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News

Revered theologian defends value of new Catholic media for exposing Church crisis

Catholic scholar Dr. Janet E. Smith was one of a number of critics of George Weigel's advice to Catholics for the new year.
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Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Catholic scholar Dr. Janet E. Smith, renowned worldwide as an expert on Humanae Vitae, has defended hard-hitting Catholic online media outlets against George Weigel’s advice to Catholics not to read them.

Smith turned to social media yesterday to critique a column by author and papal biographer Weigel that appeared in the National Catholic Register on December 31 and in First Things on January 1. In his column, Weigel suggested that for 2020, readers “resolve to limit [their] exposure to the Catholic blogosphere.”

In his “New Year’s Resolutions for Concerned Catholics: A Few Suggestions,” Weigel wrote:

In 2019, many Catholic websites went bonkers. There is no need to click on sites that specialize in all-hysteria or all-propaganda all-the-time. If you want reliable Catholic news, visit the websites of Catholic News Agency and the National Catholic Register. If you want sane commentary on the turbulent Catholic scene, go to the websites of Catholic World Report, First Things and The Catholic Thing. That’s more than enough for anyone. Limiting your blogosphere browsing to these sites, while ignoring the hysteria-mongers and propagandists, will lower your blood pressure while keeping you well-informed.

Smith, however, stated that this advice contains both “short-sightedness and even foolishness.”

“Weigel recommends a limited number of news services that Catholics should consult and warns people against others,” the retired seminary professor wrote on Facebook. “While many don’t like the tone of some sources, several of these are responsible for much of what we know about the corruption in the Church and their persistence has been invaluable in achieving the few successes there have been.”

Smith agreed that those who are “excessively troubled” by bad news in the Church should read only “safe” sources but argued that those who break the bad news shouldn’t be ostracized.

“[D]on’t blame the messenger in respect to the news sources that investigate and report upon events that the others eventually report, somewhat less sensationally,” she advised.

“Remember that the news being reported is in itself sensational and some reporters have a flair for highlighting just how outrageous is ‘news’ that is no longer news.” 

The philosopher mourned that some Catholics have “become inured to scandal in the Church” and praise bishops “for minimally doing their jobs” while being more reluctant to “rebuke those who continue to engage in cover up and tolerance of corruption” in their dioceses. She believes that hard-hitting news outlets are necessary for cleaning up the Church.  

“The Church rather desperately needs news outlets that realize that ‘business as usual’ is not an option when the corruption is so pervasive,” she wrote. 

“I am all for reporting good news and having hope and providing just and balanced treatment of all people and issues, but I think it unwise and unfair to try to marginalize those who have been and are in the forefront of exposing corruption,” she continued. 

“[W]hen the history is written of this period, some of what are now considered to be extreme and fringe outfits will be lauded as heroes.”

Smith then employed the term “muckraker,” first used to describe American journalists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who exposed the terrible working and living conditions of the American urban poor. Invented by President Theodore Roosevelt, the word “muckraker” or “muck-raker” was a badge worn with pride by such reporters as Upton Sinclair.

“Muck-rakers are rarely ‘balanced’ but they often expose corruption that other ‘more respectable’ reporters and analysts won't for fear of seeming sensationalist or alarmist,” Smith wrote. “It is hard to clean up the dirt without getting a bit dirty.”

Church Militant republished Complicit Clergy’s praise of the scholar for her defense.

“If it were left up to Weigel’s ‘reliable’ news outlets,” the piece read, “it is likely we would have largely remained in the dark about the Church’s sex abuse and financial scandals. These outlets are beholden to the bishops. While they are now covering the scandals, they were largely forced to by the new Catholic media outlets.”

Christine Niles of Church Militant told LifeSiteNews that Weigel’s remarks were “insulting in the extreme.” “Weigel’s derogatory characterization of authentic journalists as ‘propagandists’ — people who’ve stuck their necks out, sometimes at the cost of their careers and even at times their safety, to expose corruption in the hierarchy, all while establishment media maintained a safe and comfortable silence — is insulting in the extreme, and makes his comments not worth taking seriously,” Niles said.

Steve Skojec, founder and editor of online magazine OnePeterFive, told LifeSiteNews that Weigel’s advice is “tone-deaf.”

“George Weigel’s admonishment that in 2020 people should avoid Catholic websites ‘that specialize in all-hysteria or all-propaganda all-the-time’ while sticking to the safety of establishment Catholic publications is stunningly tone-deaf,” Skojec said, “particularly for a man who admitted during an interview with Raymond Arroyo that [Archbishop Carlo Maria] Viganò had personally told him about the allegations that [disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore] McCarrick was under Vatican sanctions years ago, but who apparently never reported on this until after Viganò had to go into hiding for his testimony about the McCarrick cover-up.”

“People have turned to alternative Catholic media precisely because establishment publications ― and establishment Catholic writers like Weigel ― were failing to adequately expose or cover the very ‘disturbing’ ecclesiastical revelations Weigel concedes we'll be hearing more about in the coming year,” Skojec continued. 

Skojec noted that it was alternative Catholic media that “pushed through the barrier of silence that had become the status quo” and made examination of Vatican and episcopal corruption “part of the daily Catholic conversation.”

“It was alternative Catholic media that forced establishment publications to allow such stories to run because everyone was already talking about them,” he added.

“It is precisely because alternative Catholic media aren’t beholden to bishops or bishops’ conferences or other insider influences that they have the freedom to address stories that would have traditionally been seen as untouchable.”

Whereas the remarks made by readers in the comments box of First Things indicated a willingness to take Weigel’s advice, most commentators at National Catholic Register were indignant at the idea of limiting their reading to Weigel’s list.

Correction, 01-06-20, 11:12 A.M. EST: A previous edition of this article attributed Complicit Clergy’s praise of Janet Smith to Church Militant. LifeSite regrets the error.


News

French bishop calls for baptism records to drop ‘mother-father,’ adapt to ‘complex’ families

Some diocesan bishops are rejecting the recommended reform that uses 'catch-all' phrases for parents.
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By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The bishops of France have been invited by a high-ranking brother bishop appointed by Pope Francis to adapt the baptismal registers of their diocese in order to take into account the “increasingly complex situation of families” in that country. 

In practice, the “recommended” formula would scrap the implicit mention of the father and mother as parents of the child, instead using a “catch-all” phrase mentioning “parents or other holders of parental authority.”

The suggested reform was likely conceived in view of the new situations created by the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in 2013 so as to avoid all accusations of “discrimination” that might result from the traditional wording of baptism certificates.

While the reform is merely “recommended,” it comes with the authority of Bishop Joseph de Metz-Noblat. His diocese, Langres in the east of France, is a relatively obscure one, but the bishop, appointed by Pope Francis in 2014, is president of the Council for canonical questions of the French bishops’ conference.

Besides, de Metz-Noblat invoked the acceptance of his recommendations by the Permanent Council of the French bishops’ conference. In a letter sent in December 2018 to his brother bishops in France, he wrote that the Permanent Council had approved the new formula for baptismal registers.

This indicates that Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, who presides over both the Permanent Council and the bishops’ conference, has assented to the proposed formulation which does away with the traditional concept of the normal and legitimate family in favor of a more fluid notion where many different models exist.

These range from the traditional “father-mother” model, married or not, to recomposed families or homosexual couples where children can since 2013 be legally adopted by the member or members of the couple who are not the biological parent of the child. With the current legislation being passed in the French Parliament allowing for medically assisted procreation for all women, civil birth registers are expected in the near future to include the mention of two “mothers” for children conceived within lesbian couples.

According to Fr. Claude Barthe, who brought the affair to the attention of the public last month in the religious newsletter Res Novae, deliberations on the issue have been ongoing since 2013 – clearly since the moment when same-sex “marriage” was made legal. This is remarkable in itself: At the time, the promoter of the law, Christiane Taubira, was still ridiculing adversaries who said the concept of fatherhood and motherhood was doomed to disappear from official documents.

“It is certain that we (…) will not use the terms parent 1 or parent 2,” she said in January 2013, responding to accusations by the “Manif pour tous” that the words “husband,” “wife,” “father,” and “mother” would surely be replaced in civil registers if same-sex “marriage” was made legal.

To date, civil birth and marriage registers have not been modified quite so drastically. Instead of filling in pre-printed forms, civil officers are required manually to fill in “époux” (husband) or “épouse” (wife) according to the sex of the spouses, and the distinct mentions of “father” and “mother” have been replaced by only one, designing the “father-mother.”

Civil registers have not been further modified except in Paris, where the city council recently unanimously adopted an amendment presented by the left-wing populist “France insoumise” counselor Danielle Simonnet asking for “father” and “mother” to be replaced by “parent 1” and “parent 2.” It is not clear whether the registers in the French capital have actually been changed.

In February 2019, an amendment by a deputy of the reigning “République en Marche” party also suggested that official documents of the French public education system replace “father” and “mother” by “parent 1” and “parent 2.” A heated controversy ensued and the idea was finally scrapped.

In a way, the Catholic Church in France is moving faster than civil authorities. It has deliberately joined the debate and is anticipating judicial problems that it has not (yet) met in real life.

In his first letter to his “brother bishops” dated December 13, 2018, de Metz-Noblat quoted canon 843, which poses: “Sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them,” adding that “children should not be held responsible for the situation of their parents.” He said chanceries in several dioceses had “faced problems of vocabulary” because of the increasing complexity of family situations.

