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Paul Smeaton

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Leading politician promises EU parliament: Malta will embrace abortion

Paul Smeaton
By Paul Smeaton

October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Helena Dalli, a leading Maltese politician and member of the country’s governing Labour Party, has promised the European Parliament that there will be full access in Malta to “sexual reproductive rights without exception.” Most forms of abortion are currently illegal in Malta, a small Catholic country, although contraceptives are allowed, including some that can act as abortifacients.

Ms Dalli made her remarks on October 2 while responding to questions from members of the European Parliament in her capacity as the new EU equalities commissioner-designate.

Ms Dalli was challenged about abortion in Malta by Irène Tolleret, a French MEP and member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).

The full recording of the question and answer can be viewed on the European Parliament’s website.

Earlier this year, groups in Malta campaigned to enshrine the right to life in the constitution of Malta. The Christian political party Alleanza Bidla (Alliance for Change) sought to secure a pledge from Maltese political parties that they would add the words “from conception” to article 33 of the constitution. The article currently reads:

No person shall be intentionally deprived of his life save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the law of Malta of which he has been convicted.

Several Maltese parties committed to the pledge, but the governing Labour Party refused to sign it.

In an exclusive statement to LifeSiteNews, Ivan Grech Mintoff, former co-leader of Alleanza Bidla and founder of the Facebook group “Abortion In Malta? Not In My Name!,” which has over 23,000 members, said:

When asked to give a written commitment before the last MEP elections in May that abortion will not be legalised in Malta, the Maltese PM did not do so despite being asked to do so by our group of 23,000 members. Instead he chose to sign the Socialists’ and Democrats’ charter, which pushes for ‘female reproductive rights’ to be available in all EU countries. He expected us to rely on his word only when he has not kept it on many important issues in the past. Today, our fears have been proven to be completely justified and correct. Our push to have the Constitution amended so that abortion never enters Malta has been validated and is more important than ever before.

Ms Dalli recently received a public endorsement from the Maltese prime minister, Joseph Muscat, who said in a tweet that Ursula von der Leyen, the president-elect of the European Commission, had made the “perfect choice” in selecting Ms Dalli for the role of “implementing an ambitious equality agenda.” Dalli played a key role in Malta’s legalization of both same-sex civil unions in 2014 and so called “same-sex marriage” in 2017.

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Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

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Media study finds little diocesan oversight of priests ‘credibly accused’ of abuse

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By Doug Mainwaring

October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A just published large-scale investigation has found that many clergy and Church employees who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse have, over the years, slipped undetected and unsupervised into positions as school teachers, nurses, and sexual assault counselors, where they continue to work closely with young people and other at-risk individuals. 

Some went on to adopt or foster children. Others found work as juvenile detention officers, at family shelters, and even at Disney World. 

A nine-month review of the status of nearly 2,000 Catholic priests and Church employees conducted by a team of Associated Press (AP) journalists uncovered the startling truth by “scour[ing] public databases, court records, property records, social media and other sources.” 

“Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses,” declares the report.

“These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault,” the report continues. “They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and day care centers. They foster and care for children.”

“And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found.”

Of the over 5,000 credibly accused clergy whose names have been made public by their dioceses, close to 2,000 are still alive. The AP offers a summary of what its team discovered about those individuals:

  • Sixty-five former clergy members were charged with crimes committed after their Church service, with half of those crimes involving sexual assault, child pornography, or failing to register as a sex offender.
  • Seventy-six have current, active licenses to work in schools or medical facilities or to serve as counselors or social workers. More than 190 had licenses in at least one of those fields at some point in their careers — 91 held education licenses, 52 held counseling certification, 31 had social worker licenses, and 28 had medical licenses of some type. A handful had more than one kind of license.
  • More than 160 continued to work or volunteer in churches, including more than 30 who moved overseas and worked as priests without restrictions. In the U.S., accused priests have been found saying Mass, officiating weddings, playing music, working in Church administrative roles, and acting as eucharistic ministers.
  • Although over 310 had been criminally charged from their actions during their time as priests, only 85 are on sex offender registries.
  • More than a quarter currently live within 2,000 feet of a school, playground, or child care facility
  • Roughly 110 were confirmed or are believed to have moved overseas after allegations arose in the U.S.

“The Dallas Charter was supposed to fix everything. It was supposed to make the abuse scandal history. But that didn’t happen,” the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer, told the AP.

“The bishops will never admit this, but when they do cut them loose, they believe they are no longer a liability,” said Doyle, referring to credibly accused former Church employees. “I severely doubt there is an incentive for them to want to fix this problem.”

“If these guys simply left and disappeared somewhere, it wouldn’t be a problem,” said Doyle. “But they don’t. They get jobs and create spaces where they can get access to and abuse children again.”

The Chicago archdiocese instituted a program in 2008 that could serve as a model for other U.S. dioceses. Priests get to continue to receive treatment, benefits, and help, and to “die a priest,” but to do so, they must sign over their right to privacy and agree to obey rules such as not living near a school, according to the AP report.

“The monitoring is intrusive. I track their phone usage, I require daily logs of where they go, I track their internet usage and check their financial information and records. They have to tell me where they are going to be, who they will be with. And they have to meet with me twice a month face-to-face,” Moira Reilly, the case manager in charge of the Chicago archdiocese’s prayer and penance program, told the AP. 

Reilly explained that by having credibly accused priests participate in the program rather than being defrocked, the Church and the community at large are safer.

“If we laicize them or if we let them walk away ... no one is watching them,” she said. “I do this job because I truly believe that I am protecting the community. I truly believe that I am protecting children.”

Because many Church authorities claim they are unable to track former clerics after their departure from diocesan employment — and law enforcement officials licensing agencies are alerted only to those who have a criminal record — the responsibility for monitoring and policing these individuals and alerting the community has fallen on the shoulders of grassroot citizen watchdog groups.

“The lay faithful definitely seem to be stepping in,” Deacon Bernie Nojadera, the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, told the AP. “Part of that is the awareness of the community in many ways based on the trainings we are having for our children and others in the parish communities.”

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John Smeaton at the 'Handing on the Deposit of the Faith' conference, Sept., 2019, Cardiff, UK John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews
LifeSiteNews staff

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Catholic parents must ‘resist’ Pope Francis’ promotion of sex education: pro-family leader

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

CARDIFF, U.K., October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic parents have a “moral obligation to resist” Pope Francis’ and Catholic bishops’ promotion of “dangerous” teaching on sex education, which constitutes “child abuse,” the leader of the UK’s largest pro-life, pro-family group said in a talk last month. 

John Smeaton, leader of The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) in London said that Catholic pastors in Britain and in many parts of the world, including in Rome, are “supporting programmes of relationships education and sex education in educational institutions which constitute child abuse involving immeasurably greater numbers of young people than the cases of clerical sex abuse currently afflicting the Church.”

His talk, titled “Family under attack – how anti-family sex education is corrupting children and targeting families worldwide,” was given at a conference organized by Voice of the Family, an initiative of LifeSiteNews and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. The Sept. 6-8 conference, titled “Handing on the Deposit of the Faith,” was held at Newman Hall, University Catholic Chaplaincy, in Cardiff, UK.

Smeaton referred to Pope Francis’ statements in support of sex education in schools while on a flight to Rome from Panama in January. Pope Francis said during that flight: “I believe that we must provide sex education in schools.”

During the same flight Pope Francis said that it was “not always possible” for sex education to “begin at home with the parents” but that “the school makes up for this”. Smeaton contrasted this with Pope Leo XIII’s and Pope Pius XI’s clear teaching that such paternal authority should never be assumed by the State.

He also highlighted the global crisis in sex education programmes, saying:

His Holiness ignores the fact that both Catholic and non-Catholic schools are currently communicating to children, through their sex education programmes, the ideology of the State and the ideology of the international pro-abortion lobby on matters relating to human sexuality, and His Holiness ignores the fact that both Catholic and non-Catholic schools are currently responsible for communicating images or ideas which represent psychological and spiritual child abuse on a worldwide scale.

Smeaton continued by providing detailed evidence about the sex education programmes currently operating in both Catholic and non-Catholic schools in Britain, with the support of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. 

He documented a host of disturbing facts about sex education and more in both Britain and other parts of the world, including:

  • The influence of radical LGBT lobby groups in sex education in both non-Catholic and Catholic schools in Britain with the support of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales
  • The display of pornographic videos in school to children as young as seven with the support of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales
  • The presence of obscene and pornographic images in a sex education programme produced by the Vatican and introduced at the World Youth Day in Poland in 2016
  • Access to contraception and abortion for schoolchildren, without their parents’ knowledge or consent, in both non-Catholic and Catholic schools in Britain with the support of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales

These are just some of the instances of abuse which were outlined in the speech and can be reviewed in detail in the full text of the speech below.

Smeaton concluded his talk by announcing the launch of a new campaign of prayer and formation to combat these evils. The campaign is called “Perseverantes unianimiter in oratione” (persevering with one mind in prayer). The campaign will meet in Walsingham, England’s national shrine to Our Lady, on 8 December later this year – the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Smeaton said of the upcoming event that:

In Walsingham, on December 8th, under banners of Mary Immaculate, showing Our Lady crushing the head of Satan, Catholic parents, in a procession led by fathers, will walk the Holy Mile from the Slipper Chapel to the place in the grounds of the ruin of Walsingham Priory where the Holy House was built in 1061. During the procession we will be praying the Rosary, begging Our Lady to intercede with God asking Him to influence the hearts and minds of the Catholic bishops of Britain so that, instead of welcoming government legislation which has made Relationships Education compulsory throughout the school years and Sex Education compulsory in secondary schools, that they will lead the Catholic faithful, and all people of good will, in resisting it.

He concluded his talk by encouraging Catholic parents to resist.

“Catholic parents have a moral obligation to resist Pope Francis’s and British Catholic bishops’ promotion of dangerous teaching on sex education,” he said. 

“It will add fuel to the raging fire of child abuse. Parents must say loud and clear to Pope Francis, and to Catholic bishops in Britain: Sex education is not the solution to systematic child abuse and exploitation. Indeed, what the Vatican, the bishops of England and Wales and many other bishops around the world are promoting is child abuse, in the name of relationships and sex education, involving immeasurably greater numbers than the scandal of the cases of clerical sex abuse currently afflicting the Church,” he added.

***

Family under attack – how anti-family sex education is corrupting children and targeting families worldwide

By John Smeaton

We must pray for the Pope, and for Catholic bishops in Britain and elsewhere. Catholic pastors in Britain and in many parts of the world, including in Rome, are supporting programmes of relationships education and sex education in educational institutions which constitute child abuse involving immeasurably greater numbers of young people than the cases of clerical sex abuse currently afflicting the Church.

During a flight to Rome from Panama, last January, Pope Francis told reporters that bishops did not know what to do about the clerical sex abuse scandal. He said: “We felt the responsibility to give … catechesis on this problem to the bishops’ conferences”.

Significantly, the Pope went on to say: “I believe that we must provide sex education in schools”.

Pope Francis then mentioned parents in connection with sex education, butin a somewhat negative way. The Pope said “the ideal” is “to begin at home, with the parents.” But, he added, this is “not always possible,” “The school makes up for this,” he said, adding that if sex education is not provided the “void” will be “filled by any ideology.”

The first thing to say about these words of Pope Francis is that they contrast sharply with the teaching of previous Popes:

Pope Leo XIII taught in encyclical Rerum Novarum [1]

“ …The contention … that the civil government should at its option intrude into and exercise intimate control over the family and the household is a great and pernicious error…

“Paternal authority can be neither abolished nor absorbed by the State; for it has the same source as human life itself.”

And Pope Pius XI taught in his encyclical Divini Illius Magistri [2]

 “ …Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public …”

Which Pope is right? Are Pope Leo XIII and Pope XI right? Or is Pope Francis right when he says: “I believe that we must provide sex education in schools” because, he suggests, there are parents who can’t do it? Is he right when he says that “The school makes up for this” otherwise the “void” will be “filled with any ideology”?

Allow me to reflect on the implications of what Pope Francis said:

Firstly, worldwide experience indicates that school sex education is not confined to the children of parents for whom, in the words of Pope Francis, it’s not possible. School sex education is provided for all children regardless of parental wishes or competence.

Secondly, when Pope Francis says “The school makes up for this” otherwise the “void” will be “filled with any ideology”,  His Holiness ignores the fact that both Catholic and non-Catholic schools are currently communicating to children, through their sex education programmes, the ideology of the State and the ideology of the international pro-abortion lobby on matters relating to human sexuality, and His Holiness ignores the fact that both Catholic and non-Catholic schools are currently responsible for communicating images or ideas which represent psychological and spiritual child abuse on a worldwide scale.

In countless Catholic primary schools in England and Wales, for example, children between the ages of seven and nine are being shown the video Living and Growing. The video is a cartoon depicting a naked couple chasing each other around a bed and engaging in sexual intercourse in numerous positions. An adult voice-over explains that sex is fun and makes people happy. A young girl’s voice over exclaims that ‘Yes, they do look very happy’. In this video there is no question of introducing the idea of marriage into the presentation of sexual activity. As Antonia Tully put it, the head of the Safe at School campaign run by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children:

“Living and Growing puts sexual activity on the same plane as any activity that a seven-year old might normally be involved in. How will children deal with this information: is it a game? a joke? a worry? a fear? How will this affect your child?”

Antonia Tully says that the evidence suggests that boys are likely to understand the information as a game or joke, while girls are likely to become distressed.

Thirdly, the call from Pope Francis for sex education must be evaluated in the context of the Vatican’s own sex education programme called The Meeting Point. A few months after the promulgation of Amoris Laetitia, an apostolic exhortation in which Pope Francis called for sex education in educational institutions, the Pontifical Council for the Family introduced a sex education programme called The Meeting Point at the World Youth Day in Poland in July 2016.

This programme, which is intended to be taught in schools, in mixed classrooms, adopts a secularised and secularising approach, and exposes children to obscene and pornographic images.

Serious questions about the programme have been raised by Dr Rick Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist and adjunct professor of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, at the Catholic University of America. [He writes:]

“ … in my professional opinion, the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth that I have seen over the past 40 years is the Vatican’s new sexual education program, The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People.

“In a culture in which youth are bombarded by pornography, I was particularly shocked by the images contained in this new sex education program, some of which are clearly pornographic. My immediate professional reaction was that this obscene or pornographic approach abuses youth psychologically and spiritually.

