All articles from November 22, 2019


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Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German Bishops' Conference. Miguel Villagran / Getty Images
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Paris Catholic university awards top German cardinal for pastoral work aligned with Pope Francis

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

Analysis

November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — German cardinal Reinhard Marx has been given a doctorate Honoris causa by the “Institut Catholique de Paris” (ICP, Catholic Institute of Paris), in the presence of the archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit. Germany’s chief cardinal is well known for his progressive agenda, and it is precisely his approach on societal and pastoral issues that was honored by the official Catholic university of the French capital.

Cardinal Marx, a leading figure under Pope Francis’s pontificate, is a member of Francis’s “C9” circle of close counselors and is also the coordinator of the Council for the Economy.

He has repeatedly spoken in favor of the priestly ordination of married men in the Latin Catholic Church, and he signaled last March that the Church in Germany is open to revisiting Catholic sexual teaching that prohibits contraception, cohabitation, and homosexual relationships. As head of the German Bishops’ Conference, he is one of the main initiators of the “synodal process” that will open on the first day of Advent with a roundtable together with Germany’s largest lay organization, ZdK (Central Committee of German Catholics), with Marx’s assurance that Pope Francis gave no stop sign regarding plans to discuss and question the Church’s teaching on priestly celibacy and other points that have been definitively fixed as indisputable doctrine.

The choice of Reinhard Marx to receive the honors of the ICP to mark the 130th anniversary of the “Theologicum,” the theology faculty of the Institut Catholique de Paris, focused on the cardinal’s commitment to “transform the Church.” Days before the event, the faculty’s rector, Msgr. Philippe Bordeyne (known for his support for Amoris Laetitia and its open approach to communion for the divorced and “remarried”) explained that the ICP usually avails itself of its more important anniversaries to honor “world-level ecclesial personalities.”

Former recipients of Honoris causa doctorates include the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, and Justin Welby, the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury.

“We decided to choose a theologian who is active in the transformation of the Church and in pastoral life,” Bordeyne explained. Marx was chosen because he “confronts society’s real problems in his pastoral approach and also — along the lines of Pope Francis — because he found an original method to address them without watering down fundamental issues,” he said.

He added that Cardinal Marx works in Germany according to Pope Francis’s recent request that “theological formation be connected with contemporary human realities.”

During the ceremony that took place last Tuesday, Cardinal Marx gave a doctoral lecture in French on the theme “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, a Catholic response.” “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” is the Masonic motto of the French Revolution.

Far from interpreting these words in the light of Catholic tradition, Marx presented them through the prism of the vocabulary of the current proponents of world ecology. According to La Croix, the unofficial daily of the French episcopate, he said that he used to consider the motto of the Revolution of 1789 the “paradigm of modern Western society” but that it now appears as a “new concern for the future.”

“Today’s growing unrest and insecurity are the social, economic, political, and ecological consequences of unlimited capitalism,” he said, adding that the social doctrine of the Church calls for a “mastering” of capitalism and a new conception of  “progress” that should become “more integral.” This is in line with the idea of limiting growth and freedoms in the interest of our over-exploited planet, as can be deduced from the cardinal’s phrase: the French revolutionary motto is “valid” if it implies “a responsible freedom, an equality of all in dignity within our common home.” The “common home” is the catchword used to promote rights for the Earth and to consider human beings an integral part of material creation.

True liberty from the Catholic perspective is the freedom to act according to God’s will. Equality means that all human beings are created in God’s image and likeness but rejects egalitarianism and recognizes that they can lose their dignity by gravely opposing God’s commandments. True fraternity is what comes from being children of God.

While calling for the foundation of freedom and fraternity in faith, Marx spoke of a “new era of Christianity to speak of God,” something he himself is openly working to usher in through the watering down of the Church’s traditional moral teachings. He has also participated in a public homage to his namesake, Karl Marx, in whose writings the cardinal claims to have found a “corrective to the capitalist system,” suggesting that the Communist Manifesto was truly concerned with the good of the proletariat. While attacking capitalism, he warned against establishing a direct link between Karl Marx and Marxist-Leninism, communist concentration camps, and so on, grudgingly conceding that there are merely “a few totalitarian thoughts” in the writings of the initiator of modern communism — and terror. These comments were made in May 2018 to mark the celebrations of the bicentenary of Karl Marx’s birth.

Cardinal Marx was a student at the Institut Catholique de Paris, where he spent a year during his seminary formation in 1975.

During the Honoris causa doctorate ceremony at the ICP on Tuesday, which was attended by large numbers of academics, diplomats, and politicians, the dean of the Theologicum, Fr. Jean-Louis Souletie, said Cardinal Marx deserves his distinction because he is “a man of the Church, a man of freedom and a European,” according to La Croix. “‘You are a convinced and convincing initiator within the Church,’ he said, adding that for Cardinal Marx, ‘synodality is a necessity for the march of the contemporary Church.’”

Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris, as chancellor of the ICP, presented Cardinal Marx with the insignia of his honorary doctorate, called the event a sign of “reconciliation” between France and Germany, “beyond the divisions of history.” More importantly, he presented it as a sign of “unity in faith.”

Reinhard Marx has given ample proof that he is willing to change that faith.

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Catholics to protest Houston Satanic ‘Black Mass’ with rosary rally, prayers of reparation

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By Martin Barillas

HOUSTON, November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Catholics will rally outside a Texas brewery on Saturday to pray and denounce a “Black Mass” to be held there by a Satanic group.

Members of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and at least two Catholic parishes plan to participate in prayers of reparation at local churches as well as a rosary rally outside the Brash Brewery in Houston, where pro-abortion Satanists will conduct what is claimed to be the first public “Black Mass” in the region. 

Rosary rally organizer Karen Pomes told LifeSiteNews that she has been harassed by callers who claim to be Satanists and others who have sent dozens of objectionable text messages. Undaunted, Pomes said in an interview that she and other Catholics will pray Saturday near the Brash Brewery to ask God’s forgiveness for the Satanic ritual. She said “prayer warriors” from Louisiana and as far as Wisconsin are coming to join local activists at the rosary rally. She said she expects priests from Houston to also attend. 

Among prominent Catholics calling attention to the rally in opposition to the Black Mass was Dr. Taylor Marshall. On social media, he wrote: “This is what you are up against, Catholic Houston. Petty blasphemers.” 

Elsewhere on social media, a Twitter account in the name of “Catholic Mom 18” pointed out that Annunciation Catholic parish in Houston will hold a Holy Hour of Reparation and rosary on Saturday from 11 a.m. through 1:00 a.m. Sunday to counter the Satanic ritual. Another Houston-area parish, Regina Caeli, will also offer prayers of reparation in front of the Blessed Sacrament during those same hours.  

Tradition Family and Property (TFP), an international organization that promotes the Catholic faith, is organizing a prayer and protest to be held in front of Brash Brewery on Saturday afternoon. The group is also circulating a petition asking Brash Brewing Company to cancel this “direct attack against God.”  According to Church Militant, Elvia Leyva is organizing TFP’s Rosary rally.

"We are appalled and outraged to learn that such an affront to Our Lord is in the works in our city," she said.

On Nov. 1, The Satanic Temple of Houston announced on social media its fundraiser for animals, which includes the celebration of a “Black Mass” at a craft beer brewery in Houston. The Facebook page for Brash Brewery, which will co-host the event, indicated that it was kicking off its early release of its “Black Masses” beer in conjunction with “TSTH's first public ritual” that mocks the Catholic liturgy. The Black Mass is scheduled for 11 p.m. Saturday.

According to the announcement, “The Black Mass will be the closing ceremony of TSTH's animal supply drive, where we will celebrate the beast within while collecting … supplies for the neglected creatures around us.” It goes on to invite the public for “good beer, great company, excellent blasphemy, and to learn about the support we bring to our communities.

The event is now sold out. Apart from general admission, there were 50 so-called “Cult” tickets to be had for $666 each, which entitled the purchaser admission to the “Black Mass” as well as a fitted black robe for the ritual, along with alcohol and lifetime benefits. 

Performing what promoters are calling “an evening with the beast” will be members of Houston’s Satanic Temple engaging in the Black Mass, which will be the closing ceremony. 

According to the TSTH website, it is an official chapter of the national organization, The Satanic Temple, which was founded in 2013. The group claims to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people” while advocating “religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women’s reproductive autonomy … ” It claims to promote separation of church and state. It enjoys a tax exemption as a religious group and has chapters in more than a dozen states and Canada.

