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LifeSiteNews
Susan Yoshihara

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Rogue nations skirting UN negotiations to try to make abortion a ‘humanitarian right’

Susan Yoshihara
By Susan Yoshihara

October 10, 2019 (C-Fam) — Nations may pledge to fund abortion in crisis and "fragile" situations at an upcoming UN population conference in Nairobi. This means introducing abortion precisely in those situations where it could most likely endanger women's health.

The latest draft of an agreement to be presented by the UN population agency (UNFPA) at the upcoming Nairobi Summit commits governments to "Uphold the right to sexual and reproductive health care in humanitarian and fragile contexts..." The document explicitly includes abortion in the "full range of sexual and reproductive health services."

The Nairobi Summit takes place in November and is sponsored by UNFPA alongside the governments of Kenya and Denmark. The conference organizers have gone out of their way to avoid traditional UN negotiations that afford governments with pro-life concerns opportunities to express their views.

Nations have never agreed that abortion is a right in any context and would likely not agree to such a right in open and transparent negotiations. Abortion remains a politically fraught issue around the world and at the United Nations.

The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, which the Nairobi Summit is meant to commemorate, expressly said that abortion was an issue to be decided nationally, and that governments and UN agencies must help women avoid abortion.

Over the last decade, a handful of European nations have asserted a right to abortion in international humanitarian law. This claim has been rejected by UN member states, the European Commission, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Holy See.

Even the U.S. government under the Obama administration rejected the notion of a humanitarian right to abortion.

UNFPA executive director Natalia Kanem held a meeting last week to rally support and funding for the already controversial Nairobi Summit. She said the purpose of the summit is to "finish the unfinished business" of the 1994 Cairo agreement which made "sexual and reproductive health" a staple of UN programming.

Speakers at the meeting acknowledged that family planning access has increased since 1994. But they said abortion and LGBT rights have flagged. Both abortion and LGBT rights were rejected at the 1994 conference.

Katja Iversen, president of annual pro-abortion conference Women Deliver, said the purpose of the Nairobi Summit is to tell nations to "ditch your discriminatory laws, put in the progressive ones," such as "safe abortion" and "LGBTQI."

Iverson warned of "conservative winds blowing across the globe...and groundbreaking achievements being rolled back."

She characterized the summit as part of keeping up global advocacy for abortion and LGBTQI.

"Advocacy costs money," she said, but "it's about power."

Representatives from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Ireland pledged to fund the summit with between $400,000 and $770,000 each.

A Dutch representative said, "I am mad and I am angry because we have been turning in circles," trying to advance this agenda.

"To those who are trying to orchestrate us to stop, you're on a road to nowhere," she said dramatically.

The Danish representative said "former allies" have become opponents in reference to nations, including the U.S., which are trying to minimize the use of the term "sexual and reproductive health" in UN documents, saying that it is a confusing term often used to promote abortion.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

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LGBT lobbyists spur UN treaty to enshrine dozens of ‘genders’ in international law

Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
By Stefano Gennarini J.D.

October 10, 2019 (C-Fam) — In a new treaty, the General Assembly may scrap the definition of gender as "male and female" currently in international law and endorse a definition of gender as "socially constructed." The new definition would open the door to 100+ "genders" in binding law.

The International Law Commission has asked the General Assembly to discard the legal definition of gender in international law as "the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society." That hard-fought definition was decided in the Rome Statues creating the International Criminal Court and excludes any "meaning different from the above."

The left-leaning commission proposed the change in a new treaty on the prosecution of crimes against humanity that will be reviewed by the General Assembly's legal experts later this month.

In making the recommendation, the commission cites "several developments in international human rights law and international criminal law." As evidence, the commission lists the non-binding opinions of human rights bodies and other international law entities who promote gender as a social construct, including the notions of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."

The commission cites, for instance, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, who has written that gender is "each person's deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth."

The report also cites the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, according to whom gender is not a biological reality but a "social construction" related to the "accompanying roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes assigned to women and men, and girls and boys."

The legal effect of discarding the Rome Statute's definition of gender will be to enshrine gender as a social construct in international law. It wouldn't merely leave the definition of gender open to each country's national legislation to define, as some may believe. Far from it. Because of the elaborate rationale in the report of the commission, dropping the definition will have the legal effect of defining gender in international law very broadly.

The request is likely to attract controversy in the General Assembly. The Commission told the General Assembly in the last two years that it would not change any of the definitions from the Rome Statute in this new treaty. And it has gone back on its word because of intense lobbying from LGBT groups.

Moreover, the commission wholly overlooks the fact that a majority of countries do not consider gender as a social construct. Indeed, the UN entities and bodies cited by the commission go further than most countries' laws.

Through 2019, only seven countries allow gender change based on self-identification alone, according to the pro-LGBT group Amnesty International.

Even in the roughly 40 other countries where individuals are allowed to legally assume an identity different from their biological sex, countries restrict who may do so and under what circumstance.

In most countries identity change is only permitted after a psychiatric determination of gender dysphoria or a surgical operation to mutate the sexual physiognomy of an individual. In addition, some countries require individuals to divorce their spouses and do not allow individuals with children to change their gender.

The sixth committee of the General Assembly is scheduled to review the report of the International Law Commission, where the new treaty is contained between October 28 and November 6.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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The High Level Bridge in Edmonton. AnastasiaPhoto / Shutterstock.com
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

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City abruptly cancels pro-life bridge-lighting, hit with discrimination lawsuit

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
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October 10, 2019 (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms) — The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) has filed a court application on behalf of the Alberta March for Life Association (AMLA) and Jerry Pasternak against the City of Edmonton over its decision to cancel a scheduled lighting of the High Level Bridge in colours chosen by AMLA.

Operated by the City of Edmonton, the High Level Bridge is outfitted with 60,000 programmable lights, lit every day in the morning and evening. Through the "Light the Bridge" program, the City permits and invites members of the public and community groups to request the Bridge be lit in specific colours to reflect their event or cause.

On March 6, 2019, Jerry Pasternak, Vice Chair of AMLA, submitted an application to the City for the High Level Bridge to be lit up on May 9, 2019 in the colours of pink, blue, and white to recognize the March for Life. For over 10 years, thousands of supporters have participated in the annual peaceful outdoor march, organized by AMLA to recognize the dignity of the elderly and disabled people, as well as the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.   

AMLA's application was approved by the City on March 7, 2019. However, on April 5, the City reneged and cancelled the scheduled lighting of the Bridge. In an email, City staff stated: "Upon further review of your application, it came to our attention that lighting the bridge for this event cannot be approved due to the polarizing nature of the subject matter."

In response, Jerry Pasternak emailed City staff, stating: "I am deeply disappointed in your decision. Can you please provide evidence of this polarization?"

The City of Edmonton has not responded.

A nearly identical incident occurred May 7, 2017, when, on the day the Bridge was approved to be lit in the pink, blue and white colours associated with the March for Life, the City cancelled the lighting. No rationale or justification was provided by the City for the cancellation.

The Bridge is regularly lit in association with various religious and political causes, awareness days, religious celebrations, political holidays and commemorations that promote the ideologies, political causes and religious beliefs of their proponents. For example, within the last three years, the Bridge has repeatedly been lit to promote sexual and gender diversity, Pride, various Islamic holidays and commemorations, Jewish religious holidays, Buddhist religious holidays, days recognizing political events in foreign countries such as Chilean Independence Day and the anniversary of the founding of Azerbaijan, and awareness days such as National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism, and Wrongful Conviction Day. Ironically recognizing beliefs and causes that are similar to the Alberta March for Life Association, the Bridge has recently been lit in association with International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and various disability awareness campaigns.

As outlined in the Justice Centre's court application, the City is constitutionally prohibited from discriminating against the content of expression in spaces it has opened up to the public for expressive purposes. In twice deciding to cancel a scheduled lighting of the Bridge, exclusively because of the pro-life expression involved, the City has twice failed to explain how such expression is "polarizing", or whether it is more "polarizing" than other causes, or how the City determines which organizations or issues are sufficiently "polarizing" to warrant being denied the right to use a public space that is available to a long list of other causes.

"The City of Edmonton is home to a diverse population with a wide variety of views, values and beliefs including, unsurprisingly, persons who express pro-life views. As a government that is constitutionally obligated to be neutral regarding the expression of its citizens, it is not the proper role of the City to elevate and promote the favoured ideological causes of some citizens to the exclusion of the lawful views of others," stated Justice Centre staff lawyer James Kitchen.

"The City ought to cease permitting citizens to use the High Level Bridge lighting system to promote their pet causes, as the City of Prince Albert did with its community flagpole" continued Kitchen. "However, if the City chooses to continue with this practice, it must cease arbitrarily playing favourites with who can have the bridge lit up in colours representing a particular political cause, ideology, or religion."

