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Street preacher takes city to court for using ‘noise bylaw’ to ticket his speech

Edmonton police officers have a long history of issuing baseless tickets to street preachers.
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EDMONTON, Alberta, February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca) is representing Dale Malayko, a lifelong Edmonton resident and a retired firefighter who was ticketed for peacefully expressing his opinions on a public sidewalk. 

Mr. Malayko stands accused of “permitting a noise that disturbs the peace of another.” The ticket is being challenged as a violation of Charter-protected free expression.

Dale Malayko is part of a centuries-old tradition of “street preaching,” whereby individuals stand atop a small box placed on the ground and speak impromptu regarding religious subjects, in this case various Bible teachings including the “good news” of Jesus Christ. Unlike street performers, Dale doesn’t hope for money from passersby. Instead, he offers free Bibles to those who want them.

One of the spots Dale regularly speaks at is the corner of Whyte Avenue and 104th St. NW. This location is a high-traffic, inner-city intersection that is commonly frequented by street performers due to the consistently high amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. It’s also very loud due to constant car traffic, buskers, and musicians. Dale stands on a small wooden box when he speaks. The box contains four small holes, one in each side, in which are mounted small speakers connected to a wireless mic.

In the early evening of June 28, 2019, Dale and a colleague were preaching at the corner of Whyte and 104th when they were approached by two Edmonton Police officers (EPS), Constable Ian Strutynski and Constable Blackwood. Constable Strutynski issued a “noise complaint ticket” to Dale after a business owner on the street complained.

EPS officers have a long history of issuing baseless tickets that are not justified by the facts, to Dale and other street preachers, all of which have previously been dropped by City prosecutors.

The City has decided to prosecute this latest ticket. A three-day trial is scheduled for April 1–3, 2020 in Edmonton Provincial Court. The Justice Centre is representing Dale pro bono and will argue that the issuing of the ticket is a violation of freedom of expression, and that Dale is not guilty because he was peacefully expressing himself in a manner and place that is protected by the Constitution. The Justice Centre will argue that using noise bylaws to stifle and silence lawful speech in public is an abuse of government power which harms the sacrosanct right of free speech.

“The Canadian Constitution protects the rights of people to peacefully express themselves on streets, whether it be through art, music, or the written or spoken word. It does not protect the right of people to not hear things they don’t like,” stated Justice Centre lawyer James Kitchen.

“Noise bylaws are legitimate and serve a useful purpose, such as ensuring residents get a good night’s sleep, instead of being woken up at 3 AM by their lawn-mowing neighbor or a dog that never stops barking. But EPS is abusing Edmonton’s noise bylaw in an attempt to pander to complainants who seek to silence forms of expression they disapprove of,” added Kitchen.


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Argentine bishop condemns politicians suggesting Pope Francis favors abortion legalization

'Our politicians are morally relativistic,' wrote the retired bishop, 'and they must think the pope is, too.'
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Bishop Héctor Aguer (retired). CanalTLV1 / YouTube
Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas

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By Martin Barillas

BUENOS AIRES, February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A bishop wrote that politicians favor legalized abortion because they believe that Pope Francis is as morally relativistic as they are.

Retired bishop Héctor Aguer, who has long defended the right to life, denounced the current Peronist government of Argentina because of its initiative to decriminalize the practice of abortion. In a column, Bishop Aguer said liberalizing abortion law and regulations “will lead to greater misfortunes than those already suffered by Argentine society.” He warned: “It would be another step toward the abyss of the degradation of the national community, the triumph of materialism and selfish individualism that would deprive our people of the future they deserve.”

Noting that Argentine president Alberto Fernández is a well known supporter of legalized abortion, Bishop Aguer wrote: “Our politicians are morally relativistic, and they must think the pope is, too.”

Referring to Eduardo Valdes — a personal acquaintance of Pope Francis who served as Argentine ambassador to the Holy See during the previous Peronist government — Bishop Aguer wrote that Valdes has claimed that the pontiff would “understand” Argentina’s liberalization of abortion because “that is the way the world is going.” Indeed, the bishop pointed out that Fernández announced on the eve of his meeting on Friday with the pontiff that abortion would not be discussed.

Aguer expressed astonishment that abortion was not an item of discussion by the two leaders. He wrote: “The abominable crime — that is what the Second Vatican Council called abortion — is not an important issue compared to those of poverty, hunger, and national debt? Has it been like this? We have no chance of knowing, but can we not think the pope would be very sorry that his country of origin joins those who have already included in their legislation the permission to kill unpunished children with impunity?”

When a Vatican statement claimed that Pope Francis and the president had discussed abortion, according to La Nación, Fernández emailed the pontiff and demanded an explanation. Francis replied, “I will have it corrected,” in reference to the official Vatican version of their meeting. The Vatican communiqué had declared that the two had discussed issues relating to poverty and corruption, as well as “protecting life from the moment of conception.” Following the email exchange between the two leaders, an unusual admission came from the Vatican, which claimed that it was Cardinal Pietro Parolin — the pope’s top diplomat — who had reminded Fernández of the Church’s teaching about life issues.

Also, Bishop Aguer did not fail to note in his reflection that President Fernández attended a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo at the tomb of St. Peter in the catacombs beneath the basilica dedicated to the first pope. The twice-divorced Fernández received the Eucharist there, as did Fabiola Sánchez, the woman he lives with at the official presidential residence.

Bishop Aguer wrote that Argentina’s minister of health, Dr. Ginés González García, promotes “abortion as a solution to a public health problem, as if pregnancy were a disease.” The bishop wrote that if González were to focus on reforming Argentina’s “ill favored health system,” he “would not have time to schedule the illegitimate and immoral liquidation of unborn children.”

The bishop noted that President Fernández, while serving as chief of President Cristina Kirchner’s Cabinet in 2018, had erroneously cited St. Thomas Aquinas to argue in favor of abortion. Aguer wrote that Aquinas affirmed that it is immoral to kill an unborn baby at any stage of development, and embryology has since reaffirmed the humanity of unborn humans from the moment of conception.

Aguer wrote: “I insist: the main anti-abortion argument is strictly scientific. Genetic studies developed during the twentieth century, especially those of Jérôme Lejeune, show that the microscopic embryo has different DNA from that of his parents.” Therefore, the bishop wrote, an unborn person “must be recognized as what he is, and his right to life protected — to grow, to be born, and to see the sunlight.”

Pointing out that abortion has been a hallmark of “totalitarian and imperialist regimes” to stem population growth in poor countries, the bishop said that leftists cannot understand that poor women “do not want to part with their child, even when it has been conceived against their will.” These women, he wrote, “possess the meaning of life, of the natural order, which is despised by the comfortable societies of a dehumanized West.” Argentine politicians, he wrote, “ignore or repudiate the metaphysical concept of nature” and thus “cannot comprehend the reality that it designates, and the natural order that follows from it.”

Aguer became a bishop in 1992. He was one of the most outspoken bishops opposed to Argentina’s move towards recognizing same-sex unions as “marriage,” while he consistently upheld Catholic teachings about contraception. In Argentine media, he was largely characterized as the conservative counterpart of Pope Francis, who accepted his offer of resignation in 2018 at the age of 75.


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Reform of Roman Curia could lead to validation of German ‘synodal path’

The draft document refers to 'genuine doctrinal authority' for bishops’ conferences.
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German cardinals Walter Kasper and Reinhard Marx with Italian Cardinal Severino Poletto shortly before Pope Francis was elected. Franco Origlia / Getty Images
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February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The upcoming reform of the Roman Curia could have far-reaching consequences for the Catholic Church in Germany, potentially leading to a validation of the synodal path currently underway.

In an analysis piece at Catholic News Agency (CNA), canon lawyer Ed Condon pointed to a draft of the document on the reform of the administrative institutions of the Vatican and the Catholic Church currently being prepared by Pope Francis.

“In what would be a significant innovation, the draft constitution specifically refers to the ‘genuine doctrinal authority’ of national bishops’ conferences,” explained Condon. Further, according to the draft, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “‘will apply the principle of subsidiarity’ on any measures related to ‘protecting the faith.’”

Pope Francis indicated in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium his openness to granting “genuine doctrinal authority” to bishops’ conferences. In the same section of the exhortation, he also cautioned against “excessive centralization.”

The draft of the document on the reform of the Curia, titled Praedicate Evangelium, has been circulating among departments in the Vatican, bishops’ conferences, apostolic nuncios, and others, since mid-2019.

In Condon’s article, “multiple sources familiar with the drafting process” are cited as saying the document “was heavily informed by the wishes of Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, head of the German bishops’ conference, and a key member of the Pope’s council of cardinal advisors.” This, added Condon, “was the focus of sustained criticism in feedback offered by bishops around the world last summer.”

Officials working for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Bishops told CNA “that, if the provision remains in the final text of the constitution, it would essentially validate the German synodal process, whatever the curia’s stated objections to it.”

In the fall of 2019, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Congregation for Bishops, passed along to Cardinal Marx a legal assessment of the German bishops’ draft statutes by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Among other things, the assessment asked, “How can an assembly of a particular Church decide on issues of the universal Church, and how can an episcopal conference be dominated by an assembly of which most members are not bishops?”

The German bishops’ conference responded by pointing to the fact that the Vatican only analyzed a draft of the statutes. The assessment did not take into account “the version updated in July and after the meeting of the Permanent Council in August, which no longer contains some passages to which the assessment refers.”

Additionally, in a letter to Ouellet, Cardinal Marx had pointed out that the Church in Germany had intentionally chosen a form of proceedings not covered by canon law. Thus, claimed the archbishop of Munich, the statutes should not have been looked at through the eyes of canon law.

Pope Francis himself had sent a letter to all Catholics in Germany at the end of June. However, as LifeSiteNews reported at the time, “since Pope Francis wrote in a more general manner and chose not to mention any specific topics of the new synodal path – such as the questioning of priestly celibacy and of the Church’s teaching on sexuality – the different camps in Germany all interpret his letter in a way pleasing to them.”

In spite of that correspondence with the Vatican, the synodal path in Germany continued to move forward. In early February 2020, the first assembly of the synodal path concluded in Frankfurt. The second assembly is scheduled for early September.

Ed Condon, in his article on the reform of the Curia, quotes a senior Vatican official as saying, “This is the reason for their confidence, and for the boldness. It is a waiting game – they say to us ‘wait and see [our] results before you judge the process,’ but by then they can say they have this authority and demand subsidiarity.”

The source added, “Never mind which dicastery comes first in the line [in Roman precedence], these two sentences can remake the whole Church.”

Episcopal conferences, commonly referred to as bishops’ conferences, have existed since the 19th century. They are informal organizations of the bishops of a given territory.

The decree Christus Dominus of the Second Vatican Council first formalized bishops’ conferences as part of the constitution of the Church. In it, the council fathers stated, “This sacred synod considers it to be supremely fitting that everywhere bishops belonging to the same nation or region form an association which would meet at fixed times.”

The document defined, “An episcopal conference is, as it were, a council in which the bishops of a given nation or territory jointly exercise their pastoral office to promote the greater good which the Church offers mankind, especially through the forms and methods of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of the age.”

In 1983, the new Code of Canon Law explained, following the directives of the Second Vatican Council, “The Episcopal Conference can make general decrees only in cases where the universal law has so prescribed, or by special mandate of the Apostolic See, either on its own initiative or at the request of the Conference itself.” Otherwise, the competence of each diocesan bishop remains intact, meaning the bishop makes the decisions within his diocese.

In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis referenced the Second Vatican Council, saying that “like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position ‘to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit.’ Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.”

