WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Trump administration has announced a new International Religious Freedom Alliance that joins more than two dozen countries to push for religious tolerance and an end to religious persecution.
At an event on Wednesday, secretary of state Mike Pompeo stated while country representatives listened, “Together, we say that freedom of religion or belief is not a Western ideal, but truly the bedrock of societies,” adding that it is outlined in the alliance’s Declaration of Principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Together, we have pledged to uphold the Declaration of Principles,” a joint statement read, “solidifying our collective commitment to object and oppose, publicly and privately, all abuses or violations of religious freedom.”
Pompeo said the alliance brings together “like-minded partners who treasure, and fight for, international religious freedom for every human being.”
According to the alliance’s description, it “will advocate for freedom of religion or belief for all, which includes the right of individuals to hold any belief or none, to change religion or belief and to manifest religion or belief, either alone or in community with others, in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”
A State Department press release stated that this is the first international coalition ever to bring together national leaders to advance religious freedom around the world. It stated, “Egregious perpetrators of religious persecution have long operated with impunity. The Alliance will unify powerful nations and leverage their resources to stop bad actors and advocate for the persecuted, the defenseless, and the vulnerable. The threats to religious freedom are global. They require global participation and global solutions.”
Grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the stage was set for the alliance by President Trump in his address at an event on The Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom in September. He said America “calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution, to stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed.”
The alliance, Pompeo said, includes “like-minded partners who treasure, and fight for, international religious freedom for every human being.” The chief U.S. diplomat said such a joint effort is facing a growing need to address “terrorists and violent extremists who target religious minorities, whether they are Yazidis in Iraq, Hindus in Pakistan, Christians in northeast Nigeria, or Muslims in Burma” and “the Chinese Communist Party’s hostility to all faiths.”
So far, 27 countries have joined the the United States to form the alliance: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the Gambia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Togo, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Of the countries signing up, the only Muslim-majority country is Senegal, which as of yet has been largely untouched by Muslim terrorist groups.
Notable for their absence were NATO allies France, Germany, Spain, and Turkey. Also absent were China, India, and Russia.
A senior State Department official told a press conference on Wednesday that the alliance is necessary in view of a “deterioration” in human rights over the last few decades. He said religious freedom is a “fundamental” upon which “you can really build and expand the other human rights off of.” This fundamental freedom must be prioritized, the official said, noting the continued rise of religious persecution and resulting loss of life.
The “Declaration of Principles” offers “reactive” and “proactive” measures for the members to use to protect freedom of religion around the world.
These measures include “regular monitoring, reporting, information-sharing and outreach to impacted individuals and faith communities”; “support for victims, such as through redress, resettlement, or other actions as appropriate”; “targeted sanctions against perpetrators”; “training of law enforcement officials, building the capacity of national human rights institutions, and cooperating with civil society”; “investment in projects to protect space for civic engagement by assisting human rights defenders and victims of persecution, as well as to build societal resilience.”
During the launch of the alliance, Pompeo also announced that Poland will host the next Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Warsaw from July 14 to 16, 2020. The upcoming ministerial will be organized in cooperation with the United States and will address several topics requiring urgent response, including “improving the lives of persecuted and discriminated communities, empowering individuals to affect change, and promoting inclusive dialogue to mobilize action and increase awareness regarding the scale of persecution against religion or belief worldwide.”
Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world, according to several organizations. In India, radicalized nationalist Hindus have murdered Christians in fiery rampages, Muslims have attacked and killed Christians in numerous countries, and China continues to persecute and imprison priests and Protestant ministers. Reports by the State Department about human rights have long noted how Christians have been targeted.
According to Open Doors USA, a nonprofit that aids persecuted Christians, more than 245 million Christians live in countries where they are subjected to serious religious persecution. Between Nov. 1, 2017, and Oct. 31, 2018, according to the organization, 4,305 Christians were killed for their faith, and 1,847 churches and Christian buildings were attacked or destroyed, while 3,150 believers were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, or imprisoned. Among these are Catholic priests and bishops in China.
According to Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity, nearly “300 million Christians around the world — or 1 out of every 7 — live in a country where they suffer some form of persecution, such as arbitrary arrest, violence, a full range of human rights violations, and even murder.”
In contrast to President Trump’s repeated denunciations of violence directed against Christians in foreign lands, and discrimination against Christians at home, House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not mention Christians when she listed religious persecutions during the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.
In her prayer for those persecuted because of their religion, Pelosi mentioned the Buddhist, Jewish, and Muslim faiths but failed to mention Christianity. Pelosi, avowedly a Catholic despite her promotion of abortion, said: “Oh, Lord, we thank all gathered at this prayer breakfast for lifting our voices for the poor and the persecuted, the millions who are missing or murdered because of their faith.”
“Let us pray for the Panchen Lama and all the Tibetan Buddhists imprisoned in China or missing for following their faith,” she said. Pelosi also prayed for the “1 to 3 million Uighurs in China forced from their homes and incarcerated in camps” and for “Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia and for all the writers and religious freethinkers imprisoned for speaking their minds.”
French Senate passes bioethics law allowing lesbians to artificially procreate
The bill passed by the Senate is watered down but still extremely transgressive.
Fri Feb 7, 2020 - 8:53 pm EST
By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The French Senate adopted the draft bioethics law currently under discussion in that body by a relatively small margin of 10 votes on Tuesday. One of its most spectacular elements, the legalization of access to artificially assisted procreation for single women, including those in lesbian relationships, was confirmed, as well as the widening of possibilities for research on human embryos. Other articles of the law were modified by the Senate, which canceled some of its more shocking propositions.
Although the higher chamber in France still has a right-of-center majority, the text, which remains deeply transgressive, obtained 153 votes in its favor, while 143 senators voted against and 45 abstained. The voting was not uniform right and left — 97 of the 144 “Les Républicains” mainstream right-wing senators rejected the law presented by Emmanuel Macron’s left-wing government, while 25 voted for the text, thus bearing responsibility for its adoption.
The presidential party “La République en marche” (LREM), created for the last presidential election and not very strong in the Senate, was itself divided: six of its 24 senators voted against the text.
Almost all the 348 senators were present, a sign that the revision of France's bioethics laws is being taken seriously. The first such law was adopted in 1994 and was already transgressive because it legalized artificial procreation and embryo selection.
From the start, it was decided that the bioethics law would be revised every five years in order to take medical and scientific progress and new techniques into account. As a matter of fact, the laws were revised over larger intervals. Each time, new possibilities for embryo research, pre-implantation diagnosis, and other such transgressions were added.
The draft bioethics law now being discussed has been substantially amended by the Senate and will therefore return before the National Assembly, probably in April. Laws are adopted definitively without a second reading in France only when adopted by both chambers in exactly the same terms.
While tens, probably even hundreds of thousands of French citizens have demonstrated twice already in Paris over the last four months against “artificial procreation without a father,” Macron’s presidential promise to feminist and LGBT activists was upheld in the text. The proposition had also been rejected during the nationwide “consultation” through official public meetings and via an internet platform: about 80 percent of the participants were against allowing in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination outside a stable man-woman couple.
In its amended version, the draft law has rejected an addition made by the members of the National Assembly and supported by the government: artificial procreation, the senators voted, should not be funded by taxpayer funds via the social security system, save when responding to a situation where infertility is medically verified. This measure would exclude single women, including those in lesbian couples, who are not medically infertile.
Amnesty International France called it “discrimination prohibited by international law.”
Among other dispositions, the Senate amended and rejected the possibility for women to freeze their eggs. The Senate also modified the way filiation will be noted in civil registers for lesbian couples. Instead of allowing both women to appear as “mothers” of the child, only the mother, who carried and delivered the child, would be known as such, while the “parent by intention” would be required to adopt her partner’s child.
The pro-life Fondation Jérôme-Lejeune listed other welcome changes wrought by the senators. They include the scrapping of the possibility to further select among test-tube embryos according to their chromosomal characteristics and the banning of transgenic embryos or “chimera” embryos using both human and animal material, also when using induced pluripotent human stem cells (iPS).
The senators also voted against egg-freezing and the fabrication of embryos using reproductive cells, male and female, from two donors. They rejected the canceling of the obligation for egg and sperm donors to obtain consent from their spouses.
Also on the positive side, the Senate, as the National Assembly had already done, confirmed the banning of surrogacy, including through the transcription of foreign birth registration acts into French civil registers.
It must be added that if artificial procreation is extended to lesbians, the principle of equality will most probably lead to the jurisprudential approval of surrogacy for male homosexual couples.
And while the situation could be much worse, it is already bad enough.
Firstly, the National Assembly will be free to reintroduce the modified dispositions of the draft law. Under French constitutional law, the assembly has an edge on the Senate when the two disagree. Several solutions exist: either the government can hasten the procedure in its favor or a second reading takes place at the Senate, and, in case of continued disagreement, the two chambers vote together, giving a certain majority to the left.
In its present amended state, the draft law is still increasingly anti-life. For instance, it maintains one of the law’s innovations, which is to allow embryo research in principle, with researchers being obliged only to declare their work to the competent authorities. This is a step worse than in the current law, which requires researchers to obtain prior permission, albeit from the pro-research “Agence de la biomédicine.”
Under this situation, the Fondation Jérôme-Lejeune has obtained declarations of illegality for several such projects.
The same “Agence de la biomédicine,” under the new law, will no longer check whether parents agree that their surplus in vitro embryos be used for research.
Other transgressions include the possibility of doing research on human embryos up to 21 days of life, which the Foundation sees as an open door to research on the artificial womb.
“Medical” abortion, which is legal up to birth in case of malformation of the unborn child or danger to the mother's health, is also being trivialized with the scrapping of the one-week “cooling-off” period before the abortion can be performed, and the specific conscientious objection clause associated with it will disappear from the health code. It will no longer be necessary to consult with the parents of underage girls undergoing such a “medical” abortion. Partial abortions in the case of multiple pregnancies are also being made legal.
According to propositions voted for by both the National Assembly and the Senate, prenatal diagnosis, potentially leading to abortion, will be extended to cases where genetic anomalies become apparent.
During the discussions at the Senate, regular demonstrations were held near the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris, especially against embryo research.
A new national demonstration against “artificial procreation without a father” is to take place on March 8.
ROME, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican is poised to release its long anticipated report on the disgraced former cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, but the final word is up to Pope Francis.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, told reporters on Thursday that while the report on McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington D.C., can be expected soon, the timing of the release is up to Pope Francis.