Published with permission from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

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Bishop Wilmar Santin, O.Carm. speaks at a Vatican press briefing during the Amazon Synod on Oct. 10, 2019. Jim Hale / LifeSiteNews

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Bishop: Amazonians committed infanticide, but so do pro-abortion ‘slaughterhouses’ in West

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A Brazilian missionary bishop has condemned abortion in the global North.

“Some hospitals have become true slaughterhouses,” said Bishop Wilmar Santin, O.Carm.

The bishop of Itaituba in Pará, Brazil, was responding to a question at a press conference following today’s meetings at the Synod for the Bishops of the Pan-Amazonian Region when he made the remark.

A reporter from Il Messagero, an Italian newspaper, asked the Carmelite bishop if it is true that infanticide happens among indigenous peoples in the Amazonian region. Santin gave a candid overview of the historical, now extinct, violent practices of the tribe he knows best, the Mundurukus.

“The Munduruku people were warriors, a very war-mongering people,” he said.

“They are the people known for severing their enemies’ heads and carrying them as trophies. And they had the habit of, if a child had a defect at the time of birth, snapping their necks so the child would die,” he continued.

Santin added that if the mother gave birth to twins, they would kill the second one, believing that the child was evil, and sometimes kill them both to be sure. The children of unmarried women would also be killed at birth, for one Munduruku saying was, “A child without a father is a child without worth.”

“Upon hearing this, we are frightened,” said Santin. “[We ask,] ‘How can they commit such an atrocity?’” 

“But how about the abortions performed here within civilization?” he continued. 

“How many are performed? After all, how many children in the world are [allowed to be] born with defects?”

“I reaffirm: it is very easy to bewildered by [Amazonian infanticide] while looking away from some hospitals that have become true slaughterhouses.”

Santin said missionary sisters working in the Amazon have been bringing an end to the infanticide. He revealed also that he had seen a disabled child and a couple of twins among the Munduruku.

“So it seems that, at least among the Munduruku people, this practice is recently extinct,” he said. “But I reaffirm: it is very easy to be bewildered by that while looking away from some hospitals that have become true slaughterhouses.”

Brazil is a strongly pro-life country compared to others. Abortion is currently legal in Brazil in cases of rape, when there is a risk to the mother's health, or when the baby's brain is seriously deformed.

Bishop Medardo de Jesús Henao del Río of the Xaverian Missionaries of Yarumal also responded to the question. This bishop is both apostolic vicar of Mitú and bishop of the Diocese of Case Mediane in Colombia. He described how another indigenous tribe used to abandon disabled babies and rejected twins for ants or animals to eat. Fortunately, early 20th-century Catholic missionaries were able to convince them to stop the cruel practice.

“With accompaniment on the part of the Church, which has always been close, boarding schools ... were opened to students, for children to go somewhere to receive an education and health care,” the bishop said. 

“The priests in a systematic fashion went to each community, and when they encountered these phenomena, they would educate people with science and show them that it was not a demon or a spirit that had taken shape inside the woman and had harmed the child or had been born as the second child, which they killed,” he continued. “So that situation was abandoned.”

Henao del Río said he believes that it is the “state” that commits infanticide, citing little girls, one with epilepsy and another with a tumor, who died before they could get medical attention, even though the bishop and his group had approached all the agencies meant to protect children.

“So, I think it is the absence of the state that causes these deaths, this infanticide, out of lack of concern and because of corruption.” 

The grisly topic of infanticide was first raised at a synod press conference on Monday, when Swiss journalist Giuseppe Rusconi criticized the notion that indigenous people have a “primitive purity” and should be taken as models and teachers for coexistance with the environment.

“However, still today around twenty Amazonian peoples practice infanticide,” he stated. “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.”

Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, S.J., archbishop of Huancayo, said the journalist’s claim surprised him.

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

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

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Rebecca Friedrichs YouTube
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Most teachers quite disturbed about their unions’ push for sexualization and indoctrination of school children

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Speaking in the nation’s capital, a 28-year veteran California teacher explained that most teachers are disturbed by the decades-long push to indoctrinate and oversexualize school children by teachers’ unions dedicated to far-left cultural and political causes and not the well-being of kids. 

“When you hear that teachers are behind comprehensive sexuality education or that teachers agree with the sexualization of children, that’s a huge deception,” said Rebecca Friedrichs.   

On the contrary, “America’s real teachers are deeply distrubed by the sexualization of our children,” said Friedrichs.  

“America’s real teachers have been silenced and bullied by the very organization that is pushing the sexualization of children: That is, labor unions,” she declared.  

Friedrichs spoke at The Heritage Foundation’s summit on “Protecting Children from Sexualization.” She is a former elementary school teacher who fought against paying dues to the California Teachers Association because they were funding causes she did not support, including comprehensive sexuality education. Her case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where she prevailed.  

Friedrichs explained that for the last 60 years, the unions have pushed their sexual, social, and political agenda into our classrooms.

“The unions attack the very virtues that most teachers cherish. They have used the teaching profession to gain unfettered access to America’s children,” she explained.  

“The unions have been dividing parents and teachers for decades,” she added.  

Friedrichs talked about her experience attending state teachers conferences, where she was shocked to see rooms full of expo tables that push Planned Parenthood, gay-straight alliance clubs, other LGBT advocacy causes, and far-left politics.” 

At National Education Association (NEA) events, “Teachers were wined and dined, and if you agreed to start a gay-straight alliance on your campus, you could get big money,” said Friedrichs. “You could also get money to push LGBT activism in the classroom. But can you get money to actually do something to help your students? No. Can you get support — as a union leader — for your colleagues? No.” 

Most of the business items at NEA conventions “are about far left politics, the LGBT agenda, and divisive narratives,” said the veteran educator. “Every divisive word you hear or see in our culture was first mentioned or made up inside the unions.”

“At NEA representative assemblies, I have teacher friends who have been fighting against the oversexualization of our children for over 30 years,” recounted Friedrichs.    

“Here’s how they’ve been treated: They have been spit upon. They have been screamed at. Their path back to their seats have been blocked. They have been barred from serving on sex-ed and health committees.”  

“Two were told, ‘There’s a special place in hell for people like you,’” she added.  

“This is how America’s loving teachers are treated by labor unions.”

Friedrichs described a drag queen event staged at an NEA representative assembly this summer: “The drag queen show began with a huge muscular man in a sequin vest over a bare chest belting out descriptions and positions of masterbation. There were little children and even a baby in the room.” 

“And this is how they entertained teachers,” she said, “but what they are really doing is trying to indoctrinate teachers,” telling them this is normal behavior and you should push this. 

“These are the people who are pushing this sexual agenda,” said Friedrichs. “Not loving teachers.” 

“So teachers are bullied on every level, and we are horrified at the instruction we are being told to teach to your children,” declared Friedrichs.

She offered a few examples:

  • We’re told to teach children of their ‘sexual rights,’ that they should have sexual pleasure at all ages; 

  • That out of wedlock sex with anyone you want is just fine from any age, and hey, you shouldn’t think you’re not bisexual or homosexual.  Don’t knock it until you try it.”

  • We are told that the number one goal we are to teach children is to prevent pregnancy.  

  • We are told to teach children how to use condoms by bringing in fully erect penics models for them to manipulate. Ten and 11 year olds.  

  • All of this has to be done in mixed company because we are told to tell the children as young as four, ‘your parents didn’t know your gender when you were born, so they assigned you a gender. There is really a huge spectrum of genders. You will figure out your gender someday. That is child abuse. It is also the abuse of parents. It’s also religious abuse.  

  • We are told we have to tell children how and where to obtain birth control, including the morning-after pill and abortion without parental knowledge or permission from age 12. 

  • “The details are so inappropriate that I cannot even mention them to you today,” continued Freidrichs. “But they’re being said to our children in America’s schools. That is evil.” 

Because the unions determined long ago that teachers would never agree to teach these sorts of things, “so they’ve written into the laws that if teachers are unqualified, then the experts will come in and teach it, and Planned Parenthood will abuse your children.”  

“Planned Parenthood is not the expert on children and neither are any of these other people pushing an agenda,” she asserted.  

“Parents are the experts on their children,” she said with great authority. 

Since the 1960s, the unions have bullied the PTA into silence, preventing them from taking stances that conflict with the teacher’s unions. “That’s why they support everything the unions tell them to support,” she said.   

“The unions have taken over the librarians association, they have taken over the school boards association, they have taken over every angle of our schools.  

“Unions are the real existential threat,” she said. “They have silenced teachers, and they do it by using deceit, intimidation, and massive power.”

Friedrichs then offered examples using slides:  

Figure 1

The NEA adopted this amendment to science education. They basically obliterated the scientific method. They struck out ‘empirical evidence derived from valid scientific experimentation and they changed  it to ‘scientific theory … leading to scientific consensus. Then they bully and shun anyone who doesn’t agree with their consensus. This is how they undermine science. 

