All articles from November 29, 2019


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Democrat strategist creates ‘fake’ local news sites in key states to sway votes away from Trump

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By Paul Smeaton

November 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Democrat strategist and founder of a political activist organization has helped launch a new media company hosting digital “local newspapers” aimed at influencing key swing-state voters in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, according to a Bloomberg report

Tara McGowan, founder of “a nonprofit digital strategy group that organizes progressives online to vote and volunteer” is reportedly “raising $25 million from a host of wealthy liberals to establish a for-profit media company, Courier Newsroom, that has already started rolling out digital newspapers with local reporters and editors in six key swing states — Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.”

The report explains that the idea is to create digital news articles that appear as though they come from an ordinary local newspaper, when in fact that “newspaper” has been created with the primary intention to influence voters in elections. 

According to the report, the project is motivated by McGowan’s frustration at “her party’s (Democrats) inability to challenge, or even clearly comprehend, Trump’s dominance of the digital landscape -- and the threat it poses to Democrats’ chances in 2020.” 

The report states:

“Coming out of the 2016 election, the question she wrestled with was how Democrats can defeat the huge right-wing echo chamber. The answer she’s landed on is that they don’t need to. Hillary Clinton lost because Trump beat her by fewer than 80,000 votes in three critical swing states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Ousting him in 2020 would probably come down to a similar sliver of voters — so Democrats wouldn’t have to drown out all of the conservatives’ efforts on social media, but only capture and persuade a small portion of strategically situated swing-state voters, to avoid the same fate.”

The report states that since 2004 more than 2,000 newspapers have closed down and also claims that “research has found that American adults consistently rate local news as the most trustworthy source of information”.

So it would appear that as an alternative political strategy, rather than spending money on traditional political advertising, such as television ads or ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, McGowan is pushing her partisan political aims through a series of digital “local newspapers.”

The report explains:

“(N)othing alerts readers that Courier publications aren’t actually traditional hometown newspapers but political instruments designed to get them to vote for Democrats. And although the articles are made to resemble ordinary news, their purpose isn’t primarily to build a readership for the website: It’s for the pieces to travel individually through social media, amplifying their influence with persuadable voters.”

Speaking of the initiative, McGowan concedes that “(a) lot of people I respect will see this media company as an affront to journalistic integrity because it won’t, in their eyes, be balanced … (w)hat I say to them is, (b)alance does not exist anymore, unfortunately.”

The report highlights the fact that McGowan’s Virginia “local newspaper” the Dogwood includes a mixture of Virginia politics and policy stories alongside local news stories such as “Dogwood Dog of the Week.” According to the report, “(t)o McGowan, emulating the homespun, hyperlocal style of the fast-vanishing small-town newspaper is important for building familiarity and trust.” 

The report makes clear that the focus of Courier “newspapers” is not attempting to build their reputation among the general population of the areas that they cover -- but rather they are strategically investing in targeting the “80,000 swing-state voters Clinton was missing.” The report explains that McGowan is “using her sizable war chest and digital advertising savvy to pay to have her articles placed into the Facebook feeds of swing state users she’s identified as most likely to respond to them, then using that feedback to find more people like them. In digital advertising, this is known as “building a custom audience.”

The report describes a strategy focused on targeting specific people and influencing the way those people act at election time. Facebook has a history of such actions -- it would seem that the difference in this instance is that a series of “local newspapers” have been created by a centralized body to take advantage of the trust placed in such sources. As media analyst and political commentator Mark Dice has pointed out in his book The Liberal Media Industrial Complex: 

Facebook has admitted conducting several experiments on users to test how well they could manipulate people by making changes to what they see in their news feeds. In 2010, they toyed with 60 million people’s newsfeeds to see if they could increase voter turnout in the midterm election that year and concluded they were able to get an extra 340,000 people to the polls. 

On their own website, they bragged about a case study that found that “Facebook as a market research tool and as a platform for ad saturation can be used to change public opinion in any political campaign.”

The Bloomberg report describes the way McGowan and Courier are using Facebook to push news stories to particular individuals:

Instead of boosting a news article on Facebook as a one-off promotion, as the presidential candidates are doing, McGowan and Courier will continually gather data on interested readers, which Facebook — for a price — will use to find more of them. “Everybody who clicks on, likes, or shares an article,” says McGowan, “we get that data back to create a lookalike audience to find other people with similar attributes in the same area. So we continually grow our ability to find people.” What’s more, it’s suddenly clear that targeting voters through the guise of a media company could provide an important edge over other methods. Last week, Google imposed tight restrictions on microtargeting political ads, and Facebook is weighing similar measures. But because Courier Newsroom is a for-profit media company, McGowan says those restrictions wouldn’t apply.”

This would seem to suggest that restrictions may be placed on ads that are either openly or deemed to be political ads from using social media to target particular groups of people, whereas the sort of disguised political lobbying to which McGowan freely admits will be permitted.

The report goes on to describe the recent Virginia state elections, which saw a sweeping victory for pro-abortion Democrats, as a “trial run” for McGowan’s project. The report notes that “(a)ccording to Facebook, the Dogwood spent about $275,000 on Facebook ads through election week” with the result being that “its articles trended on election day, were shared by a number of Democratic elected officials, and made their way into the feeds of thousands of Virginians, both organically and through paid promotions.”

McGowan would appear to be reasonably pleased with the Bloomberg report, having pinned it to the top of her Twitter page, albeit with a proposed alternative headline. She posted a link to the article along with the suggestion that “Progressive Nonprofit Invests in Local News Startup to Counter Misinformation with Facts + Promote Civic Participation Where Voters Get Their Information Online” would have been a more accurate headline.

She did not, however, dispute any of the assertions made in the article and the focus of her political agenda is made strikingly plain in the personal description on her Twitter profile, which reads “founder/ceo of @anotheracronym working to get Trump TFO.” “TFO” is an acronym for “the f**k out.”

The “About page” of her non-profit organization, Acronmyn, is open that “is a values-driven organization focused on advancing progressive causes through innovative communications, advertising and organizing programs.” And while the Courier’s “About” page claims that “(f)acts and firsthand sources are our north star,” it is worth bearing in mind that McGowan is happy to tweet rhetorical assertions such as “(t)here is truth and there is Trump.”

It remains unclear to what degree of political impact, if any, the Dogwood campaign had in the Virginia elections or what impact such organizations may have over the course of the next year. What is clear is that the media and digital landscape in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election will be significantly altered from 2016. 

Regardless of whether or not one sympathizes with McGowan’s own political or worldview, 

In an era of “fake news” and media manipulation, many will agree with McGowan that “(m)isinformation not only runs rampant but is now being condoned by the most powerful social media platform in the world.”

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Catholic young men ask bishops to teach traditional faith and save them from nihilism, despair

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By Lianne Laurence

MONTREAL, November 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A group of young French-Canadian Catholic men are asking their bishops to teach the traditional faith and give the spiritual leadership they say is essential to combat the nihilistic culture that tempts many to despair.

That includes allowing access to the traditional Latin Mass. 

Twenty-nine men between the ages of 18 to 44, including university students, a doctor and two lawyers, signed an open letter titled “We Ask for Faith: Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church in French Canada” (read full letter below in English). 

A lay initiative, the letter was sent to 23 bishops of French-speaking dioceses across Canada, as well as the Assemblée des évêques du Québec, or Quebec bishops’ conference, in early November, says George Buscemi, president of Campagne Québec-Vie, the province’s largest pro-life group.

