All articles from January 8, 2020


News

UK Christian doctor who prays with patients faces fresh investigation

A doctor in England, who says he is 'prepared to take risks on behalf of Jesus,' is facing fresh scrutiny for sharing his Christian faith with patients.
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 9:00 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A doctor in England, who says he is “prepared to take risks on behalf of Jesus,” is facing fresh scrutiny for sharing his Christian faith with patients after the U.K.’s independent regulator for doctors said it will review its decision to close a case that was brought against him by the National Secular Society.

The Christian Legal Centre, which gave legal support to Dr. Richard Scott during last year’s investigation, have told media in the U.K. that they are “confident” that Dr. Scott “has done nothing wrong”.

In June 2019, the U.K.’s General Medical Council (GMC) began an investigation into Dr. Scott’s fitness to practice after a complaint from the National Secular Society (NSS). In December last year they closed the investigation, but that decision has now been challenged by the NSS.

The GMC does not comment publicly on investigations unless they progress to tribunals, but according to the Christian Legal Centre, the GMC advised Dr. Scott by letter that there was “no first-hand account or complaint from any patient about [his] practice”.

When advising that they were closing their case against Dr. Scott, the GMC reportedly wrote that “[t]here is no first-hand account of complaint from any patient about Dr. Scott’s practice. The NSS sent an anonymous hearsay account about how Dr. Scott expressed his religious beliefs to a ‘highly vulnerable’ patient,” and “there is no convincing evidence that Dr. Scott imposes his personal religious beliefs upon potentially vulnerable patients.”

They also added, “There is no evidence that [Dr. Scott] discusses faith in situations where the patient has stated that they do not wish to discuss these matters or that he has continued to discuss faith after a patient has indicated that they do not welcome such a discussion.”

The GMC clarified that Dr Scott’s medical practice “states that the majority of the Partners are Christians and that this faith guides the way in which they view their work.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said when the investigation was dropped in December that the rejection of the complaint had given reassurance to Christian doctors and professionals that “they can share their faith in the workplace” and that it gave “clear guidance on how they can share it without fear of losing their jobs.”

But the NSS have now challenged that decision, citing minutes from January 2019 made at a meeting of a patients’ group at the Bethesda Medical Centre (where Dr. Scott is based), where staff say that “many complaints are received from patients saying that they do not wish Christianity or any other religion to be pushed upon them when they attend the surgery”. No patient who allegedly made such complaints is named in the minutes, nor is any direct reference made to Dr. Scott.

In December, Dr. Scott told the Mail on Sunday that he had discussed faith with one in forty patients, but he had always asked for permission first.

Section 30 of the GMC’s guidance on personal beliefs and medical practice states: “You may talk about your own personal beliefs only if a patient asks you directly about them, or indicates they would welcome such a discussion”.

He said that in over two decades, “only about ten” had complained, with just one going to the GMC, in 2012. The NSS have cited Dr. Scott’s admission that ten patients in over two decades had complained as a reason for their new challenge.

Tim Dieppe, head of public policy at the evangelical think-tank Christian Concern, told U.K. newspaper The Guardian that “Dr. Scott has been put through a lot of stress and anxiety from all these various complaints in what seems like a targeted campaign from the National Secular Society”. Dieppe said that the investigation last year was based on a “clearly a spurious complaint” and that “it would be a real shame if they have decided to review it”.

Stephen Evans, chief executive of the National Secular Society, has said that “[t]he General Medical Council’s decision to review Dr Richard Scott’s case is welcome”. Evans said that “Dr Scott’s recent comments appear to make clear that he holds the GMC in contempt and considers himself above the rules it puts in place to protect patients. Being an evangelical Christian should not exempt him from the standards expected of all doctors working in the UK.”

When the complaint was first made in June last year, Dr. Scott told Christian Concern that two patients had recently accepted his help. One, reportedly, had such bad body dysmorphia that the patient was self-harming, and the patient’s marriage was at risk. Dr. Scott said counselling had made no difference but that the patient had been comforted when he said, “God made you as you are, he loves you how you are.”

Speaking to BBC Radio Kent last year, Dr. Scott said that “you have to consider as a Christian doctor who is your ultimate boss. And it’s not the General Medical Council, it’s Jesus Christ.” Dr. Scott added that he was “prepared to take risks on behalf of Jesus” because he had seen “how much patients can benefit”.

“I’ve seen hundreds of patients benefit over the years,” Dr. Scott said, “and if one or two don’t like what I do, then that’s a risk I’m prepared to take”.


  atheism, christianity, courts, freedom of religion, medicine, richard scott, united kingdom

News

Virginia bill would allow birth control, vaccines for kids without parental consent

There would be no guarantee parents would ever find out if their children had received contraception or shots at school or daycare.
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 8:06 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

ANALYSIS

RICHMOND, Virginia, January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Democrat-sponsored bill in Virginia would treat minors as adults for the purpose of consenting to birth control, vaccines, and “medical or health services required in case of ... pregnancy or family planning except for the purposes of sexual sterilization.”

The bill, Senate Bill 104, includes the stipulation that the commonwealth’s law requiring parental consent for abortion would remain in effect. It would also allow minors to receive “[m]edical or health services needed to determine the presence of or to treat venereal disease or any infectious or contagious disease that the State Board of Health requires to be reported.”

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Barbara Favola, a Planned Parenthood–endorsed leftist whose website touts her work as a “lifelong pro-choice advocate” and her “LGBTQ Rights” activism. Favola represents parts of Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties.

For the first time in 26 years, during November’s elections, Democrats seized control of both chambers of the Virginia legislature and the governorship. They have promised to implement a progressive agenda focusing on a variety of liberal issues, including abortion on demand.

Efforts to give minors birth control, HPV shot, PrEP sex drug without parental involvement

One of the most serious side effects of hormonal birth control is blood clots, which can be fatal. In 2016, a 17-year-old Romanian ballerina living in England died from a blood clot caused by hormonal contraception. She is not the only young woman to have died from taking the pill.

“We strongly support the right of loving parents to make informed medical decisions with and for their children,” Michael Ramey, executive director of parentalrights.org, told LifeSiteNews in a previous interview. “Natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interest of their children.” 

“Now lawmakers want to steal that role from the parents at the behest of the pharmaceutical companies,” he said. “Unlike lawmakers, parents aren’t getting campaign contributions; their only motivation is the health and well-being of their child.”

For more than a decade, there have been efforts underway in New York to allow teens to receive the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine without parental consent. The New York Department of Health ultimately simply changed regulations after legislative efforts failed.

A May 2019 New Jersey bill would have allowed minors as young as 14 to receive various shots without parental consent. California; Delaware; and Washington, D.C., allow minors to be vaccinated for HPV and hepatitis B without parental involvement. 

Meanwhile, “no jurisdiction explicitly prohibits minors’ access to PrEP” — a daily sex drug meant to lower risk of HIV contraction — “without parental/guardian consent,” according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

“Sixteen jurisdictions have statutes/regulations that explicitly allow minors of a particular age to independently access PrEP; the age for access varies by jurisdiction,” the CDC says. “However, minors might still be legally allowed to access PrEP without parental/guardian consent in some jurisdictions without explicit statutes/regulations.”

PrEP is intended for people who engage in risky sexual activity with partners of unknown or positive HIV status and those who share needles when injecting drugs. It does not guarantee protection from HIV.

