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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Papal interviewer: ‘So many bishops’ disagree with Francis but are ‘afraid’ to say so

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Vittorio Messori, a famous Italian convert, journalist, and interviewer of two popes, has accused Pope Francis of “touching” the doctrine, of “laying his hands on that which the pope should instead be defending.” He said as much in a wider interview this Monday with the Italian media La Verità on the occasion of the republishing of the book he wrote after his conversion, Jesus Hypotheses. Last September, in a similar interview with La Fede Quotidiana, he said: “The Church is not of Bergoglio or of the bishops, but only of Christ.”

One interview was given before the Amazon Synod, underscoring the concerns that had already arisen about the synod’s agenda. The other appeared after the three weeks of harrowing news coming out of Rome, but it did not record any reactions of Messori to the more spectacular events surrounding the synod, such as the “Pachamama” worship in the Vatican gardens.

He did speak of Pope Francis’s failure to “defend the doctrine,” calling him “the first pope who often seems to give a reading of the Gospel that does not follow tradition.”

Vittorio Messori recalled, however, that the “Church will not fail.”

Messori is well known in Italy and over the world for his book-length interview with Pope John Paul II (Crossing the Treshold of Hope). With the future Pope Benedict XVI, he published another full-length interview, the Ratzinger Report.

Born to a rationalist, agnostic family, he experienced a stunning conversion when he read the New Testament as a 23-year-old young man, and he became a respected journalist who frequently writes about religious issues. He told La Fede Quotidiana that criticizing Pope Francis is not allowed in the “Church of mercy,” having personally faced pressure at Il Corriere della Sera to discontinue his collaboration after such an article.

Here is the part of Messori’s interview with La Verità on October 28 where he speaks of Pope Francis:

“Today with Bergoglio we have the impression that they want to get their hands on doctrine in some way. The pope is the guardian of the depositum fidei. After the Council, the three great popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI greatly modernized the spirit with which to read and live out the Gospel, but they never permitted themselves to touch the doctrine,” he said.

Asked about Pope Francis, he answered:

“The impression is that Bergoglio is laying his hands on that which the pope should instead be defending. The doctrine, as it developed in 2,000 years of study, was entrusted to the pope who must defend it, and not change it. Today we get the impression that this is precisely what is happening, and it is especially alarming to believers. The same Bergoglio recently acknowledged that some people are meditating a schism. He also states he is not afraid of that.”

Questioned about his “personal feeling” about this, he said:

“Certainly there will be no schism, but the concern is strong because we are facing the first pope who often seems to give a reading of the Gospel that does not follow tradition.”

On September 17, Vittorio Messori told La Fede Quotidiana:

“I see that many Catholics are concerned; some are even desperate. As a believer, however, I remember that the Church is not a business, a multinational or a state. In short, it cannot fail. Of course, there are reasons for alarm: I am thinking, for example, of the upcoming Synod on the Amazon and the errors related to it. I do not know what they want to achieve, probably the marriage of priests. However I am worried, but not desperate, because the Church is not of Bergoglio or of the bishops, but only of Christ and He governs it with wisdom. The forces of evil will not win.”

“Do you think there is a certain fundamental confusion?” asked journalist Bruno Volpe.

“Yes, it is present, and it saddens and confuses. But I think that in the end the Father will intervene. God surpasses our limited capacity to see things.”

To the question: “Do you think there is a kind of conformism, even in the media, about Pope Francis?,” Messori replied:

“The conformism to which you refer indeed exists. But it is palpable even within the Church. It is disconcerting that only two or three nonagenarian cardinals actually speak out and protest. There are so many bishops and even cardinals with whom I speak in private who lift their hands to their heads to show their dissent, but they are afraid, they say nothing, they are silent. For 2,000 years, harming the pope has been discouraged, but this tendency is accentuated today and one can clearly experience it firsthand. They say that this is the Church of mercy, but is it really? Those in command do not tolerate critical voices of any kind. I wrote a polite article in the Corriere in which I asked questions and offered reflections and I was covered with insults, especially by certain Catholic media. A committee was formed to ask the Corriere to put an end to my collaboration. This committee resembles — to use a fashionable expression — the “magic lily” [team of close supporters of former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi] of the pope. Where is the consistency with the statement that this is the Church of mercy, of open and loyal dialogue, of parresia? I am worried, as I said, but not desperate. Christ does not abandon his Church.”

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San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy
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Pro-gay US bishop: Majority of bishops at Amazon Synod ‘favor’ female deacons

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By Stephen Kokx

October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-LGBT Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego believes the majority of bishops who attended the Pan-Amazonian Synod favor allowing women deacons. He also said that he himself is in support of “opening any ministry we have in the Church to women which is not clearly precluded” by the Church’s doctrines. 

McElroy is one of the most heterodox bishops in the United States. He was hand-picked by Pope Francis to attend the controversial gathering, where some Catholics claim “idol worship” of a naked pagan statue (“Pachamama”) was performed in the Vatican Gardens. Pope Francis also asked liberal U.S. Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Sean O’Malley of Boston to participate in the synod. McElroy made his comments during a recent interview with Catholic News Service (CNS).

“The sentiment among the bishops of the synod was in favor, the majority of bishops, were in favor of admitting women to the permanent diaconate,” McElroy told CNS. “My own view is that I’m in favor of opening any ministry we have in the Church to women which is not clearly precluded doctrinally.”           

Admitting he is “not an expert in this field,” McElroy, who concelebrated an “LGBT Mass” at a pro-gay church in his diocese in 2017, said, “my own assessment of it is…that what has come out so far indicates the current diaconate for women is not clearly prohibited by doctrinal considerations. My hope would be that they would find a pathway to make that a reality.”

He added, “I think there’s a good possibility that's the direction it’s going to head into. The Pope added his comments yesterday. The fact he did that, makes me think there’s a good chance that some positive action will come out of that.”

According to Faithful Shepherds, a bishop accountability website launched by LifeSiteNews in August of 2018, McElroy is one of the most radical bishops in the United States.

In a 2013 interview, McElroy called poverty the “preeminent” issue for the Catholic Church, complaining that, “In recent years, the [USCCB] has labeled abortion and euthanasia as the preeminent issues in the political order, but not poverty.” 

He also banned an outspoken pro-life priest from writing bulletin columns while calling for climate change to be a “central priority” of the Church.

McElroy has also been a vocal supporter of pro-homosexual priest Fr. James Martin. In a 2017 article, he endorsed Martin’s book, Building a Bridge, even though it fails to mention the sinfulness of homosexual acts and insists that the Church change its teaching on “LGBT” issues. 

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

More recently, Bishop McElroy was a keynote speaker at the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests assembly in 2018. The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests is a dissident, pro-gay, pro-women’s “ordination” group comprised of liberal priests from across the United States. The particular conference at which McElroy spoke featured pro-homosexual merchandise and buttons available for the attendees.

McElroy has also attacked the integrity of Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, who alleges that there is massive homosxual infiltration in the Church and that sex crimes committed by Catholic priests have been covered up by high-ranking prelates, including Pope Francis.

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Sean DiGiovanna
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Police arrest pro-LGBT high school teacher for soliciting sex with underage student

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By Martin Barillas

SOMERSET, New Jersey, October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- A pro-LGBT high school social studies teacher, who helped run his school’s Gay Straight Alliance and had advocated for introducing students to cartoon pornography in class, was arrested and charged in New Jersey this month for sending a student “sexually-explicit” images of himself.

Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson announced on Facebook that Sean DiGiovanna, 50, was arrested October 10 and charged with endangering the welfare of a child as well as a count promoting obscene material to a child under 18. He was jailed pending a detention hearing. 

According to the statement, DiGiovanna, a teacher at Watchung Hills Regional High School, sent sexually-explicit images of himself to an underage student. The victim also reported that DiGiovanna sent him text messages soliciting a sexual relationship. Forensic examination of DiGiovanna’s phone revealed the sexually-explicit images and text conversations reported by the victim.

DiGiovanna helped run the Gay Straight Alliance on the high school campus. He received a salary in excess of $86,000. 

DiGiovanna has been an advocate for LGBTQ causes for a number of years. A June 2018 YouTube video shows DiGiovanna addressing the local school board and advocating for the use of “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” in high school classes.

Author Alison Bechdel, according to the Family Policy Alliance of Colorado, said of her 2018 novelized graphic memoir, “(I)t’s all about the power of images ... I can understand why people wouldn’t want their children to accidentally think this was a funny comic book and pick it up and see pictures of people having sex ... drawings are very seductive and attention catching.”  

Celebrated in LGBTQ circles, the 2006 book recounts in 240 pages Bechdel’s Catholic childhood and adolescence, including bouts of lesbian sex and masturbation. Suicide, dysfunctional family life, sexual orientation, and emotional abuse are among the themes in the book. Bechdel’s father was a teacher and part-time funeral undertaker who had homosexual relationships while in the military and afterward with high school students. Soon after his wife requested a divorce, the elder Bechdel was killed when he stepped into the path of a delivery truck in 1980. The book has been translated into French and German and has been transformed into a stage play.

In the video of the school board meeting, DiGiovanna identifies himself as gay and an LGBTQ activist for 10 years. Referring to “Fun Home,” DiGiovanna claimed that his students found that the book was a “very positive thing for them to read, a very affirming thing for them to read.” He dismissed parents’ fears that the book could be harmful to students under 18. 

“I appreciate that people are maybe for diversity but not for this book. I do hear a lot of people saying things like ‘pushing an agenda.’ I want the board to know that I know and my students know what that really means. The only agenda that we should be pushing is what’s best for our students. What’s best for our students is to understand is the fullness of what people have to go through and what all our students have to go through, including LGBT students,” DiGiovanni said at the time to the applause of the board.

