All articles from October 30, 2019


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‘For men only’: Cardinal insists Church won’t try to ordain women to priesthood

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By Martin Barillas

VALENCIA, Spain, October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera affirmed that the male priesthood is of the essence of the Catholic faith and that “no one in the Church can do anything but admit that priestly ordination is for men only.”

In an opinion piece that appeared in the Spanish daily La Razón in September, Cardinal Cañizares, archbishop of Valencia, reacted to media reports about changes in Church discipline and doctrine that were to be discussed in the Amazon Synod that concluded Sunday.

The churchman said the male priesthood is of “the very essence of the Church and nobody in the Church can do anything but admit that priestly ordination is for men only. This cannot be changed.” In an article titled “Ordination of women to the priesthood?,” Cardinal Cañizares spoke also to concerns that German bishops will soon gather in a synod in what appears to be an attempt to modify Church discipline regarding celibacy for priests.

According to the cardinal, there have been “rumors” that the German bishops will “attempt to change some issues regarding sexual or marital morality and revise the current moral doctrine of the Catholic Church on those issues. There are some who are voicing alarm over a possible schism.” The rumors have come, Cañizares said in the article, in an “environment that does nothing to encourage peace and internal unity of the Church.” He gave assurances that there is no schism in the worldwide Church, “because the pope’s word is being very clear” in a letter the pontiff sent to German Catholics that seeks to dispel any fear of such “nonsense, which will never occur.”

The cardinal called on Christians to remain “calm” and called for “unity and full communion within the Church and faithfulness to the pope, Revelation, and the Tradition of the Church.” Any change regarding celibacy, he wrote, would mean that the “Church would no longer be as Jesus wanted.” He asked for increased prayer for unity in the Church in order to pursue its primary mission: evangelization.

Regarding the priesthood, Cañizares predicted that no ordination of women is on the horizon. He said the apostolic letter written by St. John Paul II in 1994, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, is clear about the issue and should be read by all Catholics, lay and ordained. He recalled that the pope spoke as supreme pastor of the Church and with the intention of assuring the faith of believers, “which is proper to his ministry.” The cardinal quoted the document, in which Pope John Paul II said: “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” In the apostolic letter, the Polish pope noted in defense of Church doctrine that the Virgin Mary herself was not conferred priestly faculties, even while the role women play in the Church remains essential.

Asking rhetorically, “Will the Church change its position?,” the cardinal said that because the doctrine regarding the male priesthood is of the essence of the Church, neither the pope nor any other person can change it.

“It is unchangeable,” he wrote.

Revelation is the unique and unrepeatable event that is Jesus Christ and remains beyond the reach of human hands, he said. Therefore, “we cannot change its essential elements in line with the changing movements of history or the ‘demands’ of a given time or culture. That would only be possible if faith were the product of the speculation and creation of men. But it’s not like that. When culture becomes the criterion and measure of faith, the very foundation of faith is called into question,” he said.

“If the ‘culture’ is what decides what is valid and what is not in faith and in the life of the Church then we are saying that Jesus Christ has not happened. His person, his works, his gestures would not have a definitive value of ultimate and full Revelation. In this case it would not be the Word of God made flesh, in which God has told us everything; we would have to wait for another revelation; we would not be saved,” said Cañizares.

“And this is what is at stake in the priestly ordination of women. It is a question that belongs to the heart of faith. And that is why the Church, even if it wanted to, can do nothing but follow what Christ did, gathered in the Holy Scriptures, which chose its apostles only among men,” he insisted.

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Charlotte Lozier Institute
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You can now access all existing US abortion data in one place thanks to pro-life org

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By LifeSiteNews staff

October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Yesterday, the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), the research and education arm of Susan B. Anthony List, released a new, clickable online map highlighting abortion reporting data across the United States. CLI issued the following statement about this new resource:

“This groundbreaking State Abortion Reporting Map brings together Charlotte Lozier Institute’s comprehensive state abortion reports into one easy-to-use tool for our friends in the pro-life movement, researchers, journalists and policymakers, said CLI President Chuck Donovan, “The need for this map is great: with Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports lagging nearly four years behind, CLI has done the research into abortion trends in the states using the most recent existing state data and compiled it in a single place.”

“With no national abortion reporting mandate, it falls to states to voluntarily collect and aggregate data for the CDC, which means data is scattered and hard to find, said Tessa Longbons, CLI Research Associate, “With CLI’s new State Abortion Reporting Map, we make it easy to find where reports exist and where there are gaps in the data. As evident from the map, there are some states that are woefully behind in their abortion reporting data, while others like California do not collect or report data.”

Some basic facts about CLI’s State Abortion Reporting Map:

  • California, Maryland and New Hampshire do not collect or report abortion data
  • 22 states reported abortion data for 2018
  • 20 states reported abortion data for 2017
  • Four states reported data in 2016 or earlier

Ms. Longbons is CLI’s Research Associate and the author of Abortion in the United States 2017: A Preliminary Call to Reform, a comprehensive report looking at abortion data across the U.S. In addition to this report on Indiana, she has compiled individual abortion reports for 41 states and New York City, which are available online here.

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She was born 15 weeks early, smaller than a Barbie doll. Now she’s home with her family

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By Anne Marie Williams

October 30, 2019 (Live Action News) — Born 15 weeks early in May of this year, baby Kallie Bender of Phoenix, Arizona, was discharged home with her family on Monday after 150 days in the hospital.