“Youth are also harmed by the failure to warn them of the long-term dangers of promiscuous behaviours and contraceptive use. As a professional who has treated both priest perpetrators and the victims of the abuse crisis in the Church, what I found particularly troubling was that the pornographic images in this program are similar to those used by adult sexual predators of adolescents”.

A fourth consideration arising from Pope Francis’s repeated calls for school-based sex education is the fact that in various parts of the world Catholic bishops and Catholic bishops’ conferences have long been using their power and authority to promote programmes of  relationships and sex education the content of which is explicitly anti-life, anti-family and anti-Catholic.

The Catholic Education Service, a department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, have a long-established approach to sex education which reflects the policies of the pro-abortion lobby, the homosexual lobby and the British Government and which constitutes the sexual abuse and corruption of children.

From 1999 until 2008 the Chair of the Catholic Education Service was Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham (now Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster). Under his chairmanship the Catholic Education Service developed a policy which resulted in providing children in Catholic schools, including adolescents under the legal age of consent, with access to abortion and contraception services without parental knowledge or consent, through a state run confidential advice agency, named ‘Connexions’.

In April 2010 the Catholic Education Service, under the chairmanship of Malcolm McMahon (then bishop of Nottingham, now Archbishop of Liverpool), appointed as deputy director, Greg Pope, a former Labour member of Parliament, who had an extensive anti-life, anti-family voting record. Greg Pope remained in that post until his promotion, in 2017, to be the Assistant General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

In the Spring 2019 edition of Calx Mariae, Dr Tom Rogers, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children’s education manager, takes up the story of the role of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales and of their agency in England and Wales, the Catholic Education Service, in relation to the Children and Social Work Act (2107). Dr Rogers wrote:

“In March 2017, the Government passed the Children and Social Work Act (2017) which (in England) made the new subjects of Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools, and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory in all secondary schools, including faith and independent schools. It was announced that the required content of these new subjects would be subject to public consultation, although from the outset Government ministers, including the Prime Minster, stated that Relationships Education would be ‘LGBT’ inclusive: [3] that is, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender inclusive. The Government stated that parents would be able to withdraw their children only from the ‘sex education’ parts of Relationships and Sex Education at secondary school.”

Dr Rogers continued:

“Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, chair of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, immediately issued a statement welcoming the Government’s announcement that it was acting to change the law. He said:

‘ … We welcome the Government’s commitment to improving Relationship and Sex Education in all schools. Catholic schools already teach age-appropriate Relationship and Sex Education in both primary and secondary schools …

‘We additionally welcome the Government’s commitment to protect parental right of withdrawal and involve parents in all stages of the development and delivery of RSE in all schools. It is essential that parents fully support the school’s approach to these sensitive matters …’

“Despite the apparently strong statement with regard to parental involvement”, Dr Rogers wrote,

“it is clear that Archbishop McMahon’s statement conforms, not to established Catholic teaching on sex education, but to the new secular orthodoxy and Government policy regarding this area of a child’s learning. The parent is simply granted an ‘involvement’ in the process, because ‘it is essential that parents fully support the school’s approach’. There is no reference in the Archbishop’s statement to the fact that the ‘right of withdrawal’ at this time was only for the ‘Sex Education’ parts of Relationships and Sex Education, and that the Government’s actual distinction between ‘sex education’ and ‘relationships education’ is most unclear.”

Dr Rogers went on:

“In July 2018 the Government issued its Draft Guidance and Regulations regarding the proposed content and delivery of the new subjects, and simultaneously launched a second public consultation on their acceptability. Overall the Government’s Draft Regulations and Guidance seriously undermined parental rights, and presented a completely modern secular view of human sexuality, marriage and the family which was seriously contrary to what the Catholic faith teaches.

“The Government’s guidance made it clear that the children’s programme of study is expected to be ‘LGBT inclusive’ throughout and to present homosexual relationships and family structures in a positive manner. In primary school, children must be made to understand and accept that families ‘sometimes look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are characterised by love and care for them’; and children must be taught that marriage, including same-sex marriage and civil partnerships, represent ‘a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong.’ In other words, primary school children will have to demonstrate ‘respect’ for the idea and practice of homosexual relationships and not just for the people involved in them, and will be expected to agree that such relationships, including when they have children, are just as valid, positive and beneficial as those based on real marriage.”

Dr Tom Rogers continued:

“In Relationships and Sex Education at secondary school teenagers will be further encouraged to ‘explore’ their developing ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’.  Dangerous and immoral lifestyle choices are to be presented as equally valid as marriage. Abortion is presented simply as one of the available options during pregnancy and pupils will be signposted to contraceptive and abortion services, without any parental knowledge or consent.

“The right of parents to withdraw their children from the ‘sex education’ parts of RSE, which the Government had promised to retain, was now removed and replaced only by a ‘right to request’ withdrawal, with the final decision going to the head teacher. Even this much compromised parental right is withdrawn altogether when the child reaches 15, when they will be allowed to overrule their parents’, as well as their head teachers’ wishes if they choose, as children are being given the right to have sex education provided to them by the school.”

Dr Rogers went on:

“Following the publication in July 2018 of this appalling Draft Regulations and Guidance, the Catholic Education Service issued another press release, again stating that the Catholic Church ‘welcomes’ the Government’s moves to ‘improve’ Relationships and Sex Education, as well as how ‘the Government had used the Catholic model curriculum as examples of best practice’. The Catholic Education Service also ‘welcomes’ how ‘the recommendations are clear that the right for parents right of withdrawal [sic] will be maintained’, even though the Draft Regulations only allow parents the right to request withdrawal, which the head teacher will have the right to refuse. The Catholic Education Service also welcomed that ‘schools with a religious character’ will be able to deliver Relationship and Sex Education ‘within the tenants [sic] of their own faith’. [4] However, the Children and Social Work Act (section 34:3 (b)), as well as the Draft Regulations, only stipulate that ‘the education is appropriate having regard to the age and the religious background of the pupils’, which is open to interpretation and a much weaker requirement than such teaching needing to be in line with the ‘tenets’ of a particular faith. OFSTED inspections have interpreted that to mean a school must clearly teach about active homosexuality and transgenderism in a positive light, so that children who may identify themselves by one of the ‘protected characteristics’ do not feel marginalised or discriminated against, and that children are adequately prepared for ‘life in modern Britain’.”

Dr Rogers’ article in Calx Mariae continues:

“A further public consultation (July-Nov 2018) was announced regarding the Draft Regulations and Guidance for the new subjects. However, rather than initiating a campaign to encourage Catholics, and others who attend Catholic schools, to participate in this consultation, so that protections for parents could be genuinely safeguarded, the Catholic Education Service, instead, maintained its public relations campaign in support of Government policy, telling the public that the Government’s proposals were to be welcomed, that there was nothing to worry about, that Catholic schools already do a fantastic job teaching Relationships and Sex Education, and, falsely, that the Government is committed both to allowing faith schools flexibility to teach according to the tenets of their faith, and protecting the parents’ right of withdrawal. [5]

“The Catholic Education Service, on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, proclaims its confidence that authentic Catholic Relationships and Sex Education will continue to be taught in Catholic schools, even after 2020; however it is far from clear, judging by some of the recent publications of the Catholic Education Service that it either understands or believes in the perennial teachings of the Catholic Church on the truth and meaning of human sexuality.”

Dr Rogers went on to explain:

“A guide for Catholic educators published by the Bishops of England and Wales in 2017, entitled Learning to Love, offers the following description of homosexual relationships. It states:

‘Here we would like to emphasise that this exalted form of love exists just as powerfully in relationships between people of the same sex as it does in heterosexual relationships. We applaud the great progress that has been made in countering all forms of discrimination against homosexuality in recent times, and wish to collaborate with efforts to make such discrimination obsolete’ (p.17)

Note that we are now talking about ‘discrimination against homosexuality’”, Dr Rogers points out, “as something that should be countered, as opposed to ‘unjust discrimination’ against homosexual persons as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (2358). ‘Homosexuality’ itself has now been transformed from an ‘inclination, which is objectively disordered’ to what can be an ‘exalted form of love’; and what does it mean ‘to collaborate with efforts to make such discrimination obsolete’? To actively promote the LGBT and Pride agenda? To shut down freedom of speech on the issue and persecute Christians and others who try to speak the truth about homosexuality?”

Dr Rogers continued:

“An even more pernicious document is Made in God’s Image: Challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying in Catholic schools, a joint publication by the Catholic Education Service and St Mary’s University, Twickenham — first published in 2017 and which has even been given a second edition, without any major alterations, despite its deep and scandalous conflicts with the Church’s teaching being widely pointed out by commentators. [6]

“Under the guise of ‘guidance’ for the ‘pastoral care of pupils’, Made in God’s Image is designed to intimidate Catholic schools into introducing a concerted LGBT indoctrination programme for children, in the form of an eight-lesson scheme of work. An example from the introduction illustrates the strategy being taken:

‘The Church teaches that homosexual persons ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358). The School should be mindful that the Church teaches that homosexual inclinations are not sinful. For older pupils who may publicly identify themselves as such, Church schools should be havens of respect and custodians of the true dignity of each human being. They should be as attentive to the possibility of homosexual pupils being marginalized and bullied as they are to discrimination based on religion, gender, race or disability’”. [7]

Dr Rogers explained:

“Although the Church does indeed teach that involuntarily experiencing same sex attraction is not itself a sin, the Catechism also adds that the inclination itself is ‘objectively disordered’ (2358), and that authoritative Catholic teaching has also always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’, ‘basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity’ (2357). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith instructed bishops in 1986 that ‘although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.’[8] There is no mention of this in the document, or indeed any mention whatsoever of Catholic doctrine on marriage, or any attempt to present the true meaning and purpose of human sexuality between man and woman”. 

Dr Rogers’ Calx Mariae article continued:

“Chillingly, Made in God’s Image even offers lesson material which encourages children to judge and challenge their own parents’ and families’ attitudes, based on provided examples of expressions of ‘homophobia’, including typical comments made whilst watching television programmes. It is ironic that a document purported to be concerned with ‘anti-bullying’ engages in a highly pernicious form of bullying against faithful Catholic children and their parents by labelling them ‘homophobes’ and ‘bigots’.

“The Scottish Government has so far gone the furthest in Britain along this trajectory”, Dr Rogers continued,  ‘having proudly announced recently that Scotland will become ‘the first country in the world to have lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inclusive education embedded in the [whole] curriculum’ — not just in relationships and sex education.[9] Naturally if ideological indoctrination is to be truly effective then thought must be controlled at all times, and not just within the confines of certain lessons. Unbelievably this development was also ‘welcomed’ by Scottish Bishops, who added that they hope the “impact of these recommendations will be positive for all.”

You can obtain a full copy of the article by Dr Tom Rogers from Voice of the Family.

What then do Catholic parents do when Popes disagree on sex education and when bishops throughout Britain promote programmes of relationships and sex education which threaten to corrupt their children?

What a blessing it is for parents, then, to hear the words of Christ in St Matthew’s Gospel (Chapter 11, verses 25 and 26): “At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou has hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father: for so hath it seemed good in thy sight.”

Parents today are not for the most part theological scholars – and they never have been since the time of Christ. However, countless unlearned, but faithful Catholic parents both know and can confidently affirm, without fear of being contradicted by any authority in this world or the next, that God’s commandment “Honour thy Father and thy Mother”, reaffirmed by God the Son during his life on earth, establishes for all time that parents are the primary educators and protectors of their children.

Faithful, unlearned, Catholic parents are also fully capable of understanding Christ’s words concerning giving scandal to children: “ … he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea”. Catholic parents know, but must be reminded, that these words provide a terrible warning to those, including Catholic bishops, who allow the showing of pornographic images in the classroom to children of all ages and who encourage false ideas about human sexuality, including homosexuality, to be taught in the classroom.

Catholic parents have a moral obligation to resist Pope Francis’s  and British Catholic bishops’ promotion of dangerous teaching on sex education. It will add fuel to the raging fire of child abuse. Parents must say loud and clear to Pope Francis, and to Catholic bishops in Britain: Sex education is not the solution to systematic child abuse and exploitation. Indeed, what the Vatican, the bishops of England and Wales and many other bishops around the world are promoting is child abuse, in the name of relationships and sex education, involving immeasurably greater numbers than the scandal of the cases of clerical sex abuse currently afflicting the Church.

Endnotes:

[1] Issued on 15th May 1891.
[2] Issued on 31st December 1929.
[3] For instance, Nick Gibb MP, stated in response to a Parliamentary question (03 July 2017) that ‘we expect schools to ensure that all pupils, whatever their developing sexuality or gender identity, feel that relationships and sex education is relevant to them and sensitive to their needs. As part of our engagement programme, we will consider ways to ensure that our guidance and regulations are inclusive of LGBT issues. We plan to work closely with organisations such as Stonewall and the Terrence Higgins Trust, amongst others’. Prime Minister Teresa May affirmed her support for ‘LGBT inclusive’ RSE in English schools in her speech at the Pink News LGBT Awards 2017.
[4] Catholic Education Service, ‘Catholic Church welcomes move to improve Relationship and Sex Education in all schools’, Press Release, 19 July 2018: http://catholiceducation.org.uk/component/k2/item/1003657-catholic-church-welcomes-move-to-improve-relationship-and-sex-education-in-all-schools
[5] Catherine Bryan, ‘Why Relationship and Sex Education is a must for all Catholic schools’ [online article], Catholic Education Service, 20 June 2018; http://www.catholiceducation.org.uk/component/k2/item/1003652-why-relationship-and-sex-education-is-a-must-for-all-catholic-schools . The same article also appeared in The Catholic Times, 15 June 2018, p.28.
[6] Catholic Education Service, Made in God’s Image: Challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying in Catholic schools, 2018 edn; http://catholiceducation.org.uk/images/CES-Project_Homophobic-Bullying-Booklet_JUN18_PROOF-9.pdf . For comment see, for instance, Deacon Nick Donnelly, ‘UK bishops’ group pushing radical LGBT propaganda in Catholic schools’, Lifesite News, 18 May 2017; https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/uk-bishops-group-pushes-radical-lgbt-materials-in-catholic-schools. Also, Bishop Egan of Portsmouth has commented on the ‘ideological colonisation’ at work in our schools, including the influence of Stonewall and LGBT Youth on the CES’s Made in God’s Image document. Deacon Nick Donnelly, ‘Interview: UK bishop questions LGBT involvement in Catholic schools’ sex-ed program’, Lifesite News, 22 May 2017; https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/interview-english-bishop-questions-lgbt-involvement-in-catholic-schools-sex
[7] CES, Made in God’s Image (2018), section 2, p.5.
[8] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (signed by Cardinal Ratzinger), ‘Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Persons’, 1 October 1986; http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html
[9] Scottish Government, ‘LGBTI education: Scotland will lead the way in inclusive education’, Press release 8th Nov 2018; https://www.gov.scot/news/lgbti-education/

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Cardinal Pedro Barreto. Vatican News Español via YouTube

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Vatican cardinal surprised when asked at synod press conference about Amazonian infanticide

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A Peruvian cardinal reacted forcefully when a journalist raised the question of infanticide among aboriginal peoples in the Amazon region. 

Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, S.J., Archbishop of Huancayo, said that the journalist’s claim that around 20 communities of Amazonian indigenous people still put babies to death surprised him. 

“I have [just] heard that at this moment that there are Amazonian peoples practicing infanticide,” Barreto said. 

“This cannot be affirmed so easily because it indicates a situation of savagery. I am not aware of that,” he continued.  

Barreto objected to the question having even been raised.

“I say this with all clarity,” he continued. “Sometimes, there are things that put out there which normally should not be said unless they can be corroborated .... Second, and this is most important, if there is anything that Jesus teaches us, it that life is first. All human life is sacred.”

Cardinal Barreto is a key member of the Synod for the Bishops of the Pan-Amazonian region, for he is the co-founder of the Pan-Amazonian Eccesial Network (REPAM). He reminded his listeners that Pope Francis had earlier expressed disappointment that some clerics had laughed at the feathered headdresses of some of the aboriginals at a Synod Mass, apparently implying that even to suggest aboriginals practice infanticide was racist. 

“If someone within the Church should affirm that those practices are possible, he would be disowning the essence of the Gospel,” he said. 

The Italian journalist had introduced the subject to question the idea that the rest of the Church must learn from the “ancient wisdom” of “pure” aboriginal peoples. However, Cardinal Barreto insisted that their ecological “wisdom” must be recognized. 

“We must recognize the ancestral wisdom,” he said. “In Amazonia, they have lived for thousands and thousands of years – the native peoples – they have enriched, from the botanical point of view, the biome.” 

However, Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, the Filipina UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, did not deny the infanticide charge. Instead she acknowledged that aboriginal people have customs and traditions are not consistent with human rights. 

“Indigenous people are not perfect,” Tauli-Corpuz said, “and indeed they have practices which are not coherent with human rights standards.”

Addressing the journalist’s charge that some non-aboriginals justify Amazonian infanticide, Tauli-Corpuz said that she herself did not agree that it should be practiced in any way, and that the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is similarly opposed to the custom. 

“It says that indigenous people have the obligation to make their cultures and their customs consistent with human rights standards,” she explained.

“And it says this in the context of violence against women and of course the rights of children.” 

Tauli-Corpuz added that the issue was the subject of debate when the UN Declaration was being negotiated. 

“All the indigenous people who took part agreed that [they themselves] have to change some of [their] cultures and traditions which are not consistent with international human rights standards.”

She said that those involved in promoting human rights are doing their best to “correct and rectify those practices and customs that we see are not respecting human rights.”

Amazonian chief: some aboriginal tribes are ‘still killing children who are born with defects’

Meanwhile an aboriginal leader bluntly told LifeSiteNews earlier this week that some Amazonian peoples are indeed killing children. 

Jonas Marcolino Macuxí, the chief of the Macuxi tribe and an Evangelical Christian, said that some aboriginal tribes are “still killing children who are born with defects.” He said the practice persists in part because “even the bishops in the area tell them that they have to go back to their old ways, because they are much better than the customs and way of being of modern white society.” 

Marcolino told Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register that, “according to the traditional religions, when a child is born with a defect, he’s buried alive.”

“Those things were ending; but now, with the idea that [aborigional peoples] have to go back to primitivism, they remain,” he said.  

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated that everybody is born with certain rights, and the right to life obviously applies to a child with defects.”

In 2009, the Hakani Campaign, an organization opposed to infanticide, shocked Brazil with a video reenacting a live burial as the Campaign says it is performed among Amazonian peoples. Some tribes murder albino infants, while others believe that one of a pair of twins is necessarily evil and must be killed. 

According to France 24, it “revived a debate in Brazil about whether the practice should be criminalized, or respected as a traditional belief.” 

The film was fiercely criticized by those who stated it was inciting racial hatred. 

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NBC calls LifeSite report on dangerous puberty-blocking drugs ‘anti-transgender’ ‘fake news’

By Martin Barillas
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Screen shot of NBC's report on LifeSiteNews' report. NBC / screen shot

October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – NBC News denounced a LifeSiteNews report as “fake news” that spotlighted powerful puberty-blocking drugs used to block normal sexual development among children and teens who are "transitioning" to the opposite sex that, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are linked to thousands of deaths when used in other applications.

LifeSiteNews reported Sept. 24 that the “UK National Health Service (NHS) is investigating drugs that are used to block normal sexual development among children and teens who are ‘transitioning’ to the opposite sex that when used in other applications have been linked to 6,000 deaths.”

Reported LifeSiteNews: 

The drugs in question are used to lower the levels of testosterone and estrogen, which are the building blocks of sexual development and sexual function.

The use of these drugs in other areas of medicine, to combat prostate cancer, for instance, has been associated with serious medical conditions, including cases of nervous system and psychiatric disorders, heart failure, seizure, joint pain, bone deterioration, and dozens of other adverse events. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listed over 41,000 adverse reactions between 2004-2019 associated with Leuprolide, which includes Lupron and similar drugs used by gender clinics. Almost 26,000 of these were classified as “serious cases,” which included over 6,000 deaths. 

The story was picked up by other news sites, such as Daily Wire, and widely shared on social media. 

NBC News denounced LifeSiteNews, and several other outlets, for reporting “fake news” and using “anti-transgender rhetoric” in a Sept. 27 report titled “A viral fake news story linked trans health care to 'thousands' of deaths.” 

NBC asserted: “The problem is: the ‘thousands’ of people who die while taking these drugs are likely the terminally ill cancer patients who receive hormone blockers to fight hormone-sensitive cancers, like prostate cancer, according to experts.” 

The NBC report was written by Tim Fitzsimmons, who is listed as a reporter on “LGBTQ news for NBC out.” 

Fitzsimmons quoted Joshua Safer, a professor of medicine and the executive director of the Mt. Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, as dismissive of the deaths connected to the drug in question. 

“I think all they did is went into the FDA database and looked at reports,” Safer said. “There’s no study here, that’s just a big smorgasbord of reports and so the problem with that is you don't even know that those deaths are connected to the agent they are reported to be connected to.”

Much more likely, Safer said, is that the 6,370 deaths over four decades the FDA lists as connected to this drug are in terminally ill cancer patients who are prescribed Lupron as a palliative, not curative, treatment.

“They wouldn’t even be using it if they weren’t at risk of death,” Safer said of the drug’s use in prostate cancer patients.

Dr. Michelle Cretella of the American College of Pediatricians told LifeSiteNews that while it’s true that the FDA report does not cite Lupron as the “proven” cause of any of the deaths (it was merely being taken by the patients at the time they died), the fact that there are so many deaths associated with its use, including among children, is cause enough for an investigation.

She also pointed out that the FDA report shows that there were 11 deaths of children linked to this drug, “none of whom were being treated for prostate cancer.”

“It is true that Lupron has not been proven to cause any of the deaths; it was merely being taken by the patients at the time they died. However, there were 11 deaths in children, none of whom were being treated for prostate cancer since prostate cancer does not affect children, so it is possible that Lupron may have contributed in some way - that is what the FDA must investigate,” she said. 

“As for prostate cancer in general, any honest oncologist will tell you that it is rarely the cause of a man's death. Men are far more likely to die with prostate cancer than of it,” she added. 

Cretella took serious issue with those in the medical profession who use drugs to stop the healthy development of puberty in children, a step that leads to some children ‘transitioning’ to the opposite sex.

“The use of Lupron to block puberty in children with gender dysphoria is not FDA approved in short because puberty is not a disease,” she said.

“In fact, giving puberty blockers to physically healthy children induces the disease known as hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism. This not only prevents children's secondary sex characteristics, but also inhibits fertility, and impairs healthy bone and brain development which depend upon the normal secretion of children's sex hormones,” she continued. 

“For example, even men and women who are treated according to FDA guidelines with Lupron for prostate cancer and endometriosis respectively, experience memory deficits from the medication. We are potentially causing significant harm to the brains of gender incongruent youth. Although Lupron is FDA approved to treat the pediatric disease called precocious [early] puberty, it is still recognized as having potential negative side effects even in these children years after discontinuing the medication. Side effects include brittle bones in young women, and an increased likelihood of obesity and testicular cancer in young men,” she added. 

In July, the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) was joined by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the Catholic Medical Association, and the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and together, they called on the Surgeon General of the United States to issue a call to action to medical practitioners and issue a warning or advisory regarding transgender medical interventions for children. The full letter may be read here.

It noted that the Royal College of General Practitioners had issued a warning about “harmful hormonal and surgical interventions” earlier this year. At the time, Cretella said that “harmful hormonal and surgical interventions are being routinely prescribed to gender dysphoric youth” instead of “ethical psychotherapy despite the fact” the the “vast majority” will outgrow their gender dysphoria “if allowed to progress through natural puberty.” 

According to ACPeds, treatment for kids with gender dysphoria begins with puberty blockers and is followed by cross sex hormones, and the surgical removal of breasts and/or reproductive organs. This is accompanied by cosmetic operations to “simulate genitalia of the opposite sex. Girls as young as 13 have received double mastectomies in this country.”

Matt Walsh of Daily Wire called the NBC article debunking LifeSiteNews’ report as “fake news” a report that is “itself fake news.”

But think about what NBC is doing here. They are defending the use of this potentially dangerous drug among physically healthy children on the basis that it’s really designed for use among terminally ill men. Don’t worry, says NBC, Lupron is just chemically castrating children. Most of the people who die from it are adults. Sure, we don’t really know all the risks inherent in suppressing the normal growth and development of children who are confused about their gender, but it probably isn’t killing them, as far as we know, at this point. This is NBC’s argument.

Walsh pointed out that if NBC “was a real news outlet, it would be debunking this great fraud being perpetrated by the medical industry at the expense of innocent children.”

“At the very least, it would express some level of skepticism at the claim that puberty should literally be treated like cancer if a child is confused about his gender. But there is no skepticism, much less moral indignation, on the part of NBC or any other left-wing outlet. Indeed, these slayers of the ‘fake news’ dragon are more than happy to present radical far-left gender theory as fact,” he said. 

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Gorsuch sends mixed signals during Supreme Court arguments on redefining sex discrimination

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday about whether long-standing anti-discrimination laws should be reinterpreted to cover homosexuality or gender confusion in a case that could have drastic ramifications on religious liberty as well as whether Americans will be forced to adopt a “fluid” understanding of biological sex in scores of policies. 

The case consolidates several separate cases into one, including that of a Christian funeral home that fired a male employee who insisted on dressing as a woman on the job; a skydiving instructor who was fired after informing a customer he was gay; and a county child welfare services coordinator who was fired after his employer learned he was gay. All hinge on whether Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act extends its non-discrimination protections to the categories of sexual orientation or “gender identity.”

In March, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII’s prohibition of “employment discrimination based on ... sex” covers not just biological sex but whatever sex an individual feels themselves to be. Sixteen states have filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to reverse the 6th Circuit’s decision, as has the Trump administration as well as conservative groups.

During Tuesday’s arguments (transcripts here and here), lawyers representing both sides addressed the justices, whose questioning did not conclusively signal how they would ultimately vote but largely conformed to expectations. 

“We can't deny that homosexuals are being fired merely for being who they are,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asserted. “At what point does a court say, Congress spoke about this ... and regardless of what others may have thought over time, it's very clear that what's happening fits those words?”

During cross-examination, Justice Samuel Alito got Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan to concede that sex and sexual orientation were two distinct concepts, but Karlan maintained that discrimination against the latter was still a “subset” of discrimination against the former.

Alito also expressed concern that, by siding with the LGBT side, the Court would be “deciding a major policy question that was not in Congress' mind in 1964.” 

“The Equality Act is before Congress right now. Congress has declined or failed to act on these requests. And if the Court takes this up and interprets this 1964 statute to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, we will be acting exactly like a legislature,” Alito said, predicting the criticism of such a ruling. “We might as well just take the Equality Act and issue that as our opinion.”

The court’s newest member, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, only spoke once during the hearing, to ask attorney Jeffrey Harris to clarify the meaning of his usage of the phrase “because of sex.” Kavanaugh did not follow up, however, leaving no indication in either direction as to his take on the case.

With so little to go on from the rest of the justices, President Donald Trump’s first nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, appears to have captured the bulk of onlookers’ attention for questions that appeared to sympathize with aspects of both sides’ arguments. 

At one point, Gorsuch seemingly agreed “that at least one contributing cause appears to be sex” in the case of the fired skydiving instructor, and at another he expressed concern for the “massive social upheaval” that could result from siding in his favor, and whether the issue would be better resolved by the legislative branch than by the courts.

“Americans should be able to rely on what the law says,” Alliance Defending Freedom vice president of appellate advocacy John Bursch said in a statement. “Redefining ‘sex’ to mean ‘gender identity’ creates chaos, is unfair to women and girls, and puts employers in difficult situations. Title VII and other civil rights laws, like Title IX, are in place to protect equal opportunities for women; changing ‘sex’ to mean ‘gender identity’ undermines that.”

If the LGBT lobby succeeds in getting the Supreme Court to redefine Title VII – or if Congress and a future president accomplish the same result legislatively by enacting the so-called Equality Act – conservatives warn that the change would do far more than merely protect homosexual or gender-confused Americans from tangible harm.

Rather, it would likely force other Americans such as photographers, florists, and bakers to participate in same-sex “weddings;" force employers and businesses to fund practices like sex-change treatments regardless of their own values or policies; and force women and girls to share sleeping quarters, showers, changing areas, and restrooms with gender-confused males (or “cis” men merely claiming trans status to get easy access to vulnerable women).

“This decision will impact public schools, employers, business owners, employees, and churches,” NC Values Coalition executive director Tami Fitzgerald warned outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday. “Blurring the binary concept of male and female detracts from the fundamental purpose of both Title VII to ensure that male and female employees have equal employment opportunities.”

