All articles from January 6, 2020


News

Rural public library will again host lesbian pole-dancer’s ‘teens only’ sex ed class

Parents will again be prohibited from attending.
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'Periods are NOT just for women.' Intimate Health Consulting Instagram
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'BDSM Webinar' with Bianca Palmisano Intimate Health Consulting Instagram
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Promoting the sale of dildos in order to raise money for the legalization of prostitution. Intimate Health Consulting Instagram
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Bianca Palmisano: 'Commemorating 10 years of sex blogging with the most extravagant sex toy giveaway I’ve ever done.' Intimate Health Consulting Instagram

WARNING: This article contains graphic and disturbing sexual content.

LEXINGTON PARK, Maryland, January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Despite creating an outcry among concerned parents in 2017, a public library once again plans to host a lesbian pole dancer’s “Teens-only” sex ed class for 12- to 17-year-olds.  

“Teens have questions about sexual health, whether its [sic] birth control, lubricants, STI testing, LGBTQ relationships, or something else completely,” reads an event description posted by the Lexington Park Public Library on its Facebook page. “This will be an informal workshop where your teen can ask ANY sexual health question you want and get an honest answer.”

Parents will again be prohibited from attending and are expected to “wait in the general Library areas, or in the other room were [sic] we will be putting on a program about the importance of science-based, LGBTQIA+ inclusive sex-ed.”

The event is sponsored by two regional atheist organizations, Southern Maryland Area Secular Humanists and Washington Area Secular Humanists, as well as the local chapter of PFLAG, which identifies as the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents, and their families. 

Lexington Park, Maryland is a mostly rural exurb of Washington, D.C. that has emerged as a surprising battleground over “teen-only sex ed” and “Drag Queen Story Hour” events at its public library. 

According to blogger Shannon Tracy, who works with MassResistanceTexas, parents have plenty of reason for grave concern about topics that might be addressed in the Sunday, January 19 session conducted by controversial speaker Bianca Palmisano.

Noting that Palmisano holds “some extremely out of the mainstream views of sex and sexuality,” Tracy posted screenshots from Palmisano’s Instagram account that show her advocating everything from transgenderism to BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism) and sexualized spanking to the legalization of prostitution.

Elsewhere, Palmisano acknowledges that she approves of “polyamourous relationships, homsexuality, prostitution, drug use, swingers, anal sex, etcetera” and that she openly seeks to normalize these sorts of practices among young people. 

“I want to be that adult in their life who can say, ‘Yes! Of course being part of the LGBT community is OK,” said Palmisano in an online video in which she attempted to dispel the concerns of parents who were troubled about her 2017 workshop at the Lexington Park Library. 

County commissioners refuse to intervene

“Unfortunately, leadership in this community fails to rise to the occasion and protect the young and impressionable youth among them,” said Tracy.  “The library has turned into a sexual indoctrination center.”

“Taxpayers in St. Mary’s County should be appalled this is going on in the libraries,” continued Tracy. “The library seems to have strayed far from its mission of literacy by allowing the use of the community rooms for the ideological and perverse crusades of the secular humanists that are bringing the perverse programming to Lexington Park Library.” 

“Since 2017, my Commissioners have been saying there’s nothing we can do about what happens at the library. ‘Our hands are tied. We have no say,’” local activist Georgia Kijesky told LifeSiteNews, noting that the commissioners have just enacted a new regulation banning tobacco on library property, proving that they are able to exert authority. 

“As of January 1, 2020: No tobacco! But dildos and lube for children?” she continued. 

The commissioners “will even pay police with taxpayer money to make sure the kiddies get their fair share of lube without parent interference.”

“I’d like a straight answer from someone in a position of power in my county to explain how it’s legal for parents to hand their kids over to a self-identified ‘slut’ and  allow them to be alone with her for 2 hours,” added Kijesky.

Disturbing social media postings

In a series of postings on Twitter, MassResistanceTexas blogger Tracy posted shocking screen shots from Palmisano’s business — Intimate Health Consulting — Instagram account, publicizing other events the “teens only” sex ed presenter has hosted.

Warning: Readers may find the following graphic screen shots disturbing:

Bianca Palmisano is described on the Lexington Park Library’s Facebook page as “a sex educator, medical consultant, and the owner of Intimate Health Consulting. She has been working to advance the sexual health field for almost a decade, specializing in training healthcare providers around issues of sexual health, as well as LGBT, sex worker, and sexual assault survivor competency.”

“Palmisano is a Planned Parenthood certified sex educator, two-time presenter for the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference and the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, and a planning committee member for DC’s Transgender Day of Remembrance,” continues the description. “They are [sic] also the primary author of ‘Safer Sex for Trans Bodies,’ an outreach and education guide for the trans community sponsored by Whitman Walker Health and the Human Rights Campaign.”


News

Chinese govt demands Christians use religion to ‘spread Communist Party principles’

Churches throughout China have been forced to remove displays of the Ten Commandments and religious imagery and replace them with quotes and portraits of President Xi Jinping.
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Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas

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BEIJING, January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — New draconian rules for religious groups are set to go into place in China requiring that they “spread Communist Party principles.”

China’s totalitarian government promulgated new rules on December 30 that will place virtually all aspects of religious life under the control of the Communist Party. The “administrative measures” consist of six chapters and 41 articles governing the “organization, functions, supervision and management of religious groups,” which would include religious doctrine, annual and daily activities, and rallies.

The new rules go into force on February 1 and come as part of a growing crackdown by Chinese communists on religion. For example, about 1 million Muslim Uighur people are being kept in re-education camps, where some have been subjected to torture. Christian churches have been razed by authorities, who have curtailed the independence of Christian ministers. Two million Christians and Buddhist are being kept in detention. Jewish communities have also been harassed.

In concert with the government’s policy of “sinicization,” which is intended to underscore Chinese culture and socialist polity, the new rules reinforce policies announced in 2017 to reinterpret Christian teachings according to socialist doctrine. Besides its persecution of Christian and Muslim believers for supposedly foreign doctrines in its war on religion, China has mercilessly pursued members of the native-born spiritualist Falun Gong movement for more than 20 years.

According to Radio Free Asia, churches in Hunan province were forced last year to remove displays of the Ten Commandments and replace them with quotes of President Xi Jinping. Likewise, churches in Jiangxi province were ordered to remove biblical paintings and crosses and replace them with portraits of the president. In some areas, all public displays of Christmas decorations have been banned. In addition, party officials have been told that celebrating the feast is contrary to CCP teachings.

In December, Christians belonging to “house churches” not recognized by the government were ordered to refrain from publicly celebrating Christmas. A Protestant pastor in Shandong, where previous celebrations had drawn thousands of worshipers, said, “We are afraid to meet in public [because such meetings] have been designated illegal gatherings.” Identified solely as John, the pastor said, “We can’t do Christmas this year. We can’t have any activities on Christmas.”

Under the new rules, all religious organizations will be required to obey and promote Communist Party values and China’s President Xi Jinping. Churches will be expected to “spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party” and indoctrinate all “religious staff and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.”

According to Asia News (linked above), a Chinese Catholic priest observed: “In practice, your religion no longer matters, if you are Buddhist, or Taoist, or Muslim or Christian: the only religion allowed is faith in the Chinese Communist Party [CCP].”

According to the new rules, all churches and religious organizations must adhere to the leadership of the Communist Party and “to the directives on religions in China, implementing the values of socialism.”

Article 17 directs: “Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the CCP, as well as national laws, regulations, rules to religious personnel and religious citizens, educating religious personnel and religious citizens to support the leadership of the CCP, supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Religious organizations must submit all decisions for approval by Communist Party officials. According to the rules, local religious affairs offices serve as the “administrative bodies” for all religious organizations, controlling them through “guidance and supervision.”

A disastrous and secret Vatican-Beijing accord

China is home to a growing community of 68 million Protestants. There are also approximately 3.3 million Catholics, with another 5.7 million who consider themselves Catholics but belong to the schismatic state-sponsored Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA).

The CPPA is not in communion with the papacy and has operated in parallel with the so-called “underground” Church, which consists of clergy and laity who have remained loyal to the pope and the worldwide church despite decades of persecution, summary arrests, torture, and death.

In 2018, the Vatican reached a secret provisional agreement with Beijing, having long sought to normalize ties between the Catholic Church and China’s government. The accord allows the communists to play a role in appointing bishops. Under a previous arrangement, Vatican diplomats dealt with members of the government in order to iron out disagreements. Under the new accord, they will deal with Communist Party cadres.

Despite the agreement, persecution of the Church has increased in China. At least one bishop and several priests have refused to register with the Chinese government despite being allowed by the Vatican. Bishop Vincent Guo of Mindong province fled his official captors last year rather than register with the government. Bishop Guo remains in hiding.

Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong, members of the U.S. Commission on Human Rights, and prominent Christians have called on Pope Francis to repudiate the secret agreement or, at the very least, make it public so it can be scrutinized and reveal whether or not it requires all Catholics to register with the CPCA per the government’s claims.

In December, Cardinal Zen said he fears that the Pope is legitimizing schism within the Catholic Church in China through the controversial agreement. Saying the current pope’s diplomacy toward China has been “disastrous,” Cardinal Zen said Pope Francis is effectively “shutting down” the legacy of popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI in their relations with China’s government and Chinese Catholics.


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Provincial govt orders Canadian hospice to begin killing sick patients in February

The British Columbia non-profit faces the possibility of having its public funding discontinued unless it complies
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Lianne Laurence By Lianne Laurence

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DELTA, British Columbia, January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The British Columbia government is ordering a palliative care hospice to allow its patients to be killed onsite through “medically-assisted death,” or euthanasia, by February 3.

Fraser Health Authority (FHA) issued the deadline to the Delta Hospice Society in late December but did not specify the consequences if it does not comply, reported the Delta Optimist.

It’s the latest development in the society’s long-running battle to prevent the lethal injection of patients onsite at the 10-bed Irene Thomas Hospice it runs in a suburb of Delta, a city south of Vancouver. 

FHA spokesperson Tasleem Juma confirmed in an email that the health authority met December 5 with leaders of the hospice “to discuss concerns we have regarding compliance of their contract,” and that it has since “provided them with formal notice of the concerns and shared our expectations that they comply to permit medical assistance in dying by February 2020.” 

Juma did not elaborate on what penalties the hospice will face for non-compliance.  

