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Bishop Erwin Kraütler, emeritus of Xingu in Brazil, is a vocal proponent of married priests. Twitter
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Proposal for ‘Amazonian Catholic rite’ comes as a surprise at Synod

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

ROME, October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- There is nothing truly unexpected about the proposals that were presented on Monday during day two of the Amazon Synod. Among them were instituting new ministries for laymen and women, including “the possibility of diaconal ordination for women,” and creating a new Catholic rite, the “Amazonian rite,” that would probably include the ordination of married men and an inculturated “Mass” of which several rituals performed these last few days by indigenous Amazonians in and around the Vatican could be a foretaste.

All of these innovations were clearly present in the Instrumentum laboris of which several cardinals – Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller, Gerhard Müller – have stated lately contains heresy or even apostasy in its naturalistic approach, where Jesus Christ and redemption are notably absent, and in its exaltation of the indigenous lifestyle, its promotion of the ordination of married men, and of some form of ordained ministry for women.

But while the Instrumentum laboris repeatedly called for a church with an Amazonian face, this is apparently the first time that there has been a public appeal for a new Amazonian rite within the church. In fact, this proposition was not present in any press briefings in different languages. This point was reserved for the Spanish communiqué.

The communiqué, which has apparently not been published online, was quoted by ACIPrensa (the Spanish service of Catholic News Agency) and by Religión Digital, a major progressive Spanish-speaking religious news service.

Speaking of the “Synod fathers (and mothers)” Jesús Bastante of Religión Digital said the proposal to create an “Amazonian Catholic rite” was the “star position” during afternoon discussions on Monday in the Synod Hall.

These indigenous rites, according to the Vatican note, could be instituted ad experimentum, that is for a theoretically limited time in order to test their usefulness. “The Church considers with benevolence all that is not linked to superstition in order to harmonize it with the true liturgical spirit,” explained the note.

“From there, the suggestion to have in Amazonia a sharing process regarding the experience of indigenous communities that have enculturated celebrations for certain sacraments such as baptism, matrimony or priestly ordination. (…) One of the proposals that was presented involves thinking about establishing – ad experimentum and following the right theological, liturgical and pastoral discernment – a Catholic Amazonian rite in order to live out and celebrate faith in Christ,” according to the note as quoted by ACIPrensa.

“Fundamentally, it was underscored in the Aula, in the same way that exists an environmental ecosystem, there also exists an ecclesial ecosystem.”

What would an Amazonian rite look like? The ceremony of the planting of an oak tree in the Vatican Gardens last Friday under the eyes of Pope Francis and in the context of an easily identifiable indigenous ritual to the Mother Earth gives a number of indications.

The leading role was played by a woman – an important point – raising her hands in prayer facing a blanket on which many Amazonian objects had been placed, including two statuettes of naked pregnant women, one of which is now referred to by some journalists in Rome as “Our Lady of the Amazon” as it pops up repeatedly in churches where Masses linked to the synod are being celebrated, including St. Peter’s Basilica.

During that ritual in the Vatican Gardens, participants prostrated themselves toward the blanket and figurines.

They did so again in Santa Maria in Traspontina, at the bottom of the Via della Conciliazione leading to St. Peter, that same day, surrounding the same blanket with symbolic offerings (to Mother Earth?) during a prayer vigil in view of the Synod. The event included woman executing a barefoot dance with what appears to be the New Testament, in the nave of the church, in the presence of priests and religious.

What is especially worrying about these obviously religious events is that they are not purely pagan ceremonies – which would be bad enough – but that Christian elements, such as prayers to Christ and signs of the cross are included, creating a syncretistic pseudo-Catholic rite that is orientated not toward Our Lord but toward pagan artifacts.

As far as “theological, liturgical and pastoral discernment” is concerned, this seems to have been massively absent from the rituals that were performed in churches and even under the eyes of the Pope without encountering any form of visible opposition.

The idea of having women deacons or another form of feminine ordained ministry was also present during the first day of discussions on Monday when participants were invited to express themselves during four minutes, by fours, with time left in between for the synod fathers to “meditate.”

LifeSite reported on Cardinal Claudio Hummes’ and Sister Alba Teresa Castillo, who mentioned the need for change because of the lack of priests in the Amazon region: “This means pastoral care made up of sporadic visits instead of adequate pastoral care,” said the cardinal. The nun underscored how women religious are already performing baptisms and presiding at marriages in regions where priests are not easily available. She also said when death is near the indigenous will “confess” their sins to a woman religious who cannot give absolution.

All lay people can baptize in case of necessity as long as they respect the form of the rite and want to conform to the Church’s intention. Marriage is in fact a sacrament whose ministers are the man and woman exchanging vows and this can be done without a priest if none will be available to witness them for an extended period. As to telling one’s sins to another person when there is no priest, even St. James would agree, as long as no absolution is given: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

But on the other hand, baptism and the receiving of marriage vows are part of the ordinary ministry of deacons.

Putting forward a woman religious to speak about these forms of ministry without recalling the rules of the Church feels very much like a subtle promotion of ordination for women so that they may ordinarily provide these sacraments, even when there is no emergency.

The very “feminine” face of the indigenous rites performed in the Vatican over the last few days is in the same vein. Indeed, several participants in Tuesday’s discussions at the Synod openly spoke of the “possibility of diaconal ordination for women, so as to emphasize their ecclesial vocation.”

In particular, they said the ordination of married men and the creation of “lay ministers” such as permanent deacons with the role of assisting in administering the sacraments would help in “promoting indigenous vocations.”

“Having lay men and women contribute to the spiritual life of their communities, particularly in bringing them the sacrament of the Eucharist, would help the Church pass from a ‘pastoral ministry of visits’ to a ‘pastoral ministry of presence,’” said Tuesday’s official news summary from the Vatican.

Interestingly, Fr. Pablo Mora, a Jesuit priest who has worked for the Servicio Jesuita a la Panamazonia (SJPAM) and the Red Ecleisal Panamazónica (REPAM) and is currently helping to prepare the Amazon Synod as an official of the Bishops’ Synod in Rome, published an op-ed on Amerindiaenlared.org in which he spoke extensively of this “pastoral ministry of presence,” on Monday.

Fr. Mora did make clear that he was expressing himself personally and not in the name of the Synod officials of which he is a member.

Nonetheless, it is the vocabulary he uses that is being employed in the Synod Aula, where calls for “new ministries” echo his dreams.

Speaking of the central character of the Eucharist in the Catholic faith, he said Jesus should not be brought to the indigenous communities occasionally but should “dwell with them,” in his “tent” or “tapiri.”

Priests are trying to give a more “Amazonian taste” to their chapels so that the liturgy can be “better identified by the local culture,” using materials from the local forest and “native paintings and images,” he said, but argued that “inner changes are also required,” with indigenous people celebrating the Eucharist and accepting “cultural distance.”

According to Fr. Mora, this needs to take into account the importance of community for the Indian tribes “where the collective being or identity take precedence over individual being or identity.”

Even more, he argued, this requires understanding of the fact that “from the perspective of an indigenous community, it is difficult to understand that the priest should be celibate and in truth, this matters little … They simply do not believe that an adult man can be celibate and not have a family and children.

“In many indigenous communities, a man without the company of a woman is considered to be an incomplete man who has not reached ‘maturity.’ This vision of the cosmos suggests a mentality of that which is dual, opposites and complementary. It means that in the case of man and woman, their complementarity in different levels of family life, social interaction and work are a necessary reality, one that is simple and needs no explaining. So we understand why initiation rites into adult life, that soon leave to indigenous marriage, take place very early in adolescence.”

Bishop Erwin Kraütler, emeritus of Xingu in Brazil, a vocal proponent of married priests, said much the same during Wednesday’s press conference about the Synod in Rome. Fr. Mora goes into far more detail, making clear that a Church with an “Amazonian face” would be something very different from the Church that is centered on Christ and dispenses His saving grace.

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Trump condemns abortion of disabled children in Down Syndrome Awareness message

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — For the third year in a row, President Donald Trump has recognized October’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month with a statement calling for every American to be embraced regardless of the medical challenges he faces, including explicit condemnation of targeting babies with Down’s via abortion.

Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder typically associated with physical growth delays, distinct facial traits, and often intellectual disability. Despite these challenges, a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that 99% of people with Down syndrome described themselves as “happy,” and only 4% of parents with children with Down’s expressed regret about having their children.

“We thank individuals with Down syndrome for their incredible contributions to their families, their communities, and our great Nation, and we pledge to empower them to achieve their full potential,” Trump said in the October 1 statement. “My Administration also renews its commitment to bring attention to and a deeper understanding of the challenges these remarkable Americans face, including their struggle against discrimination. Those thought to have Down syndrome also risk being subjected to the too-often terminations of their lives before birth.”

The president declared that his administration is “dedicated to fostering opportunities” for Americans with Down syndrome, calling for them to be “embraced in schools, workplaces, and communities.”

“Every human life possesses immeasurable value, and my Administration will continue to embrace and defend the inherent truth that all of God’s children should be loved and cherished,” he said. “This month is an important opportunity for Americans to reaffirm our commitment to creating a society that better appreciates and respects the dignity of life at all of its beautiful and miraculous stages. We must devote our efforts to ensure that the United States continues to exhibit reverence for human life — both born and unborn.”

The president’s words stand in stark contrast to common practice around the world of aborting preborn children specifically because they have been diagnosed with Trisomy 21.

The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that abortion reduces the Down’s community in the United States by 30%. It has been estimated that 90% of babies in Great Britain to receive a Down syndrome diagnosis are aborted, 65% in Norway, virtually 100% in Iceland, and 95% in Spain.

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a pro-abortion bid to review Indiana’s ban on abortions specifically sought due to characteristics such as Down syndrome, which did not conclusively settle the issue but signaled to the states that the current justices will not prevent them from enactign similar bans.

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Football player wins appeal, won’t be fined for wearing religious headband on the field

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — New Orleans Saints starting linebacker Demario Davis will not be fined after all for wearing a headband sporting the words “Man of God” and announced Tuesday that the controversy has helped raise money for charity.

Last week, Davis announced on Instagram that he had been fined approximately $7,000 for wearing one of the headbands (which are being sold to support the expansion of the emergency department of St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi) during the Saints’ game against the Seattle Seahawks as a violation of the National Football League (NFL)’s blanket prohibition against wearing “personal messages” with their uniforms.

NOLA.com reports that other messages to be fined over the years include unapproved product logos and seemingly benign slogans such as “Find the Cure.” The minimum penalty for a first offense is $7,017, with a minimum of $14,037 for a second.

“Of course you don’t want to be fined,” Davis said following the news. “Nobody wants to lose money but I think any time that the conversation about God is brought up, especially in these times, I think it’s always a positive or silver lining. If he can get glory from it, I think he can get glory from it whether I personally wear the headband or don’t wear the headband. He's always gonna be in control of the whole situation. We’re still all good.”

On Tuesday, Davis published another Instagram post announcing that he had won his appeal and would not be forced to pay the fine but has decided to donate the original $7,017 sum to St. Dominic’s.

“So far, we’ve raised over $30,000 for them from the headbands,” he wrote. “That means yall [sic] helped me turn a $7,000 negative into an almost $40,000 positive benefiting people who truly need it!”

ESPN adds that the NFL often rescinds fines if a player “demonstrates an understanding of the rule and total compliance with the rule moving forward.” Davis did not wear the headband for the Week 4 and 5 games.