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Jonas Marcolino Macuxí, the chief of the Macuxi tribe, speaks with LifeSiteNews LifeSiteNews
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Amazonian tribal leader: Liberation Theology is pushing our people to remain in poverty and misery

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A controversial ceremony in the Vatican gardens on Friday, October 4, to consecrate the Pan-Amazon synod to St. Francis of Assisi, seemed to be organized by proponents of Liberation Theology and have “pagan” elements, an Amazon tribal chief told LifeSite on Saturday.

Speaking at the October 5 “Amazon: the Stakes” conference in Rome, hosted by the Plinio Correa de Oliveira Institute, Jonas Marcolino Macuxí, the chief of the Macuxi tribe, said that, in his view, the Indians who participated in the ceremony are “completely dominated by Liberation Theology people who want to take advantage of them.”

Asked if anything in the ceremony looked familiar to him as part of indigenous culture, or if it was Christian or more primitive, he said it looked decidedly “pagan.”

Marcolino, a lawyer and mathematician who was illiterate for the first 18 years of his life, until he received an education, told a packed venue in Rome that a “dictatorship” of missionary workers teaching Liberation Theology has “dismantled” the work of the first missionaries, “preached conflict,” and sought to prevent development in the region, thus keeping indigenous people in poverty and misery, with bat-filled homes and insect-eaten feet.

He also expressed concern that many of those advising Pope Francis at the Amazonian synod ascribe to the similar forms of Liberation Theology, and that indigenous representatives invited to attend it have been “indoctrinated to remain in their primitive state.”

In our interview, Marcolino, who was baptized Catholic but became Evangelical – partly due to the state of the Church in the region – said that some tribes are “still killing children who are born with defects.” He said the barbaric practice persists in part because “even the bishops in the area tell them that they have to go back to their old ways, because they are much better than the customs and way of being of modern white society.”

“I see Liberation Theology as a doctrine that does not liberate people from sin, from stealing, from lying, but liberating them from technology and other things that can promote their lives and take them away from barbarism,” the tribal leader said.

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Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes
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Cardinal: Amazon Synod will discuss ‘new paths’ for women’s ministry

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Hopes that considerations of a married priesthood and women’s “expanded ministry” would be dropped from the Amazon Synod were dashed yesterday.

The issues were presented almost immediately, on the very first working day of the synod, by Cardinal Clàudio Hummes, OFM, its German-Brazilian chairman.

“Another issue consists in the lack of priests at the service of local communities in the [Amazon], with a consequent lack of the Eucharist, at least on Sundays, as well as other sacraments,” Hummes said. 

“This means pastoral care made up of sporadic visits instead of adequate daily pastoral care.” 

Adding that the celebration of the Eucharist was “essential” for the “development of Christian communities,” the cardinal said that it will be “necessary to define new paths for the future.” 

Two of the new paths proposed are the ordination of married men from among indigenous people in the region, as well as an “acknowledgement” of the spiritual leadership already provided by women in the Amazon and its consolidation with “a suitable ministry” for them. 

The topic of an expanded ministry for women was addressed in the Holy See’s press conference that afternoon. In response to a question about the ineligibility of women religious superiors to vote at the synod, Colombian missionary Sister Alba Teresa Castillo stressed that women in the Amazon region play a leading role which they hope the Church will eventually recognize. 

“Our participation as women, is as they say in Italian: piano, piano… [little by little] ,” Castillo said. 

“We continue to walk towards the Church, so that the Church will recognize our role more and more, because the presence of women in the Amazon forest is really great. There are very few priests, and many of them must travel from place to place,” she continued.

“However we [women religious] are a constant presence.” 

Castillo underscored that women religious are already performing a priestly function as well as doing work more traditional to religious sisters, like education and health care. 

“We do what a woman can do originating from her baptism,” she said. 

“... When there is need for a baptism, we baptize children. If someone wants to get married, we can celebrate the marriage. Sometimes we also have had to listen to confessions. Of course, we could not give absolution, but in the depths of our hearts we placed ourselves in the position of listening with humbleness, thinking about the person who came to us for a word of comfort, somebody who perhaps is before death.” 

As a matter of fact, anyone at all can baptize someone in the Christian faith as long as they follow the correct formula and intend by their actions what the Church intends. The celebrants of a Christian marriage are, in fact, the couple themselves, and the priest officiating is the Church’s witness. This means that a couple who are free to marry may indeed marry without a priest present, as long as they intend to remain together until death. However, it is true that only a priest can give absolution after hearing a confession.  

Castillo believes that women should have a “greater” role in the Church but doesn’t want to take it by force.  

“Women’s role within the Church, in my opinion, has to be greater,” she said.  

“We will get there, little by little, but we cannot exert too much pressure. I think that through dialogue, through meeting, will be able to respond to the challenges.”  

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Mainstream media want you to think China isn’t communist anymore

Daniel Ashman
By Daniel Ashman

October 8, 2019 (American Thinker) — "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

This idea has often been used in a religious or philosophical sense, but it works equally well applied to geopolitics. The greatest trick communists ever pulled was convincing the world they didn't exist. 

The devastation wrought by communists over the last century was possible because they convinced others that they weren't true communists, lulling America into following a naïve and self-destructive policy. Today, regarding China, the same delusion is advanced.

On the one hand, the matter seems straightforward. China is communist. The Chinese have a Central Committee, a Politburo, and a general secretary. China is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The word "Communist" is right there in the name. 

And yet, the mainstream media aren't so sure. They regularly downplay the ideological nature of the CCP. They have even taken to advancing the idea that China isn't communist at all, but in fact, capitalist. For instance, last year, the New York Times published an op-ed by a former prime minister of Australia classifying China as "authoritarian capitalism." The Washington Post followed it up this year with "No, China and the U.S. aren't locked in an ideological battle. Not even close." The article explained that the CCP is "ideologically bankrupt" and only "nominally Communist" because the Chinese have "embraced capitalism." More recently, Forbes had an article titled "China's Economic Success Proves the Power of Capitalism." Forbes explained that the CCP's control over society is just a fading ghost of the past.

There seems to be an assumption underlying these claims that because China is experiencing growth, it cannot be communist. It's an interesting definition, which necessarily precludes anyone worrying about communists. Either someone is communist, poor, and helpless or he's rich, capitalist, and someone we can reason with.

But we know from history that that reasoning isn't valid. In the darkest days of Stalin's rule, complete with purges and collective farming, Russia was strong enough to conquer much of Europe and threaten the existence of the United States. A country can be both communist and strong.

It is true that China has moved away from collective ownership toward private property. However, it is a misunderstanding of communist ideology to understand this as a rejection of communism and an embrace of capitalism. Communists are flexible. Adoption of limited free markets, as long as they are under the control of the CCP, is entirely allowed inside their ideology.

Consider these words of Lenin's hero, Sergey Nechaev, an early Russian revolutionary. He explained that "the revolutionary may and frequently must live within society while pretending to be completely different from what he really is[.]" 

The Chinese Politburo knows that it must pretend to be something it's not to fit into the international community and strengthen itself. For now. 

Nechaev also wrote, "For [the revolutionary], morality is everything which contributes to the triumph of the revolution." 

There is no absolute truth for the communist. There are only revolutionary truths. If China has to make use of capitalist tools to bring the revolution about, it is China's moral duty.

China's use of capitalism to further long-term communist goals becomes even clearer when understood within historical context. 

Look at the ultimate communist, Vladimir Lenin. He gave Russia the New Economic Policy (NEP): stopping the move toward collective farming and encouraging private enterprise.

Would the pundits of today's mainstream media have become giddy explaining that the Bolsheviks were actually crypto-capitalists? Many people, at the time, made claims along those lines. But in retrospect, it's easy to see the absurdity of such thinking.

Renowned Russian historian Edvard Radzinsky explained what was really happening. He called it "Rule Number 1" for communists: "statements by the Party's leaders were only the product of tactical considerations, whereas the real, long-term plans, the Party's strategy, had to remain hidden[.]"

The NEP was just a tactical consideration. It existed solely to serve the long-term plans of the party. Lenin's plan worked brilliantly. The Bolshevik regime was revitalized. Investments flowed in from abroad. Anti-Bolshevik Russians, who had escaped the revolution, were duped into coming back, whereupon the Bolsheviks made use of them, or killed them, or both. The NEP lasted for years, and then Stalin resumed Russia's move toward collectivization. Stalin then introduced his own tactical considerations to pursue hidden long-term plans. He shelved the communist idea of world revolution in favor of "socialism in one country" and patiently waited many years before achieving large territorial gains for Russia and communism.

It is only within this ideological and historical context that China's current policy can be understood. 

Is China really eschewing communism to pursue capitalism, as the mainstream media often claim? Hardly. China is simply implementing Leninist tactics. The CCP allows private property, for the moment, because it furthers the communists' long-term communist goals.

Last year, amid implementation of China's notorious social credit system, General Secretary Xi Jinping gave an hour-long speech extolling the life of Karl Marx. Xi explained that "the life of Marx is a life of fighting to overthrow the old world and establish a new world."

Then he elaborated that Marxism is "profound and deep," a true "scientific theory," that is "always the guiding thinking for our party and the country. It helps us to know the world, manage the rules, seek the truth, and change the world." He explicitly attributed China's "unprecedented development miracle" to successful implementation of Marxism.

Perhaps Americans are losing ideologies they once held dear. But to project that same mindset onto the CCP, concluding that the Chinese are ideologically bankrupt, is dangerous indeed.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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The New American Bible translation does a serious disservice to Scripture

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By Anthony Esolen

October 8, 2019 (The Catholic Thing) — In a column a few weeks ago, I called upon the USCCB to drive a stake through the undead heart of the dreadful New American Bible — and the lectionary based upon it. I said that I would discuss several categories of their blunders. The first was the NAB's drab preference for the abstract over the visible and palpable. The second category is this: ideological tendentiousness, unhelpful either for understanding the Bible or for inspiring or strengthening faith.

The good translator or editor ought to burn into his soul the words of the Baptist: He must increase, and I must decrease. Nothing and no one should obtrude between the reader and the text. That doesn't mean you will not profit from commentary. But the commentary should always aim to elucidate, not to confuse, and never to thrust upon the reader the vague authority of "scholars," who are often only a little club of like-minded people.

The NAB violates that directive at every pass.

Consider the very beginning of Genesis: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." It's bad already that you can't get there without a "title," "The Story of Creation," which will be followed by other titles and subtitles, and separation of the text into blocks, not for visual ease, but for editorial decisions regarding presentation — what goes with what, and what doesn't. The mighty first sentence I have cited doesn't exist in the NAB. It is in the Septuagint, and in Jerome's Vulgate. It is in every other modern version of Scripture that I can find, in English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Welsh, Swedish, and Icelandic. It is not in the NAB.
What is there? A grammatical train-wreck:

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth — and the earth was without form and shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters — Then God said, Let there be light, and there was light.

What is this business about when and then? The editors explain: "Until modern times the first line was always translated, 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.' Several comparable ancient cosmogonies, discovered in recent times, have a 'when...then' construction, confirming the translation 'when...then' here as well. 'When' introduces the pre-creation state and 'then' introduces the creative act affecting that state. The traditional translation, 'In the beginning,' does not reflect the Hebrew syntax of the clause."

Strange, that the Hebrew speakers who composed the Septuagint did not see it that way, nor did Saint Jerome. The most we can say is that you might read it the way the editors do, but there is no call for it; the traditional reading is the literal one, rendering the plain sense of the text. Why then would you not follow it?

The editors give themselves away when they bring up the "comparable ancient cosmogonies," recently discovered, while neglecting to mention that those were pagan cosmogonies: the Babylonian Enuma Elish, most obviously. The whole point of Genesis is that there are no comparable ancient cosmogonies. That is its glory.

Everywhere else, cosmogony is preceded by theogony, the birth of the gods. Not here. Everywhere else, the myth-making mind of man focuses upon the origin of the stuff out of which the world would be made; for instance, the dismembered limbs of the malignant Babylonian mother-goddess Tiamat. Not here.

Here, the earth, made by God but not yet lent any character, is tohu w'vohu, an excellent rhyming pair in the Hebrew. These words do not just describe something shapeless, like jelly. They are more powerful than that, morally and ontologically: formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness, says the primary Hebrew lexicon, translating tohu, and showing how that meaning extends to what is empty, unreal, worthless; such as moral unreality or falsehood. 

Luther's wuest und leer gets the point across, as does the Douay void and empty, following Jerome's inanis et vacua. The sacred author did not have a metaphysical vocabulary; we have here his most potent way of asserting that without the creative will of God, we have what is somehow worse than mere absence.

It seems, then, that the editors want to sap the faith. They say, slyly, "And hath the Church said that God made the world from nothing? Perhaps so, but we cannot find it in the text."

We see the same motive in their uncharacteristic turn toward the physical later in the sentence, where they say that a "mighty wind" was "sweeping over the waters." Aware that they are jiggering the text, they relegate the literal meaning to a footnote: A mighty wind: literally, "spirit or breath [ruah] of God"; cf. Gn. 8:1. The reference to 8:1 is not pertinent, because the Hebrew there does not read ruah Elohimspirit of God. There, ruah simply means wind, as it often does; God is raising a wind to settle the seas after the flood. But ruah in general means breath, wind, spirit, with reference to one's principle of life, or one's will, desire, temper. It is an extraordinary image, then, that the spirit, the breath, the power of God should be moving or hovering or brooding above the waters.

That's the action, but the NAB squad, having decided to elbow God from his place, giving us that "mighty wind," could not then translate the verb as having to do with gentle movement, or with cherishing and brooding, as the Hebrew lexicon would have it. So we have sweeping instead. Instead of God intimately involving himself in what is otherwise without meaning, we have Him as an interested spectator, looking upon a hurricane or something, and then deciding to do something about it.

In other words, they have blunted the earth-shaking newness of the sacred text, muffling the profound theological insights, and reducing it to a fairy-tale. They have made it less poetic, but more ordinary, everyday, and dull. They use every schoolish excuse they can to offend against the straightforward tenets of the faith.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren http://www.warren.senate.gov/
Kristine Marsh

Opinion ,

Liberal media ignore Elizabeth Warren’s lie about pregnancy-related firing

Kristine Marsh
By Kristine Marsh

October 8, 2019 (NewsBusters) — Just like in 2016, the networks have done their best to ignore Democrat presidential candidate scandals and lies while harping on everything surrounding Donald Trump. After capitalizing on her grossly exaggerated Native American ancestry, frontrunner Elizabeth Warren has been caught in another lie, by her own words from twelve years ago. However, you wouldn't know this if you only watched ABC, NBC and CBS.