The letter is now on the Campagne Québec-Vie website and has been signed by 145 people, including some women, as well as Fr. Daniel Couture, Superior of the District of Canada for the Society of St. Pius X, and Fr. Jean-Real Bleau, longtime diocesan priest in Montreal.

It paints a bleak picture of the lives of French-Canadian men, who “live daily in a culture of death that robs them of the desire to live and the desire to transmit life.”

Caught in “the infernal materialistic cycle of ‘metro-work-sleep,’” many men today seek to escape the “chasm of nihilism” with drugs, alcohol, and pornography. They divorce, lose touch with their children, and die alone or choose euthanasia., the letter states.

Indeed, the most recent statistics from Quebec reveal 1,331 euthanasia deaths between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019, including three euthanasia deaths for hip fractures

Quebec is also known for a high abortion rate and lowest birth rate in Canada.

But it was not always this way.

“We are French Canadians, our roots penetrate deeply in the New World, but also in Europe, even in the soil of France, the eldest daughter of the Church,” the letter says.

The signatories attest to a “certain bitterness” toward their predecessors, who did not guard the Catholic faith, nor pass it on.

“In this era of euphoric delirium and destructive madness that was the 60s, those who preceded us gave way to a wave of inspirations from the depths of Hell,” it reads. That included a secular government that passed laws allowing divorce, contraception, and “the greatest genocide in the history of humanity, abortion.”

The signatories ask the bishops to give them the “Catholic Faith in its entirety, without sweetener. We ask that our people have access to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a dignified form that gives glory to God.” 

Julien Bertrand, the 36-year-old principal author of the letter, says he wrote it “as a heartfelt cry for my French-Canadian brothers I see suffering from a Godless nihilistic life leading to suicide.”

“On one side they are persecuted by their own government, the mainstream media and the intelligentsia because they were born white males. On the other side, their family, the school, and Holy Mother Church didn’t transmit them their rich culture, their glorious History and the one and only true faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ,” Bertrand told LifeSiteNews in an email.

“They are rootless trees in the hurricane of post-modernity, radical feminism and massive foreign invasions,” he said. “I hope those who are in charge of God’s flock will hear the call of their loving sons and may they know that we pray for them.”

Buscemi signed the petition “as a shot in the dark. I expect no answer, but I hope for one. I can do no better,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“I honestly think the Church is going through a Passion, that it is hanging on the cross before our eyes. I see temporal and eternal salvation nowhere else, yet the Church is practically dead and buried … Only God can resurrect, but he asks us to ‘actively wait.’ I see this petition as such an instance of active anticipation. We call for the resurrection, and hope it comes, soon.”

One anonymous signer told LifeSiteNews he has “no illusion that the bishops will react positively. But I thought it was important to join the initiators of this letter and I could fully identify myself with the experience described in the letter. You discover the tradition, and you feel like you have been robbed.”

“And the French-Canadian identity is so tied to the Catholic Latin rite that it’s impossible to understand ourselves without looking into it,” he said, adding that he didn’t think “there will be any serious return to the Catholic faith in this land until the bishops propagate and encourage the traditional Latin Mass.” 

“Men need the sight of a God they can fear and love. I can’t fear and love happy-clappy-silly song-feel good religion. If I am going to give my life and die for something, give me something real. Not sugar-coated.”

Another anonymous signatory said he signed “because I believe in a Church first led by its priests and bishops. These figures of the Faith walking among us should provide guidance, example and inspiration; they be at the front, clearing the path for laymen.”

A petition cannot reverse the Quiet Revolution, and “I have no illusions nor conservative nostalgia,” he wrote.

“What I believe is that times of crisis are particularly good times to be Saints, following Jesus Christ himself in the hardship, and a part of me hopes that such letter will give the necessary impetus for the strong and courageous priests and bishops to finally align themselves with our Saviour.”

The Vatican “is the spiritual and nerve center of the Western world. Ever since the Chair of Saint Peter was won over to the globalist cause, our civilization has been like a headless chicken,” pointed out another petitioner.

“The war waged against us is above all a spiritual war and will only be won with spiritual weapons. Without a strong Church, we are like an army without a general.”

“We need a fighting clergy more than ever … I believe that this letter was written as a local effort to that effect. I do not expect any answer from our bishops. Filial piety, however, commands us to humbly and kindly criticize our Clergy.”

So far, the petitioners have received two responses from the bishops, Buscemi said. 

One was a pro forma letter, another paraphrased the Vatican II apostolic constitution Lumen Gentium no. 9, ‘The Church goes ahead, marching among the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, announcing the cross and the power of the Lord until his coming.’”

***

Full text of letter: 

We Ask for Faith: Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church in French Canada

By Julien Bertrand

(The signatories of this wonderful open letter are university students, a doctor and two lawyers. Twenty-nine men in all from 18 to 44 years old. They have decided for the moment to remain anonymous, as some are aware of the consequences that such a letter could have on their jobs, or their studies.)

***

Octave of All Saints, 2019

Eminence, Excellencies,

We send you this letter for three reasons: first, to tell you about the many evils suffered by French-Canadian men, then, to testify to the innumerable graces we receive through the Catholic Faith in its traditional form and finally, to beg you to make available to the greatest number this treasure that nourishes our souls and raises us to God.

A life of suffering

Every day, we are witnessing the devastating effects, on our compatriots, of a society turned towards man rather than to God. From his conception to his death, the French Canadian is measured on the scale of his utility for the consumer society, rather than that of the ardent love of his divine Creator. Our people live daily in a culture of death that robs them of the desire to live and the desire to transmit life. Our brothers and our friends are born into families broken by divorce. They grow up without male models.

They are given drugs because they are too boisterous at school. Dangerous ideologists wash their brains from an early age with perverse and abject doctrines, which deny the natural law created by God and thus sow doubt in many gullible minds. From adolescence, they are confronted with a premature and unhealthy sexuality influenced by pornography. Then come the alcohol, the drugs, the debilitating clothing styles and musical fashions, the intimidation and the suicide of some friends. At Cégep, our young French Canadians are taught by their Marxist teachers hatred of themselves, their culture and their ancestors; they are encouraged to worship the "Other”.

Having become adults, they find themselves a companion, but perpetuate by their actions the cultural scheme that is proposed to them, that according to which the human person is a consumer good like any other and that it is possible to simply throw away once obsolete. Every day, the infernal materialistic cycle of "metro-work-sleep" is repeated, to allow French Canadians to consume the last useless product that will serve to temporarily fill the abyssal void that inhabits them. Once this product is consumed and the attraction of the novelty having disappeared, the chasm dug by nihilism reappears and they go in search of a new product, a new holiday destination, or a new woman to seduce. 

In turn, they divorce, lose their jobs, fall into depression; some do not see their children anymore. The media then tell us yet another case of "family drama" and the man is still portrayed as a wretch. For those who arrive at a later age, some grow old in loneliness, abandoned by their families.

Others are found dead in their homes, several days after their deaths. For those who have not had the chance to go out naturally, there is still euthanasia. Obviously, and fortunately, we do not all experience all this suffering, but we are daily witnesses of a people committing suicide.

The call of God

In the midst of our meaningless lives, living from day to day waiting for death, we have heard the call of God. In a singular way for each of us, the Good God made us discover or rediscover the Faith of our ancestors. For some it was a true love at first sight to Our Lord Jesus Christ and others, it was by a Love that grew slowly, but became just as strong. We tamed the inner life, discovered prayer, silence. We learned that we were not alone. God had desired and loved us at the very moment of our conception and He was always there with us and for us. We learned the Evil that we were doing to Him and that we still did Him through our sins, but also that despite our ingratitude He agreed to give His life for us so that we have eternal life.