Whether kid is competent to ‘consent’ totally up to ‘health care practitioners’  

S.B. 104 comes amid an aggressive push to force more children to receive optional medical interventions — i.e., vaccines — regardless of parental concerns about aborted fetal tissue in most vaccines and the shots’ manufacturer-acknowledged risks, such as seizures, diabetes, and death. There has been widespread panicked media coverage about vaccine “foes” and diseases like measles, with social media giants censoring or putting warnings above content that questions the safety of vaccines.

If S.B. 104 becomes law, there will be no guarantee parents will know if their children had received vaccines at daycare, at school, or at another location. It seems that under the proposed law, after having been deemed “to the satisfaction of a health care practitioner” to possess “the ability to understand at the same comprehension level as an adult the risks and benefits associated with vaccinations and immunizations,” there is no mechanism in place to notify parents after their children “consented” to a vaccine.

“A minor shall also be deemed an adult for the purpose of accessing or authorizing the disclosure of medical records related to” the subdivisions of the bill that allow minors to consent to vaccines and birth control, the bill says. That language originally did not cover vaccinations — only medical records about birth control, STDs, and some mental health or substance abuse-related matters.

If a child experienced serious side effects from a vaccine or birth control, parents’ lack of knowledge of the shot or drug having been administered could prevent them and emergency room doctors from effectively treating the child. It’s unclear if parents would ever be able to access the medical records indicating that their child had received birth control or a vaccination. 

The bill also opens the door for children to, unbeknownst to parents, receive double doses of government-recommended shots. This could happen if at daycare or school a child was deemed by a “health care practitioner” to be mature enough to consent to a vaccine, received that vaccine, did not tell his parents, and then was subsequently administered by a family pediatrician the same vaccine with parental permission.

In Virginia, minors need parental permission to be given Advil in school or have their ears pierced.

Concerned citizens can find contact information for legislators HERE and HERE.

RELATED:

State legislatures attempting to allow teens to get HPV shot without parental consent

Experts gather in Rome to fight ‘barbaric’ use of aborted babies in vaccines


  abortion, barbara favola, contraception, parental rights, vaccines, virginia

News

Abortion activists storm office of pro-life House Democrat

Rep. Daniel Lipinski is under fire in his Illinois district for joining Republicans in supporting a Louisiana pro-life law.
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 6:40 pm EST
Featured Image
Abortion supporters protest at Rep. Daniel Lipinski's office in Lockport, Illinois.
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – One of last remaining pro-life Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives is under fire for joining more than 200 Republican members of Congress in a Supreme Court amicus brief in support of a Louisiana pro-life law that may lead the court to reconsider its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

More than two dozen abortion activists rallied outside U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski’s Lockport, Illinois office and then stormed inside where they staged a sit-in, hoping to confront the congressman.  

Pro-abortion Democrats are outraged by the eight-term Representative of Illinois’ Third District for his participation in the court brief and want to see him lose his March 17 primary race where he faces two pro-abortion contenders.

“Over the years, the courts have gotten more and more conservative,” Laura Welch, president of Illinois National Organization for Women, told WGN9. “The government is trying to tell women what we can and can’t do with our bodies.” 

“And so a supposed Democrat, Dan Lipinski – we call him a Democrat in name only – has just signed on to a case that is going to the Supreme Court of the United States that potentially has the ability to overturn Roe v Wade,” said Welch.  

One of the protesters, Jas West of Friends Who March, told the Chicago Tribune, “If they don’t support choice, we aren’t voting for them.”  

“They have to go,” she added.

“This case could decide the future of abortion access in this country, and we will not sit silently, stand by and let Congressman Lipinski pledge his support for taking away women’s rights," said Annie Williams, co-leader of the Illinois Handmaids.

“Lipinski is trying to violate our rights to healthcare,” said Holli Fingerle, a fellow for Indivisible South Suburban Chicago. “Not just our rights, but the entire country’s rights.”

“That’s why I’m here,” continued Fingerle, “and for that he needs to be voted out of office.”   

“Dan Lipinski doesn’t represent the people of Illinois’ Third District,” claimed Megan McCullough, a grassroots organizer for Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. “We want a candidate, like Marie Newman, who stands up and fights for women’s rights.”

Newman is one of the Democratic candidates who hopes to unseat Lipinski on March 17.  In 2018, she lost to the incumbent by just 2 percent. 

“Dan has told us for years that he is aggressively working to overturn Roe v. Wade so I think he fulfilled his promise. He continues to vote against the district," Newman told WGN9.

The other Democratic hopeful, Rush Darwish, thinks Lipinski “doesn’t get it.”

“We’re now in 2020; he calls himself a Democrat,” Darish told WGN9. “But yet the core values of what you should believe as a Democrat is that a woman should have a choice.” 

Progressives around the country want to unseat Lipinski

Since it became known late last week that Rep. Lipinski was one of the pro-life brief signatories, Democrats from around the country have redoubled their efforts to unseat the pro-life politician, with 2,500 grassroots activists pouring $50,000 into competitor Marie Newman’s war chest.

According to Politico, Progressive activists “are livid and have helped pump up Newman’s campaign as a result.”

“Planned Parenthood’s political arm, NARAL and Emily’s List have all donated to Newman’s campaign, which according to federal filings, raised about $900,000 by the end of the third quarter,” continued the Politico report. “Even left-wing darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has pitched in to Newman’s campaign.” 

Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted, “I support a big tent, but there’s no room under the flaps for anyone who is actively seeking to deny women control over our bodies.” 

“Time to leave Dan Lipinski,” she added.  

Democrat TV analyst Marj Halperin piled on with a tweet of her own, saying, “I suspect Lipinski signing onto this brief is the equivalent to signing a resignation letter.” 

While Lipinski’s detractors are quite vocal, drawing much of the media’s coverage of the contentious Third District race, Lipinski has been endorsed by 28 mayors within his congressional district, according to Politico. 

Rep. Lipinski responds 

The amicus brief infuriating pro-abortion Democrats was filed by Americans United for Life in support of the case of Gee v. June Medical Services, LLC.  

June Medical Services is an abortion facility in Shreveport, Louisiana that seeks to overturn provisions in Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act requiring abortuaries to have the same safety standards as other outpatient surgical centers, including requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

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

In response to his fellow Democrats who are apolplectic over his continued commitment to pro-life principles, Lipiski issued a statement explaining why he he signed onto the Supreme Court brief:

The Louisiana law in question requires hospital admitting privileges for physicians performing abortions. I signed the amicus brief because I agree with the intention of the law as stated by the author, Democratic Louisiana State Representative Katrina Jackson: ‘If you are going to perform abortions in the State of Louisiana, you’re going to do so in a safe environment and in a safe manner that offers women the optimal protection and care of their bodies.’ This is not an ‘undue burden.’

Both pro-life and pro-abortion activists believe this may be a watershed case, leading to the weakening or even overturning of Roe v. Wade.


  abortion, dan lipinski, democrats, emily's list, illinois, lori lightfoot, marie newman, naral, national organization for women now, planned parenthood, primary election, roe v wade, rush darwish, u.s. house of representatives

News

Chick-fil-A CEO muddies waters on LGBT controversy, now calls Salvation Army ‘outstanding’

There are still many unanswered questions about Chick-fil-A's financial support of leftist organizations.
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 5:14 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy has written an open letter admitting that the fast-food giant “inadvertently discredited several outstanding organizations” when it announced last November that it was reprioritizing its corporate giving strategy. 

When Chick-fil-A revealed that it would stop donating to The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes – groups that LGBT activists have for years deemed to be “anti-gay” for their Christian stances on certain issues – the move was interpreted by many observers and faithful patrons as knuckling under to pressure from LGBT political forces. 

