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News

Abortion facility gets damning govt review, management deemed ‘inadequate’

This is the first abortion facility in the United Kingdom to be ranked 'inadequate' by the Care Quality Commission.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 8:03 pm EST
Featured Image
Marek Valovic / Shutterstock.com
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

February 6, 2020 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — An abortion clinic in Streatham run by BPAS has been rated as “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission, and is the first abortion facility in the country to be ranked as “inadequate” on one criterion (leadership).

“This is the worst rating we’ve seen a clinic get,” said Alithea Williams, Campaigns and Parliamentary assistant at SPUC. “This clinic, which is commissioned by the NHS to kill thousands of babies a year, cannot even get things like staff training and competency correct. It is unacceptable that women’s safety is being put at risk in this way.”

Safe and caring?

When the CQC rates abortion clinics, it asks if they are they safe, effective, caring, responsive to people's needs and well-led. In its report, published 29 January 2020, the CQC said that the Streatham clinic required improvement on safety, effectiveness, and responsiveness, while “well-led” was rated as inadequate. Ratings were introduced in September 2017.

Among the issues highlighted in the report were:

  • Staff who had not completed immediate life support training, sepsis training, or medicine management training
  • Some staff had insufficient safeguarding training
  • Not all equipment was in good working order or had been calibrated
  • The service did not always manage patient safety incidents well. Staff did not always report incidents
  • Patients were not offered the choice to take the second pill of a medical abortion in the clinic
  • Local leaders did not always have the skills and abilities to run the service

Untrained staff

Much of the report focuses on personnel, saying that “the service did not always make sure staff were competent for their roles.” It goes on: “We found one staff record where certain competencies for the role they were employed for had not been signed off since they started the organisation over three years ago.”

The report is particularly damning about the clinic’s leadership, rating it as inadequate. It said that “local leaders did not always have the skills and abilities to run the service”, and “staff did not always feel respected, supported and valued” and “risks were not always fully identified, and actions taken to reduce their impact”.

Culture of blame and harassment

A negative culture was also reported by staff. The report says: “Most staff we spoke with, told us they felt the culture was reactive rather than proactive, with a culture of blame and harassment and this had created an unsupportive and demoralising environment at the centre.”

Alithea Williams said: “It is not surprising that a clinic that kills thousands of unborn babies a year, especially one that specialises in late-term abortions, should prove a difficult place to work.”

Choice?

Miss Williams also questioned the focus on the way in which home use of abortion pills is being handled by BPAS. The report states: “The clinic had recently started to offer to patients the home use of misoprostol. However, we found women were not offered the choice of returning to the clinic to take the second tablet if they wanted to.”

This is the second time in months that a BPAS clinic has been rated as inadequate. A September report on the Merseyside clinic found a catalogue of safety abuses, and the CQC were actually contacted by the local NHS trust in March 2018, “who raised concerns regarding the frequency of patients coming to them from BPAS Merseyside.”

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.


  abortion, bpas, care quality commission, united kingdom

News

Spanish abortion association may lose public funds after court rules it falsely advertised

The Association of Voluntary Pregnancy Interruption Clinics of Spain must post on their website the court’s judgement and pay for the cost of the trial.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 8:03 pm EST
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Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

MADRID, Spain, February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A court has sanctioned Spanish abortionists for deceptive advertising, putting their public funding at risk.

According to the Association of Christian Attorneys of Spain (Abogados Cristianos), the Court of the Province of Oviedo has ruled that Association of Voluntary Pregnancy Interruption Clinics of Spain (ACAI) made deceptive claims on its website about abortion. The court demanded ACAI post on their website the court’s judgement and pay for the cost of the trial.

ACAI was ordered to never repeat the false advertising.

In a statement, the Christian attorneys’ guild declared that they “will continue the process so that public funding is withdrawn from the clinics.” Polonia Castellanos, president the guild, greeted the ruling, saying that “justice has been done against an organization that, to benefit, has lied to many women encouraging them to abort as if they were free from serious consequences.” She emphasized that “public aid must be destined to mothers who have few resources and not to abortion employers who only seek money in the suffering of others.”

A graphic on the lawyers’ website said that ACAI stands “convicted of lying to women about abortion.”

Among the 28 abortion centers associated with and benefiting by advertising with ACAI are: Dator Clinic, El Bosque, Belladona, Pacific, Isadora, Buenavista, Ginesur, Gynecological Callao, Retreat Polyclinic, Casanova, Ginemur, Poliplanning, Actur or Triana Clinic. Dator Clinic of Madrid was the first abortion facility to operate legally in Spain. 

The Association of Christian Attorneys had been recently defeated in other provincial courts when it had sued ACAI. The abortionists’ group has announced that it will appeal the Oviedo court’s judgment before Spain’s Supreme Court, noting that the Superior Court of Justice of the province of Asturias ruled in favor of the Belladona and Buenavista abortionists in that region. The Association of Christian Attorneys had sued the abortionists on grounds similar to those in the Oviedo case. 

Christian Attorneys of Spain is circulating a petition which calls on the 17 autonomous communities and provinces of Spain to end the public subsidies for the ACAI abortion facilities. As of 2018, taxpayers funded 100 percent of abortions in Spain, to the tune of more than 34 million euros (approximately $37.5 million USD) that year. 

Currently, there is only one pro-life political party in Spain’s congress. The populist VOX party has condemned parties of the right and left for failing to defend life in the womb, and the right of parents to make decisions about sex education and LGBT agenda in public schools. 

VOX has been condemned by Spain’s PODEMOS party and other leftist groupings for its pro-Christian positions. It recently faced a crippling sanction imposed by Twitter, which forbade VOX from making new posts on its Twitter account. This came when VOX accused the current Socialist government of promoting pedophilia by introducing LGBT curriculum in public schools. VOX denounced the sanction and has not removed the offending post. Its account remains suspended.

In an email to LifeSiteNews, VOX national deputy Francisco José Contreras Peláez, who is also an author and professor of law at the University of Seville, declared that even while women are also the victims of abortion, “the culture of death is so strong and domineering that abortion is the only surgical procedure for which no adequate information is given about risks. VOX is the only Spanish political party that defends life from conception until natural death. We are opposed to abortion and euthanasia: the latter of which will be the great anthropological-moral battle of this Congress.” 


  abortion, spain, vox party

News

Canadian politician threatens therapists: ‘We will come at you’ if you help people leave homosexuality

A Canadian сity сouncilor has threatened to 'bring teeth' if anyone practices 'conversion therapy' in Calgary.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 7:15 pm EST
Featured Image
Councilor Evan Woolley of Calgary's City Council. Evan Woolley / YouTube
Anthony Murdoch
By Anthony Murdoch

CALGARY, February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Canadian сity сouncilor has threatened to “bring teeth” if anyone practices “conversion therapy” in his city after the City Council voted unanimously to ban the practice, which helps those wanting to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction.

The City of Calgary’s Coun. Evan Woolley said the city will go after those who offer “conversion therapy,” saying, “We will bring teeth” and adding, “If you are practicing this in our city, we will come at you with everything that we’ve got.”

The Calgary City Council passed a motion (see page 801) titled “Banning Conversion Therapy” at a council meeting on Monday. The motion was first brought to Calgary City Council in mid-January, when the Council’s Priorities and Finance Committee unanimously voted in favor of proceeding with the motion. The ban means that organizations that offer any type of “conversion therapy” could face steep fines.

A bylaw is now being drafted to impose fines on anyone who offers or advertises any type of “conversion therapy.” The motion includes a request to the Canadian federal and provincial governments to put similar laws in place. 

Critics say the move comes with potential consequences to the religious freedom of various groups whose faith teaches them that homosexuality is a disorder.

There was a small counter-protest against the motion at Calgary City Hall from members of Journey Canada. They said that while they are not outright opposed to the ban, the new bylaw’s wording should avoid language that could “infringe on religious freedoms.” The bylaw’s exact language will be discussed later in the year at a council committee meeting.

Journey Canada believes that marriage is between a man and a women, as said here on the group’s website: “To receive the gift of sex in a way that is most life-giving and joyful, it is reserved for marriage, which is undertaken by one man and one woman together as a life-long journey toward greater intimacy, mutual spiritual maturity, and self-giving love.”

Canada’s pro-life, pro-family organization Campaign Life Coalition holds that “conversion therapy” bans are a disservice to those with unwanted same-sex attraction who want legitimate help and that they also constitute a direct attack on religious freedom. 

Calgary’s ban mimics what prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau is hoping to achieve Canada-wide. He fully supports independent Senator Serge Joyal’s Bill S-202. This bill would make it an indictable offense, punishable by up to five years in jail, should anyone benefit materially or financially, directly or indirectly, from the provision of “conversion therapy” for anyone under 18 years of age. 

Calgary joins other Alberta cities — Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, and Fort McMurray — in banning “conversion therapy.” The southern Alberta city of Medicine Hat is also looking at a “conversion ban” of its own; however, there does not seem to be a consensus among its councilors.

Medicine Hat councilor Jim Turner was quoted as saying, “I honestly don’t think it’s a city issue. I think it’s better left to the province or federal government. It’s a question of how do you enforce it.”

Another Medicine Hat city councilor, Kris Samraj, said he feels that more study is required and that he is against banning faith-based counseling: “I don’t condone it, but it would really depend on the details.”

“If an adult wants faith-based counseling, I’m not in a position to tell them what to do.”

Alberta justice minister Doug Schweitzer promised in August of 2019 that his United Conservative Party government is against the practice. He said he will work with the Canadian federal government under pro-abortion prime minister Justin Trudeau to help come up with ways to ban it.

Until the Canadian federal government and Alberta provincial government officially pass such laws as a Criminal Code offense, which looks likely, there is not much leverage a city government can rely on in terms of full enforcement.

Even Coun. Woolley admitted that the “conversion therapy” ban is largely symbolic.

To respectfully express your concerns, contact:

Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Office of the Mayor, The City of Calgary
P.O. Box 2100, Station M
Calgary, AB, T2P 2M5

Phone 403-268-5622

https://www.calgary.ca/citycouncil/mayor/Pages/contact.aspx


  calgary, conversion therapy, conversion therapy bans, evan woolley, homosexuality, lgbt tyranny, reparative therapy

News

Gay Scottish politician who backed pro-LGBT school programs caught grooming 16-year-old online

Finance Secretary Derek MacKay stepped down after his conversations with the teen were disclosed.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 6:21 pm EST
Featured Image
Derek Mackay. Scottish Government / YouTube
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

EDINBURGH, Scotland, February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Scotland’s Finance Secretary, a firm supporter of LGBT education for schools, stepped down in the wake of allegations that he attempted to groom a 16-year-old boy over the internet.

Police are asking the public to come forward with any information pertaining to the scandal.

Derek MacKay, 42, was considered a possible successor to Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. He has now been suspended from the ruling Scottish National Party, and his political future is uncertain.

A story about the Finance Secretary appeared in the Scottish Sun this morning, carrying transcripts of MacKay’s texted conversations with the teenager over Facebook and Instagram. The then-Finance Secretary contacted the young man several times between August 2019 and February 1, 2020.  

In his most blatant messages, the politician complimented the boy’s haircut and said, “To be honest, I think you are really cute.”  

The texts make it clear that MacKay knew the boy was only 16, that the boy knew MacKay was a powerful politician, and that the boy did not reciprocate the Finance Secretary’s interest. There were multiple days in which McKay’s invitations to chat went unanswered. 

In September, MacKay asked the boy if he followed Scottish rugby games, and when the boy said he did, MacKay suggested that they go to one together. He may have disclosed to the boy that he was homosexual. The boy told the Sun that McKay erased that message, but the newspaper published the boy’s reply, which was “As long as your not trying anything with me I don’t mind u being gay.” 

Subsequently, MacKay continued to try to engage the boy’s interest with chat about rugby and suggested that the boy come along to a reception for rugby players in Scottish parliament. He eventually complimented the boy on his haircut. 

In a statement today, the disgraced politician said, "I take full responsibility for my actions. I have behaved foolishly and I am truly sorry.”

"I apologise unreservedly to the individual involved and his family. I spoke last night to the First Minister and tendered my resignation with immediate effect.”

In 2013, MacKay separated from his wife and announced that he was homosexual. He is also a supporter of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) initiative for Scottish schools. The TIE program is meant to include LGBT ideology throughout school curricula. 

Richard Lucas, the leader of the pro-life Scottish Family Party, told LifeSiteNews that MacKay’s support for TIE and behavior may be linked. 

“It’s yet another example of someone who is influencing education in Scotland, and it turns out that their personal values are less than positive,” he said. 

The timing of the revelations is particularly bad for the Scottish National Party. MacKay was supposed to deliver Scotland’s budget today, a major event on the parliamentary calendar. Also, the SNP’s former leader, and Scotland’s former First Minister, Alex Salmond will be tried on sexual assault charges in March. 

Scotland’s interim Conservative leader, Jackson Carlaw, demanded that MacKay step down as the Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Renfrewshire North and West and read the definition of “grooming.” He asked First Minister Sturgeon what assurances there were that this is the “only example” of MacKay’s “unacceptable behavior.” 


  alec salmond, derek mackay, finance secretary, homosexuality, jackson carlaw, lgbt, nicola sturgeon, scotland, scottish national party, scottish parliament, time for inclusive education

News

US govt foots $700,000 bill to blanket poor African country with condoms

Ninety percent of condoms in Eswatini are procured with funding from the U.S. government.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 5:58 pm EST
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Martin Bürger Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. government has thrown its financial support behind the “National Condom Strategy” of Eswatini in Africa with a $700,000 grant. 

Formerly known as Swaziland, the small kingdom in the southern part of Africa had launched a “National Condom Strategy” in 2017 in order to combat HIV/AIDS and prevent “unintended pregnancies.” The Jan. 30 USAID grant announcement explained that currently “90 percent of public sector condoms are procured with funding provided by the (U.S. government) through its President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, and the remainder by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).”

Through that funding, condoms are distributed “to health facilities, and some civil society partners, which distribute them to target populations.” More condoms are given “to retail outlets, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other partners.”

As the grant announcement continues, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) “intends to consolidate its support for condom promotion resources to coordinate and target promotion of condom use.”

In the future, the U.S. government intends to shift its support of the Eswatini’s “National Condom Strategy” toward “a more sustainable, equitable, and market-based approach that will improve access to male and female condoms and lubricants.”

The goal is “to improve coordination, increase commodity security, increase demand and access, and improve correct and consistent utilization of condoms, with a particular focus on youth and males.”

In Eswatini, a small absolute monarchy surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique, 69 percent of the population lived below the poverty line in 2006. The life expectancy is only 58 years.

An enormous part of the population has contracted HIV/AIDS. First reported in the country in 1986, HIV/AIDS has since spread widely. According to data provided by USAID, the percentage of adults ages 15 to 49 living with HIV/AIDS in 2018 is more than 27 percent. More than 60 percent of those are women.

In its 46-page “National Condom Strategy,” the Eswatini government claims that “condom use is an important biomedical intervention for HIV, Family Planning (FP) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) prevention.”

Even though, according to USAID, homosexual relations are illegal in the country, the “National Condom Strategy” mentions homosexuals among the parts of society that need to be targeted by the government program: “Key populations such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, their clients, and their partners have the highest incidence of HIV.”