The group noted that it holds social events to “discuss Satanic philosophy, activism, and atheism.” The Satanic Temple has also advocated same-sex marriage. In 2016, it announced plans to introduce its “After School Satan” program for elementary-school children to counteract Christians involved in schools.

The rosary rally will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday across the street from Brash Brewing in Houston. The brewery's phone number is (346) 240-3152.

For more information, email Tradition, Family and Property at: [email protected]

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Pro-life conscience protection bill thwarted in Alberta, but still has chance at passing

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By Lianne Laurence

EDMONTON, November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A United Conservative Party (UCP)-dominated committee voted Thursday to kill an Alberta private member’s bill protecting conscience rights. 

But the Alberta legislative assembly as a whole could still vote to nix the committee’s recommendation and allow Bill 207 to go for second reading.

In light of that possibility, pro-family groups are urging Alberta voters to keep pressure on their MLAs and Premier Jason Kenney.

Tabled by rookie UCP MLA Dan Williams, Bill 207 upholds the Charter rights of health care providers to refuse to assist in or provide any “health care service” to which they conscientiously object. The bill as written defines “health care service” to include the provision of informal and formal referrals.

The standing committee on private member’s bills voted eight to two to recommend Bill 207 not be considered for second reading after hearing delegations from the Trans Equality Society of Alberta, and Dying with Dignity Canada, as well as physicians Ramona Coelho, Leonie Herx, Kiely Williams, and Jillian Ratti.

UCP members Michaela Glasgo and Joseph Schow voted for the bill, while UCP members Nate Horner, Nathan Neudorf, Jeremy Nixon, and R.J. Sigurdson voted against it.

NDP members Janis Irwin, Chris Nielson, Rakhi Pancholi, and Lori Sigurdson also voted against the bill.

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said opposition to the bill was “all lies” and that the pro-death lobby stoked baseless fears Bill 207 would impede access to euthanasia and abortion.

That was echoed by Glasgo, MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat in a Facebook post vowing to keep supporting the bill.

“I do find it unfortunate that some have attempted to fear monger on conscience rights,” she said.

Indeed, Dr. Ratti claimed to the committee that the bill “is motivated by anti-abortion groups, some of which are likely foreign-funded” and was a veiled attempt to reopen the debate on abortion, the CBC reported. 

“We shouldn't be talking about abortion rights in Alberta,” Ratti said. “This is a very political thing and a very cynical thing and it is not about physicians.”

Bradley Peter, a Dying with Dignity board member, likewise claimed Albertans would not be able to find a doctor to kill them if the bill passed.

Moreover, Alberta Medical Association president Christine Molnar alleged in a letter to UCP Health Minister Tyler Shandro that “the bill may have unintended consequences in limiting patient access to services.”

But Williams has insisted the bill would not affect access to medical services.

He said he’s heard legitimate fears of doctors that they will be forced to choose between a career in medicine or following their conscience, given that Ontario courts upheld a provincial policy requiring objecting doctors give their patients an “effective referral.”

Moreover, Williams has worked with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta to bring forward amendments if his bill proceeds, Glasgo pointed out.

“The College has said that ‘based on the new wording, Bill 207 would not change how CPSA functions as a regulator,’” she said.

“It is my belief that Bill 207 provides necessary protection for medical professionals on matters of personal moral conviction and respects their Charter rights,” she said.

“No less than former Supreme Court of Canada Justice John Major has stated that Bill 207 is valid legislation that embraces the Charter rather than breaches it,” Glasgo added. 

Committee chair Mike Ellis is expected to make a motion next Tuesday afternoon asking the legislative assembly concur with its recommendation to kill Bill 207.

However, if one MLA stands and requests a debate on the concurrence motion, the assembly will have an hour to do so but not that day.

The debate would likely take place December 2, and it’s possible a majority of MLAs could vote to ignore the committee’s recommendation and allow Bill 207 to proceed to second reading, where it can be amended.

UCP caucus members have free votes on matters of conscience, Glasgo noted.

“I am thankful that this right is being afforded to us as MLAs. I respect my fellow United Conservative MLAs ability to freely vote on Bill 207, even if we disagree on this particular piece of legislation,” she said.

“I am confident that, especially with the proposed amendments, this can be a unifying piece of legislation that protects conscience rights for medical professionals without compromising the care that Albertans need and deserve,” Glasgo wrote.

For more information on contacting your MLA, go to Campaign Life Coalition website here.

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf http://www.wolfforpa.com/
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Dem governor vetoes Pennsylvania ban on aborting Down syndrome babies

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By Calvin Freiburger

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Legislation to ban abortions that specifically target children with Down syndrome met a swift end in Pennsylvania Thursday thanks to a veto by Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf.

Passed the day before by the state Senate, House Bill 321 would have prohibited abortions “sought because the unborn child receives a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome,” except in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency.

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

Calling the bill a “restriction on women and medical professionals [that] interferes with women’s health care and the crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians,” Wolf claimed in his veto message that there was “no evidence that this bill is needed in Pennsylvania.” He said he has “significant concerns that enforcement of this legislation would upend the doctor-patient relationship and impede on patient confidentiality.”

In fact, it is common practice in America and around the world to abort preborn children specifically because of a Down’s diagnosis. It has been estimated that 67 percent of babies in the United States to receive a Down syndrome diagnosis are aborted, 77% in France, 98% in Denmark, 90% in Great Britain, 65% in Norway, virtually 100% in Iceland, and 95% in Spain.

“Governor Tom Wolf believes it’s just fine to kill babies in the womb solely because of a prenatal diagnosis of a disability. That is eugenics. That’s wrong,” Pennsylvania Family Institute president Michael Geer responded in a statement. “And one way Pennsylvanians can respond to Governor Wolf’s veto is by marching with us at the first-ever Pennsylvania March for Life on May 18, 2020. Together, we can tell Governor Wolf and everyone in Harrisburg that life should be protected.”

The bill passed the Senate on a party-line vote but got several Democrats to cross the aisle or abstain from voting in the House. Overriding Wolf’s veto would require flipping an additional seven senators and 19 additional representatives. Wolf does not face reelection until 2022.

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Judge allows Nick Sandmann to sue NBC for $275 million over Covington smears

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By Calvin Freiburger

November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life teen Nick Sandmann’s defamation suit against NBCUniversal for NBC News’ coverage of him and his classmates at this year’s March for Life can proceed, according to a federal judge, though not every aspect of the lawsuit was cleared.

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

As additional video came to light and many journalists and other public figures quickly deleted their snap condemnations of the students, while some have either tried to keep the original narrative alive or refused to unequivocally retract or apologize for their initial claims, leading to various lawsuits on behalf of the boys.

Among the targets is NBCUniversal, against which attorneys representing Sandmann are seeking $275 million in damages for its role in feeding a “false narrative.” On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman dismissed some aspects of the suit but allowed discovery to proceed on the network’s coverage claiming that Sandmann “blocked” Phillips from leaving, the The Washington Times reported.

“The court finds that the statements that plaintiff ‘blocked’ Phillips or did not allow him to retreat, if false, meet the test of being libelous per se under the definition quoted above,” Bertelsman wrote.

Sandmann’s attorneys celebrated the development on Twitter:

Back in July, Bertelsman dismissed another suit by Sandmann against The Washington Post on the grounds that its initial coverage didn’t specifically mention Sandmann by name, that its language was constitutionally-protected “rhetorical hyperbole,” and that while Phillips’ version of events may have been “erroneous,” the Post reporting on his “opinion” fell within the First Amendment’s scope. Last month, however, he partially reversed himself and allowed that suit to proceed to the discovery phase, as well.

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

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George Soros
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Soros link found to Democrats’ latest impeachment witness

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As the Democrat U.S. House of Representatives continues its impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, critics questioning the impartiality and credibility of officials testifying against the president have learned that ex-National Security Council member Fiona Hill previously worked for far-left financier George Soros.

Hearings are currently underway over Trump’s request to the Ukrainian government that it help investigate foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election, and look into whether former Vice President Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor because he had been investigating his son Hunter’s business dealings in the country. Democrats claim Trump tried to illicitly withhold military aid in exchange for damaging information on a potential political opponent; the president’s defenders argue he engaged in routine negotiating in pursuit of valid questions.

Hill, who was a White House advisor on Russia policy, testified this week that she considered Trump’s efforts to get the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens amounted to a “domestic political errand” to the detriment of sound foreign policy. She also dismissed suspicions of Ukrainian election interference as a “fictional narrative.”