Figure 2

“Then they bully teachers like myself by saying they will not accept exhibitors who messaging is in conflict with those changes,” noted Friedrichs.

Figure 3

Friedrichs explained how some teachers who started an NEA ex-gay educators’ caucus were “heavily” bullied by the unions bully ex-gays. The teachers unions bully Christians because “their real goal is to remove our Judeo-Christian virtues.” 

“So if you dare to bring in information on creation truth or ex-gays, you are considered offensive, obscene, and in bad taste. That’s how the unions feel about us.” 

Figure 4

“Teachers and health professionals must be qualified to teach in this area and must be legally protected from censorship and lawsuits.”  

“Why?” asked Friedrichs. “Because we all want to sue them.” 

Figure 5

“How do they enforce this? The NEA works in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), NAACP, ACLU, GLSEN, the National Center for Trans-Equality, Human Rights Campaign,” said Friedrichs, and “will track all incidents of discrimination, racism, homophobia, and transphobia.”

“We’ve all seen the SPLC’s hate map … it’s loaded with Chrisitan organizations, conservative organizations” noted Friedrichs, explaining that the goal is to “eradicate us.”  

The frightening thing is that when parents, teachers and school boards push back, it’s the ACLU that says “we’re going to sue you.”

Figure 6

Friedrichs displayed a toolkit available on the CTA website that the SPLC ACLU, GLSEN and others helped the teachers union to create. Children can report their teachers and classmates to the SLPC as “haters” via direct links provided on the website.  

“It’s Orwellian,” she noted.  

Figure 7

Using teachers’ money, the unions were able to pass transgender access to opposite sex bathrooms and locker rooms.  

“I don’t know one parent or teacher that agrees with this,” but the unions bragged that this effort was supported by teacher and parent organizations -- including the California PTA and the California Teachers Association.” 

“Why would the PTA support that? They don’t. They’ve been silenced,” she said. 

The unions are 100 percent out of their jurisdictions in pushing all these issues.  Friedrichs wants to see the end of all government employee unions. “They do not belong in our government or our schools, or anywhere that is taxpayer funded.” 

They are destroying academic rigor, excellence, science, and they are purposely undermining Judeo-Christian virtues — American virtues — which are essential for a free Republic.”

“Teachers do not know they are funding this nightmare,” said Friedrichs, “they have no idea.” 

“Our schools are on fire. Our kids are inside. Unions are the flames,” she said.

“So let’s get teachers out of unions,” concluded Friedrichs. “Let’s get unions out of our schools.”

Rebecca Friedrichs is author of Standing Up to Goliath and Founder of For Kids and Country.

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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

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Pro-life leaders call on Trump, GOP to block spending bill that re-funds global abortion orgs

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life leaders are calling on President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders to refuse to support an upcoming spending bill as long as it contains an amendment that would restore some foreign aid to pro-abortion organizations, in direct violation of one of Trump’s earliest pro-life actions.

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.

As LifeSiteNews covered Wednesday, Conservative Partnership Institute senior policy director Rachel Bovard is sounding the alarm over an amendment that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, added to a recent foreign affairs spending bill that would provide almost $60 million several U.S.-based organizations that 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.

Republicans controlling the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill via voice vote, without objecting to the Shaheen amendment, despite an August agreement by both parties 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.”

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.

“This is a non-starter, and under the bipartisan budget agreement Republican leaders have the opportunity to insist the Shaheen amendment is dropped,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told LifeSiteNews in response. “We trust that President Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Minority Leader McCarthy will continue to stand against efforts to weaken the extraordinary progress made by the Trump Administration in implementing pro-life policies internationally by rejecting the Shaheen amendment.”

“169 Members of the House, 49 Senators and the President himself at the 2019 March for Life made it clear that they will accept no changes to current pro-life policy,” March for Life Action president Tom McClusky declared. “It is unfortunate that Senate Republican Leadership have allowed this bill to go forward despite this. The legislation needs to be pulled or Senate Republican Leadership should expect a Presidential veto.”

LifeSiteNews has reached out to numerous pro-life organizations for comment, and will update this report as more weigh in.

LifeSiteNews also launched a petition Thursday urging President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans to ensure the pro-abortion language does not become law.

“In acting to remove this deadly language, Senate Republicans would do well to remember that they should want to stoke, not dampen, pro-lifers' enthusiasm just before an election year,” the petition reminds the GOP. “But, should an unaltered bill reach President Trump's desk, we must remind him of the promise he made not to sign any abortion legislation ... just this year, at the March for Life.”

“American taxpayers should not be forced to pay $60 million to support the killing of the unborn,” the LifeSite petition declares.

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Jason Pratt, Mayo Clinic / Flickr
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NBA boycotts states for trans bathrooms, but censors critics of authoritarian China

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The National Basketball Association (NBA) very quickly found itself in the middle of a major controversy this week while trying to maintain positive relations with the Communist regime of China, in a series of actions that stand in stark contrast to the organization’s treatment of American states that have opposed the LGBT lobby’s priorities.

As detailed by CNN Business, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey began the controversy last Friday by tweeting a since-deleted message declaring, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Team owner Tilman Fertitta quickly stated that the tweet did not represent the team, and the following Monday the NBA issued a statement in hopes of staving off Chinese broadcasters’ threats to suspend the airing of Rockets games.

"While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them," the English statement read. "We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together."

USA Today reported that the NBA’s Chinese-language statement struck a noticeably different tone, opening with a matter-of-fact declaration that Morey’s tweet was “inappropriate” and “regrettable,” and demoting individual expression from one of the “values of the league” to merely something “people can be interested in.” 

After strong backlash from lawmakers and commentators across the ideological spectrum, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that the organization “will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say.” The NBA’s Chinese partners responded by cutting ties with the organization.

Despite Silver’s pledge, American Principles Project director of government affairs Jon Schweppe tweeted videos Wednesday evening of his and his friends’ “Free Hong Kong” and “Google Uyghurs” signs being confiscated from the stands of a Washington Wizards game:

Critics ranging from The Federalist to The New York Times have observed that the NBA’s efforts to avoid rankling the Chinese regime’s sensibilities appear to undermine the association’s image as a corporation “woke” to a host of domestic social-justice causes. In 2016, the NBA infamously withdrew its annual All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina in protest of the state’s HB2 bathroom law, which prevented local governments from forcing businesses to let gender-confused individuals use bathrooms meant for the opposite sex.

“The law, as it now stands in North Carolina, is problematic for the league,” Silver said at the time. “The league believes that these groups need to be protected.”

“I see hypocrisy,” Republican Pat McCrory, who was governor of North Carolina during the controversy, told the Charlotte Observer Tuesday about the NBA’s shifting standards. “They wanted to involve themselves with North Carolina commerce and an election, while not setting the same standard for China. I called them out then, and it’s still true now.”

“They were losing some sponsorships (if All-Star Weekend was held in North Carolina then); they told me that flat-out on the phone,” McCrory recalled. “They got heavily involved with our community and elections, while ignoring China. He added that he pointed out as much to Silver in 2016.

“I told the commissioner they’ve got a lot of business in China,” McCrory said. “But they’ve got a lot of sponsors there, and that would cost them hundreds of millions.”

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More baby corpses found ‘disintegrating’ in dead abortionist’s car

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By Calvin Freiburger

DOLTON, Illinois, October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Even more remains of aborted children have been found in property belonging to the late abortionist Ulrich Klopfer, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.

Klopfer died on September 3 at age 75. For decades he was an abortionist at The Women’s Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana until his medical license was suspended in 2016 for a history of violations including failure to report the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

The Sheriff’s Office of Will County, Illinois (where Klopfer had a home) announced last month that a Klopfer family attorney had notified the county coroner’s office “that while going through the doctor’s personal property they discovered what appeared to be fetal remains and requested that the Will County Coroner’s Office provide proper removal.” Authorities subsequently found and removed “2,246 medically preserved fetal remains.” 

On Wednesday, the Will County Sheriff's Office announced the discovery of even more fetal remains in the trunk of a car owned by Klopfer, the Kane County Chronicle reports. The remains were found when family members met with police to examine several vehicles Klopfer had in storage.

Deputy Chief Dan Jungles estimated that the remains represented 50 aborted babies, but cautioned that an exact number was “hard to determine” thanks to the remains “disintegrating” in the cardboard boxes in which they were stored.

Illinois and Indiana officials are working together to investigate this latest discovery. “Our objective, ultimately, is to resolve this with respect and dignity for the remains and it would anticipate that we would add any additional new remains to the mix,” Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said, WSBT reports.

"We don't want to see fetal remains discarded like so much trash by the side of the road,” he added. “Imagine, if you will, if we discovered 2,246 remains of adults who were deceased in some type of preservation fluid. Everyone would be freaking out.”