Cardinal Parolin said: “I think it will come out. I can’t tell you exactly when. We are trying to speed things up in order to publish it in the near future.” The number-two man at the Vatican added, “But the publication depends on the pope. The work has been done, but the pope has the last word.”
Catholic clerics and laypeople have been expecting the report on McCarrick. Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, Michigan, for instance, told EWTN that he had asked the pope in December about McCarrick. He said he was happy to learn that the report was “coming.” Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas told reporters in January that he had also asked the pope about the report during his ad limina visit to the Vatican.
In the U.S., there has been much anticipation for the Vatican report and whether it may reveal how McCarrick was able to rise through the hierarchy despite decades of rumors of sexual misconduct involving adult male seminarians. There had long been stories circulating that he used his authority to coerce seminarians to sleep with him. Despite allegations by one of his victims that came to light in 2017, McCarrick has denied sexual misconduct involving minors but admitted to the pope that he did occasionally share a bed with seminarians.
Pope Benedict XVI had ordered McCarrick to live in seclusion, but Pope Francis appeared to rehabilitate him and sent him on papal missions abroad. Francis stripped McCarrick of his cardinalate only after media revelations. Following a canonical process, McCarrick was expelled from the priesthood a year ago. The highest-ranking Catholic churchman in the United States was found guilty by Church investigators of abuse of power and sexual abuse of boys and adult men. The 89-year-old has not yet faced criminal charges.
In February 2019, McCarrick was dismissed from the clerical state when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found him “guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.” This came after Pope Francis announced in October 2018 that McCarrick was under investigation.
The credibility of the pope with regard to cases of sexual abuse has been questioned, despite affirmations from some that he is focused on the issue. Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, for example, told a Spanish interviewer this week in Madrid that the pope has “prioritized” the fight against sexual abuse. In November, O’Malley told his colleagues of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops assembled in Baltimore that the McCarrick report had been drafted in Italian and that an English translation was due soon.
Questions have arisen over Pope Francis’s handling of accusations of sexual misconduct in several important cases. For example, Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a friend and fellow Argentine, was one of the pope’s first episcopal nominations. During Zanchetta’s time in a diocese in the north of Argentina, he was found to have pornography on his phone and was accused of sexual harassment of seminarians. He also left the diocesan finances in ruins and went briefly into seclusion.
After accepting Zanchetta’s resignation, Pope Francis created a job for him, allowing Zanchetta to manage Church finances and properties. Zanchetta is now facing accusations before an Argentine court, to which he shuttles from time to time from his residence in Rome.
In 2009, Fr. Julio Grassi, an Argentine celebrity priest who had worked with impoverished children, was convicted of committing a sex act on a boy, who was just one of several victims. While Cardinal Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, was dean of the Argentine bishops, the bishops’ executive committee commissioned a report to smear Grassi’s victims, reportedly on his orders. The Executive Committee was headed by Archbishop Estanislao Karlic of Paraná, while his two vice presidents were Archbishop Eduardo Miras and Cardinal Bergoglio.
Grassi claimed throughout his trial to have support from various bishops, especially Cardinal Bergoglio, who, he said, “never let go of my hand [and] is always at my side.” However, Bergoglio said little in public in Grassi’s defense after the latter’s arrest. The eventual pope said in 2006 that “justice will determine” Grassi's innocence but added that “there is a media campaign against him, a condemnation in the media.” Grassi received a commuted 15-year sentence for his crimes but may be released as soon as 2021.
In May 2019, Pope Francis said, “I didn’t know anything ... nothing, nothing” when asked by reporters about what he knew about McCarrick’s immoral behavior. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a whistleblower and former papal diplomat, however, directly accused the pope of lying. “What the pope said about not knowing anything is a lie. ... He pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick, and he pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place.”
The pope’s denials came at the time when correspondence among the pope, Cardinal Parolin, and then-cardinal McCarrick confirmed that the Vatican had placed restrictions on McCarrick as far back as 2008. Nevertheless, McCarrick traveled widely during Francis’s pontificate and played a key role in the controversial secret accord with China that was ultimately negotiated by Cardinal Parolin.
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. secretary of education Betsy DeVos reiterated the Trump administration’s commitment to religious freedom recently with a new op-ed about the threat to religious expression in public schools across the country.
“Too many students and too many teachers are separated from their faith while they are in school,” DeVos writes in a USA Today op-ed, citing cases in which a Utah fourth-grader was told to wipe the ashes off his forehead, a Kentucky high school superintendent forced the closure of a student-operated prayer locker, and a Washington high school football coach was forced out of his job for silently praying after games.
“These incidents indicate that too many champion the part of the First Amendment that bars an ‘establishment of religion’ but choose to ignore the clear admonition against ‘prohibiting the free exercise’ of religion,” DeVos argues. “In fact, the First Amendment doesn’t exist to protect us from religion. It exists to protect religion from government.”
The secretary goes on to detail the Trump administration’s efforts to strengthen religious freedom protections in education, such as a recent guidance on school districts reporting and certifying their schools’ compliance or lack thereof with federal protections for student prayer.
“We are not enforcing unconstitutional prohibitions on school districts contracting with tutors, counselors or other similar secular services simply because of their religious affiliation,” DeVos says. “We took down the previous administration’s list, which publicly shamed faith-based schools for requesting assurance of an exemption from Title IX, a 1972 law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in education.”
President Trump himself touched on the same topic during his State of the Union address earlier this week, declaring that “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 and pastors.”
To conservatives, judicial nominees committed to upholding the Constitution have been a highlight of Trump’s presidency, with most of his picks greatly pleasing pro-life and pro-family advocates. Religious liberty has also been a priority of this administration, from lifting the Obama administration’s contraception mandate to establishing a White House office tasked with fielding the concerns of religious Americans and monitoring threats as they arise.
LEUVEN, Belgium, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Two prestigious Catholic universities will offer programs for the first time in Belgium to help train imams who serve as prayer leaders and preachers in mosques.
Announced at the end of 2019, the programs of study grew out of the work of an official commission “launched after Islamist attacks in Brussels in 2016,” reported weekly newspaper The Tablet. The aim is to provide university-level education for prospective imams.
In Belgium, certain ministers of religion are paid by the government. Following the new programs supported by two Catholic universities, this also will be possible for imams, as the courses will be recognized by the state.
Flanders Today indicated that another goal of the new programs is “to persuade people with an Islamic vocation to study at home rather than abroad.”
“We are building a Belgian training program for ministers in the Islamic faith in order to reduce foreign influence,” explained Koen Geens, Belgium’s minister of justice and a member of the Christian Democrats. “It’s important that we know what they are studying.”
According to Flanders Today, the programs are not only directed at educating imams but at preparing people “for other roles in the Islamic faith, such as counselors, pastors and theologians. The goal is to make sure that their religious knowledge is accompanied by an appreciation of Belgium’s laws and social values.”
The Catholic University of Leuven and the Catholic University of Louvain, which help to offer training for future imams, have the same history. In 1968, because of tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking part, two separate universities were established. The distinct universities are now located roughly 30 kilometers apart.
As Flanders Today reported, the program of study consists of two sections, the first scheduled to last at least two years. During that part of the program, which will take place in Leuven for those who speak Dutch and in Louvain for all French-speaking applicants, students will attend “courses on law, political science, religious psychology and sociology, Arabic philosophy, ethics and the history of the Middle East and North Africa.”
Even before the establishment of a program of study to prepare imams for their service, both Catholic universities had all of the courses available to their students, according to IslamiQ.
In a second and longer step, Flanders Today continued, students will have to undergo theological formation in their religion, “including study of the Koran and some kind of internship.”
Responsible for the theological component of the program will be a new institute called AFOR, which was set up in conjunction with the government and the Executive of Belgian Muslims. Here, the Catholic universities no longer play a role.
Salah Echallaoui, president of AFOR, told Belgian news source 7sur7 that he was satisfied to see the project launched in 2016 come to a conclusion.
“This is part of our desire to implement an Islam of Belgium,” he said. “Our wish is to no longer use imams from abroad. And if we still have to do so in the future, we will be able to demand an equivalence of diploma or even complementary training.”
Imam Franck Hensch was quoted by 7sur7 as saying, “It’s a bit of a dream come true. I have seen many young people interested in the course.” Some of them, he said, were afraid “to have a diploma that is not recognized in Belgium. Here, the academic side of the course is all the more important as it meets all the requirements of our universities.”
Flanders Today mentioned the Catholic University of Leuven was expecting around 30 students to start their six years of preparation for becoming an imam. Courses begin this month.
The Catholic University of Louvain, which is French-speaking, had suspended a professor for challenging his students on abortion in 2017.
As reported by LifeSiteNews at the time, Stéphane Mercier had distributed a paper during a lecture that “challenged the concept of a ‘right to choose’ and referenced abortion as murder.”
“The murder of an innocent person capable of defending himself is revolting, but to attack someone who does not have the strength or the resources to defend himself is even more dreadful,” Mercier wrote.
The leadership of the Catholic university issued a statement declaring its support for a woman’s “right to choose.” In the administration’s own words, “The Catholic University of Louvain recalls that, in the spirit of the law decriminalizing abortion passed in 1990, it respects the autonomy of women to make this choice, in the circumstances specified by the legislator.”
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A 13-year-old UK girl is taking her local council to court after it issued guidance that would allow boys who identify as “transgender girls” to access girls’ bathrooms, changing rooms, and dormitory rooms on student trips.
The teenager, known as Miss A, is calling for a judicial review of the guidance. In a statement published by the Safe School Alliance (SSA), which is supporting her legal challenge, she said, “The toolkit has a very significant impact on me as a girl. I am very surprised that the council never asked the opinion of girls in Oxfordshire about what we thought before they published the toolkit.”
“Under these guidelines I have no right to privacy from the opposite sex in changing rooms, loos or on residential trips,” she continued. “Sports could end up being unsafe as I am a really small teenage girl and boys are bigger than girls. This guidance could be used in any educational establishment in Oxfordshire, which possibly includes sports clubs.”
“The guidance makes me feel that my desire for privacy, dignity, safety, and respect is wrong.
“It makes me feel sad, powerless and confused.”
Regarding toilets, the “toolkit” reads: “Children and young people are supported through the Equality Act 2010 to access the toilet that corresponds to their gender identity; so trans girls because they are girls, can use the girls’ toilets and trans boys the boys’ toilets.”