In response, the White House has characterized her testimony as indicating no direct knowledge of any damning revelations (she left her post prior to the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky), and critics have called her impartiality into question by noting that she has reversed her position on Ukrainian military aid since the Obama years.

On Thursday, conservative pundit and former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy responded to Hill’s dismissal of Ukrainian election interference. “A Ukrainian court, in late 2018, concluded that two Ukrainian officials meddled in the election,” he writes. “And in 2018 House testimony, Nellie Ohr — who worked for Fusion GPS, the Clinton campaign opposition research firm that produced the lurid and discredited Steele dossier — conceded that a pro-Clinton Ukrainian legislator was a Fusion informant.”

“Hill is too smart not to have grasped the effect of her testimony,” McCarthy wrote. “This is exactly the kind of cynicism that fuels concerns about the unaccountable ‘deep state.’”

Further raising questions about Hill’s impartiality is her resume, which reveals that from 2000 to 2006 she was a member of the Central Eurasia Project Advisory Board of George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Hill has assailed invocations of the connection as an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” akin to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Yet it is undisputed that Soros is an avowed progressive, foe of Republicans generally and Trump specifically, and a prolific financier of left-wing causes throughout the United States and around the world, raising questions about the political leanings of those who work for his organizations. 

Additionally, Soros identifies as an atheist, and his nominally-Jewish roots are not a factor in mainstream conservative commentary about him, with one exception: noting that as a teen in Nazi-occupied Hungary, Soros assisted a Hungarian official on trips to inventory the confiscated possessions of Jewish families. Soros said in 1998 he feels “no guilt at all” for his participation, because “somebody else would be doing it” if he hadn’t.

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Top cardinal claims responsibility for Vatican loan scandal, does not mention link to Pope Francis

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By Paul Smeaton

November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has informed Catholic media that he is responsible for arranging both a 50 million Euro loan to help the Vatican purchase a scandal-ridden Italian hospital and for requesting a subsequent $25 million grant from a US-based Catholic foundation in order to cover that loan. He made no reference, however, to evidence that the request for the $25 million grant was originally linked to a request coming from Pope Francis.

Parolin confirmed that he had personally arranged the 50 million Euro loan from APSA, the Vatican’s central bank, which was used to help purchase the “Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata” (IDI) hospital - a bankrupt hospital in Rome with a history of fraudulent financial activity, including activity linked to the Vatican.

In order to help cover the loan, a request was made by the Vatican for a grant of 25 million USD dollar from the US-based Papal Foundation. The Papal Foundation is funded by lay members who pledge “to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year.”  Those monies are invested in order to make a perpetual fund to assist the Church. Ordinarily the Papal Foundation issues grants of no more than $200,000 to organizations in the developing world.

The $25 million grant was initially approved by the Foundation and $8 million was sent to Rome in July 2017. A further $5 million was sent in January 2018. The unusual grant was strenuously objected to by lay members of the Foundation with some resigning from the Foundation, including the chairman of the Foundation’s audit committee. It was eventually decided in January 2018 that no more of the outstanding amount of the grant would be sent from the Foundation to Rome.

In February 2018, LifeSite broke the news that leaked internal documents from the Papal Foundation suggested that Pope Francis was personally connected to the request for the grant. On January 19, 2018 the Foundation’s executive committee sent a letter to its donating members, in response to the concerns that many of them had raised about the grant. That letter was sent by Bishop Michael Bransfield, then president of the Foundation, who has subsequently resigned in scandal after allegations of sexual harassment and lavish spending. The letter was also signed by Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, as well as several Stewards on the executive. It highlights that the request for the donation came directly from Pope Francis. They wrote:

“Many of us believe that, had it been us, we would have told the Holy Father that the Papal Foundation would not be able to help on this project – but we weren’t in the room with him. We can surmise what we would have done, had it been one of us, but we really don’t know. In fact, we have been explicit throughout our history that this is the Papal Foundation. We have worked in conjunction with the pope from the very beginning. We don’t approve every request he makes, but he is the Pope, and we listen to him, and we listen intently.” (emphasis in the original)

Both mainstream and Catholic media around the world picked up on the story linking Pope Francis to the grant.

Pope Francis subsequently cancelled his annual audience with the Foundation members. This was, reportedly, the first time in the thirty-year history of the Foundation when there has been no annual audience with the Pope, excepting occasions when the Pope has been unwell.

In November of that year Legatus, another US-based organization for Catholic business leaders, announced that it would not be sending its annual contribution to the Holy See

While admitting to his own involvement with both the 50 million Euro loan and the controversial grant, Cardinal Parolin made no reference to any involvement by Pope Francis in either case.

Cardinal Parolin told Catholic News Agency (CNA) on November 19 that “the operations involving IDI...are ascribable to myself.” 

Cardinal Parolin is also reported to have said that the initial loan transaction to assist with the purchasing of the hospital was “carried out with fair intentions and honest means.”

However, the report points out that Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s Committee for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, put in place regulatory measures that legally prohibit APSA (the Vatican Bank from where the loan was drawn) from making loans that finance commercial transactions. The loan was reportedly opposed by Cardinal George Pell, who at the time was the Vatican Prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy. 

The IDI, a dermatological hospital in Rome, has been plagued with corruption and financial scandal for years. Reports from 2013 claim “police confiscated over six million euros worth of property and bank accounts as part of investigations into alleged corruption at the Italian hospital group Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata (IDI).”

Vatican financial corruption connected to the IDI hit international headlines in 2015 with a June 20 Reuters article showing the Italian magistrates suspected Vatican Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi diverted 30 million euros destined for a Church-owned children’s hospital to the Church-owned IDI.

Another ANSA piece from 2016 reported, “Finance police discovered IDI was 845 million euros in the red and 450 million euros in tax evasion while 82 million euros had been diverted and six million euros in public funds embezzled.”

In May 2017, La Repubblica – the only newspaper Pope Francis says he reads – reported on court rulings revolving around the IDI detailing twenty-four indictments, leading to a dozen convictions, some of which carried over three years in prison. The court recognized the evidence from the financial police including “about 845 million euros in balance sheet liabilities and over 82 million in diverted funds, plus the undue use of another 6 million public funds.”

With regards to the decision for the Papal Foundation to approve a grant more than ten times its customary amount, one of the three leaked documents, “The Papal Foundation Report to the Stewards”, states that initially the grant was accepted unanimously by the board of the Papal Foundation after which $8 million of the grant was sent to Rome. The following $5 million that was sent to Rome was done after numerous protests from the donating stewards prompted a meeting and subsequent vote on whether or not to send the remaining $17 million of the grant. 

It would seem that in both cases the cardinals on the board of the Foundation ensured that the grant was approved. In the letter previously cited from Foundation President Bishop Michael Bransfield, and signed by Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, in a clear reference to the criticism of the process by which the grant was approved, they state:

“The Papal Foundation has bylaws that put the ultimate control of the organisation in the hands of the US-domiciled Cardinals. Those Cardinals are the Members of the organization, who approve the Trustees who serve on the Board. These same Cardinal Members are also Trustees who may vote at a board meeting. While donors might certainly and legitimately claim that they were unaware of the governance structure of the organisation, this information has never been hidden from anyone.”

On January 6, 2018, the steward who until then served as chairman of the Foundation’s audit committee submitted his resignation along with a report of the committee’s grave objections to the grant.

Commenting on the December vote which led to the approval of the remaining $17 million being sent to the Vatican (although ultimately only $5 million was sent) he said:

“In a carefully choreographed process the 15 bishops outvoted the 9 Stewards with a vote of 15 YES, 8 NO, 1 ABSTENTION (two bishops did not participate). It was a clear out-muscling of the Stewards. Political favor replaced sound stewardship of our resources.” 

With regards to the grant generally his report stated:

“As head of the Audit Committee and a Trustee of the Foundation, I found this grant to be negligent in character, flawed in its diligence, and contrary to the spirit of the Foundation,” he wrote in his resignation letter accompanying the report. “Instead of helping the poor in a third-world country, the Board approved an unprecedented huge grant to a hospital that has a history of mismanagement, criminal indictments, and bankruptcy.”

“Had we allowed such recklessness in our personal careers we would never have met the requirements to join The Papal Foundation in the first place.”

His report also noted that the Foundation’s “initial $8 million was sent without any supporting documentation.” 