During her pregnancy, Kallie’s mother, Ebonie, had been seeing a high-risk doctor for high blood pressure, also called pregnancy-induced hypertension. High blood pressure in a pregnant woman can be dangerous for the baby because of reduced blood flow to the baby through the placenta, also called placental insufficiency. Over time, reduced blood flow to the baby can prevent the baby from growing properly (medically, this is called intrauterine growth restriction or IUGR) and lead to lung and gastro-intestinal development problems.

Four days before Kallie was born, an ultrasound at a high-risk appointment showed that due to poor placental blood flow, also called absent end diastolic flow, Kallie had almost no amniotic fluid around her. Mom Ebonie was admitted to the hospital, and Kallie was born via cesarean section (C-section) on May 20th, 2019, at 25 weeks gestation. She weighed less than one pound, and was shorter than a Barbie doll placed next to her in her incubator.

(Video here.)

At first, Kallie required a machine to help her breathe, and a tube to feed her. Shortly after birth, she underwent surgery to correct a heart defect that’s common in very premature babies called patent ductus arteriosus. In fact, she was 37 days old before mom Ebonie and dad Dameon could hold her.

Becky Cole, one of Kallie’s primary care nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), recalled that day. She said, “I didn’t get to be there when Dameon got to hold her for the first time, but I got to help Ebonie hold Kallie for the first time. That was really an amazing moment, and it took a few of us. It wasn’t easy.”

Dr. Vinit Manuel, medical director of the NICU at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center where Kallie was born, noted that “no technology can replace the womb,” and that “the involvement of the family in the care of these babies is crucial.”

During her hospital stay, Kallie’s parents and brothers read aloud to her, which research has shown improves overall outcomes for tiny babies and decreases complications of hospitalization. Now, Kallie weighs seven pounds and is thriving. She went home Monday with oxygen and a feeding tube, with goals to “graduate” from needing both in the future.

Stories like baby Kallie’s are becoming more common as medical technology enables babies to survive at ever-earlier gestational ages outside of the womb. Twenty-four weeks is widely considered the age of viability, the point at which a baby has a 50/50 shot at surviving outside the womb with significant medical support, but stories of survival like 22-week-old Cullens21-week-old Lylas, and 21-week-old Elioras are out there, too.

Devastatingly, babies even further along than Kallie was at birth are still targeted for abortion. Wantedness, not the possibilities of scientific technology, determines whether they live or die.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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High school girls forced to compete against transgender boys will have complaint heard

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Three high schoolers, who allege being pushed out of girls' competitions because of a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy that allows biological males claiming to be “girls,” will have their complaint heard by the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Selina Soule, a senior from Glastonbury, Connecticut, and two other girls, who remain unnamed out of fear of retaliation, lodged a complaint with the help of their legal team from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

The complaint alleges that CIAC’s policy discriminates against biological girls and violates their Title IX rights.

Title IX was implemented in 1972 to help ensure that girls would have the same opportunities in sports as boys, and most observers agree that it has been successful.

But Title IX never anticipated that boys would seek to compete as girls and does not mention “gender identity.”

In Connecticut and 19 other states, girls are now forced to compete against biological boys claiming to be “girls,” and these policies unfairly deprive biological girls of the right to a level playing field in competitions that they can never win despite their best efforts.

CIAC’s policy, and those of other states, also deprives female athletes of their right to fairly compete for college scholarships and other accolades.

And, separately, these policies put girls in harm’s way in contact sports.

The fact that the OCR has opened an investigation is welcome news to both Soule and ADF. Christina Holcomb, legal counsel for ADF, told the MiddletownPress: “It’s certainly a step in the right direction. We are optimistic now that OCR has opened an investigation that it will ultimately conclude that the (CIAC) violated Title IX by allowing biological males to compete in girls’ athletics.”

Soule told the MiddletownPress that she is “grateful” that the OCR investigation is underway.

“Girls should never be simply spectators in their own sport; they deserve to compete on a level playing field,” she said. “I hope that this important step will help return fairness to the sport I love, for me and for all girls who dream big.”

A LifeSite petition supporting Soule and her complaint against the CIAC has been signed by more than 60,000 people. Would you consider reading the petition, and SIGNING and SHARING, today?

The growing concern surrounding this issue involves more than just three female high school athletes from Connecticut. In fact, this complaint is representative of similar discrimination experienced by female high school athletes around the country.

The nation must support Selina and all of the girls who have worked so hard to achieve their dreams in athletics.

Please CLICK HERE to read and SIGN the petition to keep girls' sports for biological girls only.

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Pro-LGBT Fr. James Martin defends giving Communion to pro-abortion politicians

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By Lianne Laurence

October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-homosexual Jesuit Fr. James Martin called it a “bad idea” that politicians should be denied Holy Communion because of their support for abortion. 

Hours after the news broke that a South Carolina priest, Fr. Robert Morey, denied Holy Communion to Joe Biden, former U.S. Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate, because of his public support for abortion, Martin tweeted:

According to Canon 915 of the Catholic Code of Canon Law, those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church,” said Fr. Morey when defending his decision to the Florence Morning News. “Our actions should reflect that. … Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.” 