“Single gender toilets can cause issues for children or young people who do not identify with a gender binary such as boy/girl.”
Regarding changing rooms, it states, “In all cases, trans children and young people should have access to the changing room that corresponds to their gender identity.”
And regarding occasions when children go on overnight school trips, it states: “As far as possible, trans children and young people should be able to sleep in dorms appropriate to their gender identity.”
Tanya Carter, spokeswoman for SSA, said the guidance was “in direct opposition to all safeguarding protocols.”
“This guidance fails to take into account all protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and will see schools and other educational settings being compelled to allow male pupils to share changing rooms, toilets and dorm rooms on residential trips with female pupils -- without parents’ knowledge or permission,” she said.
“It also allows males to take part in sports alongside females,” Carter continued. “This is in direct opposition to all safeguarding protocols which recommend that single sex provision should be made for children over the age of eight when sleeping, using toilets and changing, and that contact sports should be segregated after puberty for safety reasons.”
Paul Conrathe, Human Rights Solicitor from Sinclairs law, the legal firm that is bringing the action, described the guidance as “confused.” He said it “misrepresents the law and exposes children and young people to the potential of harm.”
Speaking of the decision to file an application for a judicial review of the guidance, Conrathe said, “This toolkit significantly mistakes the law whilst purporting to offer best practice guidance to educational settings. Gender identity is not protected under the Equality Act.
“This toolkit raises significant safeguarding concerns for children. We will now commence proceedings in the High Court for an order setting aside the toolkit and declaring it unlawful.”
When public challenges began last year, the council defended the guidance and rejected the idea that they were failing to safeguard children. A spokesperson for the council said last year that the “toolkit will provide helpful guidance to schools looking to support this potentially vulnerable group of young people.” The council acknowledged that this was “a difficult and emotive area,” but said they “utterly refute the suggestion that we are failing to safeguard children.”
LifeSite contacted the council earlier today asking for comment and was provided the statement issued last year.
Victoria Edwards, an Oxford-based mother of a 12-year-old boy, had previously begun taking action against the guidance and is now crowdfunding to support Miss A’s case. Edwards, who identifies as a lesbian, said the guidance “places the rights of trans-identified children above the rights of all other children and staff.”
Edwards’ crowdjustice page continues: “It (the guidance) encourages staff to affirm the chosen gender identity of any child who wishes to identify into the opposite sex while closing down avenues for staff to uphold basic safeguarding principles within schools. It also encourages parental alienation and suggests that any parent who doesn’t affirm their child’s chosen gender identity may be a safeguarding risk and causing harm to their child.”
Dr. Tom Rogers, education manager for UK pro-life and pro-family group Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told LifeSiteNews that is “an appalling indictment of the UK education system that it’s now left up to children to defend themselves against the ever more dangerous excesses of political correctness.”
“13-year-old girls should not have to spend their time seeking judicial reviews just to ensure their own personal safety, privacy and dignity,” Rodgers continued. “Oxfordshire County Council need to take a serious reality check - children cannot change their sex any more than adults can, and encouraging adolescent boys to share toilets, change and shower with the girls at school is one of the most reckless and irresponsible things you could expect the authorities to do.”
"Labeling a child ‘trans’ and pushing them towards making irreversible and devastating life choices is also an act of abuse. Schools are rapidly being turned into places where it’s no longer safe to leave your children, but through our Safe at School campaign we're working with the thousands of parents all across the country who have said enough is enough, and are now standing up to challenge this madness.”
ROME, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Vatican bishop has defended giving Holy Communion to the pro-abortion president of Argentina and his mistress during their recent visit to the Vatican, saying it is a “problem” only for U.S. Catholics and Cardinal Raymond Burke.
The bishop accused this journalist of being a “fanatic” for challenging him on it.
In comments to LifeSite on February 6, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, vigorously argued that canon law “obliges” a priest to give the Eucharist to openly pro-abortion politicians who present themselves for Communion. The Argentine prelate said that only someone who has formally been excommunicated can be refused the Sacrament.
“The [Argentine] president is not excommunicated, so I can give him Communion,” Bishop Sánchez insisted. His pro-abortion policies have “nothing to do with it,” he said.
Other positions are only “the opinion of some bishops of your country,” Bishop Sánchez told this correspondent, singling out U.S. cardinal Raymond Burke.
Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
In February 2007, Cardinal Burke wrote an extensive, 55-page article for Periodica De Re Canonica titled “Canon 915: the discipline regarding the denial of Holy Communion to those obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin.” He went on to serve as head of the Vatican’s highest court for over a decade (2008–2014).
On January 31, a video circulated on social media of Argentine president Alberto Fernández, 61, and his mistress, Fabiola Yáñez, 38, receiving Holy Communion at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Sánchez in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica. Following the Mass, Fernández had a 45-minute meeting with Pope Francis during which the issue of abortion was reportedly not raised.
The new Argentine president has made the legalization of abortion one of his political priorities. At a presser following his meeting with the pope, Fernández confirmed that he will not back down on legalizing abortion and said the proposed legislation will be sent to Parliament on March 1.
Fernández divorced his wife in 2005 and has been living with 38-year-old actress Fabiola Yáñez since 2014 (having lived with another woman for nearly 10 years). After his election in December 2019, Yáñez moved to the Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires and acts as first lady despite their not being married.
The video of the couple receiving Communion caused an international scandal among Catholics. One high-ranking prelate told LifeSite that several Argentinians had expressed shock and dismay at their compatriots’ actions.
A frank exchange
In the wake of the controversy, LifeSite sat down with Bishop Sánchez at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) headquarters in the Vatican, during a two-day workshop on the Global Education Compact — Pope Francis’s May 2020 initiative aimed at promoting a “new humanism.”
During the back-and-forth (see full exchange below), Bishop Sánchez said refusing Holy Communion to a pro-abortion politician runs contrary not only to the “common interpretation of the Church,” but also to “the bishops’ conferences of the United States, Italy, and Argentina — and the pope.”
When it was pointed out that bishops’ conferences have little authority in the matter, the Argentine prelate pivoted, justifying his position based on Pope Francis’s predecessors.
“Pope John Paul II gave Communion to all the people who are in favor of abortion — all the presidents,” he said.
The PAS chancellor also claimed that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who went on to become Pope Benedict XVI), as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent a “second letter” to U.S. bishops “agreeing with the conclusion” that “we can give Communion to [pro-abortion politicians] because they are not excommunicated.”
Weighed against the facts, the bishop’s claim about Cardinal Ratzinger appears rather light. In fact, the cardinal’s main text on the issue strongly opposed giving Communion to pro-abortion politicians.
In 2004, Cardinal Ratzinger sent a letter titled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles” to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as they were discussing the issue of Communion for pro-abortion politicians given the presidential candidacy of John Kerry, a pro-abortion Catholic Democrat.
He sent the letter to former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-archbishop of Washington, D.C. and chairman of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, and Bishop Wilton Gregory, then-president of the USCCB, to clarify the Church’s doctrine and assist the bishops at their June 14–19 meeting in Denver.
In the letter, Cardinal Ratzinger stated, based on Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law:
[W]hen a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
Having received Ratzinger’s letter, McCarrick withheld it from his brother bishops, tempered its force, and distorted its contents.
“I was at the meeting, we never saw it,” Cardinal Burke told LifeSite in comments on February 7.
At the conclusion of the June 2004 meeting, the USCCB issued a statement titled “Catholics in Political Life.” The relevant passage concerning pro-abortion politicians states that the “prudential decision” for denying them Communion rests “with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles.”
The statement, while admittedly weak, notes that a bishop’s decision must be “in accord with established canonical and pastoral principles.” Cardinal Ratzinger had provided those principles in his letter.
Cardinal Ratzinger reportedly sent a second memo to the USCCB affirming that the bishops’ statement was “in harmony with” his initial letter. Yet he did not agree, as Bishop Sánchez suggested, that bishops and priests “can give Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians.”
Sparring about St. Paul
Bishop Sánchez further downplayed the Fernández scandal by pointing to pro-abortion U.S. politicians like former Vice President Joe Biden, telling this journalist: “It’s your problem — again; it’s a problem of your bishops, but it’s not a problem of the Church.”
Pressed on the grave public scandal caused by a pro-abortion president and his mistress receiving Communion in the heart of Christendom, the Argentine prelate said he organized the Mass because Fernández wanted to offer his people an “example” during his visit to Rome.
Suggesting that he might have spoken with President Fernández before Mass, he said: “I don’t have the opportunity to speak.”
“You’re a priest. You could make the opportunity,” this correspondent replied. “For the good of his soul — and for the good of her soul. St. Paul is very clear about how we can eat condemnation” (cf. 1 Cor. 1:29), I said.
“Yes,” Bishop Sánchez retorted, “but St. Paul is also very clear and said ‘my only judge is my conscience.’”
“No, he didn’t. He said that the Lord is my judge,” (cf. 1 Cor. 4:4), I responded. To this, Sánchez replied: “The Lord is my judge, but the Lord is in my conscience.”
“But if you don’t have a well formed conscience, where divine grace is actually active, then your conscience is probably lying to you,” I said. “It’s the darkness of the intellect.”
Bishop Sánchez stood up, claimed this was only my “interpretation,” and said he no longer wished to speak.
Earlier in our interview, Bishop Sánchez and I talked about why he has allowed American globalist and climate change guru Jeffrey Sachs to openly and repeatedly criticize U.S. president Donald Trump in Vatican-hosted meetings since his election.
Returning to the topic of President Trump, at what proved to be the end of our discussion, Bishop Sánchez suggested that Cardinal Burke be told that at least the Argentine president “goes to Mass” — unlike President Trump.
“He’s not Catholic,” I said. “But he was the first president ever to go to the March for Life with thousands and thousands of young people.”
“Yes, to have the votes of the Catholics,” he responded.
“He’s saving babies,” I said. “He’s saving babies.”
With that, it was suggested that this correspondent seek to “understand Catholic ideas,” not be “fanatic,” and “try to use reason.” Bishop Sánchez then returned to his workshop on the Global Education Pact.
Here below is the transcript of our conversation with Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.
Diane Montagna (DM): [Bishop Sánchez], why is Jeffrey Sachs allowed to criticize so much – it’s not the first time, I heard it back in 2017 — criticize President Trump so much? He says terrible things about President Trump in this room [where Pontifical Academy of Sciences meetings are held], when President Trump is the most pro-life president we’ve had. He is for school choice, for helping young black children.