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People kneel to Pachamama during pagan rite in Vatican Gardens prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019.
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US priest: Pope Francis must lead Church in formal repentance for Pachamama idolatry

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By Claire Chretien

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Popular blogger priest Monsignor Charles Pope has called on the Holy Father to “lead the Church in a formal act of reparation and repentance” for the idolatrous worship of the pagan goddess “Pachamama” in Rome.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews on Saturday after a Solemn High Pontifical Latin Mass at which he assisted, Msgr. Pope called the October 4 ceremony in the Vatican gardens, during which participants – including at least one Franciscan religious – prostrated themselves before the unclothed, red-wombed wooden statues “just heartbreaking.” As the ritual took place, Pope Francis looked on.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” said Msgr. Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian parish in the nation’s capital.

“What the Pope knew at the time or not, I’m not gonna get into that. I don’t know,” said Msgr. Pope. “But now that he knows what was going on…he himself referred to it as ‘Pachamama,’ my hope is that he will now lead the church in a formal act of reparation and repentance for what happened. That’s my hope and I’m praying for that.”

Following the questionable October 4 ceremony, which kicked off the Amazon Synod, “Pachamama” statues were then displayed inside Santa Maria in Traspontina church near the Vatican along with a poster of a woman breastfeeding a small animal while holding a child. On October 21, a 26-year-old Austrian Catholic named Alexander Tschugguel removed the statues and threw them in the Tiber River. Pope Francis then apologized to those offended by the removal of the statues and referred to them as “Pachamama,” invalidating the claims of some that the statues represented the visitation or simply fertility and life.

Msgr. Pope called Tschugguel’s actions “very heroic.”

“We can just thank him,” he said.

Calling the “Pachamama” matter “very, very serious,” Msgr. Pope said there must be formal acts of reparation for it.

“I also think we’ve just got to really pray a lot that there’ll be repentance now,” he said. “Because if there’s not, I’m very concerned” that there will be divine retribution, “as there was in Assisi and other places where these things have happened.”

“I hope the Holy Father will lead the Church in an act of repentance for the whole Church, for anyone who participated in it, even those who misunderstood,” said Msgr. Pope.

He encouraged Catholics to pray extra rosaries and take on an extra day of fasting to make reparation.

The priest reiterated these points in an article published at the National Catholic Register on November 21 and argued Pope Francis has a duty to correct claims by favored papal interviewer Eugenio Scalfari that the pontiff “believes in annihilationism (that the damned are simply annihilated by God and that Hell is empty), thinks that Christ on Earth was not divine, and denies the bodily resurrection of the Lord.”

“These claims have been addressed by the Vatican only in vague terms. We are told that Scalfari doesn’t always get everything right, that he doesn’t always faithfully record or represent what the Holy Father says, and that he sometimes misunderstands.”

“This is too weak,” Msgr. Pope continued. “The silence has been deafening. The enemies of the faith are encouraged while the faithful are disheartened.”

Msgr. Pope went on to mention the “shocking spectacles of apparent idol worship in the Vatican gardens, and the honoring of Pachamama idols in St. Peter’s as well as a local church near the Vatican.”:

After weeks of silence and the proposals of various explanatory theories and assertions, the Pope expressed regret that someone (a brave soul, in my opinion) removed several of the idols, throwing them into the Tiber. Pope Francis said there was “no idolatrous intention” in bowing before these figures or in honoring them by placing them in Catholic churches — but in the same statement he referred to them as “Pachamama,” the name of a pagan goddess! Again, we are lost and confused by this…

Please, Holy Father, I beg of you to set the record straight by rebuking the errors attributed to you and by asserting the true and Catholic faith. We need you to confirm all of us, your brethren and your flock, in the truth. Do not allow lies or errors to proliferate. Drive idolatry from the Church and lead us in repentance and in reparation for it. Do not let the wolf devour us — drive him away by the Word of truth.

Cardinals Raymond Burke, Gerhard Müller, Walter Brandmüller, and Jorge Urosa Savino all condemned the “Pachamama” events and/or praised Tschugguel’s actions. So did Bishops José Luis Azcona Hermoso, Marian Eleganti, and Rudolf Voderholzer. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò – who is currently in hiding after blowing the whistle on the Vatican’s cover-up of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sex abuse, as well as Pope Francis’ role in it – also condemned the “appalling idolatrous profanations.”

“I can only express my respect for him and my gratitude for his courageous witness to the faith,” Cardinal Burke said of Tschugguel.

Cardinal Müller commented, “The great mistake was to bring the idols into the Church, not to put them out, because according to the Law of God Himself – the First Commandment – idolism [idolatry] is a grave sin and not to mix them with the Christian liturgy.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider also condemned the “Pachamama” events, writing about the spiritual dangers they pose.

Over 100 priests and laypeople, including Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, have called on Pope Francis to repent for the “Pachamama” idolatry. 

Four unnamed exorcists, meanwhile, have asked Catholics to make December 6 – the feast day of St. Nicholas – a day of prayer and fasting to drive out “any diabolic influence within the Church” due to the “Pachamama” ceremony.

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Dr. Christl Vonholdt signs IFTCC Declaration calling on governments to respect ‘freedom…right’ of ex-gays wanting to overcome same-sex attraction on Nov. 17, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary.
Scott Schittl

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Experts’ group: Govts must respect ‘freedom…right’ of gays wanting to overcome same-sex attraction

Scott Schittl
By

BUDAPEST, Hungary, November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC) has just released its 2019 Declaration, stating that, “everyone should have the freedom and right to walk away from sexual experiences and practices they find unfulfilling, and have support to do so.”

The IFTCC supports dedicated providers of services to individuals seeking to change their unwanted relational and sexual behavior, attractions and patterns, including unwanted same-sex attraction.

Because of this courageous stance – as well as an approach to their discipline, based on a Judeo-Christian understanding of the body, marriage and the family – the IFTCC has often faced hostility from LGBT activists and governments which have bought into LGBT ideology of fluidity in sexuality.

The 2019 IFTCC Declaration was just issued last Sunday at their conference hosted in Western Hungary, where hundreds of therapists, doctors, clergy, activists, and interested citizens, from 23 nations, met to discuss the topic, “In Search for Identity as Man and Woman”. The subtitle of the conference was, “How Can We Offer Help to Those Who Struggle?”

LifeSiteNews’ staff member Scott Schittl was able to be present at this year’s conference, to listen to, and learn from, the many expert speakers who gave presentations and workshops over the three-day weekend. Several interviews, like the one with Dr. Mike Davidson, Chairman of the IFTCC, were also recorded.

One of the main themes, emerging from both the conference and the Declaration, was the pre-eminence of client choice. That is, the IFTCC believes that people should be free to leave and disavow the homosexual lifestyle.

The Declaration states that the IFTCC objects to, “ongoing discrimination against persons formerly gay-or-transgender-identified, who have, or will in the future seek professional counselling or pastoral help to assist their transition from unwanted behaviors and feelings.”

Again, the IFTCC supports the freedom of people who are experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction, to seek counselling to help transition away from those attractions.

The conference’s wide range of talks, discussions and practical workshops gave attendees (and, those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender identity problems) a primer into professionally sound and ethically grounded ways to approach these sensitive issues.

Speakers such as Laura Haynes, David Pickup, Robert Vazzo, Timothy Long, Denise Schick, Christl Ruth Vonholdt, Keith Vennum, and Andrea Williams led insightful practical workshops or gave inspiring personal testimonies.

All conferees were agreed when it came to dispelling the notion that sensible and ethically-sound change-allowing therapies could, in any way, be conflated with so-called “conversion therapy”.

The authors of the IFTCC 2019 Declaration gave special attention to this point.

“Consistent attempts by LGBT activists in governments and elsewhere to conflate the fake term ‘conversion therapy’, including electro-shock and morally reprehensible aversion techniques - all administered by the world’s medical fraternities - with standard, predominantly psychodynamic, evidence-based talking-therapy explorations of fluid sexual attractions, is disingenuous,” states the declaration. 

“This is an unacceptable political strategy.  It continues to damage those now forced to live with homosexual or transgender identities as professionals are denied the opportunity to support client-choice to leave unwanted homosexual and transgender practices…”

Those who are experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction, or who are seeking more information about de-transitioning, but haven’t been able to find the required resources, are invited to visit the IFTCC website for more information.

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Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Trudeau wants more euthanasia, even as laws are already being abused

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By Alex Schadenberg

November 22, 2019 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) — Canada's Liberal government have announced that one of their first priorities will be more death by lethal injection (euthanasia) also known as Medical Aid in Dying in Canada.

The Canadian press reported that:

Even before he swears in his new cabinet, Justin Trudeau is being urged to ask his new justice minister to move swiftly to make Canada's assisted-dying law less restrictive. 

The prime minister has said he'll comply with a September court ruling that struck down as unconstitutional the requirement that only those near death can qualify for medical help to end their suffering.