The restaurant that had earned hero status among Christians because of its courage in standing up to the homosexual juggernaut was suddenly seen as having betrayed millions of its loyal customers.

Chick-fil-A’s announcement was followed by the revelation it had donated in 2017 to the far-left, anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). It was a “hate map” produced by the SPLC that inspired domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II to attempt a mass shooting at the pro-life Family Research Council (FRC) in 2012. He was stopped by the security guard he shot. 

Corkins had with him a backpack of Chick-fil-A sandwiches. He said he’d planned to smear them on the corpses of FRC employees. 

American Family Association (AFA) President Tim Wildmon reached out to Cathy with a personal letter, asking:  

  1. Will Chick-fil-A publicly state that it does not believe the Salvation Army and FCA are hate groups because of the ministries’ beliefs about sexuality, marriage, and family? 
  2. Will you publicly state that Chick-fil-A will not hesitate to fund these two ministries again, should the opportunity arise in the future?

“As you have seen, recently we announced changes to our giving strategy at the Chick-fil-A Foundation,” wrote Cathy in his December 5, 2019 response. “These changes were made to better focus on hunger, homelessness and education. We understand how some thought we were abandoning our long-standing support of faith-based organizations.” 

“We inadvertently discredited several outstanding organizations that have effectively served communities for years,” continued Cathy. 

“Some also questioned if our commitment to our Corporate Purpose was waning. Let me state unequivocally: It is not,” he added.  

Wildmon said that Cathy’s response “was a welcomed clarification.” 

“It appears that Mr. Cathy understands how many evangelicals perceived the company's decision, as he stated that these Christian groups were ‘inadvertently discredited,’” said Wildmon. “The fact that Dan Cathy called these two Christian groups ‘outstanding organizations’ will mean a lot to evangelicals.”

Wildmon also expressed caution:

However, I also mentioned in my initial letter that Chick-fil-A stated that the company would support Covenant House, a ministry to homeless youth, including homosexual young people. While it is admirable to help hurting youth in desperate circumstances –– including those who are LGBTQ –– Covenant House also openly promotes homosexuality as normal, natural, and healthy. This was evident in Covenant House's participation in the NYC gay pride parade and a number of other efforts that make it clear the ministry does not hold to a biblical view of human sexuality.

“As a result, AFA will continue to monitor Chick-fil-A's corporate giving, at least for the foreseeable future,” continued Wildmon. “We believe our supporters rely on us to do so.”

Covenant House, which is ostensibly Catholic, has supported one of the most controversial recent developments in LGBT activism: Drag Queen Story Hour. The movement’s New York City page lists Covenant House New York as having provided “community space” to host events in which adult crossdressers read to children about “intersectionality” and “learn[ing] to see beyond the pink and blue gender binary,” according to the organization’s own website.

More than 116,000 concerned individuals had signed an AFA petition in November, joining with Wildmon in asking Chick-fil-A to clarify the organization’s attitude toward The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  

Elsewhere in his letter to Wildmon, Cathy promised, “Chick-fil-A will give to faith-based and other organizations that we believe to be highly effective in a particular area.”

“Grant recipients will likely rotate, as we assess from year to year partners who help us meet our stated goals,” continued Cathy. “Also, our Operators in your community will continue to invest in local causes that are meaningful at their discretion. Additionally, our family will continue to fund and operate our family foundations and give to other charities of our choice. We have been entrusted with much to share and the needs are great.”

“We understand Chick-fil-A can support whatever groups it wants but we wanted to protect the reputation of FCA and the Salvation Army,” Ed Vitagliano, an AFA executive vice president, told OneNewsNow.

Over 43,000 people have signed a LifeSiteNews petition asking Chick-fil-A to reverse course.

“Please stop pandering to homosexual activists and continue to support pro-marriage and pro-family Christian organizations,” it says.


  catholic, chick-fil-a, covenant house, family research council, homosexuality, southern poverty law center

News

WATCH: How a literature professor is using books to end abortion

She was arrested many times for defending life and she now uses an unlikely weapon to fight abortion: books.
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 4:27 pm EST
Featured Image
LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

January 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with acclaimed author and professor Karen Swallow Prior. Dr. Swallow Prior is well-known for her work as a teacher of literature and her books: Fierce Convictions, On Reading Well, and Booked. What many people might not realize is she has a deep history as a pro-life activist. Swallow Prior was arrested many times for blocking the doors of abortion facilities in order to speak to women before they entered.  

Van Maren and Swallow Prior speak about how something one might not expect will play a key role in the abortion debate: literature!  

After seeing The Silent Scream at her church, Swallow Prior began volunteering at her local crisis pregnancy center. When Operation Rescue came to her city, she and her husband went to a local abortion center with about a dozen or so people to pray and sing hymns. She was arrested that day – the first arrest of many.

Van Maren and Swallow Prior look at the similarities between Operation Rescue and the civil rights movement. There have been more than 70,000 arrests during the history of Operation Rescue, more than during the civil rights movement.  

Swallow Prior admits she was a bit naïve when she first joined the movement, thinking, “people disagree, you know? I'm an activist and we can disagree with one another, but activism is cool.” It was as she continued in the movement that she realized how many political and ideological movements are so closely tied to or dependent upon abortion.  

She talks about the difficulties she faced as a PhD student at a state university as she became more involved in Operation Rescue and eventually became a high-profile activist. One professor commented that Swallow Prior’s grade most likely dropped due to the demands of her illegal anti-abortion activities. There were also professors who refused to serve on her dissertation committee. 

Watch the full episode here: 

In the mid 1980s, the pro-life movement was excited, thinking Roe v. Wade would be overturned by the Reagan-stacked court. Instead, in the early 1990s, the movement faced some very harsh blows. It was during this time that the FACE law, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, was passed, which greatly increased the jail time and fines levied for Operation Rescue-type missions.  

It was also in the early 1990s that there was a rash of violence against abortionists by pro-lifers. Swallow Prior recounts the time she was awoken in the middle of the night to the news that abortionist Barnett Slepian had been assassinated in his home by a pro-life activist. This news caused Swallow Prior to really reflect on the language and rhetoric being used by some in the movement.  

Swallow Prior argues that language is a significant part of what makes us human. She discusses the important role that language plays in the pro-life movement. She states that even using the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” shifts the focus of the debate and actually helps the pro-abortion side. The terms used before Roe v. Wade, “anti-abortion rights” and “pro-abortion rights,” are far more accurate, according to Swallow Prior.  

Literature can also be used to understand what inspires pro-abortion activists to support the murder of innocent children, which pro-life activists can then address. Swallow Prior and Van Maren discuss some of the pro-abortion literature and poems that have had a powerful impact on the movement and what pro-lifers can learn from them.  

There are many authors, including Pulitzer Prize winners, who have focused on or addressed abortion in their writing, including Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but the prevelance of it in literature isn’t well-known to most people.  

Sharon Olds, a pro-abortion feminist and Pulitzer Prize winner, compares abortion to car accidents. She writes of her unborn children reaching out to her: “I can feel just one of them standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea in the dark, stretching its arms out desperately to me.”  

Van Maren also points out the personal ties many authors had to abortion. Many now-famous authors, especially from the beatnik generation, forced their wives to have abortions so they could focus on their careers. Van Maren highlights the almost universal acceptance of this among male authors such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway.  

Swallow Prior doesn’t advocate boycotting books written by these authors, but instead encourages people to read them understanding the author’s background. She tells listeners that these are great examples of how we can all compartmentalize and be inconsistent in our beliefs and expression of those beliefs.  