Pope Francis’ document on the reform of the Roman Curia is still being evaluated by his council of cardinal advisors. Apart from Cardinal Marx, the members are Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga from Honduras, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, as well as Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and Cardinal Oswald Gracias from India.

In December 2019, when the advisors met last time, the Holy See Press Office released a statement indicating that one of the aspects that still needed further study was the question of “the relationship between the Curia and the episcopal conferences.”

The council of cardinal advisors will come together again in Rome this month.


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Kansas introduces bill allowing public buildings to display ‘In God We Trust’

Public schools also would be required to post a sign with the national motto.
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Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas

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WICHITA, Kansas, February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) -- A Kansas state legislator is backing a bill to require public buildings to display the national motto “In God We Trust.”

State Rep. Michael Capps, a Republican, sponsored legislation that mandates every state and municipal building in Kansas, including libraries and classrooms in public schools, colleges and universities, display the official motto adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1956. The motto first appeared on a two-cent coin in 1864 during the American Civil War and has appeared on paper currency since 1957, replacing the phrase “E Pluribus Unum.”

According to the Wichita Eagle newspaper, Capps said of House Bill 2476, “It should be displayed as an acknowledgment of our country’s history and founding principles.”

Co-sponsor Rep. Brandon Reed said the motto is the right remedy for troubled times.

“If one kid walks into school and they see over the auditorium or in the office window, or something like that, and they’ve been having a bad day, if they just see that message, if it speaks internally to them some way, and they can change their outlook for the day, I think it’s worth it,” Reed said.

The lower house of the Kansas legislature had an open hearing on the bill Thursday.

Democrat Rep. Stephanie Clayton was not one of the supporters, saying, “I already have some heartburn here, because not everyone in this country or state does believe in God.”

Republican Rep. Blake Carpenter offered a lukewarm response. “I love our national motto, I do support it,” then added, “but I’m curious, do you think when you say ‘every classroom or library’ might be slight overkill instead of just putting it at the main entrance or the main lobby … would be just as good?”

The bill does not require public expenditures. Instead, donors would provide funds to schools and governments to purchase displays or donate materials. The bill requires that each display must be at least 11 inches wide by 14 inches high, offer the motto in large letters, and incorporate the flags of the United States and Kansas.

During the hearing in the state senate on Thursday, Reed recalled for his colleagues the example set by 15-year-old Preston Cope, a victim of the deadly 2018 shooting at a high school in Kansas.

Reed showed what he identified as the last photograph Cope took, which was a display of “In God We Trust.”

Josh Buckman of American Atheists, a group dedicated to the “absolute separation of religion from government,” told WLKY news that “I believe that ‘In God We Trust’ just puts certain pressure on people in order to conform to a certain belief system.”

On the group’s website, Buckman is identified as a “recovering Catholic” who advocates for Planned Parenthood.

"This bill has nothing to do with educating Kansas students,” American Atheists leader Nick Fish said in a statement. “It's clear some lawmakers care more about forcing a religious message into school classrooms than teaching the facts." 

During the hearing, Pastor Jason Crosby of First Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, declared, “Christians are called to love one another, and you are not loving someone else if you demand that they conform to your way and perspective. That’s not love. That’s not placing your trust in God. That’s imposing your power on others. That would be state-sanctioned school bullying.” 

In response to critics, Rep. Capps emailed a statement to the Wichita Eagle, recalling that President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill that established the national motto.

“Misguided people have attempted to sunder the country ever since then,” Capps said. “If fringe groups are offended, they are welcome to move elsewhere.”

Capps added that he will continue to pray that atheists “come to find the love our country our founders showed.”

Legislation has been introduced in other states, including Florida and Oklahoma, to require the display of the motto in schools and public buildings.


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Frontlines 2020: Your chance to win the battle for Life, Family, and Faith.

Will you join us in defending life and family on the battlefield?
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February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Struck down, wounded, gasping for breath. The clank and clash of discordant truths resound as swords on the battlefield. The whir of verbal ammunition and the dust of confusion distort sight of the oncoming resistance. The opposition kicks up dust from past hurts and succeeds in yet more wounds – this is the narrative of the battle.  

The enemy advances quickly and shrewdly, using its conniving force. From every angle they seem to have won – the colossal clout of sheer numbers masks a false reality.  

Is there any hope at all? 

Despite receiving some of the worst attacks in our history, 2019 was a record breaking year for LifeSite. Though the battle has sometimes felt insurmountable, we rely on God and fight on with as much grace, patience, and courage as possible. Standing for Truth requires that.  

As darkness closes in all around, there must be light somewhere. A ray of hope. A spark of faith. A glimmer of the Truth we know deep down.  

This. This is what we’re fighting for: what we know to be true, what our posterity depends on.  

We must press on. We must brush off our armor and fight like never before. We do not fight for violence. Our battle is for that which is sharper than swords, mightier than enemies, and yet as quiet as a whispering wind on the edge of the trees.  

We need people like you on this battlefield. It isn't for everyone, but those who join will make a lasting impact on what matters most. Will you join us on the Frontlines in 2020? 

We are preparing for an even bigger year in 2020, and we need reinforcements more than ever in our fight against the forces of evil. The enemy only advances as much as we fail to stand up to him. Join us to build our army and conquer the culture of death. 

In late 2019, a generous family realized the potential power of LifeSite's SustainLife army of monthly donors. They vowed to fuel the growth of this army with a matching gift of $120,000 with a challenge to DOUBLE our number of reinforcements on the Frontlines of the Culture War. 

This year we are calling on you, our readers, supporters, and prayer warriors, to join the ranks as a Sustaining donor in our army! This family has offered to double every monthly gift pledge to LifeSite for the entire year. That means your $25 monthly gift becomes $50; $50 becomes $100 – every month for the entire year, up to $120,000. Anyone who is already a Sustainer will have any increase to their monthly gift doubled as well! 

Please support our mission, subscribe to our newsletter, and download our community app. Continue sharing LifeSite articles, petitions, and videos. The time to stand up for life, family, and faith is now. 

We will see you on the battlefield. 


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Bishop Schneider: ‘The Pope cannot be silent as he watches the wolves devour the flock’

Bishop Athanasius Schneider speaks out against the German bishops’ ‘synodal path.’
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Diane Montagna By Diane Montagna

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ROME, February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has the duty to prevent bishops in Germany from leading clergy and faithful down the “synodal path” over the precipice of heresy, Bishop Athanasius Schneider has said. 

In a new statement published today on the German-language outlet Kath.net (see official English text below), the auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan, argued that the “synodal path” is “an attempt” to officially sanction the “heretical doctrine and practices” that have been corrupting the Church in Germany for decades.

“The decisive problem in this tragic event,” he said, “is the fact that Pope Francis, by his silence, seems to tolerate those German bishops — first and foremost Cardinal Reinhard Marx [president of the German bishops’ conference] — who openly profess heretical doctrines and practices.”  

Bishop Schneider, himself of German ethnicity, acknowledged that Pope Francis’ June 2019 “Letter to the Pilgrim People of God in Germany” was a “good” first step. But he argued that “it was not concrete enough” and “failed to set limits” to ensure that the “synodal path” is truly Catholic.

He also insisted that, as “supreme teacher” and “protector” of the Catholic Faith, Pope Francis “has the grave duty to protect the ‘little ones,’ i.e. the simple faithful and those priests and bishops in Germany who have been put on the periphery and whose voice has been stifled” by worldly prelates who are charged instead with protecting Christ’s flock. 

“The Pope cannot passively stand by or be silent as he watches the ‘wolves’ devour the flock or the ‘arsonists’ set fire to the house,” he said.

Bishop Schneider, who last year obtained a clarification (albeit a private one) from Pope Francis about the controversial Abu Dhabi document, said he believes the Pope ought to “intervene and demand that participants in the ‘synodal path’ formally profess those truths and universal sacramental practices of the Church” that are currently being called into question. 

The German “synodal path” officially opened with a January 30 to February 1 assembly in Frankfurt, Germany. The goal of the two-year synodal process is to tackle “key issues” arising from the clerical sex abuse crisis. 

The “synodal path” aims at passing resolutions in four areas pertaining to universal Church teaching and governance: “Power and the Separation of Powers in the Church”; “Priestly Life Today”; “Women in Ministries and Offices of the Church”; and “Living in Successful Relationships — Living Love in Sexuality and Partnership.” 

In a February 2 interview with Katolische.de, German Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki said his worst concerns about the “synodal path” have already come true. The Archbishop of Cologne told German media that  “many arguments put forward at the first synodal assembly are incompatible with the faith and teaching of the universal Church.”

Recalling the fourth-century Arian controversy as a historical precedent to the current crisis, Bishop Schneider concluded his statement by encouraging clergy and faithful to persevere in remembering the divine origin and strength of the Church.

“The Church,” he said, “cannot be overcome even by a heretical and schismatic ‘synodal path’ — not even if this ‘path’ were to have the tacit approval of the Pope.” 

Here below is the official English translation of Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s statement:

The entire Catholic Church and the Catholic faith are stronger than German’s “Synodal Path” 

The so-called “synodal path” (Synodaler Weg) is ultimately an attempt to give official approval to truly heretical doctrines, with their correspondent sacramental and pastoral practices. These doctrines and practices have already been corrupting the life of the Catholic Church in Germany for decades. 

For the time being, therefore, the present case of the “synodal path” is one of heresy rather than of schism. Heresy, as defined by the Code of Canon Law, is “the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith.” Schism, on the other hand, is “the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him” (can. 751). In the case of the German bishops, they are formally still submitted to the Roman Pontiff. Moreover, it must also be said that not all of the German bishops support the heretical content of the “synodal path.” There is a group of German bishops (even though few in number) who will not accept doctrines and practices that are clearly heretical. 

The decisive problem in this tragic event is the fact that Pope Francis, by his silence, seems to tolerate those German bishops — first and foremost Cardinal Reinhard Marx — who openly profess heretical doctrines and practices, e.g. the blessing of homosexual unions, the admittance to Holy Communion of people living in adultery, and the advocating of the sacramental ordination of women. The letter Pope Francis wrote to the German Catholic Church in view of the “synodal path” was good, but it was not concrete enough, and it failed to set limits in order to guarantee that the “synodal path” would have a truly Catholic character, i.e., that it would correspond to what was believed always, everywhere and by all Catholics. 

In fulfilling his first task as the supreme teacher of the Catholic Faith, the supreme protector of the integrity of the Catholic Faith, and the visible center of unity, Pope Francis ought necessarily to intervene and demand that the participants in the “synodal path” formally profess those truths and universal sacramental practices of the Church, which they are calling into question through the strategic and ideological program of the “synodal path.” 

The Pope has the grave duty to protect the “little ones,” i.e. the simple faithful and those priests and bishops in Germany who have been put on the periphery and whose voice has been stifled by the powerful “nomenklatura” of a new unbelieving and Gnostic caste of so-called “scientific” theologians, by ecclesiastical apparatchiks and by those bishops who have adapted themselves to the ideological dictatorship of the mass media and politics. The Pope cannot passively stand by or be silent as he watches the “wolves” devour the flock or the “arsonists” set fire to the house. 

The “synodal path” that is now underway has already openly shown that there is a division between those who still have the Catholic and apostolic faith and those who reject or question some of its essential contents. It is realistic to imagine a situation in which priests and bishops in other countries will not be able to maintain communion with those German bishops who advocate heretical teachings. The present confusion could even increase if these heretical bishops were still to be recognized formally by the Pope. 