Judicial Watch has pointed out that the U.S. government, in its support for the “National Condom Strategy,” is also supporting a corrupt government, stating that King Mswati “leads an openly posh lifestyle and has 15 wives, according to an African news report that lists all their names.” 

Judicial Watch continued, “He is also a renowned violator of human rights who has been blasted by various international groups over the years. Just last month, Eswatini’s National Commissioner of Police announced that social media critics of the king will be hunted down and arrested. Around the same time, human rights advocates were arrested for denouncing King Mswati’s oppressive, dictator-like policies.”

LifeSiteNews has reported in the past that condoms cannot guarantee prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS. Rene Bullecer, a doctor who has treated many victims of the disease, said at a conference in 2015, “The reality is that condoms cannot guarantee protection from HIV/AIDS, despite what their promoters say. There is no such thing as ‘safe sex,’ especially when one engages in behavior that is known to spread the disease. If condoms really are the solution, how is it that HIV cases worldwide are still on the rise — especially among active homosexuals?”

Bullecer explained that while Thailand focused on providing condoms when HIV/AIDS started spreading aggressively, the Philippines, which are a predominantly Catholic country, looked toward abstinence and fidelity in marriage as the solution. Thailand’s AIDS epidemic only worsened and the Philippines has seen one of the lowest AIDS rates in the world.

On a trip to Africa in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI said in an interview that HIV/AIDS “is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.”

Edward C. Green, then director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, said at the time that evidence confirms that Benedict was correct in his assessment that condom distribution exacerbates the problem of AIDS. 

"The pope is correct, or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments," Green said. 

"There is," Green added, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’ such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology."

Pope Benedict XVI later explained in his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus, which was published in 2011, that the problem goes deeper than a mere “medical and pharmaceutical response.” While necessary, the problem, according to Benedict, is first and foremost an ethical problem.

The former Pope stated, “The change of behavior that it requires – for example, sexual abstinence, rejection of sexual promiscuity, fidelity within marriage – ultimately involves the question of integral development, which demands a global approach and a global response from the Church. For if it is to be effective, the prevention of AIDS must be based on a sex education that is itself grounded in an anthropology anchored in the natural law and enlightened by the word of God and the Church’s teaching.”

Feb. 7, correction: An earlier version of this report stated HIV/AIDS was first reported in Swaziland, now Eswatini, in 1968, whereas it was 1986. LifeSiteNews regrets this error. 


  abstinence, africa, aids, benedict xvi, eswatini, hiv, judicial watch, national condom strategy, south africa, us government, usaid

News

Missionary Franklin Graham blackballed from multi-city UK tour for views on homosexuality

The American Protestant evangelist has now been dropped from every venue originally booked to host his U.K. tour on account of his Bible-based teachings on sexuality.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 5:55 pm EST
Featured Image
Franklin Graham. Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

NEWCASTLE, England, February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — American Protestant evangelist Franklin Graham has now been dropped from every venue originally booked to host his U.K. tour on account of his Bible-based teachings on sexuality.

Utilita Arena in Newcastle was the seventh hall to cancel the Christian missionary’s “Message of Hope” tour. The decision, announced yesterday, followed a campaign against Graham’s Newcastle visit by LGBT lobbyists and Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes.

When the arena dropped the booking, Forbes expressed his satisfaction and accused Franklin Graham, the son of the world-famous evangelist Billy Graham, of teaching hate. 

“Pastor Graham peddles controversial, repulsive views about LGBT people which are in direct conflict with the values we hold dear in Newcastle,” said the Labor politician.

“The vast number of individuals, organizations, and communities that supported my call for the show to be scrapped shows that Newcastle is a city that will not accept hate speech in any form,” he continued.

“This is reflected in many other towns and cities across the country who have also stepped forward to cancel these shows.”

The City Council chief thanked Utilita Arena and its owners, ASM Global, for “making the correct decision.”

“Newcastle is a safe city and a place where people are accepted and welcomed for who they are,” Forbes added.

He also said people in Newcastle can now “come together and look forward to hosting U.K. Pride here this summer.”

According to the Newcastle Chronicle, over 5,600 people signed a petition asking Utilita Arena to cancel Graham’s booking. 

Franklin Graham has denied that he is coming to Britain to “bring hateful speech.”

“I am coming to share the Gospel, which is the Good News that God loves the people of the U.K., and that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us from our sins,” he stated on January 27.

Graham originally planned to appear in eight British cities this year: Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, and London. Apparently, there had not yet been a venue booked for the London October date. LGBT activists, including elected representatives in local (municipal) governments, have succeeded in getting the Christian barred from all his planned British venues.

Not everyone in Britain is onboard with Graham’s deplatforming. Last week, the Glasgow City Council joined a successful LGBT campaign to get Graham’s one Scottish venue to drop him. Later this month, they will discover that this was not universally popular among Scots.

“We’re going to have a little demonstration outside the Glasgow City Chambers,” Richard Lucas, leader of the Scottish Family Party, told LifeSiteNews.

“This is an attack on freedom of religion.”

At the same time, Lucas is delighted to have the anti-Christian bias of elected officials so blatantly expressed because “it’s bringing it home to many people.”

Lucas also believes that virtue-signaling city councillors have no idea that people think differently from how they do.

“They live in such a bubble,” he said  

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association U.K. has reported “torrents of support” for the reviled preacher and posted some of the messages.

A religious organization in Scotland called the Glasgow cancellation “regrettable and alarming.”

“Covenant Fellowship Scotland, which represents hundreds of Church of Scotland ministers, elders, and members across the country, believes the decision of the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) and its majority shareholder, Glasgow City Council, not to host the American evangelist Franklin Graham at the Hydro, to be deeply regrettable and alarming, and calls on all parties to reverse the decision in the name of religious tolerance and the right to freedom of speech and expression,” it said.

Newcastle native Dr. Alan Fimister, professor of theology at St. John Vianney Seminary in Colorado, expressed his opinion of his city’s Graham-haters in scriptural terms.

Sicut non probaverunt Deum habere in notitia, tradidit illos Deus in reprobum sensum, ut faciant ea quae non conveniunt,” Fimister told LifeSiteNews.

“As they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28).

The Billy Graham Foundation, which is organizing Franklin Graham’s tour, says the missionary will still be appearing in Britain on the planned dates, but the foundation is still looking for replacement venues.

To respectfully express your views, please contact:

Glasgow – The SSE Hydro:

[email protected]

Newcastle – Utilita Arena:

[email protected]

Sheffield – FlyDSA Arena:

[email protected]

Milton Keynes – Marshall Arena:

[email protected]

Liverpool – ACC Liverpool:

[email protected]

Cardiff – ICC Wales:

[email protected]

Birmingham – Arena Birmingham:

[email protected]


  christianity, franklin graham, homosexuality, lgbt propaganda, united kingdom

News

Doctor who promotes ‘terminal sedation’ of sick patients to keynote LA Archdiocese end-of-life conference

Euthanasia opponents warn that 'terminal sedation' is essentially euthanasia by another name. 
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 5:45 pm EST
Featured Image
Dr. Ira Byock End Well / Youtube screen grab
By Martin Barillas

LOS ANGELES, February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-Planned Parenthood doctor who promotes “terminal sedation” of sick patients will give a keynote address on Feb. 7 at a Catholic conference on end-of-life issues run by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where Jose Gomez is archbishop.

Gomez is also the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Ira Byock MD is scheduled to speak on Friday at the "Caring for the Whole Person" conference at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. In a 2000 paper on “intractable terminal suffering,” Byock defended the use of “terminal sedation and voluntary refusal of food and fluids” as a way of dealing with “severe and unacceptable” suffering. 

Euthanasia opponents warn that “terminal sedation” is essentially euthanasia by another name. 

Catholic thinker Roberto de Mattei has called “deep sedation” a “masked form” of euthanasia, where a doctor deliberately kills a patient. Such sedation, he said, “causes the death of the patient, either directly, through sedative drugs or through the interruption of life-saving measures.” This kind of sedation, said de Mattei, “is not a temporary therapy to alleviate pain, but a permanent condition, of no return, which is similar to that of an irreversible coma.” 

“Those who choose deep sedation perform an act with which they choose to snuff out irrevocably the light of reason and will, to immerse themselves in a deep and definitive sleep, which is difficult to distinguish from death,” he continued. “However, if it is not licit to take one’s life, will it be licit to deliberately renounce the exercise of the soul’s faculties, which are an immense good received from God?” he added. 

Dr. Byock is the founder and board member of the Institute for Human Caring, which is a part of the Providence healthcare organization, which manages a number of Catholic hospitals in California. He has been involved in controversial organizations that advocate suicide and denial of food and water for patients with terminal illness. He claims to be an opponent of what he calls physician-assisted suicide. He calls himself a “registered Democrat and progressive” who supports “women's rights, Planned Parenthood, gay marriage.” 

The Caring for the Whole Person conference is billed by the archdiocese as an initiative by bishops and the Catholic healthcare systems in California to provide support and referrals to families facing the suffering, sickness or terminal illness of loved ones. Clergy, “ministers to the sick,” and others are invited to attend. Archbishop Gomez and Dr. Byock are among the three keynote speakers at the event.

Emails from LifeSiteNews to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles went unanswered. 

Ron Panzer, president of Hospice Patients Alliance (HPA), told LifeSiteNews that he was shocked to see that Byock has been invited to speak at the conference. 

“As you know, Byock promotes terminal sedation to death in hospice, voluntary stopping of eating and drinking to commit suicide in hospice, and is a self-described secular humanist who supports enthusiastically Planned Parenthood, abortion, gay marriage and calls himself ‘Pro-life’ because he opposes legalized assisted suicide,” he said. 

Panzer said that Dr. Byock is one of the most influential hospice and palliative care physicians in the country, having been involved in the hospice industry for over 40 years. According to Panzer, Byock merged Choice in Dying (the successor to the Euthanasia Society of America) into Partnership for Caring. All of these have been succeeded by the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization

HPA has pointed out that the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (which brings together hospice agencies) is also a successor of the Euthanasia Society of America. Coincidently, Byock is also scheduled to appear as keynote speaker at the annual conference of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in October.

Panzer told LifeSiteNews that Byock “is the guy who took the wonderful, life-affirming pro-life mission of hospice and brought the euthanasia people directly into the hospice movement. And he has personally tainted the industry. In 1997, he wrote the book Dying Well, which is euthanasia.” 

In the book, Panzer said, Byock talked about terminally sedating patients. Byock describes in his book a conversation, in which he told the patient, ‘if things get too bad, I can sedate you and you just die.’” Panzer said that Byock talked about sedating people with morphine and ativan as they die of dehydration and respiratory failure. 

This is stealth euthanasia,” Panzer said, “it is undeclared, it’s evil. It’s the antithesis of the Christian, pro-life hospice mission that [Dame] Dr. Cicely Saunders created in the 1960s.” Saunders strongly opposed euthanasia on the basis of her Christian faith, instead arguing for effective pain control. Panzer said that the hospice movement has broken in two parts, represented respectively by “secular humanist” Byock and Saunders, a Christian. 

Panzer warned against having Byock serve as a “chief educator of the Catholic Church in this state-wide initiative to educate all the priests in California about palliative care and hospice.” 

Panzer said that palliative care can only be authentic if it is “life-affirming hospice care” instead of the “tainted hospice care” that utilizes terminal sedation and dehydration of patients at the command of medical professionals. Terminal sedation is “imposed death, but it is never declared medical killing,” he said, adding, that it has “tainted the entire healthcare system like a poison.”

Panzer also warned against the Palliative Care and Hospice Training Education Act (HR 647), which was passed by the House of Representatives and is awaiting consideration by the Senate. Both Democrats and Republicans co-sponsored the bill. If passed, it would require the federal Department of Health and Human Services to support “Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers” that would “improve the training of health professionals in palliative care and establish traineeships” for those preparing for degrees in social work, or advanced degrees in nursing or physician-assistant studies in palliative care.” Panzer fears that this would fund the “secular, anti-life, tainted hospice care movement.” Dr. Byock, he said, is one of the principal movers behind the bill.

Brian Johnston of the California ProLife Council told LifeSiteNews that his organization opposes “‘terminal sedation’ or the opiated dehydration of vulnerable patients.” 

“This is the intentional, medical killing of a patient in one’s care,” he said. 

California ProLife Council has also joined numerous other pro-life organizations in opposing the Palliative Care and Hospice Training Education Act.

Julie Grimstad, president of the pro-life Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization (HALO), told LifeSiteNews that her organization also “strenuously” objects to Byock’s presence at the archdiocesan conference. 

“Dr. Byock promotes voluntary starvation and dehydration, and terminal sedation, as alternative ways to kill patients when they or others involved have ‘moral’ objections to assisted suicide. This is seriously contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Grimstad wrote. 

Representatives from HALO and HPA will join others outside the Los Angeles cathedral on Friday to protest against the Caring for the Whole Person Conference.

Contact information: 

Archbishop José Gomez
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Ph: (213) 637-7000
Online contact form here.


  archdiocese of los angeles, catholic, deep sedation, euthanasia, hospice patients alliance, ira byock, jose gomez, ron panzer, terminal sedation

News

Viral video shows angry man screaming ‘slash Republican throats’ at Trump-supporters

The video has more than 3 million views on Twitter alone at time of publication.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 5:37 pm EST
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@MrAndyNgo / Twitter
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A video of a wildly angry young man screaming “slash Republican throats” at a Students for Trump stall at Arizona State University has gone viral online, with more than 3 million views on Twitter alone at time of publication.

As the young man approaches the stall, he begins screaming, clenching his fist and making a gesture of slashing his own throat before walking away.

“Slash his throat. Every f‑‑‑‑‑‑ Republican. Suck my f‑‑‑‑‑‑ balls. Slash Republican throats. Slash fascist throats. Death to fascists,” he shouted.

Members of the Students for Trump group filmed the angry outburst, while one of their group standing off-camera can be heard saying, “Have a good one” as the young man walks away.

The ASU Police Department have posted on Twitter in response to the incident, saying they are aware of the video and are “working with the University to address the matter.”

At this point, the identity of the young man and whether or not he is a student are not known.

Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Students for Trump, responded to the video on Twitter, saying: “This is the type of violence our students face every single day. Just wait until Trump gets re-elected!”

One member of the Arizona pro-Trump student group echoed Kirk’s comments, claiming on Twitter that the group have have been physically attacked a number times sinces launching recently. The tweet reads: “Since starting the @TrumpStudents chapter at @ASU a few months ago...We have had our flag stolen, been spat on, attacked by ANTIFA, and now today our lives threatened. We will NOT let this stop us from working on campus to get @realDonaldTrump re-elected! #LeadRight

The video was released shortly after news broke that President Trump’s long running impeachment saga had ended in his acquittal.


  2020 presidential election, arizona, arizona state university, donald trump, higher education, violence

News

Conservative sociologist explains contempt US elites have for ordinary citizens

Charles Murray believes that what makes the elites of today radically different from those of the past is that they are isolated from the rest of the country.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 5:32 pm EST
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By Stephen Kokx

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — During a wide-ranging conversation about culture and politics with pro-life activist Jonathon van Maren, renowned sociologist and author Charles Murray explained the growing divide between what he calls “the new upper class” and ordinary Americans.