The euthanasia lobby is also demanding that the government remove the requirement that a person be capable of consenting at the time of lethal injection.

All of this is based on the fact that the Liberal government did not appeal a Québec court decision that struck down the section of Canada's euthanasia law requiring that a person's natural death must be reasonably foreseeable.

What is particularly concerning is the double speak by the Liberal government. Last Spring the government announced that no changes will happen to the law until after the government completed a five year review, that was to begin in June 2020. What is the purpose of a five-year review if the government eliminates the restrictions in the law previous to the consultation?

The recent euthanasia data from Québec indicated that there were 1,331 euthanasia deaths between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019. The data also indicated that 13 of the deaths did not fulfill the qualifications of the law, including three euthanasia deaths for hip fractures.

Last July, Alan Nichols (62) was physically healthy yet died by euthanasia in Chilliwack BC. The Nichols family have been given the run around as they attempt to learn how Alan could have been approved for euthanasia.

The government should not expand euthanasia when the law is already being abused.

Published with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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If the Resistance Wins

Janice Shaw Crouse
By Jance Crouse

This article was originally published November 16, 2019 on American Thinker and is published on LifeSite with permission.

November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In early May 2017, Hillary Clinton declared herself "an activist citizen and part of what she called The Resistance.  Later that month, May 17, 2017, she officially launched a "political organization aimed at funding 'resistance' groups" to oppose and undermine the president.  As early as June 2, 2016, Hillary had been questioning President Trump's "fitness to lead" and given a "tour-de-force assault on his record," calling him "too dangerous and unstable" to be president.  She has spent the past three years declaring herself the real winner of the 2016 election and attacking the president's fitness for office.  Looking at her pitiful illusions in multiple interviews, her recent book, and her desperate quest for the presidency, it's not hard to guess what drives her compulsion to lead what she calls "The Resistance."

Various other Democrats­ — Elizabeth Warren, Ben Cardin, Dick Durbin, Maxine Waters, and others — began talking (December 2016), and haven't stopped since, about undoing the results of the election, actually using the word "impeachment," before the inauguration.  Vanity Fair asked shortly after the election, "Will Trump Be Impeached?," and Politico in April asked how soon impeachment could take place.  This unprecedented resistance-impeachment movement gained full-bore momentum when House speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Democrats would impeach Trump because we "can't let him 'win' reelection."  It became obvious that the fear of Trump's re-election was driving the 79-year-old speaker's risky and questionable strategy.

The impeachment circus on the Hill, led by the shifty Rep. Adam B. Schiff, is nothing more than a last-ditch effort by The Resistance to have the media declare their do-over efforts a "win" with what they hope will be a knock-out victory.  They are putting America through this "show trial" so the Democrats with the help of their media allies can, at least, wound Trump sufficiently among enough ill informed sound-bite voters to enable them to "win" the election they lost in 2016.

In addition to the lost productivity of a House devoting all its energy and time to undermining the president, what else is at stake when a major political party refuses to accept the results of an election and devotes itself exclusively to "resistance" instead?  Much has been written about the sham of the Schiff-style impeachment.  Among the best assessments are those provided by Victor Davis Hanson, who gives ten compelling reasons why impeachment is illegitimate and another ten reasons why impeachment is really a coup.

An often overlooked question is what happens after this circus is over.  Clearly, the Democrats have control of the House, and they can impeach, as they obviously are determined to do.  So what's next?  After the "victory," what are the spoils?  Aside from retaining her tenuous grasp on power a short while longer, what can Pelosi at her age hope to accomplish if her frantic attempts to tarnish Trump succeed enough that he fails to win re-election, thereby protecting her momentarily from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the radicals on one side and the ambitious Schiff on the other?

Many commentators have been and continue to be concerned about the Democrats' lack of a positive agenda, asserting that the only thing holding the party together is its "anger" at Trump.  With the lack of a coherent message or identifiable policy agenda, the leaders of the party, Pelosi in particular, have let extremists become the face and voice of the party.  Indeed, there is growing concern that the Democratic Party is now the party of socialism.  The eminent historian Hanson, who unlike some of today's "experts" has a firm grasp on the lessons of the past, has written brilliant and definitive analyses showing that socialism is "not the cure," that it "guarantees failure and suffering," that it breeds authoritarianism, and that it goes hand in hand with willful ignorance of both past and present examples of the tragic results where it has been imposed.  In short, socialism is growing in the ashes of the Democratic Party.

If we suppose that the Democrats win their pyrrhic impeachment victory in the House, there is no way the Republican-controlled Senate will remove President Trump.  Unless the elites blind enough low-information voters with their pixie-dust promises of big government providing for all of their wants and needs, Trump will go on to win re-election in 2020.  Even if Pelosi manages to add the president's name among former impeached presidents, his policy accomplishments will far overshadow the hollow partisan footnote the Democrats are trying to inflict.  The Democrats will likely lose control of the House and be left with nothing — having destroyed their own party, undermined the president, and weakened trust in government.

Many knowledgeable Americans agree with Hanson that the 2020 election boils down to a "stark choice between a revolutionary future versus American traditionalism."  If the Resistance wins, the future of America does indeed come down to that stark choice in 2020, whether the Democrat candidate is Hillary or one of the current lackluster contenders.

Pelosi has a history of being a skilled organizer and fundraiser.  She rose to her position of leadership not without being shrewd.  But how can she not see the implications of letting the resistance movement trample American procedures and precedents?  How can she not see the divisive effects of identity politics?  How can the Democrats not recognize that they are destroying any sense of community and common allegiance to our country?  How can they not see what socialism has done in Cuba and Venezuela?  Why is Pelosi allowing the Democrats to take such a high-risk path?  Is the exhilaration of a few more days of power worth trashing the Constitution?  Are these tragic outcomes for the nation worth her having a few more appearances on television and a few more minutes in the limelight?

It is possible that the once shrewd speaker has been so overwhelmed by Trump derangement syndrome that she cannot see beyond her hatred of the man.  Alternatively, she may be thinking only of survival.  It is probably a safe bet that the Deep State holdovers in the Justice Department and intelligence bureaucracy have kept her well informed as to what prosecutor John H. Durham and Attorney General William Barr have discovered about the lawlessness of her party in the 2016 election and all the details and indictments that are about to be unleashed.  Perhaps she has no love for the radical agenda that has overtaken her party, but is simply pedaling as hard as she can to outrun the hounds of justice closing in on much of establishment Washington.

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Impeachment lesson: cut government

Fletch Daniels
By Fletch Daniels

This article was originally published on Nov. 18 on American Thinker and is published on LifeSite with permission.

November 22, 2019 (American Thinker) – This current impeachment theater is the equivalent of Caddyshack II, a sequel so dreadful that nobody is bothering to tune in.     

Even my liberal colleagues who despise President Donald Trump can’t be bothered to watch.  It’s as if everyone not named Chris Wallace knows this is a complete sham.  The stock market yawned as it rocketed upwards.

What we have is a parade of bureaucratic power players preening before friendly Democrats to complain that nobody listens to their sage counsel and that the president has the audacity to think he decides foreign policy. 

The biggest villain in this ill-begotten administrative coup sequel is Joe Biden, whose corruption is so obscene that even ruthlessly friendly media can’t keep it from sneaking through.  Hunter Biden sucked in dirty Ukrainian cash like he was hooked up to a beer bong, getting drunk on his father’s political influence. 

For proof of the damage, look no further than a rising Pete Buttigieg, who is now in the lead in Iowa.

Democrats think our national interests are items to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Win elections, become multimillionaires, complain about billionaires while offering to drink beer with the peasants.  Rinse and repeat.   

The media reacted in horror when the phrase “I hired Donald Trump to fire people like Yovanovitch” trended on Twitter.  The idea that a sentiment shared by nearly all rational-minded people would catch fire was inexplicable to the outraged media and the Twitter overlords.

But this really gets to the heart of what is going on here and is the biggest lesson of the Schiff Show.  The only way to drain the swamp is to cut the bureaucracy.  That is accomplished by firing as many Yovanovitchs as possible.  

This story centers around the disloyal bureaucrats on the Ukrainian desk, but they are representative of the entire bureaucracy. 

Every Republican president starts day one on the job in charge of a massive disloyal workforce.  Follow the money.  Almost every single dollar, to the tune of 95%, donated by a federal bureaucrat during the 2016 election went to Hillary Clinton. 

