All articles from November 27, 2019






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  • Nothing is published in The Pulse on November 27, 2019.


US fertility rate hits record low after fourth consecutive annual decline

It seems shifting cultural values have played a role in this.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 6:28 pm EST
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By Calvin Freiburger

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Fertility rates in the United States have been declining for years, and reached a record low in 2018, according to government statistics released Wednesday.

The National Center for Health Statistics announced that 2018 saw 59.1 births for every 1,000 American women of childbearing age, the New York Times reports, a drop of approximately 15% since 2007.

Birth rates are tied to a number of economic factors, including a country’s ability to replace retiring or dying workers and the size of a future tax base to fund government programs. Rates tend to drop with economic downturns and rise with growth, but the latter hasn’t been the case for the latest U.S. numbers.

That suggests that shifting cultural values play a bigger role than fiscal circumstances, fueled in part by the ubiquity of contraception and the idea that population reduction is necessary to combat climate change.

“It’s clear that the traditional age-fertility pattern that held for Baby Boomers and Gen X women is shifting,” Brookings Institution senior demographer William Frey told the Times, pointing to evidence that millennial women are waiting until later in life to marry and have children, particularly after obtaining college degrees and finding career success.

“Is it a permanent shift? We just don’t know yet,” said Johns Hopkins University demographer Professor Alison Gemmill. If so, there “might be implications for society at large, say for funding Social Security — but I don’t think we are there yet.”

Others argue the evidence already shows America is in a precarious situation. 

The annual rate of births per woman, which for 2018 was 59.1/1000, is known as the general fertility rate. A different metric, the total fertility rate, measures the likely number of children the average woman will have during her lifetime, if current fertility patterns hold.

“For 2018 the [total fertility rate, the number of children an average woman will have] stood at 1.73, according to a Pew study released in May,” Zachary Evans writes at National Review. “This means that women are having fewer than two children on average, below replacement level for the general population.”

“If birth rates continue to decline, and immigration drops off, the impact on the U.S. economy could be significant,” the Population Research Institute warns. “Economists estimate that as much as one third of economic growth is attributable to workers being added to the labor force every year. Low birth rates correspond to aging population. The U.S. is facing a substantial increase in its dependency ratio as the Baby Boomers retire, and working-age adults must replace the productivity thus lost and pay for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.”

  children, economics, fertility rates, national center for health statistics, population


‘Hell no’: Blogging priest Fr. Z urges Catholics not to leave Church over Pope Francis

Father John Zuhlsdorf reminds Catholics that 'popes come and popes go,' but don't turn away from the faith and endanger your soul.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 6:10 pm EST
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By Lianne Laurence

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Popular blogger Father John Zuhlsdorf bluntly told a reader considering leaving the Catholic Church because of Pope Francis that doing so could lead to his eternal damnation.

“No. And NO! And HELL NO!” the priest wrote on his Fr. Z blog.

And Zuhlsdorf was equally blunt that leaving the Catholic Church would be a failure of courage: “Fast. Give alms. Pray. But don’t be a coward,” he wrote.

“Look, friend, popes come and popes go,” explained Zuhlsdorf, who is based in Madison, Wisconsin. 

“Only one thing is clear about popes, and the Romans get this right: Muore un papa se ne fa un altro … A pope dies, you make another. We make another until Christ returns. Somehow that’s the way Church will always be even if we don’t like the choice.”

But the Holy Catholic Church is “indefectible” as well as infallible and authoritative, he said.

Moreover, as Vatican II document Lumen Gentium confirmed:

14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved (emphasis added).

The reader admitted “utterly” rejecting Pope Francis “as a false prophet of the devil” and that he -- or she -- could not “continue to acknowledge him during Mass.” Nor did attending the Latin Mass “alleviate my doubts,” he wrote.

“I am seriously considering heading to the Orthdox Church or finding a conservative evangelical church,” added the reader. 

Zuhlsdorf did not address criticisms of Pope Francis but reiterated that “the Petrine Ministry is part of the fabric of the Church as the Lord designed. Somehow, until the ending of the world, the Church – and hence the papacy – cannot fail, even though we don’t know how.”

“If we believe Christ’s promises – and I sure do – then we hold that the Church will not fail even to the end of the world when He returns to take all things to Himself and submit them to the Father,” he said.

But “as necessary as the papacy is, a pope is Christ’s VICAR, not Christ himself,” and it is “dangerous to place too much emphasis on any pope.”

Moreover, the reader might have to “completely tune out of the larger churchy news and put your nose to your personal grindstone and live your vocation well,” Zuhlsdorf pointed out.

Because what the reader needed to do was  “pick up your Cross and your sword and get your --- back to the lines,” the priest exhorted.

“These are hard times. Confusing. Fearful. Dangerous. But these are the times into which God called us to live. That means he offers us the graces we will need to live our vocations well,” Fr. Zuhlsdorf said.

“God didn’t call us into existence at random, but rather with a plan and a purpose for every one of us. He called YOU, friend, into this life HERE and NOW, not at some other time and place.  These are the circumstances of our lives. We are the soldiers of the Church Militant God wants NOW.” 

Read Fr. Z’s full column here.

  catholic, john zuhlsdorf, lumen gentium, pope francis


Utah announces ban on counseling minors with unwanted same-sex attractions

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert supports prohibiting 'reparative therapy,' which has helped individuals struggling with sexual identity.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 5:45 pm EST
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Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah.
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By Calvin Freiburger

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Utah will soon prohibit minors from receiving counseling for unwanted homosexual attraction, thanks to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s implementation of regulatory language that failed to make it through the House as legislation.

Herbert announced Tuesday evening that he is directing the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing and the Utah Department of Commerce to propose a rule based on language from HB 0399, KUTV reported. That bill defined as “unprofessional conduct” any treatment that “claims that therapy will result in a complete and permanent reversal in the patient or client's sexual orientation” or “asserts that a complete and permanent change in the patient or client's sexual orientation.”

The rule “will apply to all licensed therapists practicing in Utah," Herbert declared. “I have learned much through this process. The stories of youth who have endured these so-called therapies are heart rending, and I’m grateful that we have found a way forward that will ban conversion therapy forever in our state.”

The move unsurprisingly has the support of pro-LGBT groups such as Equality Utah, but the governor’s press release also touts the support of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which had opposed the legislative version of the ban as recently as October. Church lobbyist Marty Stephens is quoted in the press release as stating the church is grateful for unspecified “clarifications” in the latest rule.

Much of the debate over versions of HB 0399 hinged on the wording of previous versions. "We kept hearing from therapists and from attorneys in the state saying, 'We're very concerned about this because the language is so broad we're not sure what you're trying to prohibit,'" Republican state Rep. Karianne Lisonbee said in March.

Despite common left-wing insistence that so-called “conversion” therapy is junk science, there are studies and former homosexuals who attest to reparative therapy’s success in improving their lives, and say they want others currently struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction to have access to the same help overcoming it.

Regardless, the Utah rule will be published on December 15 with a 30-day public comment period, and could go into effect as early as January 22, 2020.

  conversion therapy, gary herbert, homosexuality, lgbt, reparative therapy, unwanted same-sex attraction, utah


Lesbian judge denied Communion tried to get priest removed as chaplain from Catholic lawyer’s group

Judge Smolenski has previously attempted to not only smear her priest as a bigot but has tried to get him removed as chaplain of a Catholic lawyer's group.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 4:28 pm EST
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By Stephen Kokx

PETITION: Stand with priest who refused Communion to lesbian 'married' judge. Click here.

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — LifeSite has learned that the lesbian judge currently orchestrating a coup against the Catholic priest who runs the parish she attends has previously attempted to not only smear him as a bigot but has tried to get him removed as chaplain of the Catholic Lawyers Association of Western Michigan. 

Judge Sara Smolenski is the chief judge of the Kent County District Court in Western Michigan. Earlier this week, Smolenski appeared on local NBC affiliate WOOD-TV 8 to complain about how Fr. Scott Nolan of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church refused to give her Holy Communion recently.

Although such pastoral matters are typically dealt with in private — and not aired on nightly news broadcasts — Smolenski told liberal reporter Barton Deiters that Fr. Nolan’s actions were “offensive” and that her faith is “a huge part of who I am.” 

Smolenski is currently “married” to another woman and has, in the past, “married” hundreds of homosexual couples herself. She said Nolan refused her Holy Communion because she was in violation of the Church’s teachings. Bishop David Walkowiak, head of the Grand Rapids Diocese, has expressed support for Nolan’s decision.

On October 11, 2019, Smolenski co-authored a letter addressed to the judges of West Michigan that accused Nolan of being discriminatory against homosexuals. The letter also encouraged them to not attend the Diocese of Grand Rapids’ annual Red Mass, which was coordinated by the Catholic Lawyers Association. Red Masses are liturgies the Catholic Church offers for lay Catholics who work in the legal field. 

In her letter, Smolenski drew attention to an incident where Fr. Nolan refused to give the Eucharist to what she called “two legally married women” who presented themselves for Holy Communion during Mass. Smolenski said Nolan’s decision was “hurtful and humiliating” and that it caused “much hardship at the parish and in the greater community.” Without proof, she alleged that he refused the women Communion “because they are gay.” 

A charitable reading of the situation might have been that Fr. Nolan refused them Communion because he thought or even knew they were active homosexuals. The Church teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and are one of the four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. Persons obstinately persisting in a public state of sin are not to be admitted to Communion, according to Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.

Smolenski further wrote that while Fr. Nolan has the right to “deny communion to those who are not in conformity with the teaching of the Church,” his behavior was unjust, against the teachings of Pope Francis, and not pastoral.

Smolenski and her co-authors, judge Patricia Gardner and judge T.J. Ackert, claimed that Fr. Nolan’s decision to deny Communion to homosexuals shows that he does not share in the values of the Catholic Lawyers Association. They noted that several judges in the area met with Fr. Nolan and urged him, unsuccessfully, to resign and for the Chaplaincy to be eliminated altogether. 

“We cannot in good conscience attend a service sponsored by an organization who supports a Chaplain who demeans citizens we are charged with protecting from discrimination and unfair treatment,” the judges stated.