Murray, born in 1943, is perhaps best known for his work at the American Enterprise Institute. He is also popular for publishing many books, including The Bell Curve; Coming Apart: The State of White America; and his most recent contribution, Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class.

Murray explains to van Maren that while the United States has always had rich people and poor people, it hasn’t had “a new upper class which saw itself as culturally distinct from the rest of America.”

Murray argues that what makes the elites of today radically different from those of the past is that they are isolated from the rest of the country, and that their family life, leisure time, and basic cultural norms are not in step with middle- and lower-class Americans, whom they view with condescension and derision.

“I’m not talking about a left liberal upper class versus a different kind of conservative upper class. I’m talking about a difference in culture,” Murray explains.

“The new upper class is likely to be very dismissive of the traditional two-parent families in their writings [yet they] still get married in large numbers and they have their children within marriage and they behave, in terms of child upbringing, very responsibly.”

That sort of reality is “very alien in low-income America, where you have very high proportions of children being born out of wedlock, people not getting married,” he said.

“Very low-income people,” Murray continued, “have dropped out of participation in the basic institutions of American life.” Previously, “there were all sorts of ways in which people with low incomes were full participants in American society...that's changed.”

Some of the most obvious differences between the new upper class and ordinary Americans is that they listen to NPR, watch some television but not much, and get married in their 30s. They also go on vacation, but not in places like Northern Minnesota. Rather, they go scuba diving.

“They show very little interest in trying to become less isolated from the rest of the country,” Murray argued.

“How has this change come about?” van Maren asked the conservative sociologist during their 45-minute exchange.

Murray said a number of factors have contributed, but that ultimately shifts in the entertainment industry, university admissions, and economic policies have all played a role. Ridiculing organized religion, looking down on laborers who work with their hands, and a general de-emphasizing of the importance of family have also led to the chasm between the new upper class and the new lower class.

Murray says America is sorely in need of someone who can restore it to the original vision the Founding Fathers laid out for it. 

“Highly secular societies are going to break down,” he said. America needs a leader who can “start to restore some of the institutions ... and make a huge change in the middle ... but you can’t manufacture great people, male or female, just because you need it. You can hope that the occasion gives rise to them. But it’s a hope, not a plan.”

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including SpotifySoundCloudYouTubeiTunes, and Google Play.

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

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


  charles murray, conservative, family, pro-family, sociology, the jonathan van maren show

News

Scotland’s new pro-family political party stops condom-eating drag queen from performing in school

The show was canceled after the headteacher was made aware through video sent to her of the scheduled performer's lewd and crude act.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 5:29 pm EST
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Drag queen Ivy Adamas pulls a condom out of his mouth during his act. YouTube screenshot
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A new pro-family political party in Scotland stopped a drag queen from performing at a local high-school after producing a video highlighting the disturbing and graphic sexual nature of his regular acts.

Richard Lucas, leader of the Scottish Family Party, wrote to Dunbar Grammar School highlighting the party’s concerns about the school’s upcoming “Happyfest - Yearly Celebration of Queer Arts” scheduled to take place later this month. 

“In particular, we note the inclusion of two drag queen acts,” Lucas wrote. “At the Scottish Family Party, we are of the view that such acts promote a philosophy of gender fluidity that is confusing and dangerous to young people. We are also very aware that the drag scene is often associated with less than positive values. 

“In particular, we note the inclusion of a drag ‘artist’ by the (stage) name of Ivy Adamas. Furthermore, we notice that on Twitter, using your own twitter account, you ‘liked’ the tweet from your school’s LGBT Allies account announcing his inclusion.” 

After including a link to the video the party produced about the drag queen, Lucas continued. “Of concern are the blood-stained dress, foul language, graphic sexual vulgarity (“I want to eat your dick” etc.), overtly sexual movements (such as masturbatory motions), crude fake female genitals, and the extraction of a condom from his mouth.”

“We assume that this invitation was extended to Ivy Adamas without the knowledge that he is entirely unsuitable as a role model for school children?” the letter continued. “Similarly, we hope that you now regard your endorsement (expressed through your liking of the announcement tweet) as regrettable, now that you have more information.” 

“So, we invite you to retract your endorsement of this act in your school, and to cancel this performer. If you reply by Wednesday 5 February, we will be able to report your changed stance when we comment publicly and contact media organisations with the story. In the event that we don’t hear from you by then, we will assume that your position is unchanged and will commentate accordingly. We hope that you appreciate the opportunity to reconsider what we are providing.” 

On Tuesday, headteacher Claire Slowther replied to Lucas’ email informing him that Adamas’ act has been cancelled.

Slowther expressed the school’s commitment to “ensuring that children and young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) experience an inclusive education and learn about LGBT issues at school,” but said “(w)e have become aware that one of the performers who was initially booked to perform, had a video on YouTube which was not suitable for a teenage audience. We have since made the decision that they will no longer perform. We would take this approach for performers at any type of school event.”

Responding to the school’s decision, Lucas told LifeSiteNew,: “LGBT indoctrination in Scottish schools is government policy, but Dunbar Grammar School seems to be particularly determined to instill the values of LGBT activists into its pupils. We managed to pressurize the school into canceling one act, but it’s a small victory. The rest of the show goes on in his school and most others.

“It will only change with a change of political direction – and our mission is to bring that about,” he said. 

At the end of his video, Lucas called on the people of Scotland to elect Scottish Family Party MSPs so that “we can protect children all over Scotland.”

“What did we learn here? What we learned is that this performer, this purveyor of filth, was invited into a school to perform for school children. Who stopped it? Was it the headteacher who had good judgment and insight? No. Was there any staff in the school that said, ‘Hang on a minute?’ No. Was it the council that supervises that school, that is responsible for it? No. Was it the parents. Well, no, because probably most of them didn’t really know about it. Was it the local MSP that came along and said, ‘I'm not sure what you're doing here.’ No,” he said. 

“We did. The Scottish Family Party did. We've protected the kids of Dunbar Grammar School from corruption. But that's a one-off isolated victory. If we can get Scottish Family Party MSPs into Holyrood, we can protect children all over Scotland. That's our vision,” he added.


  drag queens, dunbar grammar school, ivy adamas, lgbtq, richard lucas, scotland, scottish family party

News

Amazon, Nike, Dell threaten Tennessee over law protecting religious adoption orgs

Pro-LGBT organizations object to giving agencies the right to make decisions according to their convictions.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 5:11 pm EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A coalition of major American businesses have lent their names to a letter denouncing Tennessee’s newly-enacted law protecting the right of adoption agencies to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father, warning of economic repercussions if lawmakers continue to put religious liberty above the LGBT agenda.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee recently signed into law HB 836, which would ensure that licensed adoption agencies cannot be forced to make child placement decisions that "violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies,” and cannot be sued, denied public funds, or be rejected for license applications on the basis of such a decision.

A variety of social science literature supports the conviction that children are best served by homes with both a mother and a father, yet a coalition of companies calling itself Tennessee Businesses Against Discrimination have spoken out against HB 836 and upcoming similar laws, CNBC reported. Among the signatories are Amazon, American Airlines, Dell, Lyft, Marriott, Nike, and more than 100 small businesses within the state. 

The initiative was organized by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce along with pro-LGBT groups GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, and Freedom for All Americans.

“We believe Tennessee’s continued growth and innovation rely on the state being open and welcoming to everyone,” the coalition’s letter stated. The recent passage of HB 836 sends the opposite message … Policies that signal that the state is not welcoming to everyone put our collective economic success at risk.”

“We ask that lawmakers not pursue any further legislation that would target or exclude LGBTQ people, which would do harm to Tennesseans and create unnecessary hurdles to economic competitiveness,” the letter implored.

The adoption measure is one of six bills state lawmakers introduced last year to protect religious liberty and conscience rights against the LGBT agenda, which national figures including singer Taylor Swift have attacked as a “slate of hate.” 

The other bills forbid local governments from penalizing businesses for their health insurance and anti-discrimination policies; increase punishment for indecent exposure in bathrooms and dressing rooms; require the state to defend schools from lawsuits over their refusal to admit gender-confused boys into girls’ restrooms (and vice versa); and declare as “void” any court decision forcing recognition of same-sex “marriage.”

So far, Gov. Lee has not let such pressure change his stance.

“I think equality is important and protection of rights is important and the rights of religious liberty are important,” he said in a recent interview. “And that bill was centered around protection of religious liberty, and that’s why I signed it.”


  adoption, amazon, american airlines, boycotts, dell, economic pressure, lyft, marriott, nike, religious adoption agencies, religious freedom, same-sex adoption, same-sex parents, slate of hate, tennessee

News

WATCH: Buttigieg won’t condemn infanticide, late-term abortion

Buttigieg deflected when asked, 'So if a woman wanted to...invoke infanticide after a baby was born, you’d be comfortable with that?'
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 5:05 pm EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

February 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Former South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg stood by his claim that the Bible can be interpreted to allow abortion Thursday, while refusing yet again to draw the line at late-term abortion or condemn infanticide.

Buttigieg appeared on the left-wing talk show The View, where lone Republican host Meghan McCain pressed him on his September claim that Christians can support abortion because “there’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath.” Pro-lifers responded at the time that Buttigieg was twisting Genesis 2:7’s account of God creating Adam – “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” – while ignoring long-settled biological criteria that establishes a living human being is created upon fertilization.

“Well, I’m just pointing to the fact that different people will interpret their own moral lights, and for that matter, interpret Scripture differently,” Buttigieg told McCain. “But we live in a country where it is extremely important that no one person have to be subjected to some other person’s interpretation of their own religion.”

McCain followed up by bringing up partial-birth abortion, because “people, even Democrats – and there are a lot of pro-life Democrats in the country – want to know exactly where your line is, because you’ll be the president if you win.”

“Right, but my point is that it shouldn’t be up to a government official to draw the line,” Buttigieg responded. “It should be up to the woman who is confronted with the choice.”

“So if a woman wanted to — I don’t know — invoke infanticide after a baby was born, you’d be comfortable with that?” McCain followed up. Buttigieg responded by asking, “does anybody seriously think that’s what these cases are about?”

He then claimed any “late-term situation” is “by definition” one in which “the woman was expecting to carry the pregnancy to term. Then she gets the most, perhaps, devastating news of her life.”

“I don’t know what to tell them, morally, about what they should do,” he declared. “I just know that I trust her and her decision, medically or morally, isn’t going to be any better because the government is commanding her to do it in a certain way.”

His talking points did not impress pro-life observers:

 

This is far from the first sign that Buttigieg favors effectively unlimited abortion. He previously tried to dismiss late-term abortions as “hypothetical,” refusing to accept any cutoff line for abortion beyond declaring, “I trust women to draw the line when it’s their own bodies.”

His pro-abortion platform also includes appointing pro-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and making the abortion drug RU-486 available over the counter. As mayor of South Bend, he vetoed Women’s Care Center’s re-zoning application to build a pro-life pregnancy center near the site of a proposed abortion center, and he has largely dodged questions about the discovery of thousands of babies’ corpses on the property of a deceased area abortionist.


  2020 democrat prrimary, abortion, bible, democrats, late-term abortion, meghan mccain, partial-birth abortion, pete buttigieg, the view

News

Here are the top 13 companies that facilitate sexual exploitation – and what you can do about it

Seeking Arrangement, Amazon, Twitter, and TikTok are among the top contributors to sexual exploitation in America, according to the nation's leading anti-exploitation organization.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 4:26 pm EST
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LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

Washington, D.C., February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) today announced its 2020 Dirty Dozen List, a list of mainstream entities that are major facilitators of sexual exploitation in the United States.

The Dirty Dozen List is a highly successful tool that has already resulted in more than 50 policy changes at major corporations.

“In 2020, it is intolerable for a mainstream company or entity to facilitate, profit from, or normalize sexual exploitation—and that’s why the Dirty Dozen List exists,” said Haley McNamara, Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach at the NCOSE. “This list ensures that their promotion and collusion with sexual assault, sex trafficking, pornography, the eroticization of incest, and more, becomes public knowledge, and equips concerned citizens with information and tools to hold them accountable.”

“This year, for the first time ever, the Dirty Dozen List has become a Dirty ‘Baker’s Dozen’ List, with the addition of Wyndham hotels which are currently being sued by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center on behalf of a child sex trafficking survivor who was serially raped in these hotels,” McNamara added. 

The formal NCOSE statement on the lawsuit can be found here.

“Further, we call special attention to Seeking Arrangement, one of the largest pseudo-dating prostitution websites, with over 20 million members. Seeking Arrangement targets college students who struggle with student debt to be sexually accessible to socio-economically advantaged older men in exchange for money or gifts. This is essentially a business model of thinly veiled prostitution,” McNamara said.

“We are starting this year with an exciting victory as United Airlines has been removed from the 2019 Dirty Dozen List where it was previously listed due to improved training for flight crews regarding in-flight pornography-use. As confirmed to NCOSE by a United Airlines spokesperson, and United flight attendants, United has now begun training staff on how to respond to this disturbing new trend.” 

The formal NCOSE statement on this victory can be found here.