At the board meeting last year, two parents spoke out about the graphic novel, citing their objections to some of the images in it. Parents sought to have the book replaced with another. TAPinto quoted a social media post by a concerned parent:

“I am all for inclusion and diversity. I have not read the book. The pictures in the book I have seen from the other forum are XXX-rated level. That is not acceptable for children under 18 not to mention there are siblings much younger at home who can be exposed to these images involuntarily. This should be a book for selective reading for whom are open to it but not for a book in the curriculum that every 12th grade student must read in the English class curriculum.  Aren’t there other age appropriate great books that can promote the same value?”

Another wrote: “Those students that are interested can read this on their own time. It is not about banning books -- it is about not teaching porn in school! If this book stays on the list, will we be adding Playboy and Hustler (or whatever is the current day version of these) to the reading list as well?”

School superintendent Elizabeth Jewett dismissed parents’ concerns, saying, “We chose Fun Home to advance our goals for thoughtful, contextualized literary reading and to expand the LGBTQ voices in our curriculum.”

The concerns raised recently by some people have been leveled at the novel’s images of sexual intimacy. "We acknowledge that a few such images appear in the novel, but we do not feel their presence in any way diminishes the literary quality of the work," she said. "Thumbing through the novel and pointing to an image or two misses the context in which these images are presented.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjc224vNGgY

Shawn Hyland of Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey released a statement on the group’s website, stating: “DiGiovanna’s efforts to distribute pornography were not limited to school-approved textbooks and classroom hours.” 

“Before physically assaulting children, pedophiles engage in a process called grooming. They gain the child’s trust, exploit their natural curiosity about sex by eliciting sexually explicit conversations, and generally wear down the child’s natural resistance to sexual contact often by sharing obscene sexual images,” he added.

Despite DiGiovanna’s claims that pornography is harmless, Hyland asserted that pornography is “harmful to the brains of all minors who view it often. Pornography use has the potential to negatively impact adolescents’ ‘sexual risk taking, sexual functioning, body image, sexual objectification and sexual aggression,’ and can be just as addictive and harmful as drugs.”

In a statement, Hyland said the Watchung Hills Regional High School Board of Education “has ignored red flags all along the way in this situation. They have discounted for over a year the grave concerns Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey has been sharing with them, and they have turned a blind eye to concerned parents.”

When New Jersey’s governor and legislature approved new LGBT education mandates earlier this year, Hyland said, schools see an “open invitation to graphic and explicit sexual content like Fun Home. This mandate also erodes parents’ ability to protect their children by denying them the right to opt their children out.”

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Hearings begin over license of last abortion center in Missouri

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By Calvin Freiburger

ST. LOUIS, October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Hearings began Monday over the abortion license of a scandal-plagued Planned Parenthood facility in a case that could decide the fate of the last abortion center in Missouri.

Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region has been fighting the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services over its annual license renewal, arguing that the state is trying to “intimidate” abortionists by making renewal contingent on interviewing them about patient complaints. 

The abortion giant filed a lawsuit at St. Louis Circuit Court seeking a restraining order to preserve its license, without which it would have had to stop committing abortions after the license expired in June. Health officials want to interview five contract physicians regarding seven incidents flagged by inspectors, which Planned Parenthood opposes on the grounds that its answers could lead to criminal charges.

In May, Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer granted the facility a temporary restraining order, allowing it to keep committing abortions, and the next month he ruled that the center could stay open at least until June 21 – at which point he extended Planned Parenthood’s reprieve yet again for an unspecified period of time.

On Monday, Assistant Attorney General John Sauer described to Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi of the state's Administrative Hearing Commission several instances of failed abortions at the facility, NBC News reported. One of the cases entailed subjecting one woman to five separate procedures to complete an abortion, ans another involved the abortionists failing to realize the woman seeking the abortion had twins.

“These concerns that have been raised are very serious,” Sauer said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Patient safety is the lodestar.”

Planned Parenthood claims it has already addressed its issues, with attorney Chuck Hatfield playing a video deposition of a health department official giving the facility a clean bill of health. “They cherry-picked certain medical records,” he claimed. “This was not a normal inspection. They were looking for very specific ones where something unusual happened.”

“There was no internal flag raised” about these problems, Sauer argued, a critique echoed by the testimony of American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists executive director Dr. Donna Harrison.

“The medical record is so confusing,” Harrison said, noting one case where doctors administered too little sedative and another where it was unclear if the patient had been fully informed of abortion’s risks. “It’s so inconsistent.”

“An ambulance has been called to this particular facility in Saint Louis more than 70 times since 2009,” Susan B. Anthony List’s Mallory Quigley has previously noted. All told, state health officials have given the Missouri Planned Parenthood facility 30 citations of medical malpractice, including complications in four surgical abortions.

This week’s hearing is slated to last five days, with a decision not expected to be reached until February. If the St. Louis facility is ultimately forced to stop committing abortions, the next closest abortion facilities will be in Granite City, Illinois (10 miles from St. Louis) or Kansas City, Kansas (260 miles from St. Louis).

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Judge allows Nick Sandmann to sue Washington Post, reverses prior ruling

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life teen Nick Sandmann’s defamation suit against the Washington Post got a new lease on life Monday thanks to US District Judge William Bertelsman partially reversing his prior ruling, which will allow the suit to move forward.

Immediately following the January March for Life in Washington, D.C., the press erupted with claims that a video showed boys from the Kentucky religious school harassing Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist, outside the Lincoln Memorial. But additional extended video and firsthand accounts soon revealed that Phillips was the one who waded into the group waiting for its bus and decided to beat a drum inches from Sandmann’s face, while the boys had merely performed school cheers in hopes of drowning out racist taunts from members of the Black Hebrew Israelites fringe group.

The Washington Post issued an editor’s note in March admitting that “subsequent reporting, a student’s statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that [January 18] story,” but neither retracting nor apologizing for its initial piece. Sandmann’s attorneys rejected it, and launched a $250 million defamation suit against the paper.

Bertelsman dismissed the suit in July on the grounds that the Post’s initial coverage didn’t specifically mention Sandmann by name, that its language was constitutionally-protected “rhetorical hyperbole,” and that while Phillips’ version of events may have been “erroneous,” the Post reporting on his “opinion” fell within the First Amendment’s scope.

On Monday, however, the judge partially reversed himself and allowed the case to proceed to the discovery phase, attorney Todd McMurtry announced:

Attorney Lin Wood also issued a statement praising the development:

As additional video came to light many journalists and other public figures quickly deleted their snap condemnations of the students, and an independent investigation commissioned by the Diocese of Covington forced the diocese to retract its initial condemnation of the boys.

As various media figures either tried to keep the original narrative alive or refused to unequivocally retract or apologize for their initial claims, attorneys representing the students have filed defamation suits against numerous other media outlets and public figures, including CNN, NBC Universal, Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, comedian Kathy Griffin, ABC News’s Matthew Dowd, Princeton University’s Kevin Kruse, left-wing activist Shaun King, and Rewire editor-in-chief Jodi Jacobson.

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Bishop Emeritus José Luis Azcona Hermoso of the Brazilian city of Marajó in an Oct. 20 homily at the cathedral in the state of Pará.
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‘Demonic sacrilege’: Brazilian bishop condemns Vatican gardens’ ‘Pachamama’ ritual

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By Martin Barillas

MARAJO, Brazil, October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- A Brazilian bishop said that Pope Francis’ Oct. 4 ceremony in the Vatican gardens prior to the opening of the Amazon Synod, where people prostrated themselves before a wooden statue of a naked pregnant woman (Pachamama), constituted a “scandalous, demonic sacrilege.”

“Mother Earth should not be worshipped because everything, even the earth, is under the dominion of Jesus Christ. It is not possible that there are spirits with power equal or superior to Our Lord or of the Virgin Mary,” said Bishop Emeritus José Luis Azcona Hermoso of the Brazilian city of Marajó said in an Oct. 20 homily at the cathedral in the state of Pará.

To the applause of the congregation, the bishop added, nearly shouting: “Pachamama is not and never will be the Virgin Mary. To say that this statue represents the Virgin is a lie. She is not Our Lady of the Amazon because the only Lady of the Amazon is Mary of Nazareth. Let’s not create syncretistic mixtures. All of that is impossible: the Mother of God is the Queen of Heaven and earth.”   

“The invocation of the statues before which even some religious bowed at the Vatican (and I won’t mention which congregation they belong) is an invocation of a mythical power, of Mother Earth, from which they ask blessings or make gestures of gratitude. These are scandalous demonic sacrileges, especially for the little ones who are not able to discern,” he added later in the homily. 

The Spanish-born bishop said that a genuine illumination from the Holy Spirit, which “our dear Pope Francis has mentioned so often,” is required to understand the much-debated synod. “We should distinguish between what comes from Satan or from the human mind, from what is of the Holy Spirit. This discernment is fundamental in order to belong to the Church and even more so to evangelize.”

Azcona recalled that REPAM [Pan Amazon Church Network], a Catholic network that largely prepared the Amazon Synod and which is presided over by Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, held a meeting in Brasilia, months before the synod, in which were held “indigenous rituals with invocations and prayers in which some bishops participated.” 

“These are fundamental issues, and here in Amazonian we know the meaning of macumba or condomblè, which are quite prevalent here.” Widespread in northeastern Brazil, macumba and condomblè are afro-Brazilian cults that involve propitiation of various gods and goddesses, dances, incantations and sacrifices. 

On Friday, Pope Francis confirmed that the controversial statues of a nude pregnant woman at the Vatican Gardens ceremony, and then processed into St. Peter’s Basilica and kept at a side altar at the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, symbolize the “Pachamama.” This was despite earlier affirmations by Vatican spokesmen that the statues represented the value of human life. Referring to the statues’ removal from the Traspontina church, the Pope asked pardon for those offended. He informed the synod that Italian police had recovered the statues that had been thrown into the River Tiber. 