Pro-lifers have observed that the story underscores the violence of abortion and the relative lack of scrutiny the abortion industry enjoys in many states. In particular, it has potential ramifications for pro-abortion Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who as mayor of South Bend, Indiana defended other scandal-plagued abortion centers in the area. After several days of silence, Buttigieg said the discovery of the first group of bodies was “disturbing” but shouldn’t “get caught up in politics at a time when women need access to healthcare.”

Following the discovery of the additional aborted babies, Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller, author of Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars and director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, released the following statement:

Every day in America approximately 3,000 unborn children are killed in abortion facilities across the land. Unwanted in life, they are treated as so much rubbish in death, their bodies the refuse of choice to be disposed. How ironic though, that it is not the killing of the unborn we find shocking, but rather the fact that the abortionist who put them to death kept the bodies in his house. This is what the public finds gruesome and abhorrent – rather than the actual killing of the babies themselves. But perhaps because Ulrich Klopfer lived with the dead unborn, and the shocking volume of those killed by abortion all found in a place one calls “home” is what it takes to uncover the sordid quality and unjust action that is legalized abortion. Somehow now abortion just doesn’t seem so right, so moral, so justified, simply a constitutional right to be protected. And now, Oct. 7, 2019 more aborted babies have been discovered in the gated lot of a business in Dolton, Ill. where Ulrich stored his expensive cars. The babies were found in the trunk of one of his Mercedes-Benz[es]. The death count just seems to grow – and with these grizzly Klopfer-discoveries no one can deny that abortion kills actual human beings – their bodies hidden away and now disturbingly brought to light. 

It seems apparent that abortionist Klopfer was stockpiling these aborted children, for reasons we yet do not know, though one can speculate. How odd, too, that it took Klopfer’s own death to reveal the secret deaths of these unborn children, whose existence until now remained a dark secret within his own home. And now that their hidden bodies have come to light we have a chance to at least give them the respect owed to them as fellow members of the human family – a honorable, dignified, and ceremonious burial. Their remains must not be simply dumped; their bodies cremated in some act of practical disposition and buried in an unmarked grave or worse incinerated as mere medical waste. Pro-life groups stand ready to bury them. The last work of mercy, to bury the dead, will thus become the first work of mercy these unwanted children will ever know.  

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Vatican dismisses claim by Pope’s favoured journalist that Francis denies Christ’s divinity

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican today doubled down in denying claims by atheist Italian and journalist, Eugenio Scalfari, that Pope Francis told him he doesn’t believe that Jesus is God. 

At the end of Thursday’s synod press briefing, the Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications, Paolo Ruffini, insisted that the Pope "never said what Scalfari wrote."

“Both what was reported in quotation marks as well as the free reconstruction and interpretation by Mr. Scalfari — the conversation dates back more than two years — cannot be considered a faithful account of what the Pope said and [what he said] can instead be found in all of his magisterium and that of the Church about Jesus, true God and true Man,” said Ruffini.

Yesterday, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni had issued an initial response that many Catholics pointed out was not a full denial of Scalfari’s report. Bruni wrote:

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.

While the further clarification from Ruffini is widely seen as a step in the right direction, both high-ranking clergy and ordinary Catholics are asking the same question: why does it take over two tries and over twenty four hours to clarify a matter regarding a truth as central to the Christian faith as the divinity of Jesus Christ? And why does Pope Francis, who has granted Scalfari several interviews over the years, not himself confirm the brethren in the faith and distance himself from a man who is sowing confusion?

A priest in Rome pointed out that the confusion generated by Scalfari, who is numbered among the Pope’s favored interviewers, is compounded given the “Document on Human Fraternity” that Pope Francis signed with a Grand Imam Ahmad el-Tayebin February, and which states: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom.” 

He argued that if the Pope states that all religions are willed by God in the same manner as sex, race or color, Catholics begin to question the truth of the divinely revealed truth that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Incarnate Word and only Savior of the world. 

American Capuchin priest and scholar Father Thomas Weinandy echoed this view in a recent article for The Catholic Thing titled, “Pope Francis and Schism.” The Abu Dhabi statement, he said, “directly contradicts the will of the Father and so undermines the primacy of Jesus Christ his Son as the definitive Lord and universal Savior.” 

Pope Francis has granted the 95-year-old Scalfari (who doesn’t use a tape recorder) several interviews since the beginning of his pontificate, with similar and predictable effect. In March 2018, Scalfari claimed the Pope told him that hell does not exist. La Repubblica, an Italian daily which Scalfari founded, claimed that Francis has told him the souls of those who do not go to heaven are annihilated. Annihilationism is a heresy according to the Catholic Church. 

At the time, the Vatican disputed the claim, insisting the Pope does believe that hell exists and that “no quotation of the article should be considered a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

Here is Paolo Ruffini’s full statement:

In response to questions that some of you and your colleagues have continued to ask us today about the words that Mr. Scalfari attributed to the Pope yesterday. Regarding this, as you know, there was already a clear refutation issued by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni. However, I would like to reiterate that the Holy Father never said what Scalfari wrote. Therefore, both what was reported in quotation marks as well as the free reconstruction and interpretation by Mr. Scalfari — the conversation dates back more than two years — cannot be considered a faithful account of what the Pope said and [what he said] can instead be found in all of his magisterium and that of the Church about Jesus, true God and true Man.

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Abp Viganò urges Pope to personally answer claims he doesn’t believe in divinity of Christ

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Following the Vatican’s second attempt to deny claims by atheist Italian journalist, Eugenio Scalfari, that Pope Francis told him he doesn’t believe in Christ’s divinity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is urging the Pope himself to give a “clear answer.”

In comments to LifeSiteNews after Thursday’s synod press briefing and denial of Scalfari’s claim, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò said: “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’”

“Why doesn’t the Pope use the language of simple people, while he invites people ‘Cher jaleo,’ to create chaos, confusion and division. Is this the mission of the Pope? Hacer jaleo.”

At the end of Thursday’s synod briefing, the Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications, Paolo Ruffini, insisted that the Pope “never said what Scalfari wrote.”

“Both what was reported in quotation marks as well as the free reconstruction and interpretation by Mr. Scalfari — the conversation dates back more than two years — cannot be considered a faithful account of what the Pope said and [what he said] can instead be found in all of his magisterium and that of the Church about Jesus, true God and true Man,” said Ruffini.

LifeSite asked Archbishop Viganò: “In what sense was Ruffini’s further clarification insufficient, given that he explicitly referred to Jesus as “true God and true Man?”

“In the sense that Christians expect a clear answer from the Pope himself. The thing is too important; it is essential: Yes, I believe that Christ is the Son of God made Man, the only Savior and Lord,” Archbishop Viganò replied. 

“All Christians await this clarification from him, not from others, and by virtue of their baptism have the right to have this response.”

While the further clarification from Ruffini is widely seen as a step in the right direction, both high-ranking clergy and ordinary Catholics are asking the same question: why does it take over two tries and over twenty four hours to clarify a matter regarding a truth as central to the Christian faith as the divinity of Jesus Christ? And why does Pope Francis, who has granted Scalfari several interviews over the years, not himself confirm the brethren in the faith and distance himself from a man who is sowing confusion?

A priest in Rome pointed out that the confusion generated by Scalfari, who is numbered among the Pope’s favored interviewers, is compounded given the “Document on Human Fraternity” that Pope Francis signed with a Grand Imam Ahmad el-Tayebin February, and which states: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom.” 

He argued that if the Pope states that all religions are willed by God in the same manner as sex, race or color, Catholics begin to question the truth of the divinely revealed truth that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Incarnate Word and only Savior of the world. 

American Capuchin priest and scholar Father Thomas Weinandy echoed this view in a recent article for The Catholic Thing titled, “Pope Francis and Schism.” The Abu Dhabi statement, he said, “directly contradicts the will of the Father and so undermines the primacy of Jesus Christ his Son as the definitive Lord and universal Savior.” 

Pope Francis has granted the 95-year-old Scalfari (who doesn't use a tape recorder) several interviews since the beginning of his pontificate, with similar and predictable effect. In March 2018, Scalfari claimed the Pope told him that hell does not exist. La Repubblica, an Italian daily which Scalfari founded, claimed that Francis has told him the souls of those who do not go to heaven are annihiliated. Annihilationism is a heresy according to the Catholic Church. 

At the time, the Vatican disputed the claim, insisting the Pope does believe that hell exists and that “no quotation of the article should be considered a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

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Planned Parenthood to spend $45 million to defeat Trump, retake Congress

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood Votes (PPV), the super PAC of the nation’s largest abortion chain, announced Wednesday it plans to spend at least $45 million in 2020 on keeping Democrat control of the U.S. House of Representatives, wresting the U.S. Senate from Republican hands, and ousting President Donald Trump from the White House.