Martin, a consultor with the Vatican Dicastery on Communications, appears to regard supporting the intrinsic evil of abortion — the direct taking of an innocent human life — as the moral equivalent of disagreeing with the pope’s encyclical on the environment. 

Pope Benedict XVI, as then-Cardinal Ratizinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, directly refuted this point in his 2004 memorandum: “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles.”

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia,” Ratzinger wrote. 

“For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion.”

Ideally the pastor should meet with a Catholic who is publicly persisting in manifest grave sin — “understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” — to instruct and warn him, Ratzinger wrote.

But even if such measures have not been taken when the individual presents himself for Holy Communion, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it,” Ratzinger wrote.

“This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty,” he added.

“Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.”

Fr. Martin is regarded as one of the most vocal advocates for the normalization of homosexuality within the Catholic Church. The celebrity priest and editor-at-large for Jesuit America Magazine consistently omits mention that the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357, 2358) teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and “under no circumstances can they be approved,” and that that same-sex inclination itself is an “objective disorder.”

In an August 2017 talk at Villanova University, Martin declared a Catholic attending a same-sex “wedding” is as acceptable as a Catholic attending a Jewish wedding, opined that nearly everyone who opposes same-sex “marriage” is “homophobic” and repeated his mantra that his critics are just secretly “gay”. 

Martin also suggested that opposing same-sex “marriage” is like opposing interracial marriage and that African Catholics are one of the biggest obstacles to Church acceptance of homosexuality.

Moreover, his LGBTQ advocacy has become more brazen as the Francis pontificate continues, with Martin tweeting in September that in private meeting with the Holy Father, he “shared with (the pope) the joys and hopes, and the griefs and anxieties, of LGBT Catholics and LGBT people worldwide.” 

More recently, Martin questioned the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality, which earned him a rebuke from a U.S. bishop and a cardinal, and mused that the recently canonized Cardinal John Henry Newman was “gay.” 

He also defended the annual retreat for “gay” priests held by New Ways Ministry, a dissident group long condemned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, then accused LifeSiteNews of “homophobia at its most malign” for publishing an article describing the retreat as “a portal of hell.”

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Twitter announces ban on all political advertising ahead of 2020 elections

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter will no longer allow candidates or issue-based organizations to run paid “political” advertisements, company CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally,” Dorsey announced in a lengthy Twitter thread, declaring that “political message reach should be earned, not bought.” The new policy will apply not only to ads by candidates for office, but to anyone who wants to “buy ads for issues they want to push.”

Twitter will release details on how exactly the new rules will work by November 15, with enforcement beginning on November 22, almost one year before the United States’ next presidential and congressional elections.

“This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach,” Dorsey insisted. “And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”

It remains to be seen how the new policy will affect the spending decisions of the various presidential candidates, but immediate reactions are focusing on how it will affect everyone else using Twitter to champion political causes.

While a blanket prohibition on candidate and issue advertising theoretically applies equally to both sides, conservatives fear that in practice it will benefit left-wing political narratives promoted within “news” content from mainstream media outlets as well as ideological messages favored by Twitter personnel. Concerns also remain as to how Twitter will decide which subjects and terminology qualify as “political.”

Various actions and incidents have fueled conservative suspicion of Twitter’s motives.

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

Dorsey’s announcement also creates a stark contrast between Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, which earned the ire of Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren this month by confirming that it does not subject ads by political candidates to its third-party “fact-checking” program.

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Facebook employees sign open letter demanding site ‘fact-check’ political ads

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By Calvin Freiburger

October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – More than 250 Facebook employees have signed an open letter publicly dissenting from the social network’s policy of exempting ads by political candidates from fact-checking, suggesting a desire to take an even more activist stance on overseeing political speech than company founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook says any claims “made directly by a politician on their page, in an ad or on their website” are “considered direct speech and ineligible for our third-party fact checking program,” which has been a source of controversy when applied to various other types of advertisers. Massachusetts senator and Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently protested the policy by submitting a fake ad of her own, which falsely claimed Zuckerberg had endorsed President Donald Trump.

On Monday, The New York Times published an open letter signed by more than 250 employees of the company expressing their displeasure with the policy.

“Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing,” the letter declares, arguing that the exemption for candidates “doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.”

“Allowing paid civic misinformation to run on the platform in its current state,” the signatories claim, could “increase distrust in our platform by allowing similar paid and organic content to sit side-by-side — some with third-party fact-checking and some without,” and undermine the work of Facebook’s “integrity teams” in “giv(ing) users more context on the content they see.”

The letter lays out a series of proposals for a policy more agreeable to them, including simply eliminating the exemption for campaign ads, making political ads more visually distinct from other types of posts, and forbidding political campaigns from targeting their ads to custom audiences.

Supporters of Facebook’s approach to campaign ads argue that unfettered competition between two opposing sides is more conducive to discerning truth than having a third-party organization with its own biases proclaim an “official” version of the truth, and in fact have long faulted Facebook for not applying the same neutral, hands-off approach to content from news publications, commentators, or issue advocacy groups.

The open letter also provides some insight into rank-and-file Facebook employees’ self-image as active arbiters of “trustworthy” political speech. Zuckerberg and other Facebook defenders have repeatedly attributed the website’s various censorship and discrimination controversies to isolated human error or technological quirks, rather than conscious bias.