An inheritance not transmitted

In the face of the Treasure of Faith that we had just discovered, we felt a certain bitterness towards our parents and those who preceded us. So we looked for anything else that they thought was appropriate not to transmit to us. The answer is in the question; we discovered that we were not beings without roots, without history, without culture and without faith who lived only to oppress women, homosexuals, ethnic minorities, in short, everyone who was not "us". So we do not have to repent indefinitely of imaginary mistakes.

We are French Canadians, our roots penetrate deeply in the New World, but also in Europe, even in the soil of France, the eldest daughter of the Church. We knew Clovis, Charlemagne, the Crusades, St. Louis, St. Joan of Arc, then our ancestors crossed the ocean and conquered a land of forests and ice that they cleared and fertilized with their sweat and blood, in order to found a new province of the Kingdom of France. Admittedly, we subsequently suffered heavy defeats. Statesmen abandoned us for strategic reasons, but Our Blessed Mother the Church continued to watch over us. Under her protective cloak, while we were threatened with extinction by our small numbers, we became millions despite the oppression of a colonizer who wanted us to disappear. Our culture is rich, contrary to what we have been taught. It does not boil down to a professional hockey franchise, the sugar shack or poutine.

We are the heirs of ancient Greece and classical Rome. Our language was not born in a Michel Tremblay play, but rather in the France of Rabelais, Racine, Corneille, Molière, La Fontaine and Bossuet.

It is to its fruits that we recognize the tree

In this era of euphoric delirium and destructive madness that was the 60s, those who preceded us gave way to a wave of inspirations from the depths of Hell. According to the words of the International, the past was wiped out in all areas, including within Our Blessed Mother the Church, which made Pope Paul VI himself say that the smoke of Satan was given entrance by some crack in the temple of God. Not a single sphere of Western life was spared by this madness. The states changed laws that were previously based on Catholic dogmas and morals. Divorces appeared, as well as condoms, anovulants and "emancipation" of women. This led to the break-up of families and society and the greatest genocide in the history of humanity, abortion.

It is in this society that we were born. An exploded, materialistic and nihilistic society that lives only in expectation of the next ephemeral pleasure. A society that has swapped the worship of God for the worship of man and teaches us to despise the Church, this institution in the depths of the Great Darkness which was full of hateful pedophiles and which we were saved by the Enlightenment of the Quiet Revolution.

Petition

Like our patron Saint John the Baptist, we are the voice that screams amidst concrete ruins and potholes. It is our duty to scream in the name of our brethren who commit suicide and our dying people.

Eminence, Excellencies, we repeat to you the answer that our godparents gave you on the day of our baptism when you asked them the question: "What do you ask of the Church of God? And they said, "Faith! We ask you the Catholic Faith in its entirety, without sweetener. We ask that our people have access to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a dignified form that gives glory to God. Our Lord Jesus Christ answered Satan, who tempted him in the wilderness, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. We do not need a clergy who behave like social workers and bureaucrats.

Eminence, Excellencies, it is our souls who are hungry and thirsty for God. Dare to go against the grain and teach the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, guide us to the good God and put on your cassocks so that we recognize you in the street and confess to you. Our ancestors lacked everything, they were hungry and cold, lost their grandchildren because of childhood diseases, worked like slaves to clear the land, but their souls were richly nourished by the good God.

Unlike them, our bellies are full and we have a roof over our heads, but our souls are empty. Only you can help us, so we implore your paternal benevolence.

Eminence, Excellencies, we hope you will not be deaf to our call. We assure you of our filial piety and respectful obedience.

Deign to receive, Eminence, Excellencies, our best regards.

Your sons,

The disinherited of French Canada

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Woman who had breasts cut off, took hormones to live as ‘male’ now regrets ‘huge mistake’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, England, November 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A British woman says that her seventeen-year attempt to live as a male, which included being injected by hormones, having her breasts cut off, and having a fake male reproductive organ attached to her, was a “huge mistake” that she now deeply regrets. 

Debbie Karemer, 61, was in the spotlight this week as she broke a new taboo: publicly admitting to “detransitioning” from so-called sex-change therapies (see photos here).

“I'm a woman,” she said. “I'm not meant to be a bloke. I'm trapped. I feel completely mutilated. It's a complete mess ― where do you even start? I just regret the decision.”

Karemer now believes that the self-hatred she suffered almost all her life was a side-effect of being sexually abused by her own father when she was a teenager. But in 2002 she saw a daytime television talk show episode about transgender people, and was suddenly convinced that her problem was that she was in the wrong body. She was 44. 

“I had spent years feeling I couldn't live in my own body and hating every single moment,” she told British media. 

“'Suddenly I saw the answer on ‘Kilroy’. It felt like the only answer. It felt like the only way forward.”

Karemer, who has been married to a man since 1997, began to research transgenderism online and found a support group for women who identified as “transgender men” in London.  Later that week she got an appointment with a private psychiatrist and, she told BBC Radio’s “File on 4”, was given a testosterone injection at her first appointment.   

The woman’s journey towards what she thought would be manhood was swift. Three months after she began her testosterone injections, she had her breasts surgically removed and legally changed her name to Lee Harries.  She paid for the double mastectomy herself (£3,500), but all subsequent mutilations were paid for by the tax-payer funded National Health Service, even though they were done in private clinics. 

In 2004 surgeons removed Karemer’s uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes and performed a metoidioplasty, the first step in creating a “penis” from living flesh. In 2005 Karemer was given prosthetic testicles, and in 2008 she had her vagina removed. A few months later surgeons harvested fat and skin from her arm to finish work on her ersatz penis. In 2010 surgeons removed what was left of her breasts, and in April 2013, more work was done on her “testicles”. Thanks to regular testosterone injections, she had grown a beard and begun to go bald.  

But Karemer’s male-looking body didn’t bring the happiness she hoped for. In 2012 she was inspired by the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal to report her father’s incestuous abuse to the police. Karemer’s father died, however, before he could be charged. Then, in April 2013, Karemer had an epiphany when her therapist used the phrase “childhood trauma” at one of their sessions. Hearing the words, Karemer suddenly knew that she had made “a huge mistake”.

“The session where I realized this was so bad that I had a complete breakdown and panic attack because I realized it was a huge mistake,” she recalled. 

“I was traumatized by what had happened in my life, and it was misdiagnosed as being transgender,” she continued. 

“Looking back now, I realize that it was simply a feeling that if I didn't have a vagina, I couldn't be raped.”

She told BBC Radio’s “File on 4” that she had thought she was  “going to be on a journey to become a new person.”

“I’d morph into someone else and leave that traumatized woman completely behind.”

Eventually, Karemer decided to do what she could to repair her mutilated body. The most obvious was to stop being injected with male hormones.  After waiting nine months for all the excess testosterone in her system to leave her body, she began to take estrogen. But it is uncertain what other medical interventions can or should be done to restore her feminine appearance. 

“How do you go through yet another harrowing transition?” she asked “File on 4”. 

“What do you do? I’ve got no hair. I’ve got a beard. I’ve got all my body mutilated. How do I go back to being the Debbie that I was?”

“File on 4” reported that the doctor Karemer first consulted was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the UK’s General Medical Council. He was accused of rushing patients into sex-change therapies and was forbidden to give cross-sex hormones to patients at first appointments.  