The bishop wrote that his own commission for canonical questions had “worked together with the commission for the reform of administrative acts of the Church” and the “commission for liturgical and sacramental pastoral care,” focusing on the “baptized person” and simply observing his or her family situation “without passing moral judgment on the latter.”

He called the new model for baptismal registers, with its imprecise reference to “parents or other holders of parental authority,” “more appropriate for our time.”

Informed sources told LifeSite that the bishop’s letter sparked hostility from several quarters, including the Roman Curia.

This appears to have been confirmed by the February 28, 2019 letter, of which LifeSite obtained a copy, by which Metz-Noblat attempted to soothe the opposition. The bishop said a number of brother bishops had informed him of their “concern” that the “new formulation would not respect Catholic thinking on family matters,” allowing the “delicate situations for which it was developed” to take “too large a place in the forefront.”

“The expression used is the one that seems the least bad, and on top of that it is not open to attacks regarding discrimination by the interested parties,” he wrote. So doing he tacitly admitted that the Church in France is prepared to change its language so as not to fall afoul of gender equality litigation and more specifically of anti-homophobia laws already in place.

Having noted that each bishop is free to promulgate the baptismal registry form of his choice for his own diocese, de Metz-Noblat added, “Nothing in the proposed formula prevents the notary of adding the words ‘father’ and ‘mother’ in front of the persons’ names, which seems to me more judicious than striking out these pre-printed words.”

He recalled that the national directives for baptismal registries, dating to 1994, does not include the words “father” and “mother” but “son – daughter of … and of …” “The formula ‘Parents or other holders of parental authority’ offers the advantage of not directly recognizing parenthood even when the official civil registry does!” Metz-Noblat exclaimed at the end of his letter.

But even if one of the motives of the revised formula, as he thus suggested, would be to circumnavigate the civil recognition of “homosexual parenthood,” the upshot of the change is still that the normal family is being sidelined in favor of an approach that is gender-neutral and considers illegitimate situations as the new norm. Several observers consider this to be a caving-in to the demands of homosexual activists.

It should be added that while present-day registry forms take it for granted that a person to be baptized was “born of … and of … ”, implicitly designating the father and the mother, they do not prevent the registration of baptisms for particular situations, such as birth to a single mother. When the father is unknown, there is simply no inscription. “And when the situation of the parents was irregular, that was not mentioned,” recalled Fr. Barthe in Res Novae.

In a telephone interview, Fr. Barthe told LifeSite that the Church does not refuse to baptize a child, whatever his or her family is like, as long as the commitment is made to give it a religious education – a requirement that aims to avoid fabricating apostates. “For instance, it is not because a child belongs to a homosexual couple that baptism would be refused,” he recalled. This would only be the case if the couple were known for example not to have fulfilled a commitment for the religious education of an earlier child, he explained.

He said the problem with the new formula is that it “retrogrades legitimate children to the situation of illegitimate children.”

In his article for Res Novae, Fr. Barthe wrote, “In a word, the exception becomes the norm: baptized children will no longer be called ‘son (daughter) of … and of … ,” accusing the reformers of “panic fear of the secular State.”

According to various sources, a handful of French dioceses have already decided not to implement the reforms “recommended” by de Metz-Noblat.

Contacted by the local press, de Metz-Noblat told Le Journal de la Haute-Marne on Friday that attacks against him in the “traditionalist” media were “erroneous.” Recalling that the old formula did not mention “father” and “mother” but “son or daughter of … ” he said somewhat obscurely, “We made recommendations here in order to redact baptismal registers taking the issue of filiation into account.”

It is precisely the question of filiation that is under brutal attack in France, because of artificial procreation techniques and the possibility for homosexual couples to adopt in the capacity of “married couples,” and it is that issue that has been underscored by critics of the move.

Contrary to what de Metz-Noblat suggested in his interview, they were not seeking to say that children of homosexual couples should not be baptized.


News

South American archbishop tells Catholics to ‘accompany’ homosexual couples and their ‘families’

The Paraguayan prelate later claimed that his comments were 'erroneously interpreted' in media reports.
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Archbishop Edmundo Valenzuela
Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas

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By Martin Barillas

ASUNCION, Paraguay, January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) -- Archbishop Edmundo Valenzuela of Paraguay told a congregation on the Feast of the Holy Family that Christians must accept and respect homosexual couples and the “families” they form. 

Speaking on Sunday in the capital of the South American republic, Archbishop Valenzuela said at his cathedral, “Today we find that there are homosexual couples who form families. We cannot ignore that reality. They require a particular competence and preparation on the part of family movements to accompany these people, in order to show them mercy and understanding.”

Referring to homosexuals, the archbishop said, “We should not denigrate them. We should not simply accuse them of a morally irregular situation, which is true, because we do not achieve anything with that; but we must propose that they live properly, reintegrate, pray, and that they be in solidarity and sensitive to the poor and the most needy. So this tells us about a variety of families in our globalized society in which we are all immersed.”

“The Church accompanies divorced and remarried families, families conflicted by hatred and rejection, single mothers, widows, with great mercy, making it known that the human person can be reintegrated, to do good, love God, undertake good works for the benefit of others, and love once again," said Valenzuela. 

“God’s plan is realized in these families (Christian families, balanced families, which are a treasure for society), but God’s plan is realized in diverse family structures so that a human being may feel companionship and will also feel valued,” he said. 

The archbishop added, “Therefore, it is up to us to provide that openness and ability to understand these new and very difficult situations, to which we must, without a doubt, show solidarity with an attitude of mercy. Brothers and sisters, let us give thanks that the Church is a family of families.”

Apparently reacting to consternation that was stirred by his comments, Valenzuela issued a subsequent statement on Monday saying he was “concerned” by media reports about his homily. Saying the media “erroneously interpreted” part of his sermon, the archbishop underlined that Christians should “‘adequately’ accompany homosexual couples.”

“We specified in other points in the homily how that accompaniment should be carried out,” he wrote, adding, “We adhere to the Magisterium of the Church as expressed in the Catechism in this and all issues relating to family.” He asked for professionalism on the part of members of the media.

However, an earlier communique from the archdiocese gave a more nuanced view of the homily in question. Before the press release was scrubbed from the website, it thanked the media for broadcasting Valenzuela’s words to a wider audience. 

The missing press release stated that the archdiocesan office of family ministry bases its attention and “accompaniment” of “our brothers and their families in all stages and situations of life” on Amoris laetitia, the controversial 2015 apostolic exhortation promulgated by Pope Francis. Controversy arose over Amoris laetitia when critics asked whether it had changed Catholic teaching regarding access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist for divorced couples who have civilly remarried.

Now gone from the archdiocesan website, the statement said Archbishop Valenzuela had been speaking “colloquially” and his reflection should be “interpreted in the family and procedural context of personal development.” Pointing toward a distinction between sin and those who commit sin, the statement went on to say, “It is not easy to distinguish people from their decisions by which they are known.” It noted that the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls on believers to treat homosexual persons with respect.

According to the Catechism, "Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and “contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” While those persons with homosexual tendencies are called to self-mastery and prayer in order to “approach Christian perfection,” the Catechism says “unjust discrimination” against them should be avoided and that they should be shown “respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

At the Amazonian Synod in October, Valenzuela said he was in favor of the ordination of married men to the priesthood, as well as consecrating women to the diaconate. He was among the prelates chosen by Pope Francis to draft the synod’s controversial final document. In November, the bishop announced that he had tendered his resignation to Pope Francis upon reaching the age of 75, when canon law requires prelates to abandon diocesan governance.


News

Video of boy singing to baby brother with Down syndrome captures hearts, goes viral

Posted on Facebook on Monday, the video has now been seen over a million times.
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Rayce Grieves holds brother Tripp. Photo credit: WZZM13 WZZM13 screen shot
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Parents JJ Grieves and Nicole Powell. Photo credit: WZZM13 WZZM13 screen shot.

CABOT, Arkansas, January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A video of a young boy singing to his newborn brother with Down syndrome is capturing hearts across the nation as it goes viral on social media.

Nicole Powell posted a short video on Facebook of son Rayce cradling his baby brother Tripp in his arms, singing “10,000 Hours” by Dan + Shay & Justin Bieber. 

In the video, Rayce can be heard singing:

I’d spend ten thousand hours and ten thousand more
Oh, if that’s what it takes to learn that sweet heart of yours
And I might never get there, but I’m gonna try
If it’s ten thousand hours or the rest of my life
I’m gonna love you.

Posted on Facebook on Monday, the video has now been seen over a million times.

“This is how Rayce bonds with Tripp,” wrote mom Nicole. “He sings to him all the time. He swears this song is about him and his brother.”

“Love doesn’t count chromosomes,” continued Nicole, “or as Rayce says, ‘Aren’t we all different?’”

“I didn’t want our boys to be ashamed of him,” explained Nicole in a local TV interview.  “He’s still their little brother regardless of what he has.”

Abortion was out of the question

JJ Grieves, the boys’ father, revealed that doctors had “recommended that we terminate the pregnancy.”  

His response: “I said absolutely not.”

“It takes a little bit longer to learn and a little bit more care and more loving,” he added, “but isn’t that what the world needs?”


News

US youth population in ‘absolute decline,’ dropped over 1 million since 2010

'The decade's patterns reveal a nation with unprecedented growth stagnation,' one expert warned.
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Lianne Laurence By Lianne Laurence

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The United States has 1.14 million fewer young people going into 2020 than it did in 2010, according to an analysis of new Census data by the Brookings Institution’s William Frey.