Yet there is precedent for such a situation (albeit rare) in Church history. One of the most notable precedents was the Arian crisis in the fourth century, when the entire body of the Catholic episcopate was divided essentially into three groups: (1)the Catholic and orthodox bishops who professed unambiguously the full Catholic Faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ; they were the minority with the Pope; (2)the second group opted for ambiguous formulations; they were the majority and usually conformed themselves, for the sake of political correctness, to the dominant position of the ruling political power; (3)the third group was comprised of radical and unbelieving Arians; they were also a minority. The criteria and guarantee for being truly Catholic was the communion with the Apostolic See in Rome and with the unchanging and constant doctrinal Tradition. 

If the “synodal path” in Germany approves female sacramental ordination, the legitimacy of homosexual acts, the blessing of homosexual couples, the legitimacy of heterosexual acts outside a valid marriage, there will surely be Catholic bishops as well as many priests and lay faithful, even in Germany, who will not accept this and who could therefore not be in full communion with those bishops who profess such heresies. 

Were the Pope not to correct the heretical decisions of the “synodal path,” he would thereby consent to them by his silence. This would lead to the bizarre situation of a Pope at the same time approving clearly heretic bishops as well as bishops who still hold and safeguard the true Catholic faith. The Church already experienced this kind of situation in the fourth century (although only for a brief time), when Pope Liberius excommunicated St. Athanasius, the champion of the Catholic Faith, and at the same time established communion with the semi-heretical bishops of the East, i.e. the semi-Arians. I hope that God will preserve us from such a disastrous situation.

But if that were to happen — and the Pope were not to intervene with an unambiguous profession of the Catholic Faith and the perennial sacramental practice of the Church — the Catholic Church would  in appearance and practice be similar to the Anglican Communion or to a Protestant Free Church, i.e. a religious system fashioned like “McDonald’s” or an a la carte restaurant. 

Even if this should happen (and God forbid that it does), it will last only briefly, since the Catholic Church is divine and her nature is the clarity, immutability and firmness of the Faith. Indeed, she is built by Christ Himself upon the rock which cannot be overcome even by a heretical and schismatic “synodal path” — not even if this “path” were to have the tacit approval of the Pope. The entire Catholic Church is stronger than this, and the Catholic Faith is always victorious, for Mary, the Mother of the Church, has vanquished all heresies throughout the entire world.

February 2, 2020
+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana


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Archbishop bans Holy Communion in hand to promote reverence, stop abuses

'Mother Church enjoins us to hold the Most Holy Eucharist in the highest honor.'
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Archbishop of Kampala Cyprian Kizito Lwanga. NTVUganda / Youtube screen grab

KAMPALA, UGANDA, February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – An African archbishop has decreed that Catholics in his diocese must only receive Holy Communion on the tongue in order to promote reverence for the Eucharist and to stop “abuses.”

“Henceforth, it is forbidden to distribute or to receive Holy Communion in the hands,” stated Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala in Uganda, East Africa in a decree (read full text below) issued on Saturday, February 1.

“Mother Church enjoins us to hold the Most Holy Eucharist in the highest honor (Can. 898). Due to many reported instances of dishonoring the Eucharist that have been associated with reception of the Eucharist in the hands, it is fitting to return to the more reverent method of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue,” he added. 

Catholics believe that at a Catholic Mass, bread and wine is changed into the physical body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ while retaining only the appearance of bread and wine.

In 2018 Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, called on Catholics to return to the traditional practice of receiving Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue. He said: “Why do not we kneel down to receive Holy Communion after the example of the saints? Is it really so humiliating to bow down and remain kneeling before the Lord Jesus Christ?”

Cardinal Sarah noted that receiving Communion on the hand “undoubtedly involves a great scattering of fragments.”

Archbishop Lwanga’s decree goes on to affirm the Catholic Church’s teaching on the norms for the reception of the Eucharist, explaining that those “living in illicit marital co-habitation” and those “who persist in any grave and manifest sin”, such as publicly pro-abortion politicians, may not receive the Eucharist. 

The decree reads: “Following the clear norms of Can. 915. It must be reaffirmed that those living in illicit marital co-habitation and those who persist in any grave and manifest sin., cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. Moreover, so as to avoid scandal, the Eucharist is not to be celebrated in the homes of people in such a situation.” 

The decree, which Archbishop Lwanga said was issued to “curb the abuses that had begun cropping up in the celebration of the Mass” also insisted on several other issues of liturgical discipline. 

The Archbishop ruled that laity who have not been designated by “the competent ecclesiastical authority” were forbidden from administering Holy Communion. The decree states that those who are authorized to distribute Holy Communion must themselves receive the Eucharist on the tongue before administering it to others.

Section 3 of the decree states that the “celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place”, i.e. in a church rather than in residential homes, “unless grave necessity requires otherwise.”

Section 5 insists that clergy must be dressed correctly to celebrate Catholic liturgy, or otherwise remain with the laity in the main section of the church. 

The decree reads:  “In celebrating and administering the Eucharist, priests and deacons are to wear the sacred Vestments prescribed by the rubrics (Can. 929)”. According to the decree, priests who fail to wear the prescribed vestments “should neither concelebrate nor assist at the distribution of Holy Communion. He should also not sit in the sanctuary but rather take his seat among the faithful in the congregation.” 

***

DECREE CONCERNING THE PROPER CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST IN KAMPALA DIOCESE

February 1, 2020

Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga

  1. Henceforth, it is forbidden to distribute or to receive Holy Communion in the hands. Mother Church enjoins us to hold the Most Holy Eucharist in the highest honor (Can. 898). Due to many reported instances of dishonoring the Eucharist that have been associated with reception of the Eucharist in the hands, it is lilting to return to the more reverent method of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue.
  2. According to the law of the Church, the Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion is a Bishop. Presbyter or Deacon (Can. 910: 91). In light of this norm, it is forbidden for a member of the faithful who has not been designated as an extraordinary Minister of Communion (Can. 910§2) by the competent ecclesiastical authority to distribute Holy Communion. Moreover, before distributing Holy Communion, the extraordinary Minister must first receive Holy Communion from the Ordinary Minister according to the norm laid out in no.1 above.
  3. The celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place unless grave necessity requires otherwise (Can. 932 91). Following this canonical norm, the Eucharist is henceforth to be celebrated in designated sacred places since there is an adequate number of such designated places in the Archdiocese for that purpose.
  4. Following the clear norms of Can. 915. It must be reaffirmed that those living in illicit marital co-habitation and those who persist in any grave and manifest sin., cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. Moreover, so as to avoid scandal, the Eucharist is not to be celebrated in the homes of people in such a situation.
  5. In celebrating and administering the Eucharist, priests and deacons are to wear the sacred vestments prescribed by the rubrics (Can. 929). Following this canonical norm, it is strictly forbidden to admit as a co-celebrant, any priest who is not properly vested in the prescribed liturgical vestments. Such a priest should neither concelebrate nor assist at the distribution of Holy Communion. He should also not sit in the sanctuary but rather take his seat among the faithful in the congregation. 

The above norms are meant to streamline the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and curb the abuses that had begun cropping up in the celebration of the Mass. These norms are to be followed with immediate effect


News

US archbishop: Pope told us gay civil unions can be ‘acceptable’

The Pope told U.S. bishops that civil unions for homosexual couples that give them access to public benefits are 'acceptable.'
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Pope Francis meets with U.S. bishops in Rome, Jan. 27, 2020. CNS / Youtube Screen grab
Lianne Laurence By Lianne Laurence

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By Lianne Laurence

VATICAN CITY, February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A U.S. archbishop says Pope Francis told a group of American bishops in Rome that civil unions for homosexual couples that give them access to public benefits are “acceptable,” as long as it’s clear such arrangements can never be considered marriage.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco told LifeSiteNews that during their January 27 ad limina visit, the pope said, in the words of the archbishop, that “civil unions between two people of the same sex can never be marriage.  As long as this is respected, civil unions that give access to government benefits can be acceptable.” 

However, to regard homosexual civil unions as acceptable contradicts Catholic teaching, notably reaffirmed in the 1986, 1992 and 2003 documents issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) under Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and approved by Pope Saint John Paul II.

The 2003 letter “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons” reiterates that homosexual acts go against the natural moral law and that “[t]here are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family.”

“The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions,” it points out.

Moreover, where “homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty,” the document asserts.

“One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection,” it states.

This is not the first time that the pontiff, while reaffirming the impossibility of homosexual “marriage,” has signaled support for “civil unions” for homosexual couples.

In a 2017 book-length interview with French journalist Dominique Wolton titled Politics and Society, Pope Francis stated: “Let us call things by their names. Matrimony is between a man and a woman. This is the precise term. Let us call the same-sex union a ‘civil union’.”

Moreover, it’s widely known that as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was publicly critical of the government’s push to legalize homosexual “marriage,” but privately argued for civil unions as a compromise measure. 

In reporting on the American bishops’ meeting with the Pope last week, Catholic News Service (CNS) mentioned that the Holy Father spoke about pastoral care for homosexuals. It quoted Archbishop Cordileone regarding what Pope Francis had said about homosexuals, at one point paraphrasing the Archbishop inaccurately. 

“He made important distinctions between the (sexual) orientation and the question of marriage,” for example saying it was important to ensure gay couples have access to public benefits, but insisting gay couples cannot marry, the Archbishop said.

Cordileone clarified in a statement to LifeSiteNews that the pope did not talk about it being important to “ensure” homosexual couples have public benefits during the discussions.

Pope Francis “did not ‘endorse’ this,” said the Archbishop.


News

Canadian conservative party may block leadership candidate for calling homosexuality ‘a choice’

Some senior Tories are asking the Conservative Party to block social conservative Richard Décarie’s leadership candidacy because of his allegedly bigoted views.
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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Some senior Tories are asking the Conservative Party to block social conservative Richard Décarie’s leadership candidacy because of his allegedly bigoted views.

In fact, in the wake of the backlash against the Quebecer and former Stephen Harper staffer, the National Post is predicting that “there is a very real chance the party will disqualify him from the race.”

Décarie, who has yet to officially register for the contest, has been under fire since telling CTV’s Evan Solomon over a week ago that “being ‘gay’ is a choice.”

He reiterated on CBC that “marriage should be exclusive between a man and a woman, like it was traditionally. The base of a family that is the base of a society.”

Calgary M.P. Michelle Rempel Garner and party strategist Kory Teneycke are among top-level Tories who say Décarie’s views are beyond the pale. (Members of Teneycke’s consultancy firm “are working for leadership candidate Peter MacKay, but Teneycke says he’s staying neutral in the race,” the National Post reported.)

But another leadership candidate emerged this week to suggest that Décarie’s comments were “blown into a bigger situation than it needed to be” because “people missed the nuance.”

And M.P. Derek Sloan’s expressed views complicate things for Conservatives regarding Décarie, says former NDP leader and CTV News political analyst Tom Mulcair.

“Mr. Sloan is going to make it very difficult for the vetting committee to reject Richard Décarie’s very fringe candidacy because [Sloan]’s so close to him,” he told CTV.

“It would have been easy to say to Richard Décarie ‘You don’t represent our core values including equality rights, you’re not in as a candidate,’” added Mulcair.

Views blown out of proportion

Sloan told CTV’s Solomon this week that while his own proposed platform would not touch “gay marriage” and that he disagrees with Décarie’s comments, the cause of sexual orientation is “scientifically unclear.”

“Science right now is saying that, yes, there’s biological components, but there’s many other factors that play into it and they don’t even know how they all work together,” Sloan said.

Sloan also expressed other socially conservative views, including that he would have voted against the Liberal pro-transgender rights Bill C-16.

When Solomon quizzed him on conversion therapy, which will be criminalized under a bill now before the Senate, Sloan said “conversion therapy” should not be so broadly defined as to include “body affirmation counselling.”

