All articles from November 26, 2019


Featured Image
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul

News ,

Indian government body touts ‘world’s first male contraceptive’ to reduce population

Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

NEW DELHI, India, November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — One of India’s most widely read newspapers is reporting that the country is on the verge of approving the world’s first “male contraceptive”.

The Hindustan Times reports that an injectable male contraceptive, reportedly “effective for 13 years, after which it loses its potency,” has recently passed clinical trials at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and that it will now be sent for approval to the Drug Controller of India (DCGI). The ICMR is a research body funded by the government of India, and the DCGI is a department of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of the India government, which is responsible for the approval of licences of a variety of categories of drugs.

The contraceptive drug is designed to be injected under local anaesthesia into the vas deferens (a sperm-containing tube near the testicles) by a medical professional. The report says that it is “designed as a replacement for surgical vasectomy,” but Dr. R.S. Sharma, who has reportedly been spearheading the trials, has said that “the product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive.” The drug controller general of India, V.G. Somani, has said he thinks “it will still take about six to seven months for all the approvals to be granted before the product can be manufactured”.

The article notes that “[e]xperts say a male contraceptives [sic] can work well in the Indian context provided the government publicises it proactively”. And a former government secretary for family welfare, A.R. Nanda, is reported to have said, “Two things are needed from the government for it to work; one is to make use of the trial subjects for awareness generation among masses about the product, and second is to offer higher incentives for people opting for male contraceptives”.

Earlier this year, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on the central and state governments to implement policies to control the country’s population growth rate. In his Independence Day speech on August 15, Modi praised Indian citizens for having smaller families, saying having fewer children is “an act of patriotism.”

In an article republished by LifeSite, Jonathan Abbamonte of the Population Research Institute has detailed examples of state-sponsored population control in India’s recent history. He writes:

State-sponsored population control has a long and contentious history in India. In 1951, India became the first developing country to introduce a national family planning program with the aim of controlling the country's population growth rate. Since Indian Independence, as many as 36 bills on population control have been introduced in Parliament.

Efforts by the government to control population growth reached their climax in 1975 when the Indian government imposed a brutal nationwide sterilization campaign “the Emergency.” During “the Emergency,” over 8 million people, mostly poor men, were forcibly sterilized by the Indian government in an attempt to rapidly reduce the nation's population growth rate.

Abbamonte’s article also contends that Prime Minister Modi’s talk of a “population explosion” that will “cause many problems for our future generations” is misplaced. Rather, Abbomonte notes that population growth has already seen significant decline since the early 1990s:

Population growth declined in India by 21.5% between 1991 and 2001 and declined by 17.7% between 2001 and 2011. According to the United Nations Population Division, India’s population is projected to peak in 2059 and begin declining thereafter.

Featured Image
Markus de Domenico, trustee of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Facebook
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

News , , , ,

Pro-LGBT Catholic schools trustee calls words of Christ ‘death threat’ when quoted to him

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A trustee running for chair of the Toronto Catholic school board is claiming that a message to him from a Christian parent that references Matthew 18:6 is a “death threat.”

Markus de Domenico received the email after LifeSiteNews reported Monday that he misrepresented his views on gender ideology and sex education on the questionnaire he submitted for the 2018 municipal election to Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobbying group.

The incumbent Catholic trustee for Ward 2, de Domenico checked “yes” to the question of whether he would oppose the teaching of gender ideology in the schools, and “yes” to supporting the repeal of the Kathleen Wynne sex education curriculum.

But de Domenico has been a vocal proponent of including the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the TCDSB’s code of conduct.

Trustees voted 8 to 4 November 7 to add the terms.

Moreover, during the heated debate on the motion, de Domenico described the Church’s teaching on homosexuality as “judgmental” and suggested that Catholics don’t hold that view anymore.

“It was an older version of Catholic teaching that is a judgmental teaching, a version of Catholic teaching which didn’t accept a child or a young adult for who they are,” de Domenico said.

“Our system that we have now does not believe in the issues that gave” LGBT students “that kind of bullying problem. Fundamentally, we don’t believe in it,” he added.

Now de Domenico says that because of the LifeSiteNews report on his misrepresentation, he’s received an emailed “death threat” that could warrant legal action.

A concerned Christian parent wrote to de Dominico:

As a good Catholic I'm sure you are aware of the special place prepared for those who cause the “little ones” to sin. Something about a millstone necklace and a swim?

I’m sure you're equally aware of the rather warm place The Lord has for liars. You concerned about global warming? Hey, hey!

What is your soul worth? Apparently someone has given you that item or amount. Is temporary gain worth paying eternal agony?

Be careful what you choose! The Lord is watching!

De Domenico interpreted the first paragraph, which is based on Matthew 18:6 — “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” — as a threat to his physical well-being.

“I received this death threat as a direct result of your email smear campaign,” he wrote LifeSiteNews.

“I will contact the police and our boards legal team to let them know that this person along with you Lianne have exposed myself and my family to a death threat,” added de Domenico.

“You may be held criminally and civilly liable. You may be prosecuted. You have been notified. God forgive you for your hatred.”

De Domenico appears to be following TCDSB chair Maria Rizzo’s playbook.

Rizzo, who spearheaded the campaign to add the terms to the code of conduct, has also been receiving emails from Catholic electors critical of her stance.

A number of these have received a “cease and desist” letter from the TCDSB chair, which states, in part: “Pursuant to your harassing communication directed to me and these sent emails copied to the Director of Education, Rory McGuckin and other trustee members of the Toronto Catholic District School Board I will not hesitate to contact the police to report your actions if you continue to contact me. If you do not cease your unwelcome and harassing communications immediately, I will take legal action against you.”

“I’m rather surprised to see this sort of violent reaction from de Domenico against the words of our Lord and Saviour,” Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life told LifeSiteNews.

“This is a brave new Catholic world indeed, where sinful ideologies are warmly embraced by trustees, but the words of Jesus Himself cause them to recoil in horror, fear, and revulsion,” he added.

“I truly hope that the other trustees do not make such a foolish decision as to elect this person as Chair of the entire board. A person who seeks such responsibility should at least be familiar with the New Testament,” Fonseca said.

Campaign Life gave de Domenico a “green-light rating” based on his responses to the 2018 questionnaire, but they’ve changed that to red based on the trustee’s voting record, Fonseca noted.

“Either de Domenico had a conversion to the LGBTQ cause after answering our questionnaire, or he misrepresented his true beliefs in order to get our endorsement before the election,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“If the latter, which does appear to appear to be the case, then it speaks to a lack of integrity, a lack of ethics, and a willingness to use outright deception,” Fonseca said.

Rizzo, de Domenico, and allies insisted that the board had to comply with the ministry directive PPM128, which mandated that all school board codes be in accord with the provincial and the Ontario Human Rights Code, and that not to add the terms would harm students who identify as homosexual or transgender.