Conservative commentator Rod Dreher, writing for The American Conservative, has said it is important for Catholics in Grand Rapids to express solidarity with Fr. Nolan. “The way the laity support him, or fail to support him, is going to be a teaching moment for all other Catholic priests thinking about whether or not to stand up to the demands of LGBT bullies and their allies.”


  bishop walkowiak, catholic, fr. scott nolan, grand rapids, judge smolenski, lgbt


New Jersey votes to give Planned Parenthood $9.5M after Trump defunding

The abortion giant will receive $9.5 million from the state.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 4:28 pm EST
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By Calvin Freiburger

TRENTON, New Jersey, November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The New Jersey Assembly voted 49-21 Monday to direct $9.5 million in taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood in the state for the express purpose of compensating for the money the abortion giant has lost due to the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule.

The administration finalized the rule in February, requiring “clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning” and bans “referral for abortion as a method of family planning.” It’s projected to cut almost $60 million from the $563.8 million Planned Parenthood received during the most recent fiscal year, provoking multiple lawsuits and leading the organization to withdraw from Title X rather than comply with the new conditions.

In New Jersey (one of the states suing the administration), Planned Parenthood was given most of the $8.9 million the state received in Title X funds last year, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, a loss that would be offset by the new legislation. “We cannot allow even one New Jerseyan to be denied care because of the Trump-Pence gag rule,” declared Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, vice president for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey.

If the Senate also passes the bill next month and Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy signs it into law, the $9.5 million would be added to almost $10.5 billion already allocated at the state level to the abortion giant, New Jersey 101.5 added.

Bill sponsor and Democrat Assemblyman Louis Greenwald insisted the money won’t go to funding abortions, but merely birth control (some of which functions abortively anyway). But pro-lifers note that any money abortion centers receive earmarked for non-abortion purposes enables them to devote more revenue from other sources to abortion.

“They turned down the funding,” said Republican Assemblyman Hal Wirths. “And we know this is all politics. Whatever D.C. does, Trenton has to do the opposite. We have to show the people that we’re in charge.”

“With so many budget issues in New Jersey and so many healthcare options with federally qualified healthcare centers, why must the largest, richest, wealthiest abortion provider in the world get a raise?” asked Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey advocacy director Shawn Hyland.

As of 2015, New Jersey had 130 federally-qualified health centers and rural health clinics compared with 26 Planned Parenthood locations. Title X funds would be redirect to those centers under the Trump rule.

  abortion, donald trump, new jersey, planned parenthood, protect life rule, taxpayer funding of abortion, title x


Bishop sides with priest who denied ‘married’ lesbian judge communion

Walkowiak expressed support for the priest who followed Church law.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 3:12 pm EST
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By Stephen Kokx

PETITION: Stand with priest who refused communion to lesbian 'married' judge. Click here.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop David Walkowiak of Grand Rapids, Michigan has expressed his support for Fr. Scott Nolan, the priest at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in his diocese who has come under fire after a lesbian judge complained to a local media outlet that he had refused her Holy Communion because she is "married" to a woman.

In his statement, Bishop Walkowiak thanked the judge, Sara Smolenski, chief judge of the Kent County District Court, for her "service to the community."

He also said "inclusion" and "acceptance" are hallmarks of the Catholic Church but that such principles presume "respect on the part of individuals for the teachings and practice of the wider Catholic community." He added that "no community of faith can sustain the public contradiction of its beliefs by its own members. This is especially so on matters as central to Catholic life as marriage."

Bishop Walkowiak recalled that mercy is essential to teaching the Gospel, "but so are humility and conversion on the part of anyone seeking to live an authentically Catholic Christian life."

Fr. Nolan's decision was approriate, he added.


We appreciate Judge Sara Smolenski’s service to the community. We are grateful for her past generosity. These facts are not at issue in this matter.

As Pope Francis explains in Amoris Laetitia, "The Eucharist demands that we be members of the one body of the Church. Those who approach the Body and Blood of Christ may not wound that same Body by creating scandalous distinctions and divisions among its members." (186) Lifelong Catholics would surely be aware of this.

Inclusion and acceptance have been a hallmark of Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Grand Rapids throughout the diocese’s history. They remain so. They presume, however, a respect on the part of individuals for the teachings and practice of the wider Catholic community. No community of faith can sustain the public contradiction of its beliefs by its own members. This is especially so on matters as central to Catholic life as marriage, which the Church has always held, and continues to hold, as a sacred covenant between one man and one woman.

Father Scott Nolan, pastor of St. Stephen Parish, has dedicated his priesthood to bringing people closer to Jesus Christ. Part of his duty in pursuing that end is to teach the truth as taught by the Catholic Church, and to help it take root and grow in his parish. Mercy is essential to that process, but so are humility and conversion on the part of anyone seeking to live an authentically Catholic Christian life.

Father Nolan approached Judge Smolenski privately. Subsequent media reports do not change the appropriateness of his action, which the diocese supports.

  bishop walkowiak, canon 915, catholic, fr. scott nolan, grand rapids, homosexuality, sara smolenski, scott nolan


WATCH: Toronto Catholic school board locks out priest, pro-family org trying to deliver petition

'In all my years at Campaign Life I’ve never been in a situation where citizens are not allowed to hand in petitions to their public officials.'
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 3:00 pm EST
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Fr. Claudio Piccinini talks with police officer in front of TCDSB Nov. 26, 2019.
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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Toronto Catholic District School Board locked the doors on a Catholic priest and two members of a pro-family group who were trying to deliver a petition Tuesday as part of a rally asking pro-LGBT trustee Maria Rizzo to resign.

The brief stand-off took place when Campaign Life Coalition representatives Matt Wojciechowski and David Cooke attempted to enter TCDSB headquarters with a petition signed by 2,286 people.

The men were stopped in their tracks by a security guard, while the locks on the doors audibly clicked shut. 

They then appealed for assistance to Passionist priest Fr. Claudio Piccinini, who was among the 40 people attending the noon rally, and who tried to enter the building to no avail.

“What crime have we committed?” Piccinini wondered aloud.

“In all my years at Campaign Life I’ve never been in a situation where citizens are not allowed to hand in petitions to their public officials,” observed Wojciechowski.

The impasse was solved when Rose MacDonald, manager of facilities, came out and offered to take the petition to the board’s director of education Rory McGuckin.

Campaign Life Coalition attempts to deliver petition to TCDSB on Nov. 26, 2019.

Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group, is asking Rizzo to resign over her push to add “gender identity” and “gender expression” as well as “family and marital status” as prohibited grounds for discrimination to the board’s code of conduct, which governs students and staff.

After months of often acrimonious debate, eight TCDSB trustees voted for the policy change on November 7, with four — Michael Del Grande, Teresa Lubinski, Garry Tanuan and Nancy Crawford — voting against.

Proponents of adding the terms argued the board had to follow a ministry directive mandating school boards to align their codes of conduct with the provincial and Ontario Human Rights Code.

Protesters in front of TCDSB building in Toronto, ON, demanding pro-LGBT trustee Maria Rizzo resign, Nov. 26, 2019.

Moreover, a TCDSB report appended to the agenda the night of the vote said the Toronto archdiocese approved adding the terms, provided these were interpreted through a “Catholic lens.” 

The archdiocese released a statement four days later conceding it recognized the terms were in the code, adding: “We do not accept the view of the human person which underlies this terminology, since that view is not compatible with our faith.”

Campaign Life along with Parents As First Educators (PAFE) and numerous delegations to the board argued that by adding the terms, the board is endorsing spurious gender theory in contradiction to Catholic teaching.

“Rizzo’s vocal promotion of the unscientific ideology of gender theory, culminating in the acceptance of ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ into the board’s Code of Conduct, has put youth at risk, and has undermined the constitutional right to keep Catholic schools Catholic,” said Cooke, Campaigns Manager for Campaign Life Coalition.

Protesters holding signs in front of TCDSB building in Toronto, ON, demanding pro-LGBT trustee Maria Rizzo resign, Nov. 26, 2019.

Fr. Piccinini said he came to the rally because “some of the things that are being decided upon are against our faith, and I think we have the right to speak up and say exactly what we feel as Catholics.”

Rally attendee Clare Kavanagh, one of ten children, told LifeSiteNews her father was a Catholic trustee, and she remembers waking him up from his nap after his long day at work so he could get to meetings.

Her father died at the relatively young age of 65 "partly because he took a lot of those responsibilities seriously, in protecting the faith of his family, his children and his grandchildren,” she said.

Catholic schools were “formed on the sweat and tears and money of earlier generations” and trustees should protect that “legacy of truth Jesus gave us, the truth of the Church,” Kavanagh noted.

Campaign Life Coalition rep David Cooke (center) delivers petition to Rose MacDonald (left), manager of TCDSB facilities in Toronto, ON, Nov. 26, 2019.

But Rizzo, and trustees who voted with her, are “caving in to secular values…Sometimes standing up for the truth is not an easy thing, especially when the society is caving in on moral values that Jesus has taught us, the truth about marriage, the truth about how He created us male and female.”

And when Kavanagh sent Rizzo an email expressing her views, the chair sent this “cease and desist” letter, which she also sent to others:

You have emailed me to engage in unwelcome and harassing communications regarding my role and responsibilities as a Trustee of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. You have insulted me, made hurtful remarks and have discredited and attacked my integrity with false statements. I oppose the content of your email. 

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. 

You will not receive any additional warnings. I shall consider taking any and all legal remedies available to rectify this situation. 

LifeSiteNews contacted Rizzo for comment on this letter, but received no response.

“It was a bullying, threatening, intimidating letter,” Kavanagh said. “Maria Rizzo is in a public position and this is input from the people who support that institution…so I was quite appalled.”

Another Catholic parent who received a “cease and desist” letter from Rizzo didn’t want her name published “because of fear of Maria Rizzo and the school board” and said she felt “upset and unnerved” and “extremely bullied and attacked,” by the missive.

“Indoctrinating” children in gender ideology when they do not have the emotional and psychological maturity to grasp such concepts is “bordering on child abuse,” the Catholic mother said. 

That was echoed by Lou Iacobelli, a retired Catholic principal.

“Gender is a made-up term,” he told the rally.

“It has nothing to do with the Catholic identity of a human being who was created male and female to love and serve God, and anybody who says different is playing politics with our children and grandchildren.”

Meanwhile, trustee Del Grande is under attack for facetiously proposing an admendment November 7 that the board add other sexual identities, such as pedophilia and bestiality, to the code of conduct to be truly inclusive. 

Del Grande is standing for chair of the TCDSB, one of the largest school boards in Canada, and the trustees will vote Thursday. 

