge Christopher Hite of San Francisco Superior Court is expected to release a judgment by October 22 whether or not there are sufficient grounds to move to trial.

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Supreme Court to review Louisiana abortion regulations, could mean the end of Roe

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By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: Tell the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday it will take up the case of Louisiana’s admitting privileges law, which could have the potential of upending the high court’s most recent pro-abortion precedent.

The court announced Friday it has decided to review June Medical Services LLC v. Gee, NPR reports. The case concerns Louisiana’s Act 620, which requires abortion centers to make arrangements for admitting women to hospitals within 30 miles in cases of life-threatening complications. The abortion industry’s attorneys argue the law is no different from the Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt; pro-lifers argue that not only was Hellerstedt wrongly decided, but that the Louisiana law is different from the Texas one.

In September, Judge Jerry Smith of the Fifth Circuit (which upheld the law) noted that while the laws may be similar, the Louisiana measure’s impact would be different as most Louisiana hospitals didn’t have the Texas requirement that doctors must see a minimum number of patients per year to qualify for admitting privileges. In February, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted (in a dissent to a ruling granting a stay of the law) that Act 620 had a 45-day transition period during which “both the doctors and the relevant hospitals” could have acted “expeditiously and in good faith to reach a definitive conclusion about whether those three doctors can obtain admitting privileges.”

A ruling is likely to be handed down during the already-contentious 2020 election year, in which abortion and judicial nominations will be major issues for both President Donald Trump and his Democrat opponent.

The case is likely to at the very least impact the Hellerstedt precedent, which has been used to invalidate a broad range of modest abortion regulations as “undue burdens” on women. It’s an open question whether a majority would take the opportunity to make a broader determination as to the underlying legitimacy of Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey

The overturning of Roe v. Wade, which imposed abortion on demand across the U.S. in 1973, would mean states could decide their own abortion laws.

During his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh expressed significant respect for Roe’s status as precedent – so much so that pro-abortion Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine specifically cited her confidence that Kavanaugh would uphold Roe as part of why she voted to confirm him.

Last year, he joined the court’s liberal wing in declining to hear Kansas and Louisiana’s appeals defending their efforts to cut off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood, a decision that Justice Clarence Thomas excoriated as “abdicating our judicial duty.” His February opinion in support of Louisiana’s Act 620 rejected abortionists’ complaint on technical grounds, but appeared to concede their underlying premises about the “undue burden” standard for abortion restrictions.

Roberts, who also expressed respect for Roe as “a little more than settled” precedent during his own confirmation hearings, has disillusioned conservatives ever since he voted in 2012 and 2015 to uphold Obamacare using intensely controversial reasoning. Roberts also voted with the court’s liberal wing in the aforementioned Medicaid case. 

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Pope Francis with Islamist Turkish president Recep Erdogan.
William Kilpatrick

Opinion ,

Pope Francis doesn’t understand Islam

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

October 4, 2019 (Turning Point Project) — "Is the pope Catholic?" used to be a punch line. Now, sometimes, you almost have to wonder. Of course, I'm not suggesting that Pope Francis is a secret apostate or a Masonic agent. It's just that he seems dissatisfied with certain Church teachings.

What apparently rankles him most are Catholic claims to exclusivity. For example, the belief that all men are saved through Christ can be looked upon as an impediment to interreligious harmony. Francis, for whom interreligious harmony is a top priority, seems to see it that way. Many of his statements seem to suggest he has abandoned the idea that Catholics should seek to convert others to the Faith. On one occasion, for example, he referred to proselytism as "solemn nonsense."

Francis appears to believe that each religion provides its own path to heaven. If that's so, then people are best served by going deeper into whatever faith they already belong to. Thus, Francis once advised a group of Muslim migrants to read the Koran in order to find direction in their lives.

As he wrote in Evangelii Gaudium, Francis believes that all religions have "shared beliefs." Where those beliefs don't overlap so neatly, he seems perfectly happy to blur the lines. A good example is the Abu Dhabi Declaration on "Human Fraternity" signed by Pope Francis and Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, in February.