However, New Democratic Party (NDP) Health Minister Adrian Dix has already broadly hinted that the government will pull the non-profit society’s public funding.

“Of course, we do live in a free society,” Dix told the Toronto Globe and Mail last month.

“Delta Hospice Society can decide that it doesn’t want to continue to receive support from the Fraser Health Authority in its mission. They can choose to do that. You can absolutely have it your way. But you can’t have it both ways.”

Dix did not respond to a request for comment from LifeSiteNews by deadline.

Fraser Health is insisting that the hospice does not qualify for the exemption it grants to faith-based organizations under its euthanasia policy and that it must provide lethal injections to patients under the terms of its contract. 

The FHA issued its euthanasia policy in September 2016, three months after Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government legalized the practice in Canada at the bidding of the Supreme Court, which in February 2015 struck down the law prohibiting euthanasia as unconstitutional.

Fraser Health funds the Delta Hospice Society $1.3 million annually, or about 47 percent of its operating budget — the rest comes from private donations — and owns the land on which the hospice sits, which it leases to the society, according to the Vancouver Sun.

The hospice, which currently transfers patients out to be euthanized, is arguing that lethally injecting patients is directly opposed to palliative care, and that permitting euthanasia on-site violates its constitution, which states it will not hasten a patient’s death.

The hospice society is backed by both the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP), which issued a joint statement in November asserting that palliative care and euthanasia -- which is called “medical assistance in dying,” or MAiD -- are “fundamentally different practices.”

“National and international hospice palliative care organizations are unified in the position that MAiD is not part of the practice of hospice palliative care,” the statement says.

“MAiD is not part of hospice palliative care; it is not an ‘extension’ of palliative care nor is it one of the tools ‘in the palliative care basket,’” it points out.

That’s also the position of hospice founder and executive director Nancy Macey, who was fired by the hospice society’s board September 2019 in the course of the acrimonious dispute. The board then voted to allow euthanasia onsite.

Macey said at the time she is seeking legal advice, the Globe reported.

But after a membership drive that tripled the society’s membership of 200, a new board was elected on November 28 during what the Globe described a “raucous meeting.”

The new board voted to reverse the decision to allow euthanasia.

Incoming president Angelina Ireland told staff, volunteers and members in a letter the decision was based on two independent legal opinions that euthanasia is not compatible with the society’s purposes as stated in its constitution, according to the Delta Optimist.

The new board also voted to dismiss the society’s current executive director and appoint an interim one.

The results of the dispute will be far-reaching, says Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

“This is really a battle over Canada,” he told LifeSiteNews. 

“For a government to force a hospice to have to do euthanasia, even though the hospice has its articles of incorporation that they do not hasten death, they are saying that every medical association will be forced to do it.” 

He has launched a petition supporting the hospice society addressed to Fraser Health Authority president Dr. Victoria Lee, and to Minister Dix, and is urging all concerned Canadians to sign it.

To sign the EPCC petition supporting Delta Hospice, go here.

To express concern to the Minister of Health:

Minister of Health Adrian Dix
Room 337 Parliament Buildings 
Victoria, BC  V8V 1X4
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (250) 953-3547


News

UK Catholic bishop cites Pope Francis to defend LGBT ‘ministry’ scandalizing faithful Catholics

Bishop Terence Drainey refuses to meet with those concerned about the Middlesbrough diocese's support for the 'Pride' agenda.
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Pope Francis with Bishop Terence Drainey
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MIDDLESBROUGH, United Kingdom, January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Faithful Catholic laity in the UK Diocese of Middlesbrough are sounding an alarm about the unchecked activities of the LGBT+ “ministry” in their diocese. Last year, the “ministry” hosted a stall at a local homosexual “Pride” event, and its website and social media pages display a cross filled with the colours of the rainbow flag.

LifeSite recently reported on the growing number of “LGBT Masses” being celebrated in Catholic dioceses around England. Middlesbrough is one such diocese with a monthly LGBT+ Mass taking place since December 2017. It does so at the famous York Bar Convent, the oldest Catholic convent in England, dating to 1686.

The Diocese of Middlesbrough promotes the website Middlesbrough Diocese LGBT+ Ministry on its own official diocesan page. The same webpage also promotes a Facebook group dedicated to the “ministry.” In June 2019, this Facebook page displayed an album of photos showing the group’s participation in the “Pride” event in York. This event was led by schoolchildren from the local area.

 

The Diocese of Middlesbrough LGBT+ Ministry website makes it clear that the ministry is the initiative of the local ordinary, Bishop Terence Drainey, and that the group has his support. They state on their homepage:

Our Father in God, Bishop Terence (Terry) Drainey, is clear there is a warm welcome here in the diocese for everyone, and this includes in an explicit way members of the LGBT+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and those who identify under "plus"), as well as their friends and families.

LifeSite have now been alerted to a number of other activities of the LGBT ministry in their diocese of Middlesbrough, including the social media posts of prominent members of the LGBT+ ministry, their association with groups promoting ideas in contradiction to Catholic teaching and evidence that schools within the diocese may be using controversial pro LGBT+ education programmes.

Faithful Catholics have written a number of letters to Bishop Drainey but feel that their concerns have not been adequately addressed. Bishop Drainey has refused to meet with them. He told LifeSite that he felt that whatever he said “would not be satisfactory in their eyes” and it was clear to him “a meeting would offer them no greater satisfaction than my letter.”

In the letters to Bishop Drainey, the faithful Catholics highlighted their concern about the participation of diocesan groups in local “Pride” events and a number of the social media posts by Fr. Tony Lester and Dr. Johan Bergström-Allen, the two individuals listed as contacts on the Diocese of Middlesbrough LGBT+ Ministry website.

Dr. Bergström-Allen, chair of the LGBT+ Ministry Pastoral Council, has posted pictures on his Instagram page of him being involved in the Hull “Pride” event in July 2019. His page includes a host of pictures and videos taken from the event in July, including several images and videos of an oversized depiction of Jesus Christ wearing a rainbow sash. 

On one such post Dr. Bergström-Allen posted the message “Does your Church look like this? #GodisInclusive #Pride”.

His page also displays a series of pictures from the York “Pride” event in June 2019 where the diocesan “ministry” hosted their own stall. One of those pictures shows a “drag queen” pictured in a cardboard cutout frame designed to resemble a social-media post with “Middlesbrough Diocese LGBT+ Ministry” branding, along with an image of a cross filled with the rainbow colours. The image of the rainbow-cross appears on the website for the ministry, its social media pages and advertisements. Accompanying the post, Dr. Bergström-Allen wrote, “50 years ago drag queens led the Stonewall riots and kicked off the modern LGBT+ movement. They’re still fighting and fabulous.” Several other images of members of the public posing for similar photos are posted to the Middlesbrough diocese LGBT+ ministry Facebook page. Our contacts in the Middlesbrough diocese tell us that this image was also originally on the “ministry” Facebook page, but it is no longer displayed there.

Stonewall is a leading LGBT lobby group in the UK, roughly equivalent to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in the United States, which last year proposed new guidelines to introduce gay, lesbian, and transgender themes and examples into every area of the school curriculum, beginning with lessons for children as young as 5 years old.

Dr. Bergström-Allen’s Instagram page also includes videos of him attending the Black Orchid York - Gentlemans Club & Whisky Lounge, with one of his videos including a descriptive note from Dr. Bergström-Allen saying, “Drag disco to start 2019.” 

In the letters to Bishop Drainey, the Catholics also expressed a number of concerns about Fr. Lester, a Catholic priest of the diocese and coordinator of the LGBT+ Ministry. Fr. Lester can be seen pictured below at a “Pride”  event in 2018, standing at the bottom left corner of the large rainbow flag.

One of the issues pointed out in the correspondence with Bishop Drainey was that in December 2018, Fr. Lester re-tweeted a post by NHS staff in praise of sexual health staff, which included a picture of a number of inflated condoms arranged to resemble a Christmas tree. 

The concerned Catholics further pointed out to Bishop Drainey that the church of Our Lady in Acomb, where Fr. Lester is parish priest and Dr. Bergström-Allen is a member of the pastoral council, have registered with the organisation Inclusive Church. A part of the “shared vision” for Inclusive Church is to “challenge the church where it continues to discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality." In 2018, their annual lecture was given by Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall, who also claims to be a “practicing Catholic.”

The Catholics have also highlighted evidence that the controversial, pro-LGBT school programme "No Outsiders" may be being used at a Catholic school in the diocese. 

The “No Outsiders” programme received significant media coverage last year, when Muslim parents in Birmingham protested against its use to teach their children. The programme promotes LGBT lifestyles as normal, with the introduction to the book explaining that “to be a person who is gay or lesbian or transgender or bisexual is normal, acceptable and ok." Its author, Andrew Moffatt, led the annual homosexual “Pride” march in Birmingham last year.

A recent investigation by ChurchMilitant.TV showed that at least 10 schools in the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool have been using the “No Outsiders” programme. In a summer newsletter, the Liverpool archdiocese department for education gave the following advice to schools:

“Information from No Outsiders is still current and fine to use in school. Given the current climate, it might be better not to post on social media and use the term, All are Welcome for the time being to avoid adverse publicity.”

In the letters to Bishop Drainey, the Catholics pointed out that a tweet from the parish of Our Lady’s Church in Acomb (where Fr. Lester is parish priest) showed an official “No Outsiders” poster displayed in Our Lady Queen of Martyrs primary school, a Catholic school in the Middlesbrough diocese. This tweet displaying the poster at the school was then re-tweeted by Emma Barrs, the school’s headteacher.

LifeSite contacted Mrs. Barrs to enquire whether the “No Outsiders” programme is being used at the school, and if not why the poster was displayed, but there has been no response so far.

Bishop Drainey’s response

In Bishop Drainey’s response to the concerned Catholics, he stressed on several occasions that the LGBT+ ministry has been established in keeping with various statements from Pope Francis, including the call in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium to reach out to the “peripheries” of society. 

Bishop Drainey has stated that in his letters in response to the Catholics that the diocesan LGBT+  “ministry”’ is “fully within the teaching of the Catholic Church” and that it has not taken part in an actual “Pride” parade, but rather simply been present at the event for pastoral reasons.

In one of his letters in response to the Catholics, Bishop Drainey stated that one of the reasons for the diocese beginning the LGBT+ ministry was his concern regarding “anti-Catholic” groups and their attempts to “completely change or destroy the moral compass of our society.”