Frey noted that while the adult population grew by 8.8 percent between 2010 and 2019, the youth population did not increase as it had in the three previous decades. The “under 18” population nosedived in a state of “absolute decline” in the past decade.

“The decade’s patterns reveal a nation with unprecedented growth stagnation, an absolute decline in its under-18 youth population,” the report states, adding a little later: “The 2010s was a decade of fewer births, more deaths, and uneven immigration.”

“One symptom of the aging population is the decade-wide loss in young people under age 18,” the report states. “Between 2010 and 2019, the nation sustained an absolute decline of 1.14 million youth. Some of this change can be attributed to lower fertility rates and the aging into adulthood of the last of the millennial population, though census projections show older populations—especially those over age 65—will display far higher rates of growth than youth.”

Moreover, current Census data revealed that under-18s made up 22 percent of the country’s total population in 2019, a drop from 28 percent in the 1980s, a figure reported by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

The trend of vanishing kids was most marked in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, where the child and teen population dropped some 11 to 12 percent between 2010 and 2019.

According to Axios’s Census data analysis, New Hampshire had the biggest decline, with the population of under-18s falling from 22 percent in 2010 to 18 percent in 2019.

America’s most populated state, California, had the greatest numerical drop, with 400,000 fewer kids in the state in 2019 than in 2010.

However, some states experienced an increase in the child and teen population.

Notably, North Dakota and the District of Columbia each saw an addition of 30,000 children since 2010 and were the only two U.S. areas where child and teen population growth eclipsed the rest of the population, Axios reported.

But although D.C.’s under-18s population has consistently outstripped its adult population growth, children and teens still make up a smaller percentage of the district’s population than in any other state.

Axios also reported that after D.C., states with the smallest percentage of child and teen population are Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

Those with the largest percentage of under-18s population are Utah, Texas, Idaho, Nebraska, and Alaska. Of these, Nebraska had the greatest shift, moving from tenth in 2010 to fourth in 2019.

The statistics mark a “pivotal moment” in the States, noted Axios.

“This isn’t the first decade of child population decline,” demographer Frey told Axios. “But it ushers in a period when adult growth will continue to dwarf child growth as the population ages and proportionately fewer women are in their child bearing ages.”

The situation is dire, warned Steve Mosher, president of the Virginia-based Population Research Institute.

“Children are the only future a family has. Indeed, they are the only future a nation has. And we are simply having too few children. We need to turn this around, and quickly,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“We need to offer positive encouragement to young couples to get married and have children. And we need to address the three things that stand in the way of this happening,” Mosher said.

The most pressing need is to end abortion.

“The first thing that we as a people must address is abortion on demand, which has led to sex without responsibility, and the wanton destruction of the unborn,” he said. The Supreme Court “must overturn Roe v. Wade, as over 200 members of Congress have recently called for.”

“The second thing we must address is the porn epidemic, which is devastating young men. It has undermined healthy relationships between the sexes, and led to virtual sex replacing procreative sex. Pornography laws must be enforced,” he added.

“The third thing we must deal with are student loans.  These ‘debt traps’ have left millions of young people saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt that will take years, or even decades, to pay back, depressing marriage and birth rates,” Mosher said.

One solution would be to forgive the student loans of those willing to marry and have children, he suggested.

“The first child would result in one-third of your debt being forgiven, the second two-thirds, and with the third your entire debt might be forgiven. The slogan of the new policy might be ‘With three you study free,’” Mosher said.

“One thing is certain,” he added: “unless we deal with the root causes of the current flight from marriage and children, America has no future.”


News

Openly gay priest claims Pope Francis affirmed his homosexuality in private phone call

The former Dominican says the pontiff told him in 2017: 'I give you the power of the keys.'
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January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – An “out” gay priest who rejects the Church’s teaching on homosexuality shared his personal reaction to a phone call he claims he received from Pope Francis in which the Pontiff reportedly affirmed him as a homosexual priest.    

In an article published by New Ways Ministry – a pro-LGBT Catholic organization that has been condemned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – the openly homosexual priest also explained why he finally chose to make public the phone call. 

Fr. James Alison, a 60-year-old former Dominican, revealed that he is the prominent gay theologian/priest who received a call from Pope Francis in 2017, as recounted in Frédéric Martel’s controversial book, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy.     

“I ‘sat’ with the knowledge of the phone call for over two years,” explained Alison. “I shared knowledge of it, of course, with a small group of friends, asking them to keep it to themselves. I had promised the Holy Father extreme discretion, and I did not want to expose him to any more hatred than he was already receiving.” 

Alison said the call gave him determination to carry on as a priest despite the Congregation for the Clergy’s sentence ordering him not to teach, preach, or celebrate the sacraments.  

So what changed to make me feel entitled to let the call be more widely known? The key factor was something my former novice-master, the bishop who had taken my letter to the Holy Father and pleaded with him to sort out my situation, told me in May 2019.

The Holy Father told him he had called me, describing the conversation to him in the same words as I had reported. Francis had thus deliberately created a witness to what he had done. It took me a little time for the significance of that to sink in, but it was this development that finally overcame any scruples I had about making the matter public.

By that time it was also clear from Francis’ reported reaction to Frederic Martel’s book on gay priests in the Vatican and from the fact that the same book had taken a great deal of the wind out of the sails of the closeted homophobes who opposed him, that he needed no protection from worried little me! That, and the freedom with which he was organising the Amazon Synod convinced me that I would do him no harm.

Alison first went public with his story when he penned an article for The Tablet in September 2019.  

“I guess the story starts in 1994, when, fully six years a priest, it became clear to me that I could no longer pretend that there was anything wrong with same-sex love,” wrote Alison.  

“The frightened boy who had accepted the official line that he was the bearer of something objectively disordered, and that therefore celibacy was an obligation, was finally growing up,” he claimed. 

Alison suggests repentance not for homosexual behavior, but for obedience to Church teaching on homosexuality

The former Dominican believes that the Catholic Church has lied to those with same-sex attraction about the disordered nature of homosexual behavior.  

“Any vows or promises undertaken when one party has been lying to the other are null,” he averred. “And in this case, church authority had been lying to me, as it has to so many others, with relation to who we are.”

“While individuals like me can repent of the ways we have allowed that lie to form our souls, the Roman congregations have no capacity to discuss or rectify their falsehood,” he said.  

Genesis of the phone call from Pope Francis

The catalyst for the phone call from the Pope was a discussion that Alison’s former novice master – now a bishop – had with Pope Francis.  

When Alison told his former Dominican novice master that the Vatican had removed him from ministry, his response was, “Absurd. It’s people like you they need outside at this time … I’ll request a private audience and ask him to sort it out.”  

Eighteen months later, the Bishop presented to Pope Francis a letter written by Alison in which he asked to have his situation made regular, “not as a personal favor to me, but as part of opening up wider ministerial possibilities in the Church for LGBT people to speak, preach, evangelize, in the first person.”

Alison said the unexpected call came on Sunday, July 2, 2017, at about 3 p.m. Pope Francis told him:   

I want you to walk with deep interior freedom, following the Spirit of Jesus. And I give you the power of the keys. Do you understand? I give you the power of the keys.

Alison concluded from his conversation with Pope Francis that he had overturned the Congregation for Clergy’s judgment against him.  

What does this extraordinary mercy mean, for me, and might it mean for others? At the very least, that the source of canonical order did not regard as binding his own Congregation’s sentence, since he clearly treated me as a priest, giving me universal jurisdiction to hear Confessions.  

He then went on to extrapolate a broader meaning for all homosexual priests who live “double lives:” 

And indeed, what of so many others more deserving than I? What about a Jubilee of Honesty for priests, inaugurated with an amnesty for double lives that are neither abusive nor criminal?  

And not only for current priests, but for seminaries, where he feels that same-sex attracted young men discerning their vocations are lied to about the sinful nature of active homosexuality. He proposes: 

A public accountability to honesty, especially of formators, as the principal factor in formation? The closet no longer forming and enforcing the closet?  

More specifically, he suggests that bishops be given five years “to learn to overcome their inability to discern and negotiate” with homosexual priests.  

Alison believes that there is no real “crisis of vocations” in the church today, and that instead there is a “crisis of discernment” by bishops “who have locked themselves into a self-reinforcing system of mendacity and thrown away the key” regarding the pastoring and formation of priests who might live homosexual lives.

Thanks to what he clearly views as his homosexuality-affirming phone call from Pope Francis, Alison foresees massive change in the Catholic Church and wonders:

Pope Francis has talked about this being a change of epoch rather than an epoch of change. What is going to be the shape of ministry in the Church that is being birthed?    

Alison currently lives in Madrid, Spain, and continues to describe himself as a priest, theologian, lecturer and preacher. 


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Democrats, leftists melt down over congressmen asking SCOTUS to review Roe v Wade

Even pro-abortion leftists tend to defend Roe v. Wade not on its merits, but on its long standing.
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A recent amicus brief in which more than 200 members of Congress ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade isn’t sitting well with the Democrats hoping to defeat President Donald Trump this year, or with scores of pro-abortion activists and left-wing pundits.

In March, the nation’s highest court will hear arguments in June Medical Services LLC v. Gee, which concerns Louisiana’s requirement that abortion centers make arrangements for admitting women to nearby hospitals in cases of life-threatening complications. The abortion industry’s attorneys argue that the law is not at all different from the Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt; pro-lifers argue that not only was Hellerstedt wrongly decided, but the Louisiana law is different from the Texas one.