Of particular concern is the statement that "the pluralism and the diversity of religions ... are willed by God." That's quite a concession for Francis to make, as it contradicts Christ's claim that "I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me" (Jn. 14:6). As Swiss bishop Marian Eleganti puts it, "the unique and universal mediation of Jesus Christ is eclipsed in the Abu Dhabi Declaration."

Just so. But there are many other problems with the document besides God's supposed endorsement of a variety of contradictory religions. In their commitment to inclusion, the drafters of the document — mostly Catholics, one assumes — end up saying things that are true neither of Catholicism nor Islam.

* * *

Contrary to the evidence, the Declaration assumes that the one common religion already exists in nascent form, and that the teachings and values of all religions are essentially the same. Thus, "the values of tolerance and fraternity ... are promoted and encouraged by religions." And, therefore: "These tragic realities [hate, extremism, and violence] are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings." Terrorism for example, "is not due to religion ... it is due rather to an accumulation of incorrect interpretations of religious texts."

If that's so, how is it that so many Muslims in so many different parts of the world interpret Koranic texts in exactly the same way — namely, as a justification for jihad? How would you interpret: "Then, when the sacred months are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them" (Koran 9:5)?  There are over a hundred similar texts in the Koran. By contrast, there are very few texts of the love-thy-neighbor-as-thyself variety.

In fact, Catholic apologists for Islam are reduced to citing the same three Koranic verses over and over because there just aren't that many to pick from. As it happens, the Document on Human Fraternity begins with a paraphrase of the most frequently cited verse: "Whoever saved a human life shall be regarded as having saved all mankind" (5:32). Unsurprisingly, there's no mention of the very next verse:

Those that make war against God and His Apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides (5:33).

Pope Francis and other Catholic apologists for Islam claim that terrorist leaders simply misunderstand Islam. If that's the case, then the very first person to misunderstand Islam was Muhammad himself, who commanded that the hand of a thief be cut off. The Life of Muhammad — which, after the Koran and the Hadith, is considered the most important source of Islamic truths — is essentially a record of Muhammad's jihadist exploits. Approximately two-thirds of its 800 pages detail Muhammad's jihad raids, his beheading of captured prisoners, his slave trading, his endorsement of rape and sex slavery, and his use of torture.

Did Muhammad misunderstand Islam? For that matter, does Grand Imam el-Tayeb misunderstand Islam? Yes, he did sign the Document on Human Fraternity — but Muhammad signed the Treaty of Hudaibiya with the Meccans, too. That was a great PR stunt, but it wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

El-Tayeb doesn't misunderstand Islam, though Francis appears to. He must be acquainted with the darker aspects of Islam, and yet he seems sure that they have nothing to do with "true" Islam.

* * *

Such an approach helps to burnish Islam's image. But what does it do for Catholics? Primarily, it misinforms them. Readers of the Document on Human Fraternity will be left with a false impression of the Muslim faith. They will come away with the conviction that Islam is a member in good standing of the fraternity of great humanitarian religions. In short, they will conclude that there's nothing to worry about.

This impression won't be left to chance. A multi-faith committee has been set up to ensure that the principles of the document will be spread throughout the world. What this means in practice is that Arab leaders will set up a few Potemkin Village–like centers to ostensibly study human fraternity, while the Catholic Church will rush appropriately adapted versions of the one-world religious humanism into every Catholic seminary, university, high school, and kindergarten on the planet.

Catholics are already badly misinformed about Islam. The Abu Dhabi statement, once it is widely disseminated, will only serve to reinforce their naïveté. That, in turn, will leave them unprepared for the next step in what has become a predictable progression.

The next step is Islamization. That's not a word one hears very often, especially in polite Catholic circles. But some Catholics can't afford to be polite. Fr. Valentine Obinna told Crux that, in Nigeria, Fulani Muslims killed almost 9,000 Christians and other non-Muslims in a recent three-year period, as part of a program for the "Islamization of Nigeria." President Buhari and those in power turn a blind eye to the activities of the Fulani and Boko Haram, he said, because they "want to make sure the whole country becomes a Muslim country."