Those opposed to the change argued that adding the terms would entrench the false gender ideology in Catholic schools and harm and confuse vulnerable students, and that Catholic schools have the constitutional right to uphold Catholic teaching.

However, four days after the trustee vote, the Toronto archdiocese conceded in a November 11 statement that it had accepted that the terms included in the code, while also claiming: “We do not accept the view of the human person which underlies this terminology, since that view is not compatible with our faith.”

Correction, November 27: This article originally referred to the writer of the email to trustee de Domenico as a Catholic voter. LifeSiteNews regrets the error.

Featured Image
Pope Francis embraces Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar dailystar.com
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

News , ,

Pope praises document about God willing diversity of religions in ‘interreligious dialogue’ speech

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has once again promoted the Abu Dhabi document “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” at a meeting organized in Rome by an Argentinian group under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Part of the document, which was signed in February by the Pope and a Grand Imam, states that a “pluralism and diversity” of religions is “willed by God.”

On November 18, the Pope addressed the participants of the meeting during a private audience in the Vatican, in the presence of the Argentinian ambassador to the Holy See, Rogelio Pfirter, its promoter, in collaboration with the “Instituto de Diálogo Interreligioso” (Institute of Interreligious Dialogue, IDI) of Buenos Aires of which he was himself the initiator in 2002, as Cardinal-Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio.

During a meeting on November 15, attended by Cardinal Miguel Ayuso and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Father Guillermo Marcó of IDI made a “historic announcement” saying that in Argentina a council is being formed between the bishops’ conference, the Jewish center AMIA, the Islamic Center of the Argentinian Republic, the Argentinian Federation of Evangelical Churches, and the Institute of Interreligious Dialogue.

Pope Francis especially congratulated the group for having focused on the Abu Dhabi document during its discussions, without expressing any reservations regarding its erroneous claim that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom.” Instead, he declared himself “pleased to note that this document, which is universal in nature, is also being disseminated in the Americas.” 

“I am convinced that the particularity and sensitivity of different countries and continents can truly contribute to a detailed reading of this document and to a greater and more effective understanding of the message it conveys,” he said.

Among those present were Rabbi Daniel Goldman, Sheikh Omar Abboud and Father Guillermo Marcó, a Catholic priest, as well as the current Argentinian secretary for religious affairs and the president of the Islamic center of Buenos Aires.

Pope Francis was therefore addressing representatives of Judaism, Protestantism, and Islam when he proclaimed: “Our religious traditions are a necessary source of inspiration to foster a culture of encounter. It is fundamental for there to be interreligious cooperation, based on the promotion of sincere and respectful dialogue that goes towards unity without confusion, maintaining identities.”

While some forms of “interreligious dialogue” focus on temporal issues, with the aim of avoiding hostility or bloodshed among believers or promoting natural law together, Pope Francis calls for “unity that transcends the mere political pact.”

He quoted a “very wise man, a very wise European politician” whom he said spoke to him about the Abu Dhabi declaration last February in these terms:

“Let us think of the end of the Second World War, let us think of Yalta; in Yalta a balance was struck in order to break the impasse, a balance that was weak but possible. The cake was shared, and a period of peace was maintained, but these documents, this attitude that goes towards dialogue among the transcendent, creates fraternity, surpasses pacts, surpasses the political; it is political in that it is human, but it surpasses this, it transcends this, it makes it nobler.”

The Yalta Pact divided the world that had emerged from the Second World War into two zones of influence under the winners of the global conflict: that of America on the one hand and that of Soviet Russia on the other. It left hundreds of millions of people in that country under the heel of communist power. The “peace” that was brokered abandoned large parts of Eastern Europe to Stalin’s “influence” and prepared communism’s total domination in East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and the Baltic States…

The invocation of Yalta as a model, albeit an imperfect one, is surprising if not insulting to the memory of the innumerable victims of communist tyranny after the Second World War.

Pope Francis told the group that “the world observes us, believers, to see what our attitude is to the common home and to human rights” – the “common home” is the expression used by environmentalists who accuse humanity of being responsible for “global warming” and ecological catastrophes – and said collaboration among believers and non-believers is necessary to respond effectively to war, hunger, poverty, “the environmental crisis” and that of the family, and so on. “And, above all, the lack of hope.”

Pope Francis’ speech showed he believes there is a new element at play since the signature of the Abu Dhabi document: 

“The intention of the document is to adopt: the culture of dialogue as a way; common collaboration as conduct; mutual knowledge as a method and criterion. From now on, it can be affirmed that religions are not a closed system that cannot be changed, but with their own identity. And this is the key: identity cannot be negotiated, because if you negotiate identity there is no dialogue, there is submission. With their own identity, they are in motion.”

The operative words are: “From now on … ” The Pope said in substance that religions must be prepared to adapt to a situation where they maintain their “identity” while accepting to modify their attitudes in favor of world peace and prosperity.

His later comments explain what can be understood from these words. “It is important to demonstrate that we believers are a factor of peace for human societies, and that we will thus respond to those who unjustly accuse religions of fomenting hatred and being the cause of violence,” he said.

Innumerable documents emanating from the United Nations or from UNESCO do just that: they accuse national traditions and historic religions of being responsible for hate and conflict within humanity. The point of “interreligious dialogue” that rests on the false premise that true and false religions can find a common denominator to which all can subject their particular sets of beliefs, is here to put all religions and spiritualities on a similar plane. What is new – “from now on” – is the formal acknowledgment of the relativistic attitude that says all men can find God through their particular religion while at the same time cooperating with other religions for the really important things: fighting against “global warming,” for instance.

The Pope went on to say “dialogue among religions” is “about changing historical attitudes.”

“A scene from The Song of Roland comes to me as a symbol, when the Christians defeat the Muslims and put them all in line in front of the baptismal font, and one with a sword. And Muslims had to choose between baptism or the sword. That is what we Christians did. It was a mentality that today we cannot accept, nor understand, nor can it work anymore,” Pope Francis said.

The Song of Roland is actually a medieval “chanson de geste” – or epic poem – with its legendary overtones and disregard for historical reality. The scene evoked by Pope Francis never took place: Charlemagne never conquered Zaragoza as the Song of Roland proclaims, nor were Roland and his knights killed by the Moors at Roncesvalles, but by Basque highlanders, as Bernard Antony, president of the French Christian defense league AGRIF recalled on his blog.

Antony commented:

“But in the Song, what wonderful freshness of soul, poetry, beauty, grandeur, expression of faith, honor and courage, what an  exaltation of heroism and of marvelous chivalry!

“All this was certainly added to the historical truth of the fierce conquest of Spain by the Muslim, Berber or Arab hordes of Tariq ibn Ziyad and Abdal Aziz ibn Musa; and then by the dynasty of the three Abd al Rahman, and later by the successive bloody dominations of the Almoravids and Almohads. 

“But no more than he has read or understood or remembers The Song of Roland Song, does Francis weigh, as his greatest predecessors did, what would have happened to Christianity if there had not been the long resistance and Reconquista by the Christians of Spain.”