Karemer is getting emotional support from Britain’s Detransition Advocacy network, an organization to which some transgender activists strenuously object. “File on 4” spoke also to sex-change surgeon Christopher Inglesfield, who thinks “detransitioning” endangers the transgender cause. 

“Any reversal of that transition starts to make society question the whole transition process in the first place,” Inglesfield said.

“[Society says] ‘Well, if these individuals are going to be detransitioning in ten years’ time, why are we funding, why are we supporting, why are we acknowledging this transitioning thing in the first place?’,” he continued. 

“The trans community is very, very nervous about detransitioning becoming a big story.” 

Apparently, nobody in the United Kingdom knows how many “detransitioners” there are because the NHS does not keep records. “File on 4” reported that “detransitioners” often feel ashamed and angry at the doctors who made their “transition” possible.

Meanwhile, the number of referrals for children to the  UK’s Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) has increased from 100 in 2009 to over 2,500, “File on 4” revealed. In the past year, 75% of new referrals were girls. 

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Cardinal Schonborn (second from right) stands beside Gery Keszler (right) along with performers at 2018 pro-LGBT concert in Vienna Cathedral, Vienna Austria. Life Ball / Facebook
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‘Pachamama’ snatcher to lead prayer protest against pro-LGBT benefit concert in Vienna cathedral

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VIENNA, Austria, November 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A group of Catholics headed by the young Austrian who threw "Pachamama" idols in the Tiber river will pray the rosary outside Vienna’s Catholic cathedral tomorrow in reparation for a pro-LBGT concert that will be held within. 

Alexander Tschugguel, one of the founders of the St. Boniface Institute, has announced that the group will hold a rosary tomorrow night outside St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna. 

"On Saturday, November 30th, that is, tomorrow, we will gather at 22:15 in front of St. Stephen's Cathedral to pray a rosary for all the people who are attending an event unacceptable to us Catholics inside the Cathedral,” Tschugguel wrote on Facebook this afternoon. 

"'Believe Together' is part of a series of events organized by Gery Keszler and his association ‘LIFE +’,” he continued. 

“Among other things, Thomas Neuwirth [aka drag queen ‘Conchita Wurst’] will perform under his new pseudonym ‘WURST’ and sing in the cathedral itself.”

READ: Vienna Cardinal Schönborn to host ‘blasphemous’ pro-LGBT benefit concert in Cathedral again

Tschugguel told LifeSiteNews that he isn’t worried about being attacked by the audience or being charged with trespassing as the group will be outside the cathedral in the Stephansplatz (cathedral square). Anyone entering the Cathedral on Saturday evening will have to buy a ticket, which also rankles the St. Boniface Institute: they are opposed to people having to pay to visit the Cathedral.  

The young married layman said that St. Stephan’s Cathedral is very important to him personally. 

“When I go into the city and I pass the Cathedral, I often go inside and pray there because there is a wonderful Hungarian pilgrimage picture [the Máriapócs icon] on the right-hand side,” he said. 

“On the right side there is also a chapel where you can go at any time for Adoration, and a confession area which is always filled with priests, very good priests, to hear confessions.”

Tschugguel explained that the Cathedral is a “wonderful place to pray” also because tourists are kept to a small area, leaving the rest of the building free for those who appreciate it for its sacred role.

“It is terrible and a shame that things like this event ‘Believe Together’ can happen in our cathedral, and we will pray for the people who go inside to see and join this happening, “ he said. 

The St. Boniface Institute will be live streaming the rosary. 

This will be Tschugguel’s second public action against the desecration of Catholic churches by profane events permitted by Catholic clergy. In October, idols representing the Andean goddess Pachamama were used in ceremonies before and during the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region in Rome. Tschugguel visited Rome and saw the idols enshrined in the Carmelite Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina. He later returned with a friend to remove the profane statuettes and cast them into the Tiber.

Reaction to Tschugguel’s action was mixed, with some pundits accusing him of racism and others, including such prelates as Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, Bishop José Luis Azcona Hermoso, Bishop Marian Eleganti, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, offering him high praise. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò called Tschugguel “a hero.”   

Tomorrow’s event in St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the third time Vienna’s Cardinal Archbishop has allowed the pro-LGBT “LIFE+” association to use the church as a venue for the World AIDS Day charity concert that will take place on Saturday, Nov. 30.

The event last year, which Cardinal Schönborn attended, featured a shirtless actor known for playing homosexual roles standing on the altar rail, loud rock and electronic music, and actors dressed as demons. 

A young Austrian man who spoke to LifeSiteNews under condition of anonymity said that although raising funds for HIV prevention is good and worthy of being supported by the Church, organizing an event with people opposed to Catholicism sends a bad message.  

“Organizing an event with people who openly oppose the Church's moral teachings on nearly everything (contraception, family, sex, homosexuality, etc.) and furthermore hosting such an event in one of the most important churches in the German-speaking world sends the wrong signals to the faithful,” he wrote via social media. 

“It waters down the doctrine of faith and weakens the position of our Church on such matters. It says, 'It is not totally bad what you are doing'.” 

This year, Austria’s infamous drag queen “Conchita Wurst,”  is one of a number of performers scheduled to appear at the “Believe Together” fundraiser in Vienna’s 14th-century mother church. The cathedral show, titled “The Yearning for the Angels…,” will be the main event among 15 being held across Vienna on November 30 to raise money for AIDS relief projects. 

The organizer of the event, homosexual activist Gery Keszler, thanked the cardinal when he announced the show. 

“The Yearning for the Angels…” is being co-sponsored by the Knights of Malta of Austria. 

Contact information for respectful communications: 

Cardinal Schönborn's secretary Dr. Hubert Philipp Weber
Email: [email protected]

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Roberto de Mattei

Opinion

Famed Catholic historian refutes argument that priestly celibacy is merely church discipline

Roberto de Mattei
By Roberto de Mattei

November 29, 2019 (The Remnant) -- The Synod on the Amazon had among its main goals the abolition of ecclesiastical celibacy. The road, indeed the highway, is now paved. Pope Francis will define it in his Post-Synodal Exhortation, which is foreseen to be issued before the end of 2019.

In the concluding document of the Synod, the paragraph on married priests is the one that received the greatest number of opposing votes (128 placet vs. 41 non placet). The path that is being indicated is not that of so-called viri probati, married men who are ordained priests without leaving their families, but that of permanent deacons, that is, married men who have received the first grade of Holy Orders, which gives them the possibility of being ordained as priests.

We read in paragraph 111 of the chapter on Synodal Conversion:

“Many of the ecclesial communities of the Amazonian territory have enormous difficulties in accessing the Eucharist. Sometimes it takes not just months but even several years before a priest can return to celebrate the Eucharist, offer the sacrament of reconciliation or anoint the sick in the community. We appreciate celibacy as a gift of God (Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 1) to the extent that this gift enables the missionary disciple, ordained to the priesthood, to dedicate himself fully to the service of the Holy People of God. It stimulates pastoral charity and we pray that there will be many vocations living the celibate priesthood. We know that this discipline “is not required by the very nature of the priesthood...although it has many reasons of convenience with it” (PO 16). (...) We propose to establish criteria and dispositions on part of the competent authority, within the framework of Lumen Gentium 26, to ordain priests suitable and esteemed men of the community, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive an adequate formation for the priesthood, having a legitimately constituted and stable family, to sustain the life of the Christian community through the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments in the most remote areas of the Amazon region. In this regard, some were in favor of a more universal approach to the subject.”

The request for the abolition of celibacy comes from afar and is based on the false idea that the discipline that imposes it “is not required by the very nature of the priesthood.”