This is a massive challenge for every Republican president.  One of the easiest jobs in the world is being a Democratic president.  The federal bureaucracy quite literally worships you.  The media, academia, and entertainment industries call in supporting fires to portray every move as a Nobel Prize-worthy gesture. 

The corollary to this is that the hardest job in the world is to be a Republican president.  The executive branch workers you oversee despise you and seek to undermine every move. They are the head of the resistance, the very heart of the deep state snake. 

To date, the biggest mistake that President Trump made was not firing every political appointee from the previous administration on his first hour in office.  They quite literally saw themselves as the leaders of the resistance.  Chalk that up to bad advice he was getting from the establishment Republicans he brought on board in the early days of his administration. 

Every government agency sings homilies to the “diversity is our strength” catechism of the church of liberalism.  But not a single agency actually has the one form of diversity that truly matters, diversity of thought.  The entire government is one giant exercise in leftist groupthink. 

When a Republican is president, the entire government is one giant “whistleblower” operation, as low-level bureaucrats whistle at their Democrat allies and the press who strut by their offices.         

The deep state is not very deep at all.  It is the entire state.  When the entire bureaucracy is leftist in orientation, “resistance” happens quite organically and naturally.  The bureaucrats believe they are on the side of the angels as they spend their well-compensated hours acting to undermine the very president they are supposed to serve as a sedition squad.

During the impeachment shenanigans, the veneer frequently slips off, as it did when Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman indicated that the president was undermining U.S. national security, clearly believing that the bureaucracy should set foreign policy instead of the president.

Almost every Republican agency head oversees a hostile workforce, some worse than others.  Imagine going to work as Betsy DeVos each day at the Department of Education knowing your entire, mostly worthless staff hates you and is seeking your scalp.  The State Department is another leftist cesspool where Republicans need not apply.  It takes a very strong person to be successful in these dens of vipers.    

Every single word and action by a Republican political appointee is under hostile scrutiny by the bureaucracy.  Within this environment, impeachment is a standard power play of the Democrats, because the bureaucracy is constantly feeding them fodder. 

Consider that Democrats have tried to impeach every elected Republican president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Republicans?  They’ve only done it once when they grudgingly impeached Jeffrey Epstein’s bosom buddy in a case that was beyond a slam dunk. 

Impeachment was a near certainty before President Trump even took office since the collective psychosis was already taking hold.  I took my daughters to a young adult writer conference in Charleston a couple days after the election.  That was a mistake.  The writers and organizers were in a state of shock and were regularly breaking into profanity-laced tirades.  At the keystone event, the organizers and writers told the audience of hundreds of young people that they were all part of the resistance now. 

We literally felt like we were in the middle of a giant breakout of mass psychosis.  But, three years later, the entire Democrat party is suffering from the same insanity. 

This is not going to trend better as Democrats become more extreme.  It is highly doubtful that there will ever again be an effective Republican president not tossed into the impeachment briar patch. 

The best solution that President Trump could offer the nation during his second term is to cut the bureaucracy, and not with a scalpel.  It may be impossible to actually drain the swamp, because Swampy McSwampthing is a Democrat monster protected by Democrats.  But, as the temporary head of that bureaucracy, he can certainly shrink it and take away a lot of its power through hiring freezes and concerted pressure. 

My hope is that it becomes one of his biggest priorities following reelection.  We have the worst government that near limitless wads of cash can buy.  The federal government employs over two million, which doesn’t sound too bad.  But that number is an accounting sleight of hand.  America has close to four million contract workers supporting that bureaucracy, a number that has exploded in recent years.  Both numbers should be rolled way back, perhaps cut in half.  This would likely serve a few goals -- making the government a leaner and more effective organization, reducing some of the seditious tendencies of an entirely liberal bureaucracy, and saving much-needed money that America simply cannot afford to throw into the government shredder. 

We did indeed hire President Trump to fire the Yovanovitchs and a healthy chunk of the unhealthy bureaucracy.  My hope is that the Schiff Show further drives home the imperative of getting it done.

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Chick-fil-A was already moving left, but nobody noticed until it caved to LGBT lobby

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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — At Chick-fil-A, the politically correct handwriting was on the wall for a long time, but most of us missed it.  Until now. 

Just four days since the popular chicken restaurant’s infamous announcement about reprioritizing its corporate giving, and despite the launch of a counter-narrative by conservatives Rev. Franklin Graham, Erik Erickson, and others, it’s clear that Chick-fil-A (CFA) has been on a troubling leftward trajectory for quite some time.

The revelations are stunning.

Chick-fil-A evolving into a pipeline of cash to leftist causes

CFA fans wouldn’t have been caught by surprise if they had been paying close attention to the organization’s corporate structure, according to Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, writing at Frontpage Magazine. Many of the restaurant’s loyal patrons assumed that CFA was different from other large corporations and that it continued to be guided by a biblical vision. They were wrong. The corporation was slowly evolving away from its Christian principles, but CFA wasn’t about to broadcast that.

“The Executive Director of the CFA Foundation is Rodney D. Bullard, a former White House fellow and Assistant US Attorney,” noted Greenfield. “Some may have mistaken him for a conservative because he was a fellow in the Bush Administration, but he was an Obama donor, and, more recently, had donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign while at Chick-fil-A.”

“Bullard became its Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. Unlike charity, corporate social responsibility is a leftist endeavor to transform corporations into the political arms of radical causes,” he said. “Like other formerly conservative corporations, Chick-fil-A had made the fundamental error of adopting the language and the infrastructure of its leftist peers. And that made what happened entirely inevitable.”

“Charity helps people. Corporate social responsibility is virtue signaling by capitalists to anti-capitalists. Unlike charity, corporate social responsibility isn’t about helping people, but ticking off ideological and identity politics boxes like diversity and the environment,” he added. 

“Most of the country’s major brands are pipelines of cash that lead directly to leftist causes,” explained Greenfield. “Hardly any of the money that conservatives spend on products and services every day ends up going to conservative causes.” 

Sadly, Chick-fil-A has chosen to make itself part of that pipeline, ending funding to Christian groups that LGBT activists had condemned as “anti-gay” because they adhered to the definition of marriage as between a man and and a woman. Instead, CFA is redirecting its donations to overtly LGBT-promoting organizations such as Covenant House.

A “huge hint” about Chick-fil-A’s leftward lurch

In September, as CFA was about to open its first Canadian outlet, the restaurant chain hired Navigator, an international lobbying firm described by Dr. Charles McVety, president of the Institute for Canadian Values, as the “number one gay lobbying firm” in Canada. 

McVety said this was a “huge hint” about the company’s future direction.

According to documents filed with the Toronto Office of the Lobbyist Registrar, the firm  — whose company slogan is “When you can’t afford to lose” — was hired to “ensure a smooth launch” in Canada.

Additionally, Chick-fil-A hired Group SJR, a New York–based communications company that, according to the Toronto Star, had begun dealing with the company’s international expansion two years ago. 

“They’ll try to thread the needle a while longer,” noted tech guru and commentator Rod D. Martin on Facebook. “But putting a leftist in charge of the Foundation was all we really needed to know.”

“Personnel Is Policy,” he added. 

Chick-fil-A’s evolution away from Christian principles and toward politically correct social justice issues continues.

CFA will now donate to Covenant House, a radical LGBT activist organization

“While Dan Cathy may say the company has the same values, the company’s statements and actions tell a different story,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, in a rebuke to Rev. Franklin Graham, who insists that nothing has changed at CFA.

“Franklin, you have done a huge disservice by not doing more investigation into Chick-fil-A’s betrayal and capitulation to the LGBT agenda,” said Staver.

Staver described Covenant House as “a radical LGBTQ activist organization that celebrates homosexuality, transgenderism, and the entire LGBTQ agenda.”

“Covenant House also proudly supports the New York City Gay Pride parade with its own float, banners, t-shirts, and hastag #CovUnity. Covenant House is recognized as a national funder of LGBTQ causes,” continued Staver. “And Covenant House does not stop at LGBTQ activism; it also takes girls to abortion clinics.”

“To save its own corporate skin, Chick-fil-A has thrown good, biblical, organizations under the bus and legitimized the false narrative of the LGBT activists,” said the Liberty Counsel founder. “Chick-fil-A voluntarily surrendered to gain entrance into more liberal communities. In doing so, the company has caused incredible damage to the greater Christian community.”

Other troubling signs about Chick-fil-A’s change in direction now emerge

Additionally, over the last few days, those who had previously remained silent about troubling developments at Chick-fil-A have spoken up.

“To a lot of Americans, the company’s decision to walk away from years of biblical truth is upsetting,” wrote Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, D.C. “To us, it’s personal.”