Antony deplored that instead of choosing a true example of Christian culpability, Pope Francis should have “ignorantly and stupidly attacked one of our cultural roots.” The cultural roots of France but also of England, since the first known written version of the epic Song of Roland is the Oxford Manuscript of 1170.

Instead, in his concluding remarks to the Interreligious Dialogue group from Buenos Aires, Pope Francis said, “Beware of the fundamentalist groups: everyone has his own. In Argentina, too, there is a little fundamentalist corner. And let us try, with fraternity, to go forward. Fundamentalism is a scourge and all religions have some kind of fundamentalist first cousin there, which forms a group.”

Are “fundamentalists” those who believe their own religion to be true, to the exclusion of all others? In the light of the Abu Dhabi document, it would seem so.

The Instituto del Diálogo Interreligioso of Buenos Aires, a civil association, was founded by Cardinal Bergoglio in 2002 as the “crystallization of the interreligious experience that started when, as spokesman for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, he organized the first ever visit of a bonaerense Archbishop to the Islamic Center of the Argentinian Republic,” of which Omar Abboud was then the Cultural Secretary. A similar exchange took place with the Bet-El community where Goldman has been the chief rabbi for 25 years.

Pope Francis has maintained links with the Institute since he was elected to the Chair of Peter.

In March 2018, IDI participated in the “Dawn of Interspirituality Conference” in Costa Rica that included representatives of many religions. The event was organized by the Satyana Institute founded in 1996 to promote training programs in “ecopsychology” and “gender reconciliation” as well as “women’s spiritual mastery.”

During that event, Father Thomas Keating, a Trappist monk and “pioneer” of interreligious dialogue from Massachusetts (see his obituary here), told the participants: “You are invited to take a step into the unknown, toward a possible future that can only be imagined, when the religions of the world truly meet each other.”

IDI proudly speaks of its presence at that meeting, which was also attended by Fr, Marcó, one of its co-founders. It gave a conference in Moscow on November 11 at the State Pedagogic University.

Featured Image
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

News , , ,

Hungarian PM: Persecuted Christians will help us save Europe

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

BUDAPEST, Hungary, November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― The Prime Minister of Hungary believes that the Christians who are being protected from persecution today may save Europe tomorrow. 

Victor Orbán, 56, gave a speech today in Budapest at the second International Conference on Christian Persecution.  

According to Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, Orbán stated: “I’m convinced that in order to save Europe, those who could provide us with the biggest help are those whom we’re helping right now. We’re sowing a seed, giving the persecuted what they need and getting back from them the Christian faith, love, and persistence.”

The Hungarian Prime Minister also explained that his country’s Christian identity obliges it to help other Christian communities. 

“Hungarians believe Christian values lead to peace and happiness, and this is why our Constitution states that protection of Christianity is an obligation for the Hungarian state,” he said.  

“It obligates us to protect Christian communities throughout the world suffering persecution.”

Orbán contrasted the large number of Christians among those who suffer for their faith with the indifference of most of Europe.

“Four out of five people persecuted for their faith are Christians and some 245 million Christians around the globe suffer extreme persecution,” he said.

“And yet Europe remains silent again and again!” he continued.

“European politicians seem paralyzed and unable to do anything, insisting that it is all a matter of generic ‘human rights.’”

The Hungarian Prime Minister argued that Christian persecution is not only an attack on people but on an entire culture, “including here in Europe.” This persecution is sometimes violent but sometimes more subtle, including “population exchange through mass migration, stigmatization, mockery, and the muzzle of political correctness.”

Orbán said also that Western Europe’s indiscriminate acceptance of mass migration is a “time bomb” for the future.

“Western Europe has already provided dozens of militants to the Islamic State, and uncontrolled immigration has produced a radical change in the demographics of the population,” he said. 

The Prime Minister said that the only solution is for Europe to discover its Christian roots and reaffirm its Christian identity.  

President Donald Trump of the United States sent a letter to the Conference saying that he is “gratified” that Hungary shares his country’s dedication to religious liberty. The cordial message was read aloud by his domestic policy advisor Joe Grogan. 

“The United States has always vehemently defended the unalienable right to live and worship freely according to one’s conscience and beliefs,” Trump wrote.  

“I am gratified that Hungary’s State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and the Hungary Helps Program share America’s conviction in defending and advancing religious liberty, and I thank them for convening this gathering,” he continued. 

“This conference is an important reminder that we all have a responsibility to safeguard this sacred fundamental right.” 

The “Hungary Helps” program was set up by Orbán’s government in 2017 to aid Christian communities that are suffering persecution. The Hungarian schemes rely on relationships between the Hungarian government and Christian communities themselves, bypassing such standard middlemen as the UN and large multinational NGOs. By April this year, the project had given the equivalent of $26,200,752 to Christians living and working in their home countries, which include five Middle Eastern and two sub-Saharan nations.

According to Thomas D. Williams of Breitbart, the Hungarian Prime Minister stressed the important role Christian Hungary has to play in the world.  

“Hungarians make up only 0.02 percent of the world’s population, so how much difference can it make? Is it worth it?” Orbán asked.

He answered his own question by reflecting on the 12 apostles who, though small in number, changed the world with the Good News. 

“Standing up for our persecuted brothers and sisters engenders courage in ourselves and others,” Orbán continued.

“When we raised Aid to Persecuted Christians to the level of a government ministry, who would have known how it would grow and influence others?” 

Prime Minister Orbán may have been referring to the United States’ decision to look to Hungary for inspiration in channelling aid to those who need it most. According to Devex, a news website “for the global development community,” the Hungarian projects served as a model for USAID’s new “Genocide and Persecution Response” initiative, which was announced in 2018.

According to Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, one problem with helping Christians is anti-Christian feeling in international bodies. 

“The Hungarian government rejects the approach that often appears on the part of the international community, according to which Christian phobia and any form of anti-Christian sentiment is acceptable,” Szijjártó told the Conference today.  

“Amid the current international political framework, it requires courage to openly talk about the fate of Christians, and those who accepted the invitation to attend this conference have also demonstrated extreme courage,” he continued. 

The Minister stated that during the past year 2,625 Christians have been wrongfully arrested  and that over 1,200 Christian churches across the world have been attacked. 

Szijjártó also criticized the UN Global Compact for Migration, saying that every country has the right not to be a source, transitional country, or object of migration.  

“Every country has the right to decide whether it wants to be one or neither of these, just as everyone also has the right to live in the land of their birth and to live a secure life there in their own homeland,” he declared. 

“This is the foundation on which the Hungarian government is building its policy when it supports Christian communities [abroad].” 

The International Conference on Christian Persecution began today and will end on November 28.

Featured Image
Seán Wright

News ,

Two UK political parties pledge to ‘decriminalise’ abortion if elected in December

Seán Wright
By

LONDON, United Kingdom, November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) - Two UK political parties, the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, announced plans to “decriminalise” and radically deregulate abortion in the United Kingdom should they win December’s General Election. 