The case is likely to at the very least impact the Hellerstedt precedent, which has been used to invalidate a broad range of modest abortion regulations as “undue burdens” on women. It remains to be seen whether the Court will take the opportunity to make a broader determination on the underlying legitimacy of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which force all 50 states to permit most abortions, which is what the amicus brief signed by 205 Republican congressmen and two Democrats calls on the justices to do so.

“[We] respectfully suggest that the court’s struggle — similar to dozens of other courts’ herculean struggles in this area — illustrates the unworkability of the ‘right to abortion’ found in Roe and the need for the Court to take up the issue of whether Roe and [Planned Parenthood v.] Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled,” it reads.

Several candidates for the Democrat presidential nomination, including former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, condemned the brief, as did other prominent Democrats, the nation’s leading pro-abortion organizations, and pro-abortion celebrities:

Opposing legal abortion has been a well known Republican position since the 1980s, yet former NARAL president Ilyse Hogue issued a statement trying to suggest that the brief marked some  sort of contrast to a goal Republicans had supposedly been trying to keep secret. 

“The anti-choice movement is no longer trying to hide their real agenda,” she declared. “They are gunning to end Roe, criminalize abortion and punish women. If it wasn’t clear why we fought like hell to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation before, it should be crystal clear now. They gamed the system and stacked the Supreme Court just for this moment.”

Roe is largely defended not on its legal merits (numerous pro-abortion legal minds, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have acknowledged the ruling’s flaws), but on its status as precedent, with the modern interpretation of the stare decisis doctrine holding that Roe’s lengthy history staying on the books grants it added weight. Justice Clarence Thomas has forcefully rejected such arguments. It remains to be seen how Chief Justice John Roberts and President Trump’s two SCOTUS appointees, Neil Gorscuh and Brett Kavanaugh, will weigh Roe’s precedent versus its substance.

Either way, a ruling in the case is likely to be handed down during this already contentious election year, in which abortion and judicial nominations will be major issues for both Trump and the Democrat nominee.


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Brother bishops defend Polish archbishop skewered by media for criticizing Greta Thunberg

Krakow's metropolitan was criticized after saying radical environmentalism is a 'very dangerous phenomenon' that threatens marriage and Christian tradition.
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RZESZÓW, Poland, January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Fifteen Polish bishops signed a letter of support for Kraków Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski following his remarks about radical environmentalism that he said attacks marriage and the family. 

“Metropolitan of Krakow,” they wrote, “as bishops gathered at the Christmas meeting (in Rzeszów), we express solidarity with you against the detrimental attacks that the evangelical Defender of Truth must endure.”

“It is always glorious to stand on the side of Christian anthropology, which seems in Man the image of God Himself.” 

The signatories were Archbishop Adam Szal, Bishop Jan Wątroba, Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki, Archbishop Wacław Depo, Archbishop Józef Michalik, Bishop Marian Rojek, Bishop Stanisław Jamrozek, Bishop Kazimierz Górny, Archbishop Stanisław Nowak, Bishop Krzysztof Nitkiewicz, Bishop Andrzej Jeż, Bishop Jan Śrutwa, Bishop Mariusz Leszczyński, Bishop Andrzej Przybylski, and Bishop Edward Białogłowski.

These bishops believed Archbishop Jędraszewski needed support after remarks he made to Poland’s Telewizja Republika television station were mischaracterized by a hostile press as an attack on the environment and Greta Thunberg. 

The archbishop responded to Telewizja Republika’s question about “ecologism” by saying any new movement that threatens marriage and the Christian tradition is “a very dangerous phenomenon.” 

The Christian tradition, Jędraszewski said, “is being questioned by new movements, and each tries to impose itself as binding doctrine.”

“It’s a very dangerous phenomenon because it’s not just that a teenager is trying to impose it, but that this activist is becoming an oracle for all political and social forces,” he continued.

“This is contrary to everything that is recorded in the Bible beginning with the Book of Genesis, which clearly mentions God’s miracle of Creation.” 

The Archbishop continued by saying that man is the pinnacle of this creation and was asked to name the animals and subdue the earth. Because he cannot find a partner among the  creatures, God gives the man a wife.  

“That is the vision of man and the world which Christianity proclaims and which is also a vision deeply rooted in Judaism,” Jędraszewski added. 

“Suddenly, everything is questioned or, that is, our culture is questioned, the whole natural order is reversed, beginning with the existence of God put to the question. The Creator, as well as the role and dignity of every person, is questioned.” 

The transcript of the interview was edited so that the “teenager” was identified as Thunberg. The interview was aired on Christmas Eve, and the Archbishop returned to this theme in his Midnight Mass homily. 

Jędraszewski’s mild remarks about man’s place in creation caused a media storm as the Archbishop’s left-wing critics claimed that he had shown no concern for the environment. On Boxing Day, the deputy mayor of Warsaw, Paweł Rabiej, tweeted a photograph of an Australian bushfire and wrote, “From the perspective of the fires in Australia, where I am today, I can say only one thing. There is no worse plague in the world today than those who question the need to take care of and protect our planet. Jędraszewski, go to hell, that’s your place.”

Polish-American translator and journalist Filip Mazurczak, who lives in Kraków, told LifeSiteNews that his Archbishop’s remarks should be understood in the context of Pope John Paul II’s thoughts on the environment found in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus

The Polish pope wrote: 

“In addition to the irrational destruction of the natural environment, we must also mention the more serious destruction of the human environment, something which is by no means receiving the attention it deserves. Although people are rightly worried — though much less than they should be — about preserving the natural habitats of the various animal species threatened with extinction, because they realize that each of these species makes its particular contribution to the balance of nature in general, too little effort is made to safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic "human ecology." Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given to him, but man too is God's gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed. In this context, mention should be made of the serious problems of modern urbanization, of the need for urban planning which is concerned with how people are to live, and of the attention which should be given to a ‘social ecology’ of work." (Centesimus Annus, 38

“In recent years, we've had this bonkers new ideology in which people like Bernie Sanders think that the demographic crisis facing many societies, especially but not exclusively in Europe and East Asia, is a good thing and that people should stop having children in order to limit their carbon footprint,” Mazurczak told LifeSiteNews. 

“Naturally, this goes hand in hand with promoting abortion and contraception,” he continued. 

“I think that Jędraszewski was talking about this.”

The Metropolitan Archbishop of Kraków has made headlines previously for defending Catholic teaching regarding marriage and the family against LGBT ideology.


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Actress cancels Candace Owens interview, claiming trans tweet made co-workers feel ‘unsafe’

Jameela Jamil of 'The Good Place' equated simply stating biological facts to 'bullying.'
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January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil revoked an interview invitation to conservative activist Candace Owens this week over the latter’s commentary on transgenderism, sparking a social media argument over whether insisting on biological reality constitutes “bullying.”

On December 30, Owens announced that she would not be appearing on Jamil’s podcast, sharing a screenshot of a message notifying her that “we have a trans people (sic) working with us,” and “nothing is worth my friends and co-workers feeling unsafe”:

Jamil apparently decided to disinvite Owens based on one of the latter’s tweets from the day before, in which Owens corrected media headlines about a “transgender man” (i.e., a biological woman) giving birth. Jamil accused Owens of “bullying” the couple in the tweet, a claim Owens rejected:

Over the next few days, Jamil doubled down on the “bullying” charge, accusing Owens of trying to incite hatred against gender-confused individuals:

In fact, to the extent that any “bullying” occurs in the transgender debate, it appears to overwhelmingly push in the opposite direction. In just the last year, criticism of “gender-fluid” ideology and failure to use transgender pronouns have been met with disciplinary action at public universities, lawsuits from disgruntled employees, public outbursts framed respectfully by a sympathetic media, and censorship from social media platforms.

“Pretending all trans people are too sensitive to come to terms with biological limitations is not, in fact, allying oneself with their cause,” Owens said of the controversy. “It’s treating people like toddlers who can’t function without the promise of make-believe.”


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WATCH: Vatican Christmas concert features indigenous woman teaching audience to channel ‘mother earth’

The indigenous woman taught the audience how to understand a 'message' from 'mother earth.'
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The indigenous woman directing the audience to cross their arms on their chests in order to hear 'messages' from 'mother earth' at the 2019 Vatican Christmas concert.
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Prelates at the 2019 Vatican Christmas concert following directives to cross their arms on their chests to hear 'messages' from 'mother earth.'

ROME, January 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Devotion to “Mother Earth” took center stage at the Vatican Christmas concert this year. 

During the Dec. 14 event, whose lineup included Lionel Richie, Bonnie Tyler and Susan Boyle, a priest took to the stage with an indigenous young woman, a translator and the evening’s host, Italian television personality, Federica Panicucci. Watch the event here

He asked: “What is your relationship with Mother Earth?” to which she responded by inviting the audience to cross their arms over their heart and “feel a strong vibration.” The audience, which included senior Vatican officials such as Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and deputy Secretary of State, or sostituto, Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, all complied. 

“This is the heart – your heart, but also the heart of Mother Earth,” the young indigenous woman continued. “In another place, where you feel silence, there is the spirit, the spirit that allows us to understand the message of the Mother.”