He is running against Markus de Domenico, who said on the Campaign Life Coalition questionnaire he would oppose the teaching of gender ideology in Catholic schools, but who voted for the policy change. 

De Domenico also suggested the Church has changed her previous “judgmental” stand on homosexuality and transgenderism.

Contact information for TCDSB trustees for respectful communication:

Joseph Martino
Ward 1: Etobicoke
Phone: 416-512-3401
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Markus de Domenico
Ward 2: Etobicoke
Phone: 416-512-3402
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Ida Li Preti
Ward 3: North York

Phone: 416-512-3403
Phone: 416-222-8282 Ext.2660
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Teresa Lubinski
Ward 4: Parkdale-High Park, Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Phone: 416-512-3404
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Maria Rizzo
Ward 5: North York

Phone: 416-512-3405
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Frank D'Amico, CD
Ward 6: York
Phone: 416-512-3406
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Michael Del Grande
Ward 7: Scarborough/ North York

Phone: 416-512-3407
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Garry Tanuan
Ward 8: Scarborough

Phone: 416-512-3408
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Norm Di Pasquale
Ward 9: Toronto

Phone: 416-512-3409
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Daniel Di Giorgio
Ward 10: Toronto
Phone: 416-512-3410
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Angela Kennedy
Ward 11: East York/Toronto

Phone: 416-512-3411
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Nancy Crawford
Ward 12: Scarborough

Phone: 416-512-3412
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

  campaign life coalition, catholic, gender identity, maria rizzo, ontario, toronto catholic district school board


Chick-fil-A funded anti-Christian org that inspired shooter to target Family Research Council

Pro-family leaders are shocked that Chick-fil-A funded the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017, 5 years after the shooting.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 12:00 pm EST
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Floyd Corkins being led by Police away from Family Research Council headquarters in Washington D.C. after having shot a security guard, August 15, 2012.
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By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: Tell Chick-fil-A to reverse course – Don’t cave into anti-Christian LGBT agenda  Sign the petition here.

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-family advocates are responding with shock to the revelation that the ostensibly religious food chain Chick-fil-A has funded several organizations with anti-Christian values on life and sexuality, including the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). This comes as controversy grows over Chick-fil-A withdrawing its funding from Christian charities branded “anti-LGBT” by left-wing organizations.

For years, LGBT activists have attempted to brand Chick-fil-A as “hateful” due to CEO Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to same-sex “marriage” and the company’s past donations to social conservative groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. But while the company has no shortage of detractors in politics and media, the complaints fell on deaf ears among actual customers.

Nevertheless, the company announced earlier this month that it will stop donating to Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and the Paul Anderson Youth Home. These organizations have been attacked as “anti-LGBT” for taking traditional Biblical stances on homosexuality. Chick-fil-A says it wants to refocus its giving on the causes of education, homelessness, and hunger, through the organizations Junior Achievement USA and Covenant House, as well as to various community food banks.

“We don't want our intent and our work to be encumbered by someone else's politics or cultural war,” the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s Rodney Bullard said. “If something gets in the way of our mission, that is something that we are mindful of and cognizant of.”

However, as the Radiance Foundation’s Ryan Bomberger details, IRS forms reveal that Chick-fil-A has donated to several organizations on the other side of the culture war. These include the pro-abortion YWCA and Pace Center for Girls, the pro-LGBT Chris 180 and Junior Achievement, and the “progressive” New Leadership Council and Usher’s New Look.

But the most shocking revelation was a 2017 donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization dedicated to labeling mainstream Christian and/or conservative organizations—including Chick-fil-A itself—as “hate groups.” 

"Not only has Chick-fil-A abandoned donations to Christian groups including the Salvation Army, it has donated to one of the most extreme anti-Christian groups in America,” Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins said in a statement. “Anyone who opposes the SPLC, including many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and traditional conservatives, is slandered and slapped with the 'extremist' label or even worse, their 'hate group' designation.”

"Seven years ago, a shooter entered our building with the intent to murder as many people as possible and smear a Chick-fil-A sandwich in their faces,” Perkins continued, referencing the 2012 case of Floyd Lee Corkins II. “The gunman was enraged by the nationwide Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day held two weeks before and used the SPLC's 'hate map' to identify FRC as his target. Despite being seriously wounded, the FRC building manager, Leo Johnson, heroically stopped the gunman.”

“Dan Cathy, nor anyone with Chick-fil-A inquired about the well-being of Mr. Johnson or any of the FRC team members, but they made a donation to the SPLC which was linked in federal court to this act of domestic terrorism,” Perkins noted. “Chick-fil-A has seriously lost their way. It's time for Christians to find a fast food alternative to Chick-fil-A.”

On Tuesday, a coalition of conservative leaders wrote an open letter to Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy expressing how “tremendously disappointed” they are in the company. Signatories include United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Kenneth Blackwell, Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell, Heritage Foundation president Kay Cole James, Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver, Conservative HQ chairman Richard Viguerie, and many others.

"When you were under attack by the left in 2012, America's families stood with you," it notes. "We, the signers of this letter, stood with you, and many of us urged our supporters to do the same. We helped form long lines at your stores, stretching out the doors and around the buildings, in many cases.” But “your latest decisions to withdraw charitable giving to the Salvation Army and other Christian charities has betrayed the very people who stood with you.”

You have instead allied yourself with a bully-tactic leftist movement that will never be satisfied with your compromises,” the letter warns. “There is a growing list of American corporations that have discovered, with  each new compromise, leftists only become more emboldened in their attacks.”

  chick-fil-a, corporate pressure, family research council, homosexuality, left-wing hate, lgbt, southern poverty law center


Michigan Catholic priest denies Communion to local ‘married’ homosexual judge 

The Code of Canon Law says that those who are 'obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.'
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 10:01 am EST
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Judge Sara Smolenski Wood TV / screenshot
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

PETITION: Stand with priest who refused communion to lesbian 'married' judge. Click here.

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic priest in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, has reportedly denied Holy Communion to a county judge because of her having contracted a so-called “marriage” with another woman.

According to a report on the website Wood TV, Father Scott Nolan of St. Stephen Catholic Church recently contacted Judge Sara Smolenski by telephone to inform her that because of her “marriage” she could not receive Communion. Smolenski claims: “The way he said it was ‘because you’re married to Linda in the state of Michigan, you cannot accept [C]ommunion,’ that’s how he said it.”

Judge Smolenski has reportedly been “married” to another woman since 2016. She claims to have been a member of the parish for 62 years and the report states that she recently donated $7,000 to the parish building fund. According to the report some members of the parish support Fr. Nolan, while others are calling for him to be removed and are seeking a meeting with the local bishop.

“Smolenski[,] who has been on the bench for nearly 30 years, comes from a family of prominent community members, including her father who was also a district court judge, and her brother, a state appeals court judge,” the Wood TV report says.

LifeSiteNews is attempting to reach Fr. Nolan for an interview.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman for the procreation and education of children. The Church teaches that homosexual sexual acts are inherently gravely sinful.

With regards to the administering of Holy Communion, the law of the Catholic Church is made clear in Canon 915 of the 1973 Code of Canon Law. Those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” canon 915 says.

In March of this year, Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann gave public support to a priest of his diocese who refused to allow a couple in a homosexual “marriage” to enroll their child in a Catholic school. At the time he said “the decision of the same-sex couple to enter into marriage publicly contradicts Catholic moral teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual acts and is part of an effort to normalize immoral actions.”

In 2014, American Cardinal Raymond Burke answered questions on how a priest should proceed when he encounters a Catholic politician or other public figure presenting him or herself for Communion while at the same time publicly supporting abortion or homosexual “marriage.” 

Cardinal Burke said: “The exclusion of those who persist in manifest and grave sin, after having been duly admonished, from receiving Holy Communion is not a question of a punishment but of a discipline which respects the objective state of a person in the Church.” 

Cardinal Burke continued: “In the case of a politician or other public figure who acts against the moral law in a grave matter and yet presents himself to receive Holy Communion, the priest should admonish the person in question and then, if he or she persists in approaching to receive Holy Communion, the priest should refuse to give the Body of Christ to the person.”

Last month a Catholic priest in South Carolina refused Holy Communion to Joe Biden, former U.S. Vice-President and current Democratic presidential candidate, because of his public support for abortion on demand. Shortly afterwards, Biden – who has also officiated a same-sex “wedding” – claimed that he has never been denied Communion before and has even received Holy Communion from Pope Francis. Pope Francis has made no statement in response to Biden’s claim.

  bishop david walkowiak, bishop walkowiak, canon 915, catholic, fr. scott nolan, homosexuality, michigan, sara smolenski, scott nolan


The secret to how 40 Days for Life saved 16000 babies: prayer and fasting

David Bereit, the co-founder of 40 Days for Life, opens up about how prayer has guided the pro-life movement and saved lives.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 8:18 am EST
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LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with David Bereit, the co-founder of 40 Days for Life. 40 Days for Life is an international campaign that aims to end abortion through local prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses. 

The efforts of 40 Days for Life have saved 14,643 children’s lives, brought 177 workers out of the abortion industry, and closed 96 abortion centers. 

Van Maren speaks with Bereit about how he turned a protest outside of a single clinic into a worldwide movement and the role prayer played and plays in the pro-life movement.

Bereit shares the story of how he got involved in the pro-life movement thanks to his wife Margaret. When Planned Parenthood announced they were opening an abortion center in their hometown of College Station, Texas, Margaret reminded her husband that they would be “held accountable for what we do or don’t do.” 

At the first meeting he attended, Bereit was elected Chairman of the Coalition for Life, a volunteer position he held for several years. 

Bereit stepped down as the Chairman of the Coalition for Life as abortion numbers continued rising and volunteer numbers continued to fall. Bereit felt like he was “floundering.” It was the night that his departure was announced that Bereit felt a tug on his heart to recommit himself to the movement in an even greater manner. After speaking with his wife and pastor, Bereit left his job as a pharmaceutical representative and joined the Coalition full-time. 

Watch the full video:

After many years of success at the Coalition, Bereit again felt tugged to do more. After dedicating themselves to prayer, Bereit and his wife launched the first 40 Days for Life campaign. Over a thousand people got involved and local abortions were reduced by 28%! 

The success of the vigil took off like wildfire and spread throughout the state and the country, something Bereit and his wife never imagined or intended.  

“So, again, God uses these beautiful, humble beginnings. When the Holy Spirit moves, we need to be in tune to it and then we need to get on board.” 