Fining players for wearing non-controversial religious messages stands in stark contrast to the NFL’s handling of the 2017 kneeling controversy, during which numerous players refused to stand for the National Anthem in solidarity with the false claim that American law enforcement is full of racist police officers prone to shooting unarmed blacks. Kneeling during the anthem also violates the NFL’s rules, but beyond a May 2018 policy change that was shelved two months later, the league still does not punish players for doing so.

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Peruvian bishop tells synod: Amazonians need evangelizers, not married priests

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By Martin Barillas

October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – People in the Amazon region need evangelizers, not married priests, Peruvian Bishop Rafael Escudero told the synod on Tuesday.

Bishop Escudero serves the people of the remote prelature of Moyobamba in north-central Peru, which includes both mountainous areas and the tropical rainforests of the Amazonian basin. The bishop represented the poverty-stricken area of Peru at the Amazon Synod, and gave a speech in Rome on Tuesday to other participants. In an interview with InfoCatolica, Bishop Escudero said of the region he serves that priests are sorely stretched to serve the more than 2,700 communities in the prelature. “More spiritual, doctrinal, human, pastoral, and family formation is needed...and that is what the parishes are doing.”

As for evangelization, Escudero said that all of the parishes in the prelature are imparting catechism and giving retreats. “We have more than 1,200 organizers,” he said. As part of assistance from his native Spain, Escudero manages 32 Spanish missionary priests who have served for long stints in the prelature. 

“Every year,” Escudero said, “we baptize 3,000 adults – people who had always been close to the Church but had taken years to receive the sacrament.” Moyobamba province has approximately 122,000 inhabitants. 

Escudero said that one of his challenges is in evangelizing the indigenous Aguaruna people and that the prelature has not been able to adequately minister to them. “It would be important for evangelizers to live among them,” he said, “and therefore understand them in the midst of their culture and customs.” He told his listeners in Rome that the people of the Amazon region need evangelizers rather than married priests. He said that he hopes that they can view priests as something other than a “mere functionary of the Mass.”

Escudero told InfoCatolica that even while there is a shortage of priests in the Amazon, the controversial working document for the synod seeks the ordination of viri probati “elderly married men” (elderly married men of proven virtue). They would only administer the sacraments but be apart from “teaching and governance.” 

“As a consequence, there is a separation between the munus sactificandi, munus regendi, and the munus docendi,” he said. This is something new for the Church, given that the “hierarchical-sacramental structure of the Church is a divine mandate.” This would mean a “new vision of order that does not proceed from revelation but from the culture of Amazonian peoples who foresee ‘authority under rotation.’” 

Once the requirement for celibacy is lifted for the viri probati, he said, they would become a sort of second class of priests, while priests in general would become mere administrators of the sacraments. “The priest, instead of a pastor of a community, source of advice, teacher of Christian life, a presence close to Christ, would become a mere functionary of the Mass,” he said. 

The shortage of priests in the Amazon region, Escudero said, is indeed a challenge: “The Church exists to evangelize, as St. Paul VI recalled in Evangeli nuntiandi. The first goal of the synod should be to find out how, with all due respect, how can we evangelize those who do not know Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life, and who are living without an answer to the great questions of humanity. We should not forget that the majority of the people of Amazonia are not Catholic: they are therefore living deprived of the knowledge of the infinite love who is Jesus Christ.”

“It is urgent to deeply evangelize by sending the best priests, religious, and lay people from dioceses and religious congregations who have the most pastors. An evangelization that preaches Jesus Christ as the sole Saviour of mankind, of nations and cultures, and create communities where the proven Catholic faith is lived intensely,” Escudero said. 

Escudero called on his fellow bishops to work harder on training catechists and pastoral workers, saying, “From a people that has been evangelized and well formed there will come charisms and from among these will come celibacy for the priesthood.” 

“While there is a lack of the Eucharist in Amazonia and many other places in the world, there is no lack of vocations and priests in the dioceses and religious congregations who are trained in the wise doctrine of the Church and live an authentically Christian spirituality,” he added. “There are too many bishops and priests” who work in administration and academia. 

“It is time...to dedicate ourselves to more prayer and preaching of the Word.”

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Trudeau declares he’s no longer personally opposed to abortion

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By Lianne Laurence

MONTREAL, October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a stir in the media last week when he declared he no longer personally opposes abortion — a view he presumably once held because of his Catholic faith.

But it remains to be seen if Canada’s bishops will respond to what one canonist says may be a canonical crime on Trudeau’s part.

The Liberal leader told reporters in Montreal while on the campaign trail that he has evolved since a CBC news story quoted him eight years ago saying he believes in a woman’s “right” to choose abortion but personally disagrees with it.

“In 2011, I said clearly that I was and always would be pro-choice, but I also, in a context where I was talking about my own personal faith, expressed something that I no longer believe,” Trudeau said, as reported in a Global News video.

“I don’t think it it is actually coherent or consistent for someone to say that they are pro-choice —  particularly a man — to say that they are pro-choice but don’t like abortion,” he added.

“I evolved past that particular perspective. I continue to be and will always be fully pro-choice, but I no longer feel that I can or need to say that I’m against abortion. That’s not for me as a man to say. I will always be pro-choice,” said Trudeau.

Trudeau now open to charge of ‘canonical crimes’

Aside from the canonical penalties Trudeau’s past conduct clearly calls for, the prime minister’s latest pronouncement may leave him open to the charge of committing a “canonical crime,” says well-known American canonist Dr. Edward Peters.

“Consistent public advocacy and facilitation of abortion by an elected official is an objectively gravely evil act and, in my view, is grounds for withholding Holy Communion under Canon 915. Trudeau, I think, met those criteria some time ago and in that respect his recent comments simply confirm that conclusion,” Peters told LifeSiteNews.

“But there might be something new going on here,” he said. 

Trudeau “seems to be dropping even the pretence of being ‘personally opposed’ to abortion and appears to be rejecting the idea that unborn human life itself is deserving of any protection at all,”observed Peters, who teaches canon law at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

“If that is where Trudeau is heading, he would not simply be engaging in the gravely evil act mentioned above, he would also be challenging a Church doctrine that is, I think, infallibly proclaimed, namely, that ‘the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral,’ per Evangelium vitae (1995) 57,” he explained.

This development “could trigger a new canonical problem for the prime minister, not a sacramental disciplinary problem under Canon 915, but a canonical penal problem under Canon 1371, a norm that criminalizes, under certain circumstances, opposition to certain Church doctrines themselves,” Peters told LifeSiteNews.

“Setting aside for now whether assertions such as those in Evangelium vitae are ‘divinely revealed’ (making their rejection grounds for heresy strictly speaking), the inviolability of innocent human life is nevertheless, I think, a doctrine to be ‘definitively held’ by all the faithful (Canon 750 § 2),” he said.

“Thus, even if Trudeau is not drifting toward ‘heresy’ (see Canon 750 § 1), an act punishable by excommunication under Canon 1364, to the extent that his language implies opposition to a Church doctrine to be ‘definitively held’ (we do not have a pithy term for it, as we do for ‘heresy’), his act could still be punishable as a canonical crime,” concluded Peters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=871&v=H7byYtSCSRE

Trudeau notoriously more pro-abortion than his Catholic father

It’s perhaps surprising that Trudeau, who is running for re-election in the October 21 federal election, has up to this point remained personally opposed to abortion during a political career defined by his abortion extremism.

As Liberal leader, Trudeau banned anyone who was vocally pro-life from running as a Liberal Party candidate, and as prime minister has made access to abortion the cornerstone of the his government’s foreign and domestic policy, including earmarking $7.1 billion by 2030 to fund and promote abortion as part of Canada’s international aid.

At the same time, Trudeau has made much of his Catholic faith, particularly in his early rise in public life, when he was a sought-after speaker at Catholic schools and events, including a leadup to the 2002 World Youth Day.

As related in the 2011 CBC story that prompted the reporter’s question on Friday, Trudeau was “surprisingly upset” when a Conservative MP accused him “of being a bad Catholic.”

He emulates his father Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the Liberal prime minister who legalized abortion in 1969, Trudeau said, adding that, in the words of the CBC reporter, “he was personally very opposed to abortion” but believed in a woman’s “right” to choose to end the life of her unborn child.

Bishops’ inaction verging on scandal: Will they act?

With Trudeau jettisoning his “very strong personal opposition” to abortion, whatever he understands that to mean, it’s unclear if he still considers himself a Catholic. 

LifeSiteNews asked the Liberal Party that question but received no response. However, absent a public disavowal of his faith, presumably Trudeau still identifies as a member of the Church of Rome.

However, no Canadian bishop has yet publicly declared Trudeau excommunicated.

Moreover, Trudeau sparked a scandal by presenting himself for Holy Communion during a Mass celebrating Montreal’s 375th anniversary in 2017. To the dismay of many, Archbishop Christian Lépine, known for his solid pro-life stance and orthodoxy, did not deny him, telling LifeSiteNews later he did so “as a gesture of hope” and “to keep in contact and how to keep a bridge open, if I may say so.”

LifeSiteNews contacted the offices of Lépine and Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, currently at the Ontario bishops’ fall conference, for a statement on Trudeau’s latest public dissent from Catholic teaching.

Spokesmen for both dioceses confirmed the bishops will not be commenting. The Ottawa archdiocesan spokesperson said this does not preclude the possibility that the bishops may take action privately.

Pro-life politicians buckling under growing hostility 

Trudeau’s latest assertion can reasonably be seen as his attempt to score political points in a bare-knuckles, neck-and-neck fight against his greatest threat, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.

It also underscores a growing hostility in Canada’s media political elites, and the culture itself, toward politicians who dare to even think abortion is wrong.

A Catholic father of five, Scheer was pressed by opponents, including Trudeau, to declare his personal views on abortion during the French language leaders’ debate, but repeatedly dodged the question, reported the Huffington Post.

However, the Tory leader came clean in the English-language debate, according to the Globe and Mail.

“I am personally pro-life. It is OK in this country to have a difference of opinion,” Scheer said, before reiterating his promise that he would not reopen the abortion debate if the Conservatives form government.

Whatever his motives, Trudeau hit a certain truth in admitting the incoherence of being “personally opposed” to abortion while putting in place policies and funding to expand abortion at home and globally.

There’s also a measure of incoherence in a politician who is personally opposed to abortion but refuses to try advancing public policies to protect the child in the womb when there are no clear impediments — save political expediency — to doing so.

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Remote island study suggests China most responsible for plastic trash in Atlantic

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By Martin Barillas

INACCESSIBLE ISLAND, October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Nearly three fourths of discarded plastic bottles found on a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean originate in China and have been dumped into the ocean as trash from Chinese cargo ships. Nor do they originate from land-based sources, according to a new study.

Researchers went to Inaccessible Island, a remote feature of the South Atlantic Ocean approximately midway between South America and southern Africa, and found that 73% of plastic bottles they found washed ashore were made in China and appear to come from Asia. The United Nations and national governments have signed agreements to limit plastic waste and undertaken initiatives such as banning or taxing single-use plastic bags. California, for instance, banned the use of disposable plastic drinking straws by restaurants in the state.

Lead author Peter Ryan told the BBC, “When we were [on the island] last year, it was really shocking how much drink bottles had just come to dominate.”

The researchers’ conclusion contradicted the assumptions of many environmentalists and international organizations. According to the abstract of the study, “Our results question the widely held assumption that most plastic debris at sea comes from land-based sources.”