“I don’t think anybody should be forced to do anything they don’t want to do. But if somebody wants to receive gender-affirming, or body-affirming counselling when they’re going through a position of ‘What’s going on with me?’ they should be able to have that,” Sloan said.

“We know a lot of kids that go through these feelings grow out of them by the time they’re adults,” he added.

Décarie opposes Senate Bill S-260 “and others like it,” which “are trying to ban all forms of pastoral and personal counselling and medical treatments that at risk youth may need, by associating loving counsel and support with previously discredited psychiatric quackery,” he said in an email statement to LifeSiteNews.

“Left wing activists will argue that this implies social conservatives support everything labelled conversion therapy,” added Décarie. “I do not, and we do not, but that is not what this debate is about.”

Disqualifying Décarie will hurt the party

Décarie, whose campaign chair is former M.P. Brad Trost, says people express privately to him the views he states publicly, and they deserve a voice in the Conservative Party.

He tweeted last week that M.P.s Arnold Viersen and John Williamson support allowing him to run:

Jeff Gunnarson, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group, argues that Décarie is not a fringe candidate.

The view that homosexual persons are “born that way” has been “totally debunked by science,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“We know from clinical psychological science and the lived experience of ex-gays themselves, that same-sex attraction is caused by environmental factors and childhood trauma in most cases. There is a ton of peer-reviewed and clinical research to bear that out,” added Gunnarson.

“And I’m glad that the leadership race is focusing some attention on this.”

Moreover, barring Décarie would hurt Conservatives, says Campaign Life director of political operations Jack Fonseca.

“If the party disqualifies a so-con over his traditional, pro-family beliefs, they will be causing tremendous damage to the party itself, in terms of deflating its core activists,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“And that will surely come back to bite it in the next general election, resulting in another Trudeau victory.”

Tanya Granic Allen, who ran in the Ontario provincial leadership race, says the Conservative Party should welcome debate on all issues, pointing out that free speech and grassroots democracy are core conservative values.

“Candidates who think that they are the deciders as to what is allowed to be debated or not, candidates who speak ill of social conservatives like that, in my opinion, they have no place in the Conservative Party; they should be running in the Communist Party,” she observed.

As for Décarie, he “will continue to do the right thing and is confident that the Leadership Organising Committee will do the right thing when called upon,” says spokesman Mike Patton.

“There can be no doubt that there is an element within the elite of the Conservative Party that would prefer to see any person of faith disqualified not only from a run at the leadership but from the party completely,” Patton told LifeSiteNews.

“Richard is not only a conservative but a proud man of faith who does not believe that the two things are incomparable.”

Campaign Life is urging Canadians 14 years of age and older to buy a membership in the Conservative Party of Canada as soon as possible in order to influence the outcome of the leadership race.


News

German cardinal: Some synodal path proposals are ‘incompatible’ with Catholic faith

'Just because many today have difficulties with the faith of the Church or do not understand it, we cannot say that faith and doctrine are wrong or no longer relevant to a modern, contemporary, democratic society,' said Cardinal Woelki.
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Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki DW News / Youtube screen grab
By Martin Bürger

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February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki has lamented that all his worries about the synodal path in Germany have come true, warning that he believes “many arguments put forward at the first synodal assembly are incompatible with the faith and teaching of the universal Church.”

He also pointed out, “My great concern that, due to the way this event was conceived and constituted, a Protestant church parliament is being implemented here, so to speak, has proved to be justified.”

The first assembly of the synodal path, which officially started at the end of 2019, took place from January 30 through February 1. Following the proceedings, Woelki gave multiple interviews, in each expressing his dissatisfaction with what happened at the first assembly in Frankfurt.

Woelki, who serves as the archbishop of Cologne, criticized many of the 230 members of the assembly, voicing his conviction that many of their arguments are actually “incompatible with the faith and teaching of the universal Church.”

In an interview published by katholisch.de, the news website of the German bishops, Cardinal Woelki said, “My impression is that much of what belongs to the theological body of knowledge is no longer shared by many of us here.”

Instead, the archbishop went on, some believe “that you can shape the Church in a completely new and different way. The view to the tradition of the Church no longer plays a major role.”

The ecclesiological foundations of the Church seem no longer relevant, Woelki said, continuing, “Basically, a rather Protestant understanding of the Church has become apparent.” 

This, according to the cardinal, makes it difficult still to recognize what constitutes the Church.

Speaking to Domradio, the news outlet associated with the archdiocese of Cologne, Woelki spelled out how an incorrect understanding of what the Church is, was already on display at the opening Mass on Thursday.

Bishops and laypeople had walked in together in procession, indicating “that everybody here is equal.” According to the archbishop of Cologne, this has “actually nothing to do with what the Catholic Church is and holds.”

Woelki said, “The hierarchical constitution of the Church, as it is also once again documented in the Second Vatican Council and expressed in ‘Lumen Gentium,’ is called into question.”

It would be wrong, according to the archbishop of Cologne, to simply think of the Church “in modern, democratic, republican categories.” The Church is based on a foundation “which we cannot create ourselves,” added Woelki, but which is “given to us by Christ.”

Many small signs – for instance the seating arrangement, which was alphabetical and not hierarchical – had questioned the “organic togetherness of consecrated and non-consecrated persons and the diversity of tasks expressed therein.” The archbishop considered this “to be extremely worrying.”

2,000 years after Christ, Woelki cautioned, “we are not those who are implementing the Church anew or reinventing her, but we are in a long tradition. Faith, as it was constituted in the councils and also from its apostolic origins, cannot be torn down or reinvented here in any way.”

He called the members of the assembly of the synodal path to focus first on understanding what the faith and the doctrine of the Church actually is, and only then reflect on questions that are raised by today’s situation in Germany.

In remarks to Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, the cardinal pointed out the difficult situation brought about by the fact that many people no longer know what the Church is. He explained, “The church is also a human society, but it has a divine dimension. Both dimensions work together. The church is hierarchically endowed.”

While a number of participants and observers had praised that at the assembly of the synodal path clergy and laypeople were discussing “on equal footing,” Woelki disputed that claim. 

“As bishop, I have a different mission, flowing from my consecration, a different authority which places me in the tradition of the apostles and assigns to me in the Church the responsibility for the office of governing and sanctifying,” he said.

The archbishop emphasized, “Just because many today have difficulties with the faith of the Church or do not understand it, we cannot say that faith and doctrine are wrong or no longer relevant to a modern, contemporary, democratic society.”

On the contrary, Woelki demanded a rediscovering of the treasures of the faith, followed by translating them into our time. 

“There is a great responsibility on us. I would like to face this responsibility,” the cardinal added.

Using the example of the Church’s teaching on morality, which is often presented by the media as a morality of prohibitions, Cardinal Woelki had a completely different take. “When I love someone, some things are forbidden to me. However, that’s not a morality of prohibitions, but a commandment of love.”

He continued, “From the way in which I build and live my relationship with Christ, a morality arises from which some things are excluded.”

Asked what he had learned from the first assembly, the cardinal said it is important to talk about power in the Church. He noticed that power was exercised at the assembly, too, explaining, “not everybody who wanted to was given the right to speak.” Additionally, not all motions to speak that beforehand had been submitted in writing were given due consideration.

Referring to feedback from young Catholics, Woelki said they had stressed how important Mass is for them in their daily lives. Because of that, they had “sorely missed” that there was no Mass scheduled for Saturday morning.

Even though dozens of bishops and other clergy were present, the official schedule listed only a “liturgy of the word” (“Wortgottesfeier”). In Germany, many churches celebrate a “liturgy of the word,” presided by a layperson, sometimes even on Sundays, even though such liturgies do not enable the faithful to fulfill their Sunday obligation.


Opinion

Dissident pro-gay ministry will offer LGBT retreat in San Diego diocese

Two Catholic parishes will host the retreat, called 'Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God.'
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Emma Lucek / Shutterstock.com
By Joseph Sciambra

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February 3, 2020 (Joseph Sciambra) — On April 25–26, 2020, the Catholic parishes of St. Thomas More and St. Francis of Assisi, both in the Diocese of San Diego, will host an LGBT retreat: “NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD. A Catholic LGBTQ+ RETREAT and A Day of Ministry Discernment & Visioning.” The leader of the retreat is JR Zerkowski. He is currently the “executive director” of Fortunate Families, a dissident pro–gay marriage ministry based in the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky.

St. Thomas More in Oceanside, California, is home to three LGBT ministries:

  • LGBTQ Persons Support Group
  • LGBTQ Support Group for Parents & Families
  • LGBTQ Transgender/Transition Issues Support Group

Regarding the apparent confirmation of a gay man (in his homosexuality) by Pope Francis, Zerkowski stated: “I believe what we are seeing is an evolution of doctrine...” In 2019, Zerkowski joined Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon, a same-sex couple who were among the plaintiffs in the 2015 Supreme Court case which legalized gay marriage, in a discussion about the Catholic Church and gay marriage. Also, in 2019, a chapter of Fortunate Families was established at the home Catholic parish (Our Lady of Lourdes) of Bourke and DeLeon — who are active in the group. In an interview, when questioned about why they stay in the Catholic Church, DeLeon said: “We’ve been encouraged by peers to leave…a lot of people wonder why we stay, but you don’t change anything by leaving something. There’s no good reason to leave.”

In 2019, Zerkowski spoke at Jesuit James Martin’s home parish of St. Ignatius in New York City. According to Fortunate Families, Martin is an “Honorary Member” of their Board of Directors.

According to Zerkowski, he has agreed to be a panelist at the “Outreach 2020: Catholic LGBT Ministry Gathering” at Fordham University that will feature dissident speakers such as Jeannine Gramick (whom James Martin would like to canonize), Bryan Massingale, and Lisa Fullam.

Fortunate Families is a gay-affirmative pro–same-sex marriage advocacy group founded in 2004 by the Catholic parents of a “gay” son — Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata. Inspired by the work of Robert Nugent and Jeannine Gramick (both were silenced by the Vatican in 1999) and their New Ways Ministry, the Lopatas decided to form an outreach specifically targeted to the Catholic parents of LGBT children.

The USCCB has officially warned the faithful: “No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice.”

In 2003, the Lopatas published their book Fortunate Families: Catholic Families with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons. Here is an excerpt detailing their view of Scripture as it relates to homosexuality:

1. There are only six passages generally used to condemn homosexuality.
2. The primary concern of these passages is something other than homogenital activity.
3. There are translation issues suggested by the fact that 1946 was the first time the word “homosexual” appeared in an English translation. 
4. The biblical writers had no concept of our modern psychological understanding of homosexual orientation.
5. The prophets, the gospels and Jesus say nothing about homosexuality in the bible.

According to Fortunate Families, their “Foundational Statement” includes:

We recognize that sometimes the conscience of the individual places him/her in conflict with articulated Catholic teaching. The resolution of this conflict often includes the proper use of conscience as articulated by the Magisterium. Many of us have sought the counsel of Catholic priests who have supported us in loving LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers…We realize that church teaching and the articulation of doctrine has developed through the years. We earnestly pray for a development of Church teaching on the topic of homosexuality and gender. We also earnestly pray that Church officials listen to our experiences and the experiences of our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers.

According to Fortunate Families:

We need to acknowledge that many of our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers are in committed loving same gendered relationships. While same gendered relationships might not be procreative in the strict sense, they often are very generative, contribute to the common good, and can be examples of a loving, committed relationships.  We ask the Church to acknowledge the truth of this.