As 40 Days for Life grew, abortion rates where there were vigils dropped, abortion centers shut down, and abortion workers left their jobs. The movement was taking off.  

Bereit shares some stories from his work that listeners truly wouldn’t believe, including the story of how a former church was turned into an abortion facility and then into a pregnancy center. Tune in to learn more about the founding of 40 Days for Life, to hear Bereit share inspiring, surreal stories about his journey, and to hear about the big plans Bereit has for integrating supporting families and the sanctity of marriage into the pro-life movement.  

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

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

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

Click here to watch Van Maren and Ahlquist discuss this incredible man’s life and written works. 

Listen to the full episode here: 


Pro-abortion Conservatives collude with Canada’s media to silence pro-life voters

Pro-life voters are expected to sit down and shut up in Canada's Conservative Party.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 8:54 pm EST
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Andrew Scheer.
Anthony Murdoch
By Anthony Murdoch

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In the weeks following Canada’s October 21 federal election, the socially liberal wing of the Conservative Party has joined ranks with liberal media to blame the party’s loss on its large and influential pro-life and pro-family base.

A stream of articles has come out claiming that leader Andrew Scheer’s failure to adequately distance himself from his past support for pro-life laws and opposition to same-sex “marriage” was a key factor in the party’s loss.

The most prominent name behind this bid to silence social conservatives is Peter MacKay, the former Conservative government minister and a leading candidate for future leader of the party. MacKay claimed that Scheer’s past social conservative actions on these issues “hung around [his] neck like a stinking albatross.”

Pro-life leaders are countering by arguing that the party needs to learn that it cannot win without energizing its social conservative wing — yet Scheer specifically chose to alienate them instead.

“Andrew Scheer and his advisors ran a blunderous campaign on many fronts,” writes Campaign Life Coalition in its election analysis. “He alienated and de-motivated a significant portion of the ‘small-c’ conservative base by copying Liberal policy positions, and giving the impression that the only constituency he was concerned about satisfying was the CBC.”

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

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

Jeff Gunnarson, Campaign Life’s national president, says that there have always been so-called “Red Tories” who want to steer the party sharply in the direction of the Liberal Party and muzzle any pro-life and pro-family voices.

“For sure there are those in the party and in mainstream media who are driving the narrative that it's time to close the chapter on abortion, same-sex ‘marriage’ and other relevant life and family issues so that the party can focus on the issues that are ‘important’ to Canadians and the Conservative Party can win only if they focus on such issues. To that end, the party has and will, under the current regime, preclude strong social conservatives (pro-lifers) from running as candidates and/or presenting pro-life, traditional family policies and legislation.

“It’s going to take double the effort to get people to get up against this Red Tory machine . … Pro-lifers need to say ‘Look, we’re not going to check our morals and principles at the door.  That’s just ridiculous.’ … That’s the work that’s ahead of us, is make sure, as we have had to always, that the social liberals do not take over the party, which would leave us party-less,” he added.

‘Stuck in the past’?

While the Conservative Party’s leadership tolerates members with pro-life and pro-family views, evidence of the betrayal of the social conservative voice was brewing before the election. Rumours are swirling, as reported by The Globe and Mail on October 10, that MacKay was discontent with party leadership and was eyeing the top spot.

Indeed, after the election, the “Red Tory” sentiment within the Conservative Party was seen in MacKay’s comments while speaking to a Wilson Centre think-tank panel in Washington, D.C. on October 30.

“What went wrong? Well, I’m going to be very honest with you,” MacKay said, according to the Canadian Press. “I think there was a number of issues that became very prevalent in this election that nobody other than the politicos wanted to talk about. People did not want to talk about women’s reproductive rights, and they didn’t want to talk about revisiting the issue of same-sex marriage.

“And yet that was thrust onto the agenda and hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like a stinking albatross, quite frankly, and he wasn’t able to deftly deal with those issues when opportunities arose.”

MacKay later seemed to back off somewhat, saying during an interview with CTV News published on November 11 that he will vote for Scheer as leader when the time comes.

On November 20, two former Conservative Party senior staffers and strategists echoed similar views, bluntly blaming the election loss on the party “being stuck in the past.”

“The fundamental problem is the Conservative Party’s lack of clarity on LGBTQ rights. Canadians expect their political leaders to share their values. Full stop,” argued Melissa Lantsman and Jamie Ellerton.

Scheer’s betrayal of pro-life base

Andrew Scheer, who served as speaker of the House of Commons during the Harper years from 2011 to 2015, won the final ballot of the Conservative leadership vote in May 2017 in large measure because social conservatives backed him over runner-up Maxime Bernier.

Yet he quickly made it known, and reiterated repeatedly, that if he became prime minister, he would  “oppose” all “measures or attempts” to open up the debate on abortion or, as he put it, “divisive social issues” such as homosexual “marriage.”

Beyond that, during the election campaign, he pledged not to touch any funds allocated to fund abortion in other nations, thereby advancing an even more liberal position than former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper. “We are not reopening this debate at any level,” Scheer said, adding that his party’s proposed foreign aid cuts would “not affect groups or programs going forward.”

During the nomination process, the party leadership actively took steps to silence some pro-life and pro-family voices. Christian psychotherapist Dr. Ann Gillies was abruptly told her nomination in the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound had been disallowed.

CLC analysis of 2019 federal election results suggested that candidates endorsed by the coalition with a green light (pro-life) had a significant advantage when compared to those who were given a red light (pro-abortion) or an amber light (caution). Their analysis showed that of a total of 67 Conservative candidates who earned their top green light rating, 46 won a seat and 21 did not, which equates to a 69-percent success rate. Conversely, of the 270 Conservatives who were given a red or amber light rating from CLC, a total of 75 won a seat and 195 did not, which equates to a success rate of 28 percent, a 41 percent differential.

“As far as Scheer goes...He is adrift, nobody wants him, nobody believes him. The right doesn’t believe him and the left do not believe in him.”

‘We can’t let them shut us out’

Garnett Genuis, the pro-life Member of Parliament for the Alberta riding of Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, who himself is a Catholic and has been in the news lately for defending Scheer and religious freedom (saying “anti-Catholic bigotry” was to blame for attacks on Scheer), was direct about his support for the pro-life voice within his party.

“If the Conservative Party were ever to exclude people with pro-life views, it would cease to be united. So I cannot imagine a scenario in which the party as presently constituted or under our current leadership would exclude pro-lifers,” Genuis told LifeSite.

He also seemed to admit that it’s no secret there are those within the party who want to silence the pro-life voice.

“However, I think a future scenario in which the Conservative Party divides along these lines is not outside the realm of possibility, especially with certain ambitious people already trying to use the leader’s pro-life views to undermine him. But radical moves to the right or the left would risk dividing our party and give Trudeau a free hand to pursue his agenda.”

Gunnarson feels that despite the fact that M.P. Genuis, as well as Scheer and others in the party,  are personally pro-life, the reality is, he thinks the party needs a real and robust pro-life leader if there is to be any hope. He also notes that the “Red Tories” in the party must be countered, as Canada needs a party to stand up to Justin Trudeau’s pro-abortion, anti-family agenda.

“It’s hard to say, and I think Garnett (Genuis) is a lot like Scheer, in my opinion, in the things that he has done and said. I would not encourage him; we would hope that there would be a stronger leader than him[.] ... Garnett is really good as an MP. He votes the right way on our issues in the House (he voted against a good pro-life resolution at the Halifax convention) but as it pertains to leadership, it appears he has been duped into believing that one must be silent on the idea of taking any action on legislation nor even speak about it publicly,” said Gunnarson.

Gunnarson added that what he feels is needed is for someone to proclaim boldly the truth about the absolute need and urgency to protect the unborn and that they should be more robust in their convictions. That starts with the proclamation that God is the ultimate authority.

“There is hope, despite what you hear in the mainstream media and from party executives. Pro-lifers and social conservatives are here to stay, and we will do whatever we can to keep our issues alive. Despite the forces against us,  pro-lifers will continue to be a presence, and that includes those candidates who will run for nomination in the party and win as we witnessed in this last election cycle.”

  abortion, andrew scheer, campaign life coalition, conservative party of canada, homosexuality, justin trudeau, social conservatives


These US Catholics responded to Church crisis by building shrine to Mary

Not to be overcome so easily by all the bad news in the Church, there’s one husband-and-wife team who decided there was something they could do.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 8:21 pm EST
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Steve Johnson
By Steve Johnson

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — There’s a lot of disheartening news being reported in Catholic media these days. There are stories about bishops more focused on political topics than on the salvation of their flock. There are reports about the Amazon Synod, which seems more focused on “mother earth” and Liberation Theology than Christ’s kingdom. Many Catholics who take their faith seriously feel frustrated that any possible redress is entirely out of their control. The Vatican, and even the U.S. bishops’ conference, seems to dismiss concerns voiced by the laity.

Not to be overcome so easily, there’s one husband-and-wife team who decided there was something they could do. Their plan didn’t involve using high tech and social media to defend the Faith (they don’t have Facebook or Twitter accounts) or even writing angry letters to the prelates. No, Jim and Lois McCormick decided to take a more direct and decisive action and plead to the person all good Catholics turn to in times of crisis. They turned to our Blessed Mother and called out to her in a very unique way.

The McCormicks (both 76 years old, but with more stamina than people half their age) are the architects of the grotto built to our Blessed Mother in Salem, South Dakota. Retired after a career as an Air Force fighter pilot and military wife and mother of seven children, they moved back home after having lived, as a military family, on bases all over the world. They built a custom home in Salem and helped out with the family farm but spent some of their time traveling and visiting their grown children and many grandchildren, who live in cities from coast to coast. In 2017, while passing through South Bend, Indiana, they came across a grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. In the parish of St. Stanislaus Church, not far from Notre Dame University, parishioners had built a replica of the original grotto in France, which Jim and Lois greatly admired. After returning home, they asked Fr. Martin Lawrence, pastor at St. Mary’s, if he would approve the construction of a similar stone grotto, on church grounds, as a way to honor the patroness of the church. Father Lawrence embraced the idea, so the McCormicks sat down with paper and pen and started mapping out the project plan.