During his homily, Azcona also spoke of the spiritual dangers of incorporating native rituals and cosmology to Catholic liturgy and practice. He lamented that “nowhere in the Instrumentum Laboris is there talk of the presence of demons or their influence, of their wickedness in people, peoples and cultures, as well as the victory of Christ, His liberation and destruction of the power of the Malignant." He cautioned that the Church is on the brink of schism. 

Observers have noted that high-ranking clergy have been caught participating in pagan rites long before the just-concluded Amazonian synod. In 2015, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravassi -- who presides over the Pontifical Council for Culture -- participated in a sacred circle dance to reverence Pachamama, organized by the Ecumenical Social Forum in San Marcos Sierras, a village in the Argentine province of Cordoba. Also participating was Sister Maria Teresa Varela, the vice-president of the Forum. 

Equalling Bishop Azcona’s condemnation was Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan. In an open letter, Bishop denounced the Pachamama statue at the Amazon Synod. On Saturday, he called on all Catholics to protest the idol’s presence at the Vatican and to offer reparation for the offense caused by what he called a “new golden calf.” In the Old Testament, the Israelites who waited for the return of Moses and the Ten Commandments from Mount Zion, but worshipped an idol in place of the true God. 

Schneider wrote: “Syncretism and paganism are like poisons entering the veins of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.”

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Kanye West denounces abortion in interview on new ‘Jesus is King’ album

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By Calvin Freiburger

PRAYER PLEDGE: Pray for Kanye as he promotes pro-Jesus, pro-life message. Click here.

October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Rapper Kanye West has been the subject of widespread curiosity for over a year now due to his gradual evolution toward conservative politics, with the past several months indicating a deeper religious conversion, as well. With last week’s release of his religious-themed album Jesus Is King, West spoke at length on all of the above in multiple interviews.

“We’re brainwashed out here, bro,” West told radio host Kurt “Big Boy” Alexander Friday, in response to the notion that blacks should vote Democrat based simply on their skin color. “Come on, man. This is a free man talking. Democrats had us voting for Democrats with food stamps for years. What are you talking about guns in the 80s, taking the fathers out the home, Plan B, lowering our votes, making us abort children.”

West dismissed the notion that his current views would end his career, adding that the proponents of “cancel culture” are also “telling you that you can’t have a right to say who you will vote for,” and “will be soon to take Jesus out of school,” to “remove Jesus, period, from America, which is the Bible Belt.”

Kanye’s remarks mark a striking departure from past songs referencing abortion flippantly, as well as him and his wife Kim Kardashian using sex-selective in-vitro fertilization to have a son in 2015. Kardashian and the couple’s children were just baptized into the Armenian Apostolic Church. The baptisms took place inside Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in Vagharshapat, Armenia, one of the oldest churches in the world.

In another interview with host Zane Lowe, West opened up about a “full-on pornography addiction” he says haunted him ever since he stumbled across an issue of Playboy as a small child. “It’s affected almost every choice I made for the rest of my life,” he said. “From age five till now having to kick the habit. And it just presents itself in the open like it’s okay and I stand up and say, ‘No it’s not okay.’”

“Yeah, when you see all of the billboards, the traffic billboards,” West continued. “When I say ‘traffic’ I’m talking about the billboards are actually sex trafficking. On one side of the street it’s a billboard with spirits, which is alcohol, and on the other side it’s ‘call this number’ or it’s a picture of a woman on a billboard and says ‘come to this strip club.’ So there are all different layers of trafficking.”

“Now that I’m in service to Christ, my job is to spread the Gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me,” West explained. “I’ve spread a lot of things. There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me, I was letting you know what the Hennessey had done for me, but now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me, and in that I’m no longer a slave, I’m a son now, a son of God. I’m free.”

West’s evolution seemingly began last year when he declared President Donald Trump his “brother,” lamented former President Barack Obama’s failure to effect change in Chicago, and opened the door to potentially identifying as a conservative in the future. He also revealed that he had been watching videos from psychology professor and pundit Jordan Peterson.

So far, Jesus Is King (which also drew headlines for lyrics praising Chick-fil-A) has received mixed reviews but is projected to sell 225,000 to 275,000 copies in just its first week.

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Pope Francis receives Pachamama statue in Vatican gardens during indigenous ceremony, Rome, Oct. 4, 2019. Vatican News / video screen grab
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Vatican leaves out call for women’s ‘ministries’ from English version of Amazon Synod’s final doc

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An explosive suggestion for a new ministry for women has been left out of the “unofficial” working English translation of the Final Document of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region. 

In Paragraph 102 of the document, the original Spanish reads: Pedimos revisar el Motu Proprio de San Pablo VI, Ministeria quedam [sic], para que también mujeres adecuadamente formadas y preparadas puedan recibir los ministerios del Lectorado y el Acolitado, entre otros a ser desarrollados. (We ask that you review the Motu Propio of St. Paul VI,  Ministeria quaedam, so that appropriately trained and prepared women may also receive the ministries of Lector and Acolyte, among others to be developed.) 

This section cannot be found in the “unofficial” working translation given to journalists during an Oct. 26 Vatican press conference.

In the English translation Paragraph 102 reads: 

Faced with the reality suffered by women who are victims of physical, moral and religious violence, including femicide, the Church commits to the defence of their rights and recognizes them as protagonists and guardians of creation and of our “common home” . We recognize the ministry that Jesus reserved for women. It is necessary to promote the formation of women in biblical theology, systematic theology, canon law, valuing their presence in organizations and leadership within and outside the ecclesial environment. We want to strengthen family ties, especially for migrant women. We secure your place in leadership and formation. [Missing text] In the new contexts of evangelization and pastoral ministry in the Amazon, where the majority of Catholic communities are led by women, we ask for the institution of ministry for “woman leadership of the community” be created and recognized within the  service of the changing demands of evangelization and community care.” 

There is no explanation for dropping the text concerning women being “properly trained and prepared to recieve” the ministries. However, there may have been concern about criticism from conservative elements in the English-speaking Churches. Traditionally the offices of Lector and Acolyte were received by men on their way to being ordained to the diaconate and then to the priesthood. 

The four “Minor Orders” a future priest received were Porter, Lector (or Reader), Exorcist, and Acolyte. These were followed by the three “Major Orders”: Subdeacon, Deacon, and the Holy Priesthood. 

LifeSiteNews has reached out to the Press Office of the Holy See for comment.

Although the Minor Orders were abolished in most Catholic communities, they have been retained by traditional Catholic priestly orders such as the Fraternity of the Priests of Saint Peter (FSSP) and the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). 

When asked what this new "woman community leader" ministry was, as indicated in paragraph 102, Bishop David Martínez de Aguirre Guinea admitted that this had not been well-defined in the document. 

“In many Amazonian communities women are those who, in fact, lead the communities and they are the coordinators... and we pastors feel that there are some gaps in recognizing the roles of women,” he said. 

Martínez explained that men’s roles as clergy are recognized and so there is a “gap” in the recognition between their roles and those performed by “so many” women in the Amazon. 

“Maybe we haven’t defined it well, but the Pope is asking for us to be creative in these ministries that have already been created,” he said.  

Cardinal Michael Czerny, the other episcopal panelist in the Oct. 26 press conference, added that one potential ministry for women was an “ecological ministry.” 

The role of women in leadership and ministry in the Amazon has been a dominant theme during the Synod. Thirty-five women took part in the three-week long gathering, listening and giving testimony in what one female observer called “very active participation.” 

Sister Inés Azucena Zambrano Jara of the Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and St. Catherine of Sienna stated yesterday that the women invited to the Synod sometimes called themselves the “Mothers of the Synod.”  

“As for our participation as women, I believe it was a very active participation,” Sr. Inés said. 

“We felt responsible throughout the synod. So, there were times when we heard and said to ourselves ‘Mothers of the Synod,’” she continued.  

 “I don’t know if that can be said. But that’s how we felt; that’s how we lived it.”

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LifeSiteNews.com

News

WATCH: Young Catholic woman slams Amazon Synod final doc

LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a new video, LifeSite’s Claire Chretien blasts the Amazon Synod final document’s call for an official women’s “ministry” at Mass, explaining why this is problematic and unbiblical. WATCH:

 

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Pope Benedict XVI in the popemobile after a general audience in St. Peter's Square on September 28, 2010. John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews

News

Brazilian bishop: Pope Benedict XVI opened path to women’s diaconate

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A Brazilian bishop made a detailed argument in favor of women being admitted to the permanent diaconate Friday. 

Bishop Evaristo Pascoal Spengler of Marajó, Brazil stated at Friday’s post-Synodal meeting that Pope Benedict XVI himself had opened the way canonically to the “ordination” of women as deaconesses. 

In response to a question by LifeSiteNews’ Diane Montagna concerning Christ’s establishment of a male priesthood, Spenger said: 

“I was saying [before] that Pope Benedict XVI, he disconnects the ministry of the diaconate from Christ the head. So canonically this opens the way to the ordination of women as deaconesses, not as priests or bishops.”

During his presentation in the Holy See’s press hall, Spengler had argued that the recovery of the permanent diaconate by the Second Vatican Council and a change to canon law by Benedict XVI “leaves the road open for the ordination of women” to the diaconate. 

“...Vatican II takes up the issue of the diaconate for married men, and the diaconate for married men is based on argument that men exercise in the Church a diaconal service, and it would be good to ordain them so that they can do this more effectively. That’s good and useful for the Church. We think that this is a very valid argument for the ordination [sic] of women as deaconesses in the Church,” Spengler said.  