In 2017, James Martin recommended Fortunate Families. A member of Fortunate Families introduced Martin before his address at the 2018 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

Also, in 2017, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, who serves as an “Ecclesial Advisor” to Fortunate Families, made the controversial decision to speak at New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium held in Chicago, Illinois. 

A “Theological Advisor” to Fortunate Families is gay theologian Andy Buechel. Concerning the Apostle Thomas and the Resurrected Christ, Buechel (in his 2015 book, That We Might Become God: The Queerness of Creedal Christianity) described “the erotic and sexual charge of Jesus’ encounter with Thomas...” According to Buechel:

Strictly, and anachronistically, speaking, this encounter is homosexual: it involves deep erotic intimacy between two people of the same sex.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory has also shown support for an Atlanta-based offshoot of Fortunate Families, and a Catholic deacon who spoke at a 2018 event sponsored by Fortunate Families assisted Cardinal Kevin Farrell at the closing Mass of the Pastoral Congress portion of the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin.

Published with permission from Joseph Sciambra.


Opinion

VIDEO: College students in US capital call for unlimited tax-funded abortion

The students say not only that they agree with taxpayer funding for abortion, but that they support abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
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CampusReform / YouTube
By Cassy Fiano-Chesser

By Cassy Fiano-Chesser
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By Cassy Fiano-Chesser

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 3, 2020 (Live Action News) — A new Campus Reform video is raising eyebrows after students at George Washington University admitted they support abortion up until birth.

In the video, Eduardo Neret went to the campus before the March for Life and interviewed people on the street about their views regarding abortion. The students not only said they agreed with taxpayer funding for abortion, but that they supported abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. “I feel like, at the end of the day, it’s a woman’s body to decide what she wants,” one student said. “That’s not my — I don’t have much to say about it. If she wants to do it, then that’s up to her.” When Neret followed up with a question of abortion in the ninth month, the student replied, “It should be left to her choice.”

Another student likewise said it should be up to the woman, so long as she had “all the information” from her doctors. Still another said it was “her body,” and therefore, she should be able to make that decision for herself. Essentially, it came down to saying there should be no restrictions whatsoever on abortion.

Others said they felt that abortion should receive taxpayer funding. “Well, I am pro–universal health care,” one student said. “I feel like people should have access to health care plans that do subsidize abortion at the very least.” Another student declared, “I think it should be considered a health service that everyone should have the right to.”

Late abortion procedures are long, dangerous, and violent. The procedures take several days to commit, and in the third trimester, they begin with an injection of digoxin or potassium chloride into the heart of the preborn child to cause cardiac arrest. The abortionist then begins cervical dilation using laminaria, and after several days, the mother delivers the body of her dead baby. If she does not go into labor, then the abortionist will commit a D&E, or dilation and evacuation, in which the child’s body is ripped apart limb by limb. 

There are also numerous risks to late-term abortion, including hemorrhaging, lacerations, uterine perforation, and even death.

And despite what these GWU students are arguing, they’re out of touch with the majority of Americans. Most people do not support taxpayer funded abortion, or abortion without restrictions. A sizable majority don’t think abortion should be legal after the first trimester, let alone legal through all nine months of pregnancy.

Pro-abortion extremists may believe they’re in the right — but the reality is, they’re out of touch with the majority. And what they’re advocating for is gruesome, brutal, and wrong. It takes the life of a vulnerable, innocent human being, frequently able to survive on his own outside of the womb, and potentially harms the mother as well.

Published with permission from Live Action News.


Opinion

Why legal euthanasia results in sick, elderly being pressured to die

Every aging society must decide whether to invest in palliative care and health care for the elderly or euthanasia.
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By Francisco José Contreras

By Francisco José Contreras
Francisco José Contreras
By Francisco Contreras

February 3, 2020 (El Debate de Hoy) – Jeanne Delpierre requested euthanasia. She did not have advanced cancer, nor any other “serious and incurable disease,” a requirement required by Belgian law. Her incurable disease was old age (88 years) and the “multiple pathologies” associated with it: osteoarthritis, loss of sight and hearing…

Jeanne Delpierre was killed. 

In Holland, Senator Brongersma was killed in a case that received significant media coverage in 1998 because he had been one of the first to request euthanasia for “psychological suffering.” In his case, it was loneliness: “No one is left alive that interests me.”

In Benelux (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembrug), a beacon of euthanasic progress, there are more and more people who ask for and obtain death to avoid simple emotional disorders, or to prevent future suffering (for example, people who are diagnosed with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease but are still in the early stages).

In our aging societies, the number of elderly people facing physical and mental decline, depression, and loneliness will grow rapidly: the generation that started during the family-sexual revolution in the ’60s is reaching old age, with its sequelae of divorces and low birth rates. Many Baby-Boomers have had no children, or have had very few: a very sad old age awaits them in hospices or empty homes. The burden they represent to the economic and health care systems is grave, indeed.

Let’s say it bluntly: there is a definite risk, more or less subtle, that more and more of the elderly will be pushed toward euthanasia. It will be enough to convince them that the final stretch of life, with all of its difficulties, is “lebensunwert,” “unworthy of being lived” (yes, it is the term that Nazi legislation used to justify the extermination of the deficient in the Aktion T4 program). They will also be pressured with the idea that they are a drag on young people. When the notion that “the dignified choice is not to impose one’s own decay on others” is incorporated into the cultural environment, the burden of proof will fall on the one who wishes to continue living beyond a certain age.

The “slippery slope” of the government

Our progressive government is willing to embark society on this formidable advance. Of course, it will say euthanasia is going to be allowed only in extreme cases of incurable and unbearable suffering... This is what the government has already done with abortion. Experience shows that, once the principle of inviolability of life is demolished, public opinion and jurisprudential drift lead to an increasingly lax interpretation of legal requirements. Inevitably, it leads to a “reform” of the law, to accommodate the permissive praxis that is a fait accompli. The “slippery slope” is confirmed time and again in bioethical matters.

The Netherlands has already served as a laboratory for euthanasia for 40 years (tolerated by the courts since the ’70s and regulated since 2001), and Belgium for 20 years (regulated in 2002). The evolution in both countries is the one synthesized by Herbert Hendin in Seduced by Death: “From euthanizing terminally ill patients they have progressed to euthanizing those with chronic illnesses; from accepting euthanasia for physical illnesses they have evolved to euthanizing people with psychological illnesses; from allowing euthanasia only for voluntary cases, it is now accepted practice to euthanize people without their express permission.” Therefore, the number of cases shoots upward like an arrow: in Belgium, from about 200 annually at the beginning to about 2,500 today. In the Netherlands, it has been estimated that 15% of deaths are already caused by euthanasia. The control is ex post facto: doctors must inform the Control Commission...when the patient has already been “passported.” In addition, the commission consists mostly of supporters of euthanasia.

The alternative to euthanasia is not horrible agony. We live in a time when almost all sufferings can be attenuated by legitimate medicine. Supporters of euthanasia try to muddle everything, confusing it with palliative care within the blurry concept of a “dignified death.” But palliative care seeks not to cause death, but to improve the quality of life in the final phase of a painful disease. Nor should terminal sedation be confused with euthanasia: it seeks not to cause death, but to lessen the agony of death.

But palliative care is very expensive. In Spain, which is a pioneer in this field, investment in palliative care has been frozen for decades. Although the Bologna Plan provided for European universities to develop palliative care as another specialty of medical studies, only 6 of 43 Spanish medical schools teach it on a mandatory basis. There is a national palliative care strategy that has clearly been given up for dead since the commission has not met for three years, and the national plan has not been created. In Spain alone, some 75,000 patients are in need of palliative care and cannot receive it.

The culture of death, with its 100,000 abortions a year and the substitution of family stability for a libertine lifestyle, has led us to senile societies, with an inverted demographic pyramid. Every aging society must decide whether to invest in palliative care and health care for the elderly or euthanasia. Our socialist-communist government seems to have decided that the progressive way is the second. In the “Happy World” of Aldous Huxley, there is no old age.

Editor’s note: Francisco José Contreras is a lecturer in legal philosophy at the University of Seville and is a representative in the Spanish congress from the conservative VOX party.

This article was first published at El debate de hoy. It is republished here by permission.


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Cdl. Müller: German synodal assembly ‘rescinds the Constitution of the Church of Divine Right’

'In a suicidal process, the majority decided that their decisions are valid even if they contradict Catholic doctrine.'
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Cardinal Gerhard Müller
Maike Hickson By Maike Hickson

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The first assembly of the German synodal path took place from January 30 to February 1, 2020 Rudolf Gehrig / CNA Deutsch
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Professor Sternberg at the first assembly of the German synodal path Rudolf Gehrig / CNA Deutsch
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Cardinal Reinhard Marx at the first assembly of the German synodal path Rudolf Gehrig / CNA Deutsch

February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In comments to LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Müller strongly criticizes the first official assembly of the German bishops’ “synodal path,” comparing it with the Enabling Act of the German National Socialists in 1933 and saying that it “rescinds the Constitution of the Church of Divine Right,” thereby turning away from the Church's “religious mission.”

The German synodal path has established four discussion forums which aim at questioning the Church's teaching and discipline regarding important matters such as female “ordination,” celibacy, homosexuality, and contraception. The first assembly gathered in Frankfurt from January 30 to February 1, with 230 synodal members present. On the second day of their meeting, the synodal assembly approved of its standing order which gives much weight to lay people and women (every vote has to be approved by a majority of the female members). 

These standing orders have now been approved by more than 90% of the synodal members. They now request that a proposal can pass when two-thirds of the bishops and the synodal assembly approve of it, next to the approval of the majority of female members.

One of the key decisions of that meeting was that the members rejected a proposal of some five conservative bishops – among them Cardinal Rainer Woelki and Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer – who asked on Friday that decisions which are contrary to the Church’s teaching not be passed on to the synodal assembly for a final vote.

According to the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, the five bishops had requested that the discussion forums ought to have a unanimous consent on a vote, instead of a simple majority (51%) as first foreseen by the synodal rules. The bishops wrote as such about the proposed unanimous consent:

“This is given when all agree to the text or at most three persons of the members present vote against it. It is not given if at least four persons are against it or if there is a contradiction between the text and the teaching of the Church. If the vote is negative three times, the original text cannot be used further in the Synodal Path.”

It is obvious that these German bishops had tried to assure that the synodal path only vote on matters that are in line with the Church's permanent and definitive teachings.

In the subsequent debate on the five bishops’ proposal, other members insisted that all the proposals should be presented to the synodal assembly for a definitive and final vote and “should not be eliminated ahead of time.” But, this proposal thus was rejected by 87% (181 members) of the synodal assembly. Only 12% voted in favor of this minority proposal.

As different sources close to the situation have told LifeSiteNews, it seems that about 10 to 15% of the members of the synodal assembly – only about 30 out of 230 – are faithful to the Church's Magisterium and try to defend it at the meetings. 

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sees the gravity of the fundamental decisions made during the first synodal meeting when he comments to LifeSiteNews: “In a suicidal process, the majority decided that their decisions are valid even if they contradict Catholic doctrine.” 

He goes on to compare this decisions of the synodal assembly with the time of German history when Adolf Hitler, with the Enabling Act of 1933, overrode the Weimar Constitution and gave himself plenary powers, thus legally establishing his dictatorship. 

Comments Cardinal Müller: “This is like the situation when the Weimar Constitution was repealed by the Enabling Act. A self-appointed assembly, which is not authorized by God nor by the people it is supposed to represent, rescinds the Constitution of the Church of Divine Right, which is based on the Word of God (in Scripture and Tradition).”  

Cardinal Müller also comments on the fact that this German synodal assembly now actually allows lay people to have more voting members (52%) than bishops (who only represent 30% of the synodal members) and other clergymen together, thus overriding the bishops' own sacramentally given authority and mission to teach, sanctify, and govern. 