In the last several months, Warren has been rehashing a story about how she was fired by a principal, ending her first year of teaching, because she was "visibly pregnant," several times. She told this story half a dozen times (it even made her autobiography), but most recently this past Wednesday. When she told this story at a campaign stop this past May, it couldn't be more clear that she was claiming to be a victim of workplace discrimination:

I loved it, and I would probably still be doing it today but back in the day, before unions, the principal, by the time we got to the end of the first year, I was visibly pregnant," Warren said to a room full of teachers and students at a campaign stop in Philadelphia. She added: "And the principal did what principals did in those days: they wished you luck, showed you the door, and hired someone else for the job. And there went my dream.

However this story caught the attention of Bernie Sanders supporter Meagan Day on Twitter and Jeryl Bier at The Script this week, who both pointed out she told a very different story in 2007. Namely, that Warren was only in a temporary teaching position because she didn't have the credits and would have to go back to school if she wanted to keep her position. Because of her soon-to-be-born child, she decided it wasn't a good time and left her job:

[M]y first year post-graduation I worked in a public school system with the children with disabilities. I did that for a year, and then that summer I didn't have the education courses, so I was on an "emergency certificate," it was called. I went back to graduate school and took a couple of courses in education and said, "I don't think this is going to work out for me." I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years, and I was really casting about, thinking, "What am I going to do?"

She goes on in that interview to say she applied to law school, instead of continuing her teaching career.

Quite a different scenario from being a victim of workplace discrimination, according to Warren's own words.

But you wouldn't hear a peep about this story from the networks. The story has gained a lot of traction in conservative media circles this weekend, but so far the networks have been out to lunch.

It seems their strategy is to ignore as long as possible, then deflect. Once they could no longer downplay or ignore Warren's dubious ancestry claims, they tried to spin her story as bad for Trump in 2018.

Only Fox News has been covering the story thus far.

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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Fr. Shenan Boquet

Opinion

Our country is drowning in a child porn epidemic. 4 steps to fight back

Fr. Shenan Boquet
By Fr. Shenan Boquet

October 9, 2019 (Human Life International) — Children, including infants, are being sexually abused, and then suffering the further degradation of having their abuse filmed and shared amongst an army of online perverts, on a scale that beggars belief.

"The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse," states the title of a New York Times investigative article, published last week, exposing the epidemic of child porn. According to the Times, in 1998 there were some 3000 reports of images depicting child sex abuse. A decade later, that number grew to over 100,000. By 2014, the number of reports broke one million, before ballooning to over 18.4 million by last year. Those reports, says the Times, "included over 45 million images and videos flagged as child sexual abuse."

The scale of the problem is so vast that it is beyond the capacity of law enforcement agencies to respond. Officials interviewed for the article lamented that they are continually being forced to make impossible decisions about how to prioritize their resources — focusing, for instance, on identifying and rescuing the youngest and most vulnerable victims, knowing that by doing so they are abandoning countless other children to ongoing abuse. Furthermore, once the images are in circulation, they are almost impossible to delete, their existence haunting the lives of their victims indefinitely.

According to one law official, less than two percent of cases in which a computer in the U.S. has shared child porn will be investigated. "We are overwhelmed, we are underfunded, and we are drowning in the tidal wave of tragedy," said Special Agent Flint Waters.

Some of the increase in the number of reports over the years can, no doubt, be explained by the implementation of better technology, such as artificial intelligence, to detect child porn. However, the experts interviewed by the Times leave no room for doubt — the underlying problem is an exponential increase in the number of individuals producing and sharing child porn.

It is tempting to envision the perpetrators of this horrific crime as being a tiny sliver of sub-human scum lurking somewhere "out there." But the numbers defy this interpretation. One online forum on the "Dark Web" dedicated to sharing child porn reportedly had some one million members. Another such forum had over 30,000 members. The creator of that site — an Ohio man — had over three million images of child sex abuse on his computer when authorities caught up with him.

The members of these forums not only share child abuse images, but they also encourage one another to produce new images (i.e. to find children to abuse, and to film it), and exchange tips on how to evade the authorities. One of the creators of one such site, a daycare worker, admitting to abusing over a dozen children, as young as three months old. I cannot bear to type even the briefest description of what he did to the children.

Equally Deviant, "Legal" Porn Must End

As grateful as I am that the Times has drawn attention this epidemic, I was also troubled by a bizarre companion piece that they ran alongside their investigative article. This article strongly endorsed the hypothesis that the origin of pedophilic sexual attraction is "largely biological." As James Cantor, director of the Toronto Sexuality Center, says in the article: "The biological clues attached to pedophilia demonstrate that its roots are prenatal." In other words, people who are sexually attracted to children are "born that way."

Now, I will not dismiss the possibility that early biological development may play a role in predisposing some people to experiencing unwanted sexual attraction to children. And if that is the case, such people bear a heavy cross. However, if — as the article itself acknowledges — scientific research on the topic is in its infancy, then why do other possible causes of pedophilic attraction receive scarcely a passing mention? In fact, the article avoids any mention at all of the elephant in the living room: the explosion in so-called "legal" porn use, and its connection to the growth of deviant forms of porn, including child porn.

Indeed, many people who work fighting child porn have argued that there is a clear link between legal porn use and the rise in child porn. As Margaret Healey, a former adjunct professor at Fordham School of Law, put it in a report prepared for the 1996 World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: "[W]ith the emergence of the use of computers to traffic in child pornography, a new and growing segment of producers and consumers is being identified. They are individuals who may not have a sexual preference for children, but who have seen the gamut of adult pornography and who are searching for more bizarre material."

Muireann O'Brian, who leads the Bangkok office of the organization "End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism," made the same point. "[A]rrests have shown men with perfectly normal sexual proclivities become seduced, then involved and finally addicted to child pornography," she said. "Their addiction may manifest itself by them just keeping and looking at the images … But it has been found that the addiction leads many men into seeking out children to abuse."

Certainly, there is no doubt about the existence of the phenomenon of "escalation" among regular porn users. Many users of legal porn will admit that the kinds of material that once excited them no longer excite them. In order to achieve the same sexual "high" they used to experience, they have instead found themselves searching out more and more deviant forms of pornography. A habit that at first seemed innocent and "normal" gradually led them down a rabbit hole into a cesspool of the grotesque and the violent.

The world-renowned psychiatrist Norman Doidge, author of the best-selling book The Brain That Changes Itself, has argued that routine porn use can alter the brain itself, creating new reward pathways that can only be stimulated by more and more extreme material. Doidge objects to the simplistic claim that the only problem with porn use is that some people may use too much of it. The problem with porn addictions is even more sinister, he says. Porn addictions have the power to "change sexual taste."

It's a simple matter of science, he notes. "One key driver of plastic change [in the brain] is the reward centre, which normally fires as we accomplish a goal," he explains. "A brain chemical, dopamine, is released, giving us the thrill that goes with accomplishment. It also consolidates the connections between neurons in the brain that helped us accomplish that goal. As well, dopamine is secreted at moments of sexual excitement and novelty. Porn scenes, filled with novel sexual 'partners', fire the reward centre. The images get reinforced, altering the user's sexual tastes."

Not all regular porn users will become child porn users. However, many porn users will find themselves becoming gradually desensitized — or even attracted — to forms of porn that once disgusted them. Studies have found that people who view such material are also far more likely to want — and attempt — to act out what they have seen. Some will end up in the very darkest corners of the Internet. Indeed, it is madness to discount the possibility that some child porn users began as "regular" porn users, and that the normalization of pornography has in some way contributed to some of the worst crimes imaginable.

What to Do: The Porn Stops Now

In the face of such horrific evil, it is easy to feel powerless. However, there are several concrete steps we can do to respond to this epidemic:

  • Pressure lawmakers to put more resources into fighting child porn — The New York Times article gets this part right. Law enforcement agencies need more resources to fight this filth. Demand that your local, state or federal legislator prioritize this issue.
  • Pressure lawmakers to prosecute "normal" porn — As Patrick Trueman has pointed out, hardcore pornography breaks obscenity laws already on the books. Despite this, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies have allowed our society to be immersed in a sea of filth. We should be prosecuting the big porn platforms and porn creators, and passing tighter restrictions on porn sites, so that children can never "accidentally" encounter pornography. This may not end child porn, but it will do yeoman's labor in making it harder for people who are disposed to addiction to obscene materials to go down that dark road. Stop the problem at the source.
  • Quit porn — If you're a regular porn user, you're part of the problem. No, you may not be viewing illegal material involving children. But chances are you've already become comfortable with seeing forms of porn that once caused you discomfort. Furthermore, the porn industry in general is predicated on exploitation. The big porn sites are full of hardcore material involving young women who, in a moment of vulnerability, agreed to do something that they will regret for the rest of their lives. You are training your brain to be OK with violence and exploitation. Don't feed the porn industry. Quit.
  • Talk to your children — In this day and age, parents simply cannot afford to be complacent about the harsh realities of our pornified society. Child sex abusers will often show their victims legal pornography in order to lower their inhibitions. The average age of exposure to pornography is now around 11 years old. When children are exposed to porn, they are more likely to become addicted, to be potential victims of abuse, and in some cases, to abuse others themselves. Talking about sex and porn with your kids is hard. But it's your job. There are lots of helpful materials out there. One book lots of people I trust recommend is called "Good Pictures, Bad Pictures." Buy a copy, or look for other books, and then approach the topic with your children in a frank, non-threatening and prayerful fashion. Arm them with the tools they need to protect themselves from abusers, and to protect their souls and their minds from the scourge of porn addiction.

Published with permission from Human Life International.

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Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews
Sandro Magister

Opinion , ,

Cardinal Müller: They have driven Jesus out of the Amazon Synod

Sandro Magister
By

October 8, 2019 (L'Espresso) — The Synod on the Amazon has begun. "But it will have consequences for the universal Church," warns Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in a lengthy interview with Matteo Matzuzzi for the newspaper "Il Foglio," released on the very day of the opening of the work. "If one listens to the voices of some of the protagonists of this assembly, one understands easily that the agenda is entirely European."

European, and above all German. Also in Germany, in fact, there has been launched a "synodal path" that will take its cue from the Amazon in order to reform nothing less than the universal Church, a synod in which the laity will have numbers and votes on a par with the bishops, a synod whose resolutions will be "binding" and will concern the end of priestly celibacy, the ordination of women, the reform of sexual morality, and the democratization of powers in the Church.

It is an earthquake that, ever since it was announced, has sown disquiet in Pope Francis himself, who in June wrote an open letter to the German bishops to persuade them to moderate their exorbitant ambitions. In September, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the congregation for bishops, wrote an even more pressing letter to them, rejecting as canonically "invalid" the synod set in motion in Germany. And that Ouellet is acting in accord with the pope is beyond doubt. He gave evidence of this a few days ago when he said he was "skeptical" about the idea of ordaining married men — a key point of the Amazonian and German synods — and immediately added that "someone above me is also" skeptical. As for Francis, he decided to meet on September 25 with eight young catechists from northern Thailand, the leaders of small communities far apart from each other, visited very rarely by a priest who celebrates the Mass and yet averse to asking on account of this for the ordination of married men. "The kingdom of heaven belongs to the little ones," the pope told them, "deeply moved," in the account of "L'Osservatore Romano."

But the warnings Rome has given to Germany have so far had no effect. "Rome will not be the one to tell us what we have to do in Germany," Munich archbishop and German episcopal conference president Cardinal Reinhard Marx had already stated between the first and second session of the synod on the family. And that mantra continues to hold firm in Germany with the approval of most and the opposition of few, the highest-ranking of whom is the archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, who has gone so far as to decry the threat of a "schism."

"In Germany," Müller now says — he a German as well, although he does not govern a diocese and therefore is not part of the episcopal conference — "they almost want to refound the Catholic Church. They think that Christ is just a man who lived two thousand years ago, they maintain that he was not a modern man, they are convinced that he had none of their education. They therefore think that it is necessary to fill in these gaps and that it is up to them to act. In a homily Cardinal Marx asked rhetorically: 'If Christ were here today, would he say what he said two thousand years ago?' But Christ is not an historical figure like Caesar. Jesus Christ is risen and present, he celebrates the Mass through his representative, the ordained priest. He is the subject of the Church, and his Word remains and stands true forever. Christ is the fullness of revelation, because of which there will be no other revelation. It is we who must seek to know it more and better, but we certainly cannot change it. Christ is unsurpassable and irreversible, and today this does not seem to be very clear at certain latitudes."

For Müller, this error is also present in the "Instrumentum Laboris," the base document of the synod on the Amazon: "a document that does not talk about revelation,  about the incarnate word, about redemption, about the cross, about the resurrection, about eternal life," but instead raises up in place of divine revelation, to be accepted as such, the religious traditions of the indigenous peoples and their visions of the cosmos.

In Aparecida, in 2007, Benedict XVI cautioned the bishops of the continent about this. "The utopia of going back to breathe life into the pre-Columbian religions, separating them from Christ and from the universal Church," he said, "would not be a step forward: indeed, it would be a step back. In reality, it would be a retreat towards a stage in history anchored in the past." But he was overwhelmed with criticisms from theoreticians of "a new understanding of God's revelation" to be identified in indigenous peoples, and therefore without the desire to convert them. Among the most battle hardened was none other than a German theologian who had emigrated to Brazil, Paulo Suess, the inspiration of Bishop Erwin Kräutler, born in Austria, leading strategist of the synod on the Amazon, coauthor of the "Instrumentum Laboris" and proponent of the idea of having the Eucharist celebrated not only by "viri probati" but also by "married women who lead a community."

"But there does not exist nor can exist a right to the sacrament," Müller objects. "We are God's creatures, and a creature cannot claim a right from his creator. Life and grace are a gift. Man has the right to marry, but he cannot demand that a particular woman marry him by invoking a specific right. Jesus freely chose from among all his disciples twelve of them, exhibiting thereby his divine authority. He chose those whom he wished, it is God who chooses. No one can enter into the sanctuary without being called. Once again the secularized mentality prevails: one thinks like men, not like God."