“Pope Benedict XVI made a very important step down this road. He changed Canon 1009 in the Code of Canon Law, which used to say that bishops, priests, and deacons receive the mission and faculty of acting in the name of Christ the head. He changed these words of the canon, and said that from that moment, deacons no longer no longer act in the name of Christ the head. To the contrary, they are given the capacity to serve the People of God in the diaconia of the liturgy, the word and charity,” the bishop continued.  

“So here we perceive that this leaves the road open for the ordination of women [to the diaconate].”

Spengler acknowledged that the Church “deserves” a better foundation to determine what kind of formal women’s ministry “is found in the Church,” but cited Galatians 3:28, where St. Paul said: “There is no longer Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; because all are one in Christ.”

There are serious blocks to the “ordination” of women to any ministry, however. Stemming from from the perennial tradition of the Church, Canon 1024 states that “a baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.” Although St. Paul does mention “deaconesses,” contemporary scholars investigating the issue have been unable to come to a consensus that women were ever ordained to the diaconate “with the same form and the same aim as the ordination of men,” as Pope Francis told reporters this May.  

At the beginning of his presentation to the press, the Bishop of Marajó said that “40 percent of participants in the preparations for the synod asked to be discussed: the topic of an official ministry for women in the Church.”

The Brazilian bishop cited women’s participation in salvation history, recorded in the Old and New Testaments, and the presence of women’s leadership in ecclesial communities in the Amazon region.   

“If we look at women in the Amazon region, more than half, perhaps more than 60 percent of the communities are coordinated―are directed―by women,” Spengler said. 

“They are the great majority of catechists, the ministers of the word, ministers of the Eucharist, so women have a decisive presence ... today in the Church in the Amazon.”

He said the “the people” compare the situation of the Catholic Church in the region with Evangelical Christians, especially the Pentecostals, who have pastors living among them, whereas Catholic priests visit communities in the interior of the Amazon region only twice a year at most.  

“Pope Francis has insisted that the Church should be a Church of presence, not only a visiting Church,” the bishop reported. 

The topic of women’s leadership in the Catholic Church was addressed by other panelists at Friday’s press conference. 

Sister Inés Azucena Zambrano Jara of the Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and St. Catherine of Siena stated in her presentation that the 35 women invited to the synod sometimes called themselves the “Mothers of the Synod.”  

“As for our participation as women, I believe it was a very active participation,” Sr. Inés said. 

“We felt responsible throughout the synod. So, there were times when we heard and said to ourselves ‘Mothers of the Synod,’” she continued.  

“I don’t know if that can be said. But that’s how we felt; that’s how we lived it.”

When asked what difference there would be between her current activities and those that would follow upon her becoming a deaconess, the Colombian missionary said the innovation would “reaffirm” her “baptismal commitment” and her order’s identity. 

“I think it would reaffirm the baptismal commitment that we all have, and it would reaffirm, speaking for the congregation, our charismatic identity,” Sr. Inés replied. 

“Because we are a congregation that has been on that road, together with the indigenous peoples, for 105 years. Thus our presence there has always been with the indigenous people,” she continued.  

Sr. Inés admitted that the sisters found it a challenge to cede pastoral authority to the people they serve.

“In many places, we are alone, as members of a congregation, but very accompanied by the indigenous as [their] servants,” she said.  

“I think it is beautiful because in fact it is difficult for us to put aside a leading role.”

The missionary said that what they were fighting for was to “place value” on peasant women. 

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS. thierry ehrmann / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Tim Graham

Opinion

WaPo’s obituary for mass-murdering ISIS leader calls him ‘conservative academic’

Tim Graham
By Tim Graham
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October 28, 2019 (NewsBusters) — Twitter blew up for a minute yesterday over The Washington Post using this headline for an obituary of  the founder of ISIS: "Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48." It inspired a satirical hashtag called #WaPoDeathNotices, including this 9/11 gibe by NB editor Curtis Houck: "Mohamed Atta, skilled aviator and leader of men, dies at 33. "

The obituary by Post reporter Joby Warrick carried a revolving door of headlines. It began with "Islamic State terrorist-in-chief" before they revised it in a more favorable light. Yashar Ali tweeted the difference: 

The headline's current (third) iteration is: "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State, dies at 48." But Warrick's "austere religious scholar" lingo was in the article:

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the reins of the Islamic State of Iraq in 2010, few had heard of the organization or its new leader, an austere religious scholar with wire-frame glasses and no known aptitude for fighting and killing.

But just four years later, Mr. Baghdadi had helped transform his failing movement into one of the most notorious and successful terrorist groups of modern times. Under his guidance it would burst into the public consciousness as the Islamic State, an organization that would seize control of entire cities in Iraq and Syria and become a byword for shocking brutality.

The obit also carried the subhead "Conservative academic." ISIS leader, meet...Thomas Sowell??

Warrick balanced adjectives of savagery with positive words like "canny pragmatism," and "capable and cagey" as a politician. 

My first thought was how the Washington Post has savaged conservative figures in the Obituary section over the years, and yet they could go gooey with mass-murdering dictators. In 2016, for example, the Post also edited an obituary after it was posted — on Nancy Reagan. Joe Concha reported a very negative first paragraph was excised, but there was still nasty stuff: "Patti Davis's 1992 memoir, The Way I See It, described a mother driven by appearances, abusive toward her and a habitual user of tranquilizers."

But Fidel Castro drew gush. "Revolutionary remade Cuba," oozed the Post headline. Their obit gushed he was "a romantic figure in olive-drab fatigues and combat boots" and a "spiritual beacon for the world's political far left."

UPDATE: WashPost VP for Communications Kris Coratti Kelly tweeted "Regarding our al-Baghdadi obituary, the headline should never have read that way and we changed it quickly."

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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Justin Trudeau's Flickr page
Donald DeMarco, Ph.D.

Opinion ,

Trudeau’s re-election means Canada is under dictatorship of ‘inclusivity’

Donald DeMarco, Ph.D.
By Donald DeMarco Ph.D.

October 28, 2019 (Crisis Magazine) — Canadian voters have re-elected Justin Trudeau as their Prime Minister. The October 21 election shows that the Liberal Party garnered 157 seats to 121 for the Conservatives. Four other parties gained 60 seats total, which means that a Liberal minority will be in power. The popular vote was much closer with the Conservatives getting 34.4 percent of the vote while the Liberals received 33.06 percent.

What is most striking about the election for this observer, living in Canada, is that many Canadian voters seemed indifferent to the fact that their culture is clearly shifting in a totalitarian direction. A profile of the candidates is a sufficient indication of this. The Trudeau government required students applying for government-funded summer jobs to sign an attestation professing their support of abortion, same-sex marriage, and the LGBTQ coalition. He banned certain Christian summer camps serving underprivileged children from participating in the Canada Summer Jobs Program because of their religious beliefs. (This "is nothing short of anti-religious bigotry," commented Justice Centre staff lawyer Marty Moore.) He has committed $7.1 billion over the next ten years to promote abortion at home and abroad. He will not allow Liberal MPs to vote their conscience on matters of abortion and LGBTQ matters, and he will not allow pro-life candidates to run as Liberals. He opposes conscience rights for health care workers.

The leaders of the New Democratic Party and the Green Party think the same way concerning abortion, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ issues, doctor-assisted suicide, and the decriminalizing of marijuana and prostitution.

This promotion of a unanimity of thought, together with an intolerance of dialogue, has received considerable impetus from academe. In a university textbook titled Sociology, for example, Marlene Mackie of the University of Calgary states that "Canadian society could not continue to exist unless the thousands of new members born each year eventually learned to think, believe, and behave as Canadians. The continuity of our society requires that children come to embrace societal values as their own. Citizens must adhere to cultural norms because they themselves view those norms as right and proper." What this sociologist is really saying is that the aim of universities is to discourage students from thinking.https://dtyry4ejybx0.cloudfront.net/images/blank.gifhttps://secureaddisplay.com/i/view/?Viewable=0&isMobile=0&AULU=31049420180502T2200289306460AB42454C400A8A16937CB3EB93D7&cb=1572297661986&ccvid=392660951&pvid=1127741420

https://secureaddisplay.com/i/hb/?ccvid=392660951&pvid=1127741420&AULU=31049420180502T2200289306460AB42454C400A8A16937CB3EB93D7&cb=1572297662051&bidder=ThalamusOpenx&CPM=1.4364000000000001&RawResult=false

Michael O'Brien, in his 1993 booklet The Family and the New Totalitarianism, warned his Canadian readers of a new form of totalitarianism that they might not recognize as such. He wrote that the old totalitarianism conjured up images of "barbed wire, jack-boots, and thought-control" in people's minds. Most Canadians fail to see the new and oncoming totalitarianism because it is fed to them in the deceptive context of diversity and inclusivity. The watchdog is distracted by the bait and lets down its defenses.

What are the signs of totalitarianism? We may list seven: 1) unanimity of thought, 2) suppression of criticism, 3) denial of conscience, 4) abdication of reason, 5) government coercion, 6) mass conditioning of thought and will, and 7) persecution of dissenters. All these signs are evident in Canadian society and they became crystal clear throughout the campaign. Omitted from all the discussion was the importance of spiritual values. In his book, The Crisis of Western Education, the eminent historian Christopher Dawson remarks that ignoring the "spiritual component in human nature and in the human psyche is a blunder so enormous that no advance in scientific method or educational technique is sufficient to compensate for it." The economy and scientific progress are unquestionably important, but they do not satisfy the essential needs of the human spirit.