Apparently, President Buhari — a member of the Fulani ethnic group — didn't get the message from Abu Dhabi. Otherwise, he would understand that Islam is a religion of peace, love, and human fraternity. On the other hand, perhaps the elderly president has a firmer grip on Islamic principles than does Pope Francis and his advisors. If so, he would understand that the Islamization of Nigeria is not a deviation from the teachings of Islam; it is very nearly the first principle. As Muhammad said, "I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no God but Allah" (Sahih Muslim 1:33). Indeed, the whole purpose of Islam on earth is to bring the House of War (i.e., non-Muslim territory) under the rule of the House of Islam.

Islamic teaching mandates not only that Nigeria be Islamized, but also Europe, Canada, the U.S., and the entire globe. Only at that point, from an Islamic point of view, can peace and human fraternity be achieved. Buhari understands that. El-Tayeb understands it. Catholics can't allow themselves to be misinformed on this point.

The astonishing ignorance of these basic teachings on the part of Pope Francis and his advisors doesn't make for a more harmonious world: it makes for a more dangerous one. Those who buy into their fantasy view of Islam are in for a rude surprise when they encounter the real thing.

This article originally appeared in the September 25, 2019 edition of Crisis. It is published here with permission from the Turning Point Project.

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Cardinal Angelo Becciu.
Phil Lawler

Opinion ,

A partial, possible explanation for new mind-boggling Vatican financial scandal

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

October 4, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — A shocking, unprecedented scene: Vatican police raiding the offices of the Vatican's own Secretariat of State, seizing documents and electronic devices.

As usual the Vatican is tight-lipped about this latest scandal, disclosing only that the Vatican's top prosecutor has been investigating questionable financial transactions.

But wait: The Vatican gendarmerie also raided the offices of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), which was set up precisely to guard against questionable transactions. Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

What on earth is going on here?

For a partial answer to that question — and I'll be the first to acknowledge that it's only a partial answer — please read through to the final paragraph of today's follow-up CWN story on the suspension of five Vatican officials.

Here's what we know:

  • For at least several months, the Vatican prosecutor has been investigating questionable financial transactions which had been flagged by the Vatican bank and by the office of the auditor general. It's the latter — the auditor general — that concerns us here.
  • The office of the auditor general is currently vacant; the work there is being done by an interim administrator.
  • The last full-time auditor general, Libero Milone, was forced to resign in June 2017. He was forced out by then-Archbishop (now Cardinal) Angelo Becciu. Milone claimed that he had been ousted after he began hunting down financial irregularities; Becciu countered that Milone had been spying on his superiors. As I observed at the time, those charges are not mutually exclusive.
  • One of the Vatican officials now suspended in connection with this investigation, Msgr. Mauro Carlino, was until recently an aide to Becciu in the Secretariat of State.

Those facts lead toward a possible explanation — not only for this week's astonishing raids, but also for the dismissal of the Vatican's auditor general.

  • Milone, whose job was to ask questions about finances, became suspicious about some deals that flowed through the offices of the sostituto — at the time Becciu.
  • Becciu became aware the Milone was prying into the affairs of his office without his (Becciu's) authorization, and was enraged. Becciu threatened Milone with criminal indictment for spying on his superiors: a threat that was withdrawn only after Milone resigned.

Those are established facts. Does this week's raid tell us that Milone had good reason to be suspicious — if not of Becciu, at least of his Carlino, his secretary? The Vatican prosecutor seems to think so.

More facts will surely — slowly — emerge. But even the few facts that have already come to light are sufficient to buttress one more argument that the Vatican cannot eliminate financial corruption as long as the Secretariat of State holds effective veto power over the Secretariat for the Economy. Cardinal George Pell, brought to Rome to bring financial transparency to the Vatican, lost a key battle when his plan for an independent audit was blocked — by the Secretariat of State. Milone, as auditor general, lost his job when his quest for inside information was blocked — by the Secretariat of State.