She went on to explain: “For us, the indigenous peoples, above all for my people, Mother Earth, the ‘Hicha Guaia,’ is everything. It is this Mother who provides us with nourishment. She is the one who gives us the sacred water, she is the one who gives us the medicinal plants, and she is the one who reminds us of our origin, the origin of [our] creation. Therefore, we give to her our birth placenta and our first cutting of hair. Our connection with her is constant. That’s how the pulse feels, that’s how the heart feels, it vibrates.”

The priest told the audience that the young lady’s remarks reminded him of the Old Testament passage when God says to Moses: “Do not come near! Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 

The verse to which the priest was referring comes from the burning bush passage in the Book of Exodus (3:1-6), which recounts the holiness of God’s self-revelation to Moses, not the sacredness of the earth.

The Fathers of the Church also saw in the burning bush a prefiguring of the perpetual virginity and divine maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Just as on the mountain the bush burned and was not consumed, so also the Virgin gave birth to the light and was not corrupted,” writes St. Gregory of Nyssa in his treatise ‘On the Birth of Christ.’

The benefit concert was organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education and supported by Don Bosco Missions Valdocco non-profit, a charity to support “the presence, tradition and culture of the indigenous populations” of the Amazon. It was also supported by the Pontifical Foundation Scholas Occurrentes, a network of half a million schools in 190 countries that aims to foster a culture of encounter but without being explicitly Catholic. 

Scholas Occurrentes also aims to help students become active in reforestation and following the example of the Amazonian people,” to reconstruct “harmonious relationships with nature and between people” and foster “exchange activities among students and sharing among schools.”  

The concert was the latest in a series of Vatican events that have placed the theme of Mother Earth at the center. The Pachamama controversy erupted during the October 2019 Amazon Synod, the final report of which contains several references to Mother Earth. During that month, the Vatican published Pope Francis’ book Our Mother Earth: A Christian Approach to the Environmental Challenge with a foreword by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I. Meanwhile, the Pontifical Academy for Sciences has held a series of conferences in recent years dedicated to protecting the Earth in collaboration with the United Nations. 

The UN frequently makes reference to Mother Earth and has also published a course for children on the importance of protecting Mother Earth called “Pachamama.” During the Amazon Synod, the Vatican also hosted a gathering co-organized by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), founded by former United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon in 2012 and directed by pro-abortion globalist and sustainable development guru, Jeffrey Sachs. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which also have a heavy environmental focus, has also become a priority of this pontificate. 

The Vatican concert also took place shortly before a Dec. 20 private audience between Pope Francis and UN Secretary General António Guterres in which the environment figured highly in their discussions. 

Looking ahead to later this year, the Holy See is also heavily involved in the Global Compact on Education due to take place on May 14, 2020, which Pope Francis said aims to “educate children and young people “in universal solidarity and a new humanism.” International organizations such as the United Nations, various humanitarian institutions, as well as key figures from the world of politics, economics, science, academia and sport have been invited to sign the Pact at St. Peter’s. Scholas Occurentes is a key participant in the event.

“While safeguarding the environment is important for any Catholic, these kinds of events are becoming all too frequent in the Vatican,” an informed source close to the Holy See told LifeSite. “They are becoming such a central focus that they’re even appearing to supplant the Mother of God with Mother Earth.” 

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman contributed to this report.


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United Methodist Church officially splits over gay ‘marriage,’ clergy

Methodist churches that want to remain true to Biblical teaching on marriage and sex can vote to become part of the new 'traditional Methodist' denomination.
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January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The United Methodist Church (UMC) announced Friday it will be dealing with ongoing divisions over homosexuality by formally splitting, with the formation of a new denomination for Methodists who hold to a Biblical understanding of sex and marriage.

The church has been divided over the issues of same-sex “marriage” and homosexual clergy, with its General Conference voting in February against compromising its opposition. Tensions have continued since, however, and on Friday the church announced the formation of a new “traditional Methodist” denomination for more conservative Methodists, the New York Times reports

The Washington Post adds that the agreement spares the church’s left-wing faction from facing sanctions that were originally slated to take effect, including suspension and/or expulsion for clergy who officiate same-sex “weddings.” By default, local churches will be members of the UMC, and would have to conduct votes in order to identify as “traditional Methodist.”

The plan, which still needs to be approved by the conference in May, was devised by a 16-person committee of bishops and other officials who deemed separation the “best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the Church to remain true to its theological understanding.”

“The solution that we received is a welcome relief to the conflict we have been experiencing,” said pro-LGBT Rev. Thomas Berlin about the news. “I am very encouraged that the United Methodist Church found a way to offer a resolution to a long conflict.”

Observers who maintain a Biblical stance on LGBT issues were less enthused.

“My initial reaction is that [it] should be the other way around: Let the heretics split off since they are the ones denying Jesus and the historic witness not only of the church in general but of Wesley and the denomination in particular,” theologian Robert Gagnon wrote. “It is their view that is a cancer on the church. Let the faithful occupy the default position.”

“This appears to be a win for the heretics; not a rout but a win nonetheless,” Gagnon continued. “It seems like the faithful had the heretics on the rope with greater sanctions on unfaithful pastors performing a faux ‘gay marriage’ and then they compromised with the heretics to give the latter a better deal. On the other hand, it may be the best deal that the faithful can get.”


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Catholic parish apologizes for Facebook post defending Church’s teaching on IVF

The parish also deleted its entire Facebook page after online backlash.
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IRELAND, January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic parish in Ireland deleted its entire Facebook page and apologized for “hurt caused” after it posted a pro-life message articulating Church teaching on in vitro fertilization.

The post, which noted that IVF is “completely, clearly and totally incompatible with our Catholic faith,” provoked a negative reaction online and outraged media coverage

The post was subsequently criticized by Simon Harris, the Irish Health Minister.

The message was posted to the Facebook account of the Tullamore Parish in County Meath, along with an image of Jesus in the womb with a halo over his head and the words “He’s on His way” and “Christmas starts with Christ.” 

The original post in full read: 

Let us continue to pray for life.

We pray for couples struggling to naturally conceive life and who are avoiding IVF treatment.

The process of IVF damages embryonic stem cells and thus life and is therefore completely, clearly and totally incompatible with our Catholic faith. For all believers in God, all life is sacred at all times.

We pray for those expecting life. We pray for those who have surprise pregnancies. May we always respect the sacredness and the sanctity of life.

All life is beautiful and belongs to God, the author of all life (Genesis 1:27 states that God created man in his own image…“male and female he created them”)

As Catholics — we are unapologetically pro-life and are proud and are honoured to stand up for the voiceless and for the vulnerable unborn persons whom we are called to love, cherish and to bring closer to God.

Thank you God for the gift of our life. May our lives give glory to you and inspire others to protect life. 

IVF involves the creation of numerous human embryos by mixing sperm and egg in a petri dish. The created embryos are typically screened for chromosomal abnormalities. Doctors then attempt to transfer embryonic humans who survive that screening to a mother’s womb.

Most of the embryos are never successfully implanted. The “unused” ones are frozen for a time, before being thawed and destroyed. In 2015 a report in the U.K. indicated that more than two million embryos created for IVF procedures had been destroyed since records began in 1990.

The Catholic Church teaches that masturbation and separating procreation from sex are intrinsically evil.

The parish has now deleted its entire Facebook page and issued a statement apologizing for the post. Their statement says: “A post published on the Tullamore Parish Facebook page on Christmas Eve concerning IVF has caused great distress to many members of our parish community and beyond. For hurt caused we apologise.”

“Matters concerning fertility are sacred and sensitive, and all children are cherished and God-given, this is the essence of the Christmas message. The parish understands the great suffering experienced by mothers and fathers who long for a child. At this time, we offer our pastoral and prayerful support to all parents and expectant parents.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that the use of IVF procedures is “morally unacceptable” because “[t]hey dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act” (CCC 2377). 

“The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another,” the Catechism continues, “but one that entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person.” 

The Catechism is clear that “[o]nly respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person.”

A subsequent section of the Catechism explains Catholic teaching on the conception of children and the respective rights of parents and children. Section 2378 explains:

A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.”

Irish health minister: Parish explaining Church teaching is ‘inappropriate interference’

According to a report in The Irish Times, the post sparked a “virulent social media reaction” with calls for the person who wrote the post to identify him or herself. 

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris called the post an “inappropriate interference in decisions that individuals and couples make about their own lives.” 

Harris said that he “thought and certainly hoped we had moved to a point as a country [beyond] this sort of inappropriate interference.” 

Harris outlined the Irish government’s plan to regulate IVF for the first time through the assisted human reproduction bill and said that “the idea that any Christian would find that [IVF] objectionable is something I will never understand and I will never comprehend.”

As Health Minister, Harris played a leading role in the introduction of abortion legislation into the Republic of Ireland in 2018

‘People deserve to know’ that IVF kills embryonic humans

The Catholic pro-life organization Human Life International (HLI) Ireland issued a statement expressing “disappointment that the parish felt compelled to apologise for speaking the truth.” 

“Whilst in no way minimising the suffering entailed by infertility, people deserve to know that IVF causes grievous loss of human life, is seriously offensive to God[,] and puts users outside God’s plan for their lives,” said Patrick McCrystal, Executive Director of HLI Ireland.

“Statistics show that almost half of embryos used to help...women conceive through in vitro fertilisation are thrown away during or after the process. No-one is pointing out this horrendous loss of life, and how the technological manipulation of the creation of human life is in severe conflict with the Creator’s plan,” McCrystal stated.