The Catholics pointed out to Bishop Drainey that the pictures available on the “ministry’s” social media pages indicate that the event was welcomed by the diocese. There are a number of pictures of the last year’s York “Pride” parade on the “ministry” Facebook page, as well as pictures from their stall. They further point out that the event is supported by a number of sponsors, several of whom are explicit in their support for homosexual lifestyles, contrary to clear Catholic teaching

The Catholics remain concerned. They feel that the LGBT+ ministry continues to promote images, literature, organisations and events which promote an LGBT lifestyle and do not make Catholic teaching clear.

In the 1986 “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote the following concerning pastoral organisations for homosexual persons:

We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.

Bishop Drainey has consistently refused to meet the Catholics to discuss their concerns in person. When they highlighted the tweets showing the “No Outsiders” poster displayed in Our Lady Queen of Martyrs primary school and its subsequent re-tweet by headteacher Mrs. Barrs, Bishop Drainey responded by stating that they had made “serious allegations’ about the head teacher, that he would need to look into them and that he would be asking Reverend Peter Warren, the diocesan solicitor to contact them to arrange a meeting. Reverend Warren is also the parish deacon at the “Inclusive church” of Our Lady’s in Acomb, where Fr. Lester is the parish priest and has himself acted as deacon at the LGBT+ Masses in York. 

After being contacted by Reverend Warren, the Catholics pointed out that they had not made any “serious allegations” at all but merely asked a question about a piece of information in the public domain. They have continued to seek a meeting with Bishop Drainey, as their concerns are exclusively regarding the pastoral activities of the diocese of which he is the authority. They were disappointed that instead of being able to explain their concerns directly to their bishop they were informed that they had made “serious allegations” about a local school teacher and directed to meet with the diocesan solicitor, who had himself been directly involved with the same diocesan group about which they were primarily concerned.

The Catholics were subsequently contacted by telephone on December 21 by Canon Derek Turnham, the diocese’s Episcopal Vicariate for Pastoral Strategy. He explained to them that the phone call was an opportunity for them to discuss their concerns. The Catholics told LifeSiteNews that they told Canon Turnham that they needed to discuss their concerns with Bishop Drainey because he was the one responsible for the diocese. Canon Turnham reportedly responded that it was not normal to have a meeting with the “CEO of a big business at this stage.”

LifeSite wrote to Bishop Drainey via his secretary’s email address on December 19, explaining that LifeSite had been contacted by Catholics in his diocese concerned about the activities of the LGBT+ ministry that he initiated and disappointed that they had been unable to meet with him to discuss their concerns. LifeSite received an automatic response explaining that it would not receive a reply before January 2, and so LifeSite called the bishop’s private residence on the number displayed on the diocesan website to see if it was possible to contact him via another email address. Bishop Drainey answered the phone himself and kindly gave LifeSite his personal email address. 

On December 23, Bishop Drainey responded to LifeSite’s email. He explained that the LGBT+ Masses had been set up in “response to the Holy Father’s proclamation of the Year of Mercy in 2016.” In that email, he repeated his assertion that a “serious allegation” had been made by the Catholics concerning “named persons.” LifeSite has seen the correspondence between the Catholics and the bishop and can affirm that the questions raised by them are based on information available in the public domain -- much of which is included in this article.

The first use of the term “serious allegation” appeared in the correspondence after the Catholics alerted Bishop Drainey to the Twitter posts of a “No Outsiders” poster displayed at Our Lady Queen of Matryrs primary school. Those tweets are still on the Twitter pages of both the parish of Our Lady in Acomb and Barrs, the headmaster of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, at the time of the publication of this article.

Bishop Drainey said in his email to LifeSite that he has offered the Catholics the opportunity to meet with two clerics of the diocese who represent him and that he felt that whatever he said “would not be satisfactory in their eyes” and that it was clear to him that “a meeting would offer them no greater satisfaction than my letter.”


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German Catholic bishop welcomes idea of joint parish with Lutherans

Regarding women's 'ordination,' Bishop Heiner Wilmer has said: 'I am very keen to engage in an open discussion and am excited to see which ways the Holy Spirit will lead us.'
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Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas

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HANOVER, Germany, January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – German Catholic Bishop Heiner Wilmer welcomed a Lutheran bishop’s suggestion that one day, jointly Catholic-Lutheran “ecumenical” parishes could be formed.  

Evangelical Lutheran Bishop Ralf Meister of Hanover recently said, “Many no longer ask if someone is a Protestant or a Catholic, but only if he is a Christian,” while suggesting that parishes could be created that would house Catholics and Lutherans under the same roof. 

Catholic Bishop Wilmer of Hildesheim welcomed the idea, saying, “I strongly believe that there is much greater connection than separation between the two main German churches.” 

According to the Lutheran news agency EPD, Bishop Wilmer said, “As Christians, we are all called to testify and preach the Gospel.”

He added, “How we can walk together in pastoral care is a fitting and important question for the future. We will certainly continue to deal with this in ecumenism.”

Lutheran Bishop Meister suggested that a project for the two churches might reach “up to the establishment of purely ecumenical congregations.” That may be a distant goal, Meister said, “but you can still express it.” 

As far as the reality of merging congregations is concerned, Meister said he did not know how they would be constituted: “We are just not that far along and have our differences, for example with the last supper [Abendmahl].”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrates same-sex “marriages” and also “ordains” women to ministerial roles. Meister’s predecessor in Hanover was Margot Käßmann.

Bishop Wilmer has been among the German bishops advocating for modifying the rules concerning a celibate priesthood, thus calling into question the longstanding tradition of priestly celibacy in the Church’s Latin rite.

He told the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung in 2018, for example, that the future may see “other forms of [priestly] life that we already have today, for example with married Protestant pastors who convert to the Catholic Church.” 

Celibacy “could develop more radiant power if certain groups of people were exempted from it,” he said.

Wilmer is apparently excited about the German Church’s current “synodal path” for reform. Wilmer was appointed to his diocese by Pope Francis and assumed the see in 2018. 

Regarding the “ordination” of women to the priesthood, Wilmer is of an open mind, telling the official German Catholic news service: “I am very keen to engage in an open discussion and am excited to see which ways the Holy Spirit will lead us.” 

He sees a need for reform to the discipline of celibacy in the priesthood, arguing that many priests are lonely. 

Wilmer said in 2019 that he hopes that the current synodal path among German bishops will introduce a “a new way of thinking in the church,” even while he recognizes changes may take time: “It may take longer than some people would like, but I'm confident.”

Wilmer became known internationally when he said in an interview with daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger with reference to the sexual abuse crisis: “I think the abuse of power is in the DNA of the church.”

Deep reform of the Church is needed, Wilmer said, while suggesting that a new theology may be necessary: Catholics, he said, should say “goodbye” to the claim that “the Church in herself is pure and immaculate.”

“So far, however, we have had no idea what consequences this must have for theology.” 

He told the newspaper that Catholics must understand that their “holy church” is “also a sinful church.” Suggesting that there are “structures of evil” in the Church, in addition to sinful individuals, he said that control over power within the Church is needed. 

“We need separation of powers.”

An inspiration for Wilmer’s thinking is 79-year-old former Catholic priest Eugen Drewermann. He is the author of Kleriker: Psychogramm eines Ideals (Clergy: Psychogram of an ideal), which questioned the very idea of a celibate clergy. The bishop said of his inspiration: “Eugen Drewermann is a prophet of our time who is misunderstood by the Church.”

Following a lengthy debate with German bishops over his controversial books and statements, Drewerman was banned from preaching, and also barred from teaching at the Catholic seminary at Paderborn in the 1990s. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote a letter at the time to Drewermann’s bishop to express concern over the controversial author, who was eventually suspended from the priesthood. In 2005, he announced on a television program that he was leaving the Catholic Church.

Maike Hickson contributed to this report.


News

UK comedian scathingly calls out hypocrisy of ‘woke’ Hollywood elites at Golden Globe awards

Ricky Gervais told the Hollywood celebs they're in 'no position to lecture the public about anything.'
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Ricky Gervais at the 2020 Golden Globes.
Paul Smeaton By Paul Smeaton

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January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – British comedian Ricky Gervais, best known for the UK TV series The Office, has grabbed media headlines and “gone viral” online after telling Hollywood celebrities gathered for the Golden Globe awards on Sunday evening that they were “[i]n no position to lecture the public about anything” in a seven-minute speech that has been described as a skewering of “woke” culture.

Such award ceremonies have become infamous in recent years for celebrities using the events to promote their views on issues such as abortion, climate change, and immigration. 

Gervais, who began his speech by saying that his comments were “just jokes”, appeared to be serious as he urged the celebrities not to make any political speeches when collecting awards. At one point, he tore stripes off of Apple for claiming to be “woke” while being a “company who runs sweatshops in China.”

You say you're “woke”, but the companies you work for are unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney - If ISIS started a streaming service you'd call your agent wouldn't you?

So if you do win an award tonight don't use it as a platform to make a political speech. You're in no position to lecture the public about anything. 

You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. 

So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god and then f**k off.

Throughout his opening speech, Gervais made a host of controversial and a number of extremely vulgar jokes that drew mixed responses from the celebrity audience. 

At one point in his speech, Gervais referred to the audience generally as “all you perverts” and said that the one thing that all TV and film executives had in common was being “terrified of Ronan Farrow”, the journalist known for helping to uncover sexual abuse allegations against former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein. 

Later in the show, Gervais appeared to make a broad attack on former colleagues of Weinstein when introducing a clip for the film Birdbox, describing it as “a movie where people survive by acting like they don't see a thing. Sort of like working for Harvey Weinstein”.  

In another provocative moment, when talking about a character in a popular Netflix show, Gervais said “he obviously didn’t kill himself. Just like Jeffrey Epstein”. As the audience responded with a mixture of laughs, gasps and boos, Gervais continued “Shut up. I know he's your friend, but I don't care”.

Prior to the event, Gervais told the Spectator magazine of his intention to challenge the audience, saying “It's a room full of the biggest virtue-signalers and hypocrites in the world, so I've got to go after that”.

Commenting on what he described as the “almost universal acclaim” that Gervais’ speech received on Twitter, Piers Morgan wrote in the Mail Online “[t]he reason his verbal assault resonated so powerfully is because it came just when many people, including me, feared the world had gone completely nuts – shamed, dragged and cancelled into supine submission by a staggeringly intolerant radical liberal mob intent on sucking every ounce of freedom and joy out of life”.