"Unanimity of thought is the arteriosclerosis of society," said Anatole France. Dialogue — dealing with differences of opinion — is required in a democratic society. Free citizens believe in the value of dialogue because they believe in the persuasive power of reason. Ideology smothers reason for the sake of a unanimity that is held together by power. Liberalism is not liberal when it attempts to force people into a mental straitjacket. As Christopher Dawson has stated in his book Religion and the Modern State, "Once society is launched on the path of secularization it cannot stop at the half-way house of Liberalism; it must go on to the bitter end, whether that end is Communism or some alternative type of 'totalitarian' secularization."

Canadian "liberals" would do well to read Pope Benedict XVI's statement of Truth and Tolerance: "In all known historical cultures, religion is an essential element of culture, is indeed its determinative center; it is religion that determines the scale of values and, thereby, the inner cohesion and hierarchy of all these cultures." The Canadian election is much more significant than merely the election of certain individuals. It has been the election of untruth and intolerance.

Published with permission from Crisis Magazine.

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Yulia Reznikov / Shutterstock.com
Deborah Stilt

Opinion , ,

Media, ‘human rights’ orgs making prostitution attractive to children

Deborah Stilt
By Deborah Stilt

PETITION: Keep Prostitution Illegal in DC Sign the petition here.

October 28, 2019 (Personhood Alliance) — The movement to legalize prostitution is rapidly growing and right now, the Washington, DC, City Council is considering such a proposal. This movement is also using public institutions to glamorize "sex work" and other immoral lifestyles to our youth and separate prostitution from sex trafficking. Just like abortion, it's sold to women and girls as a ticket to freedom and power, and a harmful, corrupted morality disguised as human rights.

* * *

Across the country, there is an alarming trend to decriminalize prostitution. The deceptively titled Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019, being championed right now in Washington, DC, is the latest of many such efforts. If the DC City Council passes this resolution, it will fully decriminalize the sex trade there, including pimping, sex buying, and brothel operations. Similar bills have appeared in New York, New Hampshire, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

While so far these proposals have been defeated, the movement to recognize prostitution as legitimate employment is rapidly growing. Perhaps even more concerning, these efforts directly coincide with a broader agenda to use public institutions to normalize, and even glamorize, abnormal behavior.  And who is the target of these efforts? Our children.

Selling "sex work" to kids

In a Teen Vogue article titled "Why Sex Work Is Real Work," Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, founder of Nalane for Reproductive Justice, explains to teenage girls why she believes prostitution should be decriminalized throughout the world. Another article, written by Katie Fisher aka "Kitty Stryker" — who was formerly prostituted and performed in porn films — advises teens that anti–sex trafficking bills make prostitution more dangerous. She claims that sites such as Backpage, where individuals (often minors) were being trafficked by pimps who sought out customers, are unjustly targeted by these laws. Savannah Sly, a career sex worker, gives teens insight into how power and sex relate

Abortion is openly celebrated, and teens are encouraged to support Planned Parenthood by purchasing a hoodie with a near-pornographic design and the slogan "don't f--- with my freedom" emblazoned on the front.

Teens are not the only ones being targeted. Children of all ages are encouraged to accept the unnatural as normal and good. Nationwide, we see the rise of drag queen story hours in public libraries, schools, and bookstores. Meanwhile, the drag kid phenomenon is championed by our media and entertainment industries.

Why is sex being sold so fervently to kids? And since when are sex workers and drag queens appropriate role models for our youth?

Perhaps drag queen Dylan Pontiff inadvertently answered these questions in defending drag queen story hours when he openly stated, "This is going to be the grooming of the next generation."

Grooming children through the schools

Controversial sex-education programs are inundating our schools. California recently approved the 2019 Health Education Curriculum Framework for California Public Schools to align with the Healthy Youth Act of 2016. This curriculum encourages discussion of a wide range of progressive social issues, including gender identity, LGBTQ relationships, and transgenderism, beginning as early as kindergarten. Heralded as a "beacon of hope" by LGBTQ activists and a "forerunner" for other states to follow, proponents are hopeful to see similar curricula implemented across the nation.

Parents and teachers in California have protested the new program due to its sexually explicit content, but their complaints have gone unanswered. Conveniently, Planned Parenthood offers resources on its website to help school districts comply with the new requirements, as well as a fee-for-service program to provide instruction from "trusted reproductive health workers" at local schools. 

Why such a focus on sex?  And why is prostitution being glamorized by Planned Parenthood?

From grooming to the real world

Besides the obvious answer — that Planned Parenthood is once again implementing its immoral business model to increase its customer base, advocates like Planned Parenthood claim that "Sex work IS work" and therefore, people who work in the sex industry deserve the rights and protections of any other job. This idea has gained traction in recent years, through Planned Parenthood's campaigns to youth and with presidential candidates Senator Kamala Harris of California and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey voicing their support

The stated goals of decriminalization efforts are to improve safety and work conditions, to increase access to health, legal, and social services, and to eliminate discrimination on behalf of individuals working within the sex industry.  Tawanda Mutasah, Amnesty International's Senior Director for Law and Policy, explains

Sex workers are at heightened risk of a whole host of human rights abuses including rape, violence, extortion, and discrimination. Far too often they receive no, or very little, protection from the law or means for redress.

Organizations that support the decriminalization of prostitution include Amnesty International, the ACLU, and the World Health Organization, among others. They all cite keeping workers safe, erasing social stigma, and guaranteeing privacy rights to be among their objectives. They advocate for "sex work" to be governed by standard labor law, thereby giving workers protections and benefits similar to those they would find in legitimate employment. 

But is decriminalization the answer?

Decriminalization advocates seek to differentiate sex work from sex trafficking. This is a critical argument that's being made to normalize prostitution and separate it from the public's strong opposition to trafficking — in particular, domestic minor sex trafficking.

A key point of this separation argument is that not all sex workers are victims and that many are in the sex industry by choice. But is prostitution really a choice?  One could argue that a person "chooses" prostitution the way an animal in a trap "chooses" to gnaw off its paw. In other words, people sell their bodies and their dignity when all other choices have been taken away.  This video by Exodus Cry helps put this into perspective.

Many advocates claim that decriminalization will make prostitution safer. However, the data actually indicate the opposite. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation states:

There are no independent studies that show normalizing the sex trade by decriminalizing it or legalizing it makes it safer. On the contrary, where prostitution is legalized/legitimized there's an increase in sex trafficking, as demonstrated by an academic study of 150 countries.

Click here to read that study.

Far from being empowering, legalized prostitution leads to further exploitation. In the Netherlands, where prostitution has been legal since 2000, an estimated 50–90% of women are selling their bodies against their will. Legalization in Europe has created an extensive secondary market for minors and foreigners who are trafficked and controlled by organized crime. Some sex buyers want underage girls and boys, and some want services to which workers might object. A BBC investigation found children as young as seven being groomed to sell sex in one of the world's largest legally licensed brothels. 

The clear losers here are women and girls, who account for 99% of victims in commercial sex trafficking. Prostitution is not a job. It is a form of violence and a degradation of human beings, and it is a direct violation of their personhood

Harm, not human rights

Genesis 1:27 tells us, "So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Here lies the foundation of the Judeo-Christian belief in human value and human exceptionalism. Because all human beings are created in the image of God, each person is priceless beyond measure, regardless of external factors such as age, ability, or wantedness.

This truth is the bedrock of human rights, and when taken away, all other human rights crumble like blocks in a tower.

The legalization of prostitution in DC, or anywhere for that matter, violates human dignity and deeply harms everyone it touches — from the people being trafficked to families and society at large.

But just like abortion, it's sold to women and girls as a ticket to freedom and power, and a harmful, corrupted morality disguised as human rights.

Deborah Stilt is the social media coordinator for the Personhood Alliance and has been active in pro-life media for several years. But most importantly, she's a California mom who is fighting against the lies of the culture and for the protection of every human being without exception.

Published with permission from the Personhood Alliance.

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'Pachamama' statue on bridge over Tiber river prior to being thrown in, Rome, Oct. 21, 2019.
Alessandro Rico

Opinion

Are men who liberated Catholic church from ‘Pachamama’ idols the ‘new iconoclasts’?

Alessandro Rico
By

October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Reacting to the Pachamama statues “splash” in the Tiber, the head of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications, Andrea Tornielli, labeled the men who hurled into the river the Amazonian idols as “new iconoclasts”. The remark, being issued by such an outstanding figure, sounds bizarre. 

An act of iconoclasm presumes that the statues were in fact “icons”, which is to say, sacred. Just like a Madonna. Namely: not only relatively sacred (regarded as such by a particular people), but absolutely sacred, in a Catholic sense. Maybe, this is the reason why Pachamamas were exposed inside a church, alongside the Most Blessed Sacrament. 

But how can a pagan idol become a Catholic icon? 

The unchristian nature of those sculptures can be easily inferred: one may check on Wikipedia, a neutral (at least, not traditionalist Catholic) and easily accessible source, that Pachamama is a “fertility goddess”, part of the “Inca mythology”, more recently worshipped by New Age practices by means of a Sunday ritual that “includes invocations in Quechua”. It is hard to see how this worship might be reconciled with Catholicism – and didn’t Pope John Paul II explicitly condemn New Age?

One may question the decision to throw into the Tiber a set of statues, since that might appear disrespectful toward the spirituality of the Amazonian community. The Bible is clear as to the treatment that must be reserved to pagan idols (see, for instance, the Book of Deuteronomy). And yet, one might still refrain from undertaking such a provocative action. But it is a totally different business when it comes to the removal of those idols from a church by people who felt how inappropriate it was to put the Pachamamas inside Santa Maria in Traspontina.

Now, Andrea Tornielli is known not only as the head of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications but also for his videos on YouTube as a magician and a mentalist. Did this “parallel life” as a Matrix movie character, who can bend spoons by the force of his mind, mixed up his ideas on Catholicism? Does he believe that pagan statues are sacred icons?