Both Swallow Prior and Van Maren encourage people to read more literature to help form one’s moral compass, strengthen pro-life arguments, and to allow us to return to a central part of being human that we’re losing today: language.  

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

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

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

Listen to the entire episode here: 


  van maren show

News

Trump administration declares pro-abortion ‘Equal Rights Amendment’ dead on arrival

The Department of Justice determined that the resolution has expired and its supporters would have to start over.
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 3:54 pm EST
Featured Image
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Left-wing hopes of reviving the long-dormant Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) were dashed this week as the Trump administration declared that the proposed constitutional amendment’s supporters would have to restart the amendment process from scratch if they want to enact it so long after its original deadline.

Originally proposed and defeated decades ago, the ERA simply states that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” But conservatives argue that if implemented, this redundant language would be interpreted as codifying into law non-rights such as abortion and have broad ramifications on everything from the military draft and sex-segregated prisons to women-only restrooms and male-only clergy.

Lawmakers in South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia have been working on reviving the ERA, while the U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted in November to retroactively lift its deadline for ratification. But that won’t suffice to let ERA supporters simply pick up where they left off, according to a 38-page opinion from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.

“We conclude that the ERA Resolution has expired and is no longer pending before the States,” it reads. “Even if one or more state legislatures were to ratify the 1972 proposal, that action would not complete the ratification of the amendment, and the ERA’s adoption could not be certified under 1 U.S.C. § 106b. In addition, we conclude that when Congress uses a proposing clause to impose a deadline on the States’ ratification of a proposed constitutional amendment, that deadline is binding and Congress may not revive the proposal after the deadline’s expiration.”

In order to legitimately ratify the ERA, supporters would instead have to either pursue a new “convention sought by two-thirds of the state legislatures,” or Congress would have to “propose that amendment once more” and approve it with “two-thirds of both Houses” (as outlined in Article V of the U.S. Constitution), at which point states would have to take all-new ratification votes.

National Review’s Ed Whelan noted that no less a feminist authority than Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has conceded as much, having written that she looks forward to its supporters one day “starting over again collecting the necessary states to ratify it.”

A coalition of pro-life leaders wrote in January against voting to revive the ERA, declaring it would be more accurately named the “Everything Related to Abortion Act.”

“Let us be clear, laws protecting women’s interests will be undercut by the radical language of the ERA that strips away from women their unique place in the law,” the letter says. “Not only will real protections be overwritten by this heavy-handed measure, the most profound change will be creating a constitutional foothold for abortion and introduction of vague language on ‘sex’ that may harm women’s unique interests.” 


  abortion, equal rights amendment, feminism, justice department, office of legal counsel, trump administration

News

Ricky Gervais hits back at critics: ‘Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right’

Gervais told Hollywood celebrities gathered for the awards ceremony on Sunday evening that they were 'in no position to lecture the public about anything.'
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 3:33 pm EST
Featured Image
Ricky Gervais Paul Drinkwater / NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – British comedian Ricky Gervais has hit back at critics of his performance as host of this past weekend’s Golden Globe awards, in which he scathingly called out the hypocrisy of Hollywood’s “woke” elites.

Despite beginning his speech by saying that his comments were “just jokes,” Gervais appeared to be serious when he told the Hollywood celebrities gathered for the awards ceremony on Sunday evening that they were “in no position to lecture the public about anything.” 

Some sections of the media have said that Gervais’ speech, which included a number of controversial and extremely vulgar jokes, “cheapened the ceremony” and “overshadowed vital political statements” made during the course of the evening.

Gervais responded to his critics on Twitter by mocking the idea that “teasing huge corporations, and the richest, most privileged people in the world” makes him “right wing.” In a tweet published earlier today, he told “woke” critics that “simply pointing out whether someone is left or right wing isn't winning the argument” and that “just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right.”

Gervais also retweeted a post by conservative talk-show host Dana Loesch, who said that the negative reactions to Gervais’ speech “prove his point.” 

Loesch tweeted in response to an article in UK newspaper the Indepedent, which argued that “powerful speeches...given by actors including Jennifer Aniston on climate change, Joaquin Phoenix on veganism, Michelle Williams on abortion rights [sic] and Patricia Arquette on the conflict between Iran/US” had been undermined by Gervais. Loesch called the article “garbage” and said “[t]hey can lecture from the stage but he can’t mock their inconsistencies? You prove his point.”

During his speech at the ceremony, Gervais at one point tore stripes off of Apple for claiming to be “woke” while being a “company who runs sweatshops in China.”

He told the gathered celebrities, “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.”

At one point in his speech, Gervais referred to the audience generally as “all you perverts.” He joked about the connection of celebrities to convicted sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, telling the audience, “I know he’s your friend.” At another point in his speech he 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. 

It is by no means clear where Gervais stands on a number of the controversial issues touched on in his speech. In one interview prior to the event, he said, “it’s about the gag – whatever it looks like. I think some people think that a comedian’s joke is looking into his real soul. Well it’s not. Sometimes they’re word play, sometimes you say things you don’t mean for comic-effect.”

However, he does appear to be intent on attacking what many consider to be the hypocrisy of celebrities using such award ceremonies to make moral and political speeches. Prior to the event, Gervais told the Spectator magazine of his intention to challenge the celebrity 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.”


  abortion, golden globes, harvey weinstein, hollywood, jeffrey epstein, ricky gervais

News

Brazilian bishop suspends priest for blessing homosexual partnership

The priest witnessed and blessed the men declaring their homosexual 'love' for one another.
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 3:16 pm EST
Featured Image
Fr. Vicente Paula Gomes blessed homosexual partnership of two men Dec. 7, 2019 in Assis, Brazil.
Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

SAO PAULO, January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A Brazilian bishop has temporarily suspended a Catholic priest for blessing a homosexual partnership between two men. 

A video of the Dec. 7 ceremony showed Father Vicente Paula Gomes (56) humorously stating that he was “trembling a little,” given that he was giving such a blessing to homosexuals for the first time. Gomes was not wearing liturgical vestments during the ceremony, but was dressed entirely in white as where the rest of the wedding party. There were no liturgical objects apparent in the video.

Allowing the two men to kiss after exchanging promises, the priest playfully turned his back and covered his eyes.

“We think that [at] home a man and a woman are enough. Family is not only that. To become a family means to create conditions for a dignified life. That’s why I’m happy to be here,” the priest said during the ceremony. 

Referring to his bishop, the priest said: "I am already thinking about what Dom Argemiro [de Azevedo] is going to say on Monday, but, as I said initially, the blessing does not diminish me, nor will it diminish the Church, nor you." He told the two men that they should declare their homosexual love for each other “before God” and to have the “courage to make it known to your friends and the Holy Church.”

Gomes admitted that the Catholic Church does not recognize same-sex “marriage.” He said, “Of course I cannot give this sacrament, but I pour the blessing on you so that you have the duties of companions until the end of your lives. And do not forget that God blesses your love now and forever."

A document from Bishop Argemiro de Azevedo referred to what it called “grave accusations” against Father Gomes, who last month “celebrated a homo-affective union” of two men, Luis Carlos dos Santos and Claudinei Batista de Almeida, in Assis, a city near metropolitan São Paulo in Brazil. 

Image

The letter cited the canon law of the Catholic Church, which sanctions clerics who give scandal to the faithful. The bishop suspended Gomes’ from his duties as pastor at a parish. He was due to become parochial vicar of a church in the diocese on Monday. However, it was not clear what the disposition of that appointment was as a result of the sanction.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” since they are “contrary to the natural law” and they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.” The Church also teaches that same-sex attraction is itself “objectively disordered” since God created sexual attraction to be between a male and female for the sake of procreation. In this way, there is no such reality as a “homosexual person,” but only a person who struggles with the “disorder” of being attracted to the same sex. 