Fifty years ago, at the symposium of European bishops held in Chur, Switzerland, in July 1969, Cardinal Suenens, during his concluding conference, read a dramatic appeal by Hans Küng, asking to make the celibacy of priests no longer obligatory. Three years later, a group of theologians signed the manifest called “of the 33” (dei 33) asking for freedom from celibacy. This request was consistent with progressive theology’s understanding of the role of sexuality: an instinct that man should not repress by means of ascesis, but rather “liberate,” finding in sex a form of “realization” of the human person.

Since then, Küng, who today is 91, continues to repeat that the law of celibacy is the “root of all evil.” The argument that his followers employ is that celibacy is not a divine law, but only an ecclesiastical law, and as such it may be modified, in all or in part, by a Pope. The fundamental question therefore is to establish whether the law of ecclesiastical celibacy, beyond being an ecclesiastical practice for many centuries, descends from the divine-apostolic Tradition of the Church or not.

We cannot ignore several foundational studies on this topic. The first, reprinted many times, is the essay by Cardinal Alfons Maria Stickler (1910-2007): Il celibato ecclesiastico. La sua storia e i suoi fondamenti teologici (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1994; English translation: The Case for Clerical Celibacy: Its Historical Development and Theological Foundations, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1995). The second, less well known but not less important, is the essay by Father Christian Cochini, Origines apostoliques du célibat sacerdotal (Le Sycomore-Lethielleux, Namur-Paris, 1981; English translation: The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1990).

These works overturn the old thesis of Father Franz Xaver Funck (1840-1907), the German historian open to the suggestions of modernism, who at the beginning of the 20th century attempted to refute the great Orientalist Gustav Bickell (1838-1906). While Bickell defended the divine-apostolic foundation of the law of celibacy, Funck considered it to be an ecclesiastical practice that did not appear until at least the fourth century, that is, a merely historical law (that would therefore be reformable).

Cochini demonstrated that Funck did not make good use of the historical-critical method, judging as authentic a spurious document in which the bishop-monk Paphnutius, during the Council of Nicea (325), supposedly furiously contested the practice of continence for married priests. Today it has been proven that this text was fabricated, probably by those within the Novatian sect.

Stickler, for his part, emphasizes the hermeneutic error which, following Funck, confused the concept of ius (law) with lex (statute). The fact that prior to the fourth century there was no written law does not mean that there did not exist any obligatory juridical norm that enforced the continence of the clergy.

When Pope Siricius, in the years 385-386, with the decretals Directa and Cum in Unum formalized for the first time a discipline for clerics, establishing that bishops, priests, and deacons were held, without exception, to live permanently in continence, he was not introducing a new doctrine but codifying a Tradition that had been lived in the Church since her origins.

The theological progress consisted precisely in this: in the development of knowledge of a traditional precept, in this case ecclesiastical celibacy, that was able to be explained with better extension, clearness, and certainty. The critical editions and new documents of work on the first centuries that scholars have at their disposal today all point to this conclusion.

The only argument that has been advanced against this thesis revolves around a sophism that is always refuted and still always gets repeated: the fact that, in an apparent contradiction of the apostolic tradition, beginning with the Apostles themselves, the first Christians were married.

What is in question however is not the ordination of married men in the first centuries of Christianity. We know that this was a normal thing, if Saint Paul prescribed to his disciples Titus and Timothy that candidates for the priesthood were to have been married only one time (1 Tm 3:2; 3:12). Both Pope Siricius as well as Pope Innocent I insisted repeatedly that this did not mean that they could live after ordination in the desire to generate children but, on the contrary, that this was established “propter continentiam futuram / on account of the continence to be observed following (ordination).”

The central question is that of continence, refraining from every use of marital rights after priestly ordination. There is no need to confuse the state of matrimony with its use. Matrimony is an institution of a juridical-moral nature, raised by the Church to a sacrament, whose end is the propagation of the human race.

The use of matrimony is instead the physical union of two spouses, directed towards the generation of children. One may freely renounce this right while remaining married. And this is what the first Christians did, while remaining juridically married: they decided not to use matrimony, that is, they decided to live as celibates within the matrimonial state.

The word celibate, in this sense, does not indicate a state of life but rather the choice to forever abstain from sexual pleasure. In the first centuries the possibility of clergy living in the matrimonial state was recognized, but not the right to use matrimony. What was obligatory from the beginning was not the state of celibacy but continence, or abstinence from the generative act. The men who accepted the Gospel of Christ understood from the beginning the request of the Master to his Apostles that they must renounce even marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven (Mt 19:12), and that, as disciples in the strictest and fullest sense, they must also leave father, mother, spouse, children, brother and sister (Lk 18:29, 14:26).

In the first centuries of the Church, access to Sacred Orders was open to those who were married, on the condition that they, with the consent of their wife, would renounce the use of matrimony and would practice a life of continence. The apostolic prescription of continence saw its logical development in the laws that progressively imposed the celibate state of life on priests.

The long series of papal interventions saw its crowning in the First Lateran Council, convoked by Pope Callistus II (1123), in which was promulgated a law, not only prohibiting matrimony for priests, but also establishing the invalidity of matrimony for one who had received sacred orders.

In the first millennium, the Eastern churches did not know this dogmatic-disciplinary development and remained as an exception to the Latin rule. Following this, in the schismatic Eastern churches, the ancient celibate discipline spread ever more widely, while the majority of the Eastern churches remained united or returned to union with Rome and accepted the Western discipline, even if for some Catholics, such as the Maronites and the Armenians, Rome tolerated their following of the ancient Greek custom. The fact is, however, that in the East priests cannot marry after ordination and only celibate priests are ordained as bishops, signifiying that the use of matrimony for one who had contracted it prior to ordination is a tolerated practice but certainly not set up as a model.

It is true that celibacy is based on an ecclesiastical law, but this is in turn based on a legal precedent with a divine-apostolic origin handed down from the Tradition of the Church. The conclusion, according to Cardinals Francesco Roberti and Pietro Palazzini, is that “the rule, conceived as deriving from divine/apostolic law, cannot be abrogated by ecclesiastical authority: therefore the Church would not have the right to abolish the celibacy of priests” (Dizionario di Teologia Morale, Roma, Studium, IV ed., 1968, I vol. p. 268, entry Celibato ecclesiastico).

Furthermore, attacks on celibacy have always accompanied the history of the Church. In 1941, for example, a book edited by the Protestant theologian Hermann Mulert, Der Katholizismus der Zukunft (Leipzig 1940) was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books, which included the option of making ecclesiastical celibacy optional. But there must be no illusion about this point: if the law of celibacy fails, the celibate priesthood falls with it and the way is opened towards the insitutionalization of ecclesiastical matrimony. Nor may the argument be used that chastity is impossible, since the Council of Trent condemned those who affirm it (session XXIX, canon 9).

It is true however that man cannot attain a life of perfect continence with his own power alone, for which reason God has not commanded it but only counseled it. Whoever freely chooses to follow this evangelical counsel, finds not in himself but in God the strength to live a life consistent with his choice. Celibacy remains, certainly, a sacrifice, and this, Father Cornelio Fabro has observed, “stands or falls with the character of the Catholic Church as the sols true Church of Jesus Christ.”

The Catholic priest, in fact, can and wants to sacrifice himself only for an absolute cause. But today the unicity of the Roman Church as the the true Church is placed into discussion and the concept of sacrifice has been abandoned, in the name of the search for pleasure at any cost. The priestly vocation also demands the total gift and the exclusive orientation of every concern to God and souls, it is incompatible with the division of the heart that is proper to one who has the care of a family.