Researchers from Canada and South Africa visited the island in 1984, 2009 and 2018 to study the plastic debris accumulated on the island. At first, they determined by looking at their labels that about two-thirds of the plastic bottles were South American in origin, travelling 3,000 kilometers by wind drift. The oldest container they found was made in 1971. However, they found that by 2009, Asian sources had overstepped South American origins of plastic trash they examined on the beaches of Inaccessible Island.

“What was really shocking was how the origin had shifted from largely South American, which is what you would expect from somewhere like Inaccessible Island because it’s downwind from South America to predominantly Asian,” Ryan said. Asian trash was in far greater amounts on the island by 2018, when 73 percent of the plastic bottles came from Asia.

Published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, the study explained:

Many oceanic islands suffer high levels of stranded debris, particularly those near subtropical gyres where floating debris accumulates. During the last 3 decades, plastic drink bottles have shown the fastest growth rate of all debris types on remote Inaccessible Island. During the 1980s, most bottles drifted to the island from South America, carried 3,000 km by the west wind drift.

Currently, 75% of bottles are from Asia, with most from China. The recent manufacture dates indicate that few bottles could have drifted from Asia, and presumably are dumped from ships, in contravention of International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships regulations. Our results question the widely held assumption that most plastic debris at sea comes from land-based sources.

There is evidence that the great majority of plastic bottles were dumped by Chinese ships. Ninety percent of the bottles from Asia bore dates within the previous two years. Bottles traveling from land by ocean currents to the island would take between three to five years, leading the researchers to conclude that Chinese ships are responsible. Ryan first thought Chinese fishing fleets were to blame because they often violate international labor and environmental standards. However, he noted that Japanese and Taiwanese fleets, not Chinese, dominate in the South Atlantic.

The researchers found that Chinese cargo vessels had increased since the 1980s, while the number of Asian fishing ships had remained stable. This suggested that merchant vessels are to blame for the plastic bottles. Ryan said evidence is strong that merchant shipping is the source of the plastic bottles. He had assumed that merchant vessels are bound by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. He said, “I think we need to look quite carefully at better monitoring and enforcement of regulations.”

In an environmentalist message on the “precious element” of water, Pope Francis released a statement in 2018 that he wanted to see action to address the “emergency” of plastic trash in the world’s oceans. While he deplored the lack of globalized regulation to protect the waters of the Earth, he stated on the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation that he wants the global community to save the God-given gift of the “great waters and all they contain.”

“We cannot allow our seas and oceans to be littered by endless fields of floating plastic,” the pope said. “We need to pray as if everything depended on God’s providence, and work as if everything depended on us.”

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Bishop says he wants female ‘deacons,’ Amazonians ‘don’t understand celibacy’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― An Austrian-Brazilian bishop stated today that there is no other option but to ordain married men in the Amazon because the indigenous people don’t understand celibacy.

Bishop Erwin Kräutler of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood is the Bishop Emeritus of Xingu in Brazil. A member of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan Amazonian region being held in Rome, he answered the question of an English journalist who asked why a married priesthood was so important for the Amazon. 

“There is no other option because they don’t understand celibacy,” Kräutler said. The bishop has been asked by indigenous people where his wife is. Upon being told that he doesn’t have a wife, they responded, “Poor man.”

Kräutler indicated that indigenous men rely on wives to cook for them and care for them in other ways. 

Responding to another question on the topic, Kräutler said that he had met with Pope Francis on April 4, 2014 to discuss a need to protect the Amazon region, indigenous people, and the Eucharist. 

“Thousands of communities [in the Amazon region] have the Eucharist only two to three times a year,” the bishop said. 

Kräutler stressed that there is “no Christ in the absence of the altar” and that “we want our brothers and sisters to have not just the Liturgy of the Word but the Eucharist.” The Eucharist can be celebrated only by priests, Kräutler noted, and suggested that Catholics who resist opening the priesthood to married men in the Amazon are placing the human law of celibacy over the obligation of enacting the Last Supper. 

“Do this in memory of Me,” he reminded the assembled journalists. 

The Austian-born bishop, now a naturalized Brazilian citizen, added that two-thirds of the Catholic communities in the Amazon region are “directed and coordinated by women.” 

“We need concrete solutions,” he said. “I’m thinking of [a] women’s diaconate. Why not?”

Kräutler stopped short of suggesting that women themselves be permitted to celebrate the Eucharist. 

Christopher Lamb, the Tablet journalist who asked the Bishop Emeritus of Xingu about the importance of a married priesthood, prefaced his question with an apology “to the indigenous and people of the Amazon for what we have seen in parts of the Catholic media, some of the demeaning, xenophobic, and at times racist remarks against them." 

Voices on Twitter, however, are contrasting Lamb’s “apology” for the alleged racism of others with Bishop Kräutler’s insistence that indigenous people cannot understand celibacy. Voluntary celibacy is not the human norm in any region of the world, and yet Catholic men from every nation have answered the call to the celibate priesthood in imitation of the celibacy of Jesus Christ.  

Ricardo German, a Brazilian theology and philosophy student, told LifeSiteNews that the idea that the indigenous people of his country are incapable of understanding celibacy was “patronizing.”

“Anyone slightly to the right of Hillary Clinton would immediately be called a racist for saying something that patronizing,” he said.   

Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute similarly found the statement “racist.”

“Bishop Erwin Kräutler’s statement is inherently racist and dehumanizing,” Hichborn told LifeSiteNews.

“Clearly stating that an entire people is incapable of understanding something is to say that they are less than fully human,” he continued.  

“If the indigenous people of South America are ‘incapable’ of understanding celibacy, then they are equally incapable of understanding any practice or teaching of the Catholic faith, which would make them less than human.”

Hichborn said that one beauty of the Catholic faith is that “it is for everyone to grasp, not just the educated.”  

“The first Spiritual Work of Mercy is to ‘teach the ignorant,’ and if His Excellency isn’t willing to even try, then he is either spiritually lazy or he is a racist,” he continued.  

“Either way, his comment must be retracted and he owes the people about whom it was stated an apology.”

A priest who spoke to LifeSiteNews on condition of anonymity says that the issue isn’t really married priests, but married priests becoming sexually continent upon their ordination. This continence was the rule among married priests of the early centuries of the Church. 

This priest sees a sexually active clergy as the beginning of a process to eliminate clergy.

“First you allow sexually acting married priests, and then you degrade priesthood to a ministerial function that people do part time like a volunteer activity. Then you eliminate the clerical state,” he said. 

Meanwhile, clerical ordination, including ordination to the diaconate – the first rung of priesthood – has never been conferred upon women. According to St. John Paul II, writing in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, it never can be.  

The Polish pope definitively wrote: 

Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force,

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.

The Instrumentum Laboris, or working document, for the synod asked that “older people” be permitted to receive priestly ordination in the Amazon region.   

“Affirming that celibacy is a gift for the Church, it is requested that, for the most remote areas of the region, the possibility of priestly ordination be studied for older people, preferably indigenous, respected and accepted by their community, even if they have an existing and stable family, in order to ensure availability of the Sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life,” it reads. 

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Strong majorities think Big Tech is biased, has too much control of news flow: Pew study

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Strong majorities of Americans agree with the charge that the world’s top social networks are politically biased and exert too much influence over what users see, according to a survey released this month by Pew Research Center.

The survey of 5,107 U.S. adults finds that 82 percent believe social media companies “treat some news organizations differently than others,” 79 percent believe they do so to favor sources “whose coverage has a certain political stance,” and 62 percent think the companies “have too much control over the news people see.”

Notably, only 34 percent of respondents believe platforms favor certain news sources on the basis of “high reporting standards,” and just 18 percent believe they favor sources “whose coverage is politically neutral.”

Forty-eight percent respondents said the news posts they see via social platforms generally lean left-of-center, and respondents named “one-sided” and “inaccurate news” as their top two concerns with the issue.

“Republicans and Democrats disagree somewhat about which issues on social media are very big problems, especially when it comes to censorship and harassment,” Pew’s Elisa Shearer and Elizabeth Grieco observe. “Republicans and Republican leaners are more likely to see censorship of the news as a very big problem on social media (43 percent) than Democrats and Democratic leaners (30 percent). Democrats, on the other hand, are about twice as likely as Republicans to say that harassment of journalists is a very big problem (36 percent vs. 17 percent).”

“Previous Pew studies have found plummeting trust in social media companies among Americans,” Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari added. ”As Breitbart’s Sean Moran reported earlier this year, Americans’ trust in social media companies has fallen by 21 points from 2015 to 2019.”

All of America’s top social media platforms have come under fire for bias over the last few years.

Facebook has been criticized for suppressing and otherwise discriminating against many right-of-center pages and posts, and multiple analyses have found that Facebook’s algorithm changes instituted at the beginning of 2018 disproportionately impacted conservative politicians and websites. Earlier this year, an insider revealed that Facebook “deboosts” traffic to several mainstream conservative sites.

Dr. Robert Epstein, a research psychologist with the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, estimates that Google’s search results swung 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016 (potentially accounting for the Democrat nominee’s popular-vote margin of just under 2.9 million). Epstein also testified that he has identified “nine different blacklists Google maintains to suppress information worldwide.” Google-owned YouTube has also restricted videos from several prominent conservatives, such as Dennis Prager.

Twitter, meanwhile, holds the mere act of “misgendering” someone — i.e., referring to a user by his sex rather than his chosen “gender identity” — to be “hateful conduct,” yet has let stand violent and hateful tweets directed at conservatives. There have been a long series of bans and suspensions affecting non-violent, non-obscene tweets from right-of-center perspectives (including LifeSiteNews), and Twitter insiders have admitted to intentionally targeting conservative accounts and topics.

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Grandson of Guinness beer founder shares what must be done to save American freedoms

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By LSN

October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Os Guinness joins Jonathon Van Maren on this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show. Guinness is an author and commentator who has written over 30 books that have had a profound impact on the American political conversation. And yes, he is the great, great, great grandson of Arthur Guinness, the famous Dublin brewer. 

Guinness was born in China during World War II to medical missionaries. He was an unwilling witness to the Chinese Revolution of 1949, when Mao Zedong forced communism into China with his takeover. By 1951, Guinness was in England, completing his undergrad degree at the University of London. 

Van Maren and Guinness begin their discussion by talking about the notion of freedom, specifically in America. Guinness outlines the three challenges that freedom has, which he says the American Founders understood. The first is winning freedom (the American Revolution in 1776). The second is ordering it or giving it political framework (the Constitution in 1787). Finally, the third is sustaining it – which has been the challenge of centuries. Guinness says the best way to achieve sustainable freedom is through what he calls the Golden Triangle of Freedom. This states that freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, and faith then requires freedom. 

Each of these ideas is under assault in America (and around the world!). Guinness states that the chaos of the French Revolution is playing itself out in America today, and is threatening to prevail worldwide. “And that will be disastrous for freedom. That’s why it is so important that Americans realize where we are… and don’t throw away their heritage!”

Guinness ends with a little advice for young people in America, as they look to arm themselves for upcoming struggles. “We are responsible for our response to the times in which we live. And what does it mean to be faithful in this particular time.” He recalls the Apostle Paul’s statement about serving a purpose in this generation. Guinness states that’s what we’re called to do: Serve God’s purpose in our time. “Respond with all the faith, obedience, and courage, remembering that God is greater than all. Have faith in God and do all you can.” 

Van Maren’s conversation with Os Guinness is uplifting while dealing with the current state of American politics, freedom, and culture. Guinness has wisdom from his decades of writing, research, and experience. That wisdom needs to be shared far and wide. Be sure to listen to the episode and share with your friends and family.