News

Paris mayor’s effort to pull pro-family posters backfires

The posters targeted France’s new bioethics law that would allow medically assisted procreation for lesbian couples and alone-standing women.
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By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Two of the poster in a Paris train station that were put out by Alliance Vita.

January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Efforts by the socialist mayor of Paris to scrub a pro-family poster campaign from inner city train stations backfired after a judge ruled that the posters were legal and were to remain posted for the duration of the contract. 

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo took issue with the pro-life association Alliance Vita’s series of advertisements announcing that “society will progress provided that maternity… paternity… differences” are respected.

The posters were targeting France’s new bioethics law, currently under discussion, that aim to allow medically assisted procreation “PMA” for lesbian couples and alone-standing women, as well as easier access to experimentation on human embryos.

300 posters had installed on January 2 in the train stations of Paris, and a further 100 in the streets. In the afternoon of that same day, Hidalgo tweeted that she was “deeply shocked and outraged” by the message conveyed by the posters.

One poster showed a handicapped woman in a wheelchair, another the profile of a blonde young woman, and the third showed a man’s face.

They were pounced on by various anonymous Twitter accounts and by the mainstream and LGBT media that attacked the posters for being anti-gay and pro-life – one image presented on Alliance Vita’s website but not part of the publicity campaign showed the moment of conception, calling for “respect for life.”

The highly publicized tweet from the mayor denounced an “anti-abortion and anti-PMA campaign at the Gare du Nord and in several other places in the capital.” “I call on @ExterionMediaFR and #Mediatransports to remove these posters immediately,” wrote Hidalgo. Her request was soon to be gratified: hours after the injunction, the advertising agencies announced the withdrawal of the campaign, and their decision was speedily implemented.

Tugdual Derville, Alliance Vita’s general delegate, told LifeSiteNews that he was surprised to see “such a virulent response to posters that express landmarks to which the vast majority of French people are attached: fatherhood, motherhood and respect for differences, such as the ‘difference’ of handicapped people represented by a young girl in a wheelchair” (read full interview below). 

“The extravagance of her expression has the merit of revealing the extent to which words that should be as consensual as ‘paternity’ and ‘maternity’ can be banished from society on political grounds. This should make all lovers of democracy and freedom of expression sit back and think,” he added. 

Alliance Vita decided to sue both publicity networks using an emergency procedure. Not only was the association successful in obtaining a hearing in the morning of January 4th, the interim relief judge decided that same evening that the publicity campaign should resume in full respect of the contract signed in December by Mediatransports and ExterionMedia with Alliance Vita. He observed that private persons are allowed to express opinions in public advertising campaigns and added that the images and text of posters had been duly assessed and approved by the Advertising Regulatory Authority on December 12.

The social media uproar that led to the pulling of the campaign was deeply revealing of the present thought control system that has invaded the public square in France, upheld by large parts of the political and media worlds. It demonstrated that to speak positively about fatherhood and motherhood in their traditional sense is now socially unacceptable – even if such censorship is shown to be against the law and the rights of private citizens and bodies.

When the interim relief judge’s decision was made public, Anne Hidalgo tweeted: “Very surprised by this emergency decision ordering the continuation of this anti-assisted procreation and anti-abortion campaign. I encourage #Mediatransports to use all existing legal remedies in order to put a final stop to this campaign.”

In Hidalgo’s eyes, paternity and maternity must not be presented as a factor of progress, since “progress,” in this LGBTQI era, aims to erase all that – especially at a time when France is debating the bioethics law that is tailored to introduce medically assisted procreation without a father, increased research on the embryo. Inevitably, if the law passes through parliament, it will open the door to surrogate motherhood for male homosexual couples in the name of equality.

Hidalgo’s strong reaction in fact clarified the situation. In addition to the involuntary publicity she has offered to the Alliance Vita campaign, she has summarized the opprobrium that now hangs over the traditional family model.

Pending the outcome of this political-judicial affair that will certainly lead to further litigation, Tugdual Derville, Alliance Vita’s general delegate and the instigator of a new “Movement for human ecology” commented the case for LifeSite.

Below is the LifeSite’s full interview with Tugdual Derville.

***

LifeSiteNews (LSN): Were you surprised by the reaction – and especially by the force of the reaction – of the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo?

Tugdual Derville (TD): It is, of course, a surprise to see such a virulent response to posters that express landmarks to which the vast majority of French people are attached: fatherhood, motherhood and respect for differences, such as the “difference” of handicapped people represented by a young girl in a wheelchair. We know that it is difficult for everyone to have respect for these supporting walls that are the foundation of human ecology. Our campaign reaches out to people and also challenges their consciences. In particular, it challenges them on bioethical issues, a field in which these three supporting walls are under deep attack. That the ideology of deconstruction should so openly challenge our campaign in fact validates it, and I think that this is a legal, political and moral fault on the part of Anne Hidalgo.

The extravagance of her expression has the merit of revealing the extent to which words that should be as consensual as “paternity” and “maternity” can be banished from society on political grounds. This should make all lovers of democracy and freedom of expression sit back and think.

LSN: Your campaign was very positive, but it was interpreted in a totally negative sense as attacking abortion and medically assisted procreation. But isn’t there some truth in that? By underlining the importance of fatherhood, motherhood and respect for life, can’t it be said that by contrast everyone can understand what you meant?

TD: The three visuals that were posted in this campaign refer explicitly, through our website, to pages that decipher the bioethical law on these three issues. There is a fourth one, by the way, which shows the moment of conception. We did not choose to display it because it is more “technical” and because we have to obey codes of communication that will reach people. By the means of these visuals, which are thought-provoking as such, we invite the French, days before the reopening of the debate on bioethics law, to reflect on the consequences that this law will have on the protection of these supporting walls, when it comes to translating them into bioethics.

We stand behind the fact that behind these statements, which as such encourage us to live in accordance with these three values, there is a denunciation, a warning against the risk of paternity being erased by medically assisted procreation that deliberately evades the father, and the distortion of motherhood by methods of procreation that shatter it, such as surrogate motherhood or the promotion of egg preservation, which sells the idea of late artificial motherhood to women in a totally illusory way, when it is known that only 25% of egg thawing result in pregnancies. All this is clearly expressed on our website.

The posters in favor of “difference” have been kept in the railway network but removed by the Exterionmédia network. We all know that we have a problem in France with this issue of welcoming the disabled. France tells disabled people: “Take your full place in society,” and at the same time it has the world record for prenatal selection. The bioethics law, unfortunately, does nothing, quite the contrary, against this eugenic trend which has raised concern among personalities as diverse as those who participate in the bioethics debate and who are sometimes in opposition to us.

There are indeed issues related to biotechnology behind this campaign: does everything that is possible constitue progress?

I also believe that what may have displeased them about us is that we are assertively reappropriating this notion of progress. Progress is not unconditional; progress is not simply the use of technology to the detriment of humanity. All progress must be humanizing.

LSN: At a time when a law is being debated, you are therefore very clearly being reproached for intervening in the debate in the way you want.

TD: I think that we are simply being criticized for intervening in the debate; more clearly – this is a form of appearance-based prejudice – we are criticized for our mere existence. I think that we are also decried for the tone that we have adopted, a tone that does not judge or condemn, but that forcefully says what is, at the end of the day, the truth. This is significant of the post-truth society, which tends to stifle the affirmation of true realities.

We are aware that even words are now to be banned. And it is no coincidence that we are talking about the words “fatherhood” and “motherhood”: in the eyes of those who want to censor them, they are a source of alienation and discrimination.

However, it seems obvious, and fortunately the court has expressed it in this way, that we are within our rights in publishing these visuals, and I think that the French will judge the case on its merits when they see the visuals that were removed without even engaging in dialogue with us. Everyone can say to themselves, including people who do not share our deepest convictions and who have not refrained from saying so, that things have been turned upside down.

A thought police has indeed expressed itself. It was hidden at first. Those who sneaked on us not only condemned our campaign, deliberately interpreted it in a caricatured way, making it say what it did not say. This thought police is an extremely serious thing. We have seen it at work in some totalitarian countries when politicians use it to put forward what they see as the side of the good against those who should be excluded from the debate, whose voices should be silenced.

We have seen reactions flourishing on social networks from people who say, beyond their own convictions, that they are appalled at the extent to which there is a willingness to censor contradictory voices. They say that all this is revealing a totalitarianism which, put in any hands, can lead to extremely deleterious effects that everyone can recognize.

LSN: You have taken legal action against the advertising networks that interrupted your campaign. The interim relief judge ruled in your favor. Do you have any comments?

TD: We took to court the censorship imposed on us unilaterally by the Médiatransports network, which announced, in response to a question from a journalist who was himself reacting to the “sneak” information on the Internet, that two of the visuals would be removed. I exchanged tweets with the head of the advertising network, objecting both to the form of this announcement – because we are customers who deserve to be respected and to be the first to be informed – and to its substance. Our lawyer, Antoine Beauquier, referred the matter to the summary proceedings judge of the Paris Court of Justice, who granted an adversarial hearing the next morning. On the evening of the hearing, he decided to grant our request, asking for the two censored posters to be posted again on the railway advertising network, under penalty of a fine of 10,000 euros per day. Our opponents were, of course, ordered to pay the costs.

LSN: Do you have any indication as to why the advertising management companies withdrew their posters? Was Anne Hidalgo’s tweet responsible?

TD: Mrs Hidalgo in fact produced two fantastic tweets demanding that the City of Paris be cleaned of the posters that she was caricaturing, since she actually posted a visual on Twitter that was not a poster. She subsequently prompted the two companies to appeal the court decision. But it all started with a few anonymous Twitter accounts, which says a lot about how far a tattletale system can go, especially since we don't know which group or person is behind this type of account, which makes it impossible to challenge them openly. Our faces are out in the open, and while the faces of those who attack us are covered.

So I don't know exactly how they decided to remove this campaign in violation of the contract that bound us, and against the law. They argued that the advertisements were not neutral, but we were able to show that they had often accepted to show advertisements that were sometimes consumerist, sometimes libidinous, and in any case without neutrality.

As proof of this, we argued that the animal-rights PETA association, in exactly the same network and under the same conditions, showed a pig and a calf with the caption: “I'm someone, don't eat me!” There is nothing neutral about that. Advertising displays in general would be insipid, if they were “absolutely neutral.”