The 2020 Dirty “Baker’s Dozen” List:

Amazon: Amazon, the world’s titan of e-commerce, logistics, data storage, and media, also peddles endless amounts of sexual exploitation. As an online retailer, Amazon is in the business of selling incest-themed porn, sex dolls, photography books with eroticized child nudity, pornographic magazines, and more. As a media creator, Amazon Prime Video inserts unnecessary, gratuitous nudity and simulated sex scenes into many of its original programming, while providing faulty parental controls. Amazon S3 and Amazon Web Services are also host to thousands of hardcore violent pornography and prostitution websites. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/Amazon

Google: With 87% of the search engine market share world- wide and a vast network that touches the lives of nearly all people alive today, Google has a responsibility to reject sexual exploitation rather than serving as a party and facilitator to it. Google has a long list of problems to answer to, including: unfiltered Chromebooks exposing school children to hardcore porn, pedophiles networking on YouTube, pornographic results for educational search terms in Google Images, and concerning encryption efforts that could make identifying and prosecuting child abusers more difficult. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/Google

Massage Envy: Massage Envy, the largest massage chain in America, with more than 20,000 therapists and 1,200 locations, has been, and is being, sued by hundreds of women for failing to take appropriate measures when a massage therapist sexually harassed or assaulted a client. Among a number of poor policies, the company has hidden clauses in customer agreements that force women to surrender their rights. Massage Envy needs to stop silencing survivors and take real corporate responsibility. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/MassageEnvy

Netflix: Netflix has become a staple of at-home entertainment with over 150 million users subscribing across the globe. Disturbingly, Netflix often produces media portraying gratuitous nudity, graphic sexual acts, and even graphic depictions of sexual assault. Despite this, Netflix self-rates as suitable for ages 4+ on the Apple App Store. Netflix needs to stop normalizing and mainstreaming sexually graphic and violent entertainment, and until they do so they need to change their app rating to 17+. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/Netflix

Nevada: Nevada is the only state in America with legalized brothel prostitution in select counties. As a result, Nevada has the largest illegal commercial sex market in the country due to the increased demand for buying sex in this normalized atmosphere, abandoning many to be exploited in both prostitution and sex trafficking. While some may claim that legalization provides better regulation and increased safety, the truth is that sexual violence, racism, and socioeconomic disadvantages are inextricable from the prostitution experience. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/Nevada

Seeking Arrangement: Seeking Arrangement is one of the largest pseudo-dating prostitution (sometimes called “sugar baby”) websites, with over 20 million members. Seeking Arrangement prioritizes targeting college students who struggle with student debt to service socio-economically advantaged older men. This is a system of thinly veiled prostitution and therefore must be recognized as sexual exploitation. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/SeekingArrangement

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: Since 1964 this magazine has sexually objectified women for sport and profit. This magazine is sending a message that women’s bodies are for public consumption, and any retailer that displays and sells it is condoning the toxic culture of entitlement to the female body. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/SportsIllustrated

Steam: Steam is a popular gaming platform and store with over 90 million active users, and approximately 35 million users who are minors. The platform has hundreds of games that promote gratuitous sexual content, violence, and harassment. After implementing an “anything goes” policy, the sexually exploitive games on Steam skyrocketed from 700 to over 3,900. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/Steam

TikTok: With more than 500 million active users worldwide, TikTok is a social media video app increasingly popular among elementary and middle school-aged children. Due to a lack of moderation and meager safety controls, TikTok has facilitated a space for sexual grooming by abusers and sex traffickers. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/TikTok

Twitter: Twitter is used countless times daily to advertise prostituted persons and sex trafficking victims for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, often via pornographic images or webcamming. In fact, media reports suggest that as many as 10 million Twitter accounts may include explicit sexual content, and meanwhile Twitter’s policies place virtually no limits on the perpetuation and amassing of this content. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/Twitter

Visa: The credit card company/corporation Visa partners with the pornography industry by processing payments for pornography with themes of sexual violence, racism, incest, and the fetishization of minors. Other major payment systems, such as Paypal, have rejected profits from the sex industry by refusing to allow their system to be used by pornography websites. It’s time to hold Visa accountable. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/Visa

Wish: Wish is a retail shopping website and app regularly used by 500 million people, and it currently ranks as the #2 shopping app on the iPhone. Unfortunately, Wish’s meteoric rise in the world of retail rests on the sale of child-like sex dolls, spycams marketed for filming women nude without their permission, and misogynistic apparel featuring female nudity that minimizes women as two-dimensional sex objects. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/Wish

Wyndham: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, which also owns the hotel brand Super 8 among others, is a prominent hospitality chain with more than 9,000 hotels and resorts worldwide. Unfortunately, Wyndham also profits from exploitive on-demand pornography and is being sued by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) Law Center for facilitating underage sex trafficking. Learn more and take action: EndSexualExploitation.org/Wyndham

The Dirty Dozen List has a track record of uniting thousands of individual actions and targeting them to create monumental changes, such as:

  • The two billion+ monthly active devices subscribing to Google Play are no longer able to download pornographic and sexually explicit apps through Google’s sanctioned online store;
  • Over two million military service members now receive anti-sex trafficking training with the issue of pornography explained as a factor driving demand;
  • Over one million Comcast customers now have the ability to block out pornographic content with improved parental controls and have access to new features promoting digital safety and preventing unintentional exposure to pornography; and many more.
  • See more victories here.

  2020 dirty baker's dozen, amazon, dirty dozen, national center on sexual exploitation, tiktok, united airlines

News

Priest criticizes German bishops for using ‘amateurish’ abuse study as basis for ‘synodal path’

The German bishops’ study on sex abuse is the ‘founding myth’ of the controversial 'synodal path,' the priest said.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 1:39 pm EST
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Cardinal Reinhard Marx at the German bishops' 'synodal path' assembly, Jan. 2020. Rudolf Gehrig / CNA Deutsch
Martin Bürger Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The synodal path in Germany is usually justified by referring to a study on sexual abuse within the Church, commissioned by the German bishops’ conference. Father Dominikus Kraschl, a Franciscan professor of philosophy in Switzerland, calls into question the “founding myth” of the synodal path in a background piece for Catholic weekly newspaper Die Tagespost.

Only days before the assembly of the synodal path, which consists of 230 members, first met in January, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, had said in an interview published by the diocesan newspapers, “The themes of the Synodal Way came out of the study on abuse.”

At the press conference marking the opening of the first synodal assembly, Marx confirmed: “You all know that the starting point is a crisis, a shock. The so-called MHG Study has been an important step on the path of coming to terms with the crisis, which path we have been following since 2010, and the bishops’ conference has commissioned this study. This has happened for the first time in this way.”

However, admitting that the issues discussed by the synodal path are not new, the archbishop of Munich continued, “Some questions from this study, which specifically touch on the systemic points of church life, also touch on the points that have been discussed again and again in the last decades.”

Thomas Sternberg, head of the Central Committee of German Catholics, said in his speech at the beginning of the first synodal assembly: “The themes of the synodal path are the themes of the project of an interdisciplinary research network on the subject of sexual abuse of clergy in the past 70 years, the MHG study, for short. This study identifies issues that promote abuse: the use of power in dioceses and parishes, the problems of priestly life today, a sexual morality that is hardly understood and lived anymore, and the participation of women in ministries and offices.”

According to Franciscan Father Dominikus Kraschl, however, Sternberg’s claims do not actually follow from the study. As a matter of fact, the study itself cautioned, “All findings are purely descriptive. Due to the research method, a statistical proof of causal connections between individual phenomena or variables is not possible.”

Even though the study makes some suggestions, argues Kraschl, those suggestions “leave a strange, not to say amateurish, impression.”

When it comes to the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, the authors of the study “seriously believe that they can sweep the same off the table” just like that, “with the clueless reference to ‘findings of modern sexual medicine.’” Kraschl asks, “Do the authors not know how to distinguish between medicine and morality? Or do they think that Church doctrine qualifies homosexuality as a disease? Be that as it may. All in all, the authors raise the suspicion that they have rather twisted ideas about the Church’s sexual morality.”

Kraschl also points to other “irritating” claims of the study, including its criticism of the term “deep-seated homosexual tendency,” which according to the study has no scientific foundation.

“The authors hasten to assure us that the complex phenomenon of homosexuality, which includes homosexual subcultures, is not a risk factor” when it comes to sexual abuse of minors,  Kraschl writes

Referring to a recent study’s findings, according to which the number of abuse cases in the context of sports organizations was almost twice as high as in the Catholic Church, Kraschl asks, “What does this mean for the prevention of abuse within the church? Hardly that we, despite all justification to look at systemic questions, should focus exclusively on Church-specific topics and hastily turn the abuse debate into one that is limited to the Church, in which conservative and progressive forces fight each other.”

Kraschl concludes: “These considerations nourish the suspicion that not prudence and expertise, but an agenda of ecclesiastical politics, were the driving forces in the choice of topics.”

“As long as empirically unproven suppositions and myths are repeated until they are considered proven facts, neither the victims of sexual abuse nor serious scientific studies on the subject are taken seriously,” he added.

Manfred Lütz, a German psychiatrist and theologian, had already criticized the value of the study on sexual abuse commissioned by the German bishops when it first came out in 2018.

Without mincing words, Lütz said at that time: “Anyone who reads the whole study is alienated by the unscientific style of wide passages, by a feuilleton style and anecdotal remarks, as well as by the almost complete lack of scientific and critical discussion of the results.”


  catholic, dominikus kraschl, german bishops, mhg study, reinhard marx, sex abuse, synodal path

News

US parents want online porn banned. Here’s how to do it

Terry Schilling believes there is a broad political coalition that could be mobilized to ban porn online. 
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 12:07 pm EST
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Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen
By Stephen Kokx

PETITION: Call on U.S. Attorney General to declare war on porn! Sign the petition here.

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A pro-family activist has outlined a plan to help ban porn on the internet.

Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project in Washington D.C., told The Jonathon Van Maren Show that not only do American parents want such a ban, but there’s an effective way to achieve it. 

“Banning pornography is actually very popular with the American people,” Schilling told host Jonathon Van Maren, citing recent statistics from Gallup. “There's a lot of people who feel addicted to pornography…but they feel a sense of shame from looking at [it]. There's a natural sense that what they're doing is unnatural and wrong.”

Schilling wrote an article for First Things magazine in November of 2019 arguing that pornography should be classified as obscene speech. He also argued that the Republican Party has committed “political malpractice” by ignoring online pornography over the past couple of decades. In his essay, Schilling laid out three politically feasible steps that could be enacted right now to help restrict porn consumption.

One, internet service providers should pre-install filters that block out x-rated content. Two, pornographic websites need to strengthen their age and verification requirements. And three, tech companies that host pornographic sites should not be immune from legal action.

Schilling discussed each of these and other proposals with Van Maren, a Canadian pro-family, anti-porn activist. Schilling said that he is shocked when he sees libertarians act like the internet should be completely unregulated.

“They almost talk about it as if it's this loophole beyond all laws and all common decency when it's not. It's just another form of our culture. It's another form of our society. And it's online. And the same laws and rules should apply to the online world that apply to the physical world.”

Schilling believes there is a broad political coalition that can be stitched together to ban online porn. Of the many groups who would support such a measure, Schilling thinks old school feminists, left-wing Democrats, and socially conservative Republicans are natural allies.

“A large portion of feminists view pornography as exploiting women and taking advantage of them…you're actually almost as likely to find a liberal woman who supports banning online pornography entirely as you are a conservative male.”

A paultry nine percent of Americans believe no restrictions should be put on online porn, Schilling added. However, the number of Americans who think restricting porn online to 18 years of age or older is around 50-60%. “That's not counting the additional 30 percent of people who would support banning it entirely.”

Schilling told Van Maren that pro-family activists need to stay involved and put pressure on federal lawmakers by attending town hall meetings and calling their offices so they will enact common-sense regulations for online porn.

“We want to create a premier political organization for families, for parents who feel forgotten...we want to take advantage of this vast majority of Americans who are married” and are “struggling from progressive influences,” he said. 

“Like everything else and like every other major fight we've had as a country, the success of our fight determines upon everyone else and whether or not we take action and get engaged in this,” he added.

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including SpotifySoundCloudYouTubeiTunes, and Google Play.

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

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


  conservative, pornography, pornography ban, pro-family, the jonathan van maren show

News

WATCH: Globalist attacks USA at Vatican conference, calls Trump ‘dangerous’ to one-world ‘big consensus’

'The U.S. is a problem. It became a far more significant problem with Donald Trump,' said Jeffrey Sachs at the conference.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 11:46 am EST
Featured Image
Jeffrey Sachs, with Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo on his right, speaks at Vatican-run conference on ‘New Forms of Solidarity’ in Rome, Feb. 5, 2020.
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion globalist and U.S. citizen Jeffrey Sachs attacked the United States at a Vatican-run conference in Rome, calling the land of the free and the home of the brave not only a “problem” but “dangerous” for its opposition to what he called the world’s “big consensus” on economic issues and the climate.

Sachs directly attacked President Donald Trump by name, saying that the U.S. problem “became a far more significant problem with Donald Trump,” adding that the U.S. will be  “absolutely dangerous” to the “big consensus” if Trump “wins re-election this year.”

Sachs was the keynote speaker at the Feb. 5 conference on "New Forms of Solidarity: Towards fraternal inclusion, integration and innovation" at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. 

National Catholic Register’s Rome correspondent Edward Pentin first covered Sachs’ remarks and published video of them.

Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, smiled and nodding approvingly during Sachs’ ten-minute speech. Sorondo has previously advocated that Catholics have no more than one or two children and The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which he heads, has come under fire in recent years for hosting pro-abortion, pro-population control speakers with ties to the United Nations.

The recurrent theme of Sachs’ speech was that Trump and the U.S. are a threat to “multilateralism”, meaning the pursuit of common goals by various nations.

An example of the sort of “multilateral” effort supported by Sachs is the UN's “Sustainable Development Goals,” which he helped to draft. Those goals include the aim to “ensure universal sexual and reproductive health and rights,” a euphemism for the legalization of abortion on demand and giving children access to birth control drugs and devices as well as abortion without parental knowledge.

By contrast, Trump has taken measures to stop U.S. taxpayer dollars from funding abortion overseas; and defunded the United Nations Population Fund, which cooperates with China’s forced abortion regime.

In 2018 Trump told the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York: “America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.”

Sachs began his speech by saying that “multilateralism is not under threat, per se, in most of the world. It is under threat because of the United States, and I want to say this clearly because it's not a game.”

“The U.S. is a problem,” he continued. “It became a far more significant problem with Donald Trump.” 

Sachs focused the majority of his attacks on Trump’s foreign economic policies, but also attacked him for his approach to international climate agreements and U.S. military engagements.

“The US has blocked every multilateral initiative of recent years”, Sachs said. It is the only country pulling out of the Paris climate agreement.” 

The Paris Agreement has been roundly criticized by pro-life and pro-family leaders, primarily because it calls for “gender equality” and “empowerment of women,” phrases that critics say are used to push the LGBT agenda, contraception, and abortion. In 2018 U.S. cardinal, Joseph Tobin, called on Trump to rejoin the agreement.

Sachs also criticized Trump for pulling out of the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran and for his economic actions with regards to China. “There is not a China, U.S., trade war”, Sachs continued. “There is a U.S. trade war on China - that is different. This was an unpremeditated attack.”

Sachs accused the Trump administration of “thuggery” and “a complete violation of every international rule” with regards to its military engagement in Iraq. He described the current U.S. administration as “bullies” who make “vulgar threats” and spoke of Trump’s “overt hostility against everybody”.

In a direct attack on Trump’s hopes of winning reelection this year, Sachs said: “I'm sorry to say, it — it's my country — I'm not very happy to say it, but this is an imperial power in decline and it is a dangerous country right now. It will be absolutely dangerous if Trump wins re-election.”

Sachs ended his speech calling on globalists and other leaders gathered for the conference to move forward toward a “decent world,” even if without “unanimity.”

“So, we had a good discussion today. There is really a big consensus on this world for a decent world. It's not unanimous, but let's not depend on unanimity. Let's move forward when a large part of the world wants to do the right thing,” he said. 


  catholic, donald trump, globalism, jeffrey sachs, marcelo sánchez sorondo, multilateralism, one-world government, pontifical academy of social sciences, united states

News

Bishop approves closed-door wedding for daughter of infamous Mexican drug lord El Chapo

The daughter of narco-terrorist Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán had a private wedding Mass behind closed doors at a Catholic cathedral in Mexico.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 11:44 am EST
Featured Image
Culiacán Cathedral, Sinaloa, Mexico. Orland77 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

MEXICO CITY, February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The daughter of narco-terrorist Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán had a private wedding Mass behind closed doors at a Catholic cathedral in Mexico.

According to Mexican daily La Reforma, Alejandrina Gisselle Guzmán Salazar, El Chapo’s eldest daughter by his first wife, was married in a lavish ceremony to Édgar Cázares at the cathedral in Culiacán, Sinaloa, on January 25 as relatives and fellow narcotics cartel members  looked on.

