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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam
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Planned Parenthood gave Northam damage-control talking points after pro-infanticide interview

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By Calvin Freiburger

RICHMOND, Virginia, November 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood supplied Virginia Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam with talking points just hours after his infamous January interview in which he endorsed allowing an unwanted newborn to die in certain circumstances, according to newly revealed documents.

In late January, video went viral from a hearing in which Republican Del. Todd Gilbert grilled Democrat Del. Kathy Tran on her bill to repeal regulations on late-term abortions. He asked if her bill would allow an abortion as late as when a mother “has physical signs that she is about to give birth.”

Tran answered, “I don't think we have a limit in the bill [...] my bill would allow that, yes.”

The bill was soon tabled, but the ensuing controversy led to Northam defending the bill on the grounds that in cases of “severe deformities” or a “nonviable” baby, he said, a born-alive infant would be “delivered,” “kept comfortable,” but after that the child would “be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

Northam said in the weeks to follow “I don’t have any regrets” about his words in that January 30 interview, but internally his office’s headaches were apparently severe enough to warrant rapid damage-control assistance from Planned Parenthood, the Washington Times reports.

An open-records request from the conservative legal group Judicial Watch obtained 115 pages’ worth of emails showing that on January 30, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia executive director Missy Wesolowski had forwarded Deputy state Health and Human Resources Secretary Gena Berger a memo titled “Topline messages for Northam.”

The memo, written by Planned Parenthood’s Alexsis Rodgers, contained guidance on how to answer “tricky” questions regarding late-term abortion, as well as talking points such as “There is no such thing as abortion until birth,” “These are complicated medical decisions that families deserve to make in private without political interference,” and “As a physician, I know how important it is to trust my patients and for my patients to trust me.”

“These new emails show that Planned Parenthood was running the press operations of the Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam after he endorsed infanticide during a radio interview,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton declared.

Contrary to the abortion lobby’s talking points, abortion until birth is very real – as is “abortion” after birth.

“There have been many cases and multiple witnesses who have come forward and admitted that they saw babies either actively or passively killed after they survived an abortion,” retired OB/GYN and former abortionist Dr. Kathi Aultman testified in September. “In Florida, a woman who had laminaria placed in her cervix to dilate it returned for her procedure, but the doctor was late, and she delivered a live baby girl at 23 weeks. A clinic owner with no medical experience sniped the cord and placed the still living baby and the placenta in a biohazard bag. The remains were found by police a week later after several calls from an informer.”

Tessa Longbons, a Charlotte Lozier research associate, also testified that CDC data found 143 infant deaths from 2003 to 2014 that had been coded as induced abortion or spontaneous miscarriage, which “may be a considerable undercount” as just seven states (Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Texas) have provided data on at least 160 babies to survive abortions.

Republicans have proposed legislation to require abortionists to transfer infants who survive abortions to hospitals, where they would be given the same degree of care as any wanted newborn, as well as to require states to report instances of a child being delivered alive after an attempted abortion.

Democrats have repeatedly blocked the first of those measures; readers can click here to read, sign, and share LifeSiteNews’ petition urging the U.S. House to vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

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President Trump at a November 5, 2018 rally in Missouri
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President Trump is going ‘gangbusters’ on pro-life: Former nurse Jill Stanek

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By LifeSiteNews staff

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump has done “just about everything” pro-life activists have requested of him, according to prominent pro-life activist Jill Stanek.

Stanek, a former nurse and prominent pro-life blogger who is now with the Susan B. Anthony List, appeared on this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show to discuss the problem of infanticide. She also touched on Trump’s pro-life record so far in comparison to that of the previous Republican president, George W. Bush.

“I've always been an enormous fan of George W. Bush as a person, policy aside,” Jonathon Van Maren said. “As grateful as I am for everything Donald Trump has done, I've always been somewhat resentful of this idea that we finally have a pro-life president and we didn't have one before. So I wanted to know...what was talking to [Bush] about abortion like? Was this something he was genuinely passionate about?”

Stanek answered that she admired Bush for signing the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act and Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act into law, but what set Trump apart was that “he is just so proactive.”

“I think saying that Trump is the most pro-life president we've ever had isn't to slight other presidents like President Bush and President Reagan,” she explained. “It’s to say that he is fitting the mold that we've always hoped for of being verbal, vocal about it,” from calling out Hillary Clinton for believing “in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb,” to his use of blunt language like “execute the baby” to discuss infanticide.

“President Trump is going gangbusters, is hiring people in the administration who are like-minded on abortion,” Stanek said. “They set the policy...he has issued executive orders and administrative orders...just about everything we've ever asked him to do, he’s done.”

Near the end of the interview, Stanek said that the evangelical vote was critical in the 2016 elections and will be again in 2020.

Trump “has said that the pro-life issue is going to be one of the main issues of his 2020 election campaign,” she noted, which is “good for our movement because as you talked about a few minutes ago, [abortion defenders] don't want to talk about it. The more than we talk about, the more that we use the right words, the more we win.”

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.

For a full listing of episodes, and to subscribe to various channels, visit our Pippa webpage here.

To receive weekly emails when a new episode is uploaded, click here.

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Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Maria Rizzo
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Catholic school board excludes gender ideology in code of conduct, but bitter battle’s not over

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic school board took the first step to resolve a long-running roiling battle when it voted Wednesday against including “gender identity, gender expression, marital status and family status” in its code of conduct.

Pro-family groups such as Campaign Life Coalition, which has mobilized supporters to oppose the change, lauded the victory but warned the fight over including terms in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) code that governs both students and teachers is far from over.

“In order to keep the madness of transgender ideology out of Catholic schools, it must be rejected by a vote of the whole board at two subsequent meetings,” noted president Jeff Gunnarson in a report on the Campaign Life website.  

Those are the November 7 student achievement subcommittee meeting, during which all 12 trustees have a vote, and a final vote at regular board meeting on November 21, he said.

Wednesday’s victory came after four of five trustees on the Catholic values subcommittee approved a motion by trustee Nancy Crawford after three hours in a packed boardroom listening to delegations that sometimes erupted in shouting and calls to order.

The motion removes the list of “specific characteristics of non-discrimination” from the code and replaces it with: “That all members of the TCDSB community shall respect and treat others fairly, as children of God, created in the image and likeness of God, of infinite dignity and worth.”

Michael Del Grande, Garry Tanuan and Teresa Lubinski joined Crawford to support the motion, and board chair Maria Rizzo cast the dissenting vote.

Rizzo must resign: Campaign Life 

“I was sickened by it, by the hypocrisy, by the homophobia and the fear-mongering,” Rizzo told the Toronto Star

Rizzo alleges the Catholic board is legally obliged to include the words, in compliance with an October 2018 Ministry of Education directive asking boards to update their codes by November 4, 2019, to align with the province’s, the Star reported.

Sam Lecce, Premier Doug Ford’s education minister, appeared to confirmed this in media comments after the vote.

“My message to the board is quite clear,” he told the Toronto Star. “My expectation is every child, irrespective of their differences, can see themselves reflected in schools, and, more important, that they will adhere to the Ontario Human Rights Code.” 

Lecce reiterated this at a Thursday press conference, according to the CBC, which reported Rizzo spoke to Lecce on the phone and said she felt “relieved” that she and the minister are in accord.

Campaign Life has responded to Rizzo’s position by launching a petition demanding she resign.

Rizzo’s position was echoed by John Yan, the executive director of the Angel Foundation for Learning, the board’s charitable arm, who warned the board Wednesday it could lose millions of dollars of funding from Toronto Public Health and corporate sponsors if its code of conduct was not aligned with the Ontario Human Rights Code.

“We can argue from a philosophical point of view about religion and Catholicity, but there is a real world out there where adherence and respect for human rights and the language around it is important,” Yan said.

“To sacrifice students at the altar of ecclesiastical debate I think is not what we want to do,” he said.

Trustee Angela Kennedy, one of four trustees not on the committee who attended the meeting, said at the end of the meeting that Yan’s warning “feels to me like blackmail,” which Rizzo objected to as “unparliamentary.”

Other proponents of the change, notably student trustee Taylor Dallin and delegate Kyle Iannuzzi, suggested not adding the terms could lead to suicides among LGBTQ+ students because they wouldn’t feel welcome. Dallin reported that of 147 students surveyed, only five opposed including the terms.

Trustee Norm Di Pasquale a trustee not on the subcommittee who attended the meeting, also supports adding the words, tweeting his support for Rizzo and her media campaign:

Evening ‘very, very, very distressing’: Newman Center priest 

Delegates opposed to adding the terms -- which included a mother, two young fathers, a 16-year-old student, a religion teacher, a retired teacher, and a 20-year-old on a sabbatical from university -- argued that doing so endorses the harmful and misleading gender ideology in contradiction to Catholic teaching.

But some were berated for their stance.

Trustee Markus De Dominico, a non-member of a committee member who phoned in, repeatedly told Josie Luetke, youth coordinator for Campaign Life, that she was wrong to assert that adding the terms meant the board advocated gender ideology. 

That prompted Crawford to intervene on a point of order: “This is not a debate, and we don’t impolitely tell people they’re wrong,” 

Did Luetke agree that the issue before the board was whether to add terms from Ontario Human Rights Code “to stop bullying and other bad behavior,” De Dominico then asked.

“I agree bullying is bad, we should try to prevent as much as possible in our schools. But I don’t think this is solely about preventing discrimination because there’s significance in the language that we adopt,” Luetke responded. 

“This is about truth, and terms ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ convey a falsehood, so the Toronto District Catholic School Board should not convey a falsehood by adopting these terms in its code of conduct,” she said. (See her full presentation here.)

Fr. Peter Turrone of the Newman Center, who along with Fr. Mark Kolowski was sent by the archdiocese to advise trustees, spoke before the vote of his “tremendous sense of discomfort” with “what’s happening here tonight.”

“Catholic theology is not an ideology, so it’s grounded in truth and it reflects what we also know in science as well,” he said. 

“There’s valid reasons for not looking at the wording there because it reduces people to categories. We have an obligation before God, and for the love of the students and for parents and for all those that are here to want to do what is best.”

But the evening’s debate revealed an underlying assumption that those who affirm what Christ, what God himself and human biology and what the Church teaches are “hateful toward the other,” Turrone noted.

“I find it … deeply, deeply, deeply distressing to be equated with a homophobe or a bigot because we … don’t accept those four categories, when life experience and pastoral care, and life and accompanying families shows the opposite,” he said.