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

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Traditional priests’ leader calls for day of ‘reparation’ for Amazon Synod’s ‘idolatrous rites’

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By Stephen Kokx

MENZINGEN, Switzerland, October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Superior General of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is calling for a day of “prayer and reparation” and for Masses to be said to ask God to protect His Church and to spare it from punishments for the pagan rituals that were performed at the Vatican during the Pan-Amazonian Synod. 

“The recent Synod on the Amazon was witness to terrible scenes where the abomination of idolatrous rites was played out within the sanctuary of God in new and unthinkable ways,” wrote Fr. Davide Pagliarani in an Oct. 28 statement  (read full remarks below) to members of the SSPX’s Third Order. 

Fr. Pagliarani excoriated the “tumultuous” gathering’s “attacks on the holiness” of the Church, alluding to in his remarks the synod’s Pachamama idol, the proposed Amazonian rite of liturgy, and support for married clergy and women deacons.

“Truly, the seeds of apostasy which our venerable Founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, had identified from the earliest days as being at work in the Council, continue to yield their putrid fruits with renewed effectiveness."

“Dom Davide,” as he is called by those within the Society, also announced the approximately 650 priests who belong to the SSPX will say Masses of reparation and sing the Litanies of the Saints in their chapels on Sunday, November 10. He invited non-SSPX priests as well as “all Catholics who love the Church” to do the same so that God will “protect His Church and…spare it from the punishments that such acts cannot fail to draw down upon it.”

Pope Francis had previously permitted Catholics to “validly and licitly receive sacramental absolution of their sins” from SSPX priests, first during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, and then afterwards indefinitely. Multiple Vatican officials have said Catholics can fulfill their Sunday obligation at SSPX chapels. In 2017, Pope Francis authorized local bishops to “grant faculties” to SSPX priests so they could licitly witness the marriages of their faithful.

Pagliarani, 48, assumed leadership duties over the SSPX in 2018 after serving as rector of its seminary in La Reja, Argentina. He is regarded by some as being more “hard line” than his predecessor, Bishop Bernard Fellay, who lead the pious union of priests from 1994 until 2018. SSPX superiors are elected to atypically long 12-year terms.

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FULL TEXT

Menzingen, October 28, 2019

On the feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles

Dear Members of the Society,

The recent Synod on the Amazon was witness to terrible scenes where the abomination of idolatrous rites was played out within the sanctuary of God in new and unthinkable ways. And then, the final document of this tumultuous assembly attacked the holiness of the Catholic priesthood, pushing for both the abolition of ecclesiastical celibacy and the establishment of a female diaconate. Truly, the seeds of apostasy which our venerable Founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, had identified from the earliest days as being at work in the Council, continue to yield their putrid fruits with renewed effectiveness.

In the name of inculturation, pagan elements are increasingly integrated into divine worship and we can see, once again, how the liturgy that followed of the Second Vatican Council is perfectly suited to this.

In response to these events, we call on all members of the Society, including Third Order members, to observe a day of prayer and reparation, because we cannot remain indifferent to such attacks on the holiness of Holy Mother the Church. We ask that a fast be observed in all our houses on Saturday, November 9th. We invite all the faithful to the same and we also encourage children to offer prayers and sacrifices.

On Sunday, November 10th, 2019, each priest of the Society will celebrate a Mass of reparation, and in each chapel, the Litanies of the Saints, taken from the liturgy of the Rogations, will be sung or recited to ask God to protect His Church and to spare it from the punishments that such acts cannot fail to draw down upon it. We urge all priest friends, as well as all Catholics who love the Church, to do the same.

Such is due to the honour of the Holy Roman Catholic Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is neither idolatrous nor pantheistic.

Don Davide Pagliarani

Superior General

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Pro-abortion Biden won’t comment on being denied Communion, says ‘I’m a practicing Catholic’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

FLORENCE, South Carolina (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion U.S. presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden has refused to discuss a priest’s decision to deny him Holy Communion on Sunday, but maintains that he is “a practicing Catholic.”

“I practice my faith, but I've never let my religious beliefs, which I accept based on Church doctrine...impose...on other people,” said Biden, who in addition to supporting taxpayer-funded abortion on demand has also officiated a same-sex “wedding.”

Meanwhile, other Catholics have weighed in. 

“I have often called for greater application of Canon 915, which apparently just happened in So. Carolina. I have little to add beyond noting that the application of c. 915 is not ‘sad’, rather, the acts making it necessary to invoke it are what’s sad,” tweeted American canon lawyer Ed Peters.  

In response to a suggestion that Fr. Robert E. Morey should not have subsequently informed the media of his decision, Peters stressed the necessarily public nature of such a pastoral rebuke. 

“The one thing it’s NOT is a private encounter,” he explained. “Talk to the media, or not, but withholding Holy Communion here is a PUBLIC act by the Church in response to PUBLIC acts of sin. It’s crucial to see that point.” 

Catholic author Eric Sammons tweeted, “Denying Communion to a pro-abortion politician should not be news. It should be the norm.”

LGBT activist and priest Fr. James Martin, S.J., disagreed with Morey’s action, however, saying yesterday on Twitter that “denying Communion to politicians, Democrat or Republican, is a bad idea.” 

“If you deny the sacrament to those who support abortion, then you must also deny it to those who support the death penalty. How about those who don't help the poor? How about ‘Laudato Si’? Where does it end?” he asked. 