The historic cathedral church in Culiacán was cordoned off with yellow tape, while luxurious bulletproof vehicles brought the wedding guests. Armed men bearing automatic weapons guarded the church during the wedding. Among those reportedly in attendance was Ovidio Guzmán López, the bride’s half-brother, who was released from jail in October after his cartel’s gunmen engaged in firefights with Mexican security forces, forcing the government to let him go.

According to the report in La Reforma newspaper, Bishop Jonás Guerrero of Culiacán approved the lockdown for the nuptials, which were celebrated by a friendly priest.

Blanca Margarita Cázares Salazar is the aunt of the younger Cázares and is suspected to be a leading member of the Sinaloa narcotics cartel under its chief, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada. Sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2007, Cázares Salazar is known for her “sophisticated money laundering apparatus.”

As for El Chapo himself, he is currently serving a life sentence in a federal prison in the U.S. He escaped Mexican prisons twice but was ultimately extradited to serve time north of the border.

On social media, a video showed the bride dancing with her new husband to live music provided by a narco-corrido band, Calibre 50, and the Grammy-nominated singer Julión Álvarez at the Alamo Grande venue in Culiacán. The video recorded the bride dancing with her mother, Alejandrina Salazar Hernández, El Chapo’s first wife.

The 38-year-old bride is an entrepreneur who holds the rights to the brand name “El Chapo,” which adorns clothing and shoes. Besides apparel, she plans to use the brand to market beer. Husband Édgar Cázares is also part of the family narcotics business in Sinaloa, having ties to cartel chieftain “El Mayo” Zambada, who is joined by El Chapo’s sons in running the operation.

Politicians and ordinary Catholics were scandalized that the cathedral had been given over to known criminals.The leader of the leftist Democratic Revolution party in the lower chamber of Congress, Verónica Juárez, said the private wedding proves that powerful criminals enjoy impunity in much of Mexico. Given that local authorities knew in advance of the January 25 ceremony, she said authorities should have acted, especially because armed men were present.

Mario Delgado, who leads the ruling Morena party in the Chamber of Deputies, commented that the wedding is indicative of the power of narco-terrorists in Mexico. Delgado called for an investigation, saying the wedding should have never happened.

Sociologist Rodolfo Soriano-Nuñez, who analyzes the Catholic Church in Mexico, told The Guardian newspaper that the Church has had ties to criminal organizations for three decades. He said, “Locking down the cathedral and pretty much giving it away” is a bad look for the Church, which “forces one to raise all sorts of questions regarding the decision-making process.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says in its National Drug Threat Assessment 2019 that killings in the ongoing wars between the various narcotics cartels and Mexican security forces “continue to reach epidemic proportions.” The Sinaloa cartel, formerly headed by the now imprisoned El Chapo Guzmán, continues to have “the most expansive footprint” in the United States, said the report. Among the six Mexican transnational criminal organizations identified by DEA are the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), the Beltrán Leyva organization, the Juárez Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, and Los Zetas.

Catholic priests have been the frequent targets of cartel violence. According to a 2019 Vatican report, the murders of at least 26 priests over the last 20 years have been blamed on narco-violence. According to official statistics, Mexico had an average 100 murders per day in 2018, many of which are blamed on the narcotics cartels.


  culiacán, el chapo, joaquín guzmán, jonás guerrero, mexico, sinaloa

News

Dutch to offer ‘poison pill’ to healthy seniors who want to die

The Dutch government has published a study that shows how many people want to end their own lives, prompting a political party to provide suicide pills for the elderly.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 11:35 am EST
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Jose L. Stephens / Shutterstock.com
Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

THE HAGUE, February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Dutch government has published a study that shows how many people want to end their own lives, prompting a political party to provide suicide pills for the elderly.

According to the study prepared by the Dutch Ministry of Health, the Wijngaarden Commission found there are a number of people aged 55 and over who, despite being in good health, “have a consistent and active desire to die.” The commission sought to find out how many residents want euthanasia simply because they do not want to go on living.

The study showed that 0.18% of the over-55 group want to die. They amount to about 10,000 people.

Minister of health Hugo de Jonge, a Christian Democrat, believes that rather than prescribing death-dealing drugs, the government should “try to restore the taste for life” for his fellow citizens. “There is no doubt that the results show this is a major social issue both for this government and for society. This group of people’s death wish is serious and the report underlines the need for action,” de Jonge said.

The issue of euthanasia is dividing the ruling coalition government, which consists of the Christian Democrats and liberal political parties.

Some 49 years ago, law professor and Dutch Supreme Court justice Huib Drion argued in favor of giving citizens who had reached the age of 79 the means to end their own lives in the form of a poison pill. Rather than taking a poison pill himself, Drion died peacefully in his sleep in 2004 at the age of 86. However, his idea lives on. His book, Het Zelfgewilde Einde Van Oudere Mensen (“The Self-Desired End for Older People”), was influential in the public debate that eventually saw the legalization of assisted suicide.

Assisted suicide has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002, under certain conditions. Typically, physicians provide an intravenous sedative that is followed by a drug that suppresses breathing. That year, there were 1,882 cases of assisted suicide. Five years later, the conditions under which assisted suicide was allowed were expanded, leading to the more than 7,000 persons who annually submit to being killed by the country’s medical system. This amounts to about 20 persons per day.

Currently, Dutch law allows euthanasia when the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no prospect of improvement, provided the decision to die is voluntary. Technically, patients under the age of 12 are not eligible for voluntary euthanasia. However, doctors can end the lives of children under 12 who are diagnosed with uncontrollable and unbearable suffering, and with parental consent.

In the political sphere, the leftist D66 party is now pushing for a poison pill for the elderly. D66 is a member of the coalition that currently makes up the majority in the Dutch parliament. A party spokesman said the government has been too slow to provide improved means for ending human life. Pia Dijkstra of D66 said on Thursday she will offer “completed life” legislation in February that would allow elders over 75 without unbearable medical conditions to request euthanasia. On social media, Dijkstra claimed that there is “broad support for people to manage a dignified end to their own lives.”

According to DutchNews.nl, Carla Dik-Faber, a deputy of parliament for the Christian Union party, said her party is vehemently opposed to the proposed legislation. “Making a suicide pill available would be the most cynical response to people with a death wish.” She added, “We would be giving up on them instead of wanting to be there for them.”

In a report by ABC newspaper of Spain, Dik-Faber warned that once legal assisted suicide is made widely available, many elderly people will be encouraged by those around them to end their own lives. “Older people may feel unneeded in a society that does not value aging. It is true that there are people who feel lonely, and others may have a life of suffering, and these are not easily overcome, but the government and society should take up the responsibility. We don’t want ‘end-of-life consultants.’ We want ‘life guides.’ For us, all lives are valued.”

Dik-Faber told ABC the proposed legislation would allow so-called “end-of-life consultants” to administer death drugs, instead of physicians, as currently required by law. She said this is “not merely an individual’s problem, but it affects the entire society.” She added that physicians and other experts and her party do not want to see current law modified. Dik-Faber said the purpose of the government is to protect its citizens, especially the youngest, disabled, and oldest.

Even if parliamentarians of the Christian Union vote against the D66 euthanasia proposal, the bill could pass with votes from minority parties. The result could be the fall of the current government following the break-up of the current coalition.


  assisted suicide, carla dik-faber, euthanasia, netherlands

News

Trump celebrates acquittal, blasts ‘corrupt people’ who ‘hurt our nation’ at prayer breakfast

President Trump also reaffirmed his commitment to religious liberty, the right to life, and the 'constitutional right' to pray in schools.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 11:09 am EST
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President Trump at the 2020 National Prayer Breakfast White House / YouTube screenshot
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – To the delight of the 3,500 people at the 68th National Prayer Breakfast in the nation’s capital, President Donald Trump strode into the cavernous Washington Hilton ballroom and flashed a newspaper with a giant headline blaring, “ACQUITTED!”

It was less than 15 hours since the United States Senate had acquitted the president of impeachment charges, and just a day and a half since the President’s State of Union address where he again showed himself to be a pro-life champion.  

Sitting at the head table a few seats away from the president at this morning’s breakfast was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had led the impeachment effort.  

Before Trump spoke, the addled-looking California Democrat took to the podium and read a prayer for religious liberty.  

“Let’s honor the spark of divinity in all,” she said, and crossed herself “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” as she concluded. Pelosi professes to be Catholic, but supports abortion on demand and same-sex “marriage.”

She neither addressed nor acknowledged President Trump, forgoing an opportunity to publicly apologize for her recent insulting gesture on national television, ripping the text of his State of the Union speech as she stood behind him.

Recent events have hurt our great nation

“Our great country, and your president, have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” said Trump. “They have done everything possible to destroy us, and by [doing so], have very badly hurt our nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.”

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” he said. “So many people have been hurt, and we can’t let that go on.” 

Pelosi frequently brought up prayer as she led impeachment efforts, and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), the lone Republican to vote “guilty” on one of the impeachment charges, cited his Mormon faith as a reason for doing so.

Renewing our national spirit, restoring hope, protecting faith

Following the morning’s theme of religious liberty, the President recounted a portion of his State of the Union address.

In everything we do we are creating a culture that protects freedom, and that includes religious freedom. 

In America, we don’t punish prayer. We don’t tear down crosses. We don’t ban symbols of faith. We don’t muzzle preachers.  We don’t muzzle  pastors. In America, we celebrate faith. We cherish religion. We lift our voices in prayer, and we raise our sights to the glory of God.

“To protect faith communities, I have taken historic action to defend religious liberty, including the constitutional right to pray in public schools,” continued Trump, sparking an enthusiastic round of applause. 

“We’re upholding the sanctity of life,” he said, “and we’re pursuing medical breakthroughs to save premature babies because every child is a sacred gift from God.”

“As we revive our economy, we are also renewing our national spirit,” he declared. “Today we proudly proclaim that faith is alive and well and thriving in America, and we’re going to keep it that way.”

“We are standing up for persecuted Christians and religious minorities all around the world,” he noted.  

“Faith keeps us free. Prayer makes us strong,” he said. “And God alone is the author of life and the giver of grace.” 

“We’re restoring hope, and spreading faith. We’re helping citizens of every background take part in the great rebuilding of our nation,” he said. “We’re declaring that America will always shine as a land of liberty and a light unto all nations of the world.”

President Trump concluded with a prayer:  

This morning let us ask Father in heaven to guide our steps, protect our children, and bless our families. And with all of our hearts, let us forever embrace the eternal truth that every child is made equal by the hand of Almighty God. 

Building a bulwark of faith, dismantling the anti-faith agenda

“What he's doing and what makes the left so mad is that he's dismantling the infrastructure that they've used to advance an anti-faith, big-government agenda and they're not going to be able to jump back into the driver's seat and take off again,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, explained on Fox & Friends in advance of the event. “It's going to take them decades to rebuild.”

“This president has not only ceased the war on people of faith, but he's building a bulwark where people of faith can openly practice their faith,” added Perkins. 

Perkins said that as Trump is attacked, “people lock arms around him because they know he's fighting for the things they care about.”


  abortion, impeachment, nancy pelosi, national prayer breakfast, president trump

News

Porn isn’t free speech, we’ve ‘every duty to regulate it’: pro-family activist

'Porn is harmful. It's very obvious that it's harmful,' Terry Schilling said.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 11:02 am EST
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Shutterstock.com
Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen
By Stephen Kokx

PETITION: Call on U.S. Attorney General to declare war on porn! Sign the petition here.

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Over the last few months, there has been an increasing number of conservatives and Republicans calling for the ban of pornography. Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project in Washington D.C., is the latest to throw support behind that initiative.

During a recent interview with pro-life activist Jonathon van Maren, Schilling said that it’s “really foolish” and “absurd” to think that the First Amendment protects porn as an act of free expression.

“It's obscenity,” he exclained. “We not only have every right to regulate it. We have every duty to regulate it where we can.”

Much of the debate around banning pornography has centered on ideology, and whether or not it’s appropriate for the state to take a more active role in policing the industry. 

Libertarians argue that porn is consensual, and that adults should be able to watch what they want. If parents are concerned about their kids watching porn, they, and not the government, should be the ones ensuring that they don’t.

Schilling believes this is wrong.

Porn is a 97 billion dollar a year industry, he told van Maren. It’s “not possible” for parents to fight that on their own.

“All we're asking here is just for a little help from the state to keep pornography and harmful materials from getting in the hands of our children. And I don't think it's that much to ask.”

Schilling believes that the libertarian approach is not only misguided but naive.

“Porn is harmful. It's very obvious that it's harmful.” The “rights” of “pornographers and porn users, people who are making money off of this…do not trump my rights as a parent or trump my children's rights as children to be free and innocent and pure, and not have that stuff put up.”

“If you have a factory that's pouring sludge into a river, you have every right as a state or as a government agency to start regulating and putting sanctions on that business until they stop putting sludge into that river. This is no different.”

Schilling told van Maren that, philosophically speaking, there are many similarities between the porn industry and other ones that the government already regulates.

“All we're asking is for online pornography companies to live by the same rules and standards that we ask television companies and radio companies and movie production companies to live by.”

Schilling, who recently wrote an article for First Things on how best to regulate the porn industry, also compared it to smoking cigarettes.

“One kills you after 50 years and the other one ruins your entire life. It ruins your marriage. It ruins how you view the other sex and objectifies women. It ruins your mind, which is corruptible much quicker and has much broader effects on society at large.”

Listen to the entire interview below.

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including SpotifySoundCloudYouTubeiTunes, and Google Play.

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

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


  conservatism, libertarianism, pornography ban, pornograpy, pro-family, the jonathan van maren show

Opinion

Parents outraged as pro-LGBT big banks withdraw from low-income school choice program

What kind of people would kick needy kids out of good schools? Big Business, that's who.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 8:33 pm EST
Featured Image
ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock.com
Tony Perkins Tony Perkins
By Tony Perkins

February 6, 2020 (FRC Action) — What kind of people would kick needy kids out of good schools? Big Business, that's who. In Florida, companies like Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bank are dropping out of a scholarship program — all because some of the private schools have religious beliefs. Apparently, these CEOs think the LGBT agenda is more important than giving low-income kids the chance to succeed. Unfortunately for them, most parents across the state disagree — and aren't about to let the vouchers go quietly.

At a rally this week in Tallahassee, pastors had strong words for anyone — bankers or otherwise — who would sacrifice poor children on the altar of radical sexual politics. "I see people who claim to be fighting for social justice who don't even blink at the thought of using low-income children ... as pawns," Rev. H.K. Matthews thundered into the crowd. Almost 109,000 students take advantage of the program that Wells Fargo and Fifth Third would cripple over their ridiculous demands for "inclusion." Demands, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) pointed out on "Washington Watch," that show where their true priorities are.

This program, Senator Rubio said, has become "very personal to me... I now know dozens and dozens of families that have benefited from it." The idea that the rug would be yanked out from under them, just because a school believes what the Bible says about gender and sexuality, is an absolute outrage. "How it works is: you're a low income family. It gives you the opportunity — not just to take them out of a school you don't like — but to put them into a learning environment that's going to provide them opportunities for courses and to be around an educational environment they would never have the chance to go to if they didn't make a lot of money. And I've seen some of these kids that used a scholarship and graduate go on to the Naval Academy, to West Point, to Harvard, to some of the best institutions in the country. They never would have been able to have those opportunities that came from going with those schools."