“There’s been no mention of chastity,” added Turrone. 

“But if we don’t believe in the Catholic life, that the teachings of Jesus Christ are not livable, then we’re going to just give up quickly.”

“So the archdiocese, when we’re sued and brought to court, will pay our bills?” responded Rizzo. 

“I just want to make sure you put your money where your mouth is,” she said, to gasps and groans of disapproval. 

Campaign Life Coalition’s reports are here and here. To sign the petition asking Rizzo to resign, go here. To sign the petition to Cardinal Thomas Collins, go here.

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Ex-gay and ex-trans from 'Changed' in front of the U.S. Capitol, Oct. 30, 2019. Doug Mainwaring / LifeSiteNews
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WATCH: Ex-gays, ex-trans demand Congress not block escape from LGBT lifestyle

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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2019, (LifeSiteNews) — Former gays, lesbians, and transgender men and women descended on the nation’s capital this week to urge members of Congress not to support the so-called “Equality Act” and “Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act” that would prevent others from seeking help to escape LGBT lives.  

Laws are being proposed in Washington and in state and local jurisdictions around the country that would hinder those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria —conditions that are often triggered by childhood trauma such as sexual or emotional abuse, depression, or family dysfunction— from getting the professional or pastoral help they desperately need and want.   

At the same time, such legislation implies that those who have left LGBT lifestyles are nothing more than frauds.   

“We are being targeted by city, state and the federal governments here in the United States,” said Jim Domen, a former homosexual, now a married father of three.  Domen is a pastor and founder of Church United, a burgeoning coalition of California churches seeking to shape the moral culture of the state.   

“America needs to hear that there’s diversity of experience for LGBTQ, and that should impact how our congress legislates,” said Elizabeth Woning, cofounder of Changed, a growing movement of former gay, lesbian, and transgender men and women. She has been married to her husband for 14 years and no longer experiences same-sex attraction.

“We have chosen a different route for our lives,” continued Elizabeth, “and in following that path, either through professional counseling or faith-based discipleship, we’ve attained levels of wholeness and fulfillment that most assume is impossible.”   

“Many people, upon hearing our testimonies of fulfillment are seeking what we have,” she added.

All sixteen individuals who took to the stage in front of the U.S. Capitol building testified not only to the power of God to change their lives, but to the importance of having access to counseling from psychologists, psychiatrists, and ministers whose services might someday be outlawed across the land.

Here are several short video testimonies by this remarkable group of individuals —about three minutes each— telling their stories in the hope of averting the creation of tyrannical new laws that would harm many.  

Kevin Whitt:  A former transexual, drag queen, and prostitute who estimates he had sexual encounters with 50,000 men.  

“I lived a life of much gender confusion and much abuse — verbally, physically, and sexually — by my father,” he explained.

God changed Kevin’s life six years ago on Easter Sunday.  “I knew there had to be another way.”  

“I never went through ‘conversion therapy.’  I don’t think any of us have been through conversion therapy,” added Kevin.  “That is not our story.”

In fact, “most of us wonder what conversion therapy is, because we do not know,” he declared.  “If God can change me, he can change anybody.”

Angel Colon:  Former homosexual who was shot six times during the 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre. 

“Yes, I am known as a Pulse survivor, but I really want to be known as living proof that God does transform lives,” said Angel.  

“Change is possible,” he declared, “and we should have the right to share our stories.” 

KathyGrace Duncan:  Former “Transman,” who began falsely believing she should have been born a male even before she started attending kindergarten.  

Watching her father’s abusive treatment of her mom, she concluded that she didn’t want to grow up and be a woman and decided to become a man and “rescue women.”  

A little later, for a period of two years, KathyGrace was molested by a family member, confirming her belief that women are weak, vulnerable, and hated, steeling her resolve to become a man.

Twenty-six years ago, after living convincingly as a man for several years, KathyGrace began living according to her biological sex.  “I am changed. I’m free.  I no longer struggle with attraction to women.  I am grateful to my heavenly Father, and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

April Lockhart:  Former lesbian.  “I had fully believed in this lie that gets perpetuated:  That people don’t change, they can’t change, and if you try to change them it’s detrimental to their health,” she said.  “That’s a lie.”

Unfurling poster-size pictures of her wedding day, her husband, and children, April explained that she would have missed out on the greatest joys of her life had she not found out that change is possible.

“People can and do change if they want to,” said April, “and we need to be allowed as free Americans to seek that out.”

“Nobody has the right to tell you can’t be what you want to be,” she added.    

Christopher Sims: Formerly same-sex attracted.  

“My father who is a pastor raped me,” recounted 24-year-old Christopher, “and I was tortured by my mother” simply for being a male because she had been hurt by men.  

“Any sign of masculinity was a trigger and a threat to her,” he said.  “I can remember her beating me with a wire hanger until I was bloody and putting alcohol all over my body as I stood in front of a mirror.”

“I learned at that moment that I could not be masculine.  I had to be effeminate,” he continued.  “I had to emulate my sisters to avoid triggering her so I could survive.”

At age 18, he went to a church where he “saw in people’s eyes a God that my parents did not tell me about,” and he wanted the freedom and the life they displayed.  

“I want to say change is possible, and people like me do exist,” he noted.  

“Not only can Jesus change one’s orientation,” added Christopher, “He can also heal you of trauma.”  

Greg Quinlan:  Former homosexual, who was the object of his father’s rage when he was a child.  

“I was eight years old, and my dad was working on a car in the driveway.  He was about to explode and I knew I was going to be the target of his venom.”

“You hate me, don’t you?” said Greg to his dad.  “He looked back at me as he took the Lord’s name in vain and said, ‘yes, I hate you.’”  

At age ten, “Hugh Heffner was my first molester,” said Greg, because he was introduced to Playboy pornography, and he soon became sexually active with neighborhood boys.

Years later, after Greg’s dad finally told him, “I love you,” while on his deathbed, Greg forgave him. “That’s when the same-sex attraction started to wane.” 

“There are so many people trapped in homosexuality that want out, said Greg.  “And standing right here on this stage, is proof that homosexuality doesn’t have to last a lifetime.”

“Ex-gays, formers, ex-trans” all “prove that change is possible,” he added.  

Jason Maxwell:  Former homosexual.  

“Having been sexually abused at a very young age,” said Jason, “it caused me to have a very distorted view on love, relationships, and sexuality.”  

Although as an adult Jason found some measure of happiness in an 11-year homosexual partnership, God touched his life, and he was instantly delivered from his same-sex attraction. 

“I now stand before you as the proud father of three beautiful children and the proud husband of a loving wife,” he said.  

“Overcomers exist,” declared James.  

Ken Williams:  A former homosexual, married father of four, cofounder of Changed.

“Governors think that they know better than I do how I should identify sexually,” observed Ken.  

“Apparently, we’re inappropriate,” said Ken, referring to the groups of former LGBTQ individuals standing on the stage with him.  “It’s OK for everyone else to choose their sexual identity, but not us.”

Turning his attention to members of congress, Ken said, “With all due respect, what gives you the right to decide what I would like to pursue with my sexuality?  Why in the world would you or someone with a gavel decide what therapy I should or should not be able to get?”

“You can decide whatever you want, but make no mistake:  Nobody is going to make my decisions for me,” declared Ken, “and we’re not going away.” 

“I’m standing up not for myself,” he said, “I’m standing up for seventeen-year-olds out there who are being told ridiculous things.”  

“What about the 17-year-old boy who now is having his ability to get therapy taken away?” or the 7-year-old boy who is being told he’s “actually a girl?” he wondered.    

“Who is running this country?” asked Ken.  “I submit it shouldn’t be an ideology and it shouldn’t be a small group of people telling us what everyone should believe.”  

“God is on the throne, He changes people’s lives,” he proclaimed, “and America, you would be well advised to hold on to your liberties.” 

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Former Vice President and ardent abortion supporter Joe Biden and Pope Francis during the latter's visit to Washington, D.C. in September 2015. Evy Mages/Getty Images
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Pro-abortion Joe Biden: ‘The Holy Father…gives me Communion’

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By Claire Chretien

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion former Vice President and 2020 Democratic hopeful Joe Biden has commented on a priest recently upholding Catholic teaching by denying him Holy Communion, saying, “It’s not a position that I’ve found anywhere else, including from the Holy Father, who gives me Communion.”

The Catholic Church teaches that the Eucharist is the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ and therefore may only be received by practicing Catholics in a state of grace. Additionally, Canon 915 of the Catholic Code of Canon Law says that those who “obstinately” persevere “in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

The scandal created by giving pro-abortion politicians Holy Communion is one familiar to most faithful Catholics in the West, where Canon 915 – and many other parts of the Code of Canon Law – is nearly universally ignored by clergy and prelates. 

Father Robert E. Morey of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina followed Canon 915 during Sunday morning Mass by refusing Biden Holy Communion. 

In a short interview with PBS News Hour, Biden said his being denied Communion is a “private matter.”

“It’s the only time it’s ever happened,” he said.

He also accused Fr. Morey of bringing the story to the press and said Pope Francis gives him Holy Communion. 

Biden’s 2020 presidential platform includes taxpayer-funded abortion on demand and enshrining into law the many demands of the LGBT lobby.

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is always wrong because it kills an innocent human being, thus violating the Church’s prohibition on murder, and that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC 2270-2272; CCC 2357). 

The platform on which Biden is running for president also includes a suggestion that doctors who refuse to commit abortions be punished and would “weaponize the Justice Department against states to strike down popular pro-life laws — like health and safety standards for abortion facilities, waiting periods, and parental involvement laws — and stop them from passing new ones,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser explained in a July piece in The Washington Times.

As Vice President, the first “wedding” Biden officiated was between two men.

The Obama-Biden administration notably tried to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to participate in the provision of abortion-inducing drugs and contraception and threatened schools with the loss of federal funding if they wouldn’t let boys in girls’ bathrooms and vice versa, among other things.

“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Fr. Morey told the Florence Morning News.

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church,” he continued. “Our actions should reflect that.” 

“Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”

During a Thursday FOX & Friends appearance, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended Fr. Morey while also saying he personally wouldn’t deny Biden Communion.

LifeSiteNews has reached out to the Vatican press office for comment, and will update this story upon receiving one. LifeSiteNews notes that Italy is five hours ahead of the U.S. and this story is being published at 6:40 p.m. EST.