The Church teaches that everybody, including those with disordered sexuality — often expressing itself in lust, masturbation, fornication, pornography, homosexuality — are called to chastity. That is, to the moral virtue of a rightly ordered sexuality integrated within the person. The Christian faith holds that the homosexual act, along with murdering the innocent, depriving a laborer of his wages, and oppressing the poor, is one of the four sins that cries to heaven for justice. 

AssisCity, a local news outlet, reported that one of the two men in the union blessed by the priest said that homosexual unions are loving, not sinful. 

Claudinei Batista de Almeida said, "We are living in turbulent times, we often realize a widespread hatred of people who want to impose their way of being or their thinking. We were among friends, dear people and it was cool, cool, we had so much fun! That this is a way to break prejudice and so that new doors can be opened, so that people can see in a different way that the union between homosexual couples is not a sin, but love.”

In the letter signed by Bishop Azevedo and diocesan chancellor Father David José Martins, Father Gomes was informed that a precautionary measure has been laid against him. The document read, “Considering the serious allegations against Father Vicente Paula Gomes, who has celebrated a homosexual union […], an act performed at a party hall in the city of Assis, […] I decree the suspension of order ad cautelam (temporarily).” 

The letter cited canon law of the Catholic Church. For example, it referred to Can. 1399, which says: “In addition to the cases established here or in other laws, the external violation of a divine or canonical law can be punished by a just penalty only when the special gravity of the violation demands punishment and there is an urgent need to prevent or repair scandals.”

The decree of the Diocese of Assisi also declared that once an investigation and canonical proceedings in the matter have concluded, the precautionary measure could be lifted. The measure was promulgated on December 12. Gomes has a popular radio show and is well known in his diocese.

Pope Francis named Bishop Azevedo to his current see in 2016. 

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a close advisor of Pope Francis, called for the Church to grant liturgical blessings to homosexual unions. In a 2017 radio interview in Germany, Marx said that “closer pastoral care” must be given to homosexuals, while priests and pastoral workers should be called on to “give people in concrete situations [of homosexual unions] encouragement. I do not really see any problems there.”


  argemiro de azevedo, brazil, catholic, homosexuality, vicente paula gomes

News

Spanish archdiocese abruptly cancels requiem Mass for abortion victims

The Mass was intended as a requiem for babies killed by abortion throughout 2019, and to support 'all women endangered by isolation and thoughts of abortion.'
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 2:55 pm EST
Featured Image
Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

SEVILLE, Spain, January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A requiem Mass for victims of abortion and to pray for women in danger of aborting their children was abruptly canceled by the Archdiocese of Seville in Spain, according to organizers of the event. 

Members of the Spanish pro-life political party Vox had planned to gather at a church in Gelves, a suburb of Seville, on December 28, for the special Mass. On this date, the Catholic Church commemorates the slaughter of innocent children in Bethlehem by the evil King Herod. Herod ordered the massacre out of fear that the baby Jesus would supplant him on the throne.

“Due to causes beyond our control, the Mass that had been scheduled for tomorrow for the unborn and women facing difficulties has been canceled,” read a communique from the Vox party. While the party did not directly criticize Archbishop Juan José Asenjo Pelegrina, Vox declared, “Despite the tepidity on the part of many, we remain firm in defending life.” 

The Mass was intended as a requiem for babies killed by abortion throughout 2019, and to support “all women endangered by isolation and thoughts of abortion.”

Archdiocesan authorities did not respond to an email from LifeSiteNews asking for clarification about the Mass and its cancellation.

According to Vox, the Mass was canceled at the request of archdiocesan officials because of controversy over the commemoration. While Vox declared that it respects the decision by the archdiocese, it stated that its members were “surprised” by the cancellation. 

“We did not intend to engage in politics,” the party stated. A priest said that a Mass that was already scheduled as normal for the annual commemoration of the Holy Innocents would be celebrated.

Representatives of Vox rallied, despite the special Mass being canceled, on December 28 in Seville, where they distributed hundreds of small plastic figurines that represent unborn babies at 14 weeks of gestation. At the rally, Seville city council member Cristina Peláez stated for Vox that “abortion is the worst violation of human rights occurring in society today,” while lamenting that “every year, 55 million little human beings are destroyed every year in their mothers’ wombs” and end up in “garbage disposals.”

Peláez called on her fellow citizens to denounce abortion, noting that more than “100,000 Spanish children are not born because of the law that fails to protect them.”

“That unacceptable number is an indication of the moral and political disorder that must be combatted,” Pelaez said. “In the future, in much the same way that we are now horrified by the slavery and human sacrifice that were practiced in the past, mankind will be astonished that we could kill babies inside their mothers' wombs.” 

Pelaez pointed out that it was the totalitarian Soviet Union, not any democratic society, that first legalized abortion on demand. Democratic countries, she said, have been hypocritical in fostering abortion and thus denying the right to life of the most vulnerable citizens. She also noted that Hungary, Poland, and several U.S. states have introduced restrictions on abortion. “It is not true that the future belongs to the culture of death,” she said, adding, “civilized countries don’t allow the murder of children in their mother’s womb.”

Pelaez warned that in the face of a “demographic winter,” in which deaths outpace births, “only those countries that respect life will survive.” 

Vox is the only pro-life party currently represented in Spain’s congress.


  abortion, archdiocese of seville, catholic, spain, vox party

News

Abortion discriminates against black moms, black pro-life leaders tell Supreme Court

African-American groups have added their own legal brief in support of a Louisiana law that imposes medical standards on abortion facilities.
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 1:11 pm EST
Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A coalition of African-American pro-life leaders including Alevda King, Ryan Bomberger, and Stacey Washington has submitted its own amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Louisiana law imposing medical standards on abortion facilities, taking the opportunity to raise awareness of abortion’s disproportionate harm to black women.

In March, the nation’s highest court will hear arguments in June Medical Services LLC v. Gee, which concerns Louisiana’s requirement that abortion centers make arrangements for admitting women to nearby hospitals in cases of life-threatening complications. The abortion industry’s attorneys argue the law is no different from the Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt; pro-lifers argue that not only was Hellerstedt wrongly decided but that the Louisiana law is different from the Texas one.

The Daily Wire reported that the groups Radiance Foundation, Civil Rights for the Unborn, Douglass Leadership Institute, Restoration Project, Issues4Life Foundation, Frederick Douglass Foundation, National Black Pro-Life Union, Everlasting Light Ministries, and Project 21 have filed a brief in the case, arguing that a “long history involving unqualified and uncredentialed abortion providers disproportionately harming black women” is among the reasons Louisiana’s law is necessary.

“Until Act 620, Louisiana’s abortion clinics were exempt from the admitting privileges requirement that applies to other outpatient and ambulatory surgical centers in the state,” the brief argues. “This disparity is significant to black women, who make up the majority of abortion clinic patients and thus bear most of the known risks of abortion in Louisiana. These known risks are life-threatening to mothers.”

The brief notes that the Louisiana law was partly a response to the Kermit Gosnell scandal, in which the grand jury found that “white women were attended to by a doctor(,) and black women were pawned off on clueless untrained staffers.” Gosnell was black but believed “that’s the way of the world,” according to the testimony of a former employee.