Bishop Sánchez (BS): He is not criticized for this. He is criticized for other things.
DM: For his climate change policies?
BS: For example.
DM: Or what else?
BS: For climate change and because he doesn’t have any collaboration in the dialogue with the other cultures.
DM: That’s not true.
BS: Well I don’t know, it’s not my problem.
DM: Well, I’m saying this because as soon as he was elected president one of the first things he did, actually it was right before he came to visit the Pope, he went and had a meeting with the leaders of the Muslim world about terrorism, in order to work with them to decrease terrorism. So, there are plenty of things … it would be better to have a positive attitude. All you hear here is negative things about President Trump when, in many respects, he’s been a very good president for everyone, for the poor — for everyone. You can disagree with him on climate …
BS: I don’t want to make an opinion about the question of your country, because I don’t know things…
BS: But Jeffrey Sachs is an American, and yesterday…
DM: I heard about what he said yesterday.
BS: It was in the same line.
DM: It was worse.
BS: Yes, it was worse…so it’s not my problem. But there are many Americans who criticize him.
DM: This is true.
BS: Many intelligent Americans.
DM: This is true. I want to ask you about another matter and that is the recent visit of the Argentinian President to the Pope. It caused scandal that you gave him and his mistress [Communion] — because he’s known to be pro-abortion and it’s known he’s not married to that woman — but they live together. They received Communion.
BS: This is another discussion of your country. We don’t have this problem.
DM: How can you give them Communion? It’s Jesus. It’s Jesus. They’re living openly in adultery and he supports abortion.
BS: Sorry, sorry, do you know the canon law? Do you know the canon law? We need to follow canon law, not the opinion of some bishops. And the canon law says that you cannot not give – you are obliged to give Communion if somebody asks you for Communion. Only in the case that he is excommunicated. The President is not excommunicated, so I can give Communion if he asks me for Communion.
DM: But if he is pro-abortion…
BS: Nothing to do [with it]. They don’t say that we shouldn’t give Communion to a politician who is pro-abortion. This is the opinion of some bishops of your country, but it is not the opinion of the bishops’ conference.
DM: Cardinal Raymond Burke …
BS: Cardinal Burke!
DM: But the bishops’ conference doesn’t have any authority.
BS: The Pope doesn’t say this. Pope John Paul II gave Communion to all the people who are in favor of abortion – all the presidents. So… this is the opinion only of Burke.
DM: No… there are others.
BS: Maybe two or three, but it’s not the opinion of the bishops’ conference of Argentina. It’s not the opinion of the bishops’ conference of Italy. It’s not the opinion of the Pope.
DM: So anyone, even someone who is living in open and grave public scandal, can go up to Communion, and you as a priest can’t say “I’m sorry, but…”
BS: Only if he is excommunicated!
DM: But what if he has excommunicated himself by his public act of scandal?
BS: He’s not excommunicated! Excommunicated is a very important sentence and it needs to be communicated that he is excommunicated. You can’t excommunicate a person.
DM: No, I know that.
BS: Only the bishop.
DM: I know, but he’s living with this woman, they are living in open adultery …
BS: It’s a problem of his conscience. It’s not my problem. I don’t have the possibility of saying no.
DM: But wouldn’t it be the opportunity for the sake of his soul …
BS: You have the same problem in your country with the Vice President of Obama, no?
DM: Exactly, and Pelosi. Pelosi openly promotes abortion and she calls herself Catholic.
BS: So, it’s your problem — again. It’s your practice. It’s a problem of your bishops, but it’s not a problem of the Church.
DM: But the Eucharist is Jesus. How can you give Jesus …
BS: I believe in the conscience of the people. If the people ask me for Communion; I don’t know if he is really in sin, or not. I don’t have the possibility to say. Maybe this day they went to confession, and he doesn’t want to have relations with his lady. So, there are many questions that are impossible to resolve in this form.
DM: I know, it’s just this was a publicly … it went all over social media that the Argentine president, who everyone knows wants to pass pro-abortion …
BS: It was an example that the first thing that he says and does while he was here in Rome was to speak to the Pope and in the morning, he wanted to go to the Mass, and I organized this Mass.
DM: It’s wonderful that he goes to Mass.
BS: And I didn’t know if he wanted to go to Communion. He asked me for Communion, and I didn’t have reason to say no.
DM: Not even if he’s pro-abortion and wants to pass pro-abortion legislation.
BS: No, it’s not a reason to say no for Communion according to canon law.
DM: Do you know which canon it is?
BS: Yes, I can give the canons. There are three canons. The first canon says we are obliged to give Communion to persons who ask for Communion. There is only one exception and the exception is when he is excommunicated. Of course, there are some cardinals like Cardinal Burke, but it is the opinion of the Cardinal.
DM: Well, but he knows what the canon law says. I mean, he was the head of the Apostolic Signatura.
BS: Yes, but it’s an interpretation of the canon. It’s not the common interpretation of the Church. It’s only his interpretation and it’s also against the American Bishops’ Conference.
DM: But everybody knows, and Benedict XVI said, that the bishops’ conference doesn’t really have any authority, not in that matter.
BS: Benedict, when he was cardinal, said “I agree with the conclusion of the American Bishops’ Conference.” Yes! Yes! This is the question.
DM: I’ll look it up. I’ll look it up. If you tell me that, I’ll look it up.
BS: Yes, look at these things.
DM: You’re saying that Benedict XVI agreed that a pro-abortion…
BS: This was a question that the American Bishops’ Conference posed and after the declaration of Cardinal Ratzinger, Cardinal Ratzinger sent a second declaration to say: “I agree with the conclusion of the bishops’ conference from America. We can do this. We can give Communion if they ask for Communion because they are not excommunicated.”
DM: Well, I’ll look that up.
BS: Yes, so only Cardinal Burke.
DM: There are others too.
BS: Yes, maybe two or one bishop. But it’s not a problem. It’s not a problem in Italy. It’s not a problem with the Pope. St. John Paul II gave Communion to [inaudible], to all people, who promote abortion. This is the practice [inaudible] Maybe I’m not happy with this.
DM: But it would be an opportunity. This was a public scandal. The fact that a pro-abortion president who’s sleeping with his mistress...
BS: So you say…
DM: He’s living with his mistress!
BS: I don’t know. I don’t know.
DM: Everybody knows. She lives with him. She acts like the first lady.
BS: I don’t know.
DM: How can you not know? You’re Argentinian.
BS: Look, this is his problem. It’s not my problem. And I don’t have any reason, any canonical reason, to say no. So, what can I do?
DM: Would you ever take an opportunity like that to speak to him, before the Mass or after the Mass? Before the Mass, if he wants to go to Mass. This was all organized...
BS: No, I don’t have the opportunity to speak.
DM: You’re a priest. You could make the opportunity. It was organized…
BS: I don’t say more, I don’t say more. Maybe I have in the future an opportunity to speak.
DM: Because these things are organized. He didn’t just show up and want to go to Mass.
BS: Okay, thank you for that.
DM: I’m just thinking of the good of his soul – and for the good of her soul. St. Paul is very clear about how we can eat condemnation upon (cf 1 Cor. 1:29)…
BS: Yes, but St. Paul is very clear also to say, “my only judge is my conscience.” St. Paul said it.
DM: No, no he didn’t. He said that the Lord is his judge. He said: “Not even I can judge myself. The Lord is my judge” (cf. 1 Cor. 4:4).
BS: The Lord is my judge, but the Lord is in my conscience.
DM: The Lord isn’t necessarily if we don’t have …
BS: He’s not in the conscience of the bishop or the cardinal…
DM: But if you don’t have a well-formed conscience where divine grace is actually active, then your conscience is probably lying to you. The darkness of the intellect…
BS: This is your interpretation. Sorry, I don’t want to continue to speak with you because you are completely… and you want only to make polemics. You need to be very happy and to say to your Cardinal Burke, “Look the president [of Argentina] goes to the Mass.” This is the important fact. And your president did not go to the Mass.
DM: What do you mean, my president?
BS: Say this.
DM: My president in terms of President Trump?
BS: Yes. He does not go to the Mass.
DM: But he’s not Catholic. He’s not Catholic.
BS: Exactly! This is a great difference.
DM: He’s not Catholic. But President Trump went in January... he was the first U.S. president ever to go to the March for Life with thousands and thousands of young people.
BS: Yeah, to have the votes of the Catholics. To have the votes of the Catholics. Say this to Cardinal Burke. And in fact, I heard that Cardinal Burke is against President Trump.
DM: Is against?
BS: Yes. Yes.
DM: Or he went to see him?
BS: He is against many things that [Trump] says.
DM: Well, you don’t have to agree with everything President Trump does. But he’s saving babies. He’s saving babies.
BS: Please, lady, understand the Catholic ideas and do not be fanatic, do not be fanatic.
BS: If you continue to speak with me, do not be fanatic. Try to use reason.
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews delivered a petition with nearly 200,000 signatures to the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in Washington, D.C., supporting Selina Soule's complaint against a Connecticut state policy mandating boys who claim that they are girls to play in girls' sports.
LifeSite’s Director of Advocacy, Gualberto Garcia Jones, and one of LifeSite’s Campaign Coordinators, Scott Schittl, hand-delivered five 1.5-inch-thick binders full of signatures to the OCR earlier this week.
“This is a case of basic fairness for women in sports,” Garcia Jones said after the petition delivery. “Title IX was never meant to be used to discriminate against women. Quite the opposite, in fact. And, until now, it has allowed women to achieve near parity in participation in sports. That’s why new Title IX guidelines, which will both safeguard girls’ competition, for girls only, as well as girls’ safety in sport, will be welcomed nationwide.”
Soule is a high school senior from Glastonbury, Connecticut, who lodged a complaint with the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights along with two other female athletes who remain unnamed because of their fear of retaliation.
The complaint alleges that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) discriminated against biological girls and violated their Title IX rights.
Title IX was implemented in 1972 to help ensure that girls would have the same opportunities in sports as boys, and most observers agree that it has been successful.
But Title IX never anticipated that boys would seek to compete as girls and does not mention “gender identity.”
“Most people know, deep down, that allowing biological boys to play in girls sports is wrong because it is unjust,” Schittl said. “Not that they have anything against gender-confused boys, as people. But it’s just that they want the effort – put in by the girls and women in their lives – to be vindicated by fair competition.”
“People still understand basic fairness in the United States, and that’s why so many people have signed the petition,” he added.