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PA State Representative Wendy Ullman while commenting on early miscarriage, Oct. 29, 2019.
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WATCH: Pennsylvania lawmaker describes miscarried babies as ‘just some mess on a napkin’

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By Paul Smeaton

PENNSYLVANIA, November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Pennsylvania state legislator has described miscarried babies as “just some mess on a napkin”. 

Wendy Ullman, a Democrat representative from Bucks County, made the comment while opposing a bill put before the Pennsylvania House Health Committee that, if passed, would give parents the option for their unborn babies who die as the result of a miscarriage or an abortion to be either buried or cremated.

The bill, HB 1890, was passed by the Committee by 15 votes to 10, with all the Democrat affiliated representatives voting against the bill. It will now go to the full House for a vote.

While opposing the bill on Tuesday, Oct. 29, Ullman said: “It refers specifically to the product of conception after fertilization which covers an awful lot of territory. I think we all understand the concept of the loss of a fetus, but we’re also talking about a woman who comes into a facility and is having cramps and — not to be, not to be, concrete — an early miscarriage is just some mess on a napkin.”

The video of Ullman’s comments was first posted by The Pennsylvania Family Council, a pro-family, non-profit organization. Tom Shaheen, Vice President for Policy for Pennsylvania Family Institute, responded to Ullman’s comments in a statement saying “A miscarriage, no matter how early, does not result in a ‘mess on a napkin’ but the loss of a child. Each human life deserves respect, even when lost at an early stage in development.”

The insensitivity of the comment is highlighted by the fact that Representative Francis Ryan, who introduced the bill, has spoken publicly about the grief experienced by himself and his wife after losing children due to miscarriages. Following the vote on the bill he posted to Twitter, saying that the bill had brought back “painful memories”.

Ullman’s comments have attracted national attention, with coverage from the Daily Wire, Daily Caller and Washington Times. A variety of people, including several mothers who have lost children to miscarriages have used Twitter to express their disgust and hurt at the comments. 

The Pennsylvania bill has been described as similar to the law in Indiana which requires the humane disposal of fetal remains, and which was upheld by the Supreme Court in May this year. Such laws are motivated in part by stories showing the remains of unborn babies being disposed of in ways that many find shocking. 

It is perhaps worth noting that one potential impact of such a bill would be to limit the possibility of the harvesting of organs of aborted babies, such as has been reported through the undercover investigations of David Daleiden.

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5 moms sue Ontario gov’t for forcing children to be vaccinated to attend school

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Five mothers along with the non-profit group Vaccine Choice Canada are taking the government of Ontario to court over its mandatory law that requires children to be vaccinated in order to attend school. 

The group claims the province’s Immunization of School Pupils Act violates several Charter rights, including freedom of conscience and religion, liberty and security of the person, and informed medical consent.

“The vaccine regime in Ontario is draconian,” Vaccine Choice Canada stated in a press release announcing a protest Queen’s Park that drew 400 people Tuesday.

“This decision is not the state’s to make, on a blitz basis, but on a case-by-case basis with respect to the health, circumstances and propensities and predisposition of the child by the parent with medical consultation.” 

The release blasted the Conservative government for being “a peddler for the corporate interests of the $60 billion vaccine industry, predicted to reach $100 billion by 2020, without regard to the particular health and needs of the individual child.”

Ontario’s law mandates that all school children be vaccinated against certain diseases, such as diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, etc. Parents or guardians must provide immunization records for children attending publicly funded schools. A student’s incomplete immunization records can result in suspension from school. Parents are permitted to get an exemption for medical reasons or because of their beliefs. In the latter case, parents must sign a “statement of conscience or religious belief” and attend an “education/information” session. 

If parents do not comply, a medical officer of health can order their children suspended from school and/or barred from registering, enrolling or attending school, and the parents can be charged.

Only New Brunswick has similar legislation.

Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati filed a statement of claim in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice last week on behalf of Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC), formerly the Vaccination Risk Awareness Network, and the five parents.

The statement of claim argues that the law violates the plaintiffs’ right to freedom of conscience, belief, religion and thought guaranteed under the Charter’s Section 2(a) and (b), and their rights to liberty and security of the person guaranteed under Section 7.

Moreover, the law exposes parents to potential criminal liability because the statement of conscience and belief they must sign includes an acknowledgement that “delaying vaccines” will put their child’s “health and even life at risk.”

Being forced under oath to sign this statement, which they disagree with and for which there is no conclusive proof, violates the plaintiffs’ right against compelled speech as guaranteed by Charter Section 2(b), the statement of claim asserts.

As well as challenging the law as unconstitutional, the plaintiffs want the court to declare the province’s “mature minor doctrine,” which allows children of no specific age who are deemed competent to make medical decisions without parents’ knowledge or consent, not apply to vaccinations.

The plaintiffs include:

  • a nurse and mother of three “healthy, unvaccinated” children ages five, three and five months who will be denied access to school because of her decision not to have them vaccinated;

  • an educational assistant in elementary schools and mother of two children ages five and three whose mother chose not to have her brother and sister vaccinated after her children had several adverse reactions to vaccines; 

  • a stay-at-home mother of five children (ages 16, 11, eight, seven and five), two of whom “suffered severe reactions and injuries from vaccines resulting in her refusal to vaccinate the other children”;

  • a mother of two children ages five and three;

  • a mother of five children who also has chosen not to have her children vaccinated or sign statement and as a result “has been refused enrolment of her children into school.”

The plaintiffs allege in the statement of claim that in their experience the compulsory “education information” sessions “are designed to browbeat” students and parents into accepting vaccination “under threat of expulsion” and “present a one-sided distorted view of vaccination” that omits information on the risks of vaccination.

They say “it is undisputed” that those risks, to a certain percentage of those vaccinated, include severe, permanent injuries such as physical, neurological, speech and other disabilities, and death — risks detailed in the warnings inserted by the vaccines’ manufacturers.

School and medical health officers “completely ignore” these dangers, do not discuss them with parents or students, or pre-screen students for “potential propensity to be injured by vaccines” before lining students up at school for vaccinations.

The statement of claim asserts that Canada is the only G-7 country with no national program to compensate those killed or injured by vaccines; that the United States has paid out more than $4.1 billion in compensation for vaccine injury since 1989; that the U.S. government “has acknowledged that vaccination can cause brain damage resulting in symptoms of autism in genetically susceptible children;” and that vaccines “include ingredients that are classified as poisons, carcinogens, toxins, neurotoxins, immune-and-nervous-system disruptors, allergens, fertility inhibitors, and sterilizing agents.”

The plaintiffs argue that “herd immunity” is a theory and not a fact, that there is “no conclusive proof that not vaccinating a child, per se, will bring harm to that child or other children or others around him/her,” and that Health Canada acknowledges the Charter prevents mandatory vaccination.

Moreover, they allege that the “mature minor doctrine” allows public health officials “prey on the vulnerability of children in order to impose their own preferences and agenda.” These officials have “free rein” to conduct in-school vaccination clinics “without oversight, frequently coercing and bullying underage children to submit to vaccinations.” 

Children as young as age 11 have been “persuaded” to vaccinate without their parents consent “under duress of being suspended if they do not comply.”

They claim that there is “zero accountability for violation of rights by the medical officer of health” and as a result there are “many cases” of public health officials “unlawfully suspending young children for 60 to 90 school days” rather than the 20 days’ suspension set out in the law.

Correction November 4, 2019: The original article incorrectly stated Manitoba has similar legislation to Ontario. LifeSiteNews regrets the error.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke speaks at the Call to Holiness on Oct. 26 in Detroit. Lisa Bloomfield
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Cardinal Burke: Church is ‘experiencing one of the greatest crises … she has ever known’

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By Lianne Laurence

DETROIT, November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke told a sold-out Catholic conference in Detroit last weekend that “there is no question that the Church is currently experiencing one of the greatest crises which she has ever known.”

“Today perhaps as at no time in the past there is an ever more diffuse phenomenon of general confusion and error regarding doctrine and morals within the Body of Christ,” he told the crowd of 800 at the Oct. 26 Call to Holiness conference in a talk on “Keeping the faith in a time of confusion.”

And a “frightening manifestation of the gravity of the situation” is the Amazon synod’s working document, which “constitutes an apostasy from the apostolic faith by its denial of the unicity and universality of the redemptive Incarnation of God the Son,” added the cardinal.

The month-long Amazon synod ended Sunday amid heated controversy over the preeminence given to statutes of Pachamama, the Incan fertility goddess, at the event. Signaling more turbulence ahead, LifeSiteNews reported Saturday that the synod’s final document calls for allowing women’s ministries at Mass.

One of two surviving “dubia” cardinals, Burke obliquely referred to the Pachamama controversy when detailing the 40-point “Declaration of truths” he and Bishop Athanasius Schneider — who condemned the use of the pagan statues at the synod in an open letter — and several other bishops published May 31.

“Frighteningly evident” in the synod’s working document is the widespread error that “considers all forms of non-Christian spirituality and religion to be seeds or fruits of the divine Word,” said Burke.

“But as the Declaration makes clear, such cannot be the case with spiritualities and religions that promote any kind of idolatry or pantheism.”

The Declaration also refutes the widespread error “that Judaism and Islam have their own integrity, and that therefore it is wrong to work for the conversion of Jews or Muslims to Christ” by affirming “that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone,” Burke said to thunderous applause.

While the Church faced a “more serious doctrinal crisis” in the Arian heresy of the fourth century, which denied the divinity of Christ, there is today “confusion about many truths of the faith and a growing sense that the Church is no longer certain regarding the truths that she has always taught,” he said.

“The see of Peter not only does not clarify the confusion and correct the error, but appears to favor the confusion, which daily increases.”

An example of this is the Catholic Church in Germany embarking on the “synodal way,”  which some German bishops say is a process to rewrite the Church’s moral teaching, particularly on marriage, family, and human sexuality, added the cardinal.

As for development of doctrine, that never meant changing the doctrine, Burke stressed.

“There are some today who say that the Church's teaching on the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts has developed so that now, in contradiction to the constant teaching of the Church, homosexual acts in certain circumstances are considered to be good and loving,” he said.

Indeed, so great is the confusion that some claim obeying the commandments can actually be a sin, Burke noted. “This may seem absurd to you, and in fact, it is. But this is how the reasoning goes.”