“Tullamore Parish wrote a clear message, consistent with Church teaching, that upheld the dignity of life,” he continued. “The embryo conceived is sacred and inviolable from [the] moment of conception. Church teaching on this subject is rich, beautiful[,] and true.” 

“Any parish must be free to discuss, advance[,] and inform parishioners on Catholic Church teaching without being attacked by politicians and the media.”

Anthony Murphy, director of the Ireland-based Lumen Fidei Institute, told LifeSiteNews, “Catholics must never apologise for defending the most innocent and defenceless in our society, namely the unborn child.”

Murphy said that the incident is “troubling on a number of fronts and raises some important questions for the Church in Ireland.” 

Murphy expressed gratitude for the initial witness to the Church’s teaching, but concern at the decision to remove the post. 

“First and foremost why was the post removed?” he asked. “Clearly someone in the parish thought it was important enough to put it up. But why should it be removed especially at the time of year when our minds are thinking not only of new life but also of the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents?” 

“In removing a post which simply explains the moral teaching of the Church the parish has succumbed to the narrative of the secular media that our faith is something to be ashamed of, something which must be hidden and discussed only in private – not only does this approach limit evangelisation it is also deeply offensive to faithful Catholics,” commented Murphy.

He concluded:

“Finally where was the voice of the bishop and why was he unable to support the parish in the midst of this media storm? Our bishops have been quite vocal in the past few months about things in which they have little or no competence – namely immigration policy and climate change – yet they have consistently failed to defend Church teaching from secular attack. The greatest shame here must fall with the bishops who have remained silent while Church teaching has been undermined leaving those on the periphery of our society, the unborn, without a strong voice to defend them.” 


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Cdl Burke: Vatican’s global pact for ‘new humanism’ promotes one-world gov’t, opposes Christ’s Kingship

'There is an effort to dull people’s consciousness about the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ as it is proclaimed in the Gospel.'
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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin, January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke is calling on faithful Catholics to “stand up and give witness to the truth” of Jesus Christ’s Kingship in the face of the rise of Islam as well as the Vatican’s push for a "global pact" that will, in the words of Pope Francis, “create a new humanism.”

The cardinal, who is the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Prefect Emeritus of the Vatican's highest court (known as the Apostolic Signatura), was asked by The Wanderer in a wide-ranging interview published Dec. 26 to comment on Pope Francis hosting an event at the Vatican in May 2020 with the theme “Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance.”

The Wanderer asked the following question: “In launching the initiative, the Holy Father said: ‘A global educational pact is needed to educate us in universal solidarity and a new humanism.’ What is the impetus behind this meeting and what is likely to be accomplished? It sounds like an event to promote a one-world government.”

Burke replied: “It is. All of these things are connected. With the spread of Islam, especially in Europe but also in the United States, there is an effort to dull people’s consciousness about the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ as it is proclaimed in the Gospel. This is an area where the faithful must especially stand up and give witness to the truth.”

“It is my understanding that there are other initiatives that are attempting to teach the Abu Dhabi document in schools. This is troubling. It is similar to what happened in the whole area of sex education in recent generations,” he added.

It was in September that Pope Francis announced he will be hosting in 2020 an initiative for a “global pact” to “create a new humanism.”

According to a Vatican statement issued at that time, the Pope invited representatives of the main religions, international organizations and various humanitarian institutions, as well as key figures from the world of politics, economics and academia, and prominent athletes, scientists and sociologists to sign a “Global Pact on Education” so as to “hand on to younger generations a united and fraternal common home.”

“This,” said the Pope in a video message to launch the initiative, “will result in men and women who are open, responsible, prepared to listen, dialogue and reflect with others, and capable of weaving relationships with families, between generations, and with civil society, and thus to create a new humanism.”

Quoting one of Hillary Clinton’s favorite sayings, “It takes a village to raise a child,” Pope Francis asserted the need to create an “educational village,” in which “all people, according to their respective roles, share the task of forming a network of open, human relationships.”

The Pope continued in his message that in order to reach these “global objectives,” as an “educating village” we must “have the courage to place the human person at the center.”

Commenting on this, Mother Miriam, foundress of the religious community Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel's Hope, said on her Sept. 16, 2019, podcast that such an educational village would “once and for all destroy the family and the human race.”

“The Pope said that in order to reach these global objectives as an educating village, we must ‘have the courage to place the human person at the centre.’ Isn't that what is wrong with our world today? Instead of placing Christ at the centre, we place man at the center,” she said.

“Some of these words sound very nice. And the demon appears as an ‘angel of light.’ Am I saying the Pope is demonic? No. I’m saying what he’s proposing is demonic,” she added elsewhere in her podcast.

It was also during the Pope’s announcement of the “global pact” that he referenced the “Document on Human Fraternity and World Peace for Living Together” which he signed with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi in February, 2019. The Abu Dhabi document caused controversy for stating, among other things, that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.”

In his interview with The Wanderer, Cardinal Burke criticized the notion of a one-world government.

“The idea of a one-world government is fundamentally the same phenomenon that was displayed by the builders of the Tower of Babel who presumed to exercise the power of God on earth to unite heaven with earth, which is simply incorrect,” he said.

“What we truly need is a religious conversion, in other words, a strong teaching and practice of faith in God and obedience to the order with which He has created us,” he added.


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Court approves ex-nonbinary’s petition to officially reclaim true sex

James Shupe becomes the first American to be granted the right to change his birth certificate back to its original gender.
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By Calvin Freiburger

January 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – James Shupe, the first American to legally have his gender recognized as “nonbinary,” disavowed transgenderism and re-embraced his biological sex earlier this year, and now an Oregon court has granted his request to officially recognize him as male again.

As previously detailed by LifeSiteNews, Shupe is a retired Army sergeant who struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after his discharge, and in 2013 decided he was a transgender woman and changed his name to Jamie. Three years later, he decided he was “nonbinary” instead. In January of this year, Shupe announced that he was rejecting both of his previous transgender identities and reclaiming his true nature as a man.

“The weight of the lie on my conscience was heavier than the value of the fame I'd gained from participating in this elaborate swindle,” he wrote in March. “Two fake gender identities couldn't hide the truth of my biological reality. There is no third gender or third sex. Like me, intersex people are either male or female. Their condition is the result of a disorder of sexual development, and they need help and compassion.”

In the following months, he has been fighting to restore the truth on his legal and medical records, and this week the Multnomah County Court in Oregon granted his request to correct his birth certificate, PJ Media reported.

Though born in Washington, D.C., it was Portland, Oregon where he successfully got a court to change the sex on his birth certificate to “X” for “indeterminate.” He successfully got officials in his current state of residence, Florida, to restore his sex on his driver’s license (and still has a pending case to revert his legal name from “Jamie” to “James”), but full recognition of his true sex required a reversal from the court that made the previous decision.

Shupe explains that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) easily diagnosed him with gender dysphoria, but it was an uphill battle to get the department to reconsider.

"I then began confronting the VA about rubber-stamping me with gender dysphoria when in fact I had sexual paraphilias, a transvestic disorder with autogynephilia and masochism,” he recalled. “The psychologist at the VA who had diagnosed me with gender dysphoria then dumped me as a patient when I asked for the diagnosis to be changed. The VA finally gave me the paraphilia diagnosis in April 2019; the endocrinologist did it. The VA then outsourced me to the civilian sector to a therapist unqualified to treat me, the only one willing to take me as a patient."

Shupe’s previous changes set a legal precedent seized on by transgender activists and individuals hoping to reclassify their own genders, such as Jones David Hollister (also in Oregon), and Shupe hopes his course correction sets another precedent in the opposite direction – both for the sake of truth and for those struggling with gender confusion to get the help they truly need.

"The charade of not being male, the legal fiction, it's over," Shupe said. "The lies behind my fictitious sex changes, something I shamefully participated in, first to female, and then to non-binary, have been forever exposed. ... The legal record has now been corrected and LGBT advocates are no longer able to use my historic nonbinary court order to advance their toxic agenda.”


News

Irish health minister ‘committed’ to banning pro-life prayer outside abortion centers

Simon Harris said he found a pro-life demonstration outside a maternity hospital where babies are aborted ‘appalling.’
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Irish Health Minister Simon Harris
Paul Smeaton By Paul Smeaton

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By Paul Smeaton
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DUBLIN, Ireland, January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Simon Harris, Ireland’s health minister, has promised to create “exclusion zones” banning pro-life witness around abortion facilities.

Harris said he is “committed” to restricting pro-life speech outside abortion centers after pro-abortion politicians condemned pro-lifers online.

A video of a pro-life witness outside the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin (where babies are aborted) was posted to Twitter by Dr. Mary Higgins, a consultant at the hospital.

“Right here (national maternity hospital), right now 1/1/20; wonder why we need exclusion zones @LeoVaradkar @SimonHarrisTD - beneath the windows of a postnatal ward, in front if people leaving after a miscarriage, with small coffins, crosses and unsavoury images,” she tweeted.

Harris replied to the tweet, saying, “Appalled to see. I don’t wonder why we need it at all. Have been engaging with Attorney General, Gardai & service providers about how best to bring it in in a manner that is constitutional etc. Can assure you I am committed to it and will be meeting cross party on it this month.”

In comments to the press, Harris blasted the peaceful pro-lifers, asking, “How dare you turn up at a National Maternity Hospital and try to intimidate women?” 