The Liberal Democrat Manifesto pledges to “decriminalise abortion across the UK whilst retaining the existing 24-week limit”, and to “legislate for access to abortion facilities within Northern Ireland” (p 61). It contains 15 references to LGBT policies, including plans to teach about “LGBT+ relationships” in “Relationships and Sex Education” in schools (p 33).

The Labour manifesto pledges to “uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions”, and claims that “women in Northern Ireland should have access to abortions in Northern Ireland” (pp 48 and 83). It gives no indication of any time limits, and so could allow abortion up until birth. The Labour manifesto also includes 16 references to LGBT policies, and promises to “put LGBT+ equality at the heart of government” and to “provide sufficient funding for schools to deliver mandatory LGBT+ inclusive relationships and sex education” (p 69).

Abortion was illegal in Northern Ireland until it began to be introduced by the Conservative Government in July. Before this, women seeking abortions needed to travel to Great Britain.

Abortion is permitted in England under exceptions to earlier laws which make it a criminal offence. The Abortion Act 1967 allows abortions up to 24 weeks, providing it is carried out by a registered doctor, and that two doctors agree that the mother’s physical or mental health is at risk, or that the child will be seriously disabled.

Decriminalizing abortion means repealing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861), and the Infant Life Preservation Act (1929). As UK abortion regulations presume that abortion is a criminal offence, this would make the Abortion Act exceptions irrelevant and deregulate the industry. It would allow abortion-on-demand, in any place, for any reason, and without medical supervision. 

Right to Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson has called this “the most extreme abortion law in the world”.

Both manifestos refer to reproductive rights, but “there is no right to abortion in any human rights convention anywhere in the world”, says Michael Robinson, Director of Parliamentary Communications and Campaigns at the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). What is more, he says, the concept contradicts “the right, recognised in international law, of the unborn child to be protected by law”.

Robinson called decriminalization “the biggest expansion of abortion provision in over fifty years”, which would “leave women at the mercy of the for-profit abortion industry”. He believes that “online abortion pill businesses” - which allow abortions to take place without medical supervision - “are likely to proliferate under such a regime”. 

Right to Life UK has expressed fears that abortions could be carried out by nurses or indeed anyone, without a doctor present - despite the risks of abortion complications - and in mobile facilities or even schools. Decriminalization would also remove existing conscience protections for medical professionals and make it harder to convict people who have forced non-consensual abortions.

While the Liberal Democrats intend to retain the 24-week limit, they make even more radical pledges to “fund abortion clinics to provide their services free of charge to service users regardless of nationality or residency” (p61). 

Robinson responded to this, saying: “Abortion providers already receive millions of pounds for performing taxpayer funded abortions, so it is quite incredible that the Liberal Democrats are promising to fund abortions on women who might not even be eligible for genuine healthcare in this country. If no regard is given to nationality or residency, what is to stop women getting a cheap flight to end their baby’s life at the British taxpayer’s expense?”

The Liberal Democrats further intend to impose what SPUC has called “draconian censorship zones” around clinics and intend to “make intimidation or harassment of abortion service users and staff outside clinics, or on common transport routes […] illegal” (p 61). 

SPUC said that this will prevent people “offering help to women outside abortion clinics; women who might desperately want to keep their babies but feel they have no choice […] What is liberal or democratic about offering free abortions but denying these women any other help or choice?”

These manifesto pledges come as Labour Member of Parliament Diana Johnson recently tried to “hijack” debates regarding the Domestic Abuse Bill to propose a repeal of sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act. Her amendments would have deregulated abortion up to 28 weeks. Even pro-abortion MPs such as Maria Miller have said that “while there is a strong case for reform”, a bill on domestic abuse “is not the place to do it”. 

The Conservative Party manifesto was released on Sunday, November 24, 2019, and contained no references to abortion or “reproductive rights,” and two references to LGBT policies. However, in September 2019, the Conservative government of the UK also pledged to give £600 million of taxpayer funds to the UN for “family planning”, which includes abortions. 

The Brexit Party’s “Contract with the People” contains no reference to abortion or LGBT policies. They are not standing in seats won by the Conservatives in 2017.

Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

News ,

2020 Dem candidates endorse making abortion pills available over the counter

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – All of the candidates currently competing for next year’s Democrat presidential nomination have staked out uncompromisingly pro-abortion platforms, and several have gone so far as to support making abortion pills available without a prescription, according to a survey released Monday by The New York Times.

The survey sent a list of questions to every participant in the 2020 Democrat primary (though it predates the entry of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick). All responded except for Sen. Kamala Harris, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and John Delaney, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (whose positions were compiled from previous public statements). 

Most of the answers predictably affirmed that the candidates enthusiastically support protecting and expanding abortion-on-demand, though of particular interest were their answers to “Make misoprostol and mifepristone available over the counter?” Mifepristone (better known as RU-486) is the first half of a chemical or “medication” abortion, which is generally taken at an abortionist’s office, followed by taking a second pill, misoprostol, to expel an aborted baby at home.

The candidates who answered “yes” were Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, billionaire Tom Steyer, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, author Marianne Williamson, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak said they were “unsure,” and former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders declined to answer. Harris, Gabbard, Bullock, Castro, and Delaney’s positions are listed as “unclear.”

In lieu of a direct answer, Sanders sent a statement indicating he is “open to discussing ways to lower barriers of access for women to receive comprehensive reproductive care.”

Buttigieg elaborated on his affirmative answer in written remarks, declaring that before going through with the change the United States should lift the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) current “regulatory constraints limiting mifepristone’s distribution and prescription,” including “eliminating the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) warning that ignores decades of evidence indicating that these medications are safe.”

Buttigieg did call for “more research into the pros and cons and unintended consequences of its use in the context of the United States,” but the rest of his answer indicates that medical complications aren’t the cons he has in mind; rather, “the unintended consequence of setting people up for a criminal investigation or even jail.”

As the FDA has told organizations that offer abortion pills by mail, the REMS requirements ensure that providers can “assess the duration of the pregnancy accurately, diagnose ectopic pregnancies, and provide surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding, or to have made arrangements for others to provide such care;” give women “access to medical facilities for emergency care;” and more.

This, it explains, is important because mifepristone and misoprostol are “intended for a condition that is not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by a layperson,” so “adequate directions cannot be written such that a layperson can use the product safely for its intended use.”

Additionally, pro-lifers warn that even when “properly” taken, abortion pills are not only lethal to preborn children but more dangerous to women than advertised.

“As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal,” the FDA says, on top of 2,740 cases of severe complications from 2000 to 2012.

According to RealClearPolitics’ national polling average, Biden currently leads the Democrat field with 28.2 percent, followed by Sanders at 18.2 percent, Warren at 17.2 percent, Buttigieg at 9.6 percent, and everyone else below 4 percent.