In Connecticut and 19 other states, girls are now forced to compete against biological boys claiming to be “girls,” and these policies unfairly deprive biological girls of the right to a level playing field in competitions that they can never win despite their best efforts.
As of now, a new guidance ruling by the Office for Civil Rights has not yet been issued.
During the petition delivery, Garcia Jones and Schittl spoke to one of the OCR’s Confidential Assistants (her official title), Chelsea Henderson, and she confirmed the ongoing investigation into the complaint.
VIENNA, Austria, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Alexander Tschugguel, the young Austrian founder of the Saint Boniface Institute who threw the Amazon Synod’s Pachamama idols in the Tiber river last October, has fired back after a professor of dogmatic theology accused him of falling behind the Second Vatican Council.
“I’m convinced that Christ’s saying will always be true, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me,’” Tschugguel said.
In the fall of 2019, Tschugguel threw a number of the controversial Pachamama statues into the Tiber in Rome after they had been prominently featured in a church for days. Similar statues had also been used in a religious ceremony in the Vatican gardens.
In the aftermath of the Acies Ordinata event in Munich in January, Jan-Heiner Tück, professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Vienna, had spoken of “a constricted view of Catholicism.” The event was attended, among others, by Alexander Tschugguel and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in a prayerful protest against the Synodal Path of the Catholic Church in Germany.
Tück told Austrian Catholic news agency Kathpress: “The vastness of Catholicism is narrowed, even damaged, when it is defended in the manner of Maccabees and statements of Scripture are misunderstood as instructions for action in the way of biblicism.”
According to Kathpress, the theology professor argued that through their intolerance and contempt for that which is other, activists like Tschugguel damage the truth they claim to serve. That way, Tück explained, they fall back behind the Second Vatican Council.
In Tück’s understanding, the council which took place from 1962 until 1965, “overcame an exclusivism which sees in the Catholic Church the only true religion and rejects all other religious convictions as false.”
Talking to faithful Catholic news website kath.net, Tschugguel reacted: “It is no secret that many people today believe that without the Church, specifically without baptism, one can also go to heaven. I am convinced that Christ’s saying will always be true, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
While Tück sees a problem with a “theology of inculturation” which denies itself and praises the other, he maintains the Second Vatican Council has an appreciative attitude towards other cultures and traditions.
Instances of “the true, the good, and the sacred” can also be found “in non-Christian religions and cultures,” Tück said. He did not explain further how this relates to the Pachamama statues featured in a Catholic church as well as during various religious ceremonies in the Vatican in which Pope Francis attended.
Tück accused Tschugguel of not seeing “that he is continuing precisely the tradition that has burdened the missionary history of the Church until today. Contempt for ‘pagan’ cultures in the name of Christian truth has repeatedly unleashed iconoclastic practices.”
The professor of dogmatic theology did not clarify in his conversation with Kathpress how this relates to Tschugguel removing the Pachamama statues from a church.
Tschugguel said that as Catholics, “we are called to proclaim the gospel to all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
“To worship pagan idols does not correspond to this mission and is contrary to the First Commandment. To pit the pre-conciliar and the post-conciliar Church against each other in this way is, in my opinion, deceitful,” he said.
Tschugguel told LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen in a recent interview that “for me, it was really bad, because I saw in those statues and in those idols […] a break of the First Commandment.” He added that he was motivated simply by the desire to “bring pagan things out of a Catholic church.”
In the interview, he also gave young Catholics the advice to attend the local traditional Catholic church, pray “tons” of rosaries, and study the faith in order to defend it in public. He also recommended they go to their families, friends, nearby pro-life groups, and make their voices heard. Tschugguel excaimed, if something “is not Catholic, speak up! […] We are part of the battle between the kingdom of God and the reign of the devil.”
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Conservative scholar Charles Murray is not optimistic about the future of the United States.
In an interview with Canadian pro-life activist Jonathon van Maren, Murray, famous for his many books on culture and politics, said the American experiment in constitutional government is “dead as a doornail” and that without a religious awakening, the United States may last only a few more decades.
“I think America is showing what post-America looks like,” Murray said. “People who call themselves conservatives ... believe things that would horrify the Founders.”
“You cannot have a free society, a society that allows lots of individual autonomy without some outside force that leads people to control the self,” he said.
“The American way of life” is now “meaningless.” America today is “just another rich, powerful country.”
Murray believes that while President Trump has accomplished many good things while in office, the country has failed to live up to the Founders’ belief that character counts.
“What was at the very core of the American founding — the character of the American people — was what in the eyes the founders made the experiment possible.”
Murray explains that the loss of character and religion is “like the old cartoon where the coyote is chasing the roadrunner and runs off the edge of the cliff and continues running without a problem for a while and then suddenly realizes where he is. He goes crashing to the ground. We have run off the edge of the cliff, and we’re still running great. It’s not going to last very long.”
Despite his pessimism, Murray believes that “if you have a resurgence of what used to be known in the United States as a religious great awakening,” then that can “change the behavior of the population in very positive ways[.] … [I]f you have a new upper class that joins in a resurgence of the Judeo-Christian traditions in the United States, that’s going to be great.”
But Murray does not hold out much hope for that happening. Nor does he think it’s likely to happen in Europe.
“I cannot believe that the secularization of society is going to continue indefinitely. We have never had an advanced culture, in the history of the world, that is nearly as secular as contemporary Europe. And I would say that is the test case.”
“Europe is going to degenerate,” he contined. “The increasing Muslim minorities in those countries are probably going to accelerate the exposure of the degeneracy.”
When pressed for advice on what ordinary Americans should be doing in these times, Murray answered that they should move to small towns and live “the traditional American way of life” and get involved in their communities.
Ultimately, though, he beleives that what America needs is “the emergence of a charismatic person who is devoted to the original American founding who is going to attract political support in the way that Ronald Reagan did.”
That person will hopefully be able to restore some of the character and institutions of the United States, he said.
SHELBY, North Carolina, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A high school student is suing her school district, claiming that not being allowed to use the boys’ restrooms aggravated her kidney disease.
The court has temporarily required the school to let the female student use the boys’ restroom.
As reported by local newspaper Shelby Star, the female student claims to be a boy. To protect the identity of the transgender student, she is only known as “John Doe.”
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday and is brought against Cleveland County Schools in North Carolina, as well as superintendent Stephen Fisher and principal Julie Rikard of Kings Mountain High School.
According to court documents looked into by the Shelby Star, “John Doe” is currently a senior at Kings Mountain High School. Before her freshman year, the student began “transitioning” to try to be a boy. The school was informed that “John Doe” claimed to be male. According to the lawsuit, Rikard said she should use the girls’ restroom only, which the suit claims is discrimination.
“John Doe” said in a sworn statement, “Because I am a boy I could not use the girls’ restroom comfortably and ended up avoiding the restroom for the entirety of the year.”
In the few instances the gender-confused student had an emergency, girls at the school would laugh at her “because they knew I was trans and made fun of me for having to use the girls’ restroom,” she claims, according to the Shelby Star.
“John Doe” began testosterone treatments during her sophomore year. At that point, the Shelby Star reports, the student was told to use the separate restroom meant for teachers.
“John Doe” said, according to the local newspaper, that the restroom was far from her classroom and she would “get ‘looks’ from teachers when using it.”
Still, she refused to use the restroom, unless there was an emergency. Her doctors say that decision “may have worsened” a kidney disease she has had since birth.
The Shelby Star quotes Deanna Wilson Adkins, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Duke Department of Pediatrics, from the court documents: “In addition to the escalation” in her “anxiety and distress that has resulted from Kings Mountain High School’s refusal to let ‘John’ access the restroom on equal terms” with biological boys, her kidney function “has also been compromised as a result” of her lack of access “to appropriate restroom facilities.”
On the website of the Duke Department of Pediatrics, the doctor states she cares for children with all kinds of hormonal disorders, for instance “disorders of sexual development, including transgender.”
“Sexual development, pubertal disorders, and gender disorders are a special interest of mine,” Adkins says on her bio. She has been in contact with “John Doe” since 2017.
Both Adkins and another doctor had recommended to Kings Mountain High School that they allow “John Doe” to use the boys’ restroom closest to her classroom.
The Shelby Star explained, “Superintendent Stephen Fisher said the district takes student needs like Doe’s on a case-by-case basis and tries to come up with individualized plans to meet their needs. He would not say if the district has made similar accommodations for other students in Doe’s position in the past.”
Shearra Miller, chairwoman of the school board, said, “We made an accommodation for the student that we felt was in the best interest of the student at the time.”
North Carolina was in the news in 2016 for its “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act,” commonly known as House Bill 2. That law delivered a definition of biological sex, namely “The physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate.”
Based on that definition, “Local boards of education shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility that is designated for student use to be designated for and used only by students based on their biological sex.”
While the law allowed for accommodations, those stopped short of allowing a girl to use a multiple occupancy restroom designated for boys.
After the governor signed the law, outcry from the left was enormous. Various companies decided to stop expansion in North Carolina, including PayPal and Deutsche Bank.
Within a month, it was estimated that this protest had cost North Carolina “more than 1750 jobs and more than $77 million” in investments.
Even sports organizations protested the new law. The NBA relocated the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, Louisiana. Previously, it was scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With the NCAA putting pressure on North Carolina in 2017, announcing that no championship games would be hosted in the state until at least 2022, the law was partially repealed.
That partial repeal was confirmed by a U.S. court settlement in 2019. Reuters summarized at the time, “Transgender people in North Carolina can use any public restroom in state-run buildings that conforms with their gender identity.”
Nancy Pelosi: ‘I don’t know’ if Trump understands prayer, but ‘I pray for him’
'I do pray for him and I do so sincerely and without anguish, gently,' said Pelosi, who ignored Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast after ripping up on national TV a copy of his State of the Union speech earlier in the week. Pelosi led the effort to impeach Trump.
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested that President Donald Trump doesn’t “understand about prayer or people who pray,” while claiming to “pray hard” for the president herself.
“I don’t know if the president understands about prayer or people who pray,” Pelosi said Thursday at her weekly press conference.
“I pray for the United States of America, I pray for him, I pray for President Bush still, President Obama…because it’s a heavy responsibility…I pray hard for him because he’s so off the track of our Constitution, our values, our country…He really needs our prayers,” continued Pelosi. “So he can say whatever he wants, but I do pray for him and I do so sincerely and without anguish, gently, that’s the way I pray for everybody else.”