"Now here comes Wells Fargo, this great beacon of morality," he says sarcastically, "who's been caught just a few years ago fraudulently opening up accounts, savings accounts, checking accounts on behalf of their clients so they can charge them fees and all that. And here they come now basically saying, 'We're no longer going to donate to the program because we don't like the fact that some religious schools [have] policies that align with the doctrine of the church..." Of course, they call these "anti-LGBT policies," when in reality, they're just affirmations of biblical teaching on sex and marriage.

And guess what, Senator Rubio asked? If a student doesn't want to take the scholarship and go to a school with those beliefs, they don't have to. The parents choose which school they go to. So it's not as if these beliefs are being forced down children's throats. And yet, these two banks — along with a chorus of Democrats in the legislature — are willing to destroy these students' futures over it.

"What really sets me off," Senator Rubio fumed, "is [that what they did] is not going to hurt those schools. Those schools are not going to abandon the Bible over a government program if they existed before this program... [W]ho they're hurting are low-income kids, because they're not going to be able to go to these schools [if they don't get the funding.] ...There are kids [who] may lose their scholarship [next year], [who] may be told, 'You can no longer attend the school you're attending... because we don't have enough money this year for you because we lost two donors.' So it's just a reminder that what you often see now in corporate America is that they believe they can buy themselves into the good graces of broader society or cover [up for their scandals] by [caving] to some pressure and bullying from radicals on the Left."

It's an astonishing statement by Big Business that they're willing to sentence thousands of children to lives of poverty to cater to the .6 percent. That's disgraceful, especially at a time in this country when the test scores in our public schools are declining — and the performance gap is widening. Programs like Florida's matter to kids where education is the only lifeline. Former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett and I talked about this extensively late last year. For families who don't have the money to pull their kids out of public school, these programs are a way for children to rise above their circumstances and find success.

As President Trump said Tuesday night in the State of the Union, "No parent should be forced to send their children to a failing government school." If the executives at Wells Fargo and Fifth Third really cared about inclusion, they'd give every Florida student the opportunities their own children have. Instead, they're putting their sons and daughters in elite schools, and then turning around and locking less fortunate children out — all to score "wokeness points" on this phony crusade against "hate." Obviously, Big Business (like the Left) doesn't care who they hurt, as long as it appeases the radical mob.

Published with permission from FRC Action.


  big business, corporate pressure, education, fifth third, lgbt tyranny, marco rubio, public schools, school choice, wells fargo

Opinion

Trump’s State of the Union address: A pro-life, pro-family speech for the ages

Tuesday night's State of the Union was classic, confident, unconventional Trump — a powerful reminder that this administration's successes are personal for every one of us.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 8:23 pm EST
Featured Image
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Tony Perkins Tony Perkins
By Tony Perkins

February 6, 2020 (FRC Action) — It was not the speech of a man who'd endured months of political harassment. It wasn't the performance of a president "shamed and cowed by impeachment." It was the message of leader who's beaten the odds — and, for three years, helped Americans do the same. Tuesday night's State of the Union was classic, confident, unconventional Trump — a powerful reminder, in a chamber bent on his destruction, that this administration's successes are personal for every one of us.

From the military wife stunned by the return of her husband to the tearful parents holding a photo of Kayla Mueller, Tuesday night's speech was a trip through America's stories. We celebrated the miracle of Ellie Schneider's survival and cried with Army widow, Kelli Hake. We saluted an American treasure on his World War II promotion — and rose to our feet when the hope of Venezuela united in our call for freedom. Together, they were the pages of Trump's first term, the illustrations of a three-year comeback Democrats tried glumly to ignore.

In a week where his opponents are still waiting for results, President Trump spent an hour and a half outlining his. "Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again. America's enemies are on the run, America's fortunes are on the rise, and America's future is blazing bright... [O]ur economy is the best it has ever been. Our military is completely rebuilt, with its power being unmatched anywhere in the world — and it's not even close. Our borders are secure. Our families are flourishing. Our values are renewed. Our pride is restored. And for all of these reasons, I say to the people of our great country and to the members of Congress: The state of our Union is stronger than ever before."

For Democrats who couldn't even put together a successful caucus, CNN's Stephen Collinson argued, it was a "daunting warning." This president is an "effective, relentless political communicator." But more importantly, he pointed out, Trump has solidified his reputation as a "rare politician who keeps his promises." He's taken risks, Collinson insists, that other leaders would have spurned. And, to the horror of the Left, they've paid off. Despite impeachment, a hostile media, and a classless resistance movement, this president is enjoying his highest approval ratings yet. It's no wonder Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) finally lost it after sitting through his most compelling case for reelection yet.

When the speaker stood and ripped up a copy of the speech in disgust, her distress, Michael Goodwin writes, was somewhat "understandable." The speech was masterful, and she knew it. It was long, "because he had a long list of accomplishments to cite." Her only real weapon is "her personal hatred of the commander-in-chief. [And] it's not proving to be much of a fight. The president is on a winning streak... [and] the country has noticed. She has overplayed her hand... and led her party into another embarrassing dead end."

The unfortunate reality for Pelosi, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said later, is that she can rip up the speech, but she can't tear up the accomplishments. Things like protecting life, confirming judges, defending freedom, encouraging faith, and standing for the persecuted. "With every action," the president stressed, "my administration is restoring the rule of law and reasserting the culture of American freedom." In this country, he insisted, "We do not punish prayer. We do not tear down crosses. We do not ban symbols of faith. We do not muzzle preachers and pastors. In America, we celebrate faith. We cherish religion. We lift our voices in prayer, and we raise our sights to the Glory of God!"

A God, the president pointed out later, who creates us in His image. Looking up at Ellie in the galley, a sweet, yawning two-year-old, the president marveled that she had been born prematurely at 21 weeks and survived. It was a seamless reminder, as Mollie Hemmingway noted, that "children like Ellie are born at a time when it's legal to kill them in utero." Ellie, the president said, like every child, "is a miracle of God... That is why I'm also calling upon members of Congress here tonight to pass legislation finally banning the late-term abortion of babies. Whether we are Republican, Democrat, or independent, surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God."

It was a poignant moment, one of many. And as much as others will try to distract or detract from what we saw, the people that matter went to bed last night believing what their president said was right. "Our spirit is still young, the sun is still rising, God's grace is still shining, and, my fellow Americans, the best is yet to come."

Published with permission from FRC Action.


  2020 presidential election, abortion, donald trump, prayer in schools, state of the union address

Opinion

Catholic bishops’ well intentioned move may hobble pregnancy care centers

Catholic hospitals and charitable agencies do wonderful work, but the pregnancy care centers are the shock troops in the battle against abortions. The bishops should recognize this.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 7:51 pm EST
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Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

February 6, 2020 (CatholicCulture.org) — When Cardinal Blase Cupich cautions against political partisanship — in remarks made after the March for Life — informed readers recognize that he is questioning the degree of Catholic commitment to the campaign against legal abortion. Not for the first time; back in November, the same cardinal sought to soften a statement that listed abortion as “the preeminent priority” of the US bishops’ conference in the public-policy realm.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted down Cardinal Cupich’s proposed amendment, leaving the USCCB statement intact.* But 69 bishops supported the amendment, prompting some concerned Catholics to question the depth of these bishops’ commitment to the pro-life cause.** Other observers, taking a rosier view, saw the USCCB vote as a victory for the pro-life cause. In fact it was neither a victory nor a loss; the vote upheld the status quo, and confirming the longstanding split within the episcopal conference between those who see abortion as one among many important political issues, and those who truly see the right to life as “preeminent.”

But let’s look beyond the “seamless garment” debate — a debate that the USCCB rehashes every election year — and look at the more specific plan of action issued by Archbishop Joseph Naumann, the head of the bishops’ pro-life committee. Focusing on the needs of women who face difficult pregnancies, he called attention to the Catholic hospitals and Catholic Charities affiliates that provide services for these women. Then, in third place, he mentioned the “thousands of pregnancy care centers staffed by many Catholic volunteers.”

There’s something just a bit off-balance about that account. Catholic hospitals and charitable agencies do wonderful work — for women who have decided to continue their pregnancies. But the pregnancy care centers (CPCs) are the shock troops in the battle against abortions. They deserve top billing.

Archbishop Naumann’s statement was an introduction to a new USCCB program, the “Walking with Moms in Need” initiative. On paper it’s an excellent plan, calling for each Catholic parish to become aware of the needs of pregnant women, and the local resources available to help them. As Archbishop Naumann explained, “Each parish is best able to identify the local pregnancy help resources that are currently available and to identify potential gaps that need to be addressed.”

Yes. Absolutely. But if there is a CPC already in place, having already studied the needs of pregnant women in the locale, and already working to supply those needs, isn’t the proper role of the parish to support that CPC? There’s no need to re-invent the wheel, and there’s an urgent need not to duplicate efforts and compete for scarce resources.

If you read Archbishop Naumann’s statement carefully, you notice the distinction he draws between hospitals that are run by Catholic institutions and agencies affiliated with Catholic Charities on one hand, and CPCs — which may or may not have a formal Catholic affiliation — on the other. Quite understandably, bishops are reluctant to assume responsibility for organizations that they do not control. So the Catholic hospitals and Catholic agencies claim top billing. But the CPCs are doing prodigious work, vital work — our work, God’s work — and deserve our unstinting support.

What worries me about the “Walking with Moms in Need” initiative is the possibility that an organized campaign will develop, filtering down from the USCCB through the dioceses to the parishes — to set up CPCs that adhere to a set of standards approved by the hierarchy. I do not mean to suggest that the existing CPCs are perfect; they aren’t. But I question whether the USCCB can improve on the existing models, and in the absence of some Platonic ideal of the CPC, I am inclined to “let a thousand flowers bloom.” It would be tragic if, responding to the USCCB initiative, earnest Catholics formed their own new CPCs, and thereby interfered with the efforts of existing institutions.

Does my concern strike you as far-fetched? Then let me tell you a story.

My friend Rod Murphy is a decorated and scarred veteran of the pro-life battle. For decades he has worked to help women with problem pregnancies. He set up a CPC in Worcester, Massachusetts, which has been operating for more than 35 years, saving roughly 200 babies a year. Rod knows what he’s doing, and other pro-life activists have called upon him, leaning on his experience, to help set up CPCs elsewhere in New England, and in Florida, in Maryland, in Alaska, and even in foreign countries.

So it made sense that Rod Murphy was invited to speak at a pro-life conference in Connecticut in October 2018. But then the invitation was rescinded. Deacon David Reynolds, a spokesman for the Connecticut Pregnancy Care Coalition (CPCC) — an umbrella group of CPCs established with the support of the Connecticut bishops — eventually explained. The CPCC is committed to a non-confrontational approach, “to provide clients with transparent and unambiguous information and reject any deceptive advertising practices.” Reynolds wrote to Murphy: “It has come to our attention that some of the methods you employ may conflict with these principles.”

To be sure, Murphy’s model can be seen as provocative — especially by abortion advocates. He favors centers located as close as possible to Planned Parenthood abortuaries. He recommends drawing in abortion-minded women by advertising pregnancy tests, not leading with pro-life slogans, since he assumes that the women coming to his centers are leaning toward abortion; he wants the centers to give the unborn children one last chance at life. Some CPCs exist primarily to serve women who have decided to continue their pregnancy despite difficult circumstances. Others, like Murphy’s models, are set up to serve “abortion-minded” women, to try to show them — even at the 11th hour — that there are alternatives to the procedure they have in mind.

Abortion advocates object to these tactics, claiming that they are misleading, and the CPCC, falling into that line of thinking, inveighs against “deceptive advertising practices.” But is it “deceptive” to advertise tests, to offer “options” for pregnant women? The CPCC also recommends against fielding sidewalk counselors to speak to women outside abortion clinics; that too is considered too confrontational.

Writing to a CPC that Murphy helped to set up, explaining why he would not allow the group to solicit funds in local parishes, Bishop Michael Cote said: “I would expect any pro-life pregnancy center operating within the Diocese of Norwich, and receiving funds from the diocese or local parishes, to be a member of [the CPCC].” He voiced his hope that the new CPC would eventually fall into line with the soft-sell approach of the bishops’ favored group, which is “in line with Catholic teaching and always welcomed by the diocese.”

Do you detect, in the bishop’s statement, a suggestion that the more aggressive approach is at odds with Catholic teaching? The bishops of Connecticut, through their support for the CPCC, have chosen one approach to providing support for women in difficult pregnancies. But is there any formal teaching of the Catholic Church that requires support for that approach — as opposed to the approach that has been used for years, with notable success, by activists like Rod Murphy?

Bishop Cote, in his letter to the local CPC, boasted about the involvement of the Connecticut bishops in setting up the CPCC. “We are the only state in the country to have such a legal entity, whose mission is to support the efforts of the pro-life pregnancy centers in Connecticut,” he wrote. But not all the pro-life pregnancy centers. The CPCC won’t support the CPCs that imitate Rod Murphy’s successful approach. To the CPC that had not yet won CPCC endorsement, the bishop strongly suggested toeing the line. The Norwich diocese wouldn’t help now, he said, but “I hope such a relationship can eventually come to exist...”

So what worries me about the USCCB initiative — which, again, looks so good at first glance — is the possibility that the bishops across the country will follow the lead of the bishops in Connecticut, and set up their own guidelines for the CPCs that seek their support. Inevitably those guidelines will exclude some CPCs and encourage others. And if the Connecticut experience is any indication, the bishops and their policy “experts” will not listen to counsel from pro-life veterans who have built and operated CPCs, and saved thousands of lives.

If you’ve been watching the US bishops’ conference long enough, you may recall that years ago, the USCC (as it was then known) set out to establish a television network. A successful young Catholic network, EWTN, already existed. But the bishops did not favor Mother Angelica’s approach. So they tried to set up their own network, in competition with an existing Catholic effort. They sank tens of millions of dollars into the effort. And they failed, utterly. First, because EWTN had already succeeded in reaching a huge Catholic audience. Second, because bishops have no special expertise in television broadcasting.

In their laudable determination to help women with difficult pregnancies, the American bishops must not make the same mistake again. There are thousands of CPCs already at work, guided by experienced lay people. Some are explicitly Catholic, but most are ecumenical — and don’t the bishops favor ecumenical alliances, especially in public affairs? Support them. Encourage them. Endorse them. Learn from them. Don’t compete with them. Don’t try to make them fit a single mold. Don’t thwart them.


*For the record, the Cupich amendment would not have removed the phrase “preeminent priority” from the USCCB statement. But it would have — following the logic of the “seamless garment” approach — listed other political issues that should be considered “equally sacred.” If issues A and B are “equally sacred,” how can A be considered preeminent?

** We don’t know the names of the bishops who supported the Cupich amendment. The USCCB uses an electronic voting system, rather than taking roll-call votes — or even standing votes that would allow reporters in attendance to identify the positions of individual bishops. (Accountability, anyone?)