Featured Image
Catholics pray the rosary on Saturday outside Brash Brewery, where a satanic black mass was to take place later in the evening. Karen Pomes
Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

News , , ,

200 Catholics pray the rosary outside brewery where satanists held ‘black mass’

Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas
Image
Image

HOUSTON, Texas, November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics prayed the rosary outside a brewery in Houston Saturday while Satanists held a sacrilegious black mass inside.

Catholic blogger Chris Walker told LifeSiteNews that approximately 200 Catholics including at least one priest prayed the rosary outside the craft brewery in the late afternoon, while a smaller group stayed on to midnight to make reparation and pray as the black mass took place. The Catholics came from at least five parishes in the Houston metro area and the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). 

The 50 tickets to the black mass were sold out by Friday. Organizers of the event promised that the Satanic Temple of Houston would hold its “first public ritual” in the region. Brash Brewery, where the event was hosted, was kicking off the release of its “Black Masses” beer. The black mass reportedly marked the end of an animal welfare campaign by the Houston satanists.

The black mass is a blasphemous mockery of Catholic liturgy and typically involves the desecration of a consecrated Host, which the Church teaches is the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.

Houston-area resident Karen Pomes told LifeSiteNews that upon arriving at the scene, she and others observed that a man dressed in black was riding a horse along the median dividing the street between the rosary group and the Brash Brewery. The rider waved a large black banner as he rode along the median until police arrived. He then retreated to an alley near the brewery. Pomes said that she later saw a woman and a child emerge from the brewery, while adults dressed in black shouted “Hail Satan!” and various epithets.

Those present at the rally recited the Prayer to St. Michael, which Pope Leo XIII called Catholics to pray after Mass. The prayer begs the archangel to defend Christians against the “wickedness and snares of the devil,” and to thrust into hell “Satan and all evil spirits.” 

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was offered at Regina Caeli parish of Houston, an apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), an order of priests who offer the Traditional Latin Mass. Fr. John Kodet, FSSP of Regina Caeli was among those at the rosary rally.

In an interview, Pomes said that she received harassing phone calls before the rally from people identifying themselves as Satanists.

On social media, Satanists mocked Catholics’ concerns over desecration of the Blessed Sacrament. One post by Satanists referred to the rosary rally as “hysteria.”

Some defenders of the Satanists claim that their black masses and other events, such as erecting statues of Baphomet – the goat-headed false deity adored by adherents of occult groups – in public places are merely satirical.

The Satanic Temple of Houston proclaimed on Facebook: “The consecrated host was defiled, destroyed, and swept into the trash where it belongs.” 

TFP spokesman John Ritchie told LifeSiteNews via email that a black mass is a “direct, deliberate and sinful act of hatred against God.” 

Far from being satirical, Ritchie wrote, “Satanism is about spiritual destruction, falsehood, and darkness. No amount of positive spin can change that reality.” 

Ritchie noted, moreover, “When we say ‘God bless America’ we really mean it. That means Satan is excluded, expelled, and not welcome. Because we will only prosper and flourish as a nation in the measure that we embrace truth, goodness and beauty.”  

“The Black Mass is an attempt to rip God out of the fabric of our nation,” he added.

Ritchie fears that public Satanism is on the rise in the U.S. “The Satanic Temple,” he wrote, “has promoted public Black Masses, Satanic invocations, gravesite desecrations, pro-abortion and pro-homosexual efforts, Satanism in public schools, and attempted to set up statues of the devil on state property.” 

“Society has two options: Truth or error. We can either stand with God or fall with Satan.”

The Satanic Temple is tax-exempt as a religious group in the U.S. The organization, which has chapters in more than a dozen states and Canada, is known for its abortion advocacy. 

Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

News ,

Twitter bans Project Veritas ads over old video exposing platform’s shadow-banning

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has banned the conservative investigative group Project Veritas from advertising on the social media platform, apparently in retaliation for a two-year-old investigation that implicated the social media platform in the controversial practice of “shadow-banning.”

Project Veritas president James O’Keefe explained the situation via Twitter on Monday, starting with footage from a 15-second ad that Twitter approved just weeks ago. The ad, which solicits applicants to work as undercover journalists, simply asks, “Go undercover? Wear a camera? Put on a wire? Do you have what it takes?”

However, days ago, Veritas received an email revealing the ad had been rejected for “inappropriate language.” The email identified nothing objectionable in the ad itself, but came with a link to a different two-year-old video that shows Twitter Trust & Safety policy manager Olinda Hassan saying “we’re trying to get the shitty people to not show up,” and contains former Twitter software engineer Abhinav Vadrevu admitting, “our strategy is to shadow ban so that you have ultimate control.”

Shadow-banning refers to the practice of preventing a user’s content from appearing in other users’ feeds, but giving the target no indication that his account has been flagged, restricted, or otherwise affected. Last year, Twitter came under fire over revelations that numerous prominent Republicans had been excluded from its drop-down menu meant to simplify searching for specific people (with the victims’ Democratic counterparts not being similarly affected).

“So you guessed it: a tweet about Twitter shadow-bans is the thing in the hundreds of videos that we’ve done, that Twitter is considering the reason why we shouldn’t be approved for Twitter Ads,” O’Keefe said, noting that the video has been quoted as evidence in Congressional hearings about social media bias.

O’Keefe then displayed a follow-up email from Twitter informing Veritas that the group had been deemed “ineligible to participate in Twitter Ads” entirely, on the basis of unspecified “inappropriate content.”

The incident is only the latest in a long series of examples fueling conservative suspicion of Twitter’s motives. The company defines “misgendering” someone as “hateful conduct,” yet has let stand violent and hateful tweets directed at conservatives. There has been a long series of bans and suspensions affecting non-violent, non-hateful, non-obscene tweets from right-of-center perspectives (including LifeSiteNews), and Twitter insiders have admitted to intentionally targeting conservative accounts and topics.

O’Keefe expressed confidence that Twitter’s apparent attempt to undermine Project Veritas would ultimately backfire. “So Twitter thinks they’re going to stop people from applying to work here, stop us from advertising, but this is all gonna blow up in their face and even more people are gonna apply,” he predicted.

Project Veritas’ undercover investigations have caught people within numerous organizations admitting to unflattering views or incriminating actions, or contradicting the public statements from those organizations. Past subjects include Google, CNN, ABC News, and the campaign office of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri).

Featured Image
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul

News ,

Louisiana AG: Abortion center broke the law, then tried to cover it up

Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Louisiana Department of Justice announced today that it has found evidence that a Baton Rouge abortion center repeatedly committed “criminal and professional misconduct” and then attempted to hide evidence of it from authorities.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry tweeted, “We have a legal obligation to report potentially criminal activity to law enforcement & licensing authorities. Shockingly, Hope Medical is refusing to unseal this evidence & permit us to carry out our legal duties.”