St. Mary’s had an empty plot of land donated to the parish some 16 years previously, directly across from the Church entrance and school. This seemed to be an ideal location for the grotto. With a location chosen and a project plan, the next question was, where to find the materials and the laborers? Spring and summer are planting season in the Midwest, and farmers don’t have a lot of leisure time. Undeterred, Jim and Lois approached fellow parishioners and the Knights of Columbus for assistance. After all, this project was going to require a lot of sweat equity — a task that would take literally thousands of man-hours of construction to complete. The work would be done not by a construction crew, but by volunteers led by Jim and Lois themselves.

As scandal after scandal made the headlines in Catholic media, the McCormicks, aided by the Knights and others, continued their labor of love, as an offering to the Blessed Mother who appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 and called herself “the Immaculate Conception.” The Salem grotto stones were donated by local farmers (many came from the McCormick farm in nearby Bridgewater), and a steel grain bin sliced in half was bolted down and used as the undercarriage, or framework, for the structure. Hundreds of bags of mortar were mixed and used to cement thousands of large stones placed up and over the arch, each positioned meticulously by hand, then mortared in place. Through the hot and humid South Dakotan summers, the team worked whenever weather permitted (rains made the work site so muddy that progress was delayed). When the first snows arrived in the fall of 2018, it became necessary to place everything on hold until the springtime thaw.

When the weather was too cold or wet to work, Jim and Lois were ordering supplies, negotiating to get city permits, recruiting more volunteers and managing the shipment of the marble statues from overseas. In springtime 2019, with the grotto less than half completed, they began again with renewed vigor. As the grotto grew to 8, 12, and eventually 14 feet tall at the peak and 60 feet long, the stonework and placement became more difficult and dangerous. Yet throughout the project, none of the laborers was injured. Through the summer, there was hope of having the structure completed for a dedication ceremony in October, but heavy summer rainstorms made that increasingly questionable. When weather permitted, ten-hour work days were necessary just to get caught up. Curious Salem residents would drive by and stop to survey the progress, probably wondering what these people were building with all that field stone. Supporters would drop by with treats and cold drinks for the workers.

Almost miraculously, in the final few weeks of September, everything came together. The final rocks were placed, a stained glass window installed, concrete sidewalks poured, curbs were set, and trees were planted. On Monday, October 7, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Father Lawrence along with Monsignor Mangan and Father DeWayne Kayser, all from the Diocese of Sioux Falls, conducted the dedication ceremony, which included a morning Mass, a day of Adoration followed by Benediction, and finally the dedication of the grotto itself. Over 150 parishioners processed from the church to the grotto that evening in a candlelight procession. The McCormicks, Father Lawrence, and all the volunteers felt blessed to have played a part in the building of such a religious destination.

So never say, “There is nothing we can do in this time of crisis in the Church.” Pick up a shovel, a hammer, or a trowel and build something for Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. As the McCormicks did, you can show those around you that there are many ways to fight back against the “culture of death” and defend the One True Faith. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception will certainly heed your cries for assistance!

Editor’s note: Steve Johnson is a volunteer who helped with the construction of the grotto dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The grotto was completed in October in the city of Salem, South Dakota.

Beautiful fall day in South Dakota, preparing for the Grotto Dedication
Grotto Viewed from behind with St. Mary’s Church in the background. Come springtime there will be some beautiful green grass to picnic on!
Father Lawrence elevates the monstrance during benediction prior to the dedication procession to the grotto
Father Lawrence leads candlelight process from St. Mary’s to the grotto
Prayers at the foot of the altar prior to the procession
150 people attend the candlelight procession as Father Lawrence dedicates the grotto.
Father Lawrence prays as Monsignor Mangan and Father Kayser assist.
Designer and builder Jim McCormick mixes another batch of mortar for the next row of stone
Architects (and devout Catholics) Jim and Lois McCormick, children and grandchildren
The McCormick’s talk about their ‘labor of love’ grotto to the Immaculate Conception
Grotto builder Jim and helper Steve Johnson making progress, one stone on top of another
One week before the dedication and counting, Jim seals the concrete walkway and stone work

* * *

  good news, our lady of lourdes, sex abuse crisis, sioux falls, south dakota


Remembering when Christian cavalry smashed the Muslim army and saved Europe

In July of 1683, the Ottomans arrived to lay siege to Vienna. The final battle, a chaotic, bloody affair, began on September 11.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 7:50 pm EST
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zef art /
Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

November 27, 2019 (The Bridgehead) — Europe is filled with great Gothic churches, but for me Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral has always been one of the greatest. Not because her soaring bell tower and serrated steeples are so much more beautiful than those of other cities, but because it was St. Stephen's that presided over some of Europe's most consequential battles, when the forces of Islam rode up to Vienna to smash through into Europe and do to her great cathedrals what they did to Constantinople's Hagia Sophia. I had the opportunity not only to explore the church earlier this year (Mozart's funeral was held here, and the bones of St. Valentine are kept in a chest in one of the chapels), but to give a brief speech on a stage in front of the church for the Austrian March for Life.

The Ottomans thought St. Stephen's was a prize, too, and when they laid siege to Vienna in 1529, Sultan Suleiman I (the Magnificent) was riding high. He had been racking up victories across the continent, and decided that the first great conquest that would lead to his domination of Europe would be the magnificent city of Vienna. He boasted that he would be having breakfast in St. Stephen's Cathedral within two weeks of the siege. When the date came and went, Vienna's defenders, a coalition that included German Landsknechts, Spanish Musketeers, and Italian mercenaries, both Catholic and Protestant, sent the sultan a message to let him know that his breakfast was getting cold. Fierce defenders and savage weather eventually drove the Ottomans back, and Christian Europe, for the time being, was safe.

In July of 1683, the Ottomans decided to try again, this time under the ambitious leadership of "Black" Mustafa, the Empire's grand vizier. They arrived to lay siege to the city, demanding surrender. Count Ernst Rudiger von Starhemberg, the commander of Vienna's garrison, scorned the ultimatum: "Let them come; I'll fight to the last drop of blood." As the siege dragged on and hunger and exhaustion began to fell the city's inhabitants, it began to look as if the defenders might have to do just that. Frantic pleas for assistance were sent out to the leaders of Christian Europe, calling for men and arms to repel the invaders. The calls were heeded, and a massive relief force made up of soldiers from Saxony, Baden, Franconia, Bavaria, Swabia, and Poland began to move towards Vienna.

The battle, a chaotic, bloody affair, began on September 11, 1683 — but there is one moment that stands out, immortalized against the backdrop of an epic struggle between civilizations. As Black Mustafa and the Turks tried desperately to force their way into the city before the relief troops could swing the advantage to the defenders, the Polish King Jan Sobieski emerged from the forests on the hills above the Ottoman attackers. At 6 PM, at his command, an awe-inspiring cavalry charge plunged over the crests of the hills and pounded towards the invaders, a magnificent force of 18,000 horsemen. The Polish king, at the head of 3,000 heavy lancers known to history as the Winged Hussars, led the charge. These knights were named for the wings of birds of prey attached to the backs of their armour, which streamed behind them in the wind and made them resemble a cloud of avenging angels.

The Winged Hussars and the thousands of cavalrymen that followed them smashed into the Ottomans, trampling many of them to death. By the time the horsemen hammered down the hill, many of them were simply riding too fast to stop, and they cut through the enemy troops like a battering-ram of horse, man, and steel. The charge proved to be the fatal blow to the Ottoman siege, and the battle to save Vienna was won within three hours. With the battle in hand and Vienna saved from the forces of Islam once again, King Jan Sobieski sat down in his tent to write a letter to his adored wife, something he did nearly every day when he was forced to be away from her.

There is an interesting cultural footnote to all of this. Most people do not know that J.R.R. Tolkien's famous Battle of Pelennor Fields, the struggle for the city of Minas Tirith between the soldiers of Gondor and the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron recounted in The Return of the King, is actually based on the charge of King Jan Sobieski and his Winged Hussars. Tolkien sets the scene with chilling foreboding: "It was dark and dim all day. From the sunless dawn until evening the heavy shadow had deepened, and all hearts were oppressed. Far above a great cloud streamed slowly westward from the Black Land, devouring light, borne upon war; but below the air was still and breathless, as if all the Vale of Anduin waited for the onset of a ruinous storm."

As the battle began in earnest, King Theoden emerges from the forest ahead of his cavalry, the fearsome Rohirrim. As he contemplates the destruction of the city, the king hears a booming sound from Minas Tirith, and suddenly stands erect: "Tall and proud he seemed again; and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had ever heard a mortal man achieve before:

Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!
Fell deeds awake, fire and slaughter!
spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!

"With that, he seized a great horn from Guthláf his banner-bearer, and he blew such a blast upon it that it burst asunder. And straightway all the horns in the host were lifted up in music, and the blowing of the horns of Rohan in that hour was like a storm upon the plain and a thunder in the mountains."

Walking through Vienna last month, I stumbled across an iron plaque with Jan Sobieski's visage peering out from it near the Hapsburg palaces bolted to a wall, cloaked in regal finery and sporting an impressive moustache. The plaque had been placed there in September of 1983 — I couldn't read the inscription on it — but someone had very recently placed a ribboned wreath beneath it to commemorate what the Polish king had done for Vienna, and for civilization itself, all those years ago. For some reason, seeing the wreath cheered me up. Perhaps it is because it is encouraging to see that a few people still remember their history, and still take the time to honor those who took the weight of civilization on their shoulders when everything hung in the balance.

Published with permission from The Bridgehead.

  catholic, catholic history, islam, jan sobieski, jihad, siege of vienna


Toronto’s Catholic schools bow to the Rainbow Mafia

The real issue involves the political aims of the LGBTQ group, whose aims go far beyond mere acceptance.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 7:33 pm EST
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Donald DeMarco, Ph.D.
By Donald DeMarco Ph.D.

November 27, 2019 (Crisis) — On the night of November 8, 2019, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, after a long and heated debate, voted to adopt four gender terms into its code of conduct: "gender identity," "gender expression," "family status," and "marriage status". The chairman of the board, who supported the 8 to 4 vote, stated that "we need to celebrate our differences and make sure our children from the LGBTQ community and families from the LGBTQ community are supported and welcomed". This view, however, is contrary to that of the archdiocese, which responded: "We do not accept the view of the human person which underlies this terminology, since that view is not compatible with our faith."

This is a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Students at Catholic schools are equally protected by law and school policy from unjust discrimination, ridicule, and assault and battery. Since everyone is equally protected, there is no need to give special attention to any specific group. Bullying is, fundamentally, indiscriminate. Students are better protected by the enforcement of the regulations that are already in the book, and not by the school adding controversial terms to its code of conduct. Here, the responsibility lies with the administration and its teachers.