So now is the Vatican prosecutor chasing down information that Milone, left to his own devices, might have uncovered more than two years ago? It seems likely that this latest scandal might have been avoided.

By the way, consider this measure of the Vatican's commitment to financial transparency: In June 2017, when Milone resigned, the Vatican promised that a new auditor general would be appointed "as soon as possible." More than two years later we're still waiting. Instead of filling the post, in February of this year the Vatican issued new statutes for the office of the auditor general, trimming his powers.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Phil Lawler

Opinion

Why do mainstream Catholic media have so little to say about Vatican raid?

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

October 4, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — This week's most important CWN headline was not a big story. It was a huge story, a sensational story, a blockbuster. To be honest, I'm at a loss to explain why it hasn't been given headline coverage throughout the media world.

Police — the Vatican's own police, acting on directions from the Vatican's top prosecutor — raided the offices of the Secretariat of State, the most powerful office of the Roman Curia. The raid — which the Vatican acknowledged was prompted by suspicious financial transactions — also covered the offices of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the office created precisely to stop suspicious transactions.

This story has everything:

  • Drama: a sudden raid, with police carrying out documents and electronic devices;
  • Scandal: the clear suspicion of misbehavior in high places;
  • Irony: an investigation that centers on the very offices that should be in charge of such investigations;
  • Intrigue: hints that this investigation could eventually unearth another layer of corruption in the Roman Curia.

The raids were followed by the suspension of five Vatican employees, including two in key positions. As I explained in a news-analysis piece, those suspensions, along with the few facts that have been made available about the case, appear to justify the suspicions that the Vatican's former auditor general, Libero Milone, had about activities at the sostituto's office within the Secretariat of State. Yet Milone was forced to resign two years ago — by the sostituto's office, which threatened criminal action against him.

Something is seriously wrong here, wouldn't you agree? Apparently the Vatican's prosecutor agrees. We don't know exactly what is happening, but we know that the case — rumored to involve millions of dollars in questionable real-estate transfers — is serious. Serious enough to justify a raid by Vatican police on a Vatican agency. This was the sort of open intramural conflict Rome has not seen for several centuries, the sort of conflict that could not escape the view of the Vatican-watching media.

And yet... Have you seen this story given headline treatment anywhere but on the Catholic Culture site [and on LifeSiteNews —ed.]?

There was some more aggressive coverage in Roman outlets, naturally. Enough to prompt an answering complaint from the Vatican News agency, chiding reporters for disclosing the names of the employees who have been suspended. But the Vatican itself had disclosed their identities, in a flyer that was distributed widely enough so that it was inevitable reporters would obtain copies.

The Vatican News editorial sought to put a positive spin on the story, asserting that the raid showed the determination of the Vatican to root out financial corruption, and it "proves concretely that the processes begun by Pope Benedict XVI, and carried out by Pope Francis, really work." But that's exactly what we don't know. We know that an investigation has been undertaken: perhaps the same investigation that was thwarted two years ago. We know that it's being taken seriously. We don't know whether it will be allowed to run its full courses, or whether it will be thwarted again.

For now, I'm afraid, what we know is that the world's mainstream media, presented with a sensational story from Rome, showed only tepid interest. Because a story about dysfunction in the Vatican, a story about corruption in the Roman Curia, is no longer big news.


In other noteworthy developments covered by CWN this week:

  • Pope Francis received Father James Martin, SJ, in a private audience, a gesture clearly intended to convey papal support for the priest whose crusade for acceptance of homosexuality has brought him into conflict with some Church leaders. And shortly after that meeting, the ex-Dominican priest James Alison, who had been expelled from the religious order because of his clear rejection of Church teaching on homosexuality, told The Tablet that he had received a private phone call from the Pontiff, who said, "I give you the power of the keys."
  • On a more positive note, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints certified a miracle through the intercession of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, and that great leader of Poland's anti-Communist resistance now is eligible for beatification.
  • Finally, acknowledging that the world's most populous Catholic archdiocese had grown beyond workable limits, the Vatican split the Archdiocese of Mexico City into four separate dioceses. Even after that trimming, the Archdiocese of Mexico City still has a population of 5 million. But it is no longer the world's largest archdiocese; that title now goes to Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a total population of over 11 million, more than half Catholic.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke speaks with LifeSiteNews Paris correspondent Jeanne Smits in Rome. Olivier Figueras / LifeSiteNews
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Opinion