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.


  abortion, blase cupich, catholic, crisis pregnancy centers, joseph naumann, pregnancy care centers, pregnancy resource centers, united states conference of catholic bishops, usccb

Opinion

An abortion survivor and an infertile mother: How God’s plan for us worked for the greater good

An abortion survivor and her adopted mother reflect on prayer.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 4:07 pm EST
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Barbara Culwell and her adopted daughter Claire, who survived an abortion
Claire Culwell and Barbara Culwell
By

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Claire Culwell, abortion survivor: Prayer is powerful not merely because it unites us with believers; it is a 24/7 direct line of communication with our Creator. When I look at the story God has written in my life so far, I’m amazed by all the ways He showed up for my family and me and faithfully answered our prayers, even though His resolutions didn't always satisfy our timetables and expectations. This truth took on a new significance for me when I met my birth mother, an encounter that would alter the course of my life.

Growing up, my sister and I were fully aware that our parents adopted us after their struggles to get pregnant. In our home, adoption was celebrated; I knew that I was wanted, chosen, and loved by my family. So when my sister and I got the chance to meet our birth mothers, I chose to do so, believing that no matter what the encounter unveiled, it was simply another aspect of what made our stories so special and was another mark of God’s grace in uniting us together as a family.

In 2009, I came face-to-face with my birth mother. She revealed that she had tried to abort my twin and me, and I survived the procedure. Of course, in hearing that, I was initially heartbroken. Despite being cherished by my adopted family, there was still pain in knowing that my birth mom did not want me. As I navigated my new reality of being an abortion survivor and a twinless twin, I leaned on my family and God. I asked God for answers that I will never get on this side of heaven. Still, one thing He made clear to me was that regardless of being accidentally born after a botched abortion and losing my twin, He redeemed a seemingly hopeless situation. And He didn’t stop there.

He placed me in a family that loved me and wanted me, and after I discovered my story, began opening doors for me to share my testimony of God’s great love, grace, and forgiveness for the world. Every day since learning about the circumstances of my birth, I have become more secure in who I am. I know that my identity is in Christ, not my birth story.

When I called out to God, He provided solutions far better than the ones for which I prayed. He gave me a family, a husband, children, and a ministry that offers a voice to women like my birth mother and me.

What was meant for evil, He used for my good, and He answered the longings of my parents’ hearts when they desperately desired children and couldn’t have them naturally. He spared my body from the abortion instruments that day, 32 years ago, and put me into the arms of my parents to fill their hearts and continue to leave a legacy for the Culwell name.

Barbara Culwell, Claire’s adopted mother: My story of God forging my prayer life formed from my longing to have a baby. At the beginning of our fourth year of marriage, my husband and I began the journey of starting a family. Very soon, we could tell we might not be able to have a baby naturally. Over the next four years, I poured my heart out to the Lord over and over again. Having walked with the Lord since high school, I knew a lot “about Him,” but the aching, wondering, and uncertainty brought me to my knees like no other time in my life. I had so many questions for God.

Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do you really care about me? Do you have good plans for me?

Day after day, year after year, I began to see and know that indeed He did see me and care for me and had more excellent plans for my family and me than I could ever imagine.

My constant need and ache drove me to Him, and I began experiencing a deeper level of trust with God than I had ever known, despite being in so much agony. Today, when I look back on some of the prayers I journaled during that time, I am encouraged:

“Lord, Thank you that you are in control of everything and that... you have my best interests in mind. Your timing is perfect”.

“Lord, I want a baby. Please give us one. Thank you for teaching me more about you as I wait. I don’t want to look to anything or anyone else to give me satisfaction except for you.”

“Lord, Please help me be content in you. Help me to stand in your goodness and not doubt it.” 

“Lord, I need you to help me. I feel like nobody understands what I feel. I feel so alone in this waiting room.”

When I read those prayers and reflect on all the ways God carried me through the heartache, confusion, and discouragement I experienced, I am in awe of His tenderness and patience toward me. As heavy as my pain and emptiness felt, it was still a sweet time of learning to learn on the God of the Universe, even when I didn’t want or enjoy the path on which He had placed me. As Isaiah put it so eloquently: 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV).

Who could have fathomed that in my moaning and groaning for a baby that God was orchestrating something far more incredible than I could have ever imagined? He protected Claire in her birth mother’s womb so that I could become a mother to her. At just the right time, He placed her in our family. And at just the right time again, He gave us another precious baby girl a few years later. I am in awe at God’s mercy and kindness He has shown me not only in answering my prayer for a baby, but in showing me more of His goodness.

The life of our family is a testimony to the power of prayer. Today, Claire and I are both passionate about not only sharing our stories but about praying for children and families. On February 15, 2020, we will join a panel of guest storytellers during the She Loves Out Loud free livestream prayer event to share testimonies of encouragement with audiences facing all kinds of struggles, including infertility, abortion, adoption, and forgiveness. If these issues are on your heart and if you believe in the importance of prayer intervention, please join us. Join us now in praying that women who need to be encouraged will participate in the livestream. Pray that women listening would place their hope in God and His plan, and consider hosting or joining a prayer group during the event.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them” (Matthew 18:20 NIV).

Claire Culwell is an international speaker and abortion survivor. She will appear during the She Loves Out Loud prayer livestream event with her mother Barbara Culwell on February 15.


  abortion, abortion survivor, adoption, born alive, claire culwell

Blogs

Pope’s co-signed document on God willing ‘diversity of religions’ celebrated on 1st anniversary

There's a strong push to spread the flawed message throughout the world in the name of 'tolerance' and fraternity' and as a charter for 'mutual respect.'
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 7:31 pm EST
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Dr. Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif and Pope Francis visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque on February 4, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Francois Nel / Getty Images
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

PETITION: Catholics, call on the Vatican to affirm all salvation comes through Jesus! Sign the petition here.

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The first anniversary of Pope Francis signing the Abu Dhabi Document on Human Fraternity on February 4, 2019 was celebrated in Abu Dhabi this week with a series of events aimed at further implementing its “values” the world over. 

The Higher Committee for Human Fraternity was created in September and met with Catholic Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayudo Guixot in attendance as one of its nine members. Irina Bokova, former director-general of UNESCO, was later added as a member.

Pope Francis and Grand Imam Al-Tayeb of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the original signatories of the Abu Dhabi Document, both sent video messages. Incidentally, the council of Egypt’s sunni Al-Azhar University recently named 2020 the year of Human Fraternity, in honor of the Document, and now teaches the principles of the Fraternity Document to its students.

The overall message of the events was that media and education need to transmit the message of the declaration as a sort of (obligatory) charter for peace and “mutual respect.”

This was made obvious by the launching of an Arab Media Convention, an initiative of the Muslim Council of Elders in Abu Dhabi, on February 3, and the participation of 150 young people from all over the world at the forum set up by the Higher Committee.

Another element put forward by the organizers was the hope to make other religions – but also non-believers – join the initiative, in close cooperation with the United Nations.

The Abu Dhabi Document was highly criticized by faithful Catholics because it says the “diversity” of religions was the fruit of the  “wise will of God.” This would imply that God directly wills error and false religions. While Pope Francis was later to say privately to Bishop Athanasius Schneider that he was speaking of the “permissive” will of God, no official clarification of the text was published.

Instead, the Document is being touted to international organizations, religions and states as well as educational authorities and media without any change.

The text contains other problematic elements insofar as it presents “tolerance” and “fraternity” among men as supreme values, with no mention of the true and Triune God or of the possibility of conversion. Islam prohibits conversion to Christianity and countries ruled by sharia law punish it by death.

This relativistic mindset could be found in the words of Msgr. Yoannis Gaid, secretary to Pope Francis and a member of the Higher Committee. Speaking to the press, he was quoted indirectly by Sister Bernadette Mary Reis of VaticanNews as saying “that young people have an important role in achieving the goals of the Document on Human Fraternity.” “He also said the Document itself is rooted in God’s will because all believers find their origin in God. It is God who gathers all of humanity into one family. Therefore, members of all religions are brothers and sisters,” she reported.

At the press conference, Judge Mohamed Abdel Salam, former adviser to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Secretary of the Higher Committee, “cited a recent event involving Pope Francis as a concrete example of how the Document can be implemented: when the Pope made known his desire to welcome several refugee families, he made no distinction based on religion,” she wrote.

In the same vein, at the public conference of the Higher Committee, Msgr. Gaid revealed that Pope Francis had donated the full amount of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity he received last year – and which from now on will be attributed each year – to the Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. He made no “distinction of religion,” said Msgr. Gaid.

No mention was made of persecuted Christians in Islamic countries at this point: not only the victims of terrorist groups but also “blasphemers” in Pakistan who can face trial and the death penalty if they are found guilty of that crime in sharia law.

Some damage control appears to be taking place on the part of Cardinal Miguel, who spoke with VaticanNews about the initiative. “We cannot and we can never renounce our own identity,” he told Sister Bernadette Reis. On the contrary, “among the conditions needed for promoting interreligious dialogue, is that of remaining always fully radicated in our own identity, in our own religious traditions.”

The goal is “not to create this melting pot of everybody but rather a rich, mixed salad,” he said later, adding that the “richness” of this “lies in unifying our different voices into a ‘beautiful sound of music,’ a ‘symphony of the world,’” she reported. 

The Cardinal was trying to make clear that Catholicism would not have to “change” in order to meet the requirements of Abu Dhabi. The problem with that is that it already has, with repeated declarations against proselytism, and of course, the signing of a Document in which it is said that God “wills” diversity and pluralism of religions. This implied that other religions or the faithful of those religions should not change either, and that truth plays a subordinate role to mutual understanding.

During the official celebration of the first anniversary of the Document on Human Fraternity at the Manarat al Saadiyat cultural center (literally: “place of awakening”) in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, a similar declaration was made by the Patriarch of Constantinople, also present.

This is how Sister Reis reported his remarks: “Patriarch Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the Eastern Orthodox Church (…) began saying it was a great joy for him to participate in the anniversary celebration. In a world of rapid change when new challenges are constantly appearing, the Patriarch said that a new stance is required by the world’s religions. Credibility of religious leaders, he continued, is measured by how they promote peace and engage in interreligious dialogue.”

Interreligious dialogue aims to promote understanding between different beliefs and traditions, if necessary at the cost of blacking out uncomfortable differences, including essential truths. For instance, there was no mention of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in Pope Francis’ message (nor anywhere in the Document and its unfolding story), but only of “God Almighty,” which is acceptable to Muslims. Speaking of the Most Holy Trinity would come over as what Islam decries: “associaters” or polytheists.

Also during the official celebration, Msgr. Gaid was quoted as follows: “Regarding diversity, he reiterated the point in the Document that it is part of God’s plan. The goals in the Document must be embraced by everyone on earth if the Document is to become a reality. He ended saying that the Document is a roadmap that needs to be enshrined in laws and inserted into educational curriculums.”

No longer is believing and living out the truths taught by the “universal” Catholic Church presented as the way to world peace (and to heaven). The Document is turning into new Commandments and a new relativistic Creed.

How? In schools and in the media.

The Arab Media Convention for Human Fraternity presented a model of its aim.

Judge Mohamed Abdel Salam, former adviser to the Grand Imam of Al-Azharn, was quoted as saying, “The media is at the heart of this great humanitarian project. The media is undoubtedly an active partner … and bears a large part of the responsibility, including the responsibility for its awareness, education and disseminating human values and principles.”

This is a far cry from freedom of the press. Journalists are being asked to adhere to the values of the Abu Dhabi Document and to make sure their readers share them too.

Paolo Ruffini, head of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, was present at the convention. He was proud to announce that VaticanNews published 350 different articles in seven languages, including Arabic, about the Document on Human Fraternity.

“Agreements are underway for some television productions that the Dicastery intends to promote together with external partners in order to communicate the principles of the Document not only as information, but as true training for dialogue and mutual knowledge, and to have it as a guideline in our daily work,” he said.

He added, “Religions are not the problem. They are part of the solution because they can remind us that it is necessary to raise the heart upwards to the Most High to learn how to build the city of man.”

Which Most High? The true God? Idols? Buddha or Allah? And what is the “city of man?” It was the expression that St. Augustine used as opposed to the “City of God,” which shall prevail in the end after having been opposed by the “City of Man.”

The presence at the meetings of Bokova, the newest member of the Higher Committee, deserves a special mention. She was also in Abu Dhabi last year when Pope Francis and Imam Al-Tayeb signed the Document.

At the special anniversary meeting of the Higher Committee last Monday, she said, “I think it is important indeed to look at this document as a foundational document in our time when we see the rise of extremism, of hate speech and xenophobia.”

“Extremism,” “hate speech” and xenophobia” are the code words used to discredit the desire to protect one’s country from excessive immigration and disintegration in the “One World Order,” and to condemn those who proclaim that natural morality must be protected in the face of “LGBT rights.” They are the armed vocabulary of the dictatorship of relativism.

Bokova also welcomed the educational goals of the Document. “Young people can find answers in this Document, and it is in harmony with the fourth point of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which targets education,” she remarked.

Speaking to La Croix International, Bokova called the Document “inclusive; it concerns all of humanity, those who are believers and those who are not,” insisting that education is one of its main goals.

“It is indeed one of the priorities of our committee. We were thinking about how we are going to integrate this document into the different education systems around the world,” she said. 

“We will certainly propose to the United Nations that February 4 become the International Day of Tolerance. It’s important to do that. But it will be for the UN General Assembly to decide,” she added, explaining that she hopes to be able to draw on her own experience within the UN system to push this initiative.

Her own experience is that of a former communist Nomenklatura member in Bulgaria, her home country. Her father was editor in chief of the Bulgarian Communist Party’s paper, Robonitchesko Delo, and a member of Politburo.

Bokova herself joined the Young members of the Communist Party during her teenage years, going on to obtain her education as a diplomat at the State Institute of International Relations in Moscow when the USSR was still going strong.

When communism visibly collapsed at the beginning of the 1990s, Bokova chose to enter into politics in the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which in fact recycled the former Communist Party.

Bokova was minister for foreign affairs in Prime minister Zhan Videnov’s government – also a former communist who was an agent of the Bulgarian branch of the KGB. Her bid for directorship at UNESCO was efficiently supported by Barack Obama, despite complaints from former prisoners of the Bulgarian Gulag.


  abu dhabi document, al-tayeb, catholic, diversity of religions, higher committee for human fraternity, irina bokova, islam, miguel angel ayuso guixot, one world government, pope francis, sharia law, united nations

Blogs

Porn to be slapped with ‘warning label’ if Utah bill succeeds

The warning label would state in part that 'exposing minors to pornography is known to the state of Utah to cause negative impacts.'
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 3:20 pm EST
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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

PETITION: Call on U.S. Attorney General to declare war on porn! Sign the petition here.

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Those of you following this blog will know that I regularly point out the devastation digital pornography is wreaking on our social fabric. Almost a quarter of American women now feel fear during intimacy due to porn-inspired behaviors like spontaneous choking; sexual violence is becoming the norm within the context of romantic relationships; young people are learning about sexuality and each other from porn; and top porn sites consistently push wildly popular content featuring rape, incest, and often both. 

In response to this, a number of Congressmen recently sent a letter to Attorney General Bob Barr requesting that he look into curbing the porn industry by enforcing existing obscenity laws, and Princeton scholar Robert P. George chimed in with a letter of his own. Terry Schilling of the American Principles Project laid out how this could be done in a long-form essay over at First Things, and he joined me on my podcast to discuss how the government could take action to restrict access to violent pornography, especially for young people. 