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including SpotifySoundCloudYouTubeiTunes, and Google Play.

For a full listing of episodes, visit The Van Maren Show page here.

To receive an email when a new episode is uploaded, click here.

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ALERT: Senate GOP allows budget language sending $60 million to global abortion orgs

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Restoring and expanding the ban on foreign aid to abortion organizations was one of President Donald Trump’s earliest and most consequential pro-life moves, but Senate Republicans are poised to approve a Democrat budget amendment that would send millions of taxpayer dollars to some of the very groups that were supposed to be cut off.

Shortly after taking office in 2017, Trump not only reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which bars the United States’ $8.8 billion in foreign aid from being distributed to entities that perform abortions, but took the additional step of expanding it to groups that promote or discuss abortion.

Writing Tuesday at The Daily Wire, Conservative Partnership Institute senior policy director Rachel Bovard warned that Senate Republicans have not moved to quash an amendment by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, that would provide almost $60 million to U.S.-based organizations such as Pathfinder International, Population Council, Engender Health, and PATH, all of which list abortion as part of their core mission. 

Shaheen boasted in a September 30 press release that she also added funding to the United Nations Population Fund, from which the Trump administration withdrew in 2017 over its participation in China’s forced abortion regime.

But the language survived as the broader spending bill (for State Department appropriations and foreign operations) was reported out of the Republican-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee via voice vote (meaning individual lawmakers’ positions aren’t recorded). “Senate Republicans are apparently also fine with language in the bill’s report prioritizing funding toward ‘family planning/reproductive health,’” Bovard added, “phrases long deemed by the pro-life community to be synonymous with abortion.”

Bovard explained that the Shaheen amendment violates the broader agreement both parties reached in August that spending bills negotiated in September would contain “no poison pills, additional new riders, additional CHIMPS, or other changes in policy or conventions that allow for higher spending levels, or any non-appropriations measures unless agreed to on a bipartisan basis by the four leaders with the approval of the President.”

“Using the pro-life cause as an excuse to pass bad bills — while not intending to actually address any of their priorities — has become de rigueur for Republicans in power,” Bovard wrote. “Pro-lifers have to stop taking these assurances at face value. This is the same set of Republicans that had majorities in the House and Senate for two years, with a Republican in the White House, and managed to accomplish (or even to try to accomplish) approximately nothing on behalf of the pro-life cause.”

If the Shaheen language is not removed before the bill clears the Senate, it is likely to become law. Despite taking multiple executive actions to protect life, President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated he is unwilling to veto spending bills that contain abortion dollars.

Contact information for Senate Republican leadership

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Phone: (202) 224-2541
Email: Click Here

Majority Whip John Thune
Phone: (202) 224-2321
Email: Click Here

Click Here to find contact information for your senator.

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‘Wrongful birth’ award may spur UK hospitals to encourage abortion for Down syndrome

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

October 9, 2019 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — A mother, who said that she would have aborted her baby if she knew that he had Down syndrome, has been awarded financial compensation from the NHS, which could amount to £200,000.

Edyta Mordel, aged 33, pursued legal action against the NHS for 'wrongful birth' after medical staff allegedly failed to test her unborn baby for Down syndrome, and so deprived her of the opportunity to end his life through abortion.

Mordel's medical notes say she was "very upset and angry" when her son, Aleksander, was diagnosed after his birth in 2015. However, the hospital's ultrasound reports system recorded "Down's screening declined", showing that Mordel had been offered a screening process, and had refused it.

Mr Justice Jay, who presided over the 'wrongful birth' case, has now ruled that Mordel is entitled to a damages pay-out from the NHS trust. Mordel's lawyers have asserted that she should receive a pay-out sum larger than £200,000.

Eradicating Down Syndrome Babies

Mordel's Barrister, Coldagh Bradley QC, said that a prenatal test would have revealed a high chance of a Down syndrome diagnosis.

He said: "Miss Mordel would have been offered an abortion and her partner, Aleksander's father, Lukasz Cieciura, agreed they would have terminated the pregnancy."

Using an ultrasound, blood test and the mother's age, a prenatal combination test is carried out. This determines whether an unborn child is likely to have a chromosomal abnormality such as Down syndrome.

Prenatal testing is commonly used to eradicate babies with Down syndrome and other chromosomal conditions. In Iceland, almost 100% of babies with Down syndrome are aborted. Each year, on average, only two babies with Down syndrome are allowed to be born in Iceland.

Currently, in the UK, 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. The UK's 1967 Abortion Act also permits abortion until birth, if the unborn baby is suspected to possess to foetal anomaly such as Down syndrome.

SPUC Chief Executive, John Smeaton said: "The rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe has led to the pursuit for perfection, where babies with disability are being routinely targeted in the womb through a state funded eugenics programme. It is abhorrent to comprehend that this unthinkable, lethal discrimination prevails to such an extent in our nation's health policies."

What Are Wrongful Birth Lawsuits?

Wrongful birth lawsuits are a disturbing phenomenon that reinforce the view that the birth of a child with a disability is a harm for which one may be compensated. They also encourage the perception of the disabled as people whose existence should have been prevented.

Figures from 2017 reveal that NHS Litigation Authority paid £70 million to parents in 'wrongful birth' cases in five years. This huge financial liability is likely to put pressure on doctors to encourage screening rather than offer it as a neutral option. Parents who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or other conditions are already put under pressure by doctors to choose abortion. Actress and Down syndrome advocate Sally Phillips recently told a conference of medics that the current situation, where the attitudes of healthcare professionals towards the 'screening' process are intrinsically and subconsciously biased towards termination, was endorsing a form of eugenics.

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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Pope Francis: ‘Do I love God or dogmatic formulations?’

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By Doug Mainwaring

VATICAN CITY, October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – During his weekly general audience, Pope Francis today insinuated that Catholics who hold strongly to the orthodox teachings of the Church are ideologues and, like Saul of Tarsus, are in need of conversion.  

“Ideologues” who “desire the so-called ‘purity’ of the Church are attacking Christ,” said the pontiff.

Pope Francis recounted the story of St. Paul’s conversion in the Acts of the Apostles saying that up until that time, he was an ideologue who persecuted members of the early Church and that “fratricidal fury” compelled him.  

“The young Saul is portrayed as intransigent, that is, one who shows intolerance towards those who think differently from him,” he said. Saul “absolutizes his political or religious identity and reduces the other to a potential enemy to fight.”   

“For Saul, religion had turned into ideology: religious ideology, social ideology, political ideology,” he said. 

“The angry condition – because Saul was angry – and Saul's conflictual situation invites everyone to ask themselves: How do I live my life of faith? Am I going to meet others or am I against others?” asked Pope Francis.  

“Do I belong to the universal Church – with the good and the bad, all of us – or do I hold a selective ideology?” he continued. “Do I love God or dogmatic formulations?” 

Pope Francis added, “What is my religious life like? Does professing faith in God make me friendly or hostile towards those who are different from me?”  

“An attack against a member of the Church is an attack against Christ himself! And those who are ideologues because they desire the so-called ‘purity’ of the Church are attacking Christ himself.”

Pope Francis concluded: “Let us ask the Father to let us too, like Saul, experience the impact of his love that can only make a heart of stone a heart of flesh, capable of embracing ‘the same sentiments of Christ Jesus.’”

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” Jesus says in the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John. “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.”

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Evidence of Amazon indigenous infanticide scrubbed from Brazilian website

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October 9, 2019 (L'Espresso) — At the jam-packed press conference on Tuesday October 8 on the synod for the Amazon, the Swiss journalist Giuseppe Rusconi posed the following question:

"One of the leitmotifs of this synod is the representation of the Indian peoples as if they dwelt in the earthly paradise before original sin. They are lauded for their primitive purity and exalted for their harmonious relationship with nature. From them we are supposed to learn to coexist with the environment. However, still today, around twenty of the Amazonian peoples practice infanticide. And on a website of the Brazilian episcopal conference there appears a contribution in which this practice is justified. So I am asking if for you human rights have a universal application, or if they are valid for some and not for others."

The first to reply was one of the twelve "special guests" at the synod — on a par with Ban Ki-Moon, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Hans J. Schellnhuber  — the Filipina Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, special rapporteur at the United Nations on the rights of indigenous populations, who recognized that "not all the indigenous, the original peoples, are perfect." And she added: "Some have practices not consistent with human rights. We have discussed the question at length. In the declaration of the UN it is emphasized that, if states must respect the rights of the indigenous populations, the indigenous must act in such a way that their traditions may be in keeping with international law on human rights. The indigenous have said that they will seek to change certain traditions of theirs."

After her spoke Peruvian cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, archbishop of Huancayo, Jesuit, vice-president of the pan-Amazonian ecclesial network and co-president of the synod, who also recognized that "it's not all a bed of roses with the indigenous peoples." For which one cannot speak of "primitive purity, because that would mean disowning human nature," and yet "we must recognize their ancestral wisdom, because they have enriched this biome which Europe is using."

Then, however, the cardinal denied that the Amazonian populations practice infanticide: "I have never heard of it." And, taking off his headphones, he added that "those who make such statements must present documentary evidence." He did however observe that "every human life is sacred. If someone affirms that  such practices are possible, he is disowning the message of the Gospel. One must defend life always." And he stated: "I have been evangelized by the Indians, and they continue to evangelize me." At the end of the press conference, while conversing, Cardinal Barreto once again refused to believe that on a website of the Brazilian Church a statement has been published in defense of infanticide among the Indians.

But he was wrong. At dawn the following day, Rusconi put online on his blog "Rossoporpora" precisely that "documentary evidence" which Cardinal Barreto was demanding, and which he condensed as follows, in four points:

1. The Brazilian parliament is discussing the bill PL 1057/2007 by member of parliament Henrique Afonso, which aims to prohibit the practice of infanticide in indigenous areas. The proposal was approved by the chamber of deputies on August 26, 2015 with 361 for and 84 against. Now the senate is considering it. In the debate, which was rather lively, the universal rights of the human person recognized by the Brazilian constitution were contrasted with the rights of the Indian communities, in particular the most isolated, to preserve their practices and customs. The opposition to the bill was made up above all of anthropologists extreme in their devotion to Indian identity.

2. Among the best-known anthropologists in opposition to bill PL 1057/2007 is Rita Laura Segato of the University of Brasilia, whose statement before the human rights commission of the chamber of deputies can still be read on the website of the Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI), "organismo vinculado à Conferência de Bispos do Brasil." The title of Segato's hearing is: "Que cada povo trame os fios da sua história [That every people may weave the strands of its history]," the text of which states among other things: "What state is there today that presumes to legislate on how the indigenous peoples must protect their children? What authority does such a state have?"

3. That infanticide is a practice still in use among some indigenous peoples of the Amazon has been noted by the sociologist and anthropologist Giuseppe Bonazzi during a visit to the Consolata missionaries among the Yanomami people. Interviewed by "la Repubblica" on November 16 2010, Bonazzi said: "Among this people the frailest newborns, or those the mother cannot attend to because she is still occupied with the siblings born before, are not accepted and they die." And this is the opening of another article published on "Lettera 43" with the title "Will Brazil change the law that allows the indigenous to kill children?" "Some indigenous tribes in Brazil practice infanticide. And as strange as it may seem, Brazilian law permits them to do so. Now, however, the South American country is discussing a bill that, if approved, could make this practice unlawful. The debate is very heated. ... The journalist Cleuci de Oliveira has written an interesting analysis for 'Foreign Policy.' It must be said however that the issue concerns only a minority of the Brazilian tribes: according to the estimate of 'Foreign Policy,' only 20 groups out of about 300 practice it: among these are the Yanomami and the Suruwaha."