“Besides, a priest has no idea what the state of a person's soul is when the person presents himself or herself in the Communion line,” he added. 

“As we were taught in theology studies, the person may have repented of any sins and gone to confession immediately before Mass. You have no idea.”

Martin, 58, holds a Masters of Theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Theologian Dr. Alan Fimister told LifeSiteNews that there is a difference between denying a Catholic Holy Communion for a private sin, which he might have confessed publicly, and for a public sin, which even if he has been absolved for, is still attended by scandal. The scandal is greatly repeated by the reception of Communion before the scandal has been removed. 

“In regard to the death penalty, while the Magisterium is competent to teach under what circumstances the death penalty may be used, the question of whether those circumstances have been realized or not is a technical judgement ultimately proper to the laity,” Fimister said.

“The same is true about the question of whether global warming is caused by human activity,” he added. 

Fimister, an assistant professor of theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, used a famous film to make a point about the difference between moral and prudential judgement. 

“If the mayor in Jaws really believes that there sharks are swimming in the sea next to his town, it is immoral to allow children to play on the beach. But whether there are such sharks or not is up to him to determine.” 

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, famously distinguished between pro-abortion politicians and those who merely disagree with the pontiff on the death penalty in his 2004 memo to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick entitled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles.”

“There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia,” the then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote to the American cardinal. 

Ratzinger added that when a Catholic politician “consistently” campaigned and voted for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws, his pastor should meet with him, instruct him in the Church’s teaching, and tell him not to present himself for Holy Communion until “he brings to an end the objective situation of sin.” The priest should also warn him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist. 

“When ‘these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,’ and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, ‘the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it’ (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration ‘Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics’ [2002], nos. 3-4),” Ratzinger continued.  

“This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.”

McCarrick, who would later be expelled from the College of Cardinals and the priesthood for his predatory homosexual behavior, was reluctant to accept Ratzinger’s instructions. The then-cardinal publicly said that he himself was personally “uncomfortable” with denying Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. 

Bishop W. Francis Malooly of the Archdiocese of Wilmington, Delaware – Biden’s home diocese – does not support withholding Holy Communion from the politician.

According to the archdiocesan newspaper The Dialog, Bishop Malooly “has not wavered from this stance.”

“The Church’s teachings on the protection of human life from the moment of conception is clear and well-known,” said a statement released by the Diocese of Wilmington. “Bishop Malooly has consistently refrained from politicizing the Eucharist, and will continue to do so. His preference, as with most bishops, is to interact with politicians individually who disagree with significant church teachings.”

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Protest at public library shows LGBT movement won’t stop until it dominates everything

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By Jonathon Van Maren

October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — On Tuesday evening, a massive, angry crowd gathered outside the Toronto Public Library to protest an event being held inside. Hostility and molten fury bubbled just beneath the surface as hundreds of assembled men and women, wielding signs featuring slogans such as “No Free Speech for Hate Speech” and launching into chants such as “Trans rights are human rights!” and “Take back TPL [Toronto Public Library]!” and “Shame! Shame!” When it was time for the attendees of the offending event to leave, they had to run a gauntlet of contempt and angry shouting.

And what was this offending event, do you ask? It was panel put on by a group called Radical Feministe Unite-Toronto, who had rented space from the Toronto Public Library and invited the founder of Feminist Current, Meghan Murphy, to speak. Murphy, you may recall, was banned from Twitter for her stubborn refusal to agree with the idea that men can become women and, despite being pro-abortion and pro–gay rights, has found herself the object of the progressive Left’s fervent hatred. For weeks, the LGBT crowd has been trying to get the event cancelled, accusing Murphy of being a vicious and hateful bigot.

What is mind-boggling about the LGBT movement’s attempt to shut down a woman who would have checked all the right boxes just a few years ago is not that they have again proven themselves to be opponents of free speech — their totalitarian instincts are obvious to anyone with eyeballs and a brain stem. Rather, it is the amount of mainstream support their campaign to smear and silence a pro-gay feminist has received. In a particularly disgusting interview, for example, Carol Off of the CBC compared Murphy to a white supremacist and all but demanded that city librarian Vickery Bowles cancel the event, despite Bowles’s impressive attempts to patiently explain the concept of free speech to the government-funded hack subjecting her to shockingly stupid questions.

Politicians soon joined the clamor, calling on Bowles to violate the Toronto Public Library’s own policies and cancel Murphy’s event. City councillors Mike Layton and Kristyn Wong-Tam put a motion before Toronto’s city council demanding a change in the library’s policies to ensure that nobody who believes that a man cannot become a woman will ever have the chance to speak there again. Mayor John Tory, who celebrated Mother’s Day this year by attending a drag queen strip show (and even put some cash in a drag queen’s thong), also weighed in, somberly stating that the city’s public buildings should be held “to the highest standard,” meaning that Murphy should be cancelled. Predictably, Toronto Pride warned that the TPL hosting Murphy would have “consequences to our relationship.” Nice little library there. It’d be a shame if something happened to it.