Another ill-advised comment was issued on his Twitter account by Father Antonio Spadaro, editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica. Father Spadaro compared the men who “splashed” the Pachamamas in the Tiber to ISIS extremists who wasted artworks in Iraqi museums. In his view, the motivation was the same: in both cases, the zealots wanted to destroy “idols” as “different representations of God”. 

Again, Spadaro’s contention has worrying implications. First, that Catholicism (which, as a priest, he is expected to regard as the true religion) is as unqualified to identify pagan symbols as “idols” as Islam (which Spadaro would be expected to regard as a false religion). Second, that there is no difference between exposing ancient sculptures in an archeological museum and putting a pagan “Mother Earth” inside a church, and that consequently any catholic who withdraws the statues from the chapel is tantamount to a Muslim terrorist who destroys historical masterpieces. Third, that Pachamama, a goddess invented by Inca mythology and worshipped by New Age faithful is a “different representation of God”. Does it mean that polytheism is just another way to be Catholic? 

The story is funny (not to say sad, actually) because a few weeks ago, when the Italian Minister of Education, Lorenzo Fioramonti (Five Stars Movement) released an interview declaring that the crucifix should be removed from public school classrooms, the Bishop of Monreale (Sicily), Monsignor Michele Pennisi, asked to reply by a national radio, told that Fioramonti’s proposal is wrong in that it would be “a favor to the League” (namely, the party leaded by the nationalist politician Matteo Salvini, former vice prime minister). So, Italian clergymen blame as Islamic executioners Catholics offended by the “sanctification” of pagan symbols, but they defend the crucifix only because anticatholic campaigns might boost a right-wing party’s consensus. What a puzzling order of priorities.

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Justin Trudeau and his family (2015). arindambanerjee / Shutterstock.com
Jack Fonseca

Opinion , , ,

Canada election analysis: Scheer compromised beliefs, giving Trudeau an easy win

Jack Fonseca
By Jack Fonseca
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October 28, 2019 (Campaign Life Coalition) — For pro-life and pro-family Canadians, the re-election of Justin Trudeau was depressing. He is the most rabidly pro-abortion Prime Minister in Canada's history, and a ferocious opponent of free speech, religious freedom, and family values.

The Liberals won a strong minority government on October 21st, taking 157 seats (13 short of a majority), while Conservatives won 121 seats (up 22 from the 2015 election), the NDP secured 24 seats and the Greens had a breakthrough, winning three seats.

Until the government falls, which usually happens within two years in the case of minorities, Canadians will have to continue suffering under Trudeau's pro-death, anti-family agenda.

Painful losses

In this election cycle, we were grieved to lose MP Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga), a stalwart pro-lifer who was defeated by a mere 365 votes, to his Liberal challenger. CLC had endorsed Albrecht as the lone pro-lifer in the riding.

Albrecht was a bold and principled MP with a perfect voting record on life and family issues since being first elected in 2006. He spoke at the National March for Life each year, rose to speak on life and family issues in both the House of Commons and locally in his community; and he hosted CLC events on Parliament Hill. His defeat is a major loss on the Hill.

We are saddened that heroic past pro-life MPs who got swept out of power in 2015 did not succeed in their re-election bids. These include Stephen Woodworth (author of pro-life motion M-312), Wladyslaw Lizon (who asked the RCMP to investigate potential murders of children who survived abortion), Pierre Lemieux (who, along with Brad Trost, ran for the CPC leadership on a socially-conservative platform), and Stella Ambler (who had a perfect voting record).

Happier results — new and returning MPs

In New Brunswick, two former pro-life MPs made a come-back to win their old jobs back! John Williamson (New Brunswick Southwest) and Rob Moore (Fundy Royal) won by a big margin, 16,000 and 17,000 votes respectively. 

In Ontario, former Brampton MP Kyle Seeback returned to power in the riding of Dufferin-Caledon, replacing a pro-abortion Conservative, David Tilson, who retired from politics.

We also had six small victories where new pro-life candidates took seats away that had been held by pro-abortion MPs. See below:

The importance and influence of the social conservative vote was also seen in Nelly Shin's election, where our supporters made the difference in helping her secure that narrow win of 333 votes in Port Moody-Coquitlam. CLC's efforts also paid off in helping pro-life MP David Sweet fend off his Liberal opponent, a race he won by a mere 650 votes or 1%. CLC thanks all our supporters in Flamborough-Glanbrook who helped keep this MP's seat pro-life by getting-out-the-vote. CLC put a lot of effort into helping elect all of these successful candidates. It is satisfying to see that effort pay dividends!

It's tempting to despair at the loss of Albrecht and the fact that there are only 46 known pro-life MPs qualified by CLC out of 338 in this new parliament. However, this is actually an increase in pro-life representation over the last parliament which had only 43! That's a 7% increase, and the right direction we need to go. Additionally, there are many Conservative MPs with an amber light rating by CLC who had pro-life leanings, but not deemed to be fully pro-life, as well as others whose views are unknown. Some of these can be educated on the issues and brought around to a fully pro-life position.

Having 46 solidly pro-life MPs is not an insignificant number either. It's almost twice as many MPs as the NDP has in its entire caucus. The media is busy telling us that the NDP had a respectable result and can still be influential in the House of Commons. If so, pro-lifers had twice as good an election result and can be twice as influential! We also have 14 more pro-life MPs than the separatist Bloc Quebecois.

CLC-endorsed candidates outperformed everyone

Data analysis shows that being endorsed by Campaign Life Coalition gave Conservative Party candidates a significant competitive advantage, compared with those whom CLC rated as either a red light (pro-abortion) or an amber light (caution).

Of the 67 Conservative candidates who earned CLC's top, green light rating, 46 won and 21 lost. That's a 69% success rate.

Of the remaining 270 Conservatives who got a red or amber light rating from CLC, 75 won and 195 lost. That's only a 28% success rate.

Let that sink in.

Conservative candidates who got endorsed by CLC had a 69% election success rate while all others had only a 28% success rate.

This reveals what CLC has always known. Having the pro-life and pro-family movement at a candidate's back is an advantage that increases the chances of electoral success. It also reinforces the influence that Campaign Life Coalition and its supporter network brings to bear on nomination contests and elections. By supporting Campaign Life, you are part of that influence.

Extrapolating this higher success rate from a CLC endorsement also suggests that if Andrew Scheer had allowed the nomination of, and even actively sought out, more pro-life nomination candidates, the Conservative Party could have potentially won significantly more seats than 121.

Below is a list of all 46 of your new pro-life MPs, organized by province. Please join us in welcoming them! 

BRITISH COLUMBIA
  1. Alice Wong, Richmond Centre.
  2. Bob Zimmer, Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.
  3. Edward Fast, Abbotsford.
  4. Mark Strahl, Chilliwack-Hope.
  5. Nelly Shin, Port Moody-Coquitlam.
  6. Tamara Jansen, Cloverdale-Langley City.
  7. Todd Doherty, Cariboo-Prince George.
ALBERTA
  1. Arnold Viersen, Peace River-Westlock.
  2. Blaine Calkins, Red Deer-Lacombe.
  3. Christopher Warkentin, Grande Prairie-Mackenzie.
  4. Damien Kurek, Battle River-Crowfoot.
  5. Dane Lloyd, Sturgeon River-Parkland.
  6. Garnett Genuis, Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan.
  7. Glen Motz, Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner.
  8. Michael Cooper, St. Albert-Edmonton.
  9. Michael Lake, Edmonton-Wetaskiwin.
  10. Rachael Harder, Lethbridge.
  11. Shannon Stubbs, Lakeland.
  12. Tom Kmiec, Calgary Shepard.
MANITOBA
  1. Candice Bergen, Portage-Lisgar.
  2. James Bezan, Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman.
  3. Ted Falk, Provencher.
SASKATCHEWAN
  1. Cathay Wagantall, Yorkton-Melville.
  2. Jeremy Patzer, Cypress Hills-Grasslands.
  3. Kelly Block, Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek.
  4. Michael Kram, Regina-Wascana.
  5. Robert Gordon Kitchen, Souris-Moose Mountain.
  6. Rosemarie Falk, Battlefords-Lloydminster.
  7. Tom Lukiwski, Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan.
ONTARIO
  1. Ben Lobb, Huron-Bruce.
  2. Bob Saroya, Markham-Unionville.
  3. Cheryl Gallant, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.
  4. Colin Carrie, Oshawa.
  5. David Sweet, Flamborough-Glanbrook.
  6. Dean Allison, Niagara West.
  7. Derek Sloan, Hastings-Lennox and Addington.
  8. Kyle Seeback, Dufferin-Caledon.
  9. Lianne Rood, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.
  10. Michael Barrett, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
  11. Phil McColeman, Brantford-Brant.
  12. Philip Lawrence, Northumberland-Peterborough South.
  13. Pierre Poilievre, Carleton.
NEW BRUNSWICK
  1. John Williamson, New Brunswick Southwest.
  2. Richard Bragdon, Tobique-Mactaquac.
  3. Rob Moore, Fundy Royal.

Campaign Life Coalition would also like to acknowledge the 148 pro-life candidates who ran for the Conservatives, the People's Party of Canada, the Christian Heritage Party, and the Libertarian Party, and as Independents. CLC's voter's guide had the largest number of supportable candidates in more than 20 years.

Thank you to all of these candidates who took on the large task of running for public office.

Scheer snatched defeat from the jaws of victory

Andrew Scheer and his advisors ran a blunderous campaign on many fronts. He alienated and de-motivated a significant portion of the "small-c" conservative base by copying Liberal policy positions, and giving the impression that the only constituency he was concerned about satisfying was the CBC.