The Declaration of Truths provides “an effective help in giving an account of our faith in an ever growing secular and ecclesial culture of confusion, error and division,” Burke told the conference.

“But let me make clear that confusion is never a good. Confusion is the work of the devil. It always has been and it always will be,” he said to a burst of applause.

Responsibility to redress this confusion “weighs particularly” on bishops, whom Pope Gregory the Great described as “the watchdog who guards the flock against the wolves, warning the flock and driving the wolves away from the flock,” he said.

St. Boniface added, “The watchdog that does not bark when there is a threat to the flock is useless and harmful,” Burke said to more thunderous applause.

In the following Q&A, Burke assured the crowd that “I can’t imagine” the extraordinary form of the Mass being forbidden, as some people fear, given that Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum pontificum has given the traditional Mass “a real foothold” across the globe.

‘There are enemies of the extraordinary form, you know that well, but I don’t think that they’re going to prevail,” he said.

Moreover, when he celebrates the traditional Mass, older people are far outnumbered by “young people, young, single people,” Burke said to sustained applause. 

Regarding the Society of St. Pius X, Pope Francis seems intent on reconciliation, but “a reconciliation has to be real,” the cardinal said.

There are still questions regarding the Society’s position on two Vatican declarations, which are not dogmatic: Nostra aetate, on other religions, and Dignitatis humanae, on religious freedom, that must be resolved.

Burke ended by exhorting people against discouragement, the “principal temptation” of Satan.

“Some people are getting very discouraged with what's going on in general in the Church,” he said. 

“I always say to them, look, look around how many wonderful young families are practicing their Catholic faith. Look at the number of the seminarians. Look at the pro-life movement, the strength that it has … So we can’t give way to discouragement.”

Burke is a “shepherd after the heart of the people” and a “priest who loves the people,” Call to Holiness Detroit organizer Deborah Bloomfield told LifeSiteNews, adding that for the conference’s closing pontifical Mass in the extraordinary form there was “standing room only.”

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Trump admin: Adoption agencies won’t be forced to give kids to same-sex couples

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration announced Friday that it will not be enforcing Obama-era rules forcing faith-based adoption and foster agencies to place children in same-sex households, and proposed new rules specifically recognizing the religious and conscience rights of such organizations.

Whereas the Obama administration added “sexual orientation” language to “non-discrimination” rules governing federal funds to adoption and foster agencies, the Trump Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it will be replacing it with a new rule that retains most of the old rule’s non-controversial langauge. However, it will revise certain provisions to bring them in line with “applicable nondiscrimination provisions passed by Congress and signed into law, including legislation ensuring the protection of religious liberty, and to provide that HHS complies with all applicable Supreme Court decisions in administering its grant programs.”

“The proposed rule represents the Trump Administration's strong commitment to the rule of law―the Constitution, federal statutes, and Supreme Court decisions,” HHS said. “These require that the federal government not infringe on religious freedom in its operation of HHS grant programs and address the impact of regulatory actions on small entities.”

Religious and conservative groups praised the move as a fulfilment of President Donald Trump’s commitment to religious liberty.

“We commend the Administration for acting to change a 2016 regulation that threatened to shut out faith-based social service providers, namely adoption and foster care agencies that respect a child’s right to a mother and a father,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement. “We are alarmed and saddened that state and local government agencies in multiple jurisdictions have already succeeded in shutting down Catholic adoption and foster care agencies as a result of their Catholic beliefs. At a time when over 400,000 children are in foster care, we need to take steps to increase – not decrease – their opportunities to be placed with safe and loving families.”

“The proposed HHS rule frees faith-based adoption and foster care groups participating in programs that receive federal grants from the prior administration’s demand they include sexual orientation as a protected trait under anti-discrimination protections,”said Catholic Association Foundation legal advisor Andrea Picciotti-Bayer. “This demand, made in the waning days of the Obama administration with no legislative or judicial mandate, limits the good done for needy kids by faith-based agencies because of their longstanding beliefs about marriage. Agencies that find loving foster and adoptive homes shouldn’t be subject to ideological shakedowns by the government.”

“Until recently, the idea of the government assisting these groups in their work was completely uncontroversial,” American Principles Project executive director Terry Schilling said. “Incredibly, however, states and localities like Michigan and Philadelphia have lately begun to demand these groups violate their consciences or lose all support, as did the Obama administration. Amid a nationwide foster care crisis, this ideological grandstanding is utterly unconscionable. Thankfully, from day one President Trump has committed to put the needs of children and the protection of religious liberty above politics.”

A variety of social science literature supports the view that children are best served by homes with both a mother and a father, as men and women bring distinct strengths and emphases to parenting, and children require guardians and role models of both sexes for development and socialization. Furthermore, numerous individuals raised in same-sex homes have attested that the experience was harmful.

Last year, House Republicans introduced legislation that also would have also prevented religious groups from losing federal funds solely because they refuse to place children in same-sex homes.

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Former gays and transgenders with Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-CA, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX Doug Mainwaring / LifeSiteNews
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Watch: In US Capitol Rotunda, ex-LGBTs pray, repent on behalf of nation for sin of homosexuality

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By Doug Mainwaring
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Former gays and transgenders singing in prayer inside the US Capitol Doug Mainwaring / LifeSiteNews

ANALYSIS

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An extraordinary event took place beneath the magnificent rotunda of the United States Capitol Wednesday night: Former gay, lesbian, and transgender men and women repented and interceded on behalf the nation for the sins of homosexuality and transgenderism. 

They were part of a group which came to Washington this week to urge members of Congress to oppose the so-called “Equality Act” and “Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act” that would prevent others from seeking help to escape LGBT lives. 

Moments before their entering the rotunda, NBC had published a story with a headline declaring that the group had come to D.C. “to lobby against LGBTQ rights,” yet that is not their purpose at all. They came to tell their stories of finding healing and fulfillment by rejecting the lies of LGBT ideology and turning to Christ.

“We repent on behalf of our country for the sins of arrogance, for the sins of sexual deviancy, for the sins that have led us to the place where we are today,” one man earnestly prayed as he stood beneath the Capitol dome.

“We repent for the sin of homosexuality. We repent for our part in it,” prayed another former homosexual. “We ask that you would forgive our nation for this. We ask you to hold back any judgement, and that you would hear our prayers and have mercy on us.”

Others joined in offering their heartfelt repentance and intercession.

“Push back the darkness,” prayed a woman who once lived as a lesbian. 

“You created us male and female. You created us in Your Image. You have created man to find a wife and that is a good thing,” prayed another young woman. “We pray that the truth be revealed to those who have bought into the lies and deception. We pray that you remove the curtain of deception.”  

“I repent for the lies that we have believed as far as who we are,” prayed a woman who had lived as a “man” for many years, but is now restored to her true identity. “Lord, we bought into the lie that you didn’t create us good enough. That we should have been something else.”

“I ask you to continue to drop the scales from the eyes of those who live in the deception of who they are, and let them see how they are created in your image, and that you do not make mistakes,” she continued. “I ask you to call them out of that lifestyle, call them out of that deception.”

They pleaded for those who are bound by deception, held captive by the enemy, to be set free. “Lord, we understand that those who hold other positions are not our enemy. We all have but one enemy.” 

And they prayed for a great awakening across our land.  

Their prayer turned to beautiful worship, with their voices echoing throughout the Capitol building: 

I’ll raise a Hallelujah, as Heaven comes to fight for me.
I’ll raise a Hallelujah, because fear has lost its hold on me.  

And I’m going to sing in the middle of the storm,
Louder and louder, they’re gonna hear my praises roar.
Up from the ashes, hope will arise,
Death is defeated, the King is alive.

Death is defeated, the King is alive.

They sang to Jesus:  

You have no rival, you have no equal
Now and forever, Our God reigns.
Yours is the Kingdom, Your’s is the glory,
Yours is the Name above all names.

What a powerful name it is, 
What a powerful name it is: 
The Name of Jesus Christ my King. 

And they declared on behalf of the nation:

What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

And how precious is that Blood,
That makes me white as snow?

No other fount we know
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

Death is defeated, the King is alive.

The hour-long spontaneous prayer erupted at the end of a tour of the historic building led by U.S. House members Doug LaMalfa, R-CA, and Louie Gohmert, R-TX, pro-life champions and defenders of religious liberty.

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Blaine Adamson
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Kentucky Supreme Court tosses suit against Christian who refused to make LGBT pride shirts

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By Calvin Freiburger

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Kentucky Supreme Court sided with a Christian print shop owner Thursday in his fight for his right not to create “gay pride” T-shirts.

Blaine Adamson is the owner of Hands On Originals Christian Outfitters, a Lexington company that advertises "high quality, customized Christian apparel.” For the past several years, he has been fighting the Lexington Human Rights Commission over his polite refusal of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization’s (now called the Pride Community Services Organization) request to print shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals sided with Adamson in 2017, and the Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments in August. The state’s highest court ruled Thursday that the plaintiffs “lacked statutory standing to assert a claim against Hands On Originals under the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government ordinance,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) reported.

While that does not speak to the merits of the case, Justice David Buckingham wrote a concurring opinion – with which none of the justices took issue – declaring that “Hands On was in good faith objecting to the message it was being asked to disseminate” and quoting the U.S. Supreme Court’s determination that “forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable is always demeaning.”

“Today’s decision makes clear that this case never should have happened. For more than seven years, government officials used this case to turn Blaine’s life upside down, even though we told them from the beginning that the lawsuit didn’t comply with the city’s own legal requirements,” ADF senior counsel Jim Campbell said. “The First Amendment protects Blaine’s right to continue serving all people while declining to print messages that violate his faith. Justice David Buckingham recognized this in his concurring opinion, and no member of the court disagreed with that.”

Adamson has previously stressed that he happily serves and employs homosexuals; it’s the content of certain designs that’s at issue. 

"We've had to turn down several jobs because of whatever the message may have been, even from customers whom we've worked with for years,” he said. “When they present a message that conflicts with my convictions, it's not something that I can print — that's the line for me.”

Over the past several years, LGBT activists have taken numerous Christian business owners across the country, from photographers to florists, to court in hopes of forcing them to create works celebrating homosexuality or participate in same-sex “wedding” ceremonies. 

The U.S. Supreme Court handed Colorado baker Jack Phillips a victory last year when it sided with him against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, but similar lawsuits continue because the high court’s narrow ruling was about the anti-religious animus of state officials, and did not answer the core religious-liberty questions of the case.