Hope Medical Group, the Baton Rouge based abortion center, currently has a number of lawsuits filed against Louisiana abortion regulations. In March 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in their challenge to a state law that requires doctors who commit abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

The Washington Times reports that “[w]hile declining to address specifics of the Hope case, the Louisiana attorney general’s office said the state’s abortion clinics have a disturbing pattern of failing to report rapes, and that a survey it conducted showed that between 2013 and 2018 at least 66 abortions were performed on girls 11, 12 or 13 years old. The ages indicate that the girls were survivors of rape.”

“It's time to shut down these brutal clinics,” tweeted Lila Rose, President and Founder of Live Action. In 2011, an undercover investigation by Live Action revealed the abortion industry’s willingness to cover up the sex trafficking of underage girls.

Landry’s official Department of Justice website states:

The information that was uncovered would normally lead the LADOJ to make a criminal referral. However, the presiding federal judge has sealed a large number of important documents and information regarding the case. The LADOJ is asking the appeals court to vacate that order.

The Hope Medical case at the Supreme Court could lead to an overturing of Roe v. Wade, meaning that states would then be free to decide their own abortion laws.

PETITION: Tell the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Sign the petition here.

Featured Image
David Daleiden American Life League
Charles LiMandri Charles LiMandri Follow Charles

Opinion ,

Landmark Daleiden case heads to federal court of appeals

Charles LiMandri Charles LiMandri Follow Charles
By Charles LiMandri

November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As lead trial counsel for the defense, many people have asked me what happened to bring about the recent jury verdict in favor of Planned Parenthood against David Daleiden and his co-defendants. Despite over three decades of trial experience, I can tell you that I have never seen anything like this mockery of a trial in San Francisco. Given the liberal venue purposely chosen by Planned Parenthood, we knew from the outset that it would be an uphill battle. It soon became obvious from the early rulings of the federal judge assigned to the case, an Obama appointee, that he was heavily favoring Planned Parenthood. We moved to disqualify the judge because he had ties to Planned Parenthood when he was in private practice and, even while this case was pending in his court, his wife had posted on Facebook that she supported Planned Parenthood. Our request was denied.

Many dozens of motions were filed in the case by both sides and Planned Parenthood won almost every one of them, regardless of the legal support in favor of the defendants’ position. In ruling on the pretrial motions, the court struck the defendants’ key defenses based on “public policy” (meaning there was an obvious public benefit in disclosing Planned Parenthood's heinous crimes); and the “unclean hands” defense (meaning that Planned Parenthood was responsible for bringing about their alleged damages because of their own wrongful acts). The judge also instructed the jury that the defendants had no First Amendment defense and that the truth of their undercover videos, which were at the center of the dispute, was irrelevant. The judge also refused to instruct the jury that the defendants were not responsible for the conduct of third parties who acted in response to learning of the plaintiffs’ wrongful acts. This was despite the fact that the plaintiffs admitted at trial that the incriminating words spoken by them on the videos were true and accurate.

The judge would not let the defendants show most of the compelling videos to the jury, and other videos were played in court without the sound. Therefore, the jury could not hear the words actually spoken by the plaintiffs that proved their guilt. Since the judge ruled that the truth of the videos did not matter, the defendants were not able to put forth their compelling evidence that the plaintiffs had been illegally selling fetal tissue and organs for profit. 

The defendants were also prohibited from informing the jury that the U.S. Senate had conducted a lengthy investigation, and had found Planned Parenthood had probably violated the law. For this reason, Congress referred Planned Parenthood and its third party brokers to the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI for further investigation and prosecution. Moreover, the defendants were not allowed to present evidence that Planned Parenthood’s broker-partners in Orange County, California had been prosecuted and convicted for selling baby body parts for huge profits.

Furthermore, the defendants were not permitted to call their designated expert witnesses to testify that Planned Parenthood was engaged in outrageous practices that violated medical standards. This included their using those third party brokers, who stood to profit greatly from the sale of the baby body parts, to obtain the consent from the pregnant women to donate their fetal tissue and organs. This was the case even though Planned Parenthood was previously forced to admit to Congress that they lied to those women on the consent forms about the kind of research they were going to do with the fetal tissue and organs. 

Moreover, no one told those women that although they were “donating” the fetal tissue and organs, the body parts were going to be sold by Planned Parenthood and their third party brokers for large profits. Nor did they tell those women that the abortionists would alter the abortion procedures to obtain more marketable body parts. They also did they not tell them that they would take steps that would make it highly probable that some babies would be born alive. In some of those cases, the babies’ still-beating hearts were removed from their bodies for experimentation. 

The defendants were entitled to defend against Planned Parenthood’s claims, based on the California recording law, on the grounds that they were seeking to prevent violent crimes against “persons” (i.e. born alive babies). Nonetheless, the judge repeatedly admonished the defense counsel to keep their evidence in that regard at a “high level.”  

By this he meant that we had to try to sanitize the evidence, thus preventing the true barbarity of the plaintiffs’ actions, in trading in human body parts from born alive babies (i.e. homicide), from being driven home to the jury. To top things off, the judge directed a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on their breach of contract and trespass claims. This alone virtually guaranteed that the plaintiffs would be the prevailing parties. Thus, everything about the trial, from first to last, was engineered by the judge to guarantee a verdict in favor of Planned Parenthood. As a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate, who has tried over 50 civil cases in multiple federal and state courts, I have never witnessed anything that approached the open bias that unfairly favored Planned Parenthood at this trial.

The repeated rulings in favor of the plaintiffs, on every major issue, particularly concerning the voluminous, one-sided jury instructions and verdict forms, made the trial a gross travesty of justice. The silver lining is that much good evidence of Planned Parenthood’s criminality was brought to light even though the judge ruled that it was irrelevant. And, significantly, we succeeded in laying the foundation for an excellent record on appeal. For that reason, the unjust result that the judge handed to Planned Parenthood on a platter should be reversed. The case is far from over and, given the importance of the First Amendment issues, it could very well be ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court. If this verdict were to stand, then undercover journalism will basically be over in this country. In that tragic event, lawless organizations like Planned Parenthood will continue to engage in illegal acts and lie about them with impunity – indeed, as they are presently doing in the wake of this charade of a trial. 

Charles LiMandri is the Chief Counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund which represented David Daleiden and various other defendants as lead counsel. He is Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and is a Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society acted as co-counsel for Daleiden.

Featured Image
U.S. Institute of Peace / Flickr
Fr. Gerald E. Murray

Opinion ,

Vatican must share the whole truth about McCarrick’s sex abuse crimes

Fr. Gerald E. Murray
By

November 26, 2019 (The Catholic Thing) — The news that the Holy See will publish the results of the internal investigation of files related to former cardinal Theodore McCarrick is welcome indeed. Cardinal Seán O'Malley informed the American bishops at their annual fall meeting that "[t]he intention is to publish the Holy See's response soon, if not before Christmas, soon in the New Year."