In addition, there is no such group as the "LGBTQ," let alone the nonsense that they live in a "community". This fabrication even lacks logical cohesion: bisexual implies the reality of two different sexes, while transgendered persons often deny that there are two sexes, and even deny that any particular sex is enduring. Moreover, the notion of "queer" is unintelligible to most people. Where is the NDDKO (Nerds, Dweebs, Dummies, Klutzes, and Oafs) community? It is well known that such individuals are often the prey to bullies. When will the Catholic School Board address their plight?

The real issue involves the political aims of the LGBTQ group, whose aims go far beyond mere acceptance, which they've achieved already and then some. As a political faction, they will not stop at anything short of ridding others — especially Christians — of any moral objection to their practices. They have vandalized Chick-fil-A restaurants and forced one to close before the fast food chain decided this week to cease donating to Christian charities. They have driven bakeries and wedding photographers out of business; they have brought lawsuits against the Knights of Columbus. And all because they cannot tolerate anyone who defends traditional marriage. This is why the appellation "LGBT mafia" has been coined: this sordid consortium has shown its true colors, and they are not to be found anywhere in the rainbow.

* * *

A mother of two who identifies as a Catholic strongly supports the Catholic School Board's decision. In an op-ed for the Toronto Star, she states that all schools should prioritize "the safety of LGBTQ students or of [sic] students who come from queer families". Of course, that sounds like preferential treatment — if not prejudice. The author does not seem to consider the vastly greater and more prevalent needs of Catholic families seeking to teach their children the Catholic faith in authentically Catholic environs.

Catholic teachers in Toronto who oppose the Board's decision are rightly wary of what the future holds for them and their students. It has been well documented that the Catholic positions concerning homosexual sex and same-sex marriage have been targeted by the LGBTQ not only as "offensive" but as constituting "hate speech." In the unnecessary attempt to be more "inclusive," Catholic teaching is in danger of being excluded. If the "offensive" and the "hateful" are removed from the curriculum, Catholic education will suffer a mortal blow. It is a case of stretching the rubber band until it breaks. The old bromide comes into view: "give a person an inch and he thinks he's a ruler".

In another Catholic school district — Ontario — a workshop is scheduled for December 6, 2019. One of the speakers is a certain Kevin Weldes Godin, an advocate for LGBTQ-inclusive education. He will be presenting to Catholic teachers — on their day of spiritual development — his view on gender and sexuality. Another workshop is entitled, "Equity: Building Capacity for LGBTQI2S+ Students." Also on the program are activists from a company called "unlearn.", which promotes the notion of multiple genders and the idea that white children are bigoted against other races due to an "unconscious bias."

Catholic education should be Catholic. The secular world can be enticing, but Catholicism has something better to offer. Curiosity can be a dangerous temptation — Josef Pieper has referred to the vice of curiosity as "the roaming unrest of spirit." Catholicism should not, as Jacques Maritain warned, find itself "kneeling before the world."

Published with permission from Crisis Magazine.

  archdiocese of toronto, bullying, catholic, homosexuality, lgbt tyranny, religious freedom, toronto, toronto catholic district school board


A first: W.Va. bishop imposes strong sanctions on his predecessor for abuses of office

These penalties, Bishop Mark Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston said, are a matter of 'restorative justice.'
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 7:16 pm EST
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Bishop Mark Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va. OfficialDWC / YouTube
Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

November 27, 2019 ( — One more reason to give thanks...

Please understand the significance of this this news story. For the first time, an American bishop has denounced his predecessor for gross misconduct, demanded an apology, and sought restitution for victims from the offending prelate.

Bishop Mark Brennan of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, wants the previous leader of that diocese, Bishop Michael Bransfield, to pay back nearly $800,000 of the diocesan funds that had maintained him in a life of luxury. Bishop Brennan also said that Bransfield will lose his retirement benefits, and his right to be buried in a diocesan cemetery.

These penalties, Bishop Brennan said, are a matter of "restorative justice." But more than that: "It is also for his own spiritual good and his own healing as a man who professes to follow Christ."

Over the past two decades, dozens of American bishops have been shown guilty of gross negligence and/or personal misconduct. But in case after case, a prelate who resigned in disgrace has been treated with elaborate courtesy by his colleagues and especially by his successors.

Was Archbishop Rembert Weakland required to pay back the $450,000 he paid in hush money to a former lover? No.

Was Bishop Robert Lynch asked to help the diocese pay $100,000 in "severance" to an aide who complained of sexual harassment? No.

Were Bishops Anthony O'Connell, Lawrence Welsh, Daniel Ryan, Thomas Dupre, Joseph Ferrario, and Louis Gelineau directed to issue public apologies, or deprived of retirement benefits, or excluded from diocesan cemeteries? Guess again.

For that matter, were any bishops expected to help foot the bill for the thousands of dollars in legal fees that they racked up defending themselves against civil and criminal charges? No.

Once, back in 2013, I rejoiced when Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles announced that, after reading accounts of how his predecessor had handled abuse complaints, he "informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties." At the time I wrote:

Now at last — a decade overdue, but better late than never — we have the first clear public example of fraternal correction. One prelate has held another to account.

Unfortunately, I was celebrating too soon. Cardinal Mahony apparently sought, and received, help from friends in Rome to overturn Archbishop Gomez' decision. Although no public announcement was issued, in fact Cardinal Mahony continued to exercise public office. Last year he served as the Pope's honorary representative at 150th-anniversary celebrations for the Scranton diocese. Meanwhile Archbishop Gomez — the head of the largest archdiocese in the US, and now the president of the US bishops' conference — is still waiting to receive a red hat.

But now Bishop Brennan has passed judgment on his predecessor. More important, perhaps, he has done so with the permission of — in fact at the request of — the Vatican. Most important of all, in doing so he has shown a pastor's concern both for the bishop and for his victims — a recognition that the bishop must atone for his scandalous conduct, for the welfare of the Church and the salvation of his soul.

For that breakthrough — for a bishop's forthright avowal that he must express public abhorrence for his predecessor's behavior, for a bishop's display that he is and should be angered by a colleague's betrayal — I'm giving thanks.

Published with permission from

  catholic, diocese of wheeling-charleston, mark brennan, michael bransfield, west virginia


New Dem 2020 candidate Bloomberg: Violently pro-abortion, anti–religious freedom

On two key social issues — abortion and religious liberty — the presidential candidate was a total bomb as mayor of New York City.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 10:26 am EST
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Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City. Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Bill Donohue
By Bill Donohue

November 27, 2019 (Catholic League) — It was New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who turned New York around after the disastrous administration of his predecessor, David Dinkins, and it is a credit to Michael Bloomberg that he continued the quality of life improvements instituted by Giuliani. But on two key social issues — abortion and religious liberty — the presidential candidate was a total bomb.

Bloomberg is one of the most radical pro-abortion politicians in American history. When he first ran for mayor of New York in 2001, he pledged to force everyone training to become an obstetrician or a gynecologist in a city hospital to learn how to perform an abortion. It was NARAL's New York City office that pushed him to accept this outrageous policy. Bloomberg issued an executive order on this issue, but in the end he allowed for moral and religious exemptions.

In 2012, the Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood. The pushback from the pro-abortion community was severe, and three days later it reversed its decision. But in that short interim, Bloomberg was so angry with what happened that he personally donated $250,000 to Planned Parenthood. The previous year he came to bat for Planned Parenthood when Congress considered cutting $75 million.

Bloomberg's passion for abortion allowed him to appropriate $15 million from a civic facility revenue bond transaction that benefited Planned Parenthood. In 2012, the proceeds of the bond were used to finance the renovation of 104,000 square feet of space in the building that housed the abortion giant, supplying it with equipment and furnishing. The new national headquarters was publicly funded even though the Planned Parenthood Federation of America posted a budget of over $1 billion in 2009–2010.

On religious liberty issues, Bloomberg's record was similarly awful.

He did not endear himself to Irish Catholics in 2005 when he said he wanted to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade so he could pressure the organizers to allow homosexuals to march under their own banner. His press secretary explained his boss' reasoning by saying, "The mayor believes the best way to change an organization is to do so from within." So here we had an agent of the state — the chief executive of New York City — injecting himself into a religious event so he could promote a secular agenda that would undermine its cause.

The courts have long ruled that religious groups have a right to use public facilities, yet Bloomberg denied the right of an inner-city Christian church to hold religious services in a public school on Sundays, setting up a court challenge. He lost in federal district court in 2005, but his censorial effort was not lost on supporters of the Bronx Household of Faith.

Sometimes Bloomberg acts cowardly when confronted with religious liberty issues. He did so in 2007 when a midtown hotel agreed to display in its store-front window a 6-foot, 200-pound anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus during Holy Week. The Catholic League protested and public opinion forced the hotel to shut down the exhibit. But the best Bloomberg could do was to say the display should be ignored.

He was similarly agnostic when the owner of the Empire State Building refused to illuminate the building in blue-and-white to honor the centenary of Mother Teresa's birthday in 2010. The Catholic League assembled 3,500 protesters in the street outside the iconic building — the owner had previously recognized the 60th anniversary of Red China's genocidal regime — but Bloomberg did not want to get involved. He simply said that the owner should "be consistent."

In 2011, the Staten Island Ferry Terminals were bereft of holiday displays. Not only were religious symbols such as nativity scenes and menorahs banned, but Bloomberg approved the censoring of secular displays, such as Christmas trees, as well.

Bloomberg's biggest insult to people of faith was the way he handled the 9/11 ceremonies on the tenth anniversary of the bombings. He banned the clergy, from all religions, from participating: He would not allow a priest, minister, rabbi, or imam to make a short statement. He made matters worse when he had the gall to say that "government shouldn't be forcing" religion "down people's throats." But somehow it was okay for him to shove his secular values down the throats of the faithful.

He was also duplicitous. The same mayor who invoked separation of church and state to institute a gag rule on religious speech was already on record promoting the building of a mosque near Ground Zero. He was entirely understanding of the move by American Atheists to sue New York City over two steel beams shaped like a cross that were found in the debris of the Twin Towers disaster; the atheists objected when the cross was moved from St. Peter's Catholic Church to its new home at the 9/11 Memorial.