LSN: How many posters were placed in Paris and in which areas?

TD: The first network, Mediatransports, placed 300 posters in railway stations, and the second network displayed one hundred posters in the streets of Paris.

LSN: Was there a reaction from those who saw them?

TD: Anyone who looks at these posters can identify with a person in a wheelchair with a disability, or by the faces of a father and mother, or feel challenged. But there has been no other negative reaction apart from the orchestration of a small group that trying to gag us.

LSN: And has the announced appeal actually taken place?

TD: At this time I have no indication that the announcement of an appeal made by Mediatransports via Twitter will be followed up. For our part at any rate, we reserve our right and possibility to go all the way to the competent courts to challenge the discrimination and also the defamation that we are suffering from on the part of various protagonists in this affair.


News

Harvey Weinstein hit with new rape, sexual assault charges

Weinstein now faces sexual assault and rape charges in California in addition to New York.
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Harvey Weinstein leaves the courtroom in New York City criminal court on January 6, 2020. Weinstein pleaded not-guilty on five counts of rape and sexual assault against two unnamed women and faces a possible life sentence in prison. He now faces additional charges in California. Stephanie Keith / Getty Images
Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LOS ANGELES, California, January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer whose alleged sexual misconduct sparked the #MeToo movement, has been hit with new charges. 

Weinstein, 67, has been charged with sexually assaulting one woman and raping another in 2013. Specifically, he has been charged with “one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint,” according to a press release produced by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.   

Weinstein appeared in a Manhattan courtroom today as part of his sex abuse trial in New York, where he faces separate rape and sexual assault charges.

“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” Los Angeles District Attorney Lacey said in the press release.

“I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them. It is my hope that all victims of sexual violence find strength and healing as they move forward.”

The D.A.’s office specified that on February 18, 2013 Weinstein allegedly went to a hotel and raped a woman after pushing his way inside her room. Then, the next evening, he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel room in Beverly Hills.  

Weinstein faces up to 28 years in prison in California and life in prison in New York.  

According to the BBC, Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 80 women. By 2013, Weinstein’s misconduct was apparently an open secret to the glitterati of the entertainment industry. 

Weinstein’s alleged crimes were first exposed in the press by journalists for the New York Times on October 5, 2017.

However, Hollywood insider Ronan Farrow, son of actress Mia Farrow, may have brought down the priapic producer for good with his Pulitzer Prize-winning October 2017 report for the New Yorker on Weinstein’s sexual assaults and exploitation of women in the film industry. 

“For more than twenty years, Weinstein, who is now sixty-five, has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault,” Farrow then wrote.  

“His behavior has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence,” he continued. 

“Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, payoffs, and legal threats to suppress their accounts. Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, said that she did not speak out until now—Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her—because she feared that Weinstein would ‘crush’ her.” 

Farrow later revealed that his friendly relationship with Hilary Clinton “went cold” while he was investigating Harvey Weinstein. He had served as a special adviser on global youth issues for Clinton between 2011 and 2012 when she was the Secretary of State. 

Weinstein had been a booster for Clinton, contributing thousands of dollars to her run for the Senate in 1999 and encouraging others in Hollywood to back her political ambitions.  


News

Court rejects university’s $17,500 ‘security fee’ levied on pro-life group to run campus event

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By Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

By Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
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EDMONTON, Alberta, January 6, 2020 (jccf.ca) – In a victory for pro-life speech on Alberta campuses, the Alberta Court of Appeal today rejected the University of Alberta’s imposition of a $17,500 security fee on UAlberta Pro-Life. Demanded by the University in 2016, this security fee had prevented the small student club from hosting educational displays on campus. 

The case arose in March of 2015, when the University of Alberta condoned the behaviour of a mob that physically obstructed a peaceful, stationary pro-life display on campus, which had been authorized and approved by the University. The mob used sheets, towels, banners, and mega-phones, making it impossible for passers-by to view the signs. The mob effectively silenced intellectual discussion and inquiry, in violation of the Code of Student Behaviour. Prior to this physical obstruction and disruption of a university-approved campus event, the University’s president had stated publicly that the pro-life group was entitled to express its opinions on campus. Then-president Indira Samarasekera stated the University must facilitate and protect the peaceful expression of all views, regardless of popularity.

Dr. Samarasekera’s statement was not taken seriously by campus security or by the students who violated the Code of Student Behaviour. The University’s campus security repeatedly told members of the obstructing mob that they were violating the Code of Student Behaviour, which expressly prohibits interrupting and obstructing university-related activities and events. Yet campus security took no action to stop the obstruction, or to discipline the students who identified themselves publicly and boasted on social media about their success in silencing a message they disagreed with.

In 2016, UAlberta Pro-Life applied again for a two-day campus event with a stationary display. The University then demanded a $17,500 security fee as a condition for going ahead with this campus event.

In an email, the University demanded that pro-life students pay for the wages of security guards and police, and costs of barricading the venue, and pay for the potential misconduct of people violating the University’s Code of Student Behaviour by obstructing and disrupting the display. Rather than render an invoice to the self-identified and self-confessed rule-breakers, the University instead told the small pro-life club that it could no longer set up a display on campus unless it first paid $17,500 in security fees. Unable to pay $17,500, UAlberta Pro-Life was forced to cancel the event that was planned for February 2016.

“In issuing this demand, the University of Alberta ignored the fact that any threat to safety and security that may have existed on campus came uniquely from those who physically obstructed and loudly interrupted a university-approved event,” stated lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represented the students in their court action.

In its court application, filed in April of 2016, UAlberta Pro-Life sought a declaration that the University’s imposition of the $17,500 security fee on the club was illegal and unjustifiably violated the fundamental Canadian value of freedom of expression, protected by section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court application asked for an order prohibiting the University from imposing such financial burdens on law-abiding students in future.

The court application also sought a ruling that the University made an unreasonable and therefore illegal decision in March of 2015 to condone the conduct of students who disrupted and blockaded the University-authorized UAlberta Pro-Life campus event, in violation of the Code of Student Behaviour. Although the University had advance notice that a mob was being organized to obstruct the display, and although Dr. Samarasekera had warned that any misbehaviour would be investigated and prosecuted, the University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS) did nothing to stop the blockading and physical obstruction. UAPS also did not photograph or seek to identify any blockading student, even though the Code clearly prohibits students from disrupting or obstructing University-related functions. 

Before taking court action, UAlberta Pro-Life first filed a formal complaint in March 2015 with UAPS against the disruptive students who had violated the Code of Student Behaviour. It took UAPS over eight months to release a decision. On November 30, 2015, UAPS confirmed that the University would not charge or prosecute students who had disrupted, blocked and obstructed the March 2015 display on campus. This decision came in spite of UAPS possessing ample photographic and video evidence as to which students had violated the Code of Student Behaviour, in addition to social media posts in which these blockading students publicly boasted about their own behaviour.

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled in favour of the University in October 2017. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) intervened before the Alberta Court of Appeal, in support of freedom of expression. The students appealed, and now have a decision from the Alberta Court of Appeal.


News

New survey: Since 2013, 367 abortion facilities have closed

Operation Rescue's annual abortion facility survey reveals that there was a net gain of nine abortion facilities in the U.S. in 2019. It also notes Planned Parenthood's effort to increase the sale of abortion pills.
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By Cheryl Sullenger

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January 6, 2020 (Operation Rescue) – A total of 36 abortion facilities closed nationwide in 2019, according to a survey of every abortion facility in the U.S. conducted by Operation Rescue.

While the number of closures shows that in certain areas, abortion suppliers have outstripped the demand, abortion numbers and rates continue to drop nationwide, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Other noteworthy facts were revealed by Operation Rescue’s survey.

  • Since 2013, 367 surgical abortion facilities have permanently closed. 
  • This year’s closures represent a staggering 79 percent drop in the number of surgical abortion facilities nationwide since 1991, when there were 2,176 surgical abortion facilities.
  • There was a net gain of nine U.S. abortion clinics in 2019.
  • Planned Parenthood doubled down as a supplier of abortion-inducing drugs by opening five new pill clinics, dropping surgical abortions from five others, and adding chemical abortion availability to 14 of its centers that previously did not conduct abortions.

Methodology

Each year, Operation Rescue conducts a nationwide survey that involves contact with each abortion business in the U.S.  The information gathered about the abortion clinics and their practices represents the most accurate data available.

This most recent data was compiled by Operation Rescue, which conducted a survey of all abortion facilities in the U.S. from November 18 through December 6, 2019.

Operation Rescue defines “abortion clinics” as those businesses that conduct abortions outside a hospital setting.  There are two categories of abortion clinics:

  • Surgical Abortion Clinics: These offices conduct surgical abortions. Almost always, surgical facilities also distribute abortion-inducing drugs.
  • Medical Abortion Clinics: These offices supply abortions through the administration of drugs (pills) or other chemical means. They do not conduct surgical abortions.

Abortion facility totals

Today, there are a total of 710 U.S. abortion facilities, up nine facilities from 2018’s record low of 701.

In 2019, new abortion facility openings slightly outpaced closures.

However, the number of surgical abortion clinics continues to decline with seven fewer today than last year at this time, hitting a record low of 464. 

In fact, the number of surgical abortion clinics has fallen each year for at least the past decade from 713 in 2009 to just 464 in 2019.  That represents a decrease of 35 percent over the last ten years.

“The decline in surgical abortion facilities is terrible news for the Abortion Cartel, but great news for women and their babies,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.  “Surgical abortion facilities are still the most profitable, especially if they conduct abortions past the first trimester when prices – and profits – really soar. When they shut down it saves lives and takes money out of the pockets of the abortionists.”

But when it comes to medication abortion facilities that are dispensaries for abortion-inducing drugs, those clinic numbers have steadily increased.

Today, there are 245 abortion pill facilities – an increase of 15 clinics nationwide in 2019.

Medication abortion facility numbers have been steadily on the rise over the past decade, increasing 47 percent in the past ten years.

Notable Closures

Clinic Latina, Phoenix, Arizona — It’s likely that most people have never heard of the Clinic Latina in Phoenix, Arizona, but its abortionist, Ronald Yunis, made news October 10, 2019, when he was arrested outside another facility where he also conducted abortions, the Acacia Women’s Center.  Pro-life activists had taken video of Yunis pulling a gun on one activist as he left the clinic’s driveway.  Police investigated and later arrested Yunis.  It was after his arrest that the Clinic Latina stopped conducting abortions.