In August 2012, after FRC had very publicly supported “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” a gunman intent on killing as many FRC employees as possible walked into FRC’s offices with a backpack full of Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches he planned to smash in the faces of those he wanted to murder, because he perceived both FRC and CFA to be “anti-gay.”

“In the days and years after that, we never talked publicly about Chick-fil-A’s response to the shooting. Mainly because there wasn’t one. Through all of the press conferences, the trial, and sentencing, I never once picked up the phone or opened my email to a message from someone at headquarters,” said Perkins. 

CFA never reached out to FRC to inquire about the condition of the FRC security guard who was shot by the gunman he had prevented from carrying out his murderous plan.  

“That was tough, but we stayed quiet — hoping that if groups like FRC stood beside them, the company Christians had come to love would have the courage to keep living out their values in the public square,” said Perkins. 

“Obviously, Chick-fil-A wanted then what they want publicly now: as much distance from our movement as possible,” he added. 

Conservative author and radio host Todd Starnes also revealed this week that Chick-fil-A’s corporate headquarters had forbidden two book-signing events that local CFA franchise owners had planned to host for Starnes at their restaurants.

Starnes said he had previously kept quiet about the troubling intervention by Chick-fil-A executives but now feels free to tell the story because it further reflects on the company’s “change in values.”

A massive betrayal of Chick-fil-A’s most ardent fans

Though a few have accused LifeSiteNews and certain members of the Catholic blogosphere as having “rushed to judgment” regarding CFA’s move, a closer look at its history reveals that the kick-in-the-gut betrayal felt by so many this week has actually been a slow-motion betrayal rolled out over time. 

Over 100,000 concerned individuals who have taken the trouble to sign petitions urging Chick-fil-A to reverse its recent charitable giving decision agree with us. 

Chick-fil-A’s recipe for expansion as it tries to spread into Canada and the U.K. is proving not only to be poison for its most loyal customers. Perhaps it is a form of corporate suicide. 

Sign the LifeSiteNews petition telling Chick-fil-A, “Don’t cave in to anti-Christian LGBT agenda” here.

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Swiss bishop describes struggle between John Paul II and Saint Gallen Group

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By Maike Hickson

November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Ivo Fürer, the retired bishop of Sankt Gallen – who, from 1996 until 2006, hosted the “Sankt Gallen Group” for their yearly meetings in the Swiss town Sankt Gallen – has now written an extensive history of the Council of the European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE), whose key organizers were also closely connected with the Sankt Gallen Group. 

Fürer had been the CCEE's general secretary for twenty years, from 1975 until 1995, when he then became the bishop of Sankt Gallen. (Pope John Paul II famously once stated that Fürer's problem was that he came from Sankt Gallen.) The Sankt Gallen Group effectively headed up the CCEE for 24 years, from 1979 until 1993, because two of its members, first Cardinal Basil Hume and then Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, were the presidents of the CCEE from 1979 until 1993. The Sankt Gallen Group also had, however, prelates as their members who had not played a pivotal role in the CCEE, such as Cardinal Walter Kasper.

In addition to Fürer's extensive book detailing the history of the CCEE – which is called The Development of Europe is Challenging the Churches (2018) –  this Swiss bishop also published his own autobiography, Church in Changing Times (2018), which LifeSite has reviewed already. 

As this Swiss prelate shows, the CCEE was founded in 1971, not long after the Second Vatican Council, and it aimed at fostering a new decentralization. This spirit of decentralization went so far among these founding bishops that they did not even ask Rome at the time to approve of their statutes when they founded the CCEE under the reign of Pope Paul VI. 

But, more importantly, Dr. Fürer describes the later internal battles between some leading figures of the CCEE – especially Cardinal Carlo Martini, the later head of the Sankt Gallen Group – and Pope John Paul II. This conflict led finally to the Pope's changing the rules of the CCEE in 1993 so that only a president of one of the European bishops' conferences could become the president of the CCEE, thus making it impossible to enable the re-election of Cardinal Martini, who was still at the time (1993) its longstanding president. This decision seems to have reduced the dominant influence of Martini's reform faction within the CCEE, which was in turn one of the main reasons for the founding of the Sankt Gallen Group three years later, in 1996, after also Ivo Fürer had been removed from his position as the general secretary of the CCEE by being appointed bishop of Sankt Gallen in 1995.

Additionally, Pope John Paul II, already in 1991, had effectively excluded the members of the CCEE from participating in the organization of the Special Synod of Bishops on Europe in Rome which was organized in light of the changes in Europe after the decline of Communism in 1990. With regard to this papal decision, Dr. Fürer even quotes voices who called this 1991 synod in Rome an “anti-Martini synod.”

After Cardinal Martini's removal from the CCEE in 1993, he became the leader of the Sankt Gallen Group which was composed of many of the bishops who had earlier been active in the CCEE, but who had lost influence after the Pope's intervention. 

Let us recapitulate this history a little bit more in detail. 

After the founding of the CCEE in 1971, this group of bishops from Europe had strong progressivist leanings. For example, in 1974 they were already openly discussing the possibility of admitting remarried divorcees to Holy Communion. They also wished to work for a decentralizing “continentalization” of the Universal Church, a goal that we see further  promoted by Pope Francis today. 

As it is also the case today, this continentalization essentially meant a disrespecting of the central Roman authority. As Professor Paul Zulehner states in his Foreword to Fürer's history of the CCEE about the founding of the CCEE: “A Roman approbation was not requested.” In the course of the following two decades, there took place a “tug of war” between Rome and the CCEE concerning the question of “who is representing the Catholic Church in Europe,” explains the Austrian theologian and priest. The CCEE wanted to get away from a specifically critical view upon Europe's ongoing secularization and, instead, was inclined to look more to the “life experiences” of the people of today.

As Cardinal Martini put it in 1989: “Evangelization means that the Church learns and teaches.” Explains Zulehner: “A catechetical procedure is being turned into a dialogical process in the midst of the life experiences of our contemporaries.” Here may already be seen the dismissive view upon the teaching of the catechism and, instead, the promotion of the idea that one has to learn from the people, an attitude we can also see today more fully developed under Pope Francis.

However, John Paul II was not pleased with the leanings of the CCEE and their presidents (first Cardinal Basil Hume – who always stressed that he did not care much about what Rome said – and then Cardinal Martini). When the Pope, in 1990, started to organize the 1991 Special Synod of Bishops on Europe, he did not even inform Cardinal Martini about these plans. As Zulehner explains it in his Foreword, the Catholic bishops from the former Communist countries in East Europe mistrusted the liberal West and even the “post-conciliar theology and pastoral” approach with which they had not been familiarized due to their having been largely cut off from the West. These bishops “had no true trust in the leadership of the CCEE and Martini whom they accused of having too much understanding for the modern culture.” As Zulehner says it: “some people disliked Martini's concept of evangelization.” For, they rather preferred “a traditional instruction,” according to Father Zulehner.

Among the influential bishops within the CCEE over the years were Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Cardinal George Basil Hume, Cardinal Roger Etchergaray, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, Cardinal Josef-Léon Suenens, Archbishop Alois Sustair, Bishop Josef Homeyer, Bishop Egon Kapellari, and, of course Martini. Father Zulehner as well as Father Hans Langendörfer, S.J. – who now is the general secretary of the German Bishops' Conference – were also active in the CCEE. Cardinal Silvestrini of the Roman Curia was a close and sympathetic collaborator of the CCEE in Rome. (He was later to be part of the Sankt Gallen Group, as well.) When Ivo Fürer became the general secretary of the CCEE in 1977, the seat of the CCEE was moved from Chur to Sankt Gallen. Fürer became the bishop of Sankt Gallen in 1995, but had been the general vicar in that diocese for more than two decades. 

After Communism had apparently fallen, Pope John Paul II had optimistically hoped that the bishops from Eastern European countries, with their experience of martyrdom and of a life under dictatorships, would help revive the Catholic Faith in the West. For example, the Pope told Martini in 1993 that he wished “a stronger influence of the countries of the East in the CCEE,” according to Fürer. 

As Zulehner writes in his Foreword, there existed plans in Rome to take better control over the Catholic Church in Europe, to weaken the CCEE by giving the Pope the power to appoint the secretary of the CCEE and by moving the seat of the CCEE to Rome. However, many of these plans were never implemented. But, as Zulehner explains, Rome succeeded in “avoiding that important cardinals of Europe (such as the German Cardinal Lehmann) were elected as president. The new presidents were rather pale.” Rome also made sure to send delegates to the assemblies and conferences of the CCEE, and they even insisted upon receiving ahead of time the final speech of the standing president of the CCEE.  Zulehner calls these measures a “strange method of control,” but they show that Rome mistrusted the inordinately progressive CCEE.