Bloomberg's policies on abortion and religious liberty are not known to most Americans. Now that he has set his sights on the White House, it is time his sordid legacy is widely known.

Bill Donohue is president of the Catholic League.

  2020 democrat primary, 2020 presidential election, abortion, michael bloomberg, new york city, planned parenthood, religious freedom


Cowardice and capitulation: Some shocking things Chick-fil-A funds

Has Chick-fil-A's mission drifted way to the Left? Out with organizations that do not espouse a pro-homosexuality ideology and in with those who do.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 7:00 am EST
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Chick-fil-A Toronto. @GeorgesLevesque / Twitter
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By Ryan Bomberger

PETITION: Tell Chick-fil-A to reverse course – Don’t cave into anti-Christian LGBT agenda  Sign the petition here.

November 27, 2019 (Radiance Foundation) — There's a lot of talk about Chick-fil-A. Most of it is generated by the #fakenews establishment that wants nothing more than to demonize an organization that, historically, has publicly professed its Christian faith that is inseparable from its business practices.

"[We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us."

Those were the words of Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, to the Baptist Press back in 2012 as he confirmed his biblical belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. 

Days later, a disgruntled activist violently took out his disagreement with Chick-fil-A by trying to kill as many people as possible inside of Family Research Council's (FRC) DC headquarters. According to the FBI interrogation, Floyd Lee Corkins chose FRC as a target because "Southern Poverty Law [Center] lists anti-gay groups. I found them online." So, Corkins stormed inside FRC's building, armed with a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and 50 rounds of ammunition to "kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in victims' faces, and kill the guard."

His heinous attack was stopped by FRC's security guard, Leo Johnson—a hero who was shot while stopping the terrorist attack. In 2012, Corkins was sentenced to prison for 25 years.

In 2017 Chick-fil-A donated money to the same corrupt SPLC that still outrageously lists FRC as a "hate group."

The Chick-fil-A Foundation's recent announcement about its future funding again reaffirmed its redirection and capitulation. It just so happens that the same three groups targeted for years by LGBT organizations as anti-LGBT "hate groups" just happened to be the same ones that would no longer be funded: The Salvation ArmyPaul Anderson Youth Home and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Chick-fil-A's press release acknowledges that these groups were "characterized as anti-LGBT groups" but never dispels that. They give excuses, basically, as to why they had funded these three remarkable organizations but would no longer.

For those defending Chick-fil-A and pretending we haven't witnessed their progression of capitulation, the Salvation Army sees it for what it is, stating in a press release: "We're saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations." The Salvation Army does all three on a massive scale. But they don't espouse an LGBT ideology.

In explaining Chick-fil-A's funding decisions, Rodney Bullard, VP of Corporate Responsibility and Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation said: "We don't want our intent and our work to be encumbered by someone else's politics or cultural war. If something gets in the way of our mission, that is something that we are mindful of and cognizant of."

Has their mission drifted way to the Left? Out with organizations that do not espouse a pro-homosexuality ideology and in with those who do, like Covenant House. Don't let the Catholic association fool you, though. Covenant House, a homeless shelter for youth, takes pride in its promotion of all things LGBTQ. They even marched in the New York "Gay Pride" parade to show their inclusivity cred. Guess the Salvation Army (which admittedly has an issue with partially supporting abortion in cases of rape, incest and "life and health" of the mother) should've flown some co-opted rainbow colors to keep their hundreds of thousands in funding. Whoops. Looks like Covenant is the new Salvation. 

Chick-fil-A funds the deeply political YWCA, a radically pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQ organization that repeatedly partners with Planned Parenthood. 

Chick-fil-A also funds the DC-based New Leadership Council that identifies as a "hub of progressive millennial thought leadership" which exists to "support one another along their individual path to a more progressive political and cultural landscape."

Chick-fil-A has given a sizable donation ($50k) to The Pace Center for Girls, yet another pro-abortion organization. The education and advocacy group featured radical pro-abortion feminist Gloria Steinem (the "I Had An Abortion" activist who declared that birthing children is the "fundamental cause of climate change") as their keynote speaker for their most recent girls' Summit.

Or, how about Usher's New Look, R&B star Usher Raymond IV's liberal non-profit? The group's Disruptivator Summit is all about progressive community organizing on pivotal social issues, and Chick-fil-A funds it ($38,700 in 2017). 

Chick-fil-A also gives tens of thousands to Chris 180 ($27,500 in 2017, $25k in 2019), a pro-LGBT behavioral health and child welfare service agency. The organization boasts of being awarded the "Leader in Supporting and Serving LGBT Families and Youth from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC)." Nothing promotes human degradation quite like the pro-abortion HRC — the multi-million-dollar LGBT powerhouse that recently pushed for the legalization of prostitution in DC. 

You can always love and serve the broken without affirming the brokenness. 

And then there's Junior Achievement (JA), which inarguably does some phenomenal work with education and entrepreneurship. They're the recipients of hundreds of thousands a year from Chick-fil-A. In 2016, though, JA joined a coalition (Georgia Prospers) of pro-LGBT businesses in their "Too Busy to Hate" campaign to politically oppose religious liberty legislation (specifically the First Amendment Defense Act) from passing in Georgia. 

So much for "not being encumbered by someone else's politics or cultural war." These groups, and many more funded by Chick-fil-A, are clearly political and liberal. Of course Chick-fil-A funds a lot of great initiatives, but they're being publicly dishonest about their corporate evolution. And the millions of families who've supported them over the years, because of the fast food chain's principled stand, deserve to know the COWardice that the company has shown in the face of "progressive" activism.

Published with permission from the Radiance Foundation.

  abortion, chick-fil-a, christianity, covenant house, homosexuality, lgbt tyranny


Petition demands Fr. James Martin not be considered for Philadelphia archbishop

Rumors are flying that Fr. Martin might replace Charles Chaput as archbishop of Philadelphia.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 8:06 pm EST
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Fr. James Martin, S.J. sports double 'devil horns' to introduce Metallica on the Colbert Report, Sept. 24, 2013. Colbert Report
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By Doug Mainwaring

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A national discussion was triggered after a petition addressed to the U.S. papal nuncio was launched last week asking him to stop the appointment of Fr. James Martin, S.J. as archbishop of Philadelphia. 

The petition was begun by Donna Bethell, a Catholic attorney and former U.S. Department of Energy undersecretary who recently stepped down as chairman of Christendom College’s board of directors. 

The petition, which has gathered over 4,000 signatures in less than a week, states:

There is a credible report that Fr. James Martin, S.J., is being considered for appointment as Archbishop of Philadelphia. He would replace retiring Archbishop Charles Chaput, who recently found it necessary to warn that Fr. Martin should not be relied upon to accurately present Catholic doctrine on sexuality. Archbishop Chaput issued a statement detailing five points on which Fr. Martin clashes with Church teaching. For example, he says that Fr. Martin “inspires hope that the Church’s teachings on human sexuality can be changed.”

After Archbishop Chaput’s warning, other bishops also weighed in: Fr. Martin responded that he never contradicts Church teaching. That might be literally true, but Archbishop Chaput points out that that is not enough: “[T]he point is not to ‘not challenge’ what the Church believes about human sexuality, but to preach and teach it with confidence, joy, and zeal. Biblical truth liberates; it is never a cause for embarrassment.”

We need bishops who are clear and strong teachers of the whole of the Catholic Faith. There is a trend to appoint to major sees in the U.S. men who are supporters of the homosexual agenda, such as Cardinal Cupich in Chicago and Cardinal Tobin in Newark. Can anyone doubt that an Archbishop Martin in Philadelphia would follow their lead and very soon be given the red hat that was denied to Archbishop Chaput?

When pressed by LifeSiteNews to disclose the identity of the person who told her Martin was being vetted by the Vatican for the position of Philadelphia prelate, Bethell explained that he must remain anonymous because of his position. 

“His source is Jesuits and what he heard is that Archbishop Pierre is seeking references for Fr. Martin for Archbishop of Philadelphia,” Bethell told LifeSiteNews. “As you know, this is a normal step in the development of candidates.”

“But the history of this pontificate is that normal processes are often short-circuited, so this appointment could occur at any time,” she added. “That is why I chose to go public now with what little I know. Once an appointment is made it is too late to stop it.”

“A year ago our group Catholic Laity and others, especially journalist George Neumayr, objected loudly to the appointment of Cardinal Tobin to Washington. We acted on no more than what we have here, an unconfirmed private report, yet within weeks Cardinal  Tobin told Mr. Neumayr he was staying in Newark,” recounted Bethell. 

“Did we have an effect?” she wondered. “They will never admit it. But my job is not to worry about that. It is to do what I can when I can to defend the Church.”

“People are telling me that this couldn’t happen, he isn't even a bishop, he has no pastoral experience, he can’t go from just a priest to archbishop,” continued Bethell. “Really? The Pope just made a simple priest, Fr. Czerny, S.J., a Cardinal,” she pointed out. “Apparently it helps if you are a Jesuit. Oh, yeah, it's Fr. Martin, S.J. These people just enshrined an idol in St. Peter’s Basilica. We better wake up to the new rules.”

John Zmirak, Catholic author and senior editor of The Stream, has a different take on the matter.

“Someone probably leaked Martin’s name so we'd be a little RELIEVED when the Bolshevik McElroy got it instead,” tweeted Zmirak.

Here’s something else to think about: if McElroy or someone else succeeds Archbishop Chaput in Philadelphia, the Atlanta see is still open after Wilton Gregory’s departure to Washington, D.C. If Martin is destined to soon become a bishop, Atlanta is another plum place for him to land.

Ponder that: it’s possible that one morning, we could wake up to the news that we suddenly have Archbishop Robert McElroy in Philadelphia and a newly minted Archbishop James Martin, S.J. in Atlanta. Or vice versa.

Does the Vatican aim to stack the deck with pro-LGBT prelates in the U.S.?

We already have two liberal, pro-LGBT cardinals in the U.S.: Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich and Newark’s Cardinal Joseph Tobin. 

All three — Cupich, Tobin, and McElroy — have endorsed Fr. Martin’s work.

Adding Martin as archbishop of Philadelphia or Atlanta would establish a powerful cabal to force the normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism within the Catholic Church in the United States.

Last year, after former U.S. papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published his explosive testimony exposing the complicity of high-ranking church officials in the Theodore McCarrick sex abuse scandal, Cupich, Tobin, and McElroy sought to undermine Viganò’s credibility.