San Diego Women’s Medical Clinic, San Diego, California – This facility owner, Michael Wong, who conducted abortions over the better part of four decades, finally stopped in 2019.

Her Medical Clinic, Pacoima, California – After years of pro-life outreach at this run-down abortion mill, Her Medical Clinic has finally closed.  Operation Rescue’s staff has memories of public outreach at this facility and praying for its closure dating back over twenty-five years.

American Women’s Services affiliates in Baltimore, Cheverly, and Silver Spring, Maryland – These three chemical abortion facilities were owned by the disgraced New Jersey abortionist Steven Chase Brigham.  The reason for their closure is cloaked in mystery.  These facilities once conducted surgical abortions, but were halted from continuing to do so in 2013, after it was discovered that they were illegally administering misoprostol to women without a licensed physician present.  The Baltimore facility was the site of the death of Maria Santiago, 38, who stopped breathing, then suffered cardiac arrest after an abortion on February 13, 2013.  No one at the clinic, including abortionist Iris E. Dominy, had current CPR certification. A crash cart in the hallway was not used and the defibrillator was broken.

States

This year, Rhode Island became the seventh state with just one abortion facility.  Those seven states are Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

In all of those states, the last open clinics are surgical abortion facilities.  Three are operated by Planned Parenthood, while the other four are independent abortion businesses.

Abortion clinic numbers increased in twelve states over the past year, while there were fewer abortion facilities in nine states. Thirty states, including the District of Columbia, had no net change in the number of abortion clinics. (See map above.) 

The states with the largest increase in abortion clinics were New York and New Jersey, which both added four facilities.  This is likely due to the liberalization of abortion laws – including the repeal of safety regulations – in those two states.

There were nine states in which abortion facility numbers decreased. The states with the largest decrease in abortion clinics were Massachusetts and Maryland, where both states’ clinic totals fell by three facilities.  Financial considerations appeared to have caused the decrease in Massachusetts, while in Maryland, three abortion pill clinics operated by the disgraced New Jersey abortionist Steven Chase Brigham inexplicably halted operations.

In Kansas City, Kansas, Planned Parenthood Great Plains was thwarted from opening a new surgical abortion facility when the pro-life group Planned Parenthood Exposed, led by local activist Ron Kelsey, persuaded a landlord to cancel a signed contract with Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood

Of the 710 abortion facilities currently open for business, 381, or 54 percent, are Planned Parenthood facilities.   Planned Parenthood operates 170 surgical abortion facilities and 211 medication abortion-only clinics – the vast majority of that type of facility currently in operation.

In all, Planned Parenthood opened 21 new abortion sites in 2019.  Three were surgical abortion facilities while 18 were “new” medication abortion clinics.  Of those eighteen, 14 were existing referral clinics that added abortion drug availability.

While Planned Parenthood operates more facilities than independently owned clinics, it is the independent clinics that still conduct the most abortions, according to a report published by the Abortion Care Network.

That report claims that Planned Parenthood conducts 37 percent of abortions in the U.S. while independent clinics conduct 58 percent — with fewer facilities.  However, when compared to 2018 figures from the same source, this indicates that Planned Parenthood gained two percent of the total abortion market share in 2019.

Despite Planned Parenthood’s modest growth in 2019, there are still seven states that have no Planned Parenthood abortion facility.

Impact of state legislation

In all, nine states passed pro-abortion legislation in 2019.

Those states include California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Of the nine states, three states experienced an increase in abortion facilities three states recorded a decrease due to a rise in the number of medical abortion facilities. Three states saw no change.

It usually takes time for legislation passed on the state level to have an impact, especially if the enactment of new laws are delayed by challenges in court, as is the case with most pro-life legislation.

However, New York’s new abortion law that eliminated safety regulations and reduced clinic accountability had an immediate impact that was perhaps unexpected by state lawmakers.

“The impact of these pro-abortion laws so far has been an increase in the number of botched abortions that require ambulance transport from abortion facilities.  These laws are lowing safety standards and, in turn, hurting women in order to increase abortion profits for chains like Planned Parenthood,” said Newman.

That is particularly true in New York where, for example, Planned Parenthood’s flagship abortion facility, the Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood in Manhattan has increased the number of known calls for ambulance transport from three in 2018 to thirteen in 2019.

On the other hand, 17 states passed pro-life laws in, 2019, but with most of the new laws tied up in legal challenges, including gestational abortion limits in nine states. 

Those states include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming.

Out of those states, all but five saw no change in the number of abortion facilities. 

Nevertheless, pro-life legislation passed in previous years continues to contribute to clinic closures and is providing necessary road-blocks to keep the rapid expansion of abortion chains in check nationwide.

Protect Life Rule

In a significant move, the Department of Health and Human Services enacted the Protect Life Rule in the spring of 2019, which prevents clinics that conduct or refer for abortions from receiving Title X family planning grants.  It is estimated that this rule will deprive Planned Parenthood of $60 million annually in taxpayer funding.

At least four states have stepped in to replace the Title X grant money from their state coffers.  Those states are Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  The cities of Austin, Texas, and New York City gave a total of $400,000 to keep abortion facilities open.

Nevertheless, the Protect Life Rule may have been at least partially responsible for the closure of 23 Planned Parenthood centers that did not conduct abortions.  That has the benefit of reducing Planned Parenthood’s reach and ability to market abortions into communities where those referral clinics no longer exist.

What’s behind the increase in chemical abortions?

The rise in the number of abortion facilities in 2019 is attributable to several factors, including an effort by abortion businesses to increase sales of abortion drugs, which are easier and cheaper to offer than surgical abortions.

Other abortion chains, including Carafem, the Texas-based Whole Women’s Health, and the California-based FPA Women’s Health have expanded their clinics that only offer abortion drugs.

Planned Parenthood has continued to expand into the chemical abortion business in three ways.

  • Conversion of 14 referral centers into abortion pill dispensaries.
  • Slowly expanding webcam abortion services into areas where they are still allowed. (They are restricted or banned in 20 states.)
  • Experimenting with a new scheme in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere to distribute abortion drugs through the U.S. Postal Service with the assistance of a smart phone app, as Operation Rescue’s research earlier this year explains.  Currently that app is not available to the public.

Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood introduced a smart phone app to the public that can be used to obtain birth control pills.  It is possible that at some point, Planned Parenthood will be able to use that platform to distribute abortion drugs through the mail, as their experimental program seems to indicate. 

This is a matter that requires vigilance and new, proactive legislation to protect women and babies as Planned Parenthood aggressively seeks new ways to expand abortion nationwide.

As Operation Rescue reported in an exposé earlier this year, there is a huge profit margin in providing abortion drugs.  Planned Parenthood pays about $82 for the mifepristone/misoprostol abortion drug combination, but sells them for a huge mark-up at an average of $604 at their abortion pill clinics around the country. 

The profit margin for the app-to-mailbox scheme is even greater because women need not ever visit a Planned Parenthood clinic to obtain abortion-inducing drugs.

The pill-by-mail scheme would be one way to circumvent pro-life trigger laws that would ban abortion in many states should Roe v. Wade be overturned – something that appears likely should President Trump win re-election and/or be afforded additional Supreme Court picks.

Conclusions

Abortion businesses are desperately attempting to expand into untapped markets in order to stay solvent in a time when the overall demand for abortion has decreased.  Profitable medication abortions have been the focus of this attempted expansion.

Operation Rescue’s survey found, however, that most clinics that only provide chemical abortions tend to be part-time facilities, whereas surgical facilities have more abortion days available.  For example, the survey found that some abortion pill clinics are only open to dispense abortion drugs as infrequently as once a month.

Surgical abortion facilities, which tend to be busier clinics, require more overhead to operate and are more costly to staff and equip.  That may explain why the number of surgical abortion facilities has fallen each year over the past decade while medication clinics have increased.

Clinic closures in 2019 were generally due to the following reasons:

  • Financial problems.
  • Abortionists who quit or retire and cannot be replaced.
  • Pro-life legislation and/or activism. 
  • Criminal conduct and/or regulatory violations.

“Planned Parenthood received massive funding in 2019 through private donations and state and federal disbursements.  This enabled it to dive headlong into the abortion pill market, expanding into twenty-one new locations,” said Newman.  “However, that number would have been much worse, had it not been for tough pro-life legislation and vigilant activists all across the nation.”

Newman concluded, “The closer we get to ending abortion in America, the harder the Abortion Cartel will fight against our efforts.  The increase in abortion facilities and attempts to use alternate methods of dispensing abortion drugs is an indicator that the Abortion Cartel has stepped up their game, sensing the end for them is near.  Our side cannot afford complacency, especially as we enter a critical presidential election year that will determine whether our national policies favor greedy abortionists or the protection of babies in the womb. The outcome of that election – as well as the fate of millions of innocent lives that hang in the balance – will be up to us.”

Up next: The Status of American Abortion Facilities in 2019, Part 2, which will reveal trends in abortion costs, wait times, gestational age limits, and more.

Reprinted with permission from Operation Rescue.


News

Planned Parenthood aborted 345,672 babies last year, received $616 million from gov’t

Planned Parenthood provided just 4,279 adoption referrals and 9,798 'prenatal services' last year.
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Claire Chretien By Claire Chretien

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By Claire Chretien

January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report reveals it aborted 345,672 babies and received just over $616 million from taxpayers during its 2018 to 2019 fiscal year.

Planned Parenthood also distributed over 2 million contraceptives during that time, many of which have the potential to act as abortifacients. 

Planned Parenthood’s main sources of taxpayer money come from Medicaid, Title X (from which Planned Parenthood has since withdrawn in protest of modestly pro-life Trump administration regulations), state family planning slush funds, and sex ed grants. According to a Live Action analysis, Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding has increased by nearly 70 percent since 2008. Its total revenue was over $1.6 billion and its net assets were almost $2 billion.

Taxpayer funding made up almost 38 percent of Planned Parenthood’s total revenue. 

The abortion company’s annual report boasts that it provides “services for transgender patients” in 31 states, offers telemedicine abortions in 16 states, and promotes abortion through its “National Storytellers of Planned Parenthood” program. 

“As access to abortion shrinks in states across the country, telemedicine is becoming increasingly important for ensuring access where providers are scarce,” the report says.

Planned Parenthood provided just 4,279 adoption referrals and 9,798 “prenatal services” last year.