"Priestly celibacy," Müller continues in the interview with "Il Foglio," "can be understood only in the context of the eschatological mission of Jesus, which has created a new world. It has been a new creation. With the categories of secularism one cannot understand the indissolubility of marriage, as also the celibacy or virginity of the religious orders. Nor, with these categories, can problems be resolved that have their origin exclusively in the crisis of faith. This is not a matter of recruiting more people to administer the sacraments. A spiritual and theological preparation is needed, one must enter into the spirituality of the apostles, not paying attention to the secular agencies that advise much and on many things for reasons entirely in contrast with the mission of the Church. Spirituality is needed, not worldliness."

And Cardinal Müller also sees worldliness in the way in which part of the Church has sided with environmentalist ideology:

"The Church belongs to Jesus Christ and must preach the Gospel and give hope for eternal life. It cannot make itself a protagonist of any ideology, whether that of 'gender' or environmentalist neopaganism. It is dangerous if this happens. I come back to the 'Instrumentum Laboris' prepared for the synod on the Amazon. In one of its paragraphs it speaks of 'Mother Earth': but this is a pagan expression. The earth comes from God and our mother in faith is the Church. We are justified through faith, hope, and love, not through environmental activism. Of course, taking care of creation is important, after all we live in a garden willed by God. But this is not the decisive point. What is is the fact that for us God is more important. Jesus gave his life for the salvation of men, not of the planet."

To "L'Osservatore Romano," which has published an obituary for the Icelandic glacier Okjökull, which died "through our fault," Müller objects: "Jesus became man, not an icicle." And he continues:

"Of course, the Church can make its own contribution, with good ethics, with social doctrine, with the magisterium, recalling anthropological principles. But the Church's first mission is to preach Christ the son of God. Jesus did not tell Peter to concern himself with the government of the Roman empire, he does not enter into dialogue with Caesar. He kept himself at a good distance. Peter was not a friend of Herod or of Pilate, but he suffered martyrdom. Cooperation with a legitimate government is just, but without forgetting that the mission of Peter and of his successors consists in uniting all believers in faith in Christ, who did not recommend involvement with the waters of the Jordan or the vegetation of Galilee."

Published with permission from L'Espresso.

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Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.

Opinion ,

Pope Francis is leading the Church toward a new type of schism: US theologian

Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.
By Thomas Weinandy OFM, Cap.

October 8, 2019 (The Catholic Thing) — The Church, in her long history, has never been confronted with the situation like the one in which she now finds herself. Pope Francis recently spoke of a possible schism within the Church, a schism that does not frighten him. We have had many schisms in the past, he says, and there will be schisms in the future. So, there is nothing to fear in the present. However, it is the nature of the present possible schism that is new, and this unprecedented new schism is frightening.

One cannot help but think that Francis is referring to members of the Church in the United States. Francis receives, from America, his most theologically challenging and pastorally concerned criticism, which centers on a questionable remaking of the faith and of the Church. Such censure, it is believed by Francis's cohort, originates from within a conservative intellectual elite who are politically motivated, and many of whom are wealthy.

Francis thinks that they are unwilling to change, and so refuse to accept the new work of the Spirit in our day. Ultimately, one discerns that he believes his critics are psychologically and emotionally impaired, and so must be dealt with gently (though that gentleness is yet to be experienced by those who fall under his vindictive abuse). He himself has called those who oppose him many insulting names.

What Francis does not realize (and his close associates fail to grasp) is that the overwhelming majority of his American critics would never initiate a schism. They recognize that he is the pope and thus the successor of Peter, and that to remain within the Catholic Church is to remain faithful to the pope, even if it entails being critical of the pope in one's faithfulness to him.

Some may wish that an actual schism will take place in America in order to get rid of the obdurate conservative element and so demonstrate that they were not really Catholic all along. But that is not going to happen, because those critical bishops, priests, theologians, commentators, and laity (more laity than Francis will admit) know that what they believe and uphold is in accord with Scripture, the Church councils, the ever-living magisterium, and the saints.

As has been often noted, Pope Francis and his cohort never engage in theological dialogue, despite their constant claim that such dialogue is necessary. The reason is that they know they cannot win on that front. Thus, they are forced to resort to name-calling, psychological intimidation, and sheer will-to-power.

Now, as many commentators have already pointed out, the German church is more likely to go into schism. The German bishops are proposing a two-year "binding" synod that, if what is proposed is enacted, would introduce beliefs and practices contrary to the universal tradition of the Church.

I believe, however, that such a German schism will not formally happen either, for two reasons. First, many within the German hierarchy know that by becoming schismatic they would lose their Catholic voice and identity. This they cannot afford. They need to be in fellowship with Pope Francis, for he is the very one who has fostered a notion of synodality that they are now attempting to implement. He, therefore, is their ultimate protector.

Second, while Pope Francis may stop them from doing something egregiously contrary to the Church's teaching, he will allow them to do things that are ambiguously contrary, for such ambiguous teaching and pastoral practice would be in accord with Francis' own. It is in this that the Church finds herself in a situation that she never expected.

It's important to bear in mind that the German situation must be viewed within a broader context: the theological ambiguity within Amoris Laetitia; the not so subtle advancing of the homosexual agenda; the "re-foundation" of the (Roman) John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family, i.e., the undermining of the Church's consistent teaching on moral and sacramental absolutes, especially with regard to the indissolubility of marriage, homosexuality, contraception, and abortion.

Similarly, there is the Abu Dhabi statement, which directly contradicts the will of the Father and so undermines the primacy of Jesus Christ his Son as the definitive Lord and universal Savior.

Moreover, the present Amazon Synod is teeming with participants sympathetic to and supportive of all of the above. One must likewise take into account the many theologically dubious cardinals, bishops, priests, and theologians whom Francis supports and promotes to high ecclesial positions.

With all of this in mind, we perceive a situation, ever-growing in intensity, in which on the one hand, a majority of the world's faithful — clergy and laity alike — are loyal and faithful to the pope, for he is their pontiff, while critical of his pontificate, and, on the other hand, a large contingent of the world's faithful — clergy and laity alike — enthusiastically support Francis precisely because he allows and fosters their ambiguous teaching and ecclesial practice.

What the Church will end up with, then, is a pope who is the pope of the Catholic Church and, simultaneously, the de facto leader, for all practical purposes, of a schismatic church. Because he is the head of both, the appearance of one church remains, while in fact there are two.

The only phrase that I can find to describe this situation is "internal papal schism," for the pope, even as pope, will effectively be the leader of a segment of the Church that through its doctrine, moral teaching, and ecclesial structure, is for all practical purposes schismatic. This is the real schism that is in our midst and must be faced, but I do not believe Pope Francis is in any way afraid of this schism. As long as he is in control, he will, I fear, welcome it, for he sees the schismatic element as the new "paradigm" for the future Church.

Thus, in fear and trembling, we need to pray that Jesus, as the head of His body, the Church, will deliver us from this trial. Then again, he may want us to endure it, for it may be that only by enduring it can the Church be freed from all the sin and corruption that now lies within her, and be made holy and pure.

On a more hopeful note, I believe it will be the laity who bring about the needed purification. Pope Francis has himself stated that this is the age of the laity. Lay people see themselves as helpless, having no ecclesial power. Yet if the laity raise their voices, they will be heard.

More specifically, I believe it will depend mostly on faithful and courageous Catholic women. They are the living icons of the Church, the bride of Christ, and they, in union with Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church, will birth anew, in the Holy Spirit, a holy Body of Christ.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Blogs

Half a million march in France against law allowing lesbians to artificially procreate

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits
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October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Some 600,000 people, according to the organizers — but only 74,500, according to the “independent” agency “Occurrence,” which makes no mystery of its ideological proximity with the government of French president Emmanuel Macron — marched Sunday in Paris against the legalization of artificial procreation for alone-standing women and lesbian couples.

 The latest edition of the “Manif pour tous,” which saw the light in 2012 with the first French demonstrations against same-sex “marriage,” has done it again.

The police, who must have had their heads elsewhere, only counted 40,000 demonstrators. The truth is that no one expected such a high level of participation in a protest against such a marginal change in bioethics laws (in comparison with the whole corpus of “progressive” legislation governing abortion and procreation in France. Waves and waves of people marched through the narrow streets surrounding the Jardin du Luxembourg and the boulevards that converge to the meeting point fixed by the police near Montparnasse station.

No one was expecting such a turnout: neither with the police prefecture, nor, apparently, the organizers themselves – some 20 associations united with “Manif pour tous,” still going strong. The starting point, Place Edmond-Rostand near the Luxembourg gardens, was soon overflowing, right from the beginning of the march at 1 p.m. Demonstrators continued to flock there until 3 p.m., rightly considering that the relatively short route would ensure that they would not miss the essential. It turned out that the last demonstrators would only leave the starting point after 4.30 p.m.

In many places, the crowd was such that it was impossible to move. The prefecture was forced to open a secondary route to accommodate a good third of the participants while others reached the endpoint of the march by their own means. Next to the old blue and pink flags of the “Manif pour tous” brought by seasoned demonstrators, a sea of new green and red banners bearing the words “Liberty, equality, paternity” billowed in the fresh autumn air.

It was a quiet walk. There were relatively few sound trucks (a relief!) and at one point the organizers requested a minute of silence for the victims of the new reproductive folly: the fathers who will be reduced to a role of “sperm donors” for alone-standing women and lesbian couples who will be fabricating “orphaned” children who will never know their father.

“Liberty, equality, paternity:” this was not the only a discreet reference to a “revolutionary” vocabulary – liberty, equality and fraternity were the demands of the French Revolution of 1789. One of the main slogans of this demonstration for fathers’ rights was “Marchons enfants,” a throwback to the not less revolutionary French national anthem. It can be argued that these references are not in the best of taste, given that the Republic, through the Terreur and many legislative reforms, has already cut off the head of France's “father,” who was the king, and has finally erased from the Civil Code the concept of paternal authority.

But this does not diminish the event’s success. What must be remembered is the ability of the French to mobilize in an attempt to stop one of the worst abuses of the day: the desire to legalize the manufacture of children deliberately deprived of a father, or more precisely, of the right to have a normal family link with the one who will forever and despite everything be their genetic father.

The organizers, who chose not to speak out against artificial procreations and test tube babies as such, did not underscore one of the more appalling aspects of the draft law that aim to remove for one and all the present requirement of medically established infertility in order to have access to in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination under medical supervision. This would open the door to a predictable drift in the more or less short term that would lead “normal” couples to manage their procreation over time through embryo or ovae conservation or to tailor their embryos thanks to a more refined knowledge of the characteristics of human DNA.

But while the slogans and deliberate oversights of the march were criticized by some, it must be said that no other country in the world has been able to put hundreds of thousands of people on the streets to protest against the absurd expansion of medically-assisted reproduction, or in other words, the introduction of the test tube baby market. It is a credit to France.

But one wonders how many of these people voted for Macron in 2017. … His party’s desire to legalize test tube babies for lesbian couples was no secret at the time.

The mobilization was also remarkable in that the first article of the revised bioethics laws had already been adopted last week after shamelessly rigged debates, first by disregarding the conclusions of the general consultation on bioethics, which had clearly rejected artificial procreation for single women and lesbian pairs, and then by the management of speaking time and votes by Richard Ferrand, president of the National Assembly.

On the eve of the march, Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit denounced the “disdainful, even arrogant attitude” of the authorities in an op-ed. He wrote that it testifies to an “ideological attitude sadly lacking a realistic anthropological foundation.”

“A child is always a gift to be received without making it a manufactured product due to human technology that is subject to the power of money,” he said.

Welcoming the courage of those who oppose the innovations proposed by the law, he said, “No, the law has not been definitively written. A word that is based on the truth of our human condition does not stop at the immediacy of its effect. It is part of the future, when your common conscience will be able to evaluate the most frightening consequences of this, which are of the same order as the one that ecology reveals.”

Demonstrators apparently are under no illusions. From what could be heard during the march, they did not really think – because of the failed experience of the “Manifs pour tous” against same-sex “marriage” – that the presence of hundreds of thousands of people on the Parisian pavement would lead to a change, or better still, to a withdrawal of the law. They had to observe that new abuses are hiding behind the proposed law, as the discussion has already been extended to relaxing the conditions allowing to get around the still illegal practice of surrogate motherhood by going abroad.

But “at least in 20 years' time, my children will not be able to tell me that I preferred to spend my afternoon cozily at home when such serious decisions were being made for the future of society,” said one demonstrator. At least, hundreds of thousands of people will have said no.

The time has not yet come to take stock, since the bill will continue on its parliamentary path – probably not until June 2020, according to the timetable announced by the government – and the Manif pour tous, after having already asked the police prefecture for corrected accounts regarding the participation in Sunday's demonstration, has planned to go into the streets again on Sunday December 1, January 19, March 8, May 17 and June 14.

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Targeted by tanning salons? The portrayal of gays as victims reaches a ludicrous new height

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By Doug Mainwaring
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October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Newsweek headline warns that “Tanning salons could be targeting gay men by opening in LGBT neighborhoods, putting them at risk of cancer.” 

The article is just the latest example of how the majority of media outlets, working in conjunction with liberal academia, never fail to present those who identify as LGBT as members of America’s most at-risk, persecuted class.  

Just look at the sympathetic news coverage of the three combined cases on the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket for today, where two homosexual men and a man who “identifies as a woman” want the original intent of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Law against discrimination because of sex to be deformed to include sexual orientation and gender identity. No matter what the outcome, these folks will forever be viewed as victims.    

Interestingly, the Stanford University study featured in the article and published in the journal JAMA Network Open is no longer available online, but here’s what Newsweek had to say about it: 

The authors of the study at Stanford University previously found gay men are more likely to use tanning beds and to have skin cancer, and be drawn to tanning salons if they are convenient in terms of price and location.

Each year, indoor tanning is thought to cause over 460,000 cases of skin cancers in the general population. Compared with heterosexual men, gay and bisexual men are believed to be twice as likely to have skin cancer, and six times more likely to use a tanning bed over the course of their lives.

“This is a big deal, because LGBT communities already experience health disparities related to stigma and discrimination,” Dr. Eleni Linos, professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Stanford University and co-author of the study, told Newsweek. 

“In addition, gay men have disproportionately higher rates of skin cancer. Our study is the first to show that indoor tanning ⁠— a known carcinogen — is more readily available in neighborhoods with more gay men,” she said.  “It's definitely something I am very worried about.” 

“Tanning beds are dangerous. They double your risk of skin cancer. Over time, they also cause wrinkles, skin aging, uneven skin texture and dark spots, so even from a cosmetic standpoint, no one should be using them.”