Viganò said in his testimony:

Father James Martin, S.J. ... appointed Consultor of the Secretariat for Communications, well-known activist who promotes the LGBT agenda, chosen to corrupt the young people who will soon gather in Dublin for the World Meeting of Families, is nothing but a sad recent example of that deviated wing of the Society of Jesus.

No wonder that Viganò’s testimony incited such vindictiveness from the three prelates: He spoke the truth about the pro-gay Fr. James Martin.

Perhaps the most significant tie that binds this trio — Cupich, Tobin, and McElroy — is that each owes his rise to dizzying heights in the Roman Catholic hierarchy to disgraced former cardinal McCarrick.

“The appointments of Blase Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by McCarrick,” noted Archbishop Viganò in his testimony.

“The appointment of McElroy in San Diego was also orchestrated from above,” said Viganò, “with an encrypted peremptory order to me as Nuncio, by Cardinal Parolin: ‘Reserve the See of San Diego for McElroy.’

“McElroy was also well aware of McCarrick’s abuses,” added Viganò.

The petition concludes:

Sign this petition and tell the papal nuncio, Archbishop Pierre, who is reported to be collecting references on Fr. Martin, that his appointment would be intolerable. Tell him we want worthy shepherds who will be leaders in teaching and practicing the fullness of Catholicism, not more men who will obfuscate and obscure and avoid the inconvenient truths.

Martin M. Barillas contributed to this post.

  charles chaput, donna bethell, homosexuality, james martin, lgbt tyranny, philadelphia, pope francis, robert mcelroy


Dead silence from Church hierarchy on Fr. James Martin’s depiction of Jesus as a gay man

LifeSiteNews reached out to dozens of bishops offering them the opportunity to publicly rebuke Martin’s troubling tweet.
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 3:35 pm EST
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Fr. James Martin / Twitter, also published at
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By Doug Mainwaring

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — After Fr. James Martin, SJ posted a tweet featuring a painting drawn from a series of blasphemous homoerotic works depicting the life of Jesus as if he were a gay man, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States and Fr. Martin’s superiors have chosen not to publicly rebuke him.

Through their silence, over 400 U.S. bishops once again have given the impression that Fr. Martin speaks with authority on behalf of the Church. They have lent tacit approval to the anti-Biblical notions that Jesus can be viewed as a gay man, that the homoeroticizing of the passion of the Christ is acceptable, and that the resurrection is all about Jesus rising “to enjoy homoerotic moments with God.” 

Blasphemy, if it involves homosexuality, is evidently no big deal. This is an odd stance for our bishops, whose credibility is still reeling as revelations of priest and prelate homosexual abuse continue to rock the Church, undermining the trust of the laity and many priests.  

The painting Martin included in his tweet is one of a set of 24 by homosexual artist Douglas Blanchard, used to illustrate a book titled, “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision.” 

The Ascension, by Douglas Blanchard SOURCE:

Amazon describes the book by author Kittredge Cherry and illustrated by Blanchard: 

Meet Jesus as a gay man of today in a contemporary city with The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision. In stunning new images, the modern Christ figure is jeered by fundamentalists, tortured by Marine look-alikes, and rises again to enjoy homoerotic moments with God. 

Fr. Martin knew exactly what he was doing by incorporating the painting of an effeminate Jesus turning over the money changers’ tables, because in a subsequent tweet he credited the artist: “Image, Douglas Blanchard.”

LifeSiteNews reached out to dozens of bishops offering them the opportunity to publicly rebuke Martin’s troubling tweet.  

Not one chose to comment. Not one. 

LifeSiteNews also reached out to Fr. Martin’s Jesuit Provincial; New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the archdiocese where Martin lives and works; the Vatican Dicastery for Communications, where Martin was appointed as a consultant by Pope Francis; and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB).  

We asked each one: “Do you or do you not endorse Martin’s public approval of depictions of Jesus as a gay man?”  

Their response: Dead silence. 

History quickly repeats itself

This fall, through their silence, the U.S. bishops and the Vatican have been handing Fr. Martin one victory after another.  

Martin is the greatest force for the normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism in the Catholic Church today, and he continues mostly unchecked.   

In September, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap, issued an important public correction challenging Fr. Martin’s pro-LGBT work.  

In his polite but firmly worded statement, Chaput warned his diocese — and by extension the entire Catholic Church — “regarding the ambiguity about same-sex related issues found throughout the statements and activities of Father James Martin.” 

Archbishop Chaput created a golden opportunity for the bishops of the United States to stand shoulder to shoulder against Martin’s relentless promotion of gay liberation theology. It was a chance for our American bishops who have been pummeled by the priest and prelate homosexual abuse scandal and cover-up for over a year now to show a united front to stop Martin in his tracks.

In the end, just four of Chaput’s brother bishops — Bishop Richard Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee; Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco; and Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska — backed him up with public statements of their own condemning the grave moral error of Martin’s pro-LGBT program.   

The vast majority of U.S. bishops gave Fr. James Martin a huge victory with their deafening silence on his LGBT advocacy.  

A ‘middle finger’ to faithful Catholics?

Just 11 days later, Fr. Martin joined Pope Francis at the Vatican for a highly publicized meeting, bolstering the credibility of Martin’s pro-LGBT advocacy.  

The private audience took place for over 30 minutes in the papal library of the Apostolic Palace, and America magazine interpreted the meeting as a “highly significant public statement of support and encouragement” for the American Jesuit. Martin himself saw it as “a sign of the Holy Father’s care for L.G.B.T. people.” 

One Catholic official who insisted on anonymity told LifeSiteNews that following so quickly on the heels of Archbishop Chaput’s public correction of Martin on which most other bishops were silent, the Jesuit priest’s well-publicized meeting with the Pope was not only a “victory lap,” it was Martin giving his “middle finger” to his critics who seek to defend the teaching of the Cahtolic Church.  

Again, at a pivotal moment — as the future direction of the Church regarding the aggressive infiltration of LGBT ideology hangs in the balance — the bishops of the United States have squandered an enormous opportunity to shut down pro-gay Fr. James Martin, SJ.

Their silence gives the greenlight to Martin to continue to speak out with impunity — with no fear of rebuke — as he seeks normalize sodomy and transgenderism within the Catholic Church. 

  catholic, homosexuality, james martin, jesuits, pope francis


Proof that legal abortion warps culture, country in horrifying ways

'When you legalize abortion, you change the character and culture of a country forever.'
Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 1:38 pm EST
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By Jonathon Van Maren

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – During last year’s abortion referendum in Ireland, debates, discussions, and interviews about abortion were aired nearly nonstop on both radio and television for the last several weeks of the campaign. I was volunteering with the Save the 8th campaign with a few of my colleagues, and watching the animated late-night brawls over abortion was one of the preferred albeit stressful activities of the pro-life activists after a long day of canvassing. But of all the TV appearances I saw, the one that struck me most powerfully was some comments made on the Tonight Show by John McGuirk, one of the spokesmen for Save the 8th.

“My reason for voting no [to abortion] changes on any given day,” he told an uncomfortable-looking panel, “but today it was that I was browsing through the UK abortion statistics for 2016 and I found that eleven babies had lethal injections into their heart in the womb and delivered dead, and the stated reason was that they had a cleft palate. 141 babies had a lethal injection into the heart and were delivered because they were twins and their parents only wanted one child, not two. One of them, last week in Australia actually, there was a story about parents who had one twin aborted because he had a heart defect, and the doctors aborted the wrong one.”

McGuirk looked up and went on: “You know, the terrifying thing, Matt, is not that those horrible, horrible, brutal things happened, but that in the UK, they weren’t even a news story. Because when you legalize abortion, you change the culture of a country utterly, you change the way we think about life, you change the way we as a society relate to each other so that absolutely horrifying things can be done behind closed doors to unborn children.”

I thought of McGuirk’s comments again last week when I spotted a news story in the Daily Mail, detailing more sad, bloody news from the UK’s abortion regime. According to 2018 statistics, the Mail reported, 700 women in Great Britain have had at least six abortions, and five teenagers were among them. Consider that for a moment: Six abortions while still a teenager. And that wasn’t even the worst number, either: at least 148 women in the United Kingdom had their eighth abortion last year, a figure that is apparently up by 27% in only two years.

Pro-lifers raised the alarm, and pointed to changes in the law which now permit abortion pills to be taken at home, leading to a rise in so-called “do-it-yourself abortions.” According to the Mail, a total of 202,295 abortions took place in 2018, a number that is up by 11% since 2016, and 84,258 of these were repeat abortions. Additionally, 4,398 women had their fourth abortion last year, and at least twenty-three teenagers were among them. 

Even pro-choice people should find this horrible, although they have no moral grounding beyond the whisperings of unease provided by their consciences to say that this is wrong. What is the difference between one abortion and six? Or eight? Instinctively, people recoil: That’s too many. But why? If there was nothing wrong with the first one, what’s wrong with the fifth? Our innate knowledge that we are talking about dead babies makes people recoil from this, although they cannot say why. In fact, the abortion peddlers at Marie Stopes UK responded to the concerns of pro-lifers by saying that “there is no right or wrong number of abortions.”

John McGuirk was right. When you legalize abortion, you change the character and culture of a country forever. Great Britain has gone from the nation of William Wilberforce to the nation of Marie Stopes—from the legacy of a great anti-slavery campaigner and humanitarian to the unfolding brutality championed by a renowned racist, eugenicist, and advocate of killing pre-born children in the womb. In clinics bearing her name, teenagers can get their sixth abortion in the name of freedom, and nobody can say a word because they fully supported the first one.

Freedom is never free. Somebody always has to pay.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews David Bereit, the co-founder of 40 Days for Life. Bereit co-founded 40 Days for Life, an international campaign that aims to end abortion through local prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses. Van Maren speaks with Bereit about how he turned a protest outside of a single clinic into a worldwide movement and the role prayer played and plays in the movement.

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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Episodes Wed Nov 27, 2019 - 1:46 pm EST

The secret to how 40 Days for Life saved 16000 babies: prayer and fasting

By Jonathon Van Maren   Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

In today’s episode of The Van Maren show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with David Bereit, the co-founder of 40 Days for Life. Bereit co-founded 40 Days for Life, an international campaign that aims to end abortion through local prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses. 

Van Maren speaks with Bereit about how he turned a protest outside of a single clinic into a worldwide movement and the role prayer played and plays in the movement.