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Light show on facade of the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, Oct. 27, 2019.
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Disturbing light shows projected on Rome’s churches at close of Amazon Synod

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By Martin Barillas

ROME, November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Bizarre lights shows were once again projected on the fronts of some of Rome’s most famous Catholic churches for two weekends in October, the last weekend corresponding with the closing of the Amazon Synod which rocked the Catholic Church worldwide for its use of pagan rituals during official events at which Pope Francis was present. 

At the Basilica of Santa Maria Rotonda, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all martyrs and also known as the Pantheon, a beam of light exploded from the open oculus in the domed roof of the ancient building. 

The beam reached infinitely into the sky from the roof’s central opening and could be seen at least 25 miles away. What was once a Roman temple dedicated to all the pagan gods, the church served as a canvas for the light show. The show cast rapidly changing images that ranged from the architectural to the mysterious. Using the imposing front faces of three famed basilicas and several other architectural monuments in Rome, the show started on October 20 and was repeated on Sunday.

Apart from the Pantheon, the Basilicas of Sant'Agostino and Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, and the former Guido Reni barracks, also served as canvases for the video projections. Also on hand was the alternative rock bank New Candys, as well as prominent artists. This Solid Light project brought a series of three-dimensional stereoscopic images on the facades of the classic churches. 

The organizers of the light show stated: “The artistic light project recalls the perfect geometry of the architectural structure of the Pantheon and therefore of the Basilica of Santa Maria ad Martyres, transforming the oculus into a powerful light source: the light, taken as a symbol of God's revelation and of its presence in history, it emanates from the basilica as a bridge between the earth and the sky, as an element of communion between historical reality and divine transcendence.”

The project had cooperation from Italy’s Ministry of Culture and the Vicariate of Rome, thus ensuring Vatican approval.

Solid Light and Spacecannon formed the collective that put on the show. They built on experience gained during a similar light installation at Ground Zero in New York City that served as an illuminated memorial to the thousands of lives lost during the terrorist attacks at the Twin Towers in 2001. Light technicians were led by Michele Cinque and Valerio Ciampicacigli.

Last year, a similar projection of images on Basilica Santa Maria Sopra la Minerva was opposed by Catholics who condemned what they believed were diabolical images and messages. The famed basilica houses the tombs and funerary monuments of saints and prominent Catholics of history. For example, St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), a Doctor of the Church who was a Third Order Dominican, and Dominican friar Blessed John of Fiesole, who is known better known as the artist Fra Angelico (1395-1455). Also once entombed there was St. Thomas Aquinas, whose remains were kept there until 1511 when they were removed to Naples. Several popes are also buried there, as well as Byzantine philosopher George of Trebizond. 

In 2015, the Vatican hosted a "climate change" light show projected on St. Peter's Basilica that included howling, grunting, and roaring animals, along with images of overcrowded city centers, depictions of pollution, and negative portrayals of industrialization. Numerous critics noted the shows connection to paganism, the occult, and new age spirituality. 

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Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, Missouri. cbsnews.com / video screen grab
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Media headlines about Missouri tracking women’s periods ‘couldn’t be any more misleading’

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By Calvin Freiburger

MISSOURI, November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As the last abortion center in Missouri fights state health officials to keep its license, many in the media have attempted to discredit the state with misleading headlines about the patient records in its possession.

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.

Hearings began in the case this week, as have numerous headlines concerning a spreadsheet of abortion patient data maintained by state health director Dr. Randall Williams as part of the government’s efforts to identifiy failed abortions. Among the pieces of data on the spreadsheet is women’s last menstrual period (LMP).

Numerous stories at the Washington Post (“Missouri didn’t track Planned Parenthood patients’ periods to protect women. It was to control them”), CNN (“State-controlled spreadsheet on women's periods is outrageous”), TIME (“Missouri's State Health Department Kept Spreadsheet Tracking Menstrual Periods of Planned Parenthood Patients”), the Riverfront Times (“What Tracking Women's Periods Says About Missouri's Anti-Abortion Scheme”), Vox (“Missouri's Spreadsheet of Women's Periods Wasn't Illegal — But Experts Think It Was Pretty Creepy”), and elsewhere pushed the notion that the state was fixating on the LMP information, and/or using it in some sort of strange or improper way.

“Tracking to me implies ‘Oh, she had a period again, let’s put that in a spreadsheet,’ and that’s simply not true,” health department spokeswoman Lisa Cox told the New York Times, explaining that LMP dates are simply cross-referenced with abortion dates to get an accurate count of abortions at the facility. “This was a one-time data pull from information Planned Parenthood had already provided.”

The pro-life Equal Rights Institute also took issue with the coverage, noting that the data (of which LMP dates were just one of many items) helped the state determine that four patients had returned to the facility on multiple occasions to complete the same surgical abortion.

“LMP is common medical information relevant to pregnancy,” the group said. “This headline is meant to paint a picture of government employees tracking women's fertility which couldn't be any more misleading!”

While the press focuses on the “period-tracking” furor, there remain grave concerns about the St. Louis facility’s treatment of women, from more than 70 instances of calling an ambulance to 30 state citations of medical malpractice, including complications in four surgical abortions.

A decision in the case is 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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Pope Francis meets with LGBT-activist Fr. James Martin in Rome, Sept. 30, 2019. James Martin / Twitter
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Fr. James Martin: Pope meeting me was ‘public sign of support’ for my pro-LGBT work

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By Lianne Laurence

SIGN THE PETITION: Bishops, please stop Fr. Martin's LGBT advocacy Sign the petition here.

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-LGBT Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin is claiming his private meeting with Pope Francis in September was “a public sign” of the pontiff’s “support” for his work — which the American Jesuit describes as “ministering with LGBT Catholics” but which critics say is an indefatigable campaign to change Catholic teaching on homosexuality and other deviant sexual behaviors.

Martin tweeted to his 255,800 followers Wednesday:

But Martin isn’t the first to allege the private audience signaled the Holy Father’s support for his homosexual advocacy. 

The liberal Jesuit America magazine, of which Martin is editor at large, interpreted the meeting shortly after it took place as a “highly significant public statement of support and encouragement” for the celebrity priest, LifeSiteNews reported then. 

Martin tweeted then that the meeting, during which, he said, he and the pontiff laughed “several times,” showed the pope’s “deep pastoral care for LGBT Catholics and LGBT people worldwide.  

Martin’s non-stop though often coy dissent from Catholic teaching on homosexuality has drawn fire from high-ranking churchmen and Catholic lay academics (here and here). The American Jesuit received an award in 2016 from the dissident pro-homosexual group New Ways Ministry, which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the U.S. Catholic bishops have condemned but Martin consistently defends.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, called Fr. Martin “one of the most outspoken critics of the Church’s message with regard to sexuality,” and Cardinal Raymond Burke described Martin’s teaching as “not coherent with the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.” More recently, a U.S. bishop and a cardinal rebuked  Martin for questioning the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality.

At the same time, Pope Francis appointed Fr. Martin in April 2017 as one of the 13 consultors who advise the Vatican's Dicastery for Communications and the  Vatican invited him to speak at the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin on “Exploring how Parishes can support those families with members who identify as LGBTI+.”

Fr. Martin’s latest self-congratulatory tweet touched off a minor Twitter debate, with a number of people contrasting Martin’s “ministry” to the Courage apostolate, which supports same-sex attracted people in living chastely.

Deacon Jim Russell tweeted:

Austin Ruse, who has engaged on Twitter with Fr. Martin previously, observed:

Others sounded a bit sarcastic.

Related:

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

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'Pachamama' statue on bridge over Tiber river prior to being thrown in, Rome, Oct. 21, 2019.
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BBC Catholic commentator falsely claims Amazon Synod’s ‘Pachamama’ was Virgin Mary

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PETITION: Call on Vatican to keep out all "pagan" symbols from St. Peter's and Vatican Property! Sign the petition here.

LONDON, England, November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A former editor of the left-wing Catholic periodical The Tablet told BBC listeners today that the Pachamama statues thrown into the Tiber last month during the Amazon Synod represented the Blessed Virgin Mary, despite Pope Francis explicitly calling them “Pachamama statues” last week while apologizing for their removal.  

On a “Thought for the Day” segment broadcast this morning, Catherine Pepinster, 60, said that a statue “of the Mother of God” had “caused a furor in Rome recently”.

“This was an indigenous Amazon figure,” she said, “naked, with a fetus inside, used in church services during the meeting on the Amazon held by the pope.”

Pepinster said that “horrified traditionalists threw it in the River Tiber, claiming it was idolatrous.” 

She made a connection between this action and the nation-wide vandalism of Christian churches during “the Puritan era to justify the smashing of biblical figures and saints.” 

“But as the events surrounding the statues in Rome indicate, statues are not necessarily about religious rows but about expressing the identity and the traditions of a community.”

The Vatican denied on more than one occasion that the crudely carved figures represented the Mother of God. The figures were identified by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication variously as images of fertility, womanhood, motherhood, and the Amazon region itself. They were, however, described as “pachamamas” by Pope Francis when he told Synod Fathers that the images had been taken out of the Tiber by the police. 

Pachamama is a pagan goddess of fertility worshipped in pre-Christian times in western South America. Christians, including Catholics, were shocked when video footage of people from the Amazon region prostrating themselves before the naked images in the presence of Pope Francis was released.  

One English Catholic journalist, representing Commonweal magazine, attempted to defend the ritual by arguing that the identical images of naked pregnant women depicted the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth. 

Pepinster, who now works for the Church of England, said she would be going to Westminster Abbey for a special service. She noted that the niches at the front of the now-Anglican church that once held Catholic saints are now filled by statues of modern-day Christian martyrs and figures who reflect the values of the nation.

These include Martin Luther King, Jr., Oscar Romero, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Maximilian Kolbe. 

Pepinster made the remarks after related a story about the return of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to an Argentinian military chaplain by a British Catholic military chaplain in the presence of Pope Francis.

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Abortionists ripped out beating hearts for ‘research,’ baby-parts testimony reveals

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By Calvin Freiburger

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Among the grisly details revealed about the abortion industry in the ongoing Center for Medical Progress (CMP) trial in San Francisco is the fact that abortionists intentionally rip out hearts from babies while they’re still beating.

CMP has been locked in legal battles with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation (NAF) since the summer of 2015, when their undercover videos revealed abortion industry insiders expressing interest in profiting off organs from aborted babies, which is illegal. The abortion groups accuse the pro-life investigators of breaking California privacy laws, and obtained a gag order against the release of additional videos.