The report also details some of Planned Parenthood’s collaboration with Hollywood and corporations: “Planned Parenthood continued our longstanding work to engage culture creators and storytellers, including at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where we built connections with more than 40 TV, film and entertainment creators, and nearly 20 new artists.”

At the Golden Globe award ceremony last night, the audience cheered as Michelle Williams, winner of best actress in a limited series or television movie, hinted that she had killed her baby in order to enjoy the success she does today.

“Once again, Planned Parenthood’s own numbers show abortion and profit are their top priorities,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List. “Their cancer screening and prevention services, breast exams, pap tests, and even contraceptive services have steeply declined. Planned Parenthood is a bad investment for taxpayers. We thank President Trump for working to curb Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding and urge our allies at every level of government to do the same.”

‘Unprecedented wave’ of pro-life laws 

Planned Parenthood’s descriptions of the current political climate are fraught with panic. Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that imposed abortion on demand across the nation, is “at risk,” a bright pink heading warns in the annual report.

“This year, the reproductive rights movement faced an unprecedented wave of extreme bans on abortion. Anti-abortion politicians in state houses, galvanized by the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, are racing to pass laws that will challenge Roe v Wade and make abortion illegal.”

“Planned Parenthood is preparing for a future where abortion is no longer a guaranteed right,” the report admits. At another point, Planned Parenthood Acting President Alexis McGill Johnson writes in a “message from our leadership” that “[we] stand at an inflection point for reproductive health and rights.”  

“Legislatures in 12 states passed 25 abortion bans in 2019 alone,” Johnson fretted. 

The abortion business listed as recent successes pro-abortion laws enacted in Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. It also hailed its birth control-dispensing app PPDirect and new AI sex chatbot “Roo” as accomplishments. 

This year’s report indicates that Planned Parenthood can no longer tout a much-repeated bogus statistic that abortion only constitutes three percent of its services; they now say abortion is four percent of their services. 

Ninty-five percent of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy-related services were abortion, according to this report. 

Students for Life trains far more youth than Planned Parenthood

“Even as the abortion rate is reported to be falling, Planned Parenthood’s share of the abortion business is up, and of course given their political connections, so is their misappropriation of funds from taxpayers,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America (SFLA). “Planned Parenthood should not be able to operate their deadly business on the taxpayers’ dime.”

The abortion business started 81 new campus chapters as part of its “Planned Parenthood Generation” program, 18 of which were “Historically Black Universities and/or Minority Serving Institutions.”

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was a racist and a eugenicist who wrote in 1939, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” An undercover investigation by Live Action found Planned Parenthood was willing to accept money earmarked for the abortion of a black baby.

“Over 120 campuses engaged in the Campus Campaigns Program to get young people the training, resources, and deep organizing skills they need to create concrete change in their community,” the annual report says. “Over 400 young people were trained as a part of this program.”

There are more than 1,200 Students for Life groups on college, university, and high school campuses in all 50 states. Every year, around 2,000 young people attend SFLA’s national conference.

An SFLA spokeswoman told LifeSiteNews more than 125 new pro-life clubs were established in 2019. In 2019, Students for Life Regional Coordinators visited 878 different campuses, provided 936 trainings, and held more than 2,800 one-on-one mentoring sessions.

In addition to losing around $60 million in taxpayer funds for refusing to comply with Trump administration rules for receiving Title X money (the period covered by the annual report was before this happened), 2019 was a turbulent time for Planned Parenthood’s leadership. In late 2018, Dr. Leana Wen was selected to replace former president Cecile Richards, but lasted less than a year in that role because she wanted the organization to focus on more than abortion. 


News

Golden Globes attendees cheer as Michelle Williams hints she killed her baby

Williams encouraged women to vote pro-abortion and suggested she wouldn't have been successful without 'employing a woman's right to choose.'
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Actress Michelle Williams at the 2020 Golden Globes Kevin Winter / Getty Images
John-Henry Westen By John-Henry Westen

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HOLLYWOOD, January 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Actress Michelle Williams, who played Charity Barnum in The Greatest Showman, used her fame to promote abortion at the Golden Globes Sunday. As she took the stage for the award of best actress in a limited series or television movie, Williams seemed to admit to killing her baby by abortion to the applause and cheers of attendees.

“I'm grateful for the acknowledgement of the choices I've made and also grateful to have lived at a moment in our society where choice exists,” she said. 

“As women and as girls things can happen to our bodies that are not our choice,” she added. “I've tried my very best to live a life of my own making and not just a series of events that happened to me, but one that I could stand back and look at and recognize my handwriting all over it – sometimes messy and scrawling, sometimes careful and precise, but one that I have carved with my own hand.”

“I wouldn't have been able to do this without employing a woman's right to choose,” she added. In an interview scrum afterward, when asked by a reporter if she had personal experience to back up her statement, Williams refused to elaborate.

The actress also used the occasion to show off her new pregnancy at the ceremony with fiancé Thomas Kail, a film director.

Williams encouraged women to vote to support abortion. “So women, 18 to 118, when it is time to vote, please do so in your own self-interest; it's what men have been doing for years,” she said.


Opinion

Now more than ever, the Church needs strong bishops unafraid of suffering

An interaction between St. Basil and the local prefect of the emperor shows forth an image of a strong bishop. How do our modern bishops measure up?
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Msgr. Charles Pope By Msgr. Charles Pope

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January 6, 2019 (Community in Mission) — On January 2nd, we celebrated the feast of St. Basil and St. Gregory Nazianzen. They were bishops in Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey) during the stormy period of the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. Despite the strong affirmation by the Council of Nicaea, the Arian heretics did not desist. Saints Basil and Gregory were strong forces for truth in the long battle to stamp out the heresy. When the emperor, Julian the Apostate, sought to compel bishops to admit Arian heretics to Holy Communion both these bishops refused to comply.

An interaction between St. Basil and the local prefect of the emperor shows forth an image of a strong bishop that is rare today. Encountering St. Basil’s resistance, the prefect said,

“Are you mad, that you resist the will [of the emperor] before which the whole world bows? Do you not dread the wrath of the emperor, nor exile, nor death?”

“No,” said Basil calmly, “he who has nothing to lose need not dread loss of goods; you cannot exile me, for the whole earth is my home; as for death, it would be the greatest kindness you could bestow upon me; torments cannot harm me: one blow would end my frail life and my sufferings together.”

“Never,” said the prefect, “has anyone dared to address me thus.” “Perhaps,” suggested Basil, “you never before measured your strength with a Christian bishop” (from Butler’s Lives of the Saints).

The emperor backed down.

The lives of early bishops were filled with suffering, exile, and martyrdom. Thirty of the first thirty-three popes were martyred, two died in exile, and only one died in his own bed. It was a similar story with many ancient bishops, for example Athanasius, Chrysostom, Basil, and Gregory. It’s hard to imagine many among the current leaders of the Church enduring such suffering. Many bishops and higher clergy today live comfortable, protected lives. Even less elevated clergymen live fairly insular lives, shielded from the ordinary struggles of the laity. Many of us have healthcare, housing, laundry services, prepared meals, and staff to handle many day-to-day matters. God bless all of our staff and God’s good people, who care for us so well.

There comes a point, though, when we clergy become soft, no longer able to relate to even small sufferings, let alone larger ones that might come from preaching the Gospel in an uncompromising and clear way. Failing to accept this suffering in our own lives, we fear to preach it to others.

Unlike St. Basil, who had felt he had nothing to lose, we modern clergy often think we have too much to lose. Indeed, the whole Church (at least in the prosperous West) fears we have too much to lose. We fear the loss of popularity, political power, and access; we fear the impact on our careers; we fear the loss of buildings, institutions, and programs as well as the money and power needed to sustain them. We seem to fear just about everything except the loss of our faith, which we are too willing to compromise, ignore, or water down in order to keep the lesser things.

Ultimately, however, this world and the devil will never be satisfied with compromises we make until every last bit of our integrity is gone. Whatever time we buy through compromise is temporary; it is a pyrrhic “victory.” Despite all our attempts to fit in with the modern world, we are still closing churches and schools; Catholic charities are losing contracts; our members are continuing to drift away. The world cannot save us; being popular or up to date does not inspire faith or attract converts. Owning nice buildings is worthless if they are empty.

We end with a paradox. Acting out of fear that we have too much to lose will mean that we lose everything. Freely accepting that we have nothing to lose will mean that we gain everything, for we gain Christ Jesus and all that He promises us here and in the life to come.

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you (Matt 6:33).

And anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matt 10:38–39).

May St. Basil, St. Gregory, and all the heroes and martyrs pray for us, clergy and laity alike!

Published with permission from the Archdiocese of Washington.


Opinion

A prediction about the coming split in the Methodist Church

History shows that conservative branches will gain members and liberal denominations will wither.
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Michael L. Brown By Michael L. Brown

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By Dr. Michael Brown

January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – If the reports are true, then “a tentative plan” has been put in place “to split the (Methodist) church over differences on same-sex marriage and the inclusion of gay clergy.”

It was reported that “the division, which has been brewing for years, came to an impasse last May when delegates in St. Louis voted 438-384 to ban gay marriage and the inclusion of gay clergy.

“A majority of U.S.-based churches opposed the ‘Traditional Plan’ but were outvoted by conservatives in the U.S., Africa and the Philippines.”

Assuming that this split actually takes place, what will happen to these two branches, one conservative and the other liberal?

The answer is easy, based on history and common spiritual sense.

History says that the conservative branch will grow and the liberal branch will diminish. 

This has been the pattern for decades, as I documented in 2015, citing a major study dating to 1972 written by Dean M. Kelley: Why Conservative Churches are Growing: A Study in Sociology of Religion.

As Kelly wrote almost 50 years ago, “Amid the current neglect and hostility toward organized religion in general, the conservative churches, holding to seemingly outmoded theology and making strict demands on their members, have equaled or surpassed in growth the early percentage increases of the nation’s population.”

As for the liberal churches, he noted, “The mainline denominations (which were becoming increasingly liberal) will continue to exist on a diminishing scale for decades, perhaps for centuries, and will continue to supply some people with a dilute and undemanding form of meaning, which may be all they want.”

For a host of reasons, this pattern will continue with the two Methodist branches. 

The conservative branch, preaching the Scriptures without apology, adhering to timeless moral values, and offering adherents a true encounter with the risen Lord, will gain members. 