The money will go towards “large-scale” multimedia advertising, mail, and on-the-ground canvassing focusing on Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, The Hill reports, centered around the message that Republicans at the state and national levels are engaged in a “coordinated attack” on Roe v. Wade.

“The stakes are higher than ever, and we're coming out more powerfully than ever with the largest investment we've ever made,” PPV executive director Kelley Robinson told The Hill. “We know we're going to have a critical role mobilizing those folks to win back the Senate and expand the path to 270 to win back the presidency.”

Several pro-life leaders and commentators responded by questioning how the political spending squares with the abortion giant’s claims to be dependent on taxpayer dollars:

Planned Parenthood received $563.8 million in taxpayer dollars during the most recent fiscal year, and has expressed outrage that the Trump administration has cut almost $60 million from that sum by disqualifying abortion groups frrom Title X family planning grants. This is despite the facts that the organization not only enjoys almost a billion dollars in annual private revenue and contributions, but will continue to receive over $500 million from taxpayers even without the Title X money.

Last year, Live Action argued that the relationship between Planned Parenthood’s tax-subsidized “healthcare” organization and its political arm constitute a “political money laundering scheme.” 

Under this “corrupt funding cycle,” the group explained, pro-abortion politicians funnel tax dollars to Planned Parenthood for “health” operations, leading pro-abortion donors to conclude its “health” needs are covered, so they can direct their contributions to the abortion giant’s political arms. This, in turn, helps Planned Parenthood Votes, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Planned Parenthood Federal PAC elect politicians who will protect their federal subsidies.

“According to its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood and its political arms were able to spend $160 million last year for ‘public policy’ and ‘movement building’ and to ‘promote health equity’ and ‘engage communities’ as well as another $85 million on fundraising,” Live Action wrote. “Planned Parenthood is in essence weaponizing the taxpayers’ own money against them.”

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Sandra Merritt and David Daleiden outside Superior Court in San Francisco, California, Feb. 11, 2019 Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews.com
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5 things to know about the Planned Parenthood baby body parts civil trial

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By Lianne Laurence

ANALYSIS

SAN FRANCISCO, California, October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Almost four years in the making, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America vs. Center for Medical Progress lawsuit pits those who practice, advocate for, and profit from unthinkably cruel and barbaric acts on the tiniest of humans against a few individuals who had the tenacity, courage, resourcefulness, and faith to walk into the heart of darkness to expose trafficking in the brains, hearts, livers, lungs, and limbs of pre-born babies.

The significance of the case cannot be overestimated. 

It’s a massive legal battle in which abortion giant Planned Parenthood claims those who say they were gathering evidence of violent crimes were actually engaged in a criminal conspiracy against it.

In preparation, at least 10 lawyers for the plaintiffs and 13 for the defense have spent hundreds of hours producing thousands of pages of documents, deposing witnesses, and racking up legal bills in the millions of dollars.

The final result now depends on 12 jurors in the U.S. district courthouse and what they will make of the evidence put before them during the trial, which began October 2 and will continue until at least November 8.

Here are five things to know about the biggest pro-life trial in decades as it gets underway: 

1) What it’s really about: This lawsuit is Planned Parenthood’s desperate attempt to permanently discredit the undercover videos the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released in 2015 that exposed its part in trafficking baby body parts. The casual brutality of abortionists discussing crushing unborn babies and haggling over the price of fetal organs shocked the world and Planned Parenthood wants to convey that those who exposed them – not their giant abortion corporation – are in the wrong.

It’s also a retaliatory action: Planned Parenthood wants to to crush the pro-life advocates who went undercover and exposed them. The plaintiffs allege CMP’s project lead David Daleiden, undercover journalists Sandra Merritt and Geraldo Adrian Lopez, and founding board members Troy Newman and Albin Rhomberg, committed 15 crimes while carrying out the undercover video project, ranging from breach of contract to racketeering. They claim CMP is liable for paying for everything Planned Parenthood’s personnel bought, such as security upgrades and staff counselling hotlines, after they realized they’d been recorded.

But one thing Planned Parenthood is not claiming is defamation, because that would require it produce all the evidence it has for that claim during the discovery phase of the case, prior to trial. Since, in fact, the CMP videos are not defamation, evidence of Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue harvesting practices and pricing is not something it wants aired publicly. 

2) Who the defendants are: Daleiden, 30, developed and ran the undercover sting operation and is the high-profile, public face of CMP. Newman, a veteran pro-life activist, is well-known as the president of Operation Rescue. Merritt, 66, a grandmother who ran a home business and was a part-time teacher, is familiar as co-defendant with Daleiden in an ongoing California state criminal prosecution. Lopez, 28, is employed by the Navy as a hospital corpsman in an intensive care neonatal unit, and got involved in the undercover operation after Daleiden met him when he worked at Starbucks and hired him to transcribe the videos. Rhomberg is a longtime pro-life advocate and investigator who did graduate studies in high-energy particle physics, taught physics at the University of Wisconsin, and worked in the space program at Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Texas: in other words, he’s a rocket scientist.

3) It’s a jury trial in San Francisco: Planned Parenthood brought its case in San Francisco, the most liberal district in the country. The nine men and three women selected after a closed door one-on-one with Judge William Orrick will make their conclusions based only on what they hear and see in the courtroom. In a jury trial, plaintiffs and defendants may pursue a line of questioning that lets jurors hear testimony that is ultimately stricken but could still influence their judgement, or bring up points that have little legal merit but might affect the jury emotionally. Significantly, Orrick isn’t letting the jury hear the audio from any of the undercover videos at the center of the case. The judge thinks the conversation in the videos, which record Planned Parenthood staff talking about harvesting baby body parts, would be “prejudicial.” In other words, if the jurors could hear what was being discussed in the videos, they might be so disgusted with Planned Parenthood that they would no longer be able to be impartial. 

The defense is arguing that the audio is critical to their case. First, the content of the conversations corroborates their claim that they believed Planned Parenthood staff were committing violent crimes against people. More importantly, the audio conveys better than the video the un-confidential nature of the conversations. Seeking to uncover evidence of violent crimes against people is an exception to California’s law against recording without consent, and, if conversations are not confidential, there is no consent requirement. 

There’s a chance that Orrick’s censorship could sway the jury toward the defense since they can see that the defense wants the videos shown while Planned Parenthood wants to talk about how awful they are but not show them.

4) The judge is biased and should have disqualified himself: It’s only the early days of the trial but Orrick’s conduct already vindicates the defense’s 2018 petition to the Ninth Circuit Court to have him disqualified, after he refused to disqualify himself at their request. His ties to Planned Parenthood are well-known (Orrick was on the board of a charitable institution that houses a Planned Parenthood abortion center) and his deferring to Planned Parenthood has led to daily early-morning battles between him and the defense lawyers before the jurors enter the courtroom. 

Orrick has decreed that abortion and fetal tissue procurement are not relevant to the trial, his rulings fluctuate, and he arbitrarily imposed what he admitted were not federal rules but “the Orrick Rules,” which prohibit witnesses from speaking to their lawyers for all the time they are under oath. The defense team claims this impinges on their clients’ Sixth Amendment right to effective representation of counsel and lawyer/client privilege.

He’s also granted Planned Parenthood incredible leeway in conducting their case. One of the more outrageous things about this case is that Planned Parenthood includes or discards claims for damages as it benefits them, in order to keep evidence incriminating it out of the courtroom.

5) The defense lawyers are the unsung heroes: There are 13 lawyers from four law firms and four pro-life legal associations representing among them the five individual defendants, as well as CMP and its alter-ego BioMax. Almost all are away from their homes and their families to work exhausting hours over six weeks to put on a case within the frustrating constraints Orrick has imposed. They also must negotiate the conflicting priorities within their own team as required by their specific clients. Yet they all demonstrate a high degree of competence, graciousness, and a determination to win despite the odds.

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Did the Pope really say that Jesus is not God? Here are three explanations

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

October 10, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — Did Pope Francis really really say that Jesus is not God?

Eugenio Scalfari, who made this sensational claim, cannot be treated as a reliable witness. He is an atheist, a Marxist, not a Christian. Although he has interviewed Pope Francis several times, he has not recorded the sessions or taken notes. He boasts of the ability to reconstruct conversations from memory: a technique that would be inappropriate for any responsible journalist, let alone one of Scalfari's advanced age (95).

Still Scalfari is no fool. He is a veteran Italian journalist, the founder and still the editor of La Repubblica, and one of the Pope's favorite interlocutors. And Scalfari does not merely summarize what he takes as the Pope's belief. He gives the Pope's response to that summary — putting the Pontiff's words inside quotation marks, as if to dare a direct denial. Why would he go out of his way to announce that the Roman Pontiff rejects a central doctrine of Christianity?

I can see several possible explanations for Scalfari's extraordinary statement.