“Having more tanning beds — more availability of this carcinogen — in these neighborhoods may exacerbate health disparities, and the LGBT community needs to know about it,” added the Stanford professor.  

To Dr. Linos and her team, worried that the tanning industry is deliberately targeting LGBT communities: Of course the industry is targeting these communities. It’s called “supply and demand” — something freshmen college students learn about in Econ 101 courses.  

Last I heard, Stanford still has a formidable economics department, so you might want to consider auditing a course.  

Tanning salons are established in neighborhoods more densely populated with gay men precisely because that’s where demand is likely to be highest and salon owners can earn the best return on their investment.  

Gay men want the service and are willing to fork over a portion of their disposable income for the privilege of lying naked on a tanning bed. Desire for the perfect tan — to present an image of an athletic outdoorsman — far outweighs any health risk associated with tanning bed usage.   

Just peruse photos and ads for gay cruises and tropical gay tourist destinations: Look at the crowds and count the tan lines. Trust me, you can’t spot a single one.

According to the Newsweek report, the study found:    

Tanning salons are more likely to be located in U.S. neighborhoods with higher numbers of same-sex male couples, according to scientists who fear the industry could be targeting the demographic.

By studying census data on 10 U.S. cities, researchers found tanning salons were twice as likely to be found within one mile of a neighborhood where 10 percent of households were made up of same-sex male couples, compared with areas of less than 10 percent. 

The team looked at the cities with the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations in the United States: Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Dallas, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Portland and Denver.

 

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Unite the Clans: Michael Matt on Catholicism in the time of Pope Francis
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Unite the Clans: Michael Matt on Catholicism in the time of Pope Francis

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By John-Henry Westen

October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Today in Rome I had the pleaure of sitting down with Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant Newpaper. Earlier this week, Michael and I participated in Voice of the Family’s Amazon Synod Roundtable discussion. For this episode 32 of The John-Henry Westen Show, he and I talk about a wide range of issues, including his family background, traditional Catholicism, and his “Unite the Clans” initiative.

Matt told me that his “cantakerous” German Catholic ancestors heeded the call of Pope Leo XII to defend the Faith and became journalists. He said the perception some might have of him isn’t true, and that he is really interested only in upholding the Faith and “respecfully resisting” those who want to drastically change it. “I was well catechized by Catholic nuns,” he told me. “There seems to be a different message” sent by the Church today.

Speaking of men like Michael Davies and French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Matt says that it “broke their heart” to “be at odds with the pope.” But it’s simply “not reasonable” to believe that the Church finally got Catholicism right in 1965. We cannot be right today and have been wrong for two millennia, he said.

Matt, a father of 7, told me he wants to be able to dispense with the “traditional Catholic” label. He said he feels “a lot of hope” in these times and that he’s not interested in “telling someone where to go to Mass.” Rather, he wants to unite the various Catholics who make use of the FSSP, SSPX, ICKSP, etc. for Mass and “focus” their efforts on “a common cause.”

“Let’s stop attacking each other,” he told me. “This is a golden opportunity to become more constructive.”

He and I also spoke about St. Louis de Montfort; the Chartres Pilgrimage he runs; and the Catholic Identity Conference, an event he began organizing several years ago. “Humanly speaking,” Catholics must do everything they can to “help” those who see the crisis, including clergy, he said. Ultimately, though, “this Church is too big for us to fix...the only one who can save the Church is God.”

Matt said that going forward, tradition-minded Catholics need to “have Christian charity” toward other Catholics who don’t see eye to eye with them. We need “a united front.” We need to “restore all things in Christ,” he said, and that includes homeschooling, the Latin Mass, praying the rosary, and everything else about our faith.

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

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

We’ve created a special email list for the show so that we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel, and you’ll be notified by YouTube when there is new content.

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

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WATCH: Pagan cry of ‘Mother Earth’ enters St. Peter’s Basilica for Amazon Synod’s opening Mass

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of special guests at the Opening Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Pan-Amazonian Synod staged a strange protest as soon as Pope Francis’ back was turned. 

The predominantly female group included indigenous people in face-paint and feather headdresses as well as Latin Americans of European descent in casual clothing. When Mass had ended and the Argentinian pontiff had processed from St. Peter’s Basilica, the group began to chant and sing. Before police managed to usher them down the aisle, they unfurled a banner reading (in Italian): 

“Synod on the Amazon: Listen to the cry of the Mother Earth and peoples and become a prophetic Church.” 

One of the women was Sister María Irene Lopes de los Santos, the executive secretary of REPAM, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network. Lopes de Los Santos was also a member of the PreSynodal Council. 

The gesture was an odd one, considering that the group had occupied places of honor, right behind the bishops in the part of the basilica closest to the altar. Clearly the Synod on the Amazon is already listening to Sister María Irene Lopes de los Santos. 

Also odd was the reference to “the Mother Earth” when the most important mother in St. Peter’s Basilica, as in every other church and street corner in Rome, is the Mother of God, Mary Most Holy. Moreover, St. Peter’s Basilica is dedicated to the worship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, not the Earth Mother, Gaia, or the old Roman Tellus Mater.  

It’s a little worrying, too, as the Vatican has already witnessed an oddly pantheistic scene: a ritual in a garden involving two statuettes of nude pregnant women and other, more rudely carved, figures. The unusual ceremony, which again involved both aboriginals and religious of European descent, took place before Pope Francis. 

The internet has lit up with arguments about who the figures are meant to be, and whether this was by any stretch of the imagination a Catholic liturgy. 

Meanwhile, the sight of white European photographers ushering around native peoples dressed in feathers, face paint, T-shirts and running shoes for photo ops makes me uncomfortable. I’m a Canadian who went to elementary school with two First Nations children, and they didn’t wear feathers and facepaint to class. And having spent some time in Germany, I know that some Europeans are fascinated by a romantic, 19th-century view of the aboriginal peoples of the Americas. Germans of episcopal age grew up, for example, with the Western fantasies of American Indian life written by Karl May. 

Germany is also home to the famous Indianer camps, where hobbyists dress up as Indians and live in teepees. Germans also pour into the Canadian West every year to see First Nations dances and crafts. However, the fourth-largest population of Canadian First Nations people is in hyper-urban Toronto, which in itself suggests that numerous aboriginal people don’t conform to romantic European stereotypes. 

Pope Francis said that to understand the Synod, one must read his encyclical Laudato Si’. I read Laudato Si’. I’m all in favor of Christians living the evangelical counsels, which include poverty, chastity, and obedience according to our states in life. Living a less wasteful, less damaging, less consumerist lifestyle is the kind of poverty I can get behind. Anyone can get behind what Francis says about “responsible stewardship.” But, nevertheless, there are serious concerns that many have raised about the document. 

One of them is Laudato Si’s romantic attitude towards the aboriginal peoples, their cultural traditions and their relationship to the land. Again, there is some good here: obviously forcing people off the land they’ve lived on for countless generations is a bad thing. However, keeping them tied to the land and to cultural traditions that might not serve the best interests of infants, the disabled, women, or young people who want to encounter the wider world is not great either.  

Another is the encyclical’s suggestion that nations are not able to take care of the environment themselves. The specter of One World Government appears in section 175, when Francis writes:

The twenty-first century, while maintaining systems of governance inherited from the past, is witnessing a weakening of the power of the nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tends to prevail over the political. Given this situation, it is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organized international institutions, which functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments and empowered to impose sanctions …

He goes on to quote Pope Benedict as saying “... there is need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Saint John XXIII indicated some years ago.” 

Well, with all due respect to Francis, Benedict and St. John XXIII, the idea of a true world political authority scares me a bit, since neither the United Nations nor any other world political authority seems to care at all about unborn babies, for a starter. 

Speaking about unborn babies, many ancient peoples of the world, including across Europe, worshipped fertility goddesses. The temptation to worship the awesome power of sexuality and fertility lurks under the surface of all human cultures. To be faithful to God the Father, and to Jesus Christ His Son, we have to resist this particular “cry of the Mother”. That goes for the nagging desire for priestesses, too.

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Leftists outraged over evidence that happiest wives in US are religious conservatives

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By Jonathon Van Maren

October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the most consistently interesting things about our cultural debates surrounding marriage and sexuality is the resistance that many of those on the secular side of the spectrum exhibit towards the slowly growing mountain of evidence supporting the fact that our Judeo-Christian values are often essential to both social stability as well as personal happiness. While the soft-core porn mags sold at supermarket checkouts urge young men and women to engage in sizzling sexual experiments and public sex education teaches children to believe that anything is on the table, social studies tell us that we are robbing them of the future many of them desire—or will desire in the future.

Let’s take a look at just two recent reports. The New York Times, as The Blaze noted at the time, “caused an avalanche of anger” after they published a report by the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution finding that “the happiest of all American wives consider themselves religious conservatives.” 

A tweet sent out by New York Times Opinion was apparently particularly galling: “It turns out that the happiest of all wives in America are religious conservatives, followed by their religious progressive counterparts.”

At first glance, this would seem to be an odd thing for people to get upset about. After all, aren’t strong and happy marriages in any demographic something to celebrate, especially where children are involved? The source of the ire, however, may be found in the title of the report: “The Ties That Bind: Is Faith a Global Force for Good or Ill in the Family?” For many in today’s age of aggressive secularism, the idea that religion could be a potent force for social stability and personal happiness is an offensive one, perhaps because it forces people to address those niggling doubts that perhaps they might be wrong about a very important thing. 

In the report, researchers detailed the fact that women who report having “above-average satisfaction with their marriages” are often both religious and conservative, and the New York Times op-ed on the findings noted that “Fully 73 percent of wives who hold conservative gender values and attend religious services regularly with their husbands have high-quality marriages. When it comes to relationship quality, there is a J-curve in women’s marital happiness, with women on the left and the right enjoying higher quality marriages than those in the middle—but especially wives on the right.”

This should not be particularly surprising. Those who believe that marriage is a sacred institution constituting a life-long, monogamous commitment to one person are, generally (and statistically) speaking, going to enter marriage with a radically different perspective than those who believe the whole thing can be called off with less difficulty than a cell phone contract. 

If, as many religious people believe, marriage is a covenant rather than a contract, this has obvious implications for both entering marriage and exiting one. If divorce is not seen as the exercise of the opt-out clause in a civil arrangement but rather, as Peter Kreeft once put it, “the murder of the one flesh” union, then the severing of the marital bond is obviously far more significant than our current social norms would have us believe.

The same is true for sexual activity prior to marriage. I recall one older fellow I worked with years ago asking me, with disbelief, how I could conceive of entering a marriage without first sleeping with my partner. After all, he explained, you wouldn’t purchase a car without test-driving it first. Side-stepping the offensiveness of his comparison of a spouse to a car and marriage to the purchase of one (the unspoken and perhaps unrecognized implication that a “newer model” might be preferable down the road did not come up), the evidence simply does not bear out the idea that multiple sexual partners prior to marriage is beneficial to committing to one person for a lifetime. In fact, it is rather bewildering that so many seem to believe that promiscuity is good practice for monogamy.

This, too, was once again proven by sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger of the University of Utah over at the Institute for Family Studies. He found, unsurprisingly, that Americans who had only ever slept with their spouses were by far the most likely to report that their marriage was “very happy.” Conversely, women who had between six and ten sexual partners in their lives reported the lowest odds of marital happiness (thirteen percentage points lower than women who had only reported one partner.) The same proved true for men, who also reported lower marital satisfaction after one partner, although their satisfaction did not dip as low as it does for women.

According to The Atlantic’s report on the study:

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, when it comes to sex, less experience is better, at least for the marriage,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist and senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies. In an earlier analysis, Wolfinger found that women with zero or one previous sex partners before marriage were also least likely to divorce, while those with 10 or more were most likely. These divorce-proof brides are an exclusive crew: By the 2010s, he writes, just 5 percent of new brides were virgins. And just 6 percent of their marriages dissolved within five years, compared with 20 percent for most people.

Other studies’ findings have also supported the surprising durability of marriages between people who have only ever had sex with one another. In this latest study, women who have had one partner instead of two are about 5 percentage points happier in their marriages, about on a par, Wolfinger says, with the boost that possessing a four-year degree, attending religious services, or having an income over $78,000 a year has for a happy marriage. (In his analysis, he controlled for education, income, and age at marriage.)

If our governments were genuinely interested in promoting personal happiness and social stability, public sex education would be conveying the findings of these reports and many, many others that concur. 

The ideologues running our education system are not committed to doing what is best for those in their charge, but instead promoting their own set of beliefs—beliefs, it must be pointed out, that have led to a polarized culture with rates of family breakdown unheard of in human history outside of war or natural disaster. Many young people in our society today are searching for answers, and those answers will not be found in what the secular establishment is offering. They can be found in the beautiful traditions we cast aside.

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

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Amazon Synod kicks off with confusion, liberal questions

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Editor’s note: Our Scotland-based reporter Dorothy Cummings McLean has been sent to Italy to join our Rome Correspondent, Diane Montagna, in covering the Synod for the Bishops of the Pan-Amazon region. A lifelong diarist, Dorothy has volunteered to give readers a glimpse into life off-camera as she carries out what she calls “a dream assignment.” Read all of her Amazon Synod diary posts HERE.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Roman sky was unusually grey when I walked to early morning Mass. The marble floors and walls of the seventeenth century church still shone in the candlelight, though, and I perceived friends among the handful of worshippers: Virginia Coda Nunziante from Marcia per la Vita (March for Life) Italy, Maria Madise from SPUC International, and LifeSiteNews’ own John-Henry Westen. After Mass, they all prayed late and long, and I remembered how very much the pro-life, pro-family movement depends on prayer. 

John-Henry was laden down with luggage and clearly tired from his extended, meeting-heavy stay in Italy. We all went to a nearby café for a quick cappuccino before John-Henry called his taxi. It was clearly a brief moment of calm for all three pro-life leaders, who were grimly aware that, tired as they were, the most serious events of the month had just begun. 

Light rain spluttered down as I walked along the Tiber back to my apartment. I had a lot of reading and writing to get done before the first press conference of the synod, so lunch was just a hastily assembled caprese (tomato, mozzarella, and basil) salad well-dosed with olive oil. I was glad to see the sun back by then. 

The press conference was in the Sala Stampa, the Vatican Press Office, where I saw more friends, acquaintances, and, well, competitors sitting in the audience chamber. Large tables were set up at the front of the room with name plates indicating the speakers.