That small-c conservative base consists of those for whom principles are more important than popularity, including social conservatives as a large segment, but also fiscal conservatives, free speech conservatives, and national sovereignty conservatives (who oppose relinquishing our sovereignty to the UN).

Conservatives could not have asked for a better set of circumstances to topple Trudeau and win at least a minority. The SNC-Lavalin scandal, the Ethics Commissioner's finding that Trudeau broke the law, and the racist blackface scandal that made Trudeau the object of ridicule the world over, should have made this election a relatively easy minority victory for the Conservative Party. 

If you cannot beat Trudeau under this prime scenario, how can you ever hope to beat him?

In our view, the reason Scheer lost is because he failed to inspire the small-c conservative base, which includes pro-life social conservatives as a huge constituency. Not only did he fail to inspire, but he insulted and alienated them.

On social issues, Scheer stepped into a trap set by his Liberal opponents. By constantly attacking him about his past pro-life and pro-family beliefs, they goaded Scheer into conducting voter suppression on the Conservative Party's own base, thus demoralizing socially-conservative supporters and activists.

By saying he would personally vote against any pro-life bill that might ever be introduced, by embracing the LGBT-agenda and turning his back on family values, and by blocking and firing pro-family candidates, Scheer deflated his own base.

Scheer even promised the media that he would continue funding overseas abortions with Canadian tax dollars, astonishingly pledging to cut 25% from the international aid budget, but not one penny from foreign abortions. By the way, that contradicted official party policy which grassroots members passed at the Conservative policy convention in 2018, which explicitly opposes taxpayer funding of abortion overseas.

One example of how Scheer angered other segments of the conservative base, such as libertarian and free speech conservatives was when he booted MP Michael Cooper off a committee for defending conservatives against false smears of being racist and violent.

Another example was when Scheer instructed Conservative MPs on a committee studying "online hate" to turn off the cameras during Mark Steyn, Lindsay Shepard and John Robson's testimony on free speech, so that Canadians could not hear their arguments. These and many other examples were self-inflicted sabotage to Scheer's own supporter base, done for no other reason than fear of the mainstream media.

Our belief is that Scheer suppressed the 'small-c' conservative vote to a significant enough degree that it let the Liberals back into the race, and threw away the victory he should have been celebrating.

The Catholic / Christian vote and the Green Party surge

We believe that Scheer's repeated support for the abortion status quo, his pledging to protect funding for overseas abortion, and saying he would personally vote against any pro-life bill or motion, severely damaged support amongst the critical Catholic voting bloc, which represents 39% of all Canadians according to the most recent census data.

Quite possibly, it also did significant damage to the voting blocs of Evangelicals and other Christians.

These actions by Scheer left Catholics and other Christians with the perception that there is no appreciable difference on abortion between any of the parties. This fact was highlighted by former CBC news anchor, Don Newman, who moderated the Catholic debate that was organized by the Archdiocese of Toronto:

"Abortion is really, probably, I would say the single biggest issue for most Catholics," Newman observed.

"You haven't given much comfort to the Catholics in the room. And I'm wondering why then any of them should be voting for you. Any of you." (emphasis added)

Newman's stinging question hurt the Conservatives. It left the distinct impression amongst the 1000+ Catholic influencers packed in the John Bassett Theatre for the debate that there really is no appreciable policy difference on abortion between any of the parties, and therefore, your conscience is clear to vote Liberal, NDP or Green based on other issues.

In fact, that was precisely the line used by Liberal MP Francesco Sorbara, in response to Newman's rebuke of all parties, to make the case for why Catholics should keep voting Liberal:

Every party has taken the same position on that. From my understanding, no party will be reopening the debate on a woman's right to choose in Canada. 

We believe Sorbara's strategy largely worked. For many of those Catholic influencers in the room, and those watching on TV or livestream, the take-away was that you can vote Liberal, Green — even socialist NDP — based on some other issue, since all the parties are the same on abortion.

In fact, we suspect that the Green Party surge this election, which gave it 560,000 additional votes over 2015, may be in part because Catholics and Evangelicals gave themselves permission, in the perceived absence of any difference between the Conservative Party and the Libs/Greens on abortion, to vote for who they think is better for the environment. 

The common wisdom amongst pundits is that the Greens split the left-wing vote, stealing only from Liberals and NDP. We are not so sure about that. It may well turn out that Greens also stole significant votes from religious conservatives who would normally lean towards casting a ballot for the Conservatives.

We suspect that when (or if ) exit polling data becomes available to show how Catholics voted, we'll find that the large majority voted either LIB or GRN, rationalizing to themselves to vote where they can make a difference "fighting climate change", since no action on protecting the sanctity of human life is possible under the current party leaders.

Admittedly, this is speculation about the source of the Green Party surge (and the ability of LIBs to hang onto the Catholic vote), but it is not without logical grounding.

We point to the voter guide resources issued by the Archdiocese of Toronto to the Catholic electorate. It also had reach beyond Toronto. That "Catholic" voter guide placed climate change at the top of its list of issues — even above abortion — which was muted under the vaguer heading of "Human Dignity".

While some may argue that it was simply the result of listing issues in alphabetical order, the fact remains that the message many Catholics likely interpreted from reading this Voter Guide was that "fighting climate change" is the most important issue.

By the way, why were Abortion and Euthanasia squished into one category while Environment had its own? The former are each non-negotiable issues that disqualify a politician from receiving the support of Catholics, while the best way forward on environmental policy is one of prudential judgement, where good Catholics can disagree.

Were those issues combined under "Human Dignity" in order to ensure that "environment", not "abortion", would be listed first, and perceived as the most important ballot box issue for Catholics? Hmmm...

Churches are increasingly pushing "climate change" as a quasi-religious issue, and Scheer made it easy for many Catholics to consider it their top moral issue at the ballot box, and to vote Liberal or Green as a result

What about the larger 2019 vote totals for Conservatives?

Apologists for Andrew Scheer who want to deny that he ran a poor campaign or alienated his natural base, will point to the fact that Conservatives received 542,000 more votes than in 2015. They will present that as evidence that the party's base was not disillusioned nor demoralized.

The simple response to that is that had Scheer better inspired small-c conservatives by sticking to conservative principles, the party would likely have gained a lot more votes than 542,000.

Why is it good to keep social conservatives engaged and inspired?

Pro-life and pro-family Conservatives are amongst the hardest workers in the Conservative party. When inspired, they're great at recruiting new voters via word-of-mouth, through their church, family, and personal networks. This produces a multiplier effect beyond their own votes. 

Socons volunteer in great numbers which can also have a multiplier effect on the overall votes in a campaign. That multiplier effect is not limited just to other moral or religious voters, since these pro-life/family activists also work hard to recruit support amongst friends and relatives who do not necessarily vote based on social issues.

When Scheer de-motivates social conservatives, much of this voter and volunteer recruitment action evaporates. Additionally, we know that due to sheer disgust with the alienation they felt, many so-cons stayed in bed on election day and did not vote at all.

How Scheer may have turned off the mushy middle

By abandoning his deeply-held, "small-c" conservative principles in such a public manner for the entire country to behold, Scheer may also have muted the Conservative vote amongst the mushy middle, including undecided voters.

This large swathe of people in the mushy middle don't care about the abortion issue one way or the other. They don't vote based on a politician's stance vis-à-vis abortion. However, what they do care about is whether politicians seem to have integrity and whether they are men and women of principle.

When Scheer abandoned his principles so publicly, and was made to look frightened and ashamed of his own Catholic beliefs, this likely turned off many voters in the mushy middle. Not necessarily because they share those beliefs, but because it made him look like another flip-flopping, unprincipled politician who'll say anything to get elected.

If Scheer had stood firm on his principles, not apologized for them, and told the hostile, Trudeau-loving apologists in the media to go jump in the lake, he would have endeared himself much more towards that large swathe of mushy middle voters. In the end, many Canadians just want principled politicians who stand for what they believe. Unfortunately, Scheer did not give the perception that he is such a man.

Moving forward

In spite of the disappointment of a returning Liberal regime, this election nonetheless produced one good result in terms of abortion being a non-stop subject of discussion. Justin Trudeau and the liberal media, even though they raised the issue only to attack pro-lifers, have nonetheless proven that abortion is not a settled issue in Canada, and many Canadians want to address the lack of legal protection for preborn children, including many politicians.

CLC will be reaching out to the new pro-life MPs, as well as those whose positions are unknown due to the fact that they did not respond to CLC's questionnaire. We will likely uncover a few more pro-lifers over the coming months, and seek to also work with them in advancing a culture of life.

We will also be prepared to fight against whatever new onslaught of evil laws and policies Justin Trudeau will throw at traditionally-principled Canadian families. We expect he will seek to expand euthanasia-on-demand to children, depressed persons and those who are not even dying.

His values test to discriminate against pro-lifers will possibly expand to other government programs in this new term.

Given Andrew Scheer's lackluster performance in this election, delegates may also be required to vote at the 2020 Conservative Convention next April on whether to hold a Leadership Review. Only time will tell if that'll transpire, but we need our Conservative Party supporters to keep their memberships valid, just in case. If you're interested in becoming a CPC Convention delegate, please email us.

CLC is ready for battle on all these fronts to uphold the sanctity of life, family, faith and free speech. Are you ready to fight alongside us?

Published with permission from the Campaign Life Coalition.

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Not even Pope Francis can deny the Pachamama is a pagan idol

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By Steven Mosher

October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — I wonder if, in the long history of the Catholic Church, any pope has ever before blessed an idol, as Pope Francis did in the Vatican gardens a few days ago.  That was after the assembled “congregants” had bowed and prayed before that same idol, mind you.

I rather suspect not.

In fact, I am pretty sure that Catholics — popes, bishops, and laity alike — have done precisely the opposite down through the ages. Wherever they have found idols, they have spoken out against them, not only urging their destruction, but often destroying them with their own hands.