Pro-life investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are currently on trial in the case, which CMP welcomes as an opportunity to force abortionists and other industry figures to take the stand and answer questions about CMP’s revelations, under penalty of perjury.

Watch Jonathon van Maren expose the truth about how babies are born alive after abortions:

In September, Dr. Theresa Deisher of Stanford University School of Medicine testified that “some of the babies had to have beating hearts when they were harvested.”

“Once the heart goes into contraction, you can’t get it to come out of that position,” she explained, so it “has to be beating and be arrested in a relaxed position” by perfusing it with a potassium solution. Then it can be restarted electrically after transportation.

Deisher, who founded a company in Seattle working on ethical alternatives to “human exploitation in medical research,” called this detail the “most horrific thing” about the baby-parts scandal, in her view.

“Basically, to cut through what that means, it means that the baby hearts that are being sold to biomedical companies ... have to be harvested from the chest of living babies,” LifeSiteNews’ Jonathon Van Maren said during this week’s episode of his show. “Their hearts have to be cut out while they're beating. This is a monumental barbarism.”

“This is a discussion happening in open court right now in San Francisco,” he continued. “And what have you heard about this? This should be breaking news on every TV network. It should be on the front page of every newspaper. And you're hearing almost nothing.”

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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

News ,

Spending bill that re-funds abortion orgs fails US Senate vote

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Partisan fighting over unrelated matters granted a temporary reprieve to pro-lifers Thursday by leading the Senate to vote against advancing an appropriations bill that would restore funding to international abortion organizations which were defunded near the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency.

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

Last month, Conservative Partnership Institute senior policy director Rachel Bovard warned pro-lifers of an amendment that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) added to a recent spending bill that would provide almost $60 million to several U.S.-based organizations that list abortion as part of their core mission. 

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

Republicans controlling the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill via voice vote, without objecting to the Shaheen amendment, despite an August agreement by both parties that spending bills negotiated in September would contain “no poison pills, additional new riders, additional CHIMPS, or other changes in policy or conventions that allow for higher spending levels, or any non-appropriations measures unless agreed to on a bipartisan basis by the four leaders with the approval of the President.”

On Thursday, the Senate voted 51-41 to advance the bill, which most Republicans favored and most Democrats opposed. But because the chamber’s current filibuster rules require 60 votes to pass most legislation, it failed.

The abortion language does not appear to have been a factor in the vote. Politico reports that Democrats “overwhelmingly objected to starting debate on the second bundle, protesting that Republican leaders have not engaged the chamber's minority party in negotiating bipartisan spending levels on the Senate's versions of the funding bills.”

The next funding deadline is slated for November 21, meaning pro-lifers have little time to relax. March for Life Action president Tom McClusky told Catholic News Agency the best-case scenario would be for Congress to fund the government with another short-term continuing resolution rather than these mini-omnibus bills.

“If I think everything were to be a CR [a short-term extension of funding], I think that would be a good thing, because once you start getting into these minibuses and omnibuses, you don’t always know what’s inside them until it’s too late,” he said.

Should the Shaheen amendment survive in future versions of the spending provision, it will be up to President Trump to veto it. Trump has repeatedly demonstrated he is unwilling to veto spending bills that contain abortion dollars, but LifeSiteNews is currently circulating a petition calling on the president to remain true to his word.

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Brebeuf Jesuit High School Facebook
Thomas J. McKenna

Opinion ,

Vatican erred in suspending US archbishop’s decision to strip ‘Catholic’ label from pro-gay school

Thomas J. McKenna
By Thomas McKenna

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – When noble minds assess the many contributions of the Catholic Church to human culture through the ages, they will undoubtedly view the remarkable clarity of its teaching about the laws of nature and nature’s God as a singular achievement. In common parlance, these are the natural law and the moral law. No institution on the face of the earth has done more to safeguard these two gifts to humanity.

As for noble minds, Albert Einstein himself witnessed a persecuted, suffering, but stalwart Church confront Nazism in the 1930’s and 40’s and later commented that “only the Catholic Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty. Up till then, I had not been interested in the Church, but today I feel a great admiration for the Church, which alone has had the courage to struggle for spiritual truth and moral liberty.”

The Church earned the admiration of such a great man not because it adapted itself to the shifting political winds of the day. Einstein said he respected the Church for its courage to stand against those winds. Being faithful to your own creed in the face of coercive forces ranks as heroism in most cultures, and Einstein rightly saw the Church’s struggle for what it was: a spiritual battle for truth and freedom.

Certain powerful ideologies operating today exhibit a similar aggressiveness against the natural and moral order and require the same similar courageous response from the Church, even when they are within our Church. 

The controversy that broke out at a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis last June should have been handled as a routine personnel matter – namely, the firing of a teacher who was living an objectively immoral and scandalous lifestyle. 

Archbishop Charles Thompson of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis acted on principle and revoked the Catholic status of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, after two years of dialogue, when they refused to dismiss a teacher who had entered into a so-called homosexual “marriage” with another teacher in the Archdiocese. Archbishop Thompson is one of those prelates Einstein would have respected for his courage to uphold the moral and natural law.

Following the Archbishop’s action, the recriminations from the dissenting Jesuit community were immediate and predictable. The school “declined to honor” the Archbishop’s directives, issued a press release decrying his actions, and immediately appealed the decision to the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, the church equivalent of a civil lawsuit. 

The gay teacher remains in place at Brebeuf while his partner was fired from the other Catholic high school that was directly under the supervision of the Archbishop. Unsurprisingly, his partner is now suing the archdiocese for, among other things, “discrimination,” wrongful termination and emotional distress. The ideological headwinds are buffeting the Church again. 

What happened next is more astonishing, however. Two weeks after the action of Archbishop Thompson, the Congregation for Catholic Education temporarily suspended the Archbishop’s decree to revoke the Catholic status of the Jesuit school. Both Archbishop Thompson and the Church’s courageous defense of truth had the rug pulled out from under them by an office of the Vatican itself. This is a bridge too far. 

The Congregation, in a press release, hastened to assure the public that this was only a temporary suspension while reviewing the Jesuits’ complaint against the Archdiocese. But one may reasonably ask: What exactly needs to be reviewed? The long-standing position of the Catholic Church that homosexual acts are objectively immoral? The illegitimate “marriage” of the two teachers? This is a position of the natural and moral laws, and there is nothing in them that a Congregation of the Vatican can change. To attempt to do so would be to tamper with the very foundations of the moral life and of the Church’s constant teaching with regard to good and evil.

One of the most immediate consequences of the decision by the Congregation is that it has deprived the Archdiocese of its main legal defense against the homosexual partner suing for “discrimination.” While American civil law has long upheld the right of religious organizations to define and enforce their own moral codes, the solidarity of Church authority regarding our own teaching is essential to that recognition. Bishops without backing from Rome are now bishops without legal ramparts against pressure groups.

The other and, to my mind, most negative effect of the Congregation’s action is that it sows confusion and undermines the local bishop’s authority over his own flock. Even temporarily suspending a bishop’s decree on something so basic sends a message to the faithful that Catholic teaching is now up for grabs and that the faithful who defend it will be called out for doing so. When prelates like Archbishop Thompson exercise that moral courage Einstein so admired against a tyrannical ideology in any age, they have a right to the age-old solidarity with the entire teaching authority of the Church. Do we really want to cross this bridge? 

** Thomas McKenna is President of Catholic Action For Faith And Family

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People kneel to Pachamama during pagan rite in Vatican Gardens prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019.
Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta

Opinion

Why Catholics honoring Pachamama is a result of apostasy

Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta
By
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Indigenous woman raises hands in prayer to Pachamama during pagan rite in Vatican Gardens prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019.
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Pope Francis receives Pachamama during pagan rite in Vatican Gardens prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019.
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A boat carrying a wooden statue of a naked woman with child ('Pachamama') is carried by indigenous people in St. Peter's Basilica during the opening ceremony for the Amazon Synod, Rome, Oct. 7, 2019. Vatican News / video screen grab
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People bow to Pachamama during pagan rite in Vatican Gardens prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019.

PETITION: Call on Vatican to keep out all "pagan" symbols from St. Peter's and Vatican Property! Sign the petition here.

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – How can it happen that idolatry enters the temple of God without a bad conscience, but rather with a bold rejoicing? 

Statuettes, which were eventually and officially identified as “Pachamama” idols, were not only the focus of a loud media hype for being rightly thrown into the Tiber, but became the symbol and the cipher of the just-ended Amazon Synod. It was an event that dealt with idolatry. The premises were already laid in the Instrumentum laboris.

It was clear from the beginning that the Amazon Synod would present a new eco-religion linked to the Earth – Mother Earth, a symbol of pronounced femininity and a source of inspiration and prophecy for our time which would give the Church its “true” face, an “Amazonian” face. It was a face that was revealed, in fact, in the carved fertility fetish. 

The effort of the Vatican media to dissuade the public from the idea that it was promoting the Pachamama religion in Rome could not erase the anger and outrage of those Catholics who had the courage to raise their voices. As always, there were only a few. The fact that a liberal English magazine like The Tablet was anxious to disguise the idolatrous danger by providing a Christian hermeneutic of those statuettes says a lot.

The idolatry of these days is the result of a prolonged process that inevitably led to replacing God with things made by man. The matter of Pachamama is an accurate x-ray of the situation in the Church at this dramatic moment. Idolatry does not suddenly happen like lightning out of the blue. It is preceded by a prolonged process that begins with the loss of faith, with a silent and pragmatic atheism that grows like a larva and takes the form of an almost general apostasy. We have become atheists without realizing it while believing we are representing the interests of the Gospel in an ever-changing world. By accepting “change” as a theological place in our proclamation of the Good News (even before we could be heading to “territory” as in the Amazonian Synod), the movement, the process, has replaced the Message we wanted to deliver. In this way, creeping atheism takes shape in a diffuse apostasy.

Proof of this is the inability of many who claim to be Catholic to respond to the ongoing hammering directed against Christ and the Church. This inability actually goes deeper: it is not even the capacity to recognize the gravity of the situation and the need to intervene. How should this widespread anomaly be called if not apostasy? However, it is an atypical, fluid apostasy. It is not just an abandonment of faith, but its internal transformation into another creed, another religion. It is not just a betrayal of the Commandments of God – often nourished by inappropriate moral behavior – but above all a manipulation of theological categories and Christian doctrines to do and say something else. A nominalistic use of the faith has actually turned this de facto rejected belief into something else: the worship of idols, or at least their justification. If God is absent because we do not know if He exists, and because the faith He has revealed to us is not enough to satisfy our unfulfilled thirst for knowledge and change, then everything can represent him, every idol can express what is important to man.