Recall that in October 2018, the Vatican announced that it would "in due course, make known the conclusions of the matter regarding Archbishop McCarrick. Moreover, with reference to other accusations brought against Archbishop McCarrick, the Holy Father has decided that information gathered during the preliminary investigation be combined with a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the Archives of the Dicasteries and Offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick, in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively."

The McCarrick case hangs over the Church like a poisonous cloud. When O'Malley was in Rome in October for the Ad Limina visit of the New England bishops, he told the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, that the Church in America wants to know how McCarrick "could become an archbishop and cardinal, who knew what and when."

As to the more than yearlong process, O'Malley commented: "The long wait has resulted in great frustration on the part of bishops and our people and, indeed, a harsh and even cynical interpretation of the seeming silence."

Propers to him for prompting the Holy See to act. He told the National Catholic Register that "he was shown a 'hefty document' which is being translated into Italian for a presentation to Pope Francis, with intended publication by early 2020."

We also await the publication of the reports of the dioceses where McCarrick served — New York, Metuchen, Newark, and Washington — which were sent to the Holy See. McCarrick's victims and the public-at-large deserve to see them.

In August 2018, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, then president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated that the USCCB would "pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick's conduct to the full extent of its authority; and where that authority finds its limits, the Conference will advocate with those who do have the authority. One way or the other, we are determined to find the truth in this matter."

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, is precisely what needs to be made known. Following the first accusations, a flood of other accusations and evidence against McCarrick has become public. Fr. Boniface Ramsey, a former professor at the Newark Archdiocese seminary, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former nuncio in Washington, and Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo, a former personal secretary to McCarrick, have all come forward with important information about McCarrick's moral turpitude and the extent to which that was known in Rome and among certain U.S. bishops.

James C. Grein, who was born in 1958 and was baptized by McCarrick, came forward in July 2018 to reveal to the New York Times a horrid, personal history of sexual abuse by McCarrick, beginning when Grein was 11 years old.

Grein filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New York in August of this year detailing multiple instances of abuse. The lawsuit also claims that "from about 1970 the then Archbishop of New York was aware of the then Monsignor McCarrick's special relationship with the then minor Plaintiff."

Grein's lawsuit further claims that in 1988, he told John Paul II about the abuse in Rome: "At that time, no action by the Catholic Church was taken against Archbishop McCarrick; nor was any effort made at that time by the Defendants or the Catholic Church to mitigate or otherwise address Plaintiff's injuries."

McCarrick presently lives as a guest at a Franciscan friary in Victoria, Kansas. He continues to assert his innocence. He told a reporter in September: "I'm not as bad as they paint me. I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of." In response to Grein's charge that he molested him during Confession: "I would never have done anything like that."

He does not "believe"; he "never would have done". If he did not do what he is charged with, he should have the courage to call all his accusers liars and sue them for defamation. Pretending that nothing really happened is one more instance of McCarrick's attempts to manipulate people and create false impressions. It's time to explode these monstrous pretensions and to make known the full story of who stood by and let this man pursue his evil course.

This spectacle of the former cardinal, defrocked by the Holy See for sexually molesting minors, calmly telling a reporter that he is not a bad guy, repeating his devious answers, demonstrates that the McCarrick matter is still a festering wound upon the Church. We await the truth about who knew what and when they knew it, and what they did or did not do about it.

There will likely be painful and shocking revelations. The Holy See acknowledged this in October 2018:

The Holy See is conscious that, from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were made that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues. However, as Pope Francis has said: 'We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead' (Philadelphia, 27 September 2015). Both abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated and a different treatment for Bishops who have committed or covered up abuse, in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

Blogs ,

‘HIV-phobia’: Gays shame people who refuse to sleep with HIV-positive partners

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The quickness with which the LGBT lobby went from “our marriages won’t affect you” to “bake the cake, bigot” shouldn’t have surprised anyone who was paying attention. Nor should the fact that erasing sex from marriage was just the first step in erasing sex entirely. Even so, it can sometimes be hard to appreciate the likelihood that there really is no limit to how much crazier they can get.

Earlier this month, David Hudson of the pro-LGBT site Queerty wrote an article lecturing other gay men for not wanting to go to bed with men they know are HIV-positive. Yes, really:

I don’t disagree that everyone should take responsibility for their own sexual health. My purpose in writing this is merely to ask you to give a thought to the potential consequences of your particular decisions.

If someone is HIV positive, knows their status, is on effective medication and has consistently had an undetectable viral load, they cannot pass on the virus. PrEP is also widely available in the US and several other countries to prevent people from acquiring HIV. And condoms are also, of course, widely available. ...

If you find yourself single and contemplating why, bear in mind it might be because you blocked ‘Mr Right’ when you read he was HIV positive on Grindr.

Of course, some will say, “My perfect man doesn’t HIV!”. Well, I hope you’re not too old before you realize: Nobody’s perfect.

There’s a lot to unpack here. For one thing, an undetectable viral load isn’t a permanent or perfect safeguard against STDs. For another, there’s the loaded premise that not wanting to expose oneself to a deadly disease is merely nitpicking, or that it’s irrational to have reservations about dating a carrier of something that’s primarily transmitted by irresponsible behavior. And all of this is against a backdrop that simply assumes the propriety of same-sex relations and extramarital sex.

But the biggest takeaway here is that this kind of thinking isn’t confined to the fever swamps of far-left blogs; it’s becoming mainstream in the Democrat Party.

Twenty-twenty presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Cory Booker have all endorsed repealing laws that require people with HIV to disclose their status to potential sexual partners. And the candidates who haven’t endorsed it aren’t lifting a finger to push back against it.

To put this in perspective, this is the same party that supports vaccinating children against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) regardless of their parents’ wishes. So sexually transmitted diseases are serious enough to prepare children for sex but not serious enough to dissuade adults from sex. Gee, it’s almost as if health is an afterthought, and there’s no consistent principle at work here beyond the encouragement of sexual activity.

Following the patterns established over the past decade, it’s only a matter of time before “HIV-phobia” becomes a mainstream talking point on the Left, and fearing exposure to a dangerous, life-altering disease becomes just as “bigoted” as following the Bible on homosexuality and biology on biological sex. By all appearances, mainstream national Democrats are prepared to follow along.

Featured Image
Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

Blogs ,

Debunking the myth that today’s Communion in the hand revives an ancient custom

Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

November 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Last week, on November 21, the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cardinal Müller and Cardinal Sarah were present at the abbey of Kloster Weltenburg in Bavaria for a pontifical Mass followed by the presentation of Cardinal Sarah’s latest book,  The Day Is Now Far Spent.

In his comments, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments returned to a favorite theme of many of his speeches and writings: the urgent need to recover a reverent manner of distributing and receiving Holy Communion. Like Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Sarah is a strong proponent of reception on the tongue by faithful who are kneeling. The consistent good example and lucid teaching on this matter from Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Arinze, Cardinal Cañizares, Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Sarah, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, among others, have led countless Catholics to return to the traditional manner of receiving Our Lord.