  • Pope Francis actually said what Scalfari reports he said. In that case the Pope has embraced heresy. That seems highly unlikely, but even the remote possibility is so unsettling that the faithful should have 100% certainty that it is not the case. Regrettably the Vatican's "clarification" does not provide that certainty. (More on that subject below.)
  • Pope Francis did not say what Scalfari reports he said, but what he did say was confusing enough so that Scalfari innocently drew the wrong conclusion. In that case the Pope is an ineffective teacher of fundamental Christian doctrine.
  • Pope Francis gave an accurate presentation of Catholic doctrine, but Scalfari is either incapable of grasping essential points, or malicious in his determination to distort the Pope's statements. In that case, the Pope is culpably imprudent for granting repeated interviews to Scalfari, who has used those interviews again and again as occasions for stories that were sensational, unsettling to the faithful, and — we hope! — inaccurate.

After each such story, the Vatican has issued clarifications and disclaimers, telling the world that Scalfari's interviews cannot be considered accurate. That line of defense is no longer plausible. If Scalfari is not reliable, why is he granted interviews? More important, if Scalfari's stories "cannot be considered as a faithful account," why can't the Vatican furnish something that could be considered a faithful account? What did the Pope say?

In this latest case, why couldn't the Vatican announce, in clear contradiction of Scalfari's claim, that of course the Holy Father holds and teaches what the Church has always held and taught? The stakes are far too high to accept another bout of uncertainty; the confusion is far too widely spread. The faithful need unequivocal assurance that the Bishop of Rome accepts the Nicene Creed.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu, Brazil, speaks at a Vatican press briefing during the Amazon Synod on Oct. 10, 2019. Jim Hale / LifeSiteNews
Sandro Magister

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Top synod bishop knows about, doesn’t want to punish Amazon infanticide

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By

October 10, 2019 (L'Espresso) — The previous post from Settimo Cielo on infanticide in the Amazon and on those who defend it in the Church struck a tremendous chord.

But there's something else. It is not true that prominent figures of the synod in progress are unaware of the existence of this practice among some tribes.

Such sensational ignorance could in fact attach to Peruvian cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, archbishop of Huancayo, Jesuit, vice-president of the pan-Amazonian ecclesial network and co-president of the synod, according to what he stated at the press conference on Tuesday, October 8.

But it is unthinkable, for example, that synod secretary general Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri knows nothing about it, having been apostolic nuncio in Brazil from 2002 to 2012, when parliament was discussing a bill on banning infanticide in indigenous areas.

Above all, one who is certainly in the know about it is Bishop Erwin Kräutler, prelate emeritus of Xingu, very close to Pope Francis, coauthor of the "Instrumentum Laboris" of the synod and a fervent advocate of the abolition of celibacy and of the priestly ordination of married men and of women.

In a statement on April 10, 2009, when he was also president of the Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI) of the Brazilian Church, Kräutler admitted that "among some few tribes of the Brazilian Indios, there still exists the cultural institution of infanticide."

Maike Hickson related it in a report on LifeSiteNews from June 20 of this year, in which she documented Kräutler's position on the matters under discussion at the Amazon Synod.

In that 2009 declaration, Kräutler cited one specific incident where an Indian woman buried her baby alive, saying she gave her daughter "back to the Earth" because she could not handle twins at the same time. "That is to say," Kräutler explains, "it was the custom, in case of the birth of twins, to entrust [sic] to the earth one of the children." Thankfully, this buried baby girl was then rescued.

Kräutler explicitly rejects the idea that the state could prosecute those who commit such crimes. He is, rather, in favor of "convincing the people, with pastoral patience, that the culturally prescribed death of a child is anachronistic and undercuts their own strategy of life."

"We have always fought for the physical and cultural survival of the Indians," he continues, "and we do so on the foundation of the Gospels, and not with help of the gospel of fundamentalism."

Thus, he rejects ideas of penalizing infanticide, because "here, in the name of human rights and under the pretext of suppressing infanticide, a broad ethnocide, a cultural murder, is being installed."

Published with permission from L'Espresso.

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Key synod organizers: Critiques of working document are ‘complete nonsense,’ ‘inappropriate’

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By Maike Hickson

October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Two key players at the Amazon Synod recently made harsh comments about the criticisms Cardinals Gerhard Müller and Walter Brandmüller have offered concerning the synod’s working document (Instrumentum Laboris).

The harsh comments came from Bishop Erwin Kräutler and Mauricio Lopez, who were members of the pre-synodal council tasked by the Pope to prepare the Amazon Synod and thus are playing a key role in it.

Lopez, who is the general secretary of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM), called the criticism of the two German cardinals “unfair” and “inappropriate,” while Kräutler asserted that Cardinal Brandmüller's critique is “complete nonsense.” Significantly, the latter's comments were aired by Vatican News, the official media organ of the Vatican.

Both Cardinals Brandmüller and Müller had published in July detailed individual critiques of the Amazon Synod's working document, pointing to aspects therein that are either “a false teaching,” a heresy, or even proximate to apostasy. Independently from one another, the two cardinals pointed out as problematic the idea of changing who is eligible for priestly ordination (either as a married man or as a female “deacon”), and the claim that the Amazon forest is now somehow a new source of divine revelation. 

In an interview with the Tiroler Tageszeitung – which has been widely reported on – Kräutler comments on the fact that Cardinal Brandmüller criticized the working document's proposal to ordain elderly married men to the priesthood and that he warned against heretical decisions. The Austrian bishop calls Brandmüller's critique “complete nonsense” and then refers to the pastoral situation in the Amazon: “What we want is that the Christian parishes have a Eucharistic celebration – and not only one or two times a year.”

Kräutler goes on to state that the synod can merely make proposals, because “the Apostolic Exhortation of the Pope after the synod has the final word.” According to this prelate, he who criticizes the synod and the Pope has to ask himself whether he finds himself still on Catholic ground. “He who is against the synod,” according to Kräutler, “which has been called by the Pope, is against Francis.”

The same words are recorded by the religion section of the German newspaper Die Zeit, Christ&Welt, where Kräutler says in a new interview on October 10: “He who is against the synod is against Francis. He who is against Francis, has to ask himself whether he is still Catholic.”

He then goes on to say that Cardinals Brandüller and Raymond Burke, the two remaining authors of the dubia concerning Pope Francis' document Amoris Laetitia, “have once more to check themselves whether they are still Catholic because here they owe the Pope obedience.”

As to the possibility that the Amazon Synod will support the idea of married priests, Bishop Kräutler claims that there are “pretty good” chances that this will happen. “Most of the Amazonian bishops are not against it. And I say: it [the ordination of married men] is a necessity.”

The second above-mentioned organizer of the Amazon Synod, Mauricio Lopez, also now distances himself from the critics of the Amazon Synod's working document, in a new interview with German Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur (KNA). After first explaining that the Pope had told him that he wishes to “place the periphery at the center,” Lopez goes on to comment on Müller and Brandmüller’s criticism of the working document.

He says: “Generally, criticism is welcome. However, some of the accusations I consider to be unfair. Müller, for example, is critical, because he personally feels excluded.”

Lopez adds that the conflict is between a “formal Catholic social teaching” and the “faith of the people.” There are some voices, he explains, “who are categorically against any change.”

Asked about Cardinal Brandmüller and his concern that the Amazon Synod could question priestly celibacy, Lopez claims: “His critique is even worse than the one from Müller. Brandmüller uses words such as ‘heretical.’ That is simply inappropriate. It is not about abolishing celibacy. But we need next to it new forms in order to take action against the lack of priests.”

At yesterday’s synod press conference, Kräutler repeated his call for a female “diaconate,” saying “two thirds of these communities which are priestless are coordinated and directed by women.” 

“We hear a lot about enhancing the role of women,” he continued, adding, “but then we need concrete solutions...I am thinking about women's diaconate, and I say: ‘Why not?’” 

This is “a topic of the synod,” he declared.

In a short interview with LifeSite's Diane Montagna, the Austrian bishop even confirmed that he wishes that there will be female “priests” in the Catholic Church.

Kräutler also again argued at the October 9 press conference for allowing married priests in the Amazon region, suggesting that the indigenous are unable to comprehend celibacy. The Austrian missionary bishop, who is the retired bishop of Xingu, Brazil, pointed out that many parishes there are only visited by a priest two or three times annually and that therefore there is “no other option” than the introduction of married priests.

As to Kräutler and Lopez's demeaning and unsubstantiated responses to the serious criticisms of Cardinals Brandmüller and Müller, it might be worthwhile recalling what Father Thomas Weinandy just wrote: “As has been often noted, Pope Francis and his cohort never engage in theological dialogue, despite their constant claim that such dialogue is necessary. The reason is that they know they cannot win on that front. Thus, they are forced to resort to name-calling, psychological intimidation, and sheer will-to-power.”

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VIDEO: An outrage either way: Pagan idol worship in the Vatican or a nude statue of Our Lady

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By John-Henry Westen

October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The pagan idol worship that took place in the Vatican Gardens on October 4 has received significant media attention. One topic of debate centers on the two statues of naked pregnant women that the attendees “worshiped.”