At the far left was Sister Alba Teresa Castillo, MML, a Colombian nun who works with aboriginal people. Beside her was Msgr. Emmanuel Lafont, the Bishop of Cayenne, which is in the French colony of Guiana in South America. Then there was Msgr. David Martínez De Aguirre Guinea, the Apostolic Vicar of Puerto Maldonado in Peru. Beside him sat Cristine Murray, the Deputy Director of the Vatican Press Office, who served as a moderator. Next was Fr. Giacomo Costa, SJ, who is the Secretary of the Vatican’s Commision for Information, and finally there was Paolo Ruffini, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication.  

The latter began the press conference on a strict note, saying that the Holy Father had voiced concerns about there being two synods: the real one and the one portrayed in the media. He promised that his staff would provide clarity and transparency but also protect the ability of synod participants to speak freely. 

Castillo, Lafont, and Martínez all gave presentations, but the real drama was provided by reporters who asked tough questions about, for example, the fact that Guiana is still a European colony, the strange ceremony that took place in the Vatican gardens on Friday, and the inability of women invited to the synod to vote. 

The question about the odd ceremony came from Austen Ivereigh of Commonweal, who speaks fluent, rapid Spanish. He suggested that the American media were making a mountain out of a molehill or, dare I say, a fertility goddess out of a wonderfully inculturated representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

If he was expecting to be told that the naked pregnant figures in Friday’s ritual obviously represented St. Elizabeth and the Virgin Mary, he was mistaken, for Martínez sidestepped the question. He said the primary figure could be understood in different ways, and probably represented "Mother Earth, fertility, woman, life."

This, naturally, gave the paganism story new legs. 

Deborah Rose-Milavec of FutureChurch also provided a big story to grateful colleagues by asking Castillo about the lack of a vote for the women at the synod. Castillo, sympathizing, said that women would get there “slowly, slowly” but could not apply much pressure. She also emphasized that women already perform priest-like ministries in the Amazon, baptizing, witnessing marriages, and even hearing confessions, albeit without giving absolution. She wasn’t clear which women she meant: indigenous grandmothers or Latin American religious of European descent. 

I was reminded of Polish Catholics in female-only concentration camps of the Second World War. When there is absolutely no access to a priest, yes, I can see lay people stepping in, and when there are no “viri probati” around either, to fulfill the functions pertaining to the male priesthood (like, incidentally, lay altar servers are meant to do), then clearly women have to do it. However, the fact that Blessed Natalia Tułasiewicz led prayer services in Frauen-KZ Ravensbrück has not, to my knowledge, been used as an excuse to create a “suitable ministry” for women. 

Outside after the presser, I greeted Michael Voris and his team, who were setting up for his report right outside the Sala Stampa. Michael told me that someone close to Pope Francis had warned him that the faithful were confused, and the pontiff had declared that he “wanted the confusion.” 

That made me feel sad and even a little frightened, but to be honest, I haven’t felt the same about many of our Rome-based current shepherds since news of the mid-term relatio at the Synod on the Family in October 2014 hit the Internet. If I’m not crying on camera, it’s because I did my crying in 2014.   

I went back home to participate in the LifeSiteNews daily call for journalists and finished writing articles to go out that afternoon. Then at 5:00 p.m. I met my colleagues Jim Hale and Diane Montanga in St. Peter’s Square to report the day’s big stories on camera. We don’t have handy young assistants to hold up scripts, so we have to speak off the top of our heads ― not as easy as it sounds! 

Then it was an evening of more writing for me, and then a quick bite purchased from a nearby “Tavola Calda” (which is like a cafeteria, only better). No three-hour-long Roman feasts for LifeSiteNews reporters on the job, alas. 

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Why Pope Francis’ new document on Scripture gives reasons for concern

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — On September 30, the feast of St. Jerome, Pope Francis released the text of a motu proprio titled Aperuit Illis, instituting the so-called “Sunday of the Word of God.”

This motu proprio was oddly timed, appearing right before the creation of new cardinals and the start of the controversial Synod on the Amazon Region. Given the circumstances, one might be forgiven for thinking the motu proprio was meant to be overlooked or undervalued. There has been almost no commentary on it. A few conservatives thought it sufficient to say: “This document is orthodox in content, therefore we can breathe easily. No Amoris Laetitia moment has occurred. Potential bullet dodged.”

Such an approach is understandable but problematic. Those who remain at the level of the “truth of the text” in an abstract sense are ignoring the context for this intervention. Why this document, and why right now? Was there some pressing crisis or dispute Pope Francis stepped in to resolve? Errors on Scripture have been rife for the past fifty years and more, and previous popes have responded more adequately to them than this brief document does. For far too long, conservatives have been isolating each papal act and X-raying it for its truth value, not recognizing that we have allowed ourselves to be reduced to a pathetic caricature of Catholicism if the best we can say of a papal act is that it does not contradict the Deposit of Faith!

Instead, we must look at cumulative patterns and tendencies in order to understand how each piece fits in: not just text, but context. Unfortunately, as with most of Pope Francis’s “conservative” statements, it is much more likely that Aperuit Illis is part of a calculated strategy to keep the conservatives on board as long as possible, using them for the ultimate triumph of papal progressivism.

Perhaps the most striking thing about this motu proprio is the astonishing cynicism of the timing of it, coming right before the start of a synod that represents, in its planning and already in its execution, a standing insult to the Word of God (both written and incarnate). Pope Francis is throwing a bone to the conservatives, who will fawn all over this motu proprio because it’s basically orthodox and even quotes Church Fathers — as if the Vatican cares at all nowadays about continuity with tradition. Anyone who has studied the past six years of this pontificate can see all the classic signs of a clever propaganda move: keep clueless people guessing as to your real intentions and beliefs, by taking two steps to the left, then one step to the right. If only the remaining conservatives would wake up and see the bigger picture, they would recognize that they’re being “had.” And then we could get on with the work of rebuilding authentic Catholicism with such ingredients as the ancient one-year lectionary that has been read in the Church, in one form or another, for 1,500 years.

Nevertheless, Aperuit Illis is not a document without problems, and these we need to understand in order to fit this latest piece into the puzzle.

The motu proprio drives a new wedge between the traditional worship of the Church and the modern papal rite by instituting yet another feast (of sorts) in the Novus Ordo calendar: “the Sunday of the Word of God,” to take place on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time. Each Sunday is already, and has always been, a day of the Word of God, inasmuch as the Bible is proclaimed and the Word Incarnate, whom the Bible announces, comes to be present on our altars. This new observance is either superfluous or moving in a different direction from the Catholic understanding of Scripture in the liturgy. As Gregory DiPippo explains, the goods the pope says he wants are already present in the Church’s tradition — something the pope acts as if he doesn’t know (and maybe he doesn’t!).

Some might object in the pope’s favor that the Catholic liturgy has always added feasts over the centuries to celebrate this or that particular mystery (e.g., Corpus Christi). In reality, however, the Christian liturgy exists to celebrate the mysteries of Christ and His saints. From this point of view, a generic exhortation to celebrate “the Word of God” in the sense of Scripture is regressive, since the Church already celebrates the Word of God made flesh on March 25 and December 25, and the Word of God permeating the Church on Pentecost and its entire season. In fact, since the motu proprio emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in reading and assimilating Scripture, the pope ought to have admitted that the Green Sundays deserve to be called once again, as they had been for over fifteen centuries, “Sundays after Pentecost,” which reminds the Church of the intimate bond among Christ, His Word, and His Spirit of Love and Truth, rather than “Sundays of Ordinary Time.”

The Mass is not a Scripture study à la Protestant Bible services, but a sacrificial offering in which readings occupy a preparatory and subservient role, as “verbal incense” offered in the presence of God, lifting the people to praise Him for His mighty deeds of deliverance. This latreutic function of Scripture is very clear in the ancient liturgies both Eastern and Western, but quite obscured in the Novus Ordo (a point that has been discussed in a number of articles, such as this one).

Although it often names its Sundays after Gospel pericopes, the Byzantine church would never have a “Sunday of the Word of God” in the sense in which it is defined in Aperuit Illis, which has nothing to do with liturgical tradition, with icons or mysteries in the life of Christ.  Those who love the Word of God want to venerate it in the ways that traditional liturgies already venerate it. The Tridentine Mass gives far greater ceremonial weight and honor to the proclamation of Scripture than the Novus Ordo does. My own love of lectio divina has come from and been nourished by an ever deeper experience of the traditional Latin liturgy, which meditatively weaves passages of Scripture together in a manner that is comparable to lectio divina as practiced by a true master of Scripture like St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

One of the most harmful aspects of the Novus Ordo is its cult of the new and improved (with the new calendar as a shining example, by which centuries of deeply rooted customs and devotions in the Church were swept away). The traditional liturgy shows great stability over many centuries, and the new feasts grow organically from within it. This “Sunday of the Word of God,” on the contrary, looks like another “I woke up this morning and had a good idea” sort of thing. And how vague it all is — not like the sharply defined feast of Christ the King, which was originally instituted in relation with All Saints. (It has subsequently been modernized into a Teilhardian feast of “Christ the King of the Universe.”) One result of the new motu proprio is indisputable: it helps us to see more clearly that the whole conception of what a feast is and how it is to be celebrated is different in the old missal and in the new.

If the pope really wanted Scripture to be exalted among Christians, the best way of doing that would be to ensure the proper celebration of the liturgy in which Scripture is embedded. Offering the Mass worthily, reverently, and beautifully does more to lift the faithful’s appreciation of and reverence toward the written Word of God than any amount of preaching, or artificial and piecemeal spotlights like “enthroning the Gospel book” (when, at the same liturgy, non-vested lay people will just walk up out of the nave and read a vernacular text at the ambo, which kills any sacrality that that moment might have had). As Fr. Zuhlsdorf likes to say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Make the liturgy great again, and the Bible will rise with it. If the liturgy is dumbed down, superficial, horizontal, the perception of the Bible will sink with it.

Along these lines, the document praises postconciliar lector praxis, in spite of the fact that it has been a powerful force for the Protestantizing of Catholic perceptions of both Scripture and liturgy, as I have argued elsewhere. Moreover, the role of lector, which is a legitimate liturgical function (albeit historically reserved to those who had received at least the minor order of lector), is placed alongside the fabricated and much abused function of “extraordinary ministers of holy communion,” which has greatly contributed to the lessening of belief in and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. In this way, Aperuit Illis lends support to abusive liturgical praxis, shoring up one unnecessary and untraditional lay ministry by means of another. The “progressives” in the Church have long been agitating for female-instituted lectors and acolytes (as further steps toward deaconesses and priestesses), and when the moment arrives, you can be sure that Aperuit Illis will be footnoted as a “magisterial” precedent.

Then there is a simple psychological point. If anyone seriously thinks setting aside a Sunday in which clergy will ramble on from the pulpit about Scripture — as they already mostly do, Sunday after Sunday, thanks to a mechanical application of the idea that preaching should always be based on the readings — will increase Catholics’ appreciation for the Bible, he is more to be pitied than censured. What would really make a difference in the life of the Church is if the pope himself obeyed the Word of God in his teaching and life, defending the doctrine of Christ and fighting corruption in the ranks, especially in the Vatican. Instead, he contradicts the Word of God and not only dines with corrupt clergy, but promotes them in their corruption.

It is therefore not a little alarming when Francis, in Aperuit Illis, quotes Benedict XVI that “the letter [of Scripture] needs to be transcended” (n. 15). One immediately thinks not of medieval exegesis, but of Modernism. For indeed, Pope Francis has become an expert in “transcending the letter” of Scripture — although perhaps the verb “transgressing” would be more appropriate in this connection.

For the Church Fathers, the “letter” of Scripture, its historical or first-level meaning, is inspired and inerrant and always true, although it also opens out onto spiritual meanings — allegorical, moral, and anagogical — i.e., pointing to the mystery of Christ, telling us how we are to live today in imitation of Him, and illuminating our final destiny in Heaven with Him. When we see the spiritual meaning of a passage, we do not transcend its letter by leaving it behind; we see into the letter more deeply. Yet it is precisely the campaign of proponents of the “new paradigm” to “transcend the letter” when it comes to things like commandments and prohibitions. For example, we have to transcend the absolute prohibition of adultery to find the real meaning, which is that we have to “love one another.” That’s the only thing God had in mind, see? No one should be left without expressions of affection, to which everyone has a right. So the transcendental meaning is, adultery is okay as long as the partners “love” one another. “Love is love,” after all.

When I shared my misgivings about the motu proprio with a priest, he said to me: “Would you criticize this document if it had come from Benedict XVI?” — the implication being that I am criticizing it only because it comes from Francis. That is simply not true. I would say the same things regardless of who the author was. The bare orthodoxy of a document, its avoidance of gross and explicit heresy, is not the only consideration in the world, and in many ways, practically, not even the most important. For example, one could have a liturgy that does not contradict Catholic faith and morals but nevertheless damages the spiritual lives of the faithful by being impoverished in its expression of Catholicism, riddled with options, horizontal, and anthropocentric. The fact that a liturgy is free from error does not, in and of itself, make it beneficial for building up the life of the Church. Orthodoxy isn’t enough; one needs an adequate expression of orthodoxy, in continuity with tradition, and girt about with unassailable reverence.

Returning to my point of departure — namely, that we have to consider how Aperuit Illis fits into the Bergoglian pattern — I would like to paraphrase the poignant words of a friend:

The motu proprio follows a trend: celebrate something in order to denigrate and forget it. The Year of the Priest: a year where more priests than ever before are thrown under the bus by their bishops. The Year of Mercy, to remind everyone that those guilty of clericalism can’t be saved and that there’s no mercy for traditionally-minded Catholics. Synodality, to express that you have no voice; only the Pope, Coccopalmerio, Cocopalmerio’s boyfriend, and his friends do. Issue a document to “end all abuses” before tolerating or spurring on more of them. Canonize John Paul II and then forget about his teaching in Familiaris Consortio. Canonize Paul VI and dismiss Humanae Vitae. Canonize John Henry Newman and solemnly distort his views on the development of doctrine and why the Catholic Church is the one true Church. Now, with Aperuit Illis, celebrate the Word of God — so as to ignore the Word of God.

We are witnessing here the consummately Machiavellian application of the old expression promoveatur ut amoveatur, let him/her/it be promoted so that he/she/it may be removed or shunted away. Surpassing the Jewish leaders excoriated by Christ (cf. Lk 11:47), Pope Francis, the canonizer of John Paul II, Paul VI, and John Henry Newman, both kills the prophets and builds them splendid tombs.

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