4. "O infanticídio indígena" is the object of numerous comments on the Brazilian legal website "Jus." One reads for example in the introduction to a statement of October 2017: "The traditional practice of 'indigenous infanticide' consists in the homicide of creatures undesired by the group, and is common to various Brazilian tribes." And in the conclusion: "In no way can the right to cultural diversity legitimize the violation of the right to life. Thus any attempt to justify the practice of infanticide cannot find support in any international legislation." Moreover, the Brazilian newspaper "O Globo" published on December 7 of 2014 the results of a survey on the Yanomami. The survey confirms that, when a child is born, the mother goes with the child into the forest, examines the child, and if he has a disability, normally returns home alone. Or: if there are twins, the mother acknowledges only one. The act of acknowledgement is symbolized by breastfeeding, and the child is then considered as a living being by the community.

* * *

That's all for the documentation published by Rusconi at dawn on Wednesday, October  9. Meanwhile, however, in Brazil someone has tried to run damage control.

And how? By removing from the website of the CIMI, the indigenist missionary organism "vinculado" with the Brazilian episcopal conference, none other than the text cited by Rusconi at point 2, meaning the statement of the anthropologist Rita Laura Segato to the human rights commission of the chamber of deputies, in defense of infanticide.

Today, in fact, this statement is no longer there. But there has been left on full display, on the same website of the CIMI, another article, entitled "Estudo contesta criminalização do infanticídio indígena," in which Segato, commenting on the essay of one of her fellow anthropologists, Marianna Holanda, calls the bill intended to ban infanticide "uma forma de 'calúnia' aos povos indígenas."

In any case, the twelve pages of Segato's statement against bill PL 1057/2007 are in the possession of Rusconi and of Settimo Cielo, photocopied before their disappearance from the website of the Conselho Indigenista Missionário of the Brazilian Church.

Published with permission from L'Espresso.

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Bishop Erwin Kräutler.
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Key bishop at Amazon Synod promotes women deacons as ‘first step’ to women priests

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A key organizer of the Amazonian Synod who favors a female diaconate for the region has said it may be the “first step” to ordaining women priests. 

In a scrum after Wednesday’s daily synod press briefing, Austrian-born Bishop Emeritus Erwin Kräutler of Xingu, Brazil, said that he supported the ordination of women. Asked by journalist Edward Pentin if that extended to women priests, Kräutler said “yes, logically,” and added that a female diaconate in the Amazon “may be a step to” achieving that goal.

“Many of the bishops [at the synod] are in favor of women deacons,” Kräutler asserted. 

As a missionary, Bishop Kräutler spent years in the Amazonian region defending the rights of indigenous people and was the principal author of the synod’s controversial working document [Instrumentum laboris].

The exchange with Edward Pentin was caught on video:

LifeSite sat down briefly with Bishop Kräutler as he was finishing post-press briefing interviews, to follow up on his thoughts on the Amazon synod as a “first step” to the ordination of women. Here is our exchange:

Diane Montagna: You spoke about the diaconate for women, given that the role of women is so important in the Amazon. You’re in favor of the priesthood for women.

Bishop Kräutler: Yes.

Will this be a beginning of a movement towardst this [a female priesthood] in the Synod, as you see it?

Maybe the ordination for women to be a deacon will be the first step. 

So, the ordination for women. How would that work, because Pope John Paul II wrote a document saying it can’t happen, and others have…

John Paul didn’t talk about deacons, only the presbyterate [priesthood].

But doesn’t the diaconate belong to the overall order of the priesthood. 

Yes. Of course. 

So, if a woman can’t become a priest, how can she become a deacon? Is this possible?

I guess it is possible. There were deacons in the first times of our Church – female deacons. 

But what kind… so you think this could be a beginning for ordaining women to the female priesthood. 

Exactly. I am convinced with that. 

Do you think the Holy Father agrees with you?

No one knows.

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Pope Francis | Eugenio Scalfari
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Pope’s favored interviewer claims Francis denies Christ’s divinity

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By Martin Barillas

ROME, October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Atheist Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari has claimed that Pope Francis does not believe that Jesus Christ is truly God and man.

The Pope has granted Scalfari numerous interviews throughout his pontificate, despite repeated claims from the Vatican press office that his reports are unreliable.

In La Repubblica newspaper on Wednesday, Scalfari wrote: “Those who have had the chance, as I have had different times, to meet him [Pope Francis] and speak to him with the greatest cultural confidence, know that Pope Francis conceives Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, a man, not God incarnate. Once incarnated, Jesus ceases to be a God and becomes a man until his death on the cross.” According to Scalfari, “When I happened to discuss these phrases, Pope Francis told me: ‘They are the definite proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even if he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not God at all.’”

EWTN news anchor Raymond Arroyo reacted on Twitter, writing that he finds the report “hard to believe.” However, he added, “Why does the Pope continue to grant interviews to an atheist who does not take notes and relies on his aged memory to reconstruct conversations?”

The Holy See Press Office’s director, Matteo Bruni, issued the following official response to Scalfari’s report: “As already stated on other occasions, the words that Dr. Eugenio Scalfari attributes in quotation marks to the Holy Father during conversations with him cannot be considered as a faithful account of what has actually been said, but rather represent a personal and free interpretation of what he has heard, as is quite evident from what has been written today about the divinity of Jesus Christ.”

The Catholic Church teaches “that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother: ‘What he was, he remained and what he was not, he assumed’, sings the Roman Liturgy. And the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom proclaims and sings: ‘O only-begotten Son and Word of God, immortal being, you who deigned for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, you who without change became man and were crucified, O Christ our God, you who by your death have crushed death, you who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us!’” (CCC 469)

A self-declared atheist, the 95-year-old Scalfari is a founder of La Repubblica and a one-time fascist who later became a libertarian and member of Italy’s national legislature. Scalfari has conducted several interviews with the pontiff. In March 2018, Scalfari claimed that the Pope told him that hell does not exist. La Repubblica claimed that Pope Francis had told him that the souls of those who do not go to heaven are annihilated. Francis allegedly said, “Souls are not punished,” and “Those who repent obtain God's forgiveness and go among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. There is no hell — there is the disappearance of sinful souls.” Annihilationism is considered a heresy by the Catholic Church.

At the time, the Vatican Press Office disputed Scalfari’s account, asserting that the Pope really does believe that hell exists and that “no quotation of the article should be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.” Media outlets have noted in the past that Scalfari uses neither a tape recorder nor takes notes during his interviews, and has admitted that he reconstructs conversations according to his memory. 

Following the report by the Italian journalist, Christopher Altieri of the UK-based Catholic Herald wrote: “Why on earth does Pope Francis still trust Eugenio Scalfari?” He called upon Francis to “disown not only the precise verbiage Scalfari reported in his piece, but the ideas foisted upon him therein—at least the ones that are manifestly heretical.” 

“The longer he does not,” Altieri wrote, “the stronger the case becomes for believing he cannot.”

While Pope Francis has not chosen to grant an audience to cardinals who have formally questioned his teachings on marriage and salvation, he has met with other controversial figures. Recently, he met with Fr. James Martin, a fellow Jesuit who has been notable for his advocacy to normalize homosexuality within the Church. The pope has not met with Cardinals Raymond Burke and Walter Brandmuller, for instance, who along with two now-deceased prelates published their dubia questions about Amoris Laetitia in 2016.

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100 babies saved so far during this 40 Days for Life campaign, leaders report

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The latest 40 Days for Life campaign is well underway, and the pro-life organization is reporting remarkable progress so far as it launches a new ad detailing the latest extremes supported by the abortion lobby.

40 Days for Life organizes round-the-clock prayer vigils outside of abortion facilities around the world, persistent displays to raise awareness that abortion is not only happening in a community, but that there are community members willing to oppose it. The organization says that since 2007, it has led to the prevention of over 16,000 abortions, the closing of over 100 abortion centers, and the quitting of almost 200 abortion workers.

On Monday, 40 Days for Life tweeted word that the latest campaign, which has only been going on for two weeks, just saved its hundredth baby from abortion:

The same day, 40 Days for Life unveiled a new ad it plans to air in select locations, framing Planned Parenthood as “out of touch” with women for backing abortion up until birth.

“Despite the scandal of selling body parts of aborted babies for profit, Planned Parenthood is now advocating for abortions beyond nine months, even as a woman is dilated and giving birth,” the ad says.

It goes on to reference the cheers that filled New York’s state Senate upon passing a law allowing virtually unlimited abortions, and plays a clip from an infamous 2013 hearing in which Planned Parenthood lobbyist Alisa Lapolt Snow admitted to Florida lawmakers that she “really [didn’t] know how to answer” how a baby delivered alive on a table following an abortion would be treated.

In the years since that testimony, the issue of infanticide has only intensified, with Virginia Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s infamous January comments about keeping babies with severe defects “comfortable” until the family decided whether to let them die, and national Democrats opposing legislation that would guarantee medical care to infants who survive abortions.

“Women deserve better choices,” the ad concludes. “Loving support and free resources are available to help bring your unplanned pregnancy to life.”

“Planned Parenthood's abortion extremism might be popular in Hollywood and with powerful lobbyists in Washington, D.C,” 40 Days president Shawn Carney said. “But they should have to answer for their barbaric support of abortion and infanticide in the neighborhoods where they operate.”

Full details on how to find and volunteer for 40 Days for Life vigils can be found on the organization’s website.

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Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

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Grandma tells court why she went undercover to expose Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence

SAN FRANCISCO, California, October 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In her first-ever public testimony, Sandra Merritt told a San Francisco jury Friday why she took part in an undercover operation that exposed Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in aborted baby body parts.

Testifying in the Planned Parenthood Federation civil suit against the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the 66-year-old grandmother said she believed Planned Parenthood was committing such crimes as partial-birth abortion, battery against women by changing abortion procedures in order to procure more intact organs, and harvesting organs from babies born alive during abortions.

“I thought it was horrific. I thought it needed to come to the light and for people to know the truth in order to make an informed choice,” she told the court.

An investigator with CMP, Merritt is one of five defendants Planned Parenthood Federation of America and 10 affiliates are suing for damages they claim resulted from the undercover videos CMP released in 2015.

The Planned Parenthood suit accuses Merritt, CMP project lead David Daleiden, Albin Rhomberg, Troy Newman, and Gerardo Adrian Lopez – as well as CMP and its alter-ego BioMax – of committing 15 different crimes including wiretapping, conspiracy, trespassing, breach of contract, and violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute.

Rhomberg and Newman, president of Operation Rescue, were CMP founding board members along with Daleiden, and Lopez was an undercover investigator in the 30-month long covert operation.

In an ongoing criminal prosecution, Merritt and Daleiden are also charged with 14 felony counts of illegal taping of confidential information in violation of California’s anti-eavesdropping law.

The civil defense team is arguing that their clients violated no laws while carrying out the undercover investigation. Additionally, they argue that the recording done in the state of California fell under a provision of California law that allows for recording without consent specifically for the purpose of uncovering evidence of violent crimes against a person. 

They argue their clients had reason to believe that Planned Parenthood and organ harvesting companies such as Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) and StemExpress were committing such crimes.