The brief also details numerous deaths of black women from abortion complications, which “are part of a long history involving unqualified and uncredentialed abortion providers disproportionately harming black women.” The admitting privileges mandate in Louisiana, however, “created a means for reports about individual doctors to be checked against a national database — for the benefit of all patients, of all races, equally.”

Other pro-life briefs in the case have been filed by the Trump administration, American Freedom Law Center (representing Priests for Life and Rachel’s Vineyard), and more than 200 members of Congress.

The case is likely to at the very least impact the Hellerstedt precedent, which has been used to invalidate a broad range of modest abortion regulations as “undue burdens” on women. It remains to be seen whether the court takes the opportunity to make a broader determination on the underlying legitimacy of Roe or Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which force all 50 states to permit most abortions.

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

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


  abortion, alveda king, amicus brief, blacks, june medical services llc v. gee, louisiana, race, ryan bomberger, supreme court

News

Cdl Zen urges cardinals to stop the ‘murder of the Church in China’

'Your Eminence, can we passively witness the murder of the Church in China by those who should protect and defend her from her enemies?'
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 9:40 am EST
Featured Image
Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane
By Diane Montagna

ROME, January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Joseph Zen, the leading voice for persecuted Catholics in China, has sent a letter to the College of Cardinals imploring them to denounce the recent agreement the Vatican signed with China’s communist government.

Together with the letter, the 87-year-old bishop emeritus of Hong Kong has also shared with his brother cardinals several “dubia” that he gave to Pope Francis in July 2019, following the Vatican’s June release of new guidelines concerning the civil registration of clergy in China. Those dubia were published on LifeSite last July.

In his missive, Cardinal Zen notes the pope’s continued silence despite expressing initial interest in the cardinal’s analysis of the document.

The letter, dated September 27, 2019, was published this morning by Italian journalist Marco Tosatti (in Italian) and Infovaticana (in Spanish) and was picked up by the Vatican aggregator Il Sismografo.

Tosatti notes that Cardinal Zen has decided to make the letter public, likely in view of the escalating persecution of Catholics by Chinese communists following the Vatican-China deal.

Here below is an English translation of the letter and dubia sent by Cardinal Joseph Zen to the cardinals of the Catholic Church.

PETITION: Support Cardinal Zen's plea to stop the "murder of the Church in China" Sign the petition here.


Your Eminence,

Pardon the inconvenience my letter will cause you. It is just that, in conscience, I believe that the problem I present here concerns not only the Church in China, but the whole Church, and we cardinals have the grave responsibility to help the Holy Father in guiding the Church.

From my analysis of the document of the Holy See (June 28, 2019), “Pastoral guidelines of the Holy See concerning the civil registration of clergy in China,” it is quite clear that it encourages the faithful in China to enter a schismatic church (independent of the pope and under the orders of the Communist Party).

On July 10, I presented my “dubia” to the Pope. His Holiness, on July 3, had promised to take an interest in them, but to this day I have still not heard anything.

Cardinal Parolin says that today when we talk about the independent Church, this independence should no longer be understood as absolute, because the agreement recognizes the role of the pope in the Catholic Church.

First of all, I cannot believe that there is such a statement in the agreement, and I do not see it there. (By the way, why must such an agreement be secret, and why is it not granted even to me, a Chinese cardinal, to see it?) But, even more clearly, the whole reality after the signing of the agreement shows that nothing has changed. Cardinal Parolin quotes a sentence from Pope Benedict’s letter completely out of context — indeed, diametrically opposed to the whole paragraph. This manipulation of the pope emeritus’s thought is gravely disrespectful; indeed, it is a deplorable insult to the person of such a meek pope, who is still alive.

But it also disgusts me that they often declare that what they are doing is in continuity with the thought of the previous pope, while the opposite is true. I have reason to believe (and I hope one day to be able to prove with archival documents) that the agreement signed is the same one that Pope Benedict had, at the time, refused to sign.

Your Eminence, can we passively witness the murder of the Church in China by those who should protect and defend her from her enemies?

Begging on my knees, your brother,

Card. Joseph ZEN, SDB


Dubia of the cardinal regarding “Pastoral guidelines of the Holy See concerning the civil registration of clergy in China” (updated July 8, 2019):

First of all, it seems strange that such an important document is issued by the “Holy See,” without specifying from which dicastery and with no signature of the responsible authority.

In paragraphs 1 and 2, the document sets out the problem and the general solution.

1. The problem is that the government reneges on its promises to respect Catholic doctrine and in the civil registration of clergy almost always requires one to accept the principle of independence, autonomy, and self-administration of the Church in China (it should be completed with what Pope Benedict XVI’s letter says in paragraph 7, 8 about “adopt[ing] attitudes, mak[ing] gestures and undertak[ing] commitments that are contrary to the dictates of their conscience as Catholics.”

2. Faced with the complex situation that is not always the same everywhere, the Holy See gives a general line of how to behave:

— on the one hand, it does not intend to force consciences and therefore asks (failing to explicitly say “to the government”) that the Catholic conscience be respected;

— on the other hand, it sets as a general principle that “the experience of clandestinity is not a normal feature of the Church’s life” (Letter of Pope Benedict 8.10) — i.e., it is normal for the Church to come out of it.

With regard to the quotation from Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter in point 8.10, allow me to transcribe here almost the entire paragraph:

(a) “Some of them (bishops), not wishing to be subjected to undue control exercised over the life of the Church, and eager to maintain total fidelity to the Successor of Peter and to Catholic doctrine, have felt themselves constrained to opt for clandestine consecration.” 

(b) “The clandestine condition is not a normal feature of the Church’s life,”

(c) “and history shows that Pastors and faithful have recourse to it only amid suffering, in the desire to maintain the integrity of their faith,”

(d) “and to resist interference from State agencies in matters pertaining intimately to the Church’s life.”

P. Jeroom Heyndrickx and Cardinal Parolin love to mention only part (b); Pope Francis (in his message of Sept. 26, 2018) also adds part (c); but it seems to me that part (a) and (d) are also important.

The paragraph clearly shows that non-normality is not a choice of those who are clandestine; the choice is inevitable. It is the situation that is abnormal! Has this situation perhaps changed today?

3. The long paragraph 3 seeks to prove that what is suggested in paragraph 5 is justified.

First proof: The Constitution guarantees religious freedom.

I ask: But what does the long history of persecution tell us, despite the Constitution?

Second proof: “Logically,” after the Agreement, independence must no longer be understood as absolute independence, but only relative to the political sphere.

First of all, I say: without seeing the text of the Agreement, I find it hard to believe that they really recognized the “special role of the successor of Peter.”

I then ask: Is there anything logical about totalitarian systems? Their only logic is that, when Deng Xiaoping says it, “a white cat is equal to a black cat” as long as it serves the purposes of the Party.

In the immediate aftermath of the Agreement, nothing has been changed in the religious policy of the Party; everything has been officially reaffirmed, and the facts prove it.

Third proof: The context of “strengthened” dialogue

I ask: But does the document not recognize that the government has reneged on its promises, as stated both in the first paragraph and in paragraph 9 of this document?

Fourth proof: All of the bishops have been made legitimate.

This is evidence only of the infinite generosity of the pope or perhaps the omnipotent pressure of the government, but in the forgiven and “rewarded,” we see no change, no sign of repentance, but clear acts of bold triumph, laughing at others who have bet on the wrong horse.

4. Paragraph 4 says that the reasons above justify a new attitude. Here at least there is honesty in saying that what is proposed is new, and that therefore it is not in continuity with the past, but rejecting the past as already in the past — that is, as no longer valid.