To her credit, Vickery Bowles held firm, calmly insisting to anyone who would listen that freedom of speech is a paramount value. The LGBT thugs promptly turned on her, too, and are demanding her resignation for following the TPL’s policies on free speech rather than silencing someone they disagree with when they tell her to. The LGBT crowd are far past asking for “equality” — now, they are imperiously demanding that anyone who is not on board with the latest fetish or fantasy they’ve conjured up be gagged and banned from the public square. The public square, in their minds, is for Pride Parades, Drag Queen Storytime, and other obscene events. (Although, hilariously, “Fay and Fluffy” of Drag Queen Storytime have threatened to cut ties with the TPL over Murphy’s speech. Perhaps the key to getting rid of DQS is simply to platform feminists in libraries across Canada so the drag queens scurry off and sulk.)

All of that aside, I will admit that I felt a distinct sense of unease as I watched the videos of the seething crowd in front of the Toronto Public Library and watched the social media lynch mobs circle this left-wing, pro-choice feminist. (One of them tweeted: “Mayor Tory/Councillors: Surely you see what is happening tonight. This is a movement. The train has left the station. Get on or get out of the way. Tell the Chief Librarian to resign TONIGHT. Or face unrelenting wrath.”) My uneasiness did not come from the fact that a bunch of angry LGBT folks and their grovelling allies were out protesting — I actually believe in freedom of speech. It came from a simple thought that crossed my mind as I watched them bay for Murphy’s head: If this is how much they hate a pro-gay feminist, and these are the lengths they will go to in order to ruin her life, what will they do to us when they get the chance?

I think we know.

These people do not believe in freedom of speech. They do not believe in freedom of association. They do not believe in religious liberty, or parental rights in education. They desire only one thing: total cultural dominance, where everyone must either bend the knee to the rainbow flag or face the fire, whether it is an abortion-supporting radical feminist or a free speech–supporting city librarian. Their blitzkrieg has cut through our institutions at breathtaking speed — and we need to understand that they are just getting started.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Jason Jones, president and founder of Human Rights Education Organization and Movie to Movement and producer of the pro-life movie Bella. Jones experienced the heartbreaking tragedy of losing his first daughter to abortion. His high school girlfriend’s father took her to get an abortion while Jones was away at basic training. “I exploded!” Jones shares. He goes on to say that he didn’t even know abortion was legal until he found out he had lost his child to abortion.

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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LifeSiteNews reporter Dorothy Cummings McLean (top row, third from left) at the closing Mass of the Amazon Synod. LifeSiteNews
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No Pachamama appearance at final Amazon Synod Mass

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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

Sunday, October 27, 2019 

In Father Robert E. Benson’s Lord of the World, a novel Pope Francis recommended at the beginning of his reign, a pagan statue representing “Maternity” is erected in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Unveiled by the Anti-Christ/president of Europe after pogroms on English Catholics and the firebombing of Rome, the statue is a naked woman and child.

I was, therefore, not exactly thrilled to be hurrying to St. Peter’s Basilica to see if the red-bellied Pachamama had been set up before the altar for the closing Mass of the Amazon Synod. Normally, I would not be going to St. Peter’s at all for Sunday Mass, but to the much humbler church where I have been going almost every morning of my Rome sojourn. However, I knew that my job was to see if Pachamama had turned up for the final Mass, even if the dome of St. Peter’s subsequently fell in.

That’s how you feel when you stay up late reading tweets about the Abomination of Desolation and asteroids hitting Rome.

I wasn’t sure I would get in, for I hadn’t received an email saying my presence had been approved. However, my press badge was enough for the Swiss Guards, who saluted me through to Vatican City and then into a side door of St. Peter’s. When I spotted a photographer’s platform, I climbed up its rickety ladder and found myself beside Krystian Kratiuk of Polonia Christiana. Across from me was another platform, and on that one was my LifeSiteNews colleague Jim Hale, already shooting “B-roll” ― background footage for yet another story.

Kratiuk told me that Pachamama was as yet nowhere to be seen. Below us in the sparsely populated VIP section, fourteen or so of the Amazonian missionary team sat behind some purple-clad bishops. They looked solemn and dignified despite their casual clothing, although the most dignified was an indigenous man who wore a headdress of feathers cascading down his very straight back. At least two of the other indigenous people had stripes painted on their faces, but these too added a formal note. I should add that the vast majority of the faithful in the nave were also wearing casual, though modest, clothing. I cannot imagine what all of our great-grandparents would have thought of that.

Someone delivered a pile of papers to the media section, and we passed them out among ourselves. They were copies of Pope Francis’s homily with translations, and Kratiuk snorted,   presumably because the Sala Stampa had finally provided him something in Polish. He tore off the English translation for me, and I read it swiftly. It was about the differing prayers of the tax-collector and the Pharisee. Understandably, the homilist came down hard on the Pharisee, but I noted also that in this homily the Pharisee, with his “rites and ‘prayers,’” could be interpreted to mean “loveless” old traditionalists horrified by what we had seen so far of the Amazonian rite. The political is always personal for our sovereign pontiff.

As before the consistory service, an unseen announcer began to lead an Italian rosary, in which few in the congregation seemed to join. The prayers ended with the choir singing the Salve Regina in Latin. The congregation, possibly thinking this was the entrance hymn, stood and turned to face the doors. And, indeed, it was not very long before the synodal procession began; comprising priests; laypeople; green-clad bishops; and Pope Francis himself, distinguished in dress from the bishops only by his white pallium and papal ferula, a staff with a crucifix on top.

No Pachamama.