Baby body parts harvesting not relevant: judge

However, the defense is severely impeded by U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick’s pre-trial order that abortion and fetal tissue procurement are not relevant to the trial. He is excluding testimony concerning whom Daleiden consulted as he began the undercover project, as well as evidence uncovered in government investigations spurred by the release of the CMP videos.

The groundbreaking videos, which show high-level Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the price of body parts and admitting they change the abortion procedure to harvest intact organs, outraged the public and sparked both U.S. House and Senate investigations, leading the two government bodies to refer criminal charges to the FBI and Department of Justice. An update on those investigations is expected soon. 

Orrick, who has known ties to Planned Parenthood, told the jury in his opening statements that the case “is not about the truth of whether plaintiffs profited from the sale of fetal tissue or otherwise violated the law in securing tissue for those programs.”

“Those issues are a matter of dispute between the parties in the world outside this courtroom,” he said.

Pretext necessary to gather evidence of violent crimes

Merritt was able to testify that she and CMP investigators believed Planned Parenthood and organ harvesting companies were committing violent felonies.

On cross examination by her lawyer Horatio Mihet, Merritt said she had known of Planned Parenthood and its “eugenicist founder Margaret Sanger” for decades, and had taken a small part in a Live Action project that revealed Planned Parenthood did not offer mammograms as it claimed.

Daleiden, who also previously worked for Live Action, approached Merritt in 2013 with information about the organ harvesting industry, including a 2000 20/20 undercover exposé showing illegal fetal organ harvesting and profit in the abortion industry, Merritt told the court.

He also showed her the 2012 Stanford study that used fetal human hearts supplied by StemExpress in a Langendorff perfusion technique. Dr. Theresa Deisher, among others, told Daleiden the hearts had to be harvested from living babies, which Merritt described as “horrific.”

“Having two daughters and caring about how young women were being treated, used, abused, lied to, and criminal activity was – seemed apparent by the information that he was giving to me, there was nothing else that I could do” but take part in the operation, the jury heard.

Planned Parenthood lawyer Sharon Mayo repeatedly asked Merritt if using false ID to pass herself off as Susan Tennenbaum, CEO of BioMax, was lying, misrepresentation, and making false statements.

Merritt consistently responded the pretext was needed to investigate what they suspected was criminal activity.

Mayo asked Merritt if she told attendees at the National Abortion Federation she was recording them, to which Merritt replied, “We did not tell people that we suspected of doing criminal activities that we were recording them, that is correct.”  

That prompted a rebuke from Orrick, who told the clerk to strike “the descriptive characterization” from the record, and Merritt to “just go straight to the question.”

‘We’re not going into the truth of abortion procedures’

Orrick’s pretrial ruling restricting evidence led to some highly-charged moments. 

When Mihet asked Merritt what she knew about Holly O’Donnell, a former fetal tissue procurement technician with StemExpress who is now deceased, Orrick ordered the jury to leave.

Witnesses can “testify as to what their reasonable state of mind was with respect to the specific defense” and “about their explanation that they are journalists,” he then told counsel. 

“But we’re not going into the truth of abortion procedures. I’ve excluded that. We’re not going into the many disputes that the parties have outside of this.” 

As is seen on CMP videos and revealed in testimony in the criminal case, O’Donnell told Daleiden that while waiting to procure baby organs at a Planned Parenthood Mar Monte abortion center, her supervisor touched the heart of an aborted baby with an instrument and the heart began beating. 

She also told Daleiden she had to harvest the brain of a baby aborted at 25 weeks gestation by cutting through the baby’s face.

Ruling ‘sanitizes case’ and denies pro-lifers fair trial: lawyer

Orrick’s pretrial ruling specified Daleiden could testify that he had conversations with O’Donnell that supported his “reasonable belief arguments,” but disallowed testimony about O’Donnell’s opinions because the plaintiffs “had no opportunity to cross-examine her and her purported beliefs are hotly disputed and highly prejudicial.”

Charles LiMandri, lawyer for Daleiden, argued to no avail that Orrick’s excluding this type of evidence would be “sanitizing the case to the point where the defendants would be, with due respect to the Court, completely deprived of a fair trial.”

O’Donnell’s revelations, as well as Dr. Deisher’s testimony that hearts used on a Langendorff apparatus had to be harvested from living babies, were allowed in the criminal trial, Limandri said.

“[The] fact that there are – fetal hearts had to be beating, that’s a large part of [Daleiden’s] reasonable belief that babies are born alive. So I never understood your precluding us from getting into that,” said LiMandri, lead counsel for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund.

The jury “has to know the source and they have to know the basis” of Daleiden and his team’s beliefs, he argued.

Judge nixes video of abortionist as ‘prejudicial’

There were also contentious discussions before the jurors entered the courtroom over the defense’s request to play raw video footage Daleiden and Merritt secretly recorded at a lunch with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, then PPFA medical director. 

The first video CMP released shows Nucatola describing how she would “crush below” and “crush” above the baby’s thorax in an abortion to leave organs intact and admitting she would the change baby’s position to breech, a description of partial-birth abortion, in order to harvest the baby’s head intact.

Jenna Tosh, CEO of Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, testified Thursday and Friday morning that when the video was released, she felt frightened for the safety of Planned Parenthood staff.

Before she took the stand, the defense argued that Tosh should be prohibited from talking about her alleged fears and concerns about the public’s reactions to the video. Orrick denied the motion. 

After Tosh testified, Paul Jonna, who is representing Lopez, argued that the video should be shown to the jury to demonstrate it contains no call for violence or criminal behavior. He said to exclude it was unfair to the defense. Orrick was unmoved.

“This clip is going into evidence that I have excluded in pretrial and it is – it’s prejudicial, it’s time wasting, and I’m not going to allow it,” Orrick said.

Mihet then argued the video clip would show the jury that Nucatola made no effort to change the subject or lower her voice, as wait staff came and went, and that there were people in the restaurant nearby who could overhear the conversation, and that “for context, you have to show the conversations.”

Orrick said he would rule Tuesday whether the defendants could show the video. 

Judge allows testimony of alleged violence of pro-lifers

In its initial complaint, Planned Parenthood made sweeping claims about the high quality of its services. After the discovery phase of the case, when the defendants asked for all the medical malpractice suits against Planned Parenthood, every discipline action against one of its doctors, and all deficiency reports, Planned Parenthood agreed not to talk about the quality of its services. 

However, Planned Parenthood appears to be getting around this by having the witnesses talk about it, sandwiched in with their other testimony.

Plaintiff lawyer Amy Bomse spent a great deal of time Thursday asking Tosh about all the beneficial things Planned Parenthood does.

Planned Parenthood continues to make claims of “a history of violence” in the pro-life movement. Their allegations of a spike in “harassment, threats, and violence” after the release of the CMP videos were shown to be baseless during the discovery phase. 

But Orrick allowed questioning on the alleged violence of the pro-life movement as part of Tosh’s “state of mind,” even though it had no basis in fact. 

On cross-examination by Catherine Short, lawyer for Rhomberg, Tosh admitted that Planned Parenthood’s count of “security incidents,” includes tweets, letters, and phone calls critical of Planned Parenthood, as well as incidents unconnected with opposition to abortion. 

Tosh also admitted that the media often attribute violence against Planned Parenthood to pro-lifers, even contrary to the evidence. For example, an arson attributed to pro-lifers was later proven to be perpetrated by an estranged boyfriend of a Planned Parenthood employee.

Another difficulty for the defense is that Planned Parenthood includes or discards claims as it benefits them. The plaintiffs originally claimed the defendants were liable for Planned Parenthood’s loses after it took down its website after learning of a possible hack. When pressed for evidence, they dropped the claim, resurrected it when the discovery phase was over, then dropped it again.

The trial, which will run until at least November 8, resumed Tuesday with defendants Lopez and Rhomberg scheduled to testify.

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Riccardo Cascioli

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Even the Church acts like an atheist when it comes to climate change

Riccardo Cascioli
By

Editor’s note: This article is the second part of a series. Click here to read the first part.

October 9, 2019 (La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana) — Stop worrying, the climate has always changed!

Our investigation continues into how the incessant propaganda campaign on climate change has distorted the public’s perception of reality. The first victim of climate change is nature, or to be exact, what we think about nature. We have been led to believe that nature is static and its equilibrium is destroyed exclusively by human presence and activity. We are under the illusion that no change is the norm, like a frozen image that persists to infinity. But this is not the case. Nature is dynamic, it is constantly changing, there is never a season exactly the same as another, and the climate has always changed. We are being brainwashed by a vision rooted in atheism. Regrettably, the Catholic Church has now joined in the chorus.

The first victim of the incessant propaganda on climate change is nature, or more precisely, what we think about nature. We live in terror of every small sign of change in the weather because collectively we are convinced that nature is static: that it has a definite point of equilibrium which humans — by their presence and activity — have knocked off balance. But climate change, far from being a new phenomenon, the consequence of human iniquity and a harbinger of unimaginable catastrophes, is normality.

Without even taking into account, the five ice ages that characterise the history of the earth well before human beings, just in our era there have been at least four glacial periods (marking significant glacier expansion) interspersed with interglacial periods (lasting 10–12 thousand years). The current era counts as one of these and is approximately 10,700 years old to date. But even interglacial periods are not uniform: just referring to relatively recent history, climate historians recognise periods of warming at the time of the Roman Empire and in the Middle Ages (incidentally named “optimum”), and periods of cooling. The most relevant record noted between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, was referred to as the “little ice age.” The mid-nineteenth century saw the beginning of a new warming period (still in action), which in the last 160 years has produced an increase in average temperatures between 0.8 and 1°C.

But even this latest period of warming is not linear: an increase in global temperatures on the ground between 1850 and 1878 (+0.5°C) is followed by a phase of decrease (in 1911, -0.2°C compared to 1850) and then a new increase until 1945 (+0.5°C compared to 1850). This is followed by a new cooling period that lasts until 1976, when the temperature is just 0.1°C higher than that of 1850. Yet, we recall that in the mid-1970s there were continuous alarms about global cooling. Nonetheless, the temperature started to rise again until 1998 (+0.85°C). Since 1998, variations are minimal and despite constant alarms about the hottest months and years ever, the temperatures have substantially remained stable.

Even if no research on climate cycles existed, we should all know that seasons vary from direct experience; that within a specific climatic zone, there are continuous variations and sometimes extreme events. Thinking about how wines are classified by their year of harvest affirms that each season is a story in itself.

Yet today, the continuous campaigns on global warming drive us to pretend that nature is invariable. If the news informs us that this week the temperature is higher than the seasonal average, everyone panics: we will be roasted, we will be submerged by water. But these news reports, intended to create alarm, do not say that the seasonal average is only a calculated statistic which does not correspond to what the temperature should be.

Leaving aside the debate on how much the increase in temperatures is due to natural cycles and how much to human activity — for which there is no definitive proof — the fact remains: we no longer consider that nature is dynamic. We witness public events and major political initiatives against climate change, even though we know that climate change is the norm. Proposals which would have sounded absurd in the recent past and considered worthy of psychiatric treatment today are taken seriously and considered the most important issues facing humanity.

This dramatic distortion of how we perceive reality — clearly the intended outcome of those manoeuvring the “climate” theme — is undoubtedly facilitated by the fact that people are less in contact with nature. In Europe, for example, about 75% of the population live in urban realities, practically divorced from any relationship with nature. Above all the younger generations — born and raised in environments where any type of fruit and vegetable is available all year round and food is already cut and ready to consume at the supermarket — lack direct knowledge of natural cycles and what are the basic laws of nature.