Cdl. Burke, top Catholic thinkers inspire youths at Rome conference

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Catholics in general and young Catholics even more particularly are faced with confusion as troubling reports from the very heart of the Church include warnings of schism and news of frontal attacks on many things that have been held to be truth from time immemorial. It could be said that the youth program of Voice of the Family, sponsored by LifeSiteNews, has precisely this in mind: to give formation and support to devout young Catholics who are being called on to defend those truths.

During the second and last day of their series of conferences in Rome, it came as no surprise that the organizers had given the main place to talks on spiritual and interior life, which are indispensable for any kind of Catholic action.

Father Tony Pillari, an American priest incardinated in England, where he exclusively celebrates the traditional Latin Mass, opened the day with a stirring talk on spiritual battle, so necessary because we know from the Church’s daily liturgical evening prayer that the devil encircles around us like a lion, seeking whom to devour — “quaerens quem devoret.”

He explained with great clarity how and why the bad angels rejected God when given the choice — a definitive choice — when they were created: Satan acted out of pride, wanting to be honored “like God,” and hate, because he and those who followed him “knew that the gift of eternal happiness would be offered to those far inferior to them.” “He preferred to be the first in inferior order and to be one among others in an order of submission to God.”

Quoting from the Fathers of the Church and Thomas Aquinas, Fr. Pillari explained that Satan and his followers “chose the role they can accomplish through their natural powers, without grace, not to be dependent on someone else. He tries to lead men to make the same choice[.] ... For the bad angels wish they weren’t suffering, but they don’t wish they hadn't chosen this[.] ... But they do realize and hate that God turns all things to His own glory. They are allergic to reality[.] ... They are jealous of the fact that when you are living by grace, you are already higher up than they.”

All of these facts that the Catholic faith teaches us are important to know for young people today because it lets them understand where the true danger lies and on what plane present-day battles are being fought.

Fr. Pillari explained the role of guardian angels, who have been given many powers by God to help each human being personally entrusted to them, in particular protecting them from “spiritual harm, despair, irritation, agitation” and giving peace, provided they find faith. In particular, they are armed to “counteract the evil activities of the devil.” God does not leave His children alone when facing the bad angels, who seek to “deceive” and to “sully the imagination” but who “ultimately cannot destroy anything without our consent.”

The “key strategy in the spiritual battle,” said Fr. Pillari, lies in the words of compline sung every evening by Catholic religious: “sobrie estote” — be sober, be firm in the Faith. It means “living by the obedience of faith in the midst of suffering,” and also in total abandonment to divine providence because the devil’s tactic is to scare people out of faith, hope, and charity for fear of what will happen next. But God has promised sufficient grace for every day.

This abandonment can come about by “surrendering to God’s will and accepting the Cross at this moment.”

This may seem far from action and even farther from activism. But clearly, it is this abandonment to God that allows God to work good through those want to serve Him.

Michael Matt, director of The Remnant, echoed Fr. Pillari’s talk in underscoring the fact that today, the dangers faced by the Church are coming from within. But he started his remarks by saying: “Let’s never forget that we know how this ends”: with the victory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

He warned against believing that “God is on our side” when we should be on His: “It’s up to us to remain on the side of the angels and of God, to stand in fidelity to tradition. My opinion doesn’t matter.”

He explained that he is full of hope because the present confusion is making more and more people wake up as “allies” in the fight for the good. Michael Matt insisted that all those who join that fight, however late, should not be reproached for not having joined it before, or enough: “If anyone does anything for Christ and tradition, celebrate it.”

He drew a lively portrait of the life of Christians in times of persecution: they were not seeking martyrdom. When necessary, they hid, as the catacombs show. “They were afraid because they loved life and their children.” “Courage only means something if the courageous were afraid,” he said, drawing from that reality lessons of prudence that can never stoop to compromise.