Therefore when, in 1990, Pope John Paul II established a preparatory commission for the 1991 Special Roman Synod on Europe, “the president of the CCEE, Cardinal Carlo Martini, did not know anything of this group. The CCEE was not represented in it. One obviously did not want to incorporate into the preparations of the synod the twenty-year-old experience” of the CCEE, as Fürer explains. “Or did some fear the influence of personalities like Cardinal George Basil Hume and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini?” Fürer asks. He adds that there could also have been “the concern that the secularized spirit of the West could enter into the former Communist states.” According to Ivo Fürer, then-Archbishop Jan Schotte played a leading role in excluding the CCEE from the new synod preparations.

In their submission to the preparatory council in July of 1991, the CCEE proposed an “inculturation of the  faith in Europe” and rejected a “moralizing attitude” of the Church. The CCEE also wished to have an empowerment of local churches.

During the Synod on Europe itself, which took place from November 28 until December 14, 1991, the CCEE had fairly little formative influence. As Fürer now notes, some of the leadership of the synod “showed an attitude which wanted to weaken the influence of the CCEE. One noticed an enmity against the strong personality of the president of the CCEE, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini. Some spoke of an 'anti-Martini synod.'”

After Martini met with Pope John Paul II in a private audience in January of 1993 – where the Pope insisted upon having a stronger influence of the bishops of the former Communist countries – the Pope shortly later decided, in February of 1993, that the statutes of the CCEE were to be changed and that the new president of the CCEE must be a president of a national bishops' conference in Europe. This was the final decision to remove Martini from his influential role in Europe. This decision was made in spite of Hume's attempts at convincing the Pope to allow any bishop from Europe to become the president of the CCEE. In April of 1993, the Czech Archbishop Miloslav Vlk became the new president of the CCEE.

In light of these developments and also in light of the fact that the leading figures of the Sankt Gallen Group – Lehmann, Danneels, Hume, Kasper, Martini – bear a grave responsibility for the slackness and loss of faith in Europe, it still remains a mystery why Pope John Paul II, after he effectively weakened their influence within the CCEE from 1993 on, still made several of them cardinals in 2001. Some members of the Sankt Gallen Group were then made a cardinal: Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Audris Bačkis, Walter Kasper, and Karl Lehmann.

And it still also remains a mystery that these figures, in spite of their being removed from the CCEE still had enough organizational power so as to have possibly some decisive influence with regard to the election of Pope Francis in 2013. The Diocese of Sankt Gallen issued in 2015 a statement about the Sankt Gallen Group and stated that Bishop Ivo Fürer “never hid his joy about the election of the Argentine.” 

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Sorry Bill Maher, Dennis Prager was right: The Left does say that ‘men can menstruate’

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By Jonathon Van Maren

November 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The transgender train is now rattling along at such breakneck speeds that even many liberal commentators cannot keep pace with the rate of progress. Exhibit A is an exchange between HBO’s Bill Maher, host of Real Time with Bill Maher, and bestselling author and radio host Dennis Prager. During a spirited debate on Maher’s show on whether the Right or the Left was more guilty of deceiving the public in modern America, a visibly angry Prager launched into a scathing tirade on one of progressivism’s insane new dogmas: the idea that men can actually be women and are entitled to be treated as such.

“To say that men can menstruate is a lie, and that is now, that is what is said,” Prager told Maher and the panel. Maher looked genuinely confused and then mockingly sceptical. “Wait, wait, wait, where did that come from?” he chuckled.

“Check it out, folks,” Prager responded, raising his hands as his fellow panelists and the audience roared with laughter. “Check it out: anyone who says a man cannot menstruate is transphobic.”

“I missed this whole story,” Maher interjected. “Tell me, where are you getting this?”

“Just Google it,” Prager told him. “Google: Can men menstruate.”

“Who is saying this?” Maher scoffed. “You’re talking about a very small percentage…”

“Then how do you allow men, biological men, to run against women in the races in Connecticut and set all the high school records?” Prager asked him.

At this point, Maher must have realized that he might be inadvertently heading into transphobic territory, where angels fear to tread. “Okay, I agree with you on that,” he interrupted, “but the way you frame it is nonsense.”

“No, I framed it perfectly accurately,” Prager informed him.

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Maher was shaking his head. “No, you didn’t. What you’re talking about is someone who is transgender — was a man, now claims to be a woman” — here Maher inserted air quotes that he will probably live to regret once the cancel warriors catch wind of it — “is a woman, okay, beating the dog s--- out of other women in the race because they have more muscle mass, and even Martina Navratilova came out and said this is ridiculous, you might as well not have women’s sports. This is a far cry from saying men can menstruate.”

“I agree, I agree,” Prager said, putting his hands up.

“But that’s not where anyone went with that but you!” Maher said to laughter. After a few more attempts by Prager to cite evidentiary examples — such as the fact that tampon dispensers have been placed in the men’s bathrooms at U.C. Berkeley — Maher cut the conversation short, patting his arm and chuckling, “Dennis, I remember you in the old show, and you were a little more reasonable.”

“What did I say that was unreasonable?” Prager asked.

“You said that we think that men menstruate, and no one does!” said Maher, turning to Ronan Farrow for support: “Have you heard about it?”

“I missed that one, I confess,” Farrow reassured him.

“I will make you a friendly bet that the LGBTQ normative statement is that men can menstruate,” Prager stated, and Maher swiftly moved into a different topic.

Bill Maher was wise not to take Prager’s bet. On November 19, International Men’s Day, the American Civil Liberties Union sent out a tweet echoing almost word for word Prager’s rendering of LGBT beliefs: “There’s no one way to be a man. Men who get their periods are men. Men who get pregnant and give birth are men. Trans and non-binary men belong.” It was retweeted over 3,500 times and “liked” nearly 16,000 times.

Brett Weinstein, an atheist liberal and a member of the “Intellectual Dark Web,” flagged the tweet and tagged Bill Maher and Dennis Prager, sending a follow-up with a link to the conversation. “Here is the exchange I’m highlighting,” he tweeted. “No intent to embarrass Bill Maher. He clearly didn’t know how widespread this craziness has gotten. But he needs to know.”

Indeed, he does, and I wonder if he’ll bother to respond. Considering the industry he works in, I very much doubt it, although Bill Maher is one of the few who occasionally surprises me by tackling subjects most liberals won’t touch with a ten foot pole. The fact is that many old-guard liberals are as bewildered as the rest of us by the radical LGBT totalitarians (Maher himself once referred to them as a “mafia,” willing to “whack” those who disagree with them), but they have to decide whether they’re willing to tell the truth as they see it and find themselves shoved out of polite society and damned as irredeemable bigots. Understandably, most find it easier to simply play along.

That is why I don’t have much confidence that the common-sense liberals who find all of this gender fluidity stuff to be nonsense will prove to be allies in the culture war — at least not most of them. The few who have bothered to speak up, radical feminists like Meghan Murphy, Julie Bindel, and Germaine Greer, or even liberals like Dave Rubin, end up being forced to associate primarily with conservatives, who decline to demonize or silence them. Most liberals simply have too much to lose to take on the transgender movement, especially as the LGBT crowd has the entertainment industry by the throat and the Democrats on a leash. Why bother to throw away your gala invites, your movie premieres, your parties in the Hamptons and Hollywood, just to state the obvious truth?

In the end, almost all of the old-guard liberals will pathetically fall into line — the spectre of poor old Joe Biden struggling to keep up with the pace of change is one prominent and cringeworthy example. Most of these people had no idea that they would one day be required by the progressivism they championed to believe — and publicly affirm — that men can menstruate, yet here we are. If they are really honest, deep down, they probably don’t believe it. Maher certainly doesn’t. Some of them are probably even wincing inside as they thunder their support for the rights of the non-binary and transgender folks, whom the seventy-year-old law school professor Elizabeth Warren called “the backbone of our democracy.” But it won’t matter, because they’ll say it anyway — and turn on us with a vengeance for shaming them by refusing to join them in charade the LGBT movement is attempting to force our culture to play.

The Big Lie demands participation from everyone, and the elites are all in.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In today’s special episode, Jonathon speaks with Covenant Eyes leader Dan Armstrong about Lamar Odom’s exclusive interview highlighting his pornography addiction. Odom spoke with Covenant Eyes about his severe addiction to pornography. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:

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