Pelosi, who led the impeachment efforts against Trump, champions abortion on demand and same-sex “marriage.” In 2013, while dodging a question about late-term abortion, Pelosi said, “As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this.”
Earlier on Thursday Trump had addressed the 2020 National Prayer Breakfast, where he spoke about the importance of prayer for America and Americans, cited the efforts he and his administration were making to defend persecuted Christians and religious minorities all around the world, and concluded his speech with a prayer.
“Faith keeps us free. Prayer makes us strong,” Trump said during his address. “And God alone is the author of life and the giver of grace.”
“We’re restoring hope, and spreading faith,” he said.
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.
Pelosi also attended the breakfast, sitting just a few seats away from Trump at the head table. Before Trump spoke, the California Democrat took to the podium and read a prayer for religious liberty.
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.
During his speech at the breakfast, Trump took aim at people who he says “use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.” In a reference to the failed impeachment proceedings taken against him, Trump said: “So many people have been hurt, and we can’t let that go on.”
In 2015 Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Pelosi’s local bishop, responded to her repeated refusal to say whether an unborn child at 20 weeks is a “human being” by reminding Pelosi that “no Catholic can dissent in good conscience” on abortion.
“It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception,” he said. “This has been established in medical science for over 100 years. Catholic moral teaching acknowledges this scientific fact, and has always affirmed the grave moral evil of taking an innocent human life.”
“This has been the consistent teaching of the Church from the very beginning, a teaching already discernible in the natural moral law, and so a teaching from which no Catholic can dissent in good conscience,” he added.
Pastors, he said, have an “obligation … to reach out to their people who have difficulty understanding and accepting such important teachings of the Church in order to extend to them true pastoral care and, where appropriate, to establish a regular dialogue.”
In light of Pelosi’s numerous recent high-profile references to her faith and professions to be Catholic, LifeSite has written to Archbishop Cordileone to enquire whether he has instructed the clergy of his diocese to deny Pelosi Holy Communion due to her long-term, consistent support for abortion. LifeSiteNews did not receive a response by the time of publication, but will update this article when we do.
In December last year Pelosi reacted angrily when asked by a reporter if she hated Trump. Pelosi cited her Catholic upbringing, as she claimed that she didn’t hate anybody. “I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody,” she said while wagging her finger. “Not anybody in the world.”
“I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence,” she said. “I think he is cruel when he doesn't deal with helping our ‘Dreamers’ of which we are proud. I think he is in denial about the climate crisis.”
“As a Catholic, I resent you're using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” said the House Speaker. “I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always prayed for the president, and I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time.”
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As tensions rise between parental rights and child gender confusion, a recent article in a prestigious medical journal makes the case for state intervention to “transition” children against their parents’ will.
On December 31, the Journal of the American Medical Association published “Medically assisted gender affirmation: when children and parents disagree,” by a group of academics led by Dr. Samuel Dubin of the University of Michigan. The authors’ approach “prioritizes the developing autonomy of transgender youth in the decision-making process, and claims to be based “in the literature surrounding the risks and benefits of gender-affirming therapy in transgender children and the existing legal basis for recognizing minors’ decision-making authority in certain medical situations.”
“Neglect, as a medico-legal term, can be used to initiate an evaluation by Child Protective Services and remove a parent as a child’s legal guardian in the most severe instances,” the piece argued. “We conclude that situations where a parent prevents a minor from receiving treatments related to gender dysphoria violate the Harm Principle and justify state intervention.”
In fact, a range of scientific literature indicates that reinforcing gender confusion is harmful in the long term, and often fails to prevent significant emotional harm up to and including attempted suicide (with or without surgery), because fixating on “gender affirmation” tends to distract from exploring other issues that may be at the root of a patient’s mental or emotional unrest.
"Pediatricians in particular are taught that during certain kinds of office visits they are to interview the child separately from the parents,” Dr. Andre Van Mol of the American College of Pediatricians told the Christian Post. “That may be presented as something with very good intentions, such as discovering patterns of abuse, but it can also be used ideologically to advance the abortion agenda, encourage premature sexual debut and an overconfidence in birth control, and now clearly to advance transgender ideology.”
"Transgender ideologues now seem firmly in the driver's seat of establishing policy for several of these medical organizations, most notably the ones for pediatricians, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers,” Van Mol warned. “It is not based on science or long-term evidence. Many of us see this as a replay of the lobotomy movement of the '50s and '60s. Opposition to it knows no boundaries of politics or faith, and it is gaining momentum."
TALLAHASSEE, Florida, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Florida lawmakers took another step toward strengthening the state’s parental involvement laws this week as a bill requiring a parent’s consent for a minor’s abortion passed the state Senate.
Florida already requires parents to be notified, but Senate Bill 404 forbids abortionists from going through with a minor’s abortion unless they receive a “notarized written statement signed by a minor and either her mother, her father, or her legal guardian” agreeing that “the abortion is in the best interest of the minor.”
Consent would not be required in cases of “medical emergency” or if a judge grants a waiver. Judicial waivers must be based on finding “clear and convincing evidence” of the minor’s maturity to make the decision or else that a “preponderance of the evidence” indicates that her parents are sexually abusing her.
The bill passed the Senate 23-17 Thursday, the Miami Heraldreports.
“This is about whether or not you’re going to have adults involved in difficult decisions with children,” argued Republican state Sen. Kelli Stargel, who relayed her own past as a pregnant teen who chose life in support of the measure.
Abortion defenders attacked the bill as imposing a needless burden on the so-called “right to choose.” In fact, while modern Supreme Court precedent falsely asserts that the Constitution contains a right to abortion, the court has also repeatedly recognized a legitimate state interest in protecting both prenatal life and women’s safety. Since Roe v. Wade, the Court has upheld numerous abortion restrictions, including parental notification and consent laws.
Last year, parental consent legislation passed the Florida House but died in the Senate; this year it is expected to have better luck in the House. Pro-life Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is certain to sign SB 404 into law, as he has already called on the legislature to send it to his desk.
OTTAWA, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Warnings continue to multiply over the “insane” and “invasive” report that recommends Canada’s Liberal government register and regulate internet media content providers.
A number of commentators in and outside Canada denounced the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review (BTLR) panel’s report released last week as a “breathtaking” and unprecedented plan to regulate the internet.
The government-assembled panel of broadcasting experts chaired by Janet Yale was tasked with advising the Liberals on overhauling the country’s allegedly outdated broadcasting laws.
Its report recommended a massive expansion of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as the renamed Canadian Communications Commission.
“A key recommendation was to extend licences currently granted to radio and television stations to all media content, along with a much stricter compliance regime,” noted the National Post’s John Ivison.
Indeed, so strict is this proposed scheme that two former CRTC members are among the report’s fiercest critics.
Former CRTC vice-chair of telecommunications Peter Menzies wrote in the Globe and Mail that in a “breathtaking expansion of scope and bureaucratic hubris” and “a series of invasive and unjustifiable recommendations,” the panel “advocated for a sweeping series of interventions that would make all online media – from online sites such as Rabble to Rebel News and in any language – subject to government regulation.”
That was echoed by former CRTC commissioner Timothy Denton, who in a Financial Post op-ed wrote that the report advocates “an unprecedented power grab for the federal government and the CRTC” aimed “at nothing less than a statist counter-revolution against the internet.”
That was echoed by well-known Canadian pundit and political commentator Andrew Coyne.
The report is “breathtaking — a regulatory power grab without precedent, either in Canada or the democratic world,” noted Coyne in the Globe and Mail.
“Nobody elsewhere else is proposing anything like it, and for good reason: because it’s insane.”
But what the Liberal government will do remains a critical question after Heritage Minister Steven Guilbault caused a firestorm by first appearing to endorse the idea of government licenses for internet news sites, then reversing his position the next day.
On Sunday, Guilbault told CTV News: “If you’re a distributor of content in Canada… we would ask that they have a licence, yes.” On Monday, both the minister and the prime minister insisted the Liberals won’t license internet news or regulate internet news.
But that’s not exactly reassuring given the report recommends that “companies delivering media content by means of the internet would be required to register with the new Canadian Communications Commission,” and that it makes “no mention here of any exemptions for news organizations,” noted Ivison.
And while the report’s “implications for press freedom are obvious – so obvious, that one would expect the whole newspaper industry to rise up as one and reject it,” it also contains an offer of “goodies” for that beleaguered sector, Coyne observed.
Indeed, even as critics allege the Trudeau government’s $595 million “media bail-out” announced in its last budget compromises Canada’s legacy media, the report outlines more ways “the government could help news outlets” losing out to digital competitors, the Globe and Mail reported.
It recommends that online media content providers must register with the CRTC and pay into a fund to support select Canadian news organizations, it reported.
Newspapers “would be eligible for subsidies paid for out of the taxes on aggregators and sharers, who would also be obliged to link” to those Canadian news sites the CRTC deems “accurate, trusted and reliable,” Coyne explained.
“Are we really going to bite the hand that feeds us, now or in the future?” he added.
Liberals and their beneficiaries believe they are “saving quality journalism,” noted Ivison, “while everyone else thinks it’s a transparent bribe.”
That’s echoed by Jack Fonseca, director of political operations at Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobbying group.
The Liberal “bailout of the privately-owned mainstream media was a bribe to ensure that major media outlets will become dependent on the government, and therefore not report anything critical about Trudeau, or else,” he told LifeSiteNews.
It’s similar to the Liberal government’s “new rules to muzzle so-called Third Party Advertisers at election time, including simple information posted on Canadian websites,” he said.
Fonseca maintains those rules were “designed to de-platform all small-c conservative voices which might be critical of Liberal policies, including that of Campaign Life Coalition. We actually had to shut down our pro-life Voters’ Guide for months during the election, and then massively restrict access to it.”
Canadians should regard the recent controversial broadcasting report in the context of what they know about the Liberals, and particularly the prime minister, who in May 2014 expressed his admiration for China’s “basic dictatorship,” he pointed out.
“We need to take Trudeau at his word, and not just laugh at him as if he’s some kind of joke. He was deadly serious. A basic dictatorship is what he admires. And it seems fairly clear that’s where he’s trying to steer the country, with a clear plan in his own mind,” Fonseca said.
The possibility that the Liberals could “create a ‘media registry’ and start licensing internet and social media-based news outlets is the latest in a string of warning signs that Justin Trudeau is the most dangerous man in Canadian political history,” he added.