In the Bible, idolatry usually occurs as a result of a spiritual adultery, of a sin of prostitution to the idols of the gentiles. Here prostitution is synonymous with the denial of spousal fidelity to the one God, it is the apostasy of Israel.

The personal story of the prophet Hosea is emblematic. Since he married a prostitute, the degeneration of the people had to be visible in the children who were generated from this union. That was salutary to call the people of God back to their faithfulness. Israel, having been led into the wilderness, would return like a faithful bride to the love of his God (see Hos 1-2). How much desert is needed today for the Lord to speak to the heart of Her beloved? But, if adultery is pragmatically justified with mercy and discernment, as it seems to happen with Amoris laetitia, does this not provoke a far more serious adultery of a spiritual nature against the faith of the Church? Is not that the prerequisite for apostasy and therefore idolatry?

Moreover, those Israelites, who, seeing Moses delaying his descent from Mount Sinai, beg Aaron to make a golden calf before which they prostrate themselves and make sacrifices are a "stubborn people" (Ex 32: 9). Many times they had grumbled against the Lord and even questioned the hand of YHWH in the miraculous exodus from Egypt. It was a people who, in discomfort, would have readily preferred the old slavery to wandering in the wilderness, and would have readily exchanged the freedom of being God's people for guaranteed food.

Idolatry is the result of a rebellion against God. It starts distrusting Him. The mistrust then leads to disengagement from God and to looking for something else. Idolatry is the direct result of the denial of the true faith.

But why are idols captivating? Why does the ‘religion’ of idols fascinate, seduce and replace the true faith? Because the idols are human work. They are the image of what man wants to be, what he really thinks and loves. To worship an idol is to worship oneself instead of God. Or rather, it is to worship the anti-god who seduces and separates from God, the devil, as it is clear from Jesus' words to the devil who tempted Him in the wilderness (see Matthew 4: 8-10).

Man cannot but worship, though he has to decide who to adore. By tolerating the presence of idols – the Pachamamas in the present context – alongside the faith, it is said that religion is ultimately what satisfies human desires.

Unfortunately, to become vain in one's thoughts darkens the already clouded mind and leads one to change the perfection of God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, of birds, quadrupeds and reptiles (see Rom 1: 22-23). The idols are always captivating, because we worship what we desire, without too many moral concerns. In most cases, they are the sublimation of all human instincts. Yet the real problem occurs when moral corruption spreads and infects the Church from within. Can all this be the result of God’s abandonment? The Letter to the Romans makes the point when it teaches that God gave them up to impurity for prostituting themselves to other gods, for having exchanged the truth of God for the lie by worshiping and serving the creatures instead of the Creator (see 1,24-25). A dogmatic and moral collapse is the root of this sad parable.

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Cardinal Gerhard Müller
Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S.

Opinion

Cardinal Müller denounces Roman ‘Pachamama’ events

Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S.
By Fr. Brian Harrison O.S.

PETITION: Call on Vatican to keep out all "pagan" symbols from St. Peter's and Vatican Property! Sign the petition here.

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – At the recent “Faithful Echo” conference for priests held in Denver, Colorado, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued his strongest denunciation to date of the pagan and syncretistic “Pachamama” cult activities that took place in Rome during the recent Amazon Synod of Bishops.

His Eminence's remarks came in an October 30 homily that clearly came straight from his heart – preached extemporaneously without a written text or notes at St. Thomas More church in the Denver suburb of Englewood. Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, another conference speaker, concelebrated this Mass along with the other 60 or so priests, including myself, who participated in the conference. The conference was hosted jointly by Catholic Action for Faith and Family and the California-based Napa Institute. Later, during the final address of the conference, Cardinal Burke, speaking on the priceless spiritual value of priestly celibacy, expressed his appreciation for Cardinal Müller’s homily earlier that morning.

Cardinal Müller began by criticizing the Vatican's lukewarm response to the recent article by Eugenio Scalfari in the secularist Roman daily La Repubblica, in which the paper's 94-year-old atheist editor claimed that Pope Francis had told him in conversation that Jesus, during His time on earth, was just a great man and not the Son of God. The Vatican eventually issued a rebuttal of Scalfari's shocking claim, saying that Pope Francis never said this and firmly professed the Church's faith in the divinity of Christ. But Müller, recalling the first Pope’s immortal words to our Lord – “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” – said that in this situation we should have heard that profession of faith coming immediately and directly from the lips of Peter’s successor himself, not just a Vatican press officer.

Müller then went on to condemn sharply the recent occurrence of pagan and syncretistic cult activities centered on the statuettes of Pachamama (an “Earth Mother” deity worshipped by some indigenous Amazonians). These rituals took place in the Vatican gardens in the presence of Pope Francis and other Vatican dignitaries, and later, during the synod, in the Roman church of Santa Maria in Traspontina. His Eminence asserted that it was a grave abuse that such animistic rites were permitted in these places, and applied to them the thundering biblical denunciation of pagan gods as being in reality demons (cf. Dt. 32:17; Ps. 95:5, 10, 105:37; I Cor. 10:20). The cardinal emphasized that the one Spouse of the Church is Christ, her Bridegroom, and that she does not look to alien deities or spirits for further enlightenment. 

Cardinal Müller added that cultic activities such as the recent Pachamama rituals had “nothing to do with authentic inculturation” of the Gospel. For they represent a regression to pagan myths instead of purifying and elevating the traditional indigenous culture in the light of Christ's message. Müller recalled that as Christianity gradually became embedded into the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, the Church did not attempt to continue or revive any worship of the male and female deities of the classical pantheon, or to somehow mix these into Catholic worship. Rather, he said, referring to Pope St. John Paul II's encyclical Fides et Ratio (“Faith and Reason”), the Church took the best elements of these cultures – especially the profound insights of human reason discerned by great philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle – and used them to explain and promote more effectively God's supreme revelation in Christ. 

Cardinal Müller concluded his powerful homily by emphasizing that the central pillar of every culture that is authentically formed by the Gospel is not the assimilation of humans into an exaggerated “interconnectedness” with animals, plants, rivers, and the earth, but rather, a recognition of the unique dignity of the human person as made in the image of God, and raised by Christ’s Incarnation and Redeeming sacrifice to the supernatural dignity of God’s adopted sons and daughters.

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Abigail Eltzroth was 'ordained' April 2017 in North Carolina by rebel Catholic group Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Abigail Eltzroth
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Blogs

Amazon Synod means the ‘end of Tridentine Church’: French Catholic newspaper

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The editor-in-chief of the French Catholic daily, La Croix, wrote a blog post on Tuesday announcing the “end of the Tridentine Church.”

Isabelle de Gaulmyn presents what she considers to be the outcome of the Amazon Synod, calling it a “real revolution” that will close the door on Catholicism as it has existed for five centuries.

Interestingly, she remarked that Pope Francis will probably not contradict the Synod’s conclusions insofar as he “quite largely encouraged the process.”

La Croix is owned by the French religious congregation of the Augustinians of the Assumption and is widely read by the French episcopate, so much so that it is considered the unofficial daily of the bishops. It runs a number of blogs, in particular for its own journalists and invited editorialists. In de Gaulmyn's capacity of editor-in-chief of the print version of La Croix, her blog gives a true reflection of the paper’s orientation, which is generally progressive.

La Croix is rarely if ever contradicted by the French episcopate, even when it takes up positions that are favorable to abortion or unfavorable to resistance against same-sex “marriage.”

De Gaulmyn’s take on the Amazon Synod as a break from “Tridentine” Catholicism is perfectly in line with La Croix’s enthusiastic reporting on the event. The paper’s permanent correspondent in Rome, Nicolas Senèze, recently published a book about opposition to Pope Francis under the title: How America wants to change Popes, accusing rich American Catholics and pressure groups of maneuvering to obtain Francis’ eviction.

De Gaulmyn argues that the Church as we know it is a product of the Council of Trent, which organized the response to the Protestant Reformation through the Counter-Reformation. If she is to be believed, the “structuring” of the Church around the central figure of the priest dates back to that 16th century time: hence the clericalism that is regularly decried by Pope Francis as the root of the sex-abuse crisis and other problems in the present-day Church. The Council of Trent condemned the laity to the role of a “flock of docile sheep,” she wrote. She called this a sort of new vision of priests, changing their status in the people’s imagination.

Presenting the Amazon Synod as the natural outcome of Vatican II and its renewed approach to the priesthood, de Gaulmyn jubilantly remarked – on an ecclesio-ecological note – that the Church is moving toward increased “biodiversity,” which is how she interprets married priests and women ministers.

It is interesting to note that de Gaulmyn would be prepared and happy to see the Church throw away and even contradict the rich inheritance of the Council of Trent, which in particular deepened the teaching of the Church on the Sacrifice of the Mass and the sacraments and codified the Latin Rite – not by revolutionizing it but by largely unifying its use by the will of Pope Pius V. The extraordinary form of the Latin Mass is also known as the Mass of Pius V or the “Tridentine” Mass (from Trent).

Here is LifeSite’s translation of de Gaulmyn’s blog:

“Let us make no mistake about it; what happened in Rome, with the Synod for the Amazon that ended on Sunday, October 27, marks a real revolution in the Catholic Church, even if, like all revolutions, it is written into a long-term process. Certainly, Pope Francis is not obliged unconditionally to follow the opinions of the Synod Fathers. That said, it is hard to see how he can avoid it, especially since it is the result of a process that he has encouraged quite largely.

“However, by asking for the possibility of the ordination of married men as priests in the Amazon region, by considering the creation of new ‘ministries’ (i.e. responsibilities within parishes or dioceses), including the recognition of a ministry for ‘women who lead communities,’ and finally by also demanding the reopening of the explosive debate on the female diaconate, the bishops of the Synod have clearly proclaimed the end of a model that emerged from the Council of Trent and nearly five centuries of Catholicism.