“It’s a time for Catholic action despite persecution[.] ... It could also be the darkest moment since the history of the world after the Crucifixion, because of the breakdown at the heart of the Church, with the Amazon Synod, which could become the biggest story: the Catholic Church raising the white flag of surrender,” he said.

But here, once again, it was with words of hope: “They don’t think the battle has been won, so we shouldn’t, either.” On the contrary, as Hilaire Belloc once commented: “When they start persecuting Christianity again, it will mean the dawn is near.” “Once they realize we are ready to die, they will have no power over us,” added Michael Matt.

His more practical advice to the young people on Catholic action was to encourage them not to want everyone to play the same role or all to go into the streets because all do not have the same gifts. “Let’s not die on stupid hills,” he added, recalling that St. Thomas More was silent as long as he could be and that Fr. Miguel Pro in Mexico was dressed in ordinary clothes when he was martyred, because he was “under cover.”

Michael Matt also made clear that in his view, in the present culture wars, “the front-line soldiers are the homeschool mothers.”

He concluded with a quote from Michael Davies, a historic fighter for the traditional Mass after the liturgical reform: “Revolutionaries do not need massive support; they need minimal opposition.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke honored the meeting with his presence as its last speaker, making a series of short remarks and then answering many of the written questions the young people had prepared for him.

“We must express our love for the Church in defending the truth we receive through her maternal care,” he said, immediately going on to remark that he has become more and more convinced of the “importance of the sacred liturgy, which is the form of our Christian life,” as opposed to a deformed liturgy with a “mundane approach, a loss of the sense that God is with us.” He added that it should have a character that separates him from “ any other experience or activity we have”; it comes “directly from heaven.”

Speaking about the vocational life, which was at the heart of Voice of the family’s youth program,” Cardinal Burke recalled that it “starts at our baptism,” after which we must “grow in age and grace” and “holiness of life.” “Grace is like a seed. Everything is there. It is meant to flower in our adult lives in our vocation,” he explained.

Commenting on marriage, whose love is inherently procreative, and priesthood, “or spiritual paternity in the church,” he said all are called to “pure and selfless love.” In passing, Cardinal Burke mentioned the working document for the Amazon Synod, which, if applied, will bring an “ontological change” to the priesthood, no longer making the priest the one who is “in persona Christi,” in particular with regard to celibacy, but concentrating on the “pastoral care of the flock.”

“How do you know God’s plan?” Cardinal Burke answered his own question with these words: “Pray to know it from when you’re small. We should listen to others about the things they see in us: parish priest, parents. We should be reading the lives of the saints all the time: there are saints for all vocations.”

When asked to speak about the upcoming synod and its dangers, the cardinal replied: “The Church has the Deposit of Faith, truths that do not change. We just stick to these. How can you become schismatic if you stick to the Catholic faith?  Athanasius was excommunicated at one point[.] ... We can never accept that salvation comes to us in any other way than through Jesus Christ.”

Cardinal Burke encouraged the young people to bond together with other good Catholics and not to be afraid to announce that faith: “Whatever they want to call you, extremists or fascists, we should always be serene. There is some tough suffering in store for all of us, but Our Lord has told us that we should not be afraid.” He also confided that his prayer for weeks had been that the synod would not take place.

Cardinal Burke especially asked the young people as laity to respect a “delicate balance: speak the truth and at the same time keep respect for the Petrine office.” We have had very holy popes in the 20th century, he recalled, quoting the examples of Pius X and Pius XII. “We know that Peter is the principle of unity of the whole body. But we cannot tolerate the denial of the Faith. It is difficult, but we must find a way.”

He also acknowledged that one of the “shocking” things today for him “is the silence of so many cardinals” when the pope is not the “instrument of faith” that he should be.

Some don’t want us to say anything for fear of “hurting the Church,” he added, but he asked: “If you don’t say anything, aren’t you hurting the Church more?”