But what about the famous passage from St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Mystagogical Catecheses, used again and again to persuade Catholics that Communion in the hand is an ancient practice legitimately restored by the Church after the Second Vatican Council?

Coming up to receive, therefore, do not approach with your wrists extended or your fingers splayed, but making your left hand a throne for the right (for it is about to receive a King) and cupping your palm, so receive the Body of Christ; and answer: “Amen.” Carefully hallow your eyes by the touch of the sacred Body, and then partake, taking care to lose no part of It. Such a loss would be like a mutilation of your own body. Why, if you had been given gold-dust, would you not take the utmost care to hold it fast, not letting a grain slip through your fingers, lest you be by so much the poorer? How much more carefully, then, will you guard against losing so much as a crumb of that which is more precious than gold and precious stones![1]

We ought to note several things about this passage.

First, the extreme carefulness that St. Cyril demands of the one about to receive the Lord Himself, the King: not a speck of the consecrated bread should be lost — that would be like a mutilation of one’s body, a loss of something more precious than any created thing! It was, in fact, this very emphasis on the immense care to be taken toward the Eucharist, together with an ever deepening appreciation of the sheer magnitude of so divine a gift, that led the Church over time to abandon Communion in the hand and to prefer communion directly in the mouth. This is a primary example of organic development in the liturgy, which follows the implications of an original belief or attitude until the external expression most perfectly reflects and inculcates that belief or attitude. Conversely, the artificial return to a much earlier but long since discontinued practice — and one that now, suddenly appearing in a very different context, carries with it overtones of casualness and lack of faith in the Real Presence — is a primary example of the error of antiquarianism condemned in 1947 by Pius XII in Mediator Dei.

Second, if we look more carefully at what Cyril describes, and combine this passage with other hints from antiquity, we can see that even when Communion in the hand was practiced, it involved marks of reverence that (curiously?) never accompanied its re-invention in the late 1960s. In a forthcoming book, professor of Patristics Michael Fiedrowicz observes, concerning this passage:

It is significant that the Eucharist, laid on the right hand, is not then received by means of the less-valued left hand, but rather directly by the mouth. What appears at first glance to be communion in the hand reveals itself on closer examination to be communion in the mouth, with the right hand serving as a sort of paten. Bishop Cyril’s description shows that the attitude of the communicant is, then, not one of taking and capturing, but rather of reverent and humble reception, accompanied by a sign of adoration.

In his bestselling interview Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph over the Darkness of the Age, Bishop Athanasius Schneider — who, like Fiedrowicz, is a specialist in Patrology — goes into greater detail about the ancient ritual:

[T]he practice had a different form in ancient times than it does today: the Holy Eucharist was received on the palm of the right hand and the faithful were not allowed to touch the Holy Host with their fingers, but they had to bow down their head to the palm of the hand and take the Sacrament directly with their mouth, thus, in a position of a profound bow and not standing upright. The common practice today is to receive the Eucharist standing upright, taking it with the left hand. This is something which, symbolically, the Church Fathers would find horrific — how can the Holy of Holies be taken with the left hand? Then, today the faithful take and touch the Host directly with their fingers and then put the Host in the mouth: this gesture has never been known in the entire history of the Catholic Church but was invented by Calvin — not even by Martin Luther. The Lutherans have typically received the Eucharist kneeling and on the tongue, although of course they do not have the Real Presence because they do not have a valid priesthood. The Calvinists and other Protestant free churches, who do not believe at all in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, invented a rite which is void of almost all gestures of sacredness and of exterior adoration, i.e., receiving “Communion” standing upright, and touching the bread “host” with their fingers and putting it in their mouth in the way people treat ordinary bread. …

For them, this was just a symbol, so their exterior behavior towards Communion was similar to behavior towards a symbol. During the Second Vatican Council, Catholic Modernists — especially in the Netherlands — took this Calvinist Communion rite and wrongly attributed it to the Early Church, in order to spread it more easily throughout the Church. We have to dismantle this myth and these insidious tactics, which started in the Catholic Church more than fifty years ago, and which like an avalanche have now rolled through, crushing almost all Catholic churches in the entire world, with the exception of some Catholic countries in Eastern Europe and a few places in Asia and Africa. (223–24)

These words afford a backdrop for the disturbing admission made by one of Pope Paul VI’s closest friends, the eminent French philosopher Jean Guitton (1901–1999):

The intention of Pope Paul VI with regard to what is commonly called the [New Order of] Mass was to reform the Catholic liturgy in such a way that it should almost coincide with the Protestant liturgy. There was with Pope Paul VI an ecumenical intention to remove, or, at least to correct, or, at least to relax, what was too Catholic in the traditional sense in the Mass and, I repeat, to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist Mass.

As a result, says eminent liturgist Klaus Gamber, Catholics “are now breathing the thin air of Calvinistic sterility” (Reform of the Roman Liturgy, 5).

Moreover, as Bishop Schneider goes on to mention (and as he discusses at greater length in his book Dominus Est), in the early Church, a communion cloth was, at least in some places and times, laid over the hands of recipients so that they would not directly touch the Holy Sacrament and any fragments could be easily gathered. The Byzantine rite still utilizes such a cloth, held under the chins of those who are receiving in their mouths from a spoon handled by the priest. Some traditional parishes retain the use of a “houseling cloth” that covers the communion rail. While the invention of the handy communion paten renders the houseling cloth no longer necessary, traditional Catholic churches and chapels often retain it as an additional reminder of the sacredness of this Eucharistic banquet and a symbolic link between the people’s reception of the Lord and the cloth-covered altar of sacrifice on which the divine Victim has been offered. It underlines that they, like the priest, are partaking of a mystical sacrifice.

In short: The ancient record bears witness to beliefs and attitudes that would, over time, develop into the longstanding traditional communion praxis of both the Latin West and the Byzantine East. In the West, Communion on the tongue, kneeling, is the natural and suitable result of St. Cyril’s Eucharistic piety. The attempt to turn back the clock to antiquity — an antiquity, moreover, deceptively misrepresented and fictitiously reconstructed — is, in the end, nothing but a Trojan horse for Calvinistic sacramental theology.

What is at stake, therefore, is precisely those distinctively Catholic doctrines that a recent Pew Research survey indicates are rapidly eroding, even among those who still attend Mass. Cardinal Sarah, Bishop Schneider, and many others are pleading for a restoration of a traditional practice that emerged out of and reinforces the Catholic Faith. Will other Church leaders pay heed?

At the very least, right here and right now, every layman and laywoman can make a firm commitment, for the glory of God and the sanctification of their souls, always to receive Our Lord kneeling and on the tongue, at any and every Mass they attend, anywhere, at any time.


[1] Cyril of Jerusalem, Mystagogicae catecheses 5,21 (FC 7, 162 / The works of Cyril of Jerusalem, vol. 2, trans. by L.P. McCauley / A.A. Stephenson [The Fathers of the Church 64], 203).

View specific date
Print All Articles