He states: “The basis of episcopal authority is no longer the ‘Apostles’ teaching' (Acts 2:42) and the ‘Apostolic authority to govern, teach, and sanctify the Church of God in the name of Christ’ (Lumen gentium 18- 27), but its administrative and disciplinary power over money and personnel, which they generously wish to share with lay functionaries.”

With piercing tones, the German cardinal describes this development as an abandonment of the Church's mission when he concludes: “This political conversion of the Church is the turning away from her religious mission. So: Forwards back to the past! The reactionary principle is: cuius pecunia eius ecclesia [‘he who has the money runs the Church’].”

As it turns out, there was much criticism during the first synodal assembly that the small leadership of this synod – Cardinal Reinhard Marx for the German bishops and lay Professor Thomas Sternberg for the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), together with their vice presidents  – actually had chosen most of the members of the discussion forums which are to come up with themes and proposals to be voted on by the general assembly. Cardinal Marx heads the German Bishops' Conference, and Sternberg represents an organization that is mainly composed of professed Catholics stemming from Catholic institutions such as diocesan councils, thus not specifically representing the Catholic people, but, rather, a corporate Catholicism.

Rudolf Gehrig, a journalist working for CNA Deutsch who was present at the first synodal meeting in Frankfurt, published some strong criticisms of the German synodal path. He comments on the “autocratic style of discussion” when he says: “From the initiators from the spectrum of committee Catholicism a ‘democratization’ of the Church is demanded. Thomas Sternberg's ‘basta!’ policy and the partly autocratic discussion style is surprising and contradicts the self-conception of the 'Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken' (ZdK).” 

Gehrig also observes a certain “emotionality” in response to those who criticize and question the 2018 sex abuse study that is used by the German bishops as the reason for the synodal path. “The desire for a scientific second opinion [on the sex abuse crisis of the Church] has been rejected with emotional outrage and without factual arguments,” he writes. 

For Gehrig, “the suspicion that the abuse scandal is instrumentalized in order to push through the ‘reform plans’ that have long been cherished under the alleged motive of ‘prevention’ could not yet be refuted.” He also points out that an Internet survey among Catholics showed very little interest in female “ordination.” 

Comments the journalist: “The impression that the ordination of women [sic] is not dealt with theologically but is reduced to a purely power-political question remains an annoyance.” He also notices a “more or less open polemics against ‘conservative’ positions. Platitudes and insinuations against ‘the official church’ are repeated.” 

“A crisis of faith,” he continues, “is not or hardly ever being considered as a possible cause for the whole mess. However, obvious catechetical deficits, even among many of the participants in the discussion, substantiate this suspicion.” He concludes by saying that there is “mainly” talk about “the Church,” “but hardly about Jesus Christ.”

One German source who is close to the situation comments to LifeSite in an ironic tone: “For many, VV1 [the first general assembly] was a celebration. Greatest and brightest hopes are connected with it. Finally we can build a human church. Finally we are being praised in the Süddeutsche and the ZDF [German public-service television broadcaster]. Even the chairman of the Merkel Union [party of Chancellor Angela Merkel] joined the chorus of approval.” 

But he then adds some piercing remarks, comparing this synodal event in Germany with the building of the Tower of Babel: “When the Tower of Babel was built, during the building of the first 40 floors, there was also such determined enthusiasm when they pressed the bricks, they mixed the mortar and they hammered together the framework.”
“One must understand that,” concluded the German source. “So many people have waited for decades to finally trim the Church to the standards of our time.”

For Professor Ulrich Lehner, a German theologian and professor at Notre Dame University, it is obvious that the results of this synodal path which will take place for the next two years are already prepared. He commented on Twitter on this first synodal assembly in Frankfurt, saying: “One could save a lot of time and energy and money if Cardinal Marx would just publish the 'outcome' of the #SynodalWay - after all, it's already written and in his drawer. China could not have organized a synod better.”


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German priests: ‘Synodal path’ is a ‘theological disaster full of falsehood and lies’

The priests state that the promoters of the synodal path 'want a church other than the one founded by Christ.'
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Cardinal Reinhard Marx at the German bishops' 'synodal path' assembly, Jan. 2020. Rudolf Gehrig / CNA Deutsch
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February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A German group of priests called Communio Veritatis has issued on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of Our Lady, a new statement addressing the organizers of the German “synodal path” which just had its first synodal assembly over the weekend in Frankfurt. The authors of the text state that the promoters of the synodal path “want a church other than the one founded by Christ” and they call the synodal path a “pseudo-theological disaster full of falsehood and lies.”

The priestly group criticizes that the different preparatory discussion forums of the synodal path already contained many wrong ideas. The German priests reject, for example, the married priesthood and female ordination, as well as a blessing for homosexual couples, as proposed by the synodal path's documents. 

The group writes: “Since you have obviously lost sight of the Imitation of Christ and of the perspective of eternity, you also do not understand the necessary priestly sign of total surrender to God. As was to be expected, according to your will the Amazon should flow above all through Germany. Therefore you ask: 'Is celibacy the only form of life appropriate to the nature of the priesthood?'”

The authors also remind the organizers of the synodal path of the fact that Pope John Paul II has already, in a definitive manner, ruled out the priestly ordination of women. 

The priestly group also addresses the organizer’s attempt at weakening the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church and at strengthening the influence and power of lay people. Here, the group reminds us of what the Catechism teaches on the fact that the ordained ministers of the Church are the ones called to teach, sanctify, and govern. 

The Catechism states: “The ministerial priesthood is intrinsically different from the common priesthood, since it confers a sacred authority to minister to the faithful. Consecrated ministers exercise their service to the People of God through teaching [munus docendi], worship [munus liturgicum] and pastoral direction [munus regendi]” (CCC 1592). 

Discussing the claims of the organizers of the synodal path about homosexuality, the German priestly group writes that “these desolate demands are in blatant contradiction” to Holy Scripture and the Catechism.
“Based on clear Biblical testimony, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church calls homosexual acts 'a grave depravity' (CCC 2357). Such practices belong to the grave sins that seriously offend chastity (cf. CCC 2396) and are vehemently rejected by Holy Scripture (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:10).”

After their forceful analysis of the grave errors of the organizers of the synodal path, these priests tell the initiators of the synodal path: “You are not servants of truth, but moderators of division! Your agenda is not determined by the light of Christ and His Church, but by the altar of the spirit of the times! Your aspiration is not to devote yourselves to the Kingdom of God, but to build a horizontal man-church!”

The priests conclude their statement with their own commitment to the Church's teaching and with their firm devotion to Our Lady, saying: “All the more we want to be faithful to Christ the Lord, serve the Permanent Magisterium of the Catholic Church and entrust ourselves to the guidance of the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God Mary.”

The priestly group Communio Veritatis was founded in 2018 in light of the Church's crisis, and they expressed, in the same year, their resistance against the Archbishop of Paderborn and his decision to permit Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion. They continue to issue statements against the dilution of the Catholic Faith. For example, in January of 2019, they called upon Cardinal Reinhard Marx to resign, accusing him of “abusing your spiritual office by obviously considering the Church's Sacraments as your personal property which you sacrifice at your own whims on the altar of the Zeitgeist.” Father Frank Unterhalt, the speaker of the group, wrote for LifeSiteNews an essay about the important role of Our Lady in this crisis, pointing out that in his experience as pastor, a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother always fosters a strong faith, frequent confession, and a resilience in these times of disorder.

***

Full text of the statement of the priestly group Communio veritatis:

The Synodal Path Downwards: A Monitum to the Initiators and Participants

The so-called synodal path is a pseudo-theological disaster full of falsehood and lies. The initiators obviously want a church other than the one founded by Christ.

In the working paper of the preparatory forum on “Power and Separation of Powers in the Church” (status of 20 Jan. 2020) it says: “A decisive task is not to bind the power of leadership and decision-making exclusively to consecration and to isolate it from the community of the faithful (communio fidelium), but to situate it well in the whole of the Church, which in all its members is the priestly People of God” (p. 17).

These words show the pernicious hubris with which you regard the Church of the Lord as your own property. Your arrogance expresses the exact opposite of what the Permanent Magisterium of the Catholic Church says:
“Christ established the ecclesiastical hierarchy to feed the people of God in His name. For this purpose he has given it authority. The hierarchy is composed of the ordained ministers: bishops, priests and deacons. By virtue of the Sacrament of Orders, bishops and priests, in exercising their ministry, act in the name and person of Christ the Head” (CCCC 179). “The ministerial priesthood is intrinsically different from the common priesthood, since it confers a sacred authority to minister to the faithful. Consecrated ministers exercise their service to the People of God through teaching [munus docendi], worship [munus liturgicum] and pastoral direction [munus regendi]” (CCC 1592).

You put up for negotiation God's Commandments and want to decide for yourself which morality you consider to be acceptable to the majority, up to date and reasonable.

In doing so, you even invoke a “liturgical appreciation” of same-sex relationships (see working paper of the preparatory forum on “Life in Succesful Relationships”, status of 7 Jan. 2020, p. 19). The bishops, who have on several occasions spoken up in favor of the blessing of homosexual partnerships, receive media-effective support from the left-liberal Politburo of the ZdK-Functionaries [Central Committe of German Catholics, the lay organization which co-hosts the German “synodal path”]. These desolate demands are in blatant contradiction to Holy Scripture and the Catechism:

Based on the clear biblical testimony the Magisterium of the Catholic Church calls homosexual acts “a grave depravity” (CCC 2357). Such practices belong to the grave sins that seriously offend chastity (cf. CCC 2396) and are vehemently rejected by Holy Scripture (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:10).
On your website synodalerweg.de you can also read the hypocritical assertion that the personal significance of sexuality has not been given sufficient attention so far. If one had adopted the Theology of the Body and the doctrine of the Communio personarum of Pope St. John Paul II, one would have to admit the opposite. It is precisely from your ranks that in particular the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio has been deliberately ignored and fought against.
For the Church of the Lord, the nature and meaning of marriage and sexuality do not derive from the spirit of the world, but from God's Revelation:

“Created as man and woman, he has called them in marriage to an intimate communion of life and of mutual love” (CCCC 337). “The conjugal union of husband and wife, founded by the Creator and endowed with its own laws, is by nature directed to the communion and good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children” (CCCC 338).

Since you have obviously lost sight of the Imitation of Christ and of the perspective of eternity, you also do not understand the necessary priestly sign of total surrender to God. As was to be expected, according to your will the Amazon should flow above all through Germany. Therefore you ask: “Is celibacy the only form of life appropriate to the nature of the priesthood?” (working paper of the preparatory forum “Priestly Existence Today”, status of 12 Sep. 2019, p. 3). You sometimes feign a fundamental appreciation of celibacy, only to then actually overturn it by introducing the so-called viri probati [morally proven married men].
In this way you deprive the Church of the precious gift of grace, which the Lord Himself exemplified and entrusted to her, as Pope Benedict XVI confirmed in an impressive manner for our time:

“In union with the great ecclesial Tradition, with the Second Vatican Council and my Predecessors in the Petrine Ministry, I affirm the beauty and the importance of a priestly life lived in celibacy as an expressive sign of total and exclusive dedication to Christ, to the Church and to the Kingdom of God, and consequently confirm its obligatory character for the Latin tradition” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, 24).

The divisive intentions of the initiators are also clearly evident in the area of the ordination of women. In the working paper of the preparatory forum “Women in Ministries and in Offices in the Church” (status of 23 October 2019) it says:
“In view of the question of the ordination of women to priests and bishops the theological arguments are to be reflected upon which are presented in the already existing documents of the Magisterium. Here [...] must be certainly taken into account also the binding character of these doctrinal documents” (p. 12).