Today, on this special segment of The John-Henry Westen Show, I’m discussing the deeply concerning ritual and what it means for the Church.

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Transcript: An outrage either way: Pagan idol worship in the Vatican or a nude statue of Our Lady

An event last week with indigenous people from the Amazon along with Pope Francis in the Vatican Gardens caused social media to explode. And rightfully so. We were either witnessing pagan idol worship in the Vatican with the seeming approval of the pope, or else it was a scandalous portrayal of the Mother of God in a crude nude statue. Frankly, I don’t know which is worse, but either way, it’s totally outrageous. That’s what we’re discussing in this special episode of The John-Henry Westen Show. Stay tuned.

Let’s begin as we always do with the sign of the cross.

The eve of the Amazonian Synod was marked by the Roundtable, where I joined several popular and outspoken defenders of the Catholic faith in calling out Pope Francis for the confusion he’s let loose in the Church. While that was happening, inside the Vatican Gardens was this alarming scene with what seemed like a pagan fertility ritual, complete with idol worship, all in the presence of Pope Francis.

A priestess of some sort was leading the ritual with dance, and participants, including a Franciscan friar, knelt in a circle and prostrated themselves, bowing to the ground with their foreheads before two statues of pregnant naked women. The priestess then shook a maraca in an apparent “blessing” over the whole group, including the pope, who was looking on during the prostration before the nude women statues.

As an aside, here are these far-left Catholics not only kneeling, but prostrating themselves. I find it so weird that the left-leaning prelates in the Church are the ones who disdain kneeling and sometimes even refuse to administer Holy Communion to kneeling faithful. Disgusting!

Remember the account from the Bible in the Book of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden idol and commanded all people to bow down before it or be thrown into a fiery furnace. The Jewish youths Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused even under the pain of such a horrible death. And the outraged king heated the furnace to seven times the normal and had them bound and thrown in. They were miraculously rescued for their fidelity to God, and the king converted.

To see this idol worship happening in the presence of the pope and on the hallowed ground of the Vatican, where St. Peter himself died and was buried, is a scandal beyond imagining.

LifeSite’s Rome correspondent, Diane Montagna, spoke with an indigenous leader from the Amazon Saturday who, after viewing the ceremony, called it 100% pagan.

However, some suggested that perhaps those wooden statues of naked seemingly pregnant women were not pagan idols, but rather depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth.

The official story, at least coming from the bishop the Vatican had speaking at the synod’s first press conference, said, well, he didn’t know...that it could have been Mother Earth or the Virgin Mary. (play the clip)

That was the sentiment of Bishop David Martínez de Aguirre Guinea, O.P. And when he mentioned “Mother Earth,” you should know that what he’s referring to is exactly a pagan goddess — Mother Earth is a translation of the Inca Pachamama — which is, as you can read in Wikipedia, “a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. She is also known as the earth/time mother. In Inca mythology, Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting, embodies the mountains, and causes earthquakes. She is also an ever-present and independent deity who has her own self-sufficient and creative power to sustain life on this earth.”

Let me say, if you don’t know exactly if it’s supposed to be some pagan idol of a false god or the Virgin Mary, should you maybe not reconsider prostrating yourselves? All throughout the Old Testament are warnings against bowing down to false idols. Remember too that it was one of the temptations presented to Christ by the devil after his 40-day fast.

If it was supposed to be a depiction of the Virgin Mary, did someone not think twice about enraging our Lord by allowing such an unworthy depiction of His Holy Mother into the Vatican?

The standards of modesty in the Catholic Church are universal and not just limited to the Westerners. Public nudity is not a Christian practice, and beyond it, being spiritually unhealthy leaves people vulnerable and prone to sickness.

It’s time to evangelize with the truth of Christ boldly, and if that means sometimes saying that a cultural practice is unhealthy, well, then, so be it.

What kind of punishment from the Lord is the Vatican bringing down upon itself?

Here’s a possible answer and prophecy from the Book of Exodus, chapter 20:

2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 You shall have no other gods before me.

4 You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

5 you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Is this the abomination of desolation set up in the holy place as referred to by Christ as a sign of the end times? But if it was indeed a pagan idol set up for worship in the Vatican, then it sure does seem to be getting close!

For LifeSiteNews, this is John-Henry Westen.

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Igorot shaman’s grandson blasts bishop’s belief that indigenous people cannot grasp celibacy

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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.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 

In Rome meals are slow but news is fast. It’s hard to strike a balance between gathering the news and writing the news, to say nothing of ignoring more exciting news until the current story is completed. 

Today I woke up too late for early Mass, so instead I checked my messages. There was one from an Igorot ex-shaman’s American grandson who praised my colleague Diane Montagna’s interview with an Amazonian tribal leader. 

“It would be nice to hear more from the indigenous there who aren’t on board,” said Rexcrisanto Delson. “As someone with indigenous ancestry, I am appalled with the Synod thus far.” 

I agree with Delson that more indigenous voices should be heard defending the Catholic faith, so here’s a link to a video he made about the synod. 

After a morning of writing, I went to the afternoon press conference. The auditorium again included a who’s who of anglophone Catholic journalists: Michael Voris, Michael Matt, Christopher R. Altieri of the UK’s Catholic Herald, JD Flynn of the Catholic News Agency (CNA), Christopher Lamb of the UK’s The Tablet. Most of them are men whose tweets and articles I’ve read for years; it’s a privilege to see the names and photos become three-dimensional faces.  

Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication; Fr. Giacomo Costa, S.J., the Secretary of the Holy See’s Commission for Information; and Cristiane Murray, the Deputy Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, seem to be daily fixtures. The synod participants presenting today were all Brazilians: two scientists and a bishop. 

Dr. Carlos Alfonso Nobre is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, meteorologist, and climate scientist who has studied the Amazon for 40 years. Dr. Ima Célia Guimãraes Vieria is an expert ecologist who has studied the Amazon for 30 years. Erwin Kräutler, C.PP.S. is the Bishop Emeritus of Xingu and, being an Amazonian bishop, he got most of the media’s attention. 

But the session began with Ruffini and Costa listing off themes presented at the synod this morning. They included the concepts of ecological sins, ecological theology, and ecological pastoral ministry. Sustainable development, lay ministries, an “option for youth,” women’s roles in ministry, a “Church with an Amazonian face,” and different kinds of migration within the region were other subjects. 

Someone brought up the topic of “Why are there no [priestly, missionary] vocations?”, which I found sad, since the answer is clearly “The New Missiology.” If St. Patrick and St. Columba had been told that Christ was already with the pagan Irish and Scots, and they should go forth to be evangelized by them, they might not have bothered setting sail. My family would be worshipping Odin, if not Dagda, Lugh, and Morrigan. And when I think about St. Francis Xavier, who baptized tens of thousands of Asians before dying of a fever at 46, I want to cry. 

Also sad was the spirited, learned presentation by Dr. Nobre, not only because he very much believes that the Amazon is being destroyed by commercial interests and that we have no more than 20 years to save both it and the climate, but because he hopes the media will get his message out. Unfortunately for him, the media were much more interested in what Bishop Kräutler had to say about what the Church can do against mining companies and why he thinks married priests are so important for the Amazon. 

If anyone is interested, I can offer a summary of “Scientific Framework to Save the Amazon” by Scientists of the Amazon Countries and Global Partners. But back to married priests.

The married priest question was asked by Christopher Lamb of The Tablet. He prefaced it with the Q&A equivalent of “God, I thank you for not making me like this tax collector” by asking the panel to convey his apologies to the Amazonian indigenous people for racist remarks he alleged were made by others in the Catholic media. 

This is the second time an English journalist has made a jab at fellow scribes at the presser this week, and call me old-fashioned, but I’m disappointed. In Edinburgh I rub elbows at parties with left-wing journalists for the Guardian, the Scotsman, and even the National, so this lack of collegiality comes as a surprise. 

However, I’m grateful to Lamb because he asked about married priests, which gave me my story for the afternoon, Bishop Kräutler having suggested that the indigenous people are incapable of getting their minds around celibacy. 

When I returned to my apartment, I contacted Rexcrisanto Delson, the indigenous ex-shaman’s grandson, and asked him what he thought about this. Delson got back to me while I was (finally) at dinner near the Piazza Navona. Here’s what he wrote: 

I just heard what Bishop Kräutler said about the indigenous people not understanding celibacy. I find it very offensive as an indigenous person. I even find it very racist. These people who believe such things seem to have forgotten the role of missionaries as understood in the past when the primary purpose and goal was to convert and baptize people - to save their souls. 