Harris also wrote a series of tweets on his own Twitter account on January 1 celebrating the introduction of abortion to the Republic of Ireland. 

Catherine Noone, the deputy leader of the Irish Senate, also took to Twitter to complain about the pro-life event, saying, “We can’t wait any longer for exclusion zone legislation, it should have been done before now. It needs to be a major priority for the start of the new term. The danger is that it might never happen if there’s a change of Government.”

Higgins has been criticized by a number of Twitter users for having supported a pro-abortion event outside the same hospital in 2018. One user responded to Higgins’ claim to be concerned about the impact of a pro-life witness on women leaving the hospital after a miscarriage, by asking, “Not worried about mothers to be that day, were you?”

The National Maternity Hospital was the focus of media attention last year when an expectant mother opted to have an abortion after a test taken at the hospital inidicated her that her child had Trisonomy 18. It was later confirmed that the baby had been perfectly healthy and the devastated mother called for a public enquiry. In September of last year, the first 40 Days for Life campaign of peaceful pro-life prayer was launched outside the hospital following the introduction of legislation allowing for abortion on demand in the Emerald Isle. 


News

Cardinal Burke warns faithful about calls for ‘ecological conversion’

'What I see behind this is a push for worship of ‘Mother Earth',' says the cardinal.
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Cardinal Raymond Burke
Pete Baklinski By Pete Baklinski

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By Pete Baklinski

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin, January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, known for his outspoken faithfulness to perennial Catholic teaching, is warning Catholics about recent calls from the Vatican and top Church leaders for “ecological conversion.” Behind this concept, he said, lurks an “insidious” agenda of idolatry and one-world government.

“With regard to ‘ecological conversion,’ what I see behind this is a push for worship of ‘Mother Earth,’” said Cardinal Raymond Burke in a wide-ranging interview with The Wanderer published Dec. 26.

The cardinal, who is the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Prefect Emeritus of the Vatican's highest court (known as the Apostolic Signatura), said that Catholics honor the Virgin Mary as mother.

“In truth, our mother is not the earth — our mother is the Blessed Virgin Mary in the sense that she gave birth to our Savior. We do not have another mother, certainly not a pagan idol like the Pachamama, which is very revelatory of what is behind this whole business,” he said.

The cardinal’s mention of “Pachamama” refers to the October 2019 Amazon Synod in Rome, where a statue of a naked pregnant woman was set up for veneration in the Vatican gardens during a tree planting ceremony which Pope Francis attended. The statue was later brought into St. Peter’s Basilica with pomp and ceremony, and was again venerated.

Burke said that “ecological conversion” is also being used as “an argument for a one-world government.”

“This is a masonic idea, an idea of completely secularized people who no longer recognize that the governance of the world is in the hands of God, Who entrusts it to individual governments, nations, and groupings of people according to nature itself,” he said.

“The idea of a one-world government is fundamentally the same phenomenon that was displayed by the builders of the Tower of Babel who presumed to exercise the power of God on earth to unite heaven with earth, which is simply incorrect,” he continued.

“What we truly need is a religious conversion, in other words, a strong teaching and practice of faith in God and obedience to the order with which He has created us,” he added.

Burke called “ecological conversion” a “very insidious” phrase that is being used to “promote a certain agenda which has nothing to do with our Catholic faith.”

“As far as the environment and ‘ecological conversion’ goes, the Church has always taught respect for nature. This is why it is taught that man is the steward of God’s creation and that he will have to render an account of the creation for which he has been entrusted. God created man in His own image and likeness, that is with intelligence and free will, precisely for the mission of stewardship of the earth. This is what should be taught to people, not a so-called ‘ecological conversion.’”

Pope Francis brought the term “ecological conversion” into vogue in his 2015 encyclical letter on the environment Laudato Si’, in which he made use of the phrase five times. He said that people who “choose not to change their habits” with regard to the “ecological crisis” are in need of an “’ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.” The phrase was first used by Pope John Paul II during a General Audience in January, 2001. The late pope said that he must “encourage and support the ‘ecological conversion’ which in recent decades has made humanity more sensitive to the catastrophe to which it has been heading.”

In his 2016 message for the celebration of World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis called on Catholics to have an “ecological conversion” and go to confession for sins of not being respectful of creation, giving examples of examination of conscience such as “avoiding the use of plastic and paper,” “separating refuse,” and “turning off unnecessary lights.”

The concept of “ecological sin” was formally introduced to the Church at the October, 2019 Pan-Amazonian Synod.

“We propose to define ecological sin as an action or omission against God, against others, the community and the environment. It is a sin against future generations and manifests itself in acts and habits of pollution and destruction of the harmony of the environment, transgressions against the principles of interdependence and the breaking of solidarity networks among creatures (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 340-344) and against the virtue of justice,” stated the synod’s final document.

In November, the Pope said he was thinking about adding “‘ecological sin’ against our common home” to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

"We have to introduce―we are thinking about it―to the Catechism of the Catholic Church the sin against ecology, the 'ecological sin' against our common home, because a duty is at stake," he said in a speech given at the 20th World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law in Rome.

Later in the interview with The Wanderer, Cardinal Burke criticized the notion of “ecological sins.”

“In the same way, there are no new ‘ecological sins.’ The same Ten Commandments that the Lord God gave us on Mount Sinai are in force today. We have to respect nature as well as our own human nature. So, I do not know what this can mean,” he said.


News

Full list of events surrounding the 2020 March for Life

There are many pro-life events and activities in D.C. during the week of the March for Life.
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Alex Wong / Getty Images
By LifeSiteNews staff

By LifeSiteNews staff
LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

Editor’s note: Please be aware that some events listed require participants to register in advance. Others will be livestreamed. If you know of an event that should be added to this list, please email [email protected].

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 (anniversary of Roe v. Wade)

11:00 a.m.
Sit-in at Speaker Pelosi’s office
Longworth House Building
15 Independence Ave SE 
Washington, D.C. 20515

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
March for Life Expo
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Priests for Life Interdenominational candlelight vigil 
U.S. Supreme Court
1 First St. NE
Washington, D.C. 20543

Thursday, January 23, 2020

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Anglicans for Life Summit
The Falls Church Anglican
6565 Arlington Blvd.
Falls Church, VA 22042

8:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Evangelicals for Life conference 
McLean Bible Church
Tysons Corner Campus
8925 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22182

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Protest at Planned Parenthood with pro-life leaders
1225 Fourth St. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
March for Life Conference
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
March for Life Expo
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Law of Life Summit
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (doors open at 1:45 p.m.)
March for Life Youth Rally
Grand Ballroom
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

5:00 p.m.
Screening of HUMAN Life movie
Grand Ballroom North
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

5:30 p.m. (Divine Mercy Chaplet starts at 5:15 p.m.; Confessions available from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Vigil for Life Mass
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Ave NE
Washington, D.C. 20017
*The National Vigil for Life, which takes place in the basilica, includes Confessions, a pro-life rosary, and all-night Holy Hours.

6:30 p.m.
Screening of HUMAN Life movie
Grand Ballroom North
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m
OneVoiceDC
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

7:30 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Life is Very Good Evening of Prayer
EagleBank Arena at George Mason University
4500 Patriot Circle
Fairfax, VA 22030

Friday, January 24, 2020

6:30 a.m.
Archdiocese of Washington Youth Rally & Mass for Life
Capital One Arena
601 F St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

7:30 a.m.
Sung Mass of the Holy Innocents (Traditional Latin Mass/Old Rite/Extraordinary Form)
Offered by Fr. Matthew of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery 
Grand Ballroom North
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

7:30 a.m. 
Closing Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Ave NE
Washington, D.C. 20017

7:30 a.m. 
Catholic Mass before National Prayer Service
DAR Constitution Hall
1776 D St NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Evangelicals for Life conference 
McLean Bible Church
Tysons Corner Campus
8925 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22182

8:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
March for Life Expo
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

8:30 a.m.
Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form/Old Rite)
St. Mary Mother of God 
727 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
National Prayer Service
DAR Constitution Hall
1776 D St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

9:00 a.m.
Pontifical Low Mass with His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke
Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Catholic Church
1357 E. Capitol St. SE 
Washington, D.C. 20003

9:00 a.m.
Pro-Life Mass
St. Charles Borremeo Catholic Church
3304 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

9:00 a.m.
Low Mass (Extraordinary Form/Old Rite) followed by light refreshments
St. Pius X Chapel
7604 S. Osborne Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (doors open at 8:00 a.m.)
Life is Very Good Rally and Mass
EagleBank Arena at George Mason University
4500 Patriot Circle
Fairfax, VA 22030

OFFICIAL MARCH FOR LIFE EVENTS

11:00 a.m. – Pre-rally concert by We are Messengers

12:00 p.m. – Rally program

1:00 p.m. March up Constitution Avenue to Supreme Court and Capitol Building

The March for Life Rally begins at 12th St. on the National Mall. Following the Rally, the March will begin on Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets at approximately 1:00 pm.

2:30 p.m.
Silent No More Awareness abortion regret testimonies
U.S. Supreme Court
1 First St. NE
Washington, D.C. 20543

3:30 p.m.
Annual Nellie Gray Mass (Solemn High Traditional Latin Mass/Old Rite/Extraordinary Form)
St. Mary Mother of God 
727 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Sponsored by The Paulus Institute
Celebrant: Monsignor Charles Pope

3:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
March for Life Expo
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001

Saturday, January 25, 2020

8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
National Pro-Life Summit (formerly the Students for Life of America conference)
Marriott Marquis 
901 Massachusetts Ave NW 
Washington, D.C. 20001

*For a list of Traditional Latin Masses in the D.C. area on Sunday, January 26, 2020, check the “TLM in the next 7 days” tab of the D.C. Latin Mass website.