It is also said that the Holy See is trying to agree with the government on a formula (having it both ways).

But we ask ourselves: “A formula”? What the government is asking for is not a statement of theory; it is all a system, in which pastoral freedom will no longer exist, but in everything the Party’s orders will be followed, including the prohibition of minors under 18 years of age from participating in any religious activity.

5. In paragraph 5 there are the true pastoral guidelines. In short: Everything that the government requires should also be signed, possibly with a written clarification that denies what is signed. If the written clarification is not possible, it should be done verbally, with or without a witness. It is sufficient that there is the intention not to have accepted in conscience what you have in fact signed.

You sign a text against the Faith, and you declare that the intention is to promote the good of the community, a more appropriate evangelization, the responsible management of the goods of the Church. This general norm is obviously against any principle of morality. If accepted, it would justify apostasy.

6. In paragraph 6, it is said that the Holy See understands and respects those who in conscience do not accept the above rule. Obviously, this is compassion toward a “stubborn” minority that still cannot understand the new rule. Their attitude is wrong, but the Holy See “provisionally” tolerates them.

7. Paragraph 7 speaks of certain duties of the bishops, citing a document that has nothing to do with our issue.

8. Paragraph 8 says the faithful accept the decision of their pastors. What does this mean? That they do not have the individual freedom to choose? And that their conscience does not have to be respected? To the brethren who ask me what to do, I have always given the answer: respect the choices of others and remain firm in the conviction of one’s own conscience. This is because I have no authority to impose my judgments on others about what is right or wrong.

But does the Holy See not have the authority, and therefore the duty to clarify for the members of the Church what is right and what is wrong? Has it done so with these “Guidelines”? Leaving clandestinity is to be encouraged, remaining clandestinity is to be tolerated? Bishops and priests have the choice, and the faithful do not?

9. In paragraph 9 it is said that the Holy See in the meantime asks (and again omits the word “the government”) that no intimidating pressure be put on the unofficial Catholic communities, as has already happened. (The fact of not mentioning the word “government” is almost like the traditional reverence of not mentioning the name of the emperor.) Lastly, everyone is recommended to discern God’s will with “patience and humility.” But I ask myself: Have we left behind blessing steadfastness in the faith?

Then it says that “the present path is also marked by many hopes, despite the difficulties.” It seems to me, instead, that the facts destroy every foundation of human hope. As for hope in God, it can never be separated from the sincere willingness to suffer according to His will.

Conclusion

This document has radically overturned what is normal and what is abnormal, what is a matter of duty, and what is to be tolerated.

The hope of its editors is perhaps that the pitied minority will die a natural death. By this minority I mean not only the clandestine priests (to whom not only no bishops are given when the elderly ones die, but not even delegates, because the official bishop of the diocese is already legitimate), but also many brethren in the official community who with great tenacity have worked for change, hoping to be supported by the Holy See, but are instead encouraged to accept submission to the government and are mocked by the victorious opportunists.

May the Lord not allow the fulfillment of these desires, of those who desire the death of the true faith in my dear homeland. Lord, have mercy!

HOLY SEE TEXT: “Pastoral guidelines of the Holy See concerning the civil registration of clergy in China

Translation by Diane Montagna of LifeSiteNews.


  china, chinese communist party, joseph zen, xi jinping

Opinion

Cold showers, fasting, prayer: 90-day Catholic bootcamp helps free men enslaved to sin

Exodus 90 is a three-month long program that is a unique gift for men who want to serve and love God
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 2:51 pm EST
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen
By Stephen Kokx

Sign up for the January 13th Exodus 90 program that runs until Easter! Click here.

January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The modern world seeks to ensnare souls in sin and drag them to hell. Lurid movies, immodest clothing, and our culture’s celebration of drunkenness and sexual conquests entice persons, especially men, to indulge in what is opposed to the laws of Jesus Christ. 

It’s sometimes difficult to come across solid Catholic resources geared towards helping men overcome these things. This lack of instruction has arguably been one of the primary factors contributing to the loss of true masculinity in today's church. Fortunately, Catholics have not been abandoned entirely. 

Exodus 90 is a three-month-long spiritual program that serves as a unique gift in these times. It’s aim is to provide Catholic men with the tools to rediscover their faith and embrace true freedom by ditching the trappings and distractions of the world so they can grow in humility and love of God. 

Originally part of a seminary program by Fr. Brian Doerr at Mount St. Mary’s Theological Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Exodus 90 has since exploded into a full-blown non-profit ministry that has helped more than 20,000 men over the last five years. James Baxter is the young man who helped co-found and now serves as the Executive Director of Exodus 90. 

“If these seminarians were in need of this life-giving and liberating spiritual exercise, what about laymen everywhere who do not have the luxury of a formation house?” he asked.

Image

In a recent interview, Baxter, a former seminarian, said that Exodus 90’s mission is to provide a path to freedom through prayer, asceticism, and fraternity.

“Every man comes to Exodus for different reasons. But the common thread is a desire for greater freedom. Most men are deeply motivated to become better husbands for their wives and fathers for their children or priests for the Church.”

Baxter believes that a man “should sign up to embrace his calling to become the spiritual leader in his home that God has called him to be.”

Exodus 90 asks men to engage in new spiritual practices. It also requires them to give up certain comforts. Taking cold showers, not drinking alcohol, fasting, limited technology use, exercising regularly, and committing to a daily holy hour are just a few of its requirements. 

Baxter told LifeSite co-founder John-Henry Westen that it’s not always easy to accomplish this and that there are definite ebbs and flows of spiritual warfare over the 90 days. But local, face-to-face meet ups with other Exodus 90 participants help hold everyone accountable. 

Men who sign up for Exodus 90 typically do so with 5-7 other men from their diocese or parish. Most men are “very isolated, very alone,” Baxter believes. “Fraternity doesn’t exist in the contemporary church.” The meet ups, when possible, are essential and help build relationships. Dependencies are halved in the 90 days, Baxter says.

What's unique about Exodus 90 is that it’s highly popular among ecclesial groups and younger Catholics, even priests. Over 50% of those who sign up for it are under the age of 34. 25% of the men are from outside the United States.

Exodus membership is $10 each month, which includes unlimited access to Exodus 90 and over 3 years of "Day 91" spiritual exercises, which walk men through all 14 narrative books of the Bible to help them to preserve their freedom and build upon their formation. 

This year, the Lenten Exodus 90 program begins on January 13 and ends on Easter. Visit Exodus90.com for more information, or download the mobile app in the App Store or Google Play Store. "Like" Exodus 90 on Facebook and "follow" them on Twitter


  catholic, catholic men, exodus 90, manhood, sin

Blogs

Legalization of doctors killing sick Canadians creates organ donation ‘boon,’ media org raves

The Ottawa Citizen lauded this 'relatively new source of organs and tissues'
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 4:31 pm EST
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Even for Canada’s media, which was universally and enthusiastically in favor of the legalization of assisted suicide in the leadup to legalization, the Ottawa Citizen’s recent spin on a tragic and awful trend is jaw-dropping. Increasingly, those opting for assisted suicide are also volunteering to have their organs recycled (18 organ and 95 tissue donors in 2919), and the Citizen’s headline noted this fact approvingly: “Medically assisted deaths prove a growing boon to organ donation in Ontario.”