The Liturgy of the Word was swift but respectful, even subdued. The readings were in Spanish and Portuguese, I believe, and the Gospel in Italian. The pontiff added a few rhetorical flourishes to his homily, but otherwise he remained true to his text, which was good, actually. I’m certainly still thinking about it. Of course, I’m also thinking about the Amazonian missionary team and how sad it would be if they think the Pachamamas were thrown in the Tiber not because Pachamama is a pagan goddess, but because traditionalists don’t like them.

My own Mass began at 11, and I had calculated how long it would take me to get there from St. Peter’s: fifteen minutes. I’m not proud of this, and I’m not sure I did the right thing, but my plan was to wait until the Offertory to see if Pachamama made her appearance then, and then to quietly slip away. 

Pachamama was not paraded to the altar. I realize that some believe that the dish of potted plants placed on the altar was Pachamama in disguise, but I think this is finding evil where there is none, as the prefect for the Dicastery for Communications might say. Although potted plants don’t belong on the altar itself, I can’t really see the liturgical difference between a dish of greenery representing the planet and a harvest festival basket of squash. And thus I shook hands with Krystian Kratiuk and carefully descended the scary ladder.

Unfortunately, I was not allowed to slip out discreetly. Instead, I had to walk along the entire length of the Basilica under the eyes of the entire non-VIP congregation to the liturgical right. I hoped very fervently that as a middle-aged woman in a navy maxi-dress, I was the next best thing to invisible. Walking out on Peter is not a good look, and I had no way of explaining that I was on my way to another Mass.

As it was, I was late, but I did get there before the Gospel. The church was packed to the walls, and I atoned for my sins by kneeling through most of what was an unusually long liturgy, even for the TLM, thanks for an extensive French homily.

I spent the rest of the day having lunch with Rome friends in darkest Trastevere, staring at my computer, and cleaning my AirBnB apartment. I also had a final ice cream with my German friend. He was excited to hear about the married priests and the continued encouragement for a diaconate for women. Naturally, he thinks this is progress. Munich: 2; Rome: 0 ― but at least the dome of St. Peter’s still stands.

Flight home tomorrow.

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Amazon Synod guests bow to wooded statues in Vatican gardens' ceremony prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019, Rome.
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Six cardinals and bishops who condemned pagan ‘Pachamama’ rituals at Vatican

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By Maike Hickson

Nov. 7, 2019 update: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has condemned the "appalling idolatrous profanations" of the Pachamama statue during the Amazon Synod and is urging the re-consecration of St. Peter’s Basilica. “The abomination of idolatrous rites has entered the sanctuary of God and has given rise to a new form of apostasy whose seeds, which have been active for a long time, are growing with renewed vigor and effectiveness,” he said.  Read full report at LifeSiteNews here.

Nov. 4, 2019 update: Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, Germany has now also issued his own public criticism of the presence of Pachamama statues in Rome and compared them with the Thor Oak that Saint Boniface cut down in Germany. Read full report at LifeSiteNews here.

October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Three cardinals and three bishops have separately voiced opposition to paganism in Church ceremonies in the Vatican surrounding the Amazon Synod, including the Oct. 4 pagan ceremony in the Vatican Gardens where people bowed down and worshiped the Pachamama idol as Pope Francis and other top-ranking prelates looked on. 

Catholics around the world were indignant to not only see the pagan statues present in various ceremonies, but to see Pope Francis actually bless one of them during the Vatican Gardens ceremony. He was also present when the Pachamama statue was carried into the synod hall, at the beginning of the Amazon Synod, accompanied again with pagan rituals. Paulo Suess, one of the key authors of the Amazon Synod's working document, commented on this ceremony, saying “so what. Even if it would have been a pagan rite, then it is nevertheless a pagan worship of God.”

Some Catholics decided to take action against the public display of pagan idols in the Catholic Church.

As LifeSiteNews reported, on October 21, two men entered into Santa Maria in Traspontina Church near St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, removed several of the controversial Pachamama statues that had been there on display and then threw them into the Tiber River. On October 25, Pope Francis apologized for this act to those who felt offended, calling these statues “Pachamama statues.” He also considered displaying them during the closing Mass on October 27, but this did not take place, perhaps also due to resistance from prelates within the synod hall and outside

During all these events, some cardinals and bishops raised their voice of opposition.

For example, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in an October 24 interview with EWTN's Raymond Arroyo, said 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.”

Putting the removal of the Pachamama statues into perspective he commented: “To put it [the statues] 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.”

Additionally, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller – one of the two remaining dubia cardinals – praised the removal of the Pachamama statues from a Catholic church in Rome and called the men who performed this act “prophets.” 

“These two young men who threw these tasteless idols into the Tiber have not committed theft, but have done a deed, a symbolic act as we know it from the Prophets of the Old Covenant, from Jesus – see the cleansing of the Temple – and from Saint Boniface who felled the Thor Oak near Geismar,” the German cardinal said. He concluded his comments by saying: “These two courageous 'Maccabees' who have removed the 'horrors of the devastation of a holy site' are the prophets of today.”

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, a third cardinal opposing the pagan rituals in the Vatican, stated: “The syncretism evident in the ritual celebrated around an immense floor covering, directed by an Amazonian woman and in front of several ambiguous and unidentified images in the Vatican gardens this past October 4, should be avoided.” He added that “the reason for the criticism is precisely because of the primitive nature and pagan appearance of the ceremony and the absence of openly Catholic symbols, gestures and prayers during the various gestures, dances and prostrations of that surprising ritual.” The cardinal concluded, “This type of syncretism should be avoided entirely."