These talks took place on October 2, the Feast of the Guardian Angels in the traditional calendar. The final meeting of the members of the Voice of the Family youth program fittingly took place in a church, the Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, where Cardinal Burke celebrated a pontifical High Mass with all its ceremony, in which the person of the celebrating pontiff (in the sense of “bishop”) truly disappears behind the requirements of his office. Every vestment, every codified movement, every person present during the dramatic event of the Holy Sacrifice has a meaning. All together, this faithfulness to the Church’s historic Latin liturgy creates an atmosphere of sacredness.

The Mass was followed by Eucharistic adoration until midnight, the host shining resplendently in its monstrance high over the altar surrounded by a forest of lit candles. God with us.

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The world watched more than 500,000 YEARS of porn in 2016

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By Jonathon Van Maren

Editor’s warning: Some people may find the content of this article disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Each time I write about the extent to which pornography is poisoning our society, there are always people who respond by telling me that I must be exaggerating. There is no way, they tell me, that porn is as ubiquitous as I say it is, and it is simply not possible that pornography is having such a mind-altering effect on so many people. Despite mounting evidence, many people simply prefer to believe that we are still living in a world where porn is a handful of old Playboys stuffed under a bed or hidden in a chest of drawers. Considering the scope of the problem we face, this view represents almost criminal negligence.

One of the reasons people prefer to plunge their heads in the sand when it comes to porn is because the numbers are in some ways too staggering to fully comprehend. In 2016, for example, people watched more than an accumulated 500,000 years of pornography on PornHub, which is roughly 12 porn videos for every man, woman, and child on planet earth. Is it true that explicit sexual material was found in every previous culture? Of course. But never in recorded human history have so many people had access to hardcore pornography from virtually the time they can grasp a smartphone. 

And never in recorded human history have so many people been addicted to such sickening and evil content.

PornHub’s habit of bragging about the number of their users and the content their users are watching holds up a mirror to our society, and the reflection of what we do in private is truly grotesque. One of the genres of pornography that has been consistently exploding over the past decade portrays incest, and it is a simultaneously nauseating and revealing picture of the confusion that accompanies broken families. (Mary Eberstadt discusses the bewildering nature of the modern family, with biologically unrelated people moving in and out of people’s lives, in her chilling book Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics.)

Earlier this week, the anti-porn organization Fight the New Drug tweeted the latest stats from PornHub to draw attention to this trend. This week’s number one top viewed video on the site—with over seven million views—is titled “My Stepbrother Brazenly Took Advantage of My Helplessness.” In it, a girl gets stuck, and her stepbrother rapes her while she begs him to stop, tells him that she’s afraid, says no, and tells him that “it hurts.” Seven million people watched that video this week alone for recreation and entertainment. They watched a girl get raped by a family member to experience arousal and enjoyment. Think about that for a moment. 

This is not some fringe genre of porn anymore, either. According to Fight the New Drug, incest-related categories rank near PornHub’s top searches nearly every year now. As other anti-porn activists have pointed out, these genres just get darker and darker—as well as more popular as the years go on. Again, this information tells us something profoundly disturbing about the broken nature of our society, the state of the family, and the extent to which pornography is an increasingly toxic poison slowly seeping through every layer of our culture. We can pretend this isn’t happening, but it is. And it is happening in our families, our communities, our churches—and to our children.

Frankly, I hate writing columns about pornography, and I wish those who claim I am exaggerating were correct. Unfortunately, they are not. I am not pointing out these facts simply to shock or disturb people—there are many, many far worse things about the pornography industry that I would never write because people do not need to dive all the way to the bottom of this sewer to know that it is vile filth all the way down. But people desperately need to wake up and realize that for Christian communities, the porn threat is an existential one—and the industry that is coming for our children and spreading its tentacles into our families is tremendously more evil—and powerful—than the glossy magazines that parents once feared.

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 began in high-school and continued 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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John-Henry Westen: The Amazon Synod is setting up a ‘false church’
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John-Henry Westen: The Amazon Synod is setting up a ‘false church’

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By John-Henry Westen

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Today I had the high honor of speaking at Voice of the Family’s Amazon Synod roundtable discussion in Rome. Below, you can find a video and transcript of my remarks. God bless.