“We are still, consciously or unconsciously, largely dependent on this Council, which dates back to the 16th century. Aiming to consolidate a religion damaged by the powers of the princes and the Lutheran Reformation, the Council of Trent structured Catholicism around the figure of the priest. The unmarried cleric then became the central pivot. He concentrates in his person all the sacred functions, starting with the Eucharist and confession. This imaginary vision of the ideal priest, the ‘holy priest’ identified with Christ, placed above the faithful, condemning them to be nothing more than a simple flock of docile sheep, has deeply marked the mentalities of all Catholics, and greatly favored the prevailing ‘clericalism,’ including among the laity. Even though Vatican II recalled in 1962 the importance of the role of all the baptized, all called to be ‘priests, prophets and kings,’ the figure of the ‘super-powerful’ priest remained very prominent in the churches’ rank and file. And the management of the crisis of sexual abuse has shown to what extent the excesses of this clericalism, in that it distorts the way authority is conceived in the Church, can have dramatic consequences.

“This is all that the Synod for the Amazon has just condemned for once and for all. How? By advocating for a true ‘biodiversity’ in the Church, which leaves room for other forms of responsibility: alongside the traditional single priest, we would have experienced married men, and also new ministries, defined according to local needs, and possibly open to women. In reality, this ‘Catholic biodiversity’ already exists to a large extent, but we do not see it. Above all, it is not officially recognized. Who knows that in France most dioceses only turn thanks to women, lay people, trained in theology – more than 12,000 today – on whom the bishops have developed the habit of relying? Who knows that there are already 2,700 married deacons, who provide many services in the parishes? All this in addition to only 5,600 priests in activity …

“This ‘silent revolution’ is gradually transforming the face of the Church in France. It is now necessary, as the Synod Fathers for the Amazon have just asked, to give it more visibility, to formalize it, to structure it. From this point of view, by inviting for the first time, during their annual Plenary Assembly which begins in Lourdes on November 5, lay men and women by their side, the Bishops of France will finally reflect a less clerical and masculine image of the Church. An image that is more faithful to the reality of Catholicism in France. And another way of ending, here also, the legacy of the Council of Trent.”

Philosopher and La Croix blogger Thibaud Collin, who has written critically about Amoris laetitia, was evinced from the platform in June 2018 because of a post in which he slammed the paper for having condoned abortion.

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Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer mk-online.de / Youtube screen grab
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

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German bishop criticizes use of Pachamama statues at Amazon Synod

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson
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A boat carrying a wooden statue of a naked woman with child ('Pachamama') is carried by indigenous people in St. Peter's Basilica during the opening ceremony for the Amazon Synod, Rome, Oct. 7, 2019. Vatican News / video screen grab
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Pope Francis receives Pachamama during pagan rite in Vatican Gardens prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019.

PETITION: Call on Vatican to keep out all "pagan" symbols from St. Peter's and Vatican Property! Sign the petition here.

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, Germany delivered a homily yesterday in which he criticized the use of the Pachamama statues during the recently concluded Amazon Synod in Rome along with the proposal at the Synod of allowing married priests for the Amazon region.

With regard to both themes, Bishop Voderholzer asked, “does the Christian message bring something new or does it merely confirm and sanctify that which is already present and tradition?” 

He asked whether it is the right thing to “carry into the realm of the Church pagan statues” without them being transformed into Christian symbols – as it happened with the Thor Oak that Boniface chopped down and carved into a cross. Concretely, Bishop Voderholzer referred  to “our case of the veneration of natural fertility in the form of the personified Mother Earth, the 'Pachamama'.”

The homily was delivered on the Feast Day of St. Leonard, the patron saint of Voderholzer's Diocese of Regensburg.

Voderholzer pointed out that it was Christ Himself who brought “newness” because He brings Himself (St. Irenaeus of Lyon).

In his “newness,” Jesus Christ walks toward the “'natural' religiosity” of all men, but then “purifies it at the same time and gives them the unsurpassable, divine answer.” “In Christ,” Voderholzer continued, “all religions are 'lifted up,' 'lifted up' in a three-fold sense: abolished, lifted up, and preserved.”

As an example, Voderholzer quoted Origen who pointed out that the Jews took golden vessels and statues referring to the cult of the Pharaohs from Egypt but then melted them and turned them into golden vessels honoring the God of Israel.

Furthermore, the German bishop also refers to St. Boniface, the Apostle of the Germans, “who, for example, also did not completely adopt the cult of the Germans.” 

“Boniface did not dance around and embraced the Thor Oak – the cult object of the Germanic world of gods – but, rather, he felled it and made out of its wood a cross and a St. Peter's chapel,” the bishop continued. “A wonderful image for the implantation of the newness of the Gospel into the continuity and discontinuity of that which was there before!”

The fear of the gods was replaced with a God of love who opened up heaven for man.

Voderholzer concluded that “without a certain breach with the past, Christ's newness cannot be gained.”

With reference to Martin Luther — for whom the Catholic approach to pagan things had already gone too far – along with the desire for ecumenism — Bishop Voderholzer explicitly warned against welcoming pagan idols into the Catholic Church. He said that the “sensibility with regard to ecumenism should protect us from carrying pagan sculptures into the realm of the Church” without previous transforming them – either by melting them and turning them into new objects, or by using them to create Christian crosses (“Umschmelzung” and “Durchkreuzung”).

With regard to the Pachamama statues — that people prostrated themselves before in the Oct. 4 ceremony in the Vatican Gardens at which Pope Francis was present prior to the opening of the Amazon Synod — Voderholzer stated that “it was not apparent that the figures that we are talking about had undergone the transformation and purification – from a natural piety toward a Marian devotion in light of the history of salvation – as earlier Catholic missionaries had done it.”

Otherwise, he added, such practices “would provide arguments against the Catholic Church” for the evangelical and pentecostal missionaries who are “very active and successful in Latin America.”

Bishop Voderholzer also rejected the idea of allowing married priests for the Amazon region.

“And about the celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven of those who were called to the imitation of Christ,” he explained, “this form of living which was the form of living of Jesus and of the Apostles, was at all times and at all places a provocation and a challenge! First of all already in Palestine at the time of Jesus Himself.”

Voderholzer stated in his homily that the calls at the Amazon Synod for a change of this priestly discipline are “clear in their objectives” and insisted that regional solutions are here not possible since we are dealing with the Universal Church.

To those “young men who hear the call of Jesus to the special imitation [of Christ] and who are now understandably confused” by the messages coming out of the Amazon Synod, Voderholzer said: “Let yourself not be confounded!”

Finally, he also rejected the recent statement made by Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck who questioned the Church's ban on the female priesthood. Voderholzer insisted that it would have been Overbeck's duty not to question the Church's teaching, saying that the “task and duty” of a bishop should be to “present the binding teaching of the Catholic Church.”

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Key Amazon Synod organizer calls for Pachamama to be ‘integrated’ into Catholic liturgy

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

PETITION: Call on Vatican to keep out all "pagan" symbols from St. Peter's and Vatican Property! Sign the petition here.

November 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A bishop who was a key organizer of the recently concluded Amazon Synod in Rome said in an interview that the pagan “Pachamama” statues that were present throughout the synod should be “integrated” into Catholic liturgy.

At an October 30 presentation of his new book, Renewal Now (2019), Bishop Erwin Kräutler commented upon the Amazon Synod in general, but also on the controversy over the presence of Pachamama statutes at some ceremonies in the Vatican.

The German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost reported on his words and quoted him as saying that the Pachamama statues were a “form of expression of the indigenous people,” which could be “integrated into our liturgy.” 

Speaking to an audience in Bregenz, Austria, the bishop said, though unspecifically, that “there are people who think that Pachamama is a goddess.” He strongly condemned both the removal of these statues from a Church in Rome and also the fact that they were then thrown into the Tiber River, calling this act “a brutal attack on the indigenous peoples.” 

Bishop Kräutler is the bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Xingu, Brazil, where he was the bishop from 1981 until 2015. 

Further commenting upon the people who brought the Pachamama statues to Rome, the bishop said that they were “Catholic Christians who are far from adoring her as a divinity.” It is, according to him, a symbol of fertility.

“And if it is for many a divinity, then it is an attack upon the soul of a people to throw them into the Tiber,” he concluded, indicating that the statues could represent a goddess.

In his talk in Bregenz, the Austrian prelate also once more advocated for the idea of ordaining “personae probatae,” e.g., not only morally proven married men, but also women. For him, this is a “question of gender equality.” He admitted in an interview with the Tagespost, however, that the ordination of women would be an obstacle to the ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox churches. “That is one of the biggest problems,” he explained. 

With regard to the possibility of ordaining men and women also in Europe, Kräutler stated that “there are many well-prepared pastoral assistants (male and female), who should receive the chance [to be ordained].”

Finally, the bishop denied having said that he had never baptized an indigenous person and does not plan to do so. He called this claim “complete nonsense” and a rumor that was intentionally spread. “I said years ago that we need to have a Catholic Church with an indigenous face. It is not about baptizing indigenous people, nor to think that they thereby stop being indigenous people and then are Christians.” He said that he himself has baptized thousands of indigenous people.

A fellow Austrian missionary priest, Father Franz Helm, had quoted Bishop Kräutler in June of this year with these words: “I have not yet baptized and indigenous person and I do not intend of ever doing so.” Moreover, Helm who worked in Brazil from 1987 until 1993 quoted these words of Kräutler approvingly, since he himself shares the critical view of Christianity's history in Latin America with the bishop. Helm's comments were published by the website of the Catholic Church in Austria. He himself also stated that he does not try to convert people to the Catholic Faith, but, instead, they would have to show interest in the Faith by themselves.

In remarks to LifeSite in June of 2019, Helm explained that, in the 1990s, when he was the general secretary of Missio Austria (a pontifical missionary work), this quote from Bishop Kräutler “was transmitted to me.” He also explained that as long as “Christianity is not inculturated” in the Amazon region, “an Indian can hardly be also a Christian at the same time. Because, in order to become a Christian, an Indian has to give up his Indian being.” As examples, he pointed to the Roman Liturgy along with social forms and offices that are not sufficiently adapted to the Indian culture. 

In June of this year, LifeSite also reached out to Bishop Kräutler, asking him to confirm or deny his above-quoted words. He never responded.

However, LifeSite obtained an April 13, 1992 article in the Austrian Catholic conservative newspaper Der Dreizehnte which quoted the bishop as saying the same words.

Thus, Kräutler has been recurrently quoted with these words for decades, from both progressives and conservatives, and he has never denied them, not even in June of this year, except now.

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