Moreover, if the Liberals move ahead with this plan, it’s reasonable to assume “websites like LifeSiteNews would be forced to shut down because the Liberal government would refuse to give them a license,” warned Fonseca.
“In short, Liberals will have total control of the internet and the power to block all dissenting voices.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault - Minister of Canadian Heritage
15 Eddy Street, 12th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5
Email: [email protected]
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner
Shadow minister for industry and economic development
Suite 115, 70 Country Hills Landing NW
Calgary, AB T3K 2L2
Email: [email protected]
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill introduced into the Utah legislature would require pornographic content distributed in the state to come with a “warning label.”
According to the proposed House Bill 243, the warning label would say: “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.”
The warning label would have to be displayed for 15 seconds prior to “the display of any video or each image which includes” pornographic material as defined by state law. Similarly, for printed material, the warning is to be placed “in clear, readable type on the cover” of each publication containing pornography.
Sponsored by Republican Representative Brady Brammer, House Bill 243 arranges for a penalty of up to $2,500 in case of violation.
Jake Roberson, director of communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, called the development in Utah “very encouraging.”
In 2016, Utah had declared pornography a public health crisis. According to the resolution signed by Governor Gary Herbert, pornography “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment,” contributes “to the hypersexualization of teens, and even prepubescent children, in our society,” and “treats women as objects and commodities for the viewer’s use.”
Additionally, the resolution pointed out how pornography normalizes violence and abuse, while at the same time impacting the development and functioning of the viewer’s brain. The resolution mentioned societal consequences of the use of pornography, for instance, a lessening desire of young men to marry, a greater dissatisfaction within marriage, and infidelity.
Utah officially recognized the need “for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation.”
With that in mind, Roberson told LifeSiteNews, a law requiring a warning label to be attached to pornographic material would only be the “natural outgrowth” of the resolution. “We think it would be negligent of them not to take this step,” he said.
Referring to the practice of attaching warning labels to tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, Roberson described the effort in Utah as a similar initiative, saying: “It’s an important step on the path towards protecting people from the inherent harms” of pornography.
Roberson stated he was “hopeful” that the bill, which was introduced on February 4, 2020, would go through.
While the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is currently unaware of any efforts to attach a warning label to pornography in other states, more than a dozen already followed in the footsteps of Utah when the Beehive State first declared pornography as a public health crisis in 2016.
With more and more legislatures recognizing the dangers of porn, one of the largest providers of pornography, Pornhub, is sending some of its performers to take part in Fashion Week in New York City.
According to a short article published by the New York Post, the porn actresses will participate in the presentation of a collection called “Herotica.” The designers claim the performers supplied by Pornhub “are a feminist statement,” explains the newspaper.
One of the designers is quoted as saying, “The cosmos of sexual pleasure has been restricted to a few boring and chauvinistic narratives for the pleasure of the male gaze. Porn isn’t something existentially male. Most women just have been excluded from determining the narrative.”
The communications director for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation criticized this move, saying, “Pornhub trying to position itself as a feminist organization is really, really problematic and just not factual.”
Roberson pointed out that Pornhub, through its content, actually degrades and abuses women.
In early January 2020, a producer of pornography was sentenced to pay almost $13 million to 22 women for fraud. The Los Angeles Times reported that two website owners and one actor were sued by 22 women who claimed they were deceived and coerced into making explicit sex films without knowing the images would be posted on the internet.”
Talking to LifeSiteNews, Roberson asked, “Why did Pornhub continue to host and feature” content of that company “on its website while there were lawsuits against it for trafficking, abusing, and manipulating women?”
When the lawsuit reached its conclusion in January, Benjamin Bull, Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center, declared that no amount of money can account for the damage caused by the porn producer, “but this trailblazing lawsuit cuts a path that can now be followed by advocates for other survivors of horrific abuses inflicted by the pornography industry.”
Bull was convinced that there would be many more lawsuits following the one in San Diego – a fact he called “a very good thing.” He added, “The lawsuit also has immense value in shining the light of public scrutiny on what is a common place practice of abusing young women by pornography companies.”
SAN DIEGO, California, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Bishop of San Diego has made the case that “climate change” could be considered “uniquely preeminent in Catholic social teaching” since the potential death toll due to man-made temperature rise is “larger” than abortion and “threatens the very future of humanity.”
In a speech titled “Conscience, Candidates and Discipleship in Voting,” which Bishop Robert J. McElroy delivered at the University of San Diego yesterday, the bishop said that Catholic voters need to discern where their priorities lie in the upcoming 2020 election.
“Frequently in discussions of the application of Catholic social teaching to voting, the question is raised whether one issue has a unique priority among all of the other issues in its claim upon believers in the current election cycle. Some have categorized abortion in that way. Others, climate change. This question deserves deeper scrutiny,” he said.
The bishop went on to list four points that he said should be considered when setting priorities.
Against the backdrop of these two monumental threats to human life, how can one evaluate the competing claims that either abortion or climate change should be uniquely preeminent in Catholic social teaching regarding the formation of Americans as citizens and believers? Four points should be considered.
There is no mandate in universal Catholic social teaching that gives a categorical priority to either of these issues as uniquely determinative of the common good.
The death toll from abortion is more immediate, but the long-term death toll from unchecked climate change is larger and threatens the very future of humanity.
Both abortion and the environment are core life issues in Catholic teaching.
The designation of either of these issues as the preeminent question in Catholic social teaching at this time in the United States will inevitably be hijacked by partisan forces to propose that Catholics have an overriding duty to vote for candidates that espouse that position. Recent electoral history shows this to be a certainty.
It is unclear if any deaths in the U.S. have resulted from “climate change.” Abortion, however, has taken the lives of over 60 million in the U.S. alone since 1973. In the last 100 years, there have been over one billion abortions worldwide.
Previous popes have made it clear that abortion is the crucial moral issue of the day. They’ve made the case that without protecting the lives of the innocent, youngest and most vulnerable members of humanity, society cannot protect its citizens in other ways.
In his 1988 exhortation Christifideles Laici, St. John Paul II said that the “right to life” must be defended with “maximum determination.”
The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.
In Donum Vitae, then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – later Pope Benedict XVI – wrote that the “inviolable right to life of every innocent human individual” must be defended since it is the “constitutive element” of “civil society and its order.”
In 2006, while speaking to members of the European People’s Party, Pope Benedict XVI stressed that as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the “principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable,” he said. First among these, he said, is the “protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death.”
Bishop McElroy painted a picture of the doom he believes “climate change” will cause.
Existing trajectories of pollutants being placed in the atmosphere by human activity, if unchecked, will raise the temperature of the earth in the coming decades, generating catastrophic rises in human exposure to deadly heat, devastating rises in water levels and massive exposure to a series of perilous viruses. In addition, there will be severe widespread famines, draughts and massive dislocations of peoples that will cause untold deaths, human suffering and violent conflict. The devastating fires in Australia are a sign of what lies before us, and a testimony that, on so many levels, our current pollution of the earth is stealing the future from coming generations. Because the trajectory of danger unleashed by fossil fuels is increasing so rapidly, the next ten years are critical to staunching the threat to our planet.
Last year, over 440 scientific papers were published that cast doubt on climate alarmism and the claim that man-made carbon emissions are causing changes to the climate.
Carleton University professor Michael Hart argued in his 2016 book Hubris that “climate change” advocacy is based on “poor science" and is being used as a Trojan horse for ramming through a social agenda on an unsuspecting population.
“I learned that both domestic and international actors had succeeded in using the poorly understood science of climate change to advance an ambitious environmental agenda focused on increasing centralized control over people’s daily lives,” he told LifeSiteNews in an August 2016 interview.
“Left-wing politicians discovered in climate change renewed ways to press their agenda of social and economic justice through coercive government programs. As John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, sees it, ‘The alarmists have learned well from the past. They saw what motivates policymakers is not necessarily just hard science, but a well-orchestrated symphony of effort ... announce a disaster; cherry pick some results; back it up with computer modeling; proclaim a consensus; stifle the opposition; take over the process and control the funding; and roll the policymakers,’” he said.
McElroy took a swipe at the Trump administration in this speech, saying: “The United States, which was once a leader in this effort, has in the current Administration become the leader in resisting efforts to combat climate change and in denying its existence.”
“As a consequence, the survival of the planet, which is the prerequisite for all human life, is at risk.”
While pitting the concept of “intrinsic evil” against the varying gravity of “moral evils”, the Bishop also stated that abandoning a global environmental initiative was a “greater moral evil” that the distribution of contraceptives.
“...Contraception is intrinsically evil in Catholic moral theology, while actions which destroy the environment generally are not,” he said. “But it is a far greater moral evil for our country to abandon the Paris Climate Accord than to provide contraceptives in federal health centers. What these examples point out is that Catholic social teaching cannot be reduced to a deductivist model when it comes to voting to safeguard the life and dignity of the human person.”
Michael Hichborn, President of the Lepanto Institute, told LifeSiteNews that Bishop McElroy has “shifted his allegiance” from being a shepherd of souls to advocating for worldly concerns.
“In one meeting, Bishop McElroy has clearly shifted his allegiance away from Christ and souls to politics and the world,” he said.
“A man concerned with the salvation of souls would speak the truth regarding individual salvation and damnation. Instead, Bishop McElroy speaks of policies regarding dubious scientific theories while promoting political cash cows that benefit the USCCB as greater than moral matters that lead souls to Hell.”
Hichborn called McElroy’s statement that claimed that abandoning the Paris Accords “is a far greater moral evil” than the provision of contraception “a reprehensible lie.”
“No one ever went to Hell for making a prudential political decision regarding unsettled scientific concerns,” he said, “but the use of what McElroy himself acknowledged is an intrinsic evil is currently sending countless souls to Hell.”
“As Fatima seer Sr. Lucia revealed, ‘More souls go to Hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.’”
The issue of abortion as the pre-eminent social issue of our time was raissed at the USCCB general assembly in November. Bishop McElroy objected to the statement in the USCCB’s document on political life, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizens” that protecting the unborn is their “preeminent” social justice priority.
“It is not Catholic teaching that abortion is the pre-eminent issue that we face as the world in Catholic social teaching,” McElroy said.
The Bishop of San Diego also said he believes that saying the threat of abortion remains the USCCB’s “pre-eminent priority” is “at least discordant with the pope’s teaching if not inconsistent” and that it is a “grave disservice to our people if we’re trying to communicate to them what the Magisterium teaches.”