John Paul II, in his Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, has affirmed that the will of the Church finds its ultimate motivation “in the link that celibacy has with sacred ordination, which configures the priest to Jesus Christ Head and Spouse of the Church (n. 29). And as Benedict XVI explained in his discourse to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2006:

The priest must truly know God from within and thus bring him to men and women: this is the prime service that contemporary humanity needs. If this centrality of God in a priest's life is lost, little by little the zeal in his actions is lost. [...] Celibacy, in force for Bishops throughout the Eastern and Western Church and, according to a tradition that dates back to an epoch close to that of the Apostles, for priests in general in the Latin Church, can only be understood and lived if is based on this basic structure. 

Developing the pontifical Magisterium in his articles in L’Osservatore Romano and in his recent volume Il sigillo. Cristo fonte dell’identita del prete (The Seal: Christ the Source of the Identity of The Priest) (Cantagalli Siena 2010), Cardinal Mauro Piacenza reiterates that the theological root of celibacy traces back to the new identity that is given to him and is imprinted in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

The root problem is therefore the role of the priest in postmodern society that Cardinal Piacenza discusses forecefully. The request for the abolition of celibacy is inserted into a context of secularization that is considered irreversible, despite the many contrary lessons present in history. Secularization means the loss of the concept of the sacred and of sacrfice and the assumption of “worldliness” as a value. But the modernization of the Church has led today to her “sexualization.”

Purity however is a virtue that propels one who practices it towards heaven, while sexuality ties human tendencies down to the earth. Many priests claim pleasure as a right and, if they do not obtain it officially, they exercise it in semi-clandestinity, many times under the benevolent and complicit eyes of their bishops. Their path is exactly the opposite of the one taken by the first Christians. Back then it happened that married men chose to embrace, with the priesthood, a life of absolute chastity and continence. Today what is happening is that priests who have consecrated their life to the Lord claim to be able to enjoy the pleasures of the world. This is not something new in the Church, which has lived through like a plague the concubinage of priests, that is, the fact that they live habitually more uxorio, as happened when Saint Peter Damian wrote the fiery Liber Ghomorranus.

Archbishop Athanasius Schneider has reaffirmed many times that Pope Francis has the serious duty of reaffirming ecclesiastical celibacy as a law for the entire Church. If this does not happen, the resistance of Catholics against this pontificate will increase. The way to follow, just like in the time of Saint Peter Damian, is that of a profound moral reform, analagous to the Cluniac and Gregorian reform of the eleventh century. And if we want to review the reasons to defend priestly celibacy, in the first place we would have to say that we are not talking about an ecclesiastical law, but of the will of Christ himself, handed down through the Apostles to the Church; in the second place that the world needs priests who do not “go along” with suffering humanity, but who conquer it, mirroring Christ and posing as a model and guide to souls, who today are thirsting for the absolute more than ever.

Reprinted with permission from The Remnant newspaper.

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Lou Iacobelli

Opinion ,

Toronto Catholic school trustees who voted for ‘gender’ ideology violated board policy

Lou Iacobelli
By Lou Iacobelli

November 29, 2019 (Every Day For Life Canada) – On November 8, 2019, trustees at the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) voted 8 to 4 to include "gender identity" in its Code of Conduct. The terms "gender expression", "family status" and "marital status" will also be added. Instead of defending Catholic teaching, the majority of trustees voted to follow the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Ministry of Education policies. Politics trumped Catholic education.

Here are the eight trustees that voted to add "gender identity" to the Code: Joseph Martino, Ward 1, Markus de Domenico, Ward 2, Ida Li Preti, Ward 3, Maria Rizzo, Ward 5, Frank D'Amico, Ward 6, Norm Di Pasquale, Ward 9, Angela Kennedy, Ward 11, and Daniel Di Giorgio, Ward 10.

The trustees that voted against adding inclusive language to the Code even in the face of criticism are Garry Tanuan, Ward 8, Michael Del Grande, Ward 7, Nancy Crawford, Ward 12, and Teresa Lubinski, Ward 4. These four trustees followed the Board's own policy on "Equity and Inclusive Education." Sadly, the followers of inclusion have been treated by them as infidels.

The 8 to 4 result to add inclusive language to the Code of Conduct is actually in contradiction to the Board's own "Catholic Equity and Inclusive Education Policy H.M. 24" which states:

The Board recognizes that social or cultural discrimination is incompatible with Catholic moral principles. The Board recognizes that the mandate of Catholic Education is to instruct students on how to live as followers of Jesus Christ and gives pre-eminence to the tenets of the Catholic faith. The Board further recognizes that we must uphold the protections entrenched in the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”), the Constitution Act, 1867 and confirmed in the Constitution Act of 1982 –the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As a Catholic school system, the Board and its staff are committed to the elimination of discrimination as outlined in Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy and the Ontario Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum No. 119 (2009) in a manner which is consistent with the exercise of the Board’s denominational rights under section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and as recognized in section 19 of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Where there is an apparent conflict between denominational rights and other rights the board will favour the protection of the denominational rights.

All Ontario school boards have policies that require them to follow the Education Act, Ministry policies and the Ontario Human Rights Code. But Catholic schools have an additional legal and moral responsibility when implementing any policy or regulation and this includes "Equity Education." Catholic boards must develop these policies in a manner consistent with denominational rights. This means that the Catholic board has the right to follow Catholic teaching first on matters of morals and then Ministry policies, program memorandum and the Human Rights Code.

In short, the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression" are not tenets of the Catholic faith and should not be included as a component of Catholic education.

So, the trustees that voted to include "gender" as part of Catholic teaching are in total breach of Board policy, but more importantly, they have abrogated their fiduciary responsibility to defend denominational rights. Virtue signaling and political correctness don't matter. Neither does support from the Toronto Star.

Furthermore, in Regulation 1 of the Policy, we find the Catholic approach to implementing inclusive language. It states:

Consistent with Catholic teachings and denominational rights the Board is committed to serving students, families and staff in its diverse Catholic community by incorporating the principles of equity and inclusive education in all aspects of its policies, programs, procedures and practices.

The keyword is "incorporating" inclusive language. It does not say supplanting the language of Catholic belief with secular, progressive terms. So, the two great teachings of the Gospels being the love of God and neighbour are more than enough to deal with equity and inclusive education because nobody is excluded. The Regulation doesn't permit staff and trustees to overrule denominational rights and Catholic teachings even at the request of the Minister of Education or a public push from the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

The trustees who voted to include "gender identity"and "gender expression" are in violation of the Board's "Catholic Equity and Inclusive Education Policy." Their vote contradicts Catholic teaching about the human person. They failed in their fiduciary duty that they were elected to faithfully carry out.

The anti-Catholic vote cast on November 8 has broken both Board policy and the right of Catholic tax payers and separate school supporters have to defend and fully live their faith.

These trustees should seriously reconsider their vote or resign.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Every Day For Life Canada. It is republished here by permission of the author. 

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Chick-fil-A has emboldened the LGBT mob. If you’re still defending them, watch this

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By Patrick Craine

TRANSCRIPT

November 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Chick-fil-A has betrayed its Christian customers, and emboldened the LGBT mob. If you’re still defending them, then please, read on.

Chick-fil-A provoked the ire of the LGBT lobby in 2012 when its CEO Dan Cathy affirmed the Biblical view of marriage. But in the process they became a cultural icon for Christian conservatives, who flocked to the restaurant in droves. With their support, Chick-fil-A’s sales have more than doubled since 2012.