Sixteen states have already dubbed digital porn a public health crisis, and now the state of Utah may be taking concrete action on this. If Republican Representative Brady Brammer gets his way, a warning label will be attached to any adult video, magazine, or publication. House Bill 243 reads as follows:

Exposing minors to pornography is known to the state of Utah to cause negative impacts to brain development, emotional development, and the ability to maintain intimate relationships. Such exposure may lead to harmful and addictive sexual behavior, low self-esteem, and the improper objectification of and sexual violence towards others, among numerous other harms.

Brammer modeled his bill after California’s product label requirements and would instruct porn producers to post the warnings—on videos, the label would have to be present for a full fifteen seconds. On magazines (which are pretty out-of-date these days), the warning would have to be easily visible. “A lot of people have seen California warnings on products about toxic substances,” Brammer told Fox 13. “It would be enforced in the same way it enforces theirs.” 

If House Bill 243 passes, there will be steep penalties for smut-peddlers who break the law. Failure to display the warnings could invite prosecution by the Utah Attorney General’s Office and result in a fine of $2,500 per infraction. Because so many children stumble across pornography by accident—anti-porn speakers confirm that this is a very, very common—these warnings could stop children from being immediately exposed to porn. “A lot of people are clicking on something, they don’t want to see it, they like to have a little heads up before they see an image they really, it’s not what they’re getting into,” Brammer noted.

Predictably, the porn industry’s defenders, including the Free Speech Coalition, have come out to condemn the legislation, with coalition spokesman Mike Stabile telling Fox 13 by email that, “The Utah bill is compelled speech, and it is unconstitutional on its face. The government has been prohibited time and again, in both conservative and liberal cases, from forcing individuals or companies to communicate a particular message.” He then worried that the bill could even cover “basic nudity” or the TV show Game of Thrones, a pornographic fantasy show that was recently exposed as pushing women into nude scenes.

Of course, Brammer’s bill identifies porn as a toxic substance like cigarettes—the strategy of modeling our cultural response to porn after the successful campaigns against smoking has been advocated by researcher Dr. Mary Anne Layden, the director of education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Therapy. Porn’s defenders call it speech, while many experts—and Rep. Brammer—are identifying it as a toxic substance warping the minds of the young. If Brammer is right—and he is—then attaching a warning to pornography makes sense for precisely the same reasons that attaching a warning to cigarette packs does. For those reasons, Brammer is confident that Bill 243 could withstand a legal challenge.

“I think they’ve got an uphill battle in the state of Utah to fight against an obscenity law like this,” he said. “We’re not banning their speech. We’re just asking them to put a warning label before they show it.”

That, of course, is too much to ask of the porn industry, which wants to get kids addicted to their poison young and keep them clicking through adolescence and adulthood. Perhaps Utah will strike the first blow against the alliance of libertarians, porn-peddlers, and progressives that keep this filth on screens in front of young people across the nation. 

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 Dr. Christopher Yuan, a former drug addict who lived a promiscuous gay lifestyle. Dr. Yuan is now a professor at Moody Bible Institute and today, he discusses his powerful journey and conversion and what the LGBT agenda is to the US. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


  brady brammer, pornography, pornography ban, utah, utah house bill 243

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Cardinal Müller: This ‘synodal’ enterprise will not be the ‘Great Leap Forward’

The former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responds to criticism he faced for comparing the synodal path to the 1933 Enabling Act of Adolf Hitler.
Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 1:28 pm EST
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By Maike Hickson

February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In a new interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Müller presents a more detailed critique of the first synodal assembly that took place in Frankfurt at the beginning of February.

The German bishops, together with the Central Committee of German Catholics, are organizing the so-called “synodal path” that aims at questioning the Church's discipline and teachings on such important matters as female ordination, priestly celibacy, contraception, and homosexuality. For Cardinal Müller, it is clear that this “‘synodal’ enterprise will not be the ‘Great Leap Forward.’” 

He even goes so far as to say that bishops who promote heresy lose “the right to the ‘religious obedience of the faithful.’”

Cardinal Müller also refers back to the time of the Donatists in North Africa when he says in light of the German synodal path: “Already many bishops in the course of Church history have become heretical or led their parishes into schism, as for example the Donatists, who, with their majority, stood up to the Catholics in North Africa.”

In the new interview with LifeSite, the German cardinal and former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also touches upon his recent February 3 comments to LifeSite which provoked much indignation among German progressivists including bishops. 

Müller had compared the process of the synodal path to the 1933 Enabling Act of Adolf Hitler, which rescinded the Weimar Constitution. 

Müller said, after calling the synodal path “suicidal”: “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).”

Basis for these comments were that the first synodal assembly ruled that even proposals directly opposing Church teaching may be sent to the general assembly of 230 synodal members. The structure of the synodal assembly is also such that the laity hold a majority among the members, thus undercutting the episcopal structure of authority as established in the Catholic Church.

Responding to the question as to why he used this historical comparison to the National Socialist seize of power, Cardinal Müller responds: “To put oneself in diametric opposition to the revealed doctrine of the Faith and then to quote the Holy Spirit is a crude block that has well earned its crude wedge. We are to 'hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Rev 2:11); but this is the ‘Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ’ (Rev 1:2) and not the vision of a ‘church’ conforming to society.”

Later on, the German prelate also indicates that he used a provocation in order to break through the wall of silence when it comes to substantial objections to the reform agenda of the synodal path. He says: “It is true that factual statements are skillfully sunk into the spiral of silence. One only has to touch the feeling of indignation and then the ritual is already running.”

In his new response, Cardinal Müller also reminds us that it is not about “power” in the Catholic Church, but, rather, about service and the salvation of souls. 

“People are not entitled to absolute power over people,” he explains. “But here it is about the service of salvation to fellow believers in the name of God. In the Church, not everything is about power, but about building up the Body of Christ. Do we want to serve or to rule? That is the question here.”

The German prelate insists that the bishops are tasked to “authentically interpret the Word of God, whether written or handed on (Dei Verbum 10) in relation to the other members of the Church, but by no means in opposition to them, since all are jointly responsible for the unadulterated transmission of the Faith (LG 12).”

According to Müller, it is very important to learn from history, thus the historical comparison. He hopes that the German bishops do exactly that, since part of the reason for the Western schism in the 16th century had been failures of the “Roman Curia and the German bishops” at the time. 

Finally, Cardinal Müller comes to the defense of his fellow German Cardinal, Rainer Woelki, who has been sharply criticized in Germany for distancing himself from the synodal path’s methods and substance. Comments Müller: “The verbalized violence against him [Woelki] and others is but an expression of intellectual helplessness and moral confusion 'of earthly-minded people who do not grasp what comes from the Spirit of God' (1 Cor 2:13).”

Further criticizing the German synodal path, he continues: “The whole approach of the ‘Synodal Path’ is ecclesiologically wrong. A wrong diagnosis spoils the best therapy.” 

Below is the full interview: 

LifeSite: Two days ago you made critical remarks about the first plenary assembly of the Synodal Path and called its process 'suicidal' and then compared it with the repeal of the Weimar Constitution by the Enabling Act. You referred here to the fact that the synodal assembly decided to accept decisions even if they went against Catholic doctrine. Could you explain your thoughts in more detail here? And: may one make such a comparison?

Cardinal Müller: More political power is constantly demanded for the lay functionaries in contrast to the sacramental authority – given by Christ to the bishops – or for more power for the local bishops' conferences (i.e. their apparatus) against the central power “Rome,” as if the Church had lost herself in the arena of media and political battles. Where earthly power is at stake, the separation of powers is absolutely necessary. People are not entitled to absolute power over people. But here it is about the service of salvation to fellow believers in the name of God. In the Church, not everything is about power, but about building up the Body of Christ. Do we want to serve or to rule? That is the question here. In the Church it is about “the knowledge of the One and Only God and the salvation of all people through Christ Jesus as the only mediator between God and men” (cf. 1 Tim 2:5). The Church is a sacrament of the salvation of the world and of Christ himself “here on earth as a visible structure and endowed with hierarchical organs” (Lumen Gentium 8). The common priesthood of all the faithful by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation and the hierarchical priesthood by virtue of ordination (to bishop, priest and deacon) cannot be set against each other in an attitude of class struggle with the aim of a classless society which was in reality the rule of functionaries in the name of an anonymous “people.”  Christians (as laity, religious and priests) are organically (not mechanically) related to one another in the whole life of the Body of Christ, insofar as they participate in the priesthood of Christ in a specific way (Lumen Gentium 10). The whole approach of the “Synodal Path” is ecclesiologically wrong. A wrong diagnosis spoils the best therapy. Instead of showing off emotional concern, the majority who are in the lead and in power should better acquaint themselves with Vatican II's understanding of the Church rather than simply referring to its “spirit,” otherwise the whole thing becomes a meeting of spirits [“Geistersitzung”]. To put oneself in diametric opposition to the revealed doctrine of the Faith and then to quote the Holy Spirit is a crude block that has well earned its crude wedge. We are to “hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:11); but this is the “Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:2) and not the vision of a “church” conforming to society. In the “Church of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Lumen Gentium 4) one cannot pitch the Christological and historical foundation of the Church against the action of Christ praesens [present] in the Holy Spirit.

LifeSite: You also noted that the Synodal Path is authorized “neither by God nor by men.” Could you explain this to us in more detail?

Cardinal Müller: As I said before: the “divine constitution” of the Church comes from Christ (LG 8) and not from His disciples. In conscience, it is of higher binding force than the constitution of a state or association by human law. Christ himself builds His Church upon Peter and it is not Peter and the other disciples who build their Church on a self-made image of Christ. The Apostles and the bishops as their successors did not seize political power in her and thus transformed her into human work, then took power away from the laity and thus suppressed them. Rather, they were once historically instituted by Christ through direct vocation and now sacramentally through consecration, empowered as servants of Christ to teach the People of God with His Word, to sanctify them with His sacraments and to lead His flock as shepherds (Lumen Gentium 18-29). As soon as they teach and decide something contrary to the Apostolic doctrine and the sacramental constitution of the Church, they have lost the right to the “religious obedience of the faithful” (Lumen Gentium 25; Dei Verbum 10). Already many bishops in the course of Church history have become heretical or led their parishes into schism, as for example the Donatists, who, with their majority, stood up to the Catholics in North Africa.

LifeSite: One of your criticisms of the Synodal Assembly is that it gives much power to lay people and that this undermines episcopal authority. What are you referring to here specifically in relation to the first assembly and what are the doctrinal foundations here? 

Cardinal Müller: The Pope and the bishops in communion were also entrusted with the Magisterium to “authentically interpret the Word of God, whether written or handed on (Dei Verbum 10) in relation to the other members of the Church, but by no means in opposition to them, since all are jointly responsible for the unadulterated transmission of the Faith[”] (LG 12). I do not criticize that the laity will claim too much power or that it is given to them, but, rather, that the nature and mission of the Church – the Body of Christ, and Temple of the Holy Spirit – is distorted with the categories of power and prestige by way of a self-secularization. “The Church of Christ is not an NGO” – Pope Francis keeps on repeating these words.

LifeSite: Do you think that Rome should stop this Synodal Path, and if so, why?

Cardinal Müller: The Roman Church, headed by the Pope, has the authority and responsibility, communicated by Christ, for the unity of the Church in the truth of Apostolic doctrine. At the beginning of the division of Christendom in the 16th century, which to this day has profoundly shaken the credibility of our Christian faith before the world, the German bishops and the Curia in Rome failed terribly, as Pope Hadrian VI himself confessed (Nuremberg Reichstag 1522/23). I hope that one does not repeat this historical mistake. Historical knowledge can help to avoid future dangers at an early stage in the light of historical experience, and not only to call for the lid after the child has already fallen into the well. The powerful German Cardinal Albrecht von Brandenburg at the time financed his illegal and immoral accumulation of offices with the sale of indulgences granted by Rome. Thus German money, the theological illiteracy of the German episcopate, the primacy of money and politics in Rome are partly to blame for the schism in the West and its tragic consequences to this day. Money rules the world, but it is also the devil's best means to confuse the Church. In order to counter secularization as a total and totalitarian understanding of self and world without God, there is only one effective antidote, the credible proclamation of the “Gospel of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1) and a life in the imitation of Christ. The first word of St. Paul after his conversion at the beginning of his “proclamation of Jesus” was – by the way, not historically the reference to interesting trivia about a woman as the first Christian woman in Europe and about baptized slaves in Rome – but the confession: “This is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).

LifeSite: You have been sharply rebuked in Germany for comparing the Synodal Path to Hitler's takeover of power. The indignation seems to be greater about this comparison than about the fact that German bishops are in the process of upsetting the entire Church hierarchy, as well as the sacramental and moral teachings of the Church, with serious consequences for many souls. How would you comment on this phenomenon?

Cardinal Müller: It is typically German that one does not want to learn anything from history. Our “leftists” in Church and society identify themselves through their double standards and their brilliant inability to respond with arguments to objections. The incessant personal denunciations of those who do not belong to their ideological camp as arch-conservative, fundamentalist, and right-wing, wants to intimidate, but is in reality only the playing off of their power against reason. In any case, this “synodal” enterprise will not be the “Great Leap Forward.” Perhaps this comparative non-comparison in Chinese metaphors awakens her deep-seated sense of humor.

LifeSite: You have made a strong comparison. Did this happen because you recognized the seriousness of the situation and because the welfare of many souls is at stake? 

Cardinal Müller: It is true that factual statements are skillfully sunk into the spiral of silence. One only has to touch the feeling of indignation and the ritual is already running. After all, I know most of the actors personally and know how the network works.  With all the madness of commissioned works, citation cartels, the satisfaction of sensationalism, the money of well-paid articles, the personal political intrigues and slander against outsiders of the cartel, one only ridicules to outsiders the fine speeches of brotherhood and mercy, of synodality and dialogue, thus discouraging the sincerely believing Christians.

LifeSite: Cardinal Woelki was sharply attacked when he distanced himself from the first synodal assembly. You are informed that you are no longer an acceptable discussion partner. It seems that the preservers of the Faith are marginalized, just as they were in the minority at the synodal assembly. Do you feel reminded here of other moments in Church history?

Cardinal Müller: Cardinal Woelki is a bishop ordained by Christ in the Holy Spirit and, as a Cardinal of the Roman Church, is the closest collaborator of the Pope in the responsibility for the universal Church. The verbalized violence against him and others is but an expression of intellectual helplessness and moral confusion “of earthly-minded people who do not grasp what comes from the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:13).

In view of the excommunicating claims to power of such heroes, who could hardly pass a dogmatic test, I can only think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who, in 1943, summed up against stupidity: “Never again will we try to convince the stupid with the help of reasons, it is useless and dangerous.” (DBW 8, 26).  


  catholic, gerhard müller, synodal path

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EpisodesSpecial Reports Thu Feb 6, 2020 - 12:47 pm EST

Learning our faith from Sacred Scripture

By Mother Miriam
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Watch Mother Miriam's Live show from 2.6.2020. Mother continues her series Growing in our Faith by reading from The Catechism Explained. Today, she focuses on the need to have both scripture and Tradition. The true faith can be found through a deep study of the history of the Church.

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