With this you suggest that the question of ordination has not yet been finally decided and is, as it were, the subject of a possible negotiation.

It is correct, however, that the answer to this question has already been given irrevocably:
“Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.” (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Ordinatio sacerdotalis, 4).

Even the doubts you deliberately spread about the binding nature of this doctrinal statement have already been emphatically dispelled:

“In view of the Pope's clear teaching act, which is expressly addressed to the whole Catholic Church, all the faithful must give their consent to the teaching contained therein. In this regard, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with papal approval, has presented an official response on the nature of this consent. It is a completely definitive, that is, irrevocable, consent to a doctrine infallibly presented by the Church" (CDF, Response on the doctrine presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis).

On this Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, on which Christ our God is carried into the Temple in the arms of his Immaculate Mother Mary, we say to the initiators of the synodal path:

You are not servants of truth, but moderators of division!

Your agenda is not determined by the light of Christ and His Church, but by the altar of the spirit of the times!

Your aspiration is not to devote yourselves to the Kingdom of God, but to build a horizontal man- church!

All the more we want to be faithful to Christ the Lord, serve the Permanent Magisterium of the Catholic Church and entrust ourselves to the guidance of the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God Mary.

Paderborn, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord 2020

Priestly group Communio veritatis


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Pro-abortion Argentina president receives Holy Communion along with mistress at Vatican

'It was a blatant scandal: Communion was given to a self-affirmed adulterer who is on the point of pushing through legislation to make abortion legal'
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Pope Francis Meets Argentina Republic President Alberto Fernandez and mistress Fabiola Yanez during a private audience at The Vatican on January 31, 2020 in Vatican City. Televisión Pública Noticias / Youtube screen grab
By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Last Friday, January 31st, the divorced pro-abortion president of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, and his concubine both received Holy Communion from Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo during a Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, shortly before meeting with another compatriot, Pope Francis, for a 44-minute talk during which the issue of abortion was avoided.

It was a blatant scandal: Communion was given to a self-affirmed adulterer who is on the point of pushing through legislation to make abortion legal, and who has made this one of his political priorities. Moreover, the sacrilege took place in the very heart of Christendom, with all the publicity associated with such a celebration during a State visit.

For those who still have doubts as to the tangible effects of the message conveyed by Amoris laetitia, the recent official visit of the new peronist Argentinean President Alberto Fernandez will have provided a striking clarification.

The audience with Pope Francis was long and cordial. The Apostolic Exhortation that opens the door to Holy Communion for divorced people engaged in a new “marital” union was given to the presidential couple by the Pope together with all the major documents signed by him during his pontificate, as is the custom. While the Pope insisted on his exhortation Exultate et gaudete about “the call to holiness in today’s world,” the gift of Amoris laetitia, which in a footnote suggests that divorced and “remarried” couples can receive the sacraments under certain circumstances, was particularly apt for the occasion. 

Alberto Fernandez, 61, has been living with the Argentine actress Fabiola Yañez (38) since 2014. Since his election last December, she has moved in together with him at the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires and plays the role of First Lady despite the informal character of their arrangement.

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The Argentinean president married Marcela Luchetti in 1993 and divorced her in 2005, “leaving” a son. Estanislao Fernandez, 24, is now a well-known professional drag queen in Argentina.

From 2005 to 2014, Alberto Fernandez lived with Vilma Ibarra, who has three children of her own.

The meeting of the President and his “girlfriend” with Pope Francis followed a special Mass celebrated by another compatriot, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Videos are available of both moving up to the altar and receiving communion.

Ironically, Pope Francis preached that morning in Santa Marta about those Catholics who go to Mass on Sundays and call themselves Christians but who have “lost their awareness of sin.” He added that these Christians would need someone to tell them the truth, wishing that the Lord would send them a “prophet” who would “give them a little slap” when they let themselves slip “into this atmosphere where everything seems to be allowed.” Incidentally, he referred not to abortionists or adulterers, but to those who pay their servants or agricultural workers badly, according to a well-worn political pattern.

As if that wasn’t enough, the first reading of the day (in the Novus Ordo) of the mass attended by Alberto and Fabiola was the account of the murder of Uriah at the instigation of King David, who coveted his wife, Bathsheba.

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Did the Vatican authorities “discern” about giving communion before inviting the Argentinean presidential couple to a mass specially celebrated for them? One wonders at the role played by what could be called the “Argentinian connection:” the incident included prominent Argentinians – the Pope, the President and his concubine, Sanchez Sorondo – and in the background, the letter of Pope Francis to the bishops of Greater Buenos Aires congratulating them on their interpretation of Amoris laetitia as opening the door to communion for habitual adulterers. “There is no other interpretation,” he wrote in September 2016.

A diplomatic imbroglio also occurred. Shortly after his meeting with Pope Francis, Alberto Fernandez sent his host an angry e-mail asking why the Vatican communiqué about the visit had announced that the subject of abortion had been raised during their meeting. He himself had just expressly stated that this had not been the case during the press conference given at the Argentinean embassy upon his return from the Vatican.

“I’ll have it corrected immediately,” the Pope replied a few minutes later, according to the Argentinean delegation. Fernandez, for his part, specified that the topic of abortion had only been discussed during his meeting with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, who “expressed his concern about this topic, (him) reminding him that the position of the Church is always the defense of life from the moment of conception,” according to the words of the Argentinean president to La Nación.

A new Vatican communiqué was issued, specifying that “not all the themes mentioned in the press release on the audience” with Fernandez “had been raised in all the conversations.”

The message is clear: Pope Francis did not address the subject. This seems to have been agreed upon even before the interview: according to Archbishop Hector Aguer, former archbishop of La Plata, Fernandez told the press on the eve of his meeting with Francis that the issue of abortion would not be raised. This would seem to suggest that there was an agreement on this point prior to the audience.

During his meeting with the press at the embassy, just back from Santa Marta and having taken Communion that same morning, Alberto Fernandez confirmed that he will not back down on the project of legalizing abortion in Argentina; the governmental project will be sent to Parliament on March 1st.

According to the Argentinian media, Fernandez mentioned St. Thomas Aquinas during his meeting with Parolin, telling the Cardinal that the Angelic Doctor was not against abortion “before animation” fetus. He also suggested that if the Catholic Church is losing faithful in Argentina to the evangelicals it is because the evangelicals are against abortion but allow “methods of pregnancy prevention.”

Archbishop Aguer responded on Infocatolica:

The president’s pro-abortion conviction led him, in a letter of 2018, to maintain that Saint Thomas Aquinas admitted the elimination of the embryo before it receives the definitive animation of the rational soul. Since he was obviously unaware of the work of the common Doctor of the Church, he could not realize that even if the latter accepted a progressive animation, and the successive animation with the vegetative, sensitive and rational souls, Thomas recognized the unity and continuity of this process, which is why he affirmed that it was immoral to interrupt it in any of its stages. He taught this in acceptance of the data of Aristotelian biology and the opinion of the scientists of his time, which would be outdated by later discoveries.

Aguer also commented, speaking of Fernandez pro-abortion stance and acts:

Our politicians are moral relativists, and they must think that the Pope is one too. Deputy Valdéz, former ambassador to the Holy See, had already declared that François “would understand.” On the eve of his meeting with the Pope, the president announced that the subject of abortion would not be raised during the conversation; the abominable crime – that is what the Second Vatican Council called abortion – is not a major problem compared to those of poverty, hunger and debt. Could it be so? We have no way of knowing, but can we not think that the Pope would be very saddened if his country of origin joined those who have already included in their legislation the permission to kill unborn children with impunity? And that being the case, did he remind Dr. Fernandez – who identified himself as a Catholic for the occasion – that he would incur a very grave responsibility before God by encouraging such a measure? It is said that the matter was discussed in the Secretariat of State. Will it have any effect? Because it is not the same thing. It is striking that the president has declared himself a son of the Church, that he attended Mass with his girlfriend, that he received Holy Communion from the hands of an Argentinean archbishop. It’s incredible, but between fellow countrymen of the same rank everything is possible after all! One more scandal, among many others…

Archbishop Aguer added:

The crime of abortion has been used by totalitarian regimes and imperialism to prevent population growth in poor countries; it is also a typical aspiration of the bourgeoisie. It’s too bad for the left-wing parties which, in their ideological blindness, do not understand that poor women, in general, do not want to abandon their little child, even if it was conceived against their will. They have a sense of life, of the natural order, that is despised by the comfortable societies of a dehumanized West. Among many Argentine politicians, ideological prejudices have taken precedence over thinking that discovers the truth of being; they ignore or repudiate the metaphysical concept of nature, and therefore cannot grasp the reality that it designates, and the natural order that flows from it.


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Pepsi’s Super Bowl halftime show teaches girls that sexual exploitation is okay

'Moms, are these the kind of shows you want your husbands and sons to watch? Or your daughters to emulate?'
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Colombian singer Shakira performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images
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PETITION: Boycott and Contact Pepsi after raunchy Super Bowl halftime show" Sign the petition here.

February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Parents are expressing their outrage. Religious leaders are expressing their indignation. How dare the NFL (and Pepsi) put on such a raunchy, sexually explicit halftime show on prime time TV, watched by millions of families together. 

But why are we surprised? Why the shock and outrage? The NFL has been doing this for years.

Have we forgotten that almost every NFL team has cheerleaders – women dressed in the scantiest outfits, gyrating and shaking to the delight of the fans, especially the male fans?

This is a regular, expected part of the game. The halftime shows just take things to another level.

As for the halftime shows themselves, while it has been my family’s habit for many years to skip that part of the game, to my knowledge, these shows are often anything but family-friendly.

The infamous “wardrobe malfunction” featuring Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake in 2004 may not have been an accident after all. Either way, that was hardly a family-friendly performance.

What about past performances by Beyoncé or Madonna? Did they sing old American classics while dressed in wholesome outfits? (Right.)

Moms, are these the kind of shows you want your husbands and sons to watch? Or your daughters to emulate?

Speaking of mothers, both Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, the featured performers at the last Super Bowl, are moms themselves, perhaps very devoted moms. And JLo even brought her 11-year-old daughter on stage to perform with her.

But that makes the performance all the more outrageous. A 50-year-old mother in the presence of her daughter, performing on a stripper’s pole? 

With good reason, Rev. Franklin Graham said, “I don’t expect the world to act like the church, but our country has had a sense of moral decency on prime time television in order to protect children. We see that disappearing before our eyes.”

“It was demonstrated tonight in the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show — with millions of children watching. This exhibition was Pepsi showing young girls that sexual exploitation of women is okay. With the exploitation of women on the rise worldwide, instead of lowering the standard, we as a society should be raising it.”

A concerned mother expressed it like this (the language is quite graphic): “The FCC still has rules about decency on network television between certain hours when children are watching. It is well established that children are watching during the Super Bowl. I had to send mine out of the room as soon as Jennifer Lopez took the stage in what looked like a two-sided thong and buttless chaps. The camerawork was outrageously gross, zooming in on Lopez's barely covered crotch, so close that the viewer could see some sort of silver maxi pad sticking out from either side of her way-too-small fraud of a garment. If that thing wasn't riding up between her front-hole lips, then my 6o-inch HDTV television was lying to me, and HD never lies.” 

I totally agree with these sentiments, and I applaud those who have spoken out. But I ask again: why the shock? Was this Super Bowl performance that much worse than past performances? And did we expect JLo and Shakira to sing opera?