The Citizen lauded this “relatively new source of organs and tissues,” which they noted is significant in that “Ontario’s waiting list for organs typically hovers around 1,600.” That “source of organs and tissues,” it should be noted, is patients who have been killed by medical professionals at their request, after which their corpses can be pillaged for spare parts. This, apparently, is a “boon.” From the Citizen:

According to Trillium Gift of Life Network, which oversees organ and tissue donation in Ontario, the 113 MAiD-related donations in 2019 accounted for five per cent of overall donations in Ontario, a share that has also been increasing. In 2018, MAiD-related donations made up 3.6 per cent of the province’s total donations, and in 2017 just 2.1 per cent.

Since assisted suicide (referred to in the media by the handy euphemism “MAiD” in order to make the process sound less alarming and less like suicide) became legal in Canada in 2016, the Trillium Gift of Life Network “immediately moved to the forefront of organ and tissue donation through MAiD” as a result of “proactively” reaching out to those seeking assisted suicide to see if they might be willing to donate their organs after they’d been killed. The only downside, the Citizen noted, is that the preference of assisted suicide recipients for “home deaths” prevents many donations from taking place as organ donation is only legal when the donor dies in a hospital.

One particularly disturbing scenario cited by Dr. Moira McQueen of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute involves a compromise solution to prospective donors who still wish to die at home. In some instances, patients could begin the process of dying at home—in short, getting the first injections, which would sedate them. At that point, having lost consciousness at home as they wished, the donor could then be shuttled to the hospital where the final lethal injection would kill him and his organs would be harvested.

Further to all of that, the Citizen noted enthusiastically, we may see these donations increase:

MAiD donations also typically provide more time for testing donor organs and better matching with recipients. MAiD, and its subsequent related organ donation, recently received a potential boost in the courts, when Quebec’s Superior Court ruled last September that parts of the laws governing assisted death were unconstitutional.

The decision followed a lawsuit by Montrealers Jean Truchon and Nicole Gladu, who have incurable degenerative illnesses and were refused MAiD. In particular, they challenged the Criminal Code restriction that natural death be “reasonable foreseeable” before being eligible for assisted death and the portion of Quebec’s Bill 52 that said people must “be at the end of life.” The court decision gave both governments, neither of which appealed the decision, six months to amend their laws.

To summarize that: Expanding the eligibility criteria for assisted suicide is a positive thing because more dead people means more available organs. Further to that, allowing people who are not dying in the short-term to have themselves killed means that the likelihood of getting organs in better condition (i.e. not damaged by disease) grows significantly. This is also apparently a good thing. At no point, it must be noted, does the Ottawa Citizens’ glowing coverage quote anyone with any ethical concerns about approaching suicidal people with requests for their organs. 

Apparently, we’ve moved past all that.

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. She says: “I am alive. Just by the miraculous power of Christ.”

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:


  assisted suicide, canada, euthanasia, maid, organ donation, organ harvesting, ottawa citizen

Blogs

Former New Age adherent spells out why ‘New Age’ is spirituality of post-Christian West

'It is easy to dismiss the New Age as a fringe movement inhabited by cranks, but that image is out of date.'
Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 11:05 am EST
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
By Dr. Joseph Shaw

January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In 2015, Catholic convert Roger Buck published The Gentle Traditionalist, a work of apologetics in a dialogue form which, like some of Plato’s dialogues, is flavoured by a fictional dramatic setting set out at the beginning and the end. Despite its classical antecedents this is an unusual format, but Buck’s work was very successful. I have been recommending it to everyone ever since, as the ideal non-threatening introduction to traditional Catholic concerns on culture, education, and politics, the issues which motivated Chesterton, Belloc, and Evelyn Waugh.

The Gentle Traditionalist was followed in 2016 by Buck’s magnum opus, the 450-page Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed. This is partly autobiographical, featuring Buck’s former life as a New Age practitioner and activist. Buck’s latest book, The Gentle Traditionalist Returns: A Catholic Knight’s Tale from Ireland, returns to the characters and format of the first book but more of the issues of the second. It is an exploration of the New Age as it is invading a newly-post-Christian Ireland, Buck’s adoptive country, in the context of the abortion referendum of 2016.

In Cor Jesu Buck argues that the New Age (or whatever term its adherents might prefer) has caught on most successfully in the cultural milieu created by Protestantism. In secularising countries with a strong Catholic heritage, those looking for spirituality and the supernatural know where it is to be found: in the Church. In secularising Protestant countries, including Scandinavia but most of all the English-speaking world, the cultural understanding of Christianity is dominated by liberal low-church Protestantism, the religion of (at best) worldly concerns and human community. Those looking for spirituality and the supernatural are therefore more likely to seek it in Eastern mysticism, the occult, and the New Age.

It is easy to dismiss the New Age as a fringe movement inhabited by cranks, but that image is out of date. ‘Mindfulness’ sessions have found their way into the schedules of multi-national corporations, and the environmentalism promoted by governments and schools increasingly resembles a religion. The New Age is the spirituality of the post-Christian West. When people imagine a ‘spiritual person’, or would like to be more ‘spiritual’ themselves, they increasingly do so using New Age categories: reincarnation, monism, pantheism, the rejection of ‘dogma’ (while having lots, usually wrapped up in abstruse vocabulary), the possibility of ‘getting in touch’ with Something through meditation, and the ‘all religions are really one’ thesis. The last idea, condemned by so many popes as ‘religious indifferentism’, has indeed become the basis of public policy throughout the West.

It is particularly sad to see this movement invading Ireland. Ireland had a unique position as a Catholic, English-speaking country, but for many years its political and cultural elite have found this uncomfortable. Among their American and British peers, the last thing many Irish diplomats, statesmen, and celebrities want to do is to marginalise themselves by affirming Catholic teaching on marriage and abortion, or anything else.

With the accelerating collapse of Irish Catholic identification and practice following the clerical abuse scandals, and a desire by Ireland’s elite to copy British and American trends, the scene is set for the New Age to become the go-to spirituality of a de-spiritualised Irish culture.

Readers might wonder how the New Age can prosper in the context of widespread moral and philosophical materialism. Buck explains that while many, perhaps most, people in positions of influence think the New Age stuff is drivel, they go along with the mindfulness workshops and the tree-hugging because this is a kind of religion fundamentally compatible with capitalism and individual sexual liberty. Indeed, the New Age fits right in to the commercialised spirituality of generations of American snake-oil salesmen and cult leaders, while rejecting traditional morality as (as best) outdated and oppressive.

In a 50-page Afterword, Buck backs up the claims made in the body of the book with his own knowledge and experience, and some scholarly research. The foundational texts of the New Age have escaped much critical scrutiny because they are long, technical, and mind-numbingly boring, as well as being, on the face of it, farragoes of rambling nonsense. They have been absorbed, however, by a small cadre of New Age writers who have re-packaged the ideas and practical proposals contained in them for a wider public. New Age practitioners have seldom been confronted with the disturbing links between their ideas and the occult, Freemasonry, and even Bolshevism, and many works which do attempt to make these connections (by Evangelical Christians, for example), are poorly researched. We are fortunate indeed to have Roger Buck, with a profound understanding of the New Age movement and literature, to explain the complex development of the movement and its world-view to a Catholic audience.


  catholic, ireland, new age, occult, roger buck

Featured Image

EpisodesSpecial Reports Wed Jan 8, 2020 - 3:56 pm EST

WATCH: How a literature professor is using books to end abortion

By Jonathon Van Maren   Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

It may sound surprising, but literature professor and pro-life activist Karen Swallow Prior tells Jonathon Van Maren how literature is going to help end abortion.

In today's episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with acclaimed author and professor Karen Swallow Prior. In addition to teaching, Swallow Prior is a well-known pro-life activist having been arrested, testifying before Congress and so much more.

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