News

Over 200 Congressmen ask US Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade

'If appropriate,' the Supreme Court decision imposing abortion across America should be overturned, they wrote.
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Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean
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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Over 200 Republican lawmakers and two Democrats signed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Louisiana pro-life law it is considering, stating that legal battles over abortion “rights” show the “unworkability” of that term as defined in Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade and its sister decision, Doe v. Bolton, imposed abortion on demand across the U.S. in 1973.

“[We] respectfully suggest that the court’s struggle—similar to dozens of other courts’ herculean struggles in this area—illustrates the unworkability of the ‘right to abortion’ found in Roe and the need for the Court to take up the issue of whether Roe and [Planned Parenthood v.] Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled,” the 39 senators and 168 representatives professed. (Link to full brief here.

The amicus brief was filed by Americans United for Life in support of the case Gee v. June Medical Services, LLC, which is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Both pro-life and pro-abortion activists believe that the case may lead to a weakening or even overturning of Roe v. Wade

June Medical Services is an abortion facility in Shreveport, Louisiana. The abortion business seeks to overturn the provisions of Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act which require abortuaries to have the same safety standards as other outpatient surgical centers. These include the criterion that abortionists must have admitting privileges at one of their local hospitals. 

The amicus brief argues that the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act is constitutional. It also states that Louisiana’s abortion facilities, including June Medical Services, “have a long history of serious health and safety violations.” 

“In fact, the Fifth Circuit found the history of health and safety code violations at June Medical and Delta Clinic as well as ‘generally unsafe conditions and protection of rapists’ to be ‘horrifying,’” the brief remarked.

According to a press release, those who signed the amicus brief were led by House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Senator John Kennedy (R-La.), Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Congressman Mike Johnson (R-La.) The two Democrats who signed were Congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois and Congressman Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

I’m proud to lead the fight in Congress defending Louisiana’s pro-life law that will soon come before the U.S. Supreme Court,” Scalise said.  

“Innocent life must be protected at every stage, and I urge the Supreme Court to uphold this law which ensures the health and safety regulations meant to protect Louisianans from the very abortionists who don't want high standards.” 

Senator Kennedy emphasized that the case will determine whether or not abortion businesses have to follow the same safety standards protecting women at other surgical centers. 

“When our Supreme Court justices take up this Louisiana case, they will be deciding whether abortion clinics should be required to maintain the same standards as any other outpatient surgical clinic,” Kennedy said.

“The health and lives of these women are at stake,” he continued.  

“We aren’t asking abortion clinics to close down; we’re demanding they protect their patients by securing admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. It’s a common sense law, and we need to uphold this law which helps protect the lives of women and their unborn children.”

Congressman Mike Johnson hinted at the far-reaching impact of this case, particularly regarding states’ rights. 

“This case is vitally important for two reasons,” Johnson stated.  

“It presents a key opportunity for the Supreme Court to affirm the right of states to enact common sense health and safety regulations to protect women in vulnerable situations,” he explained.  

“The Court can also affirm Louisiana's challenge to third-party standing, and ensure that future court challenges to abortion-related regulations cannot be brought by the notorious abortion industry that profits off substandard practices and dangerous clinic conditions.”

Johnson called the case a “landmark battle.” 

“In a year where the abortion movement has swept state legislatures to the extreme in states like New York and Virginia, it is important we defend the right of states like Louisiana to pass legislation to do the opposite and do more to protect the life of the unborn,” added Senator Blackburn. 

An opposing brief was also filed. It was signed by 197 congressmen, mostly Democrats, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California. 

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri filed his own pro-life brief in June.

2020 Democrats react: Abortion is a fundamental right

Abortion proponents are distressed by the predominantly Republican amicus brief’s attack on the “unworkability” of the Roe v. Wade abortion “rights” definition. 

“Anti-abortion politicians are using every trick in the book to ban abortion,” tweeted Planned Parenthood’s CEO Alexis McGill Johnson.

“Asking the Supreme Court to reconsider overturning Roe is an assault on our basic rights, plain and simple.”  

2020 Democratic presidential candidate and multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg underscored his financial support for abortion in his Twitter reaction. 

“A woman's access to abortion isn't a privilege. It's a fundamental right—and the law of the land,” he tweeted

“That's why I've supported reproductive health as a mayor & as a philanthropist. As president, I will appoint judges who would preserve Roe, not take it away.”

2020 contender and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the brief demonstrated that “[we] need to take back the Senate and pass federal laws protecting our reproductive rights.”


Blogs

To restore a healthy, Christ-centered culture, learn to cook

This kind of housekeeping is, perhaps, an impossible dream for many. But it is, at least, a worthy dream. 
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Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock.com
Joseph Shaw By Joseph Shaw

Joseph Shaw By Joseph Shaw
By Dr. Joseph Shaw

January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — I’ve mentioned more than once the importance of culture. Catholic culture, I wrote in one article, presupposes culture. I would like to say more about this issue, not only because it is important in itself, but because people want to know what they can or should do about the current crisis in the Church. Well, they — you, we — should learn how to cook.

Our Lady of Fatima’s message to the children in 1917 was, Sr. Lucia later explained, was not primarily about the First Saturdays or the rosary or the brown scapular, important as those devotions are. It was “the faithful accomplishment of our daily duties.” The world would be converted if Catholics performed their daily duties more faithfully. That is why the enemies of the Church have attacked precisely those daily duties. For most Catholics, online zealotry is easy, or at least appears so; it is being a good Catholic father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter that has become extraordinarily difficult, not to mention being a good Catholic employer, or employee, a good Catholic citizen, or a good Catholic public servant. One might say, perhaps, that being a good Catholic public servant — an elected representative or career civil servant — has become impossible in some places, and that this kind of public engagement is best avoided. We wouldn’t dare say that it has become impossible to be a good Catholic spouse or parent, though, because that would imply that we could not have families at all. Somehow, we have to face the difficulties and overcome them.

So we should learn to cook. Because the only thing that is going to make possible the survival of our families is a Catholic culture, a culture that has been transformed by grace. A culture cannot be transformed by grace if it does not exist. Fundamental to the culture of the family is the home, as a place where family members can be at their ease, surrounded by familiar things that remind them of the family’s history and values, where they can find the wisdom of the older members and the energy of the younger, where they can find rest and nourishment — where they can expect and find good food, food that has been cooked there.

This is a cultural artifact that can be transformed by grace, grace that raises the natural to the supernatural level — and so we find the Catholic home, where not only natural, but spiritual rest, nourishment, and refreshment is to be found.

I’m writing this not to make anyone feel bad about the kind of home one is able to provide for one’s children. The kind of home I am referring to has been attacked in a relentless and vicious way for two or three generations. No one should feel ashamed of not being able to cook. You can’t be expected to cook if no one has taught you: the young are not taught, and older people sucked into demanding jobs don’t have the time. It is worth saying as well that it is not easy to learn cooking out of books, as recipes in glossy cookbooks frequently contain errors and omissions.

(A little tip, if you are interested. Look for books by chefs who fancy themselves as celebrities, as opposed to celebrities who fancy themselves as chefs. The BBC Good Food website is useful partly because of the feedback left by people who have tried the recipes.)

A good example of the cultural assault on the home is the 1999 film American Beauty. The wife, who is not an attractive personality, makes a big thing of providing what she calls “savory and nutritious food,” and her efforts are rewarded, by her husband and daughter, with contempt. This is also the message of the series Desperate Housewives (2004–2012). What the Hollywood elite wants us to think is that those who devote even a part of their lives to the home exhaust themselves for an empty illusion and are not appreciated.

In real life, on the contrary, there is nothing more important. What is the point of having money if you have no comfortable home to return to at the end of the day? This has been made ridiculously difficult, but it is still worth making the effort to approximate it more closely than we have been able up to now.

So make this a New Year’s resolution. I don’t mean making cooking a hobby, with occasional super-elaborate meals. I mean making it part of the daily routine. One of the things that distinguished your grandmother’s food (if you were fortunate enough to remember a grandmother like this) from the strangely insipid stuff we usually get today is the making and storing of meat stock. It gives flavor and nutritional value that can be attained in no other way, but it presupposes a whole set of attitudes about quantities, types of food, leftovers, and meal-planning.

This kind of housekeeping is, perhaps, an impossible dream for many. But it is, at least, a worthy dream. 


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An important apology from Mother Miriam for her lack of prudence

By Mother Miriam
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Watch Mother Miriam's Live show from 1.3.2020.

Today, Mother clarifies remarks she made in a previous episode and apologies for some misinterpretations that arose from her comments. She clarifies that she did not call the Pope demonic, nor would she ever do so. She advocates respect for the Pope, but does not completely rule out corrections in charity. As part of her apology, she reads a letter from King Louis IX to his son, King Louis' last instructions, that she encourages all listeners to take to heart. King Louis reminds his son to be patient and forgiving and if/when correction of the Christian price (the Pope included) is needed to make sure it is done in a way that does not hurt Holy Church. 

You can tune in daily at 10 am EST/7 am PST on our Facebook Page.

Subscribe to Mother Miriam Live here


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