The liberal branch, reinterpreting the Scriptures and apologizing for the Bible and redefining morality, will lose members.

As I pointed out in my 2015 article, “Writing in the Federalist in August 2014, Alexander Griswold noted that, “Every major American church that has taken steps towards liberalization on sexual issues has seen a steep decline in membership.” (His article was titled “How to Shrink Your Church in One Easy Step.”)

More broadly, this is confirmed by data just released by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

Roughly 120 years ago, the Center claims that there were about 80 million Evangelicals and less than 1 million Pentecostals/Charismatics worldwide. (These terms might be anachronistic for the year 1900, but they are being used to trace particular groups over the last 120 years. And, of course, there is overlap between the two groups, which are both very conservative theologically.)

Today, those numbers, globally, are put at 354 million Evangelicals and 694 million Pentecostals/Charismatics. Projections for 2050 put these groups at 581 million and 1 billion, 89 million, respectively.

This is the growth-curve of Bible-based Christianity, especially denominations that emphasizes the ongoing ministry of the Spirit. 

The Center’s data does not isolate liberal denominations, so their decline cannot be pointed to in the chart linked here. But further confirmation comes from a January 4, 2017 article in The Washington Post, which noted that, “Liberal churches are dying. But conservative churches are thriving. A Canadian study found that conservative churches are still growing, while less orthodox congregations dwindle away.”

No surprise in the least.

To be sure, if the conservative congregations are hypocritical, dead, and legalistic, they too will dwindle away. But if they preach Jesus, welcome the Spirit, exalt the Word, and reach out to their community, they will thrive.

And this leads us to the subject of spiritual common sense.

The liberal branch will become more liberal.

Specifically, they will question some of the fundamental tenets of the faith (including the inspiration of the Scriptures, the virgin birth and the resurrection, the second coming, and more; much of this is happening already). They will become more universalistic (meaning, salvation is not exclusively through Jesus). And they will move further and further away from biblical morality.

In short, fidelity to LGBT activism will trump fidelity to God’s Word.

Watch and see. (For a recent, shocking example from Sweden, see here.)

In contrast, the conservative churches will remain steady, since they are not reacting. They are simply maintaining their historic stance, believing what John Wesley, the founder of the Methodists believed, and affirming what Jesus and Paul taught.

As one African Methodist leader stated in early 2019, “I’m happy to go back to old ladies and old men in villages who received the Bible from missionaries and let them know that the Bible hasn’t changed.”

In the end, while it is sad to see division and separation, some of it is necessary and even for the best.

When it comes to the Methodist Church, as the years unfold, it will not be seen so much as a separation between fellow Christians.

Instead, it will be seen as a separation between the wheat and the weeds or the sheep and the goats, to use the imagery of Jesus.

Watch and see.


Blogs

Cdl Marx: Homosexual couples can receive ‘blessing’ from Church

Marx said that homosexual couples can receive 'a blessing in the sense of a pastoral accompaniment.'
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Cardinal Marx Patrick Craine/LifeSite
Maike Hickson By Maike Hickson

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By Maike Hickson

January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the head of the German Bishops' Conference, stated in a recent interview that homosexuals belong to the Church’s “sacramental community” and has defended “blessing” homosexual couples.

On December 23, 2019, Cardinal Marx gave an interview to the German magazine Der Stern in which he said: “I insist: we welcome homosexuals, they belong to the Church, also to the sacramental community.”

Marx said that homosexual couples can receive “a blessing in the sense of a pastoral accompaniment, we can pray together.” 

The expression “sacramental community” means here that, according to Marx, homosexuals are not excluded from receiving the sacraments. However, the Church's teaching is that those who live in the state of mortal sin without the intention to change their way of life are indeed to be excluded from the sacraments. 

Cardinal Marx did not further differentiate his statement in the interview with Der Stern.

He went on to tell Der Stern that he had already spoken on the topic of homosexuality at the Synod of Bishops on the Family (either in 2014 or in 2015): “When people in a homosexual relationship are loyal to one another over years, are available to one another, and even take care of each other until death; then we as Church cannot make a bracket around this entire life, placing a minus sign in front of it and say that all of this has no worth because it takes place in a homosexual relationship.”

The German prelate adds that he has received for these words “much criticism from certain parts.” 

Vatican News, a media outlet run by the Vatican, titled its report on this interview: “Marx: homosexual couples can receive blessing.”

However, right in the lead, Vatican News differentiates his words by adding that he stated that these couples' relationship “cannot be a marriage-like relationship.” Marx had explained that marriage is for “a man and a woman, with openness for having children.”

On February 3, 2018, Cardinal Marx caused a stir with an interview in which he stated that the question of a blessing for homosexual couples should be placed into the care of the local priest, thus not explicitly ruling out such a blessing as a possibility. However, a few weeks later he denied having supported the idea of such a blessing, adding “that there also can be spiritual encouragement; [but] about a blessing of homosexual couples, and even a public one, I did not speak at all.”

However, Cardinal Marx then also referred to an episcopal commission in Germany that was then discussing this matter of a blessing of homosexual couples, and this matter is now also part of the German "Synodal Path” that is already underway in Germany, with the official discussions to be starting soon, on January 30. One of the four discussion forums aims at questioning the Church's teaching on homosexuality, and the main architect of this forum – Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff – explicitly proposes to approve of such relationships.

Not long ago, the Vice President of the German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, wrote a foreword to a book promoting the idea of blessing homosexual couples in the Catholic Church. He also had proposed to discuss publicly a possible blessing for homosexual couples. He first did so in January of 2018 and then again at the end of December, 2019.

Several well-informed sources in Germany told LifeSiteNews that such a blessing is actually already being prepared for the Catholic Church in Germany.

In his Der Stern interview, Cardinal Marx himself also covered different other topics, among them being his openness toward the possibility of ordaining married men to the priesthood. He also told Der Stern that Pope Francis told him in person that the door to the female priesthood is definitely closed, but that, despite this, the Cardinal still insists upon discussing it. “But the discussion is not closed,” is what Cardinal Marx has responded to Pope Francis when the Pope told him of his own decision against female priests (“the door is closed.”).

When asked as to what God thinks about the fact that there are more than 100,000 abortions per year in Germany, many patchwork families, and much consumerism on Sundays, Cardinal Marx replied: “We should not be so bold as to claim: We know what God is thinking,” thereby echoing the words of Pope Francis, “who am I to judge?” when asked about a practicing homosexual priest.


Blogs

Angry feminists torch car of pro-life journalist for promoting German March for Life

Pro-life journalist Gunnar Schupelius' car was set ablaze in Berlin on new year's eve by far-left extremists.
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Gunnar Schupelius' car being towed away after the Dec. 31, 2019 fire.
Jonathon Van Maren By Jonathon Van Maren

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By Jonathon Van Maren

January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Some of you may remember that back in 2015, the renowned German playwright Falk Richter premiered a play titled FEAR in Berlin. The play featured five pro-family women, including my friend Gabriele Kuby, who reject gender ideology, portraying them as Nazi zombies. During the course of the play, the zombies were attacked by actors who poked out their eyes, with one suggesting that they get “shot in the brain, as only then will they be really dead.”

Richter’s play turned out, one hopes unintentionally, to be prophetic: Two of the women were later targeted by arson attacks and one of them, Hedwig von Beverfoerde, had her van firebombed. The flames spread from the burning van to her family business, leveling it. In Germany, the attitude towards pro-life and pro-family figures in the public square has become overtly hostile over the past few years. Most choose to keep their addresses secret as a result.

So it is sadly not surprising that on New Year’s Eve, the car of a Protestant pro-life journalist Gunnar Schupelius was set ablaze in Berlin by far-left extremists. Schupelius, who runs his own blog and writes for the newspaper B.Z., had been previously condemned for calling on his fellow Germans to join the March for Life, which took place last fall. This invitation enraged feminists, triggering the arson attack that resulted in Schupelius’ car being almost completely burned.

“Every year he heavily promotes the ‘March for Life’ of male and female opponents of abortion and repeatedly makes it clear what he thinks of women and their tasks and duties,” stated the feminist group claiming responsibility for the attack. “We torched his SUV today,” the group added, and provided explicit details about where the journalist lives while stating that he “lives there with his children.” 

The group claiming responsibility for the attack, Feministische Autonome Zelle, had previously attacked an evangelical church in Tübingen on December 27, and is unapologetic about its use of violence. They admitted that Schupelius also does charity work, but scorned his social contribution as one that only assists “those who subject [themselves] to the concept of hetero-normative worldviews.” Helping the poor and underprivileged, it seems, should only be the purview of abortion enthusiasts.

This second attack has been widely denounced, with Protestant clergy and Catholic bishops releasing a statement of condemnation, noting that this attack was nothing less than an attempt to use violence to intimidate dissenting points of view. The president of German’s journalist union concurred, noting on Twitter that the feminists’ attack constituted a “disgusting attack on press freedom.” 

The increased backlash to pro-life and pro-family activism may be partially due to the fact that the pro-life movement is growing across Europe—Berlin’s March for Life in September of last year, the event that so outraged the feminist arsonists, attracted 8,000 marchers, their biggest ever event. Austria’s March for Life the following month, which I had the privilege of attending and speaking at, doubled in size to nearly 5,000. The Dutch March for Life has exploded to up to 15,000 in recent years, and this fall 50,000 marched for life in Slovakia, 20,000 marched in Northern Ireland, and over 1,000 marched in Switzerland. 

The outrage of groups such as Feministische Autonome Zelle is thus partially in response to the fact that, decades after the Sexual Revolution triggered massive social transformation across Europe, there are still those who refuse to accept their ideology of misery and blood. Their presence on the streets of major cities, as thousands march to express their dissent, is a rebuke to those who have set fire to Western civilization’s Christian heritage and traditions, and their defence of love, life, and beauty enrages those who have taken a darker, uglier path. 

And so, in the face of this resistance, their fury takes a familiar form: Violence against those they find inconvenient, justified on the feeble premise that anything that contradicts their right to total autonomy, even verbally or in print, is a threat worthy of this response. 

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Gianna Jessen, a well known abortion survivor and pro-life advocate. Ms. Jessen has been mentioned in speeches by President George W Bush. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster have said that her story could impact the abortion debate. Jessen survived a saline abortion and now uses her story to show people what an abortion. “I am alive. Just by the miraculous power of Christ.”

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:


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