We have arrived. This week, the Amazonian Synod will be underway. This is expected to be the most severe calamity for the faith the Church has ever known. And let's pray that it won't turn out as dire as it threatens. 

A few cardinals have warned of apostasy and heresy in the working document prepared for this synod. But most have remained silent. We in the faithful cannot remain silent because it's the faith of our children that is being threatened. 

It's our right as Catholics to have the faith of Jesus Christ handed down faithfully by our priests and bishops, and especially by the Pope. But in this time we have had the opposite, especially from Pope Francis. He has gravely harmed the faith. And it’s time to say it out loud. For the love of Christ, for the love of His Church, for the love of our Blessed Mother in heaven, for the love of our children for whom we live to pass on the one true faith, we must proclaim from the housetops, “enough!”

Let us cry out to God as the Israelites did in the Old Testament. For many ministers in His Church are betraying Him. The faithful clergy who have fought to defend the teachings of Christ are downtrodden by the Pope while those who seek to spread confusion and error are promoted and honored. 

The Pope has gained the friendship of the world but at the price of betraying the truth of the Savior — in crushing good cardinals, faithful orders, orthodox institutions and academies. By elevating and promoting heterodox prelates and by giving signs of approval of homosexual acts and abortionists. By proclaiming a false ecumenism. By giving false teaching on contraception, cohabitation, and adultery. The Pope has shown that he allows himself to be led by a spirit contrary to that of the Gospel rather than by the Holy Spirit, who would be available to the Pope as to no one else. 

Pope Francis has encouraged pastors to have the smell of the sheep. Also, however, a pastor should have the smell of Christ. The sheep know the smell of a pastor made in the mold of Christ. Faithful Catholics all know when we encounter a faithful son of Our Lady in a pastor. We see it in his devotion at Mass. In his demeanor at prayer. In his homilies and teachings. And in the advice he gives in the confessional. In his admonishing sinners and encouraging the faithful. 

The good priests’ friends are the most faithful, while those who seek to destroy the Church by remaking Her in their own images make themselves the good priests’ enemies while that good priest prays for their conversion nonetheless. The faithful know a good priest. We may be fooled for a time but eventually we come to know the truth. 

All that is not to say that we don't love Pope Francis. Indeed, it would not be love at all to gloss over these monumental concerns and be silent about them because in them he is harming himself most of all. He will have to answer to Christ at judgment just as we all will. We must continue to pray for the Pope every day. Pray for his conversion. 

I'm not judging his motives. In fact, I'm assuming he believes what he is doing is benefiting the Church. But what is plainly obvious is that what is being set up is a false church and a false image of Christ. A “reasonable” Church that contravenes doctrine in hard cases, a Church that suggests that Hell is empty, a Church that sows doubt about the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, a Church that puts out political considerations such as immigration policy and environmentalism above non-negotiable teachings on abortion is a false church. These are serious charges, yes, but it doesn't take a theologian to recognize when the faith is being distorted.

We won't leave the Church. This is the one, true Church and there is no other. We shall fight for Christ’s truth in the Church because we are ready to die for this faith. 

We pledge to be truly devoted to Our Lady as we never have been before. For we know that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph. She warned us that these times were coming. That the final battle between our Lord and the reign of Satan would be over marriage and the family. And it is here and now.

Standing with Our Lady, we are not fearful. We say with her, “Amen,” so be it, to all that the Father allows in this suffering of the Mystical Body of Christ. We know the resurrection follows and we can rejoice even now in that knowledge since the depths of suffering make the ultimate victory even more miraculous.

For LifeSiteNews, this is John Henry Western. And may God bless you all.

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Why we need the extraordinary form of the mass now more than ever

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Watch Mother Miriam's Live show from 10.4.2019. Mother Miriam continues to read from Cardinal Sarah's new book, The Day is Now Far Spent, specifically focusing on the importance of the extraordinary form. 

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