Take St. Gregory the Great, for example, who reigned as Pope from 590 to 604 A.D. He is famous for sending the missionary St. Augustine of Canterbury to evangelize the then-pagan Anglo-Saxons in England. In a letter to Abbot Melitus recorded by St. Bede in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, St. Gregory issued the following instructions:

Tell [Bishop Augustine] that I have decided after long deliberation about the English people, namely that the idol temples of that race should not be destroyed, but only the idols in them. Let blessed water be prepared, and sprinkled in these temples, and altars constructed, and relics deposited. For if these temples are well built, it is essential that they should be transferred from the worship of devils to the service of the true God.

St. Augustine of Canterbury did as he was told, destroying the pagan idols the temples contained while converting the temples themselves into Christian churches. Destroying an idol reveals to everyone — in a way that nothing else does — the utter powerlessness of demons in the presence of Christ.

Many of the churches in Rome occupy the sites, or even the actual structures, of pagan temples, Including the church from which the Pachamama idols were removed and tossed into the Tiber.  That church, Santa Maria in Traspontina, was built on the ruins of the Meta Romuli, an ancient Roman pyramid believed to be Romulus’s tomb, where the citizens of pre-Christian Rome went to worship the deified founder of their city.

Bringing a pagan idol into the sacred precincts of a Catholic church would be, without question, a sacrilege. But is that statue of a pregnant, kneeling women really a pagan idol? 

Opinions vary.

As an anthropologist, I recognized the statue of a naked and very pregnant woman that was brought into the Vatican. Similar idols were worshiped in the fertility cults of many primitive cultures around the world and still are in the recesses of the Amazon. Not a few such cults demanded human sacrifice as the price of their favors. In the Incan version of the South American Pachamama cult, child sacrifice was practiced.

Some in the Vatican at first claimed that the statues represented Our Lady of the Amazon. This interpretation the Vatican press office was at pains to refute. It repeatedly — and correctly — denied any connection between the Queen of Heaven and the pagan goddess of Mother Earth that the statue represents.

Andrea Tornielli, the editorial director for the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, then tried to explain how it was that the pope came to bless a pagan idol but wound up making things worse. He called the statue "an image of motherhood and the sacredness of life, a traditional symbol for indigenous peoples representing the bond with our ‘mother earth,’ as described by Saint Francis of Assisi in his Canticle of the Creatures.” 

Leaving aside the gratuitous reference to Saint Francis, whose name is invoked at every turn, Tornielli is saying that the statues representing “fertility, life and Mother Earth” are exactly what they seem to be:  Pachamama idols still worshiped by the primitive peoples of the Amazon as part of a fertility cult. 

Now that even Pope Francis himself — who is from South America and has visited the Amazon — has identified the statue as a “Pachamama,” there can be no doubt about “her” identity.  Even in the modern versions of the cult found in Peru, Pachamama is conceived of as what one anthropologist called “a non-human sacred/social person with whom a relationship of reciprocity must be maintained.”

In other words, Pachamama is not just a symbolic representation of Mother Earth, but a pagan deity that one must be careful to propitiate, not anger.

Now, as it happens, we Catholics have been hectored for months by the organizers of the Amazonian Synod to take the native beliefs and practices of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon seriously.  During the Synod itself, we were constantly reminded of Pope Francis' call to learn from the "ancient wisdom of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon."

The pope’s close friend, Father Antonio Spadaro, put it this way:  “An authentically Catholic response must be given to the request of the Amazon communities to adapt the liturgy by valuing the[ir] original cosmo-vision, traditions, symbols, and rites that include transcendent, community and ecological dimensions.”

Well, it turns out that one of the chief ways that “the Amazon communities” express their “cosmo-vision” is by worshiping a pagan deity called Pachamama, to whom they sacrifice animals and, perhaps still, in the remote reaches of the rainforest, the occasional child.   

Those who orchestrated the Amazonian Synod can’t have it both ways. Either they take the traditions, symbols, and rites of the Amazonians seriously or not. If they do, then they must recognize that “Pachamama” is a pagan deity and that representations of her are, by definition, idols.

If they don’t, then what is all this business about respecting the “wisdom” of the indigenous tribes really about?

I think by now it should be obvious to most observers that the synod organizers intended to use the Pachamama idol as a mere prop in their morality play — a play they were staging to promote fundamental changes in the priesthood as well as a radical environmental agenda. Her naked figure was supposed to be taken as nothing more than a symbol of respect for the environment. How else to explain their utter confusion when they found themselves embracing what the indigenous tribes of the Amazon still regard as a pagan deity? 

In the end, of course, it was clear that those same Amazonian tribes are also, like Pachamama, little more than props in that same morality play. In fact, I believe that it is no exaggeration to say the synod organizers have betrayed the very peoples they claimed to be helping. All the face paint and parrot feathers in the world cannot disguise the fact that they themselves were engaged in a kind of ideological exploitation of the peoples who live there to promote their own agenda.

In the name of protecting the rainforest, the organizers of the synod would condemn the peoples who live there to perpetual poverty. Worse yet, in the name of honoring the “cosmo-vision, traditions, symbols, and rites” of the Amazonian tribes as another path to the “transcendent,” they would leave them in spiritual darkness, bereft of the light of Christ.

How appropriate that Pachamama is shown naked and pregnant, downcast and kneeling. 

For if this piece of wood carved into a female shape is a symbol of anything, it is a symbol of the poverty and misery — both spiritual and material — that await not only the Amazon indigenous, but the Universal Church as a whole, if the Synod organizers were to have their way.

Let us pray that they don’t.

Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream Is the New Threat to World Order.

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Were ‘Pachamama’ statues absent from Amazon Synod’s closing Mass after bishops’ resistance?

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By Maike Hickson

October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – To the surprise of many observers, the “Pachamama” statues were not present in St. Peter's Basilica during the closing Mass of the Amazon Synod on 27 October. Sources in Rome overheard bishops in the synod hall saying that they would not participate at the closing Mass in St. Peter's if the Pachamama statues were going to be present.

The Austrian Catholic news website Kath.net has reported this fact today, and a well-placed source in Rome confirmed the story to LifeSite, saying that he heard from an eye witness from the Synod Hall that some bishops announced they would not participate at the Sunday Mass at St. Peter's. Due to the current tense atmosphere in Rome, our source explicitly had to speak on the condition of anonymity.

Kath.net itself writes on the fact that the Pachamama statues were missing during the closing Mass on Sunday: “One hears from usually well-informed circles in the Vatican that, on the part of the bishops, there were beforehand some statements, according to which they would not be able to participate at the closing Mass if these [Pachamama] statues would be used.”

As LifeSiteNews reported, Pope Francis had announced on Friday that the Pachamama statues that had been thrown into the Tiber River by some indignant Catholics had been retrieved. He also mentioned the possibility that they would be again on display at St. Peter's during the closing Mass on Sunday. 

Stated the Pope: “The leadership of the Carabinieri will be very happy to follow any indication given on the method of making the news [of the retrieval of the Pachamama statues] public, and regarding the other initiatives desired in its regard, for example, the commander said, 'the display of the statues at the closing Mass of the Synod.' We’ll see. I delegate the Secretary of State to respond to this.”

On Saturday, several prelates and priests spoke up, pointing to the pagan character of the Pachamama statues and opposing the display of them in any Catholic Church, much less any act of honoring them or venerating them.

For example, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, speaking about the presence of the Pachamama statues at several ceremonies in the Vatican, stated that “Catholics cannot accept any pagan worship, nor any syncretism between pagan beliefs and practices and those of the Catholic Church.” He continued, saying that “the acts of worship of kindling a light, of bowing, of prostrating or profoundly bowing to the ground and dancing before an unclothed female statue, which represents neither Our Lady nor a canonized saint of the Church, violates the first Commandments of God: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'” 

Schneider praised the men who removed the Pachamama statues from a Catholic church in Rome as “heroes”, saying about them: “Like a new 'Maccabees' they acted in the spirit of the holy wrath of Our Lord, who expelled the merchants from the temple of Jerusalem with a whip. The gestures of these Christian men will be recorded in the annals of Church history as a heroic act which brought glory to the Christian name.”

At the same time, Bishop Schneider called out those who watched on and did not do anything about the presence of the Pachamama statues in Rome, by saying that “the acts of high-ranking churchmen, on the contrary, who defiled the Christian name in Rome, will go down in history as cowardly and treacherous acts of ambiguity and syncretism.”

Bishop Marian Eleganti, from Chur, Switzerland, stated on Saturday that, even if Pope Francis somehow insists that these statues were used “without idolatrous intentions,” “there would still remain the scandal that, at least, it looks like such [idolatry] and that the Rock of Peter [the Pope] is not at all getting worried about it.” On the contrary, said Eleganti, the Pope “even defends those rituals conducted in the Vatican Gardens” which are “alien to Christianity.” 

“It is not understandable to an observer that the publicly displayed veneration of Pachamama at the Amazon Synod is not meant to be idolatry,” he added. 

As it seems now, there have been several prelates in the Synod Hall who had similar thoughts and therefore made it be known that they would abstain from coming to the closing Mass on Sunday at St. Peter's should the Pachamama statues be present.

Earlier this week, on Thursday, Cardinal Gerhard Müller had already raised his voice of resistance against the Pachamama statues. He told EWTN's journalist Raymond Arroyo that “The great mistake was to bring the idols into the Church, not to put them out, because according to the Law of God Himself – the First Commandment – idolism [idolatry] is a grave sin and not to mix them with the Christian liturgy.” 

“To put it out,” Müller continued, “to throw it out, can be against human law, but to bring the idols into the Church was a grave sin, a crime against the Divine Law.”

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