This Bishop fails to understand that the indigenous do not understand celibacy because their intellect has not been fed the Truth of our Catholic faith. Of course they may struggle with the idea of a man not having a wife because this is foreign to them. They aren't the first who thought this. I'm sure when the Belgium priests and missionaries began evangelizing to my pagan Igorot ancestors, they too were wondering why these men did not have a wife. To them, it isn't natural. That is precisely why they needed to be taught the "supernatural" of our Catholic faith. 

How can one's will lead to the priesthood if one's intellect has not been properly been fed the Truth? It can't. This is why the Church needs to focus on elevating the intellect of the indigenous instead of lowering Herself to their pagan beliefs and practices. My pagan ancestors were rooted in the natural law and rich in spiritualism, which made them fertile soil for the seed of our Catholic Faith to grow and flourish. Once they were properly catechized, it was clear to them that head hunting, and their worship of false gods were wrong. After learning about the priesthood and the significance of a priest as persona Christi, they grasped the Truth about celibacy. 

My grandfather was a mambunong (pagan shaman), but his daughter (my mother) converted him to the Catholic faith, and he was baptized shortly before his death. She truly feared for his soul. This is what is absent from the Amazon Synod - a real concern for the souls of the indigenous. Countless of Igorots, when presented and taught the Truth, had enough intelligence to follow it and became baptized Christians because man is ordered towards the good. The indigenous people of the Amazon also have the intellect and are fertile soil for the Truth. They are not stupid. They just need to be taught the Truth.

The other two big stories of the day were about Pope Francis. This morning he made remarks suggesting that some Catholics love dogma (that is, immutable and essential truths about God) more than God. Then we discovered that Eugenio Scalfari, the 95-year-old co-founder of newspaper La Repubblica, had just claimed that Pope Francis doesn’t believe Jesus was “God incarnate” during His earthly mission. 

As Scalfari has often interviewed Pope Francis, the Catholic wing of Twitter went insane. Journalists demanded a statement from the Sala Stampa, who produced a species of denial at a non-Twitter pace. Fortunately for my rumbling tummy, Martin Barillas wrote our story on the scandal, leaving me free to queue up for a table at the stellar “Cul de Sac.” 

I was joined by my colleague Jim Hale, and SPUC International’s Maria Madise, who regaled Jim and me with stories, both funny and sad, about the Family Synod. Afterward, I rejected a taxi in favor of walking back to my building. It occured to me when I noticed it was past 11:00 p.m., that this was not the smartest move for a short, middle-aged woman of obviously foreign appearance. However, my route was along major streets, and a few late-night snackers still lingered at sidewalk tables around the corner from my door. I got home without incident. 

I’ve set my alarm for 6:30 a.m., so as not to miss Mass. 

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The Rosary: Why vocal, repetitive, meditative prayer is beneficial to Christians

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

October 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In this month of October, specially dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, we gratefully recommit ourselves to this marvelous prayer, so beloved of countless saints; so highly praised by popes and enriched with indulgences; so comforting and simple; and so efficacious in the battle against evil powers, visible and invisible.

Many saints have said the Rosary is the most pleasing and fruitful private prayer we can offer to God — and this holds for all Christians in every walk of life. What is (in the words of St. Louis de Montfort) “the secret of the Rosary”? It is the spiritual humility and confidence with which we place ourselves before the sinless Mother of God, seeking the protection of the one who, among all creatures, is most pleasing to Jesus Christ and most powerful in her intercession with Him. As we see at the wedding feast of Cana, He listens to her pleas. As we see at the foot of the Cross, He entrusts His “beloved disciple” to her, and her to him. We are all children and beneficiaries of Mary, if we are disciples of Christ the Master. To probe the heart of Mary’s favorite prayer is to peer into the depths of her treasure-laden soul and see the glory of God reflected there as in a mirror.

The Rosary possesses three qualities that make it especially suitable for Christians working in the world: it is vocal, repetitive, and meditative.

As a vocal prayer, it continues the noble tradition stretching from the song of Moses and the Psalms of David, down to the utterances of the Maccabees and the Canticle of Simeon in the temple. In First Samuel we read that “Hannah multiplied her prayer before the Lord,” so much so that “Eli the high priest observed her mouth” (1 Sm. 1:12). Mary’s cousin Elizabeth “exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!,’” to which Our Lady responds, at the beginning of her canticle of praise, “behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me” (Lk. 1:42, 48–9). Christ instructs us to go into our rooms and pray fervently to God, offering as our model the humility of the publican who said, bowing his head and beating his breast, “Be merciful to me, a sinner” (Mt. 6:6; Lk. 18:13). On another occasion He gives us the example of the persistent widow who in her distress never ceases to entreat the judge for help (Lk. 18:2–5). The prodigal son of the parable falls before his father’s feet and confesses his guilt; the blind man on the road to Jericho continually cries out, “Son of David, have pity on me” (Lk. 15:21; Lk. 18:38). We are told by St. Paul to “pray always” (1 Thes. 5:17), to “persevere in prayer” (Rom. 12:12), and to keep hymns and praises upon our lips (Eph. 5:18–20; Col. 3:16–17).

With examples like these and hundreds of others at hand, it should be evident that vocal prayer is not negligible or mediocre, as misguided enthusiasts, especially Protestants and liberal Catholics, have maintained. Quite to the contrary, vocal prayer is a traditional, highly favored, efficacious means of cultivating the presence of God and turning to Him in trust and hope, a means of sanctifying one’s speech and one’s heart. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt. 12:34).

The “repetitiousness” of the Rosary, far from being an impediment to concentration or an outmoded medieval custom, is bound up with two important aspects of prayer: the nature of the human mind and the proper way of approaching the Almighty. When we return again and again to the same lofty themes, we walk in line with our imperfect mode of knowing, which requires us to fix many a loving gaze on definite and familiar objects in order to know them more perfectly, and we learn how to bring ourselves before God with pleading that is tireless, humble, unaffected, childlike, and elemental. We learn new lessons from familiar things as we grow closer in love to Our Lord and His Mother. By carrying the same words ever on our lips, we shape our habits of thought and speech. By lingering over the same mysteries, we are like children who never tire of a beautiful story, or lovers who never grow weary of one another’s signs of affection. Even the Seraphim before the throne of God forever sing their hymn of praise: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Is. 6:3; Apoc. 4:8).

The simple and deliberately repetitive method of prayer, repeating the Lord’s Prayer, the Angelic Salutation, and the doxology, encourages meditation on the mysteries of our faith — not so much an exhaustive analysis or pictorial representation of them as a dwelling in their ambiance, with the desire to absorb their reality. In the words of John Paul II:

The Holy Rosary is a continuous memorial of the Redemption, in its salient stages: the Incarnation of the Word, His Passion and Death for us, the Pasch that He has begun and that will be completed eternally in heaven. Indeed, when we consider the contemplative elements of the Rosary, that is, the mysteries around which the vocal prayer unfolds, we can better understand why this crown of angelic salutations has been termed “the Psalter of the Virgin.” For the Psalms reminded Israel of the wonders of the Exodus and of the salvation wrought by God, and they constantly called the people back to fidelity toward the covenant made at Sinai. In like manner, the Rosary continually reminds the people of the new covenant of the prodigies of mercy and power that God has deployed in Christ on behalf of mankind, and it calls that people back to fidelity toward the commitments made at baptism. We are His people and He is our God. (Osservatore Romano, October 11, 1983)

“As desire should be orderly,” says St. Thomas Aquinas, “so should prayer, since it is the expression of desire.” Could anyone find three prayers more earnest, more clear, more consoling, or more profound than the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be?

To linger over phrases from the Our Father is to enroll under the most sublime teacher of all, Jesus Christ, Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom, who taught this prayer to His disciples. It is not in the least surprising that both the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the Catechism of the Catholic Church organize their sections on prayer around the Lord’s Prayer.

For its part, the Hail Mary is a prayer intensely alive — every line, every word contains the silence of mystery, the echo of prophecy, the promise of redemption. The very words encapsulate several mysteries and sacred events at once: the Annunciation, the Incarnation, the Visitation, the Holy Name of Jesus, Mary’s plenitude of grace, her intercession for us in Heaven, the Last Things. In fact, the Hail Mary is a miniature compendium of the entire Catholic faith.

Without theological digression, without the waste of a single word, the Glory Be grandly invokes the Blessed Trinity, Alpha and Omega of all things, and inserts the infinitesimal act of our prayer into the infinite majesty of God.

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An outrage either way: Pagan idol worship in the Vatican or a nude statue of Our Lady

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By John-Henry Westen

An event last week with indigenous people from the Amazon along with Pope Francis in the Vatican Gardens caused social media to explode. And rightfully so. We were either witnessing pagan idol worship in the Vatican with the seeming approval of the Pope or else it was a scandalous portrayal of the Mother of God in a crude nude statue. Frankly I don’t know which is worse, but either way it’s totally outrageous. That’s what we’re discussing in this special episode of the John-Henry Westen show stay tuned.


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