But after seven years of attacks from the LGBT mob, Chick-fil-A announced Nov. 18 that it would cease funding its remaining grantees that oppose same-sex “marriage,” including the Salvation Army.

Many of Chick-fil-A’s supporters, including LifeSite, have decried the decision as a capitulation.

At LifeSite, we have run countless articles over the years touting Chick-fil-A, and now we have taken a leading role in raising the alarm. We launched a petition to the company, garnering over 40,000 signatures so far. The American Family Association launched a petition that has grown even larger, with 102,000 signatures.

But Chick-fil-A has gone on the offensive, denying that it capitulated and claiming that its Christian mission remains as strong as ever. They managed to convince Franklin Graham, who sought to reassure Christians of Chick-fil-A’s commitments.

As a result, Chick-fil-A’s supporters have claimed the capitulation narrative is fake news, and have accused LifeSite and others of perpetuating a false story.

But that is wrong, and naïve.

Chick-fil-A did cave. Sure, they have kept God in their mission statement. Yes, they say they will remain closed on Sundays. They are keeping a soft Christian identity, for now. But where it’s hard – where the Gospel butts up against our culture of death and sexual licentiousness – they have indeed caved. And that’s where it counts.

Let’s remember that Chick-fil-A was clear when they announced the decision on Nov. 18 that defunding these groups was about rebranding in order to expand into new markets. The company’s president, Tim Tassopoulos, said:

There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are. There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.

The decision comes as Chick-fil-A is beginning to expand out of the U.S., into Canada and the U.K. Their new restaurant in Toronto faced immense backlash. And in London, England, the backlash was so severe that they are closing their first restaurant.

With a massive push from its Christian fan base, Chick-fil-A has skyrocketed to the third largest restaurant chain in the U.S. – behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks – with over $10 billion in revenue. Of course they want to expand now outside the U.S. But it appears they are willing to abandon their core customers to do it.

This was a flash point – a big cultural moment when the mob can declare victory in the public eye. But the reality is Chick-fil-A went off course very soon after Cathy’s comments in 2012, when they began withdrawing funding from the most ardently pro-family of the Christian groups they had been supporting, like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. In 2014, Cathy said that while he maintains his personal opposition to same-sex “marriage,” he had decided to keep quiet about it:

The bottom line is we have a responsibility here to keep the whole of the organization in mind and it has to take precedence over the personal expression and opinion on social issues.

Now, as supporters dig deeper, they’re seeing that Chick-fil-A has quietly been betraying their Christian customers for years. According to the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s IRS filings they have already been giving money to pro-abortion and leftist groups. Most shocking, as revealed Nov. 26 by pro-life leader Ryan Bomberger, Chick-fil-A donated $2,500 to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a virulently anti-Christian group, and arguably one of the biggest agents of the soft persecution of faithful Christians in the U.S. today. It is famous for its “hate map” targeting pro-family groups that promote Biblical teaching on homosexuality.

In 2012 domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins cited their hate map as his inspiration after he entered the Family Research Council’s DC headquarters with the intention of gunning down its employees. In his backpack Corkins was carrying Chick-fil-A sandwiches, and intended to rub them in the faces of his victims. Thank God for the courage of FRC’s security guard Leonardo Johnson, who was shot while subduing Corkins.

And we learn now from the Family Research Council that Chick-fil-A never reached out to them even privately after the attack.

Yet five years later Chick-fil-A gave money to the very anti-Christian group that inspired the attack.

Chick-fil-A is continuing to tout its Christian values, remaining closed on Sundays, but as they abandon their principles, it’s beginning to appear that they are using the Gospel as a marketing tool.

This isn’t about the groups they are defunding. The Salvation Army, in particular, is not fully pro-life and I would not advocate giving them money. It’s about the message Chick-fil-A is sending by defunding them – and that is that they are distancing themselves from organizations that uphold a Biblical view of sexuality. They are capitulating to the LGBT mob, and emboldening them, showing that their persistence pays off. That we will cave if they come at us hard enough and long enough. And thus, Chick-fil-A is, in fact, encouraging the persecution of faithful Christians who cannot and will not capitulate.

The persecution is growing in Europe, North America, and around the world, and we need to be ready. It will take a heroic faith – deep conviction, and a willingness to give up everything. Christ is clear in the Gospel:

They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. … You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.

You know what we should fear more than persecution? That the persecution would come, and we would miss it because of our own apathy. That our faith is so lukewarm that we’re not deemed worthy of suffering for it. We don’t seek out martyrdom – but we should make sure our conviction is worthy of it.

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Activists launch ‘HIV-positive sperm bank’ to reduce ‘stigma’ around AIDS virus

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By Jonathon Van Maren

November 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A couple of years ago, some of you might remember, California state Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco sparked outrage by putting forward legislation that would reduce knowingly exposing others to HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor. In other words, withholding the information that you are HIV-positive from the partner you are sleeping with has become no longer a felony in California. The same legislation also applied to those who give blood to a blood bank without disclosing that they are HIV-positive. Wiener himself, unsurprisingly, is HIV-positive, and trumpeted the legislation as a way of “reducing stigma” around those who have this condition.

I’m not precisely sure how hiding this very important information from a sexual partner who might contract that condition as a result of this omission does anything to “reduce stigma”—it seems to me that it might do precisely the opposite. But Wiener’s crude little crusade is nothing compared to how ludicrous New Zealand’s attempt to reduce the stigma round HIV is. According to The Telegraph, the Kiwis have “launched the world’s first HIV positive sperm bank in an effort to reduce the stigma round the virus.” 

The description of this bizarre new endeavour is — irony alert — sure to have ladies lining up for blocks to take this totally unnecessary risk that does absolutely no good to anybody whatsoever: “Online sperm bank ‘Sperm Positive’ has begun with three HIV positive male donors, who all have an undetectable viral load, meaning the virus cannot be passed on even through unprotected sex. While the amount of the virus in their blood is so low it cannot be detected by standard methods, it does not mean the HIV has been completely cured by the treatment.”

I’m sure you’ll agree  — irony alert — that the above description sounds very reassuring. 

The cold and brutal reproductive technology industry has already spawned the strange scenario of women poring over profiles as they attempt to select which sperm donor they want to use to conceive their (generally) fatherless children, determined to pick the perfect genetic specimen as their stud. But some activists apparently feel that those same women would be perfectly willing to select sperm from HIV-positive donors just to help “reduce the stigma” of—what, exactly? A condition that can, potentially, lead to the dreaded and fatal AIDS?

Unsurprisingly, Sperm Positive donor Damien Rule-Neal told The Telegraph that he was pleased to participate as “there is a lack of education and understanding in New Zealand about what an undetectable status meant, and that he had experienced stigma about living with HIV in his personal life and his professional life.” In fact, he says, he knows many people with HIV who went on to have children, and The Telegraph noted that “HIV-positive men can father children with minimal risk of transmission to their partner or their baby as long as they have up-to-date advice, support, and HIV medications, even if their virus is detectable.”

And so now there are apparently some people who genuinely thought it was a good idea to start a sperm bank where women who are on the hunt for the seed of HIV-positive men can finally have all their dreams come true. 

Most people, I suspect, will read the news of this new endeavour and roll their eyes or shake their heads. Willingly placing other people at risk of becoming HIV-positive in order to “reduce stigma,” even where there is “minimal risk,” is immoral and unconscionable.