Yet, there is an aspect that remains constant in the relationship between people and the climate which is linked to how people view the world and their destiny. A quote from a sermon by St. Augustine from the fourth century explains this very acutely: “See how things are. We live in bad times. Also, our fathers deplored having to live in bad times and the fathers of our fathers. No one has ever liked the times they have had to live in. But those who age, miss the old days. Every year for the most part we say, when we feel cold: ‘It has never been so cold’. Or we say: ‘It has never been so hot.’ Bad times! But are these times, connected to the movement of the sun,  really that bad?”

In the past scientists — mostly Catholics — studied climate change by observation to try and understand the laws of nature, so that methods to adapt and protect human communities could be improved. We recall for example the abbot and scientist Antonio Stoppani (1824–1891) who, in his most famous work — Il Bel Paese — linked the retreat of the Alpine glaciers to the warming of the second half of the nineteenth century. He wrote a description of the event in his attempt to explain the phenomenon from a scientific point of view. He raised no alarm nor saw cause for concern that the Alpine snows were melting, probably because not long had passed since the Mont Blanc glaciers were so extensive they threatened the habitations in the valleys below.

In 1881, Stoppani gave a highly successful lecture at the Lincei  Academy, “On the current regression of glaciers in the Alps.” At the conclusion, when King Umberto of Savoy, present at the lecture, showed concern for developments, Stoppani told him, “Don’t worry, providence will take care of it.” Rather than fatalism, he showed a profound knowledge of reality. Not without reason today, climate alarmism and the claim to be able to regulate the temperature of the earth as if we hold a thermostat in our hands, coincides with the cancellation of God from history and is substituted with the presumption that man is the master of the cosmos and history. If there is any novelty and real change of particular note, it is that even members of the Church embrace this atheistic view.

Published with permission from La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana.

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'To Those Who Say' pro–drag queen ad from Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente Thrive / YouTube
Elise Ehrhard

Opinion ,

Major health insurer releases pro–drag queen ad, tells parents ‘too bad’

Elise Ehrhard
By Elise Ehrhard

October 9, 2019 (NewsBusters) — For decades, the left has successfully promoted the increased sexualization of children by portraying opponents as somehow mean or intolerant. In this latest volley, those who see problems with a sexualized man dressed as a woman reading to children are once again criticized as just disliking people who are different or "too much." A drag queen reading to children is the same as an elderly woman who dresses her best or a male healthcare worker showing a softer side, in a new commercial by health insurance provider Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente promoted drag queen story hour in its recent healthcare ad, titled "To Them We Say." The ad begins with a voiceover announcing, "There are those who will say that you are too..." It then shows various positive images of people that some might unfairly call "too fat," "too skinny," "too old," etc. The ad continues along in this uplifting vein until it shows a drag queen reading and dancing for laughing children. The voiceover intones someone saying, "...too much." The drag queen performing for kids is meshed between scenes of healthcare workers, army soldiers, judges and a fashionable elderly woman, among others.

The ad ends with the voiceover telling the viewer, "...to them we say 'too bad.' At Kaiser Permanente, we believe everybody deserves the right to thrive."

According to The Drum:

In 'To Them We Say' from national healthcare titan Kaiser Permanente, the brand's message of Thrive is demonstrated through a series of vignettes that feature individuals unapologetically defying unfortunate societal perceptions. Whether it's a brazen elderly fashionista, a trio of minority cowgirls, or a man gleefully dressed in drag, this spot stands to prove that there's nothing healthier than a strong sense of self.

With the help of the American Library Association, drag queen story hours have been invading local communities, often against the communities' wishes. Children at these story hours have been exposed to convicted pedophilestaught twerking, and placed in sexually suggestive positions with drag queens for photo-ops. One drag queen who participated in a story hour even admitted in front of his local city council that it was a form of "grooming."

This is corporate advertising once again soft-pedaling a radical left-wing sexual agenda by integrating it into what seem to be benign, everyday advertisements. Kaiser Permanente has a long history of contributing to liberal causes, like GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and National Urban League.

To all those parents and taxpayers who are fighting this latest insidious form of child sexualization, Kaiser Permanente literally says, "Too bad." Apparently, the health insurance company thinks sexually grooming children is just another way for adults to "thrive."

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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Alex Schadenberg Alex Schadenberg Follow Alex

Opinion

Trudeau promises further expansions of Canada’s euthanasia law

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By Alex Schadenberg

October 9, 2019 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) — On September 11, a Québec court struck down the provision in Canada's euthanasia (MAiD) law requiring that a person be terminally ill to qualify for death by lethal injection.

Québec court expands euthanasia law by striking down the terminal illness requirement.

The court decided that requiring that a person's "natural death must be reasonably foreseeable" was unconstitutional and they gave the government 30 days to appeal the decision, knowing that Canada was in the middle of a federal election.

I have stated that this court decision may also extend euthanasia to people for psychological reasons alone. Canada's euthanasia law states that a person qualifies for death by lethal drugs if their:

illness, disease or disability or that state of decline causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable.

Therefore the requirement that the person's "natural death be reasonably foreseeable" limited euthanasia for psychological reasons to terminally ill people. Since the court struck down this poorly worded safeguard, will this expand euthanasia to people with psychological issues alone?

In a televised debate on French TV network TVA, among political party leaders Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Lib), Andrew Scheer (CPC), Jagmeet Singh (NDP) and Yves-François Blanchet (BQ), Trudeau stated that he would not appeal the Québec court decision that struck down the "terminal illness" requirement and that he would craft a more permissive MAiD regime in the 6 months period ordered by the Court.

Similarly, the other party leaders except Scheer stated they were in favour of a more permissive MAiD regime.

Scheer stated he would appeal the decision and would convene the Parliament to craft a revised MAiD regime.

Althia Roj, reporting for the Huffington post, confirms my report and also confirms my belief that the Liberals designed the law for expansion:

The law had been purposefully designed initially as restrictive, he (Trudeau) suggested, as said he expected it would keep expanding as time and norms shifted. "We understand that society evolves."

The recent euthanasia death of Alan Nichols, a physically healthy man who was living with chronic depression, has led one family to ask how he could have died by euthanasia. As the family seeks to find justice in the death of Alan, will this become the new norm in Canada?

Since the deadline to appeal is during the federal election, only Justice Minister David Lametti (Lib) (who voted against C-14 because it was not permissive enough) can appeal the decision.

By not appealing the Québec court decision they are in fact deciding to expand the scope of Canada's euthanasia law.

The Liberal government goes back on a promise.

The government announced that a five-year review of the euthanasia law will begin in June 2020. Trudeau announced, in the French debate, that he will ignore the input of Canadians and impose a more permissive euthanasia regime, soon after the election. So much for democracy.

In March I published an article explaining that, as of December 31, 2018, there had been 7949 assisted deaths in Canada, since legalization. The number of assisted deaths increased by more than 50% in 2018 from 2704 reported assisted deaths in 2017 to 4235 reported assisted deaths in 2018.

I will not tell you how to vote, but the leaders' debate in French established a clear indication for Canadian voters.

Published with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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A child performs at a drag show in the new CBC documentary 'Drag Kids' Twitter / screenshot
Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Pedophilia advocate admits conservatives are right: Yes, kid drag shows are sexual

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By Jonathon Van Maren

October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Back in June, Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire wrote a savage column titled “Now the Left is Normalizing Pedophilia Right in Front of Our Eyes.” The growing phenomenon of so-called “drag kids,” he pointed out, is normalizing the sexualization of children, with “the ‘drag kid’ who posed with a naked man, and the ‘drag kid’ who danced at a gay bar while men tossed money at him” being two of many prominent examples. Most recently, one of the drag queens at Drag Queen Story Hour performed a stripping dance for children. Yeah, you read that right.

Walsh, of course, received immediate pushback, with some progressives even accusing conservatives who had the gall to condemn this public grooming of being the weird ones. There’s nothing sexual about this at all, they lied, and thus anyone who sees something sexual about stripper dances, posing with naked adults, and gyrating in outfits modeled after sexually provocative adult clothing is the one who should be ashamed for even thinking that this is inappropriate. It doesn’t matter how obviously grotesque the displays get—progressives will defend them. They’re all in, and they’re betting the kids.

It gets worse. Two days ago, I spotted a tweet from renowned radical feminist Julie Bindel, who has recently found herself a constant target of transgender activists for her refusal to cede the word “woman” to biological men (Bindel has not only received threats of physical violence, but trans activists—biological men—have swarmed her recent events). Bindel had posted an article titled “Desmond is truly amazing—and hot!” with the comment, “Here is the founder of the Paedophile Information Exchange Tom O’Carroll (who I interviewed 4 years ago—he made my blood run cold) celebrating child drag acts.”

Desmond, for those of you who don’t recall, is an 11-year-old child drag queen, and his performances are all the rage in the LGBT community at the moment. Tom O’Carroll is a British pro-pedophilia advocate, who was convicted and imprisoned for distribution of child pornography as well as multiple sexual offenses against children. His 1980 book Paedophilia: The Radical Case argues that adult-child sexual relationships should be normalized, and describes his own sexual experiences with children. 

Pedophilia, O’Carroll says (and he has had support from GLBT pioneers like Richard Green), is an orientation like gay or straight, and thus there are no moral grounds for preventing people like him from finding sexual fulfillment. “I am not interested in why I am a paedophile,” he wrote, “any more than others are interested in why they are ‘normal.’”

I’m not going to link to his disgusting blog, but here is how O’Carroll—who, again, has been advocating for the normalization of child-adult sexual relationships for decades—sees the drag kid phenomenon:

Let’s face it, when a pretty young boy tells the world he is gay and dances sensuously in front of grown men, wearing vampish dresses and makeup; when “she” strips off items of clothing or goes on stage scantily clad right from the off; when dollar bills are accepted as “tips” from an audience apparently wild with excitement; when all this is going on we are getting far more than just a celebration of gender diversity or an innocent display of precocious performance talent.

And that’s great. It is wonderful that a rare niche has been found in the modern, developed world within which at least a few kids can truly be themselves, in ways that deny neither their gender feelings nor their sexuality. Being a drag queen, or a drag princess if you will, puts it right out there, in the open for all to see. It says, loud and proud, “I am a sexy kid, with sexy feelings. It’s totally cool for grown-ups to get turned on by me. I love it. That’s why I do this stuff. It’s great. It’s fun. It’s me!”

Panicky conservatives, needless to say, spin it differently, desperate as they are to pretend that kids have no erotic dimension, or at least none that is self-generated. In their telling, performances such as Desmond’s and those of fellow artists such as “Queen Lactacia” (Nemis Quinn Mélançon-Golden) are a travesty in the worst sense: these are kids, they claim, who are being “sexualised” by exploitative adults hell bent on corrupting their supposed natural innocence.

It isn’t just conservatives who recognize these drag performances for what they are. Chillingly, pedophilia advocates do as well. In fact, O’Carroll goes so far as to call out those denying the sexual nature of these performances and points out why he believes they are doing so:

So why all the denial? Why the coy insistence that kids’ drag performance has nothing to do with their sexuality? Hypocrisy, basically. For decades now, gay politics has revolved around respectability, and that has meant aping hetero-normativity: gay couples with committed relationships, marriage, and parenthood, have become the promoted model; the old, carefree “promiscuity” of the gay life is frowned upon (if still a reality for many) and any cross-generational sexual contact with youth is now far more taboo than it ever was in the “bad old days” when homosexuality was a discretely practised underground phenomenon.