The first three Super Bowl halftime shows (years 1967-1969) featured top marching bands from different colleges.

The next show added in performances by Marguerite Piazza, Doc Severinsen, Al Hirt, Lionel Hampton, Carol Channing. (Come to think of it, Piazza was an opera singer. As for Carol Channing, she certainly wasn’t sexually gyrating on the stage.)

By 1974, along with a marching band, there was a performance by Judy Mallette, Miss Texas 1973 – but playing a fiddle.

In 1981, a marching band was still featured, this time with big band singer Helen O’Connell.

Fast forward to 1987, and along with the marching band were funny men George Burns and Mickey Rooney.

1988 was a bit more edgy, this time adding in the Rockettes. But I can assure you that none of them were doing pole dances.

Even in 1992, there was still a featured marching band, and some of the songs performed by guests included, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”

1993, however, featured Michael Jackson, and quickly, the trend was changing.

One of the featured performers in 2001 was Britney Spears. 

2004 also featured Jessica Simpson, together with the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.

2011 had the Black Eyed Peas, not exactly known for family-friendly performances.

In 2012, it was Madonna and Nicki Minaj.

In 2013, Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child. (Beyoncé was back in 2016.)

In 2015, Katy Perry sang, “I Kissed a Girl.”

And Lady Gaga’s 2017 performance was celebrated as a major moment in LGBT activism.

But this is just the Super Bowl. What about the music videos that young children have been watching for decades. I doubt that anything that JLo and Shakira did during the Super Bowl is any worse than the normal fare many young Americans have grown up with. No big deal, right? 

There have been scandalous, sexually explicit, virtually nude videos airing 24/7 for many years now. And, to repeat, many American children, even younger than pre-teens, have cut their teeth on this trash. How many crotch-grabbing scenes have they witnessed over the years? Why, then, are we so surprised to see a glimpse of it during the Super Bowl?

Our culture today celebrates prostitution. Glorifies strippers. Idolizes porn stars. (Just think of the cable-TV shows featuring these subjects, and in a positive light at that.)

What happened during Super Bowl LIV was just the latest manifestation of the moral downgrading of our society. When will we wake up?

For my part, I’m not damning the performers as if they are especially evil people. No, I see them as being just like the rest of us: gifted but fallen human beings in need of redemption. And they may be involved in many good and noble causes.

Today is the day for repentance and confession and self-examination. Today is the day to plead for mercy on our fallen and debased culture.

And what does it say of a nation when a 50-year-old mother is celebrated for her pole-dancing agility and a former governor and presidential candidate tweets, “Best Super Bowl half time show ever!”? What does it say?

Making things even worse is that all this has taken place in a climate of increased awareness for the victims of accused sexual predators like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein, men who allegedly exploited women as sex objects.

What does it say of our culture, of our nation, of our morals?

It says that we really, urgently, desperately need awakening and revival.

God have mercy.


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Amazon pagans are plagued by evil spirits. Only Christ can help them

When pagan cultures accept Christianity, they are not immediately cured of all their woes, but they are given immensely powerful spiritual tools.
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Manaus, Amazon / Brazil - August 06, 2011: Indigenous man making body paintings on a man at a Dessana indigenous community on a river island near from Manaus city. shutterstock.com
Joseph Shaw By Joseph Shaw

Joseph Shaw By Joseph Shaw
By Dr. Joseph Shaw

January 31, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The ancient Greek historian Herodotus records a story about a young man who caused the accidental death of his brother. Fleeing from home, he was taken in by a king who performed the necessary rite of purification and took him into his own household. One day, out hunting with the king’s son, the young man accidentally caused the prince’s death. In despair, he took his own life.

What is the moral of this story? The king’s act of kindness was misjudged; the rite of purification was not sufficiently powerful; those whom the gods have chosen to afflict cannot be helped. Perhaps the young man had inadvertently offended some deity, a common occurrence in Greek myth. You can’t be too careful: Works and Days by Hesiod attempts to summarize omens and auspicious and inauspicious days for everything from getting married to planting beans. The result is a mind-boggling collection of material that, if taken seriously, would control one’s every action, with no guarantee of success. This is what life under paganism was like in ancient Europe, and it was to this world that the Church’s sacraments and spirituality were first directed.

When pagan cultures accept Christianity, they are not immediately cured of all their woes, but they are given immensely powerful spiritual tools. In a recent article in the Catholic Herald (Jan. 24 — not, alas, online), Dr. Daniel J. Dolley, a social anthropologist who studied a community close to the Amazon region, described the effect of this group accepting Catholicism five centuries ago.

I discovered in Ecuador that, despite all the religious indifference of the previous 50 years, the arrival of the Church was seared into the collective memory as a transformative turning point in the community’s history. It was the moment at which the spirits retreated, the distance between humans and animals increased, and the dead began to lie peacefully in the grave.

Again:

A great many animals in Amazonia, like the spirits of the forest and rivers, exist in a state of predatory competition with humans: they are seen as potential enemies. There is no Amazonian equivalent of St Francis. Their relationship with the dead before the arrival of Christianity was characterized by still more intense animosity and terror. The old stories they tell recount how the dead used to return from the grave to harass and kill the living, how animals used to take on human form and fatally disrupt society, how vampiric spirits would descend upon people’s houses forcing them to flee for their lives.

The kind of Catholicism that helped this community, as it helped European pagans long ago, was a Catholicism of sacraments, blessings, ritual, and Latin. Dolley notes how the pagan shamans use rituals and spiritually charged objects, resorting on occasion to a sacred language unknown to ordinary people, and to periods of celibacy during intense periods of communion with spirits.

In the implicit competition of spiritual power between priests and the shamans, the former had several advantages.

Of vital importance in the Church’s mission in Amazonia is the fact that, unlike that of the shaman, the priest’s power is not dependent upon a potentially malevolent spiritual helper. Furthermore, it does not (or at least should not) come at a cost. Another difference is that the protection offered by a shaman is temporary, provisional and unreliable; it is always vulnerable to the shaman’s caprice, to challenge from another shaman or from a more powerful spirit. By contrast, that which is offered by the priest is far more durable, definitive and unambiguously benevolent.

This phenomenon is not limited to the indigenous peoples of South America. I have written elsewhere about the appeal of traditional Catholic spirituality and liturgy to the peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa, and to the traditional religious sensibility of China and the Islamic world. A cynic might suggest that the Church is offering traditional societies a more powerful form of superstition, but when Dr. Dolley’s community identifies baptism, for example, as having “exorcistic” power, the community is perfectly correct. Particularly in its traditional form, the Rite of Baptism makes very clear that it exorcises the candidate, because the Church teaches that without baptism, mankind is in the power of Satan.

It is not, indeed, just what these peoples get wrong that leads them to the Church; it is what they get right. If, as Pope Francis has urged us, we are to learn from them, we must allow ourselves to be reminded that the fallen world is full of spiritual dangers. Pope John Paul II wrote in praise of Africans what could equally be applied to traditional societies elsewhere: of their “sense of the sacred,” “of a spiritual world,” and “the need for rites of purification and expiation” (Ecclesia in Africa [1995], 42).

Dr. Dolley notes:

If the changes advocated by some participants in the Amazon synod were to be implemented, they would amount, ironically, to one more kind of spiritual colonization, in this instance by a Western ideological agenda whose end, as we are seeing in the West, is ultimately secular, materialistic and spiritually destructive. It is also entirely alien to the spiritual traditions of the peoples of Amazonia.


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Child rapist ‘having the time of his life’ preparing for women’s prison after claiming to be trans

At age 17, Michael Williams raped and tortured a 13-year-old girl. Now 32, he says he's a woman.
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Jonathon Van Maren By Jonathon Van Maren

Jonathon Van Maren By Jonathon Van Maren
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By Jonathon Van Maren

February 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – There were, understandably, quite a few readers who read my column last week on a convicted pedophile who was released after identifying as a woman with no small measure of incredulousness. The story seems unbelievable, and even though I cited multiple other examples of similar incidents, some people simply do not believe that the transgender phenomenon can lead to this level of cultural insanity.

Unfortunately, another example of this new reality turned up in the Toronto Sun only a few days later in a story broken by Brad Hunter. Convicted child sex killer Michael Williams, a “psychopathic” and “horrendous” murderer who earned the nickname “Pyro” after attempting to set a dying victim on fire, has discovered the fact that he, like many other male prisoners convicted of brutal crimes against women, can play the transgender card—and our government and prison authorities will literally be obligated by their ideology to treat him as a woman.

For context, Williams was one of several perpetrators who raped 13-year-old Nina Courtepatte at a golf course near Edmonton when he was 17. After the rape, the young girl was strangled, stabbed, and then smashed to death with a hammer, at which point, Williams earned his nickname by attempting to set her alight. 

His crimes were so heinous that even Canada’s soft-touch criminal justice system handed down an adult sentence of prison for life, with Judge Franklin noting that: “She died in the darkness of night on a cold, hard field without any comfort but rather in the company of Michael Williams and others who tormented, beat and raped her in a vicious and senseless act of violence…Michael Williams seemingly felt nothing.”

Now 32 years old, Williams has announced that he is joining Canada’s transgender community. According to Hunter: “Prison sources told The Toronto Sun he is having the time of his life…Williams self-identifies as a woman although one source said his nod to the fairer sex is cursory at best. ‘He is now sitting in segregation at Kent awaiting transfer to FVI (Fraser Valley Institute women’s prison),’ one source said. ‘He was at FVI before but got transferred back to Kent because he got caught having sexual relations with female inmates.’”

In fact, Williams isn’t even attempting to actually “change his gender,” because today’s trans activists demand that we believe somebody is precisely what they say they are, despite any and all evidence to the contrary. Williams has donned a bra and a crop-top to make his “transition” somewhat convincing, but “only takes hormone replacement therapy drugs two weeks a month so he can maintain an erection.” No sane person, of course, needs to ask what he needs that for as he heads to a female prison. And as the Toronto Sun reported earlier, “the criteria for a male jailbird to declare themselves trans is woefully thin. Five questions. That’s it.”

It’s not as if Williams has been a model prisoner, either. He’s been shuttled around the prison system several times for what has been dubbed “maladaptive behavior,” and the Sun reported that he was “determined to be at high risk to offend violently…I fear for the women that will soon be [exposed] to him. We need to stop this.” Williams, of course, is playing the “transphobia” card and claiming that he’s being victimized in men’s prison because of his transgender identity. His cause has attracted the attention of one of Canada’s most notorious activists:

In a tweet, trans activist Morgane Oger characterized a trio of sex assaults allegedly committed by Williams as “false allegations.” Oger encouraged the sex killer to seek a transfer to FVI which has reportedly been turned down. She tweeted: “Trans women are simply unsafe in men’s prisons.”

At Williams’ 2007 murder trial, Judge Janet Franklin noted that he may not feel remorse for decades.

In case it was unclear, Michael Williams, a child rapist who tortured his victim before she finally died, is the “trans woman” that Oger feels is “unsafe” in the men’s prison he ended up in for brutalizing a 13-year-old girl. Williams is now heading for a prison where women will find themselves locked in with a cruel man who is enacting a laughable charade that pathetic ideologues are forced to play along with because they have bowed to the transgender agenda and now cannot find a way to stop awful things from happening. Women will probably get hurt. We know this. 

But according to trans activists like Morgane Oger, this child rapist is a woman, too. 

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 Brian Fisher of Human Coalition about the innovative way Human Coalition has saved over 14,500 babies from abortion. Fisher became involved with a pregnancy resource center as a donor and volunteer over 20 years ago. Quickly, Fischer began using his business experience and way of looking at everything to evaluate the pro-life movement. 

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:


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