But if you listen to Wiener and Rule-Neal, other people—be it partners or in this case, children—must be willing to run a potentially deadly risk in order to “reduce stigma” for others.

The very suggestion of it will probably do precisely the opposite.

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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Faithful Chinese bishop on the run from communists highlights Vatican/China deal disaster

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By Steven Mosher

November 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Vincent Guo was supposed to be the poster child of a successful rapprochement between the Vatican and China, as well as a sign that the longstanding rift between the Underground Catholic church and its state-run counterpart had been healed.  Instead, he is on the run from the Communist authorities.  How did this happen?

Until last year, Bishop Guo was the ordinary of the Diocese of Mindong, located in the southern province of Fujian. He was recognized by the Holy See, but not by the Party-State, which had imposed an unpopular—and unrecognized--Patriotic “bishop” by the name of Zhan Silu on the same diocese.  While the Underground church was thriving—with 80,000 members, 57 priests, 200 nuns, 300 consecrated lay people and hundreds of lay catechists—the Patriotic church counterpart run by Msgr. Zhan boasted less than ten thousand members served by only 12 priests.

With the signing of the “provisional agreement” between the Vatican and China on September 22, 2018, the diocese was turned upside down--literally.  The excommunication of Msgr. Zhan and six other invalidly ordained bishops was lifted by Pope Francis, and Bishop Guo stepped down as the ordinary of the Mindong diocese in favor of Bishop Zhan, and became his auxiliary.  

AsiaNews reported that Pope Francis had actually asked for this "sacrifice" from Msgr. Guo the year before--in December 2017--in order to promote the “unity of the Church and guarantee the signing of the agreement between China and the Holy See.”  In other words, Bishop Guo was demoted at Beijing’s request.

But even this wasn’t enough for the Communist Party officials who set out to enforce the new agreement.  That agreement, they said, required all Underground priests and bishops to join the schismatic Patriotic Catholic Association as a condition of being allowed to continue their priestly ministry.  Anyone who refused would not be allowed to function as a priest.   

Bishop Guo, who apparently knew that the agreement said no such thing, refused to sign. As a result, he has been relentlessly harassed, threatened, browbeaten and even has “disappeared” for short periods of time.  For most of the past year he has been under constant police surveillance, with two police officers assigned to watch him day and night. He recently managed to escape his handlers and is, of this writing, in hiding.  When asked about him, one of his flock said, “Please pray for the safety of our bishop. He is very tired.”

While Bishop Vincent Guo may be, as AsiaNews puts it, the best-known “victim of the Sino-Vatican agreement”, he is by far not the only one.  Nor is he the most harshly persecuted.  Because the diocese of Mindong has been chosen by the Communist Party as a “model” for the implementation of the agreement, Bishop Guo and his priests have probably not been as badly treated as Underground bishops and priests in other parts of China, some of whom have simply gone missing or have been summarily “laicized” by the Party-State when they, too, refused to join the Patriotic Catholic Association.

While the provisions of the agreement remain secret, it reportedly deals with bilateral relations and the ordination of bishops.  It does not call for Underground bishops and priests to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), which remains in the eyes of the Vatican a schismatic creation of the Chinese Communist Party, but it does apparently acknowledge that Catholic clergy will be required to register with the Communist authorities.  And that concession was all the Communist authorities needed to begin strong-arming Underground clergy into joining the CPCA as part of the “registration” process.  

It took nine months—and countless pleas from Underground clergy—for the Vatican to formulate a response to this violation of the Sino-Vatican Agreement.  The “Pastoral Guidelines” issued to bishops and clerics in China in June of this year, however, only added to the confusion. 

First, the Guidelines imply that the decision to register with the authorities is entirely up to the individual bishop or priest in question, but since the Vatican has already approved such registration, on what grounds is a member of the Underground clergy to object when Communist officials come calling?

Second, the Guidelines, using oddly convoluted phrasing, suggests that, “if … the text of the declaration required for the registration does not appear respectful of the Catholic faith,” a priest may sign.  But there is no “if” about it.  Such “declarations” always require joining a schismatic organization, the CPCA, and therefore are always “disrespectful of the Catholic faith.”   

Third, the Guidelines instruct a priest to “specify in writing” that he is signing the declaration “without failing in his duty to remain faithful to the principles of Catholic doctrine.” They add that, when such a written clarification “is not possible,” the priest may do so orally and “if possible” in the presence of a witness. 

As one who has been arrested in China and forced to write a “confession,” I can personally attest to the fact that there is exactly zero chance that a beleaguered priest will be allowed to either call witnesses, amend the “declaration” in any way, or even openly declare that he disagrees with its contents.  Reading such advice calls to mind a Chinese saying: “One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.” 

In fact, the advice from the Vatican was so obviously unworkable that it led Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong to journey to Rome to lodge a protest with the Pope, who said that he would “look into it.”

It is hard to say what the Vatican has gotten in return for an agreement that Cardinal Zen openly calls a “sellout” of the Underground church.  It is perhaps easier to say what it has not gotten.  It has not gotten China to consent to the ordination of the roughly 20 bishop candidates identified by the Holy See within the Patriotic church, some of whom have already been secretly ordained.  It has not gotten the Communist authorities to accept a significant number of bishops of the underground community.  In fact, of the 40 or so underground bishops, only one has to date been officially recognized by the Communists.

As far as the future selection of bishops is concerned, candidates will be proposed by the Communist Party for ratification by the Pope.  The Pope may veto one or two candidates, to be sure, but Communist officials have made it clear that he cannot indefinitely delay the process, nor continuously veto one candidate after another.  If this happens the official implied, Party officials will simply return to illicitly ordaining bishops.

Pope Francis claims that this process preserves his authority. “The Pope names the bishops,” he has repeatedly asserted.  Whether the ability to exercise a (temporary) veto power over the process actually does preserve papal authority not only for him, but for his successors, seems questionable, however.

No one should be surprised by this outcome.  The only thing that the Vatican and the Chinese authorities seem to have in common is a belief that there should only be one Catholic church in China.  For General Secretary Xi Jinping and his minions that means eliminating the Underground church. For the Vatican it means encouraging everyone (without explicitly saying so) to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which it seems to believe offers a safe, legal haven for Catholics to practice their faith. 

But it doesn’t. The CPCA is merely an instrument that the Chinese Communist Party is using to bring all Catholics under Party control.  The ultimate goal of the atheistic Communists who run China remains the same: to destroy all religious faith within China’s borders. 

The Pastoral Guidelines state that the Holy See will continue negotiating with the CCP regarding the civil registration of bishops and priests. Bishop Guo Xijin commented that some Vatican officials have been very vocal about encouraging Chinese priests to join the CPCA, but have been very reserved when it comes to supporting underground priests as they fight to maintain their faith and principles.  The Guidelines themselves are so vague that neither clergy nor laity are able to decipher its meaning. This vagueness has emboldened Communist authorities to boldly use not only the Sino-Vatican Agreement, but also the Guidelines themselves, to pressure priests into joining the CPCA.  All of this puts Catholic conscientious objectors in a difficult, if not impossible, position.

“If before the signing of the Agreement we remained fearless and maintained our faith no matter how much we were coerced, the Holy See would have supported us, too,” the bishop said. “But now, we’re really helpless.  To be frank, whoever persists will suffer greater suppression and persecution from the CCP.” 

The road of persecution is still very long, Bishop Guo added, and Catholics must use it to strengthen their faith.

Bishop Guo is living out his words on his own long Via Dolorosa--as he tries to keep one step ahead of the Communist authorities. 

Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to the World

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