Hypocrisy is detestable for its dishonesty; but on the other hand it works. Politically, it makes sense. Denial of the sexual element in kids’ drag performances has recently resulted in them being perceived as on the “respectable” side of the gender revolution, despite all the excitable right-wing huffing and puffing. While It cannot have been much fun for the Napoles family to be subjected to official investigation for child abuse, it is now becoming clear that they have gained a measure of support from the authorities.

O’Carroll’s comments don’t need much analysis. Yes, he mocks conservatives—but that’s because he thinks we’re backwards, oppressive prudes who want to shut down events with the potential of assisting him in pushing his cause to the mainstream. In fact, he is giddy that thus far, polite society appears to be willing to let Desmond’s parents get away with enabling their son in this awful fashion. He defiantly agrees with what Matt Walsh wrote in his column a couple of months ago—but says that this is a good thing. 

Walsh is right. Pedophilia is being normalized right in front of us—and that is being celebrated by activists who believe that this is a step in the right direction.

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

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Manaus, Amazon / Brazil - August 06, 2011: Indigenous man making body paintings on a man at a Dessana indigenous community on a river island near from Manaus city. shutterstock.com
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Synod presentations included call for ‘new paths’ and ‘enculturated formation’ for priesthood 

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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.

Tuesday, October 8

I find it impossible to be sad here, especially on a sunny morning. Not for nothing is it called Roma Eterna: the city is ancient, and yet it pulses with life. Umbrella pines march down the center of Via Gregorio VII, traffic rushes by constantly, and Romans stroll along in quilted jackets because for them 75℉ is chilly.

After Mass I dropped by a cafe around the corner for a croissant and cappuccino consumed at the counter to avoid the table charge. Also, it’s a work day. In cities and towns across Italy men and women spend five minutes in such cafes on their way to work. It’s “Buon giorno, ragazzi! Cappuccino. Have you seen the latest on Netflix? Arrivaderci!” and they’re gone, their places taken briefly by others. 

Across from my window there’s a carved medallion of St. Catherine of Alexandria on the peach-colored wall. She’s holding a book and clouds of smoke billow around her. Such wall medallions and paintings are all over Rome, reminding me that whatever happens at the synod, and however casual this generation of Romans about their religion, this was, is, and ever shall be a Catholic city.

The presser was, as usual, at 1:30 in the afternoon. Today’s line-up was Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication; Fr. Giacomo Costa, S.J., the secretary of the Commission for Information; Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, the Filipina spokeswoman of the United Nations on the rights of indigenous peoples; Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, SJ, the Archbishop of Huancayo in Peru; and a Brazilian lay Franciscan named Moema Maria Marques de Miranda. The moderator was again Cristiane Murray, the Deputy Director of the Vatican Press Office.

The throng of journalists included Michael Voris and his team, Robert Royal for EWTN, Edward Pentin of National Catholic Register, Austen Ivereigh for Commonweal, and my LifeSiteNews colleague Diane Montagna.  

First to speak was Paolo Ruffini. He gave an overview of the presentations made that morning at the synod. They included a perceived need for an “encultured formation” for clergy and laypeople; the role of laypeople in ministry, which might include lay “vocations”; “new paths” for ordination; “integral Christian ecology”; the importance of “evangelization transcending colonialism”; the idea that Christ Himself is an “Indian”; and concerns that Amazonian indigenous are “second-class Catholics” because they do not have regular access to the Eucharist. 

Ruffiini also highlighted the concept of “the visiting Church” versus “a Church that is present” and the idea that the Amazonian aborigines need a “constant presence” of the Church. He also mentioned the reality of the Pentecostal Church being present, which further highlights the “lack of presence” of the Catholic Church in the jungle. 

Fr. Giacomo Costa, SJ made it clear that no debate had taken place, let alone decisions. Synod participants had just made their statements, one after the other. He added that there had been a focus on young people, who suffer when they move to cities, losing their traditions. Costa, too, mentioned access to the Eucharist as a concern, talking about “Eucharistic presence” as well as the need for an enculturated aboriginal Church. He noted that there had also been statements about human rights being linked to environmental issues, a connection mentioned also in Laudato Si’.   

Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz was the next to speak. She is an expert on aboriginal communities and took part in drafting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). She discussed how environmental damage caused by industries such as mining hurt Amazonian people, but also highlighted UNDRIPs statement that indigenous peoples have the right to teach their religion. 

Next Cardinal Barreto, vice-president and founder of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM) said that it was important to realize how big the Amazonian region is, i.e. 7.5 million kilometres (4.7 million miles). While paying tribute to missionary martyrs of the past, he said there were also “shadows” in the Church’s history in the region. 

“The Gospel cannot be imposed,” he said. “It is an invitation.” 

The cardinal also stated that we must “recognize the ancestral wisdom” of the Amazonian tribes, and declared that he had been evangelized by the natives and continued to be evangelized by them. Apparently what impressed him was their ability to overcome linguistic differences among them to agree to protect the forests and also that one had told him that “Hope never ends.” 

Barreto also passed along an Amazonian compliment to Pope Francis; apparently indigenous people had said, “Politicians have no time to listen to us … However, Francis our brother has time to listen to us.”  

He too praised Pope Francis, saying that Jorge Bergoglio had taken on the identity of St. Francis, the first Christian to love all of creation and who recognized the Earth as our mother. 

Finally, Moema Maria Marques de Miranda, an expert on “the Church and mining” went full Greta Thunberg, saying that the synod is taking place at an “urgent moment.” She said that Pope Francis understands this feeling of urgency and the possibility of the destruction of the planet. 

We have treated the world like a machine, Marques said, but it is actually composed of interdependent systems. Everything we do has an impact on everything, and the aboriginal peoples can teach us how better to care for the earth. The lay Franciscan said that when St. Francis of Assisi recognized Earth as our mother, he recognizes that the Earth “governs.”

Miranda linked Greta Thunberg with Pope Francis, saying that they were both from “outside the center,” Francis because, as he said in his first greetings from the papal balcony, he comes “from the ends of the world” and Greta because she has autism. Miranda thinks it is not a coincidence that we get home from both of these “ends of the world” figures. 

Then it was time for the journalists, and the most exciting question of the day came from an Italian-speaking Swiss named Giuseppe Rusconi. He objected to Cardinal Barreto’s suggestion that we have much to learn from “pure” Amazonian “ancient wisdom,” given that “about 20” indigenous peoples still practise infanticide. Barreto was shocked – shocked – that such a thing could be said and insinuated that the charge was racist for it “indicated a situation of savagery.” 

Barreto’s use of the word “savagery” was perhaps unwise, for two reasons: first, journalists have been ticking off people for racistly using similar words of Amazonians, and second, some Amazonians really do still practice infanticide, as Tauli-Corpuz did not deny. So do the world’s abortionists, by the way, so it’s not like we can congratulate our non-Amazonian selves. But meanwhile I had my next story for the day. 

A note on linguistic accuracy: Panelists speak in the official Vatican language they know best, and almost everyone listens to simultaneous translations over headphones. These are patchy at best, for simultaneous translation is hard, especially when having to translate Italian, then Spanish, then French or English. Does the Vatican Press Office offer transcriptions of all proceedings? No, it does not.  

Luckily for me, Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz spoke in English, but naturally Cardinal Barreto spoke Spanish. Thus, as soon as I got home, I contacted my Spanish-speaking colleague Martin Barillas. He recorded my recording and wrote out a translation while I transcribed the thoughts of Tauli-Corpuz. 

While I was typing at the open window, occasionally looking up at the medallion of St. Catherine across street, an object whizzed through the window and hit my right hand. It rolled under the bed, and I picked it up. It looked like a wrinkled unripe olive. There are no trees around, so I was bemused. Another green missile hit my desk, and I stared suspiciously at the opposite windows. No-one. 

Eventually however, I lifted my gaze to the bumpy red clay roof and glimpsed two mischievous boy faces just before they disappeared. 

Vi vedo!” I yelled and had a good laugh. Boys are still boys, thank God, at least in Rome. 

We don’t actually need people from “the ends of the world” to teach us about life and hope. They’re around us, wherever we are.  

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Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

The Pulse

TV networks to air commercial depicting menstruating men and boys

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Several TV networks have agreed to air an underwear commercial portraying a surreal world where men and boys menstruate.  

Titled “MENstruation,” the ad for “Period-Proof Underwear” opens with an anguished young teenage boy sheepishly telling his dad, “I think I got my period.”  

Dad later hugs him and tells him, “It’s just part of growing up.”

Many of the nine rapid-fire vignettes in the one-minute, 20-second ad are jarring: a man rolls over in bed, revealing blood-stained sheets; in a public bathroom, a man passes a tampon to another beneath a toilet stall partition; and a man walks through a locker room with a tampon string dangling from his briefs. In one, as a young man and woman suggestively kiss, he stops to say, “I’m on my period.”

“Me too,” she replies.

As the commercial closes, “If we all had them, maybe we’d be more comfortable with them,” appears on the screen, followed by, “Thinx: Underwear that absorbs your period.”

As of last week, the commercial was slated to run on 18 channels beginning today, according to a Fast Company report that explained the ad has been selectively edited for certain networks squeamish about some of the content.  

NBC’s Bravo and Oxygen channels, as well as MTV, BET, and VH1 will be airing the ad in its entirety. Discovery Networks’ HGTV, the Food Network, and AMC’s WE TV and A&E will show a tampon-string-free version.  

ABC, CBS, and BBC America have reportedly rejected the ad outright.  

“In our first national television campaign, we are imagining the answer to this question: If all people had periods, including cisgender men, would they be normalized?” said Thinx CEO Maria Molland. “Would we be able to talk openly about them, without shame?  Half the population does have a period, and we want to broaden the conversation to everyone, no period required.”

ADweek, an advertising trade publication, wondered on Twitter: “Would everyone be more comfortable with periods if men had them?

“I think it will upset quite a few people,” Thinx’s Molland told Fast Company. “That’s OK because part of being a brand that stands for something is: Sometimes you irritate people. Even if we’re irritating them, our objective is to get them to think.”

It remains unclear whether the blood-stained sheet scene remains intact in the final version accepted by some of the networks.  

While the dangling tampon string and blood stain were problematic for network censors, the anguished teenage boy getting his first period evidently was not.

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Episodes

Grandson of Guinness beer founder shares what must be done to save American freedoms

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By Jonathon Van Maren

Os Guinness joins Jonathon Van Maren on this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show. Guinness is an author and commentator who has written over 30 books that have had a profound impact on the American political conversation. And yes, he is the great, great, great grandson of Arthur Guinness, the famous Dublin Brewer. 

Van Maren and Guinness begin their discussion with talking about the notion of freedom, specifically in America. Guinness outlines the three challenges that freedom has, stating that the American Founders knew full-well these challenges. The first is winning freedom (The Revolution in 1776). The second is ordering it or giving it political framework (The Constitution in 1787). Finally, the third is sustaining it… Which has been the challenge of centuries. Guinness says the best way to achieve sustainable freedom is through, what he calls, the Golden Triangle of Freedom. This states that Freedom requires Virtue, Virtue requires Faith, and Faith then requires Freedom. 

Van Maren’s conversation with Os Guinness is an uplifting one while dealing with the current state of American politics, freedom, and culture. Guinness has wisdom from the decades of writing, research, and experience that needs to be shared far and wide. Be sure to listen to the episode and share with your friends and family. 


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