Among the bishops raising their voices, Bishop Athanasius Schneider wrote the most extensive critique of the pagan worship. He published an October 27 open letter, in which he stated that “Catholics cannot accept any pagan worship, nor any syncretism between pagan beliefs and practices and those of the Catholic Church.” 

“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 Commandment of God: 'You shall have no other gods before Me,'” he added.

Just like Cardinal Brandmüller, Bishop Schneider compared the men who had thrown the Pachamama statues into the Tiber River with Maccabees and praised them. He called their action “a highly meritorious, courageous and praiseworthy act of some brave Christian gentlemen,” and adds that “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, while 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.”

Another bishop – José Luis Azcona Hermoso, the Bishop Emeritus of the Brazilian city of Marajó –  condemned the pagan rituals with the Pachamama statues as “demonic sacrilege.” He said in an October 20 homily that “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.” 

“The invocation of the statues before which even some religious bowed at the Vatican (and I won’t mention which congregation they belong),” the prelate continued, “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.” 

Strongly rejecting the presence of Pachamama in the Vatican, the bishop continues: “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.”

Finally, Bishop Marian Eleganti of Chur, Switzerland, made his own strong critique of the pagan rituals in the Vatican, calling it a “scandal.” He commented on the fact that the Pope himself apologized for the Pachamama idols having been taken and thrown into the Tiber River, and that he said that they were displayed in a church “without idolatrous intention.” Eleganti said that even if one accepts the Pope's recent words that the statues have no intended idolatrous meaning, “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.

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German bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck.
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German bishops’ website overflows with praise for Amazon Synod’s final doc

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October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As expected, German bishops, priests, and laymen have been responding favorably to the Amazon Synod's final report that called for “ministries” for women, the ordination of married men, and an “Amazonian rite.” Katholisch.de, the news website of the German Bishops' Conference, is now eagerly publishing many of these supportive statements.

Access to priesthood shouldn’t be determined by ‘Y chromosome’

Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck – who said in May of this year that in the Church “nothing will be the same” after the synod – promptly gave an interview in which he claimed that “the themes of the synod are here, just as there, important for everyone.”

Overbeck is responsible for the German relief agency Adveniat which was heavily involved in the preparations for the Amazon Synod in Rome, and Overbeck also took part in an important privately held meeting near Rome with Cardinals Lorenzo Baldisseri and Walter Kasper which openly proposed to allow female deacons. 

Now, in the wake of the Amazon Synod, Bishop Overbeck proposed that it’s now time to consider female priests. 

Stated Overbeck: “Can one, for example, make a link between the access to the priesthood and the Y chromosome by justifying it with the Will of Jesus?” “Most people do not understand this anymore and also do not believe in it. I myself am also more than pensive.”

Overbeck also questioned once more the Church's teaching against homosexuality, distancing himself from previous words spoken years ago when he called homosexual practices sinful. While he had once held that “there exists a really fulfilled love only between a man and a woman,” he made it clear that “I do not hold this opinion anymore today.”

‘End of obligatory celibacy’

Another article published on Katholisch.de reported on the words of Jesuit priest, Wunibald Müller, a strong defender of homosexual relationships and of the abolishment of priestly celibacy. 

He is quoted as saying about the Amazon Synod that “it will go down in history as the synod with which the end of obligatory celibacy was heralded.” 

“With the [Amazon Synod's] recommendation to ordain morally proven, married men to the priesthood, the dam finally broke which heretofore hindered the abolishment of obligatory celibacy.”

Germany influenced by Amazon

In yet another post on Katholisch.de, Abbot Jeremias Schröder comments on the Amazon Synod. His article is titled “From the Amazon to the Spree [a river in Berlin] – inspirations for the 'synodal path'”; this title speciously implies that the ideas for reforms really come from the Amazon region and that Germany now should pick up on them.

“Why not pick up on some of the aspects?” asks Schröder, adding that, while during the Second Vatican Council, there was much talk about the Rhine flowing into the Tiber, it could now go into the “reverse direction.” He praises the synod's final report for “keeping questions open,” rather than “putting forth categorical demands.” This way, he explains, “something is put into motion without snubbing too much.”

The German Bishops' Conference itself took immediate action. Yesterday, they published the controversial statutes of the “synodal path” that is to question the Church's teaching on priestly celibacy, human sexuality, and the role of women in the Church. While the German bishops did slightly change the titles of their discussion forums and also removed the binding character of the “synodal path” – something that was strongly criticized from dicasteries in Rome – they will continue their likely “path of destruction,” in the words of one of the few opposing bishops, Rudolf Voderholzer

‘Success for Pope Francis’

A frank statement was made about the Synod from the editor-in-chief of Christ&Welt, the religion section of the German newspaper Die Zeit, Raoul Löbbert. Commenting in an upcoming October 30 article as an outsider and observer of the Amazon Synod, he calls this synod an “event with meaning for the Universal Church and a success for Pope Francis.” He said that the synod was more about priestly celibacy than about the Amazon. He said that the synod's final report “tries to avoid the impression” that “celibacy is part of history.” By pointing out that the idea to admit some married priests is only meant for the Amazon region, Löbbert explained, “the [synod's final] document covers up its symbolic effect for the Universal Church.”

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