He was contradicted by Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia. Strickland stated that the word “pre-eminent” must remain in the letter, and Chaput underscored that abortion is indeed the most important social issue of our time.
After a USCCB ad limina visit to Pope Francis this January, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the USCCB Committee for Pro-Life Activities told Catholic News Service (CNS) that the Pope agreed with the U.S. bishops in “identifying the protection of the unborn as a preeminent priority.”
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As left-wing voices continue to wish death and suffering upon conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh after the announcement of his lung cancer diagnosis, Twitter’s tolerance for such comments stands in stark contrast to the company’s zero-tolerance policy on “misgendering.”
“Twitter is showing extreme bias in permitting tweets rejoicing at the severe cancer diagnosis of Rush Limbaugh yet blocking our account based on a tweet identifying a person by his biological sex rather than his preferred self representation,” LifeSiteNews co-founder and editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen said.
The veteran talk radio host shocked the conservative world Monday by announcing that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Limbaugh said he plans to continue to “do this program as normally and as competently and as expertly as I do each and every day, because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally” while he undergoes treatment with a “great bunch of doctors.”
The news was met with an outpouring of support from prominent conservatives and Republicans, with President Donald Trump awarding Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address. Many on the Left responded with contempt, however, expressing delight at Limbaugh’s misfortune and even wishing a painful death on him:
Almost every minute of Rush’s adult life has been spent purposely making the world worse. He’s a racist, sexist, greedy, hateful man who has sown fear and violence with every dollar he’s made. There is absolutely no question whatsoever that the world is better without him in it.
All these tweets and more remain live as of February 6, despite the fact that Twitter’s own rules forbid “wishing, hoping or calling for serious harm on a person or group of people,” with “Hoping that someone dies as a result of a serious disease, e.g., ‘I hope you get cancer and die,’” as one of its own examples of “hateful conduct.” While most of its Hateful Conduct Policy is framed in terms of racial, sexual, or religious discrimination, they also state that “individuals do not need to be a member of a specific protected category for us to take action.”
By contrast, Twitter has censored numerous accounts for respectfully disputing left-wing orthodoxy. Last December, Twitter locked LifeSiteNews’ account for tweeting a link to the story, “Trans activist Jonathan ‘Jessica’ Yaniv ‘shocked … confused’ gynecologist won’t see him.” Twitter called it a “violation” of its rules but didn’t specify which one. LifeSite appealed the decision, but its main Twitter account remains locked to this day.
The Yaniv incident was just one of many examples of Twitter cracking down on conservative and pro-family voices on the grounds that referring to someone by his actual sex rather than his “gender identity” is automatically “hateful” and therefore forbidden.
Twitter has a long record of bans and suspensions affecting non-violent, non-hateful, non-obscene tweets from right-of-center perspectives, while Twitter insiders have admitted to intentionally targeting conservative accounts and topics. Nor is Twitter’s double-standard anything new, with the platform tolerating left-wing or anti-family content ranging from calls to “eradicate” Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway to “discussions of … attraction toward minors.”
Spain forcibly sterilizes disabled people. New campaign may change that
Even those with what are considered 'high-functioning' disabilities such as Asperger's can be forcibly sterilized without their knowledge or consent.
Fri Feb 7, 2020 - 9:59 am EST
By Laura Nicole
By Laura Nicole
By Laura Nicole
February 7, 2020 (Live Action News) — An advocacy group for the rights of disabled persons in Spain has introduced a measure that would end the current practice of forced sterilization of the disabled. Shockingly, under the current law, even those with what are considered “high-functioning” disabilities such as Asperger’s or other mild forms of autism, can be forcibly sterilized without their knowledge or consent, or with diminished consent under severe pressure from family or other authorities.
The regressive policy has come under fire from international human rights organizations in recent years. According to article 156 of the Spanish criminal code, all that is necessary to carry out this act is a judge’s authorization and acknowledgement of the “incapacity” of the individual in question. A 2018 report from the European Disability Forum showed that, from 2010–2013, 400 women — whom doctors deemed as having some form of disability regardless of mental capacity — were forcibly sterilized in Spain. The report highlights the story of a deaf woman who was sterilized without her consent.
“And these are just the cases we know about,” a report in Equal Times points out. “Far more often, forced sterilization procedures don’t leave traces in official records because doctors typically go it alone, performing sterilizations on women with no due process.”
When Ciudadanos party MP Sara Gimenez brought the issue to public consciousness in a tweet in January, Euronews illustrated the problem with the story of Cristina, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 18. Her parents immediately pressured her to undergo a tubal ligation.
“They kept telling me that it would be irresponsible to have sex because I could get pregnant; that I was not going to be able to take on the responsibility of being a mother,” she told EuroNews. “That, as I was Asperger, my children would also be born Asperger; and this insistence fixed in my mind the idea that I was not capable of having children.”
The pervasive societal belief at the heart of the policy is that persons with disabilities cannot be good mothers, or that the disability would be passed on and the resulting child would be a “burden,” both on the family and on the state which sometimes lacks appropriate resources. In some cases, the forced sterilization is also portrayed as being for the good of women, “protecting” them from potential future pregnancies due to possible abuse.
An update on the status of the measure was not available at the time of this story.
Kentucky to reward Planned Parenthood with operating license after years of law-breaking
Between December 2015 and January 2016, Planned Parenthood in Kentucky committed 23 abortions without a license of any kind.
Fri Feb 7, 2020 - 9:46 am EST
By Anne Marie Williams
By Anne Marie Williams
Anne Marie Williams
By Anne Marie Williams
February 7, 2020 (Live Action News) — The state of Kentucky is slated to have a second abortion provider beginning in March, after Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s administration approved a Louisville Planned Parenthood’s provisional license on January 24th. This allows the facility to offer abortions temporarily until an unannounced inspection takes place to ensure that state safety laws are followed. Presumably, a full license would then be granted if the inspection is passed.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) initially applied for a surgical abortion license in 2015, but was twice denied a license by Republican Governor Matt Bevin’s administration — the first time in December 2015, because Planned Parenthood did not comply with a Kentucky law requiring abortion facilities to have a transport agreement with an ambulance service and a local hospital to care for patients in case of emergency. That commonsense law was struck down by a federal judge in 2018 and is being appealed.
The second license application denial came in January 2016 after Planned Parenthood committed 23 abortions between December 3, 2015, and January 28, 2016, without a license of any kind. Planned Parenthood argued that former Democratic Governor Steve Beshear’s administration had given the okay for them to provide abortions without even a provisional license, with a plan for an unannounced inspection to take place before a license would be granted. Notably, Governor Steve Beshear, predecessor to Matt Bevin, is current Governor Andy Beshear’s father.
ROME, February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican today announced that Pope Francis’s widely anticipated summary document on the Amazon Synod will be released on Wednesday, February 12.
According to a statement issued on Friday, “Querida Amazonia” [Dear Amazonia], the Pope’s post-apostolic exhortation on the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazonian region, will be presented at a 1pm press conference at the Holy See Press Office.
The release of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation promises to attract considerable attention and potentially serious controversy. At stake in the document is the discipline of priestly celibacy in the Latin Church, the introduction of “official ministries” for women, and the acceptance of pagan elements of Amazonian culture into the Church’s prayer and liturgy.
All of these points were raised both in the preparatory document for the Amazon Synod and during the October assembly.
Presenting the document will be Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, Undersecretary for the Migrants and Refugee section of the Vatican dicastery for integral human development; Jesuit Father Adelson Araújo dos Santos, who teaches theology and spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; Sr. Augusta de Oliveira, SMR, Vicar General of the Servants of Mary Reparatrix; and Professor Carlos Nobre, a 2007 Nobel Prize winner and member of the Scientific Environmental Commission and National Council of Scientific and Technological Development.
Also contributing via video-message will be Bishop David Martínez de Aguirre Guinea, OP, of Puerto Maldonado, who served as Special Secretary for the Pan-Amazon Synod.
As LifeSite reported earlier this week, various and potentially conflicting draft texts of the apostolic exhortation have recently been circulating in the Vatican and among several bishops conferences.
Italian historian Roberto de Mattei said multiple sources confirmed that neither the Vatican Secretary of State nor the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were given a partial draft of the apostolic exhortation that Brazilian Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, General Relator of the October 6-27 Amazon Synod, sent to at least several bishops conferences in mid-January.
The partial draft circulated by the Brazilian cardinal reproduced verbatim paragraph 111 of the Amazon Synod’s final document. In paragraph 111, the synod fathers proposed ordaining married men in “the most remote areas of the Amazon region.”
De Mattei, president of the Rome-based Lepanto Foundation and director of Corrispondenza Romana, argued that the positive inclusion of this passage in the apostolic exhortation (whether in the main body or a footnote) would effectively “open the door” for the German Bishops, and others, to create a married clergy. “There is no reason to prohibit in other regions of the world what will be permitted in some parts of the Amazon,” he wrote.
He said sources also confirmed that “the document approved by the Congregation for the Faith does not contain this passage” and is “Catholic.”
After reading these horror stories of transgender regret, how can you buy Starbucks?
'I begged everyone I could [to stop the surgery]. I begged her. I couldn't stop it.' Tragic stories like these are what Starbucks is now supporting.
Fri Feb 7, 2020 - 9:36 am EST
By Tony Perkins
By Tony Perkins
By Tony Perkins
February 7, 2020 (Family Research Council) — Lynn Meagher seriously considered killing herself. Desperate, tormented, and out of options, she went to see a therapist. How should she cope, she cried, knowing that two of her children wanted nothing to do with her? Two children, who, through horrible, mutilating surgeries, destroyed the bodies she'd carried inside her? "I felt I was living in a dream, a nightmare," she says quietly. That nightmare, the one she wouldn't wish on her worst enemy, is real. And from now on, every time you walk through the door of a Starbucks, you're telling moms like Lynn you couldn't care less.
"I can't even describe what it's like to see your own child's face with the opposite gender superimposed on it. It's just... I can't even describe it..." Parents like Elaine Davidson still struggle to talk about the bloody bandages covering the place where their daughters' breasts used to be. "I begged everyone I could [to stop the surgery]. I begged her. I couldn't stop it." Losing a child to this tortured life is like a death in the family. Only, there was no goodbye. No ceremony. "No one sent us flowers," Lisa grieves. "No one dropped off a casserole."
So imagine their horror when they scanned the headlines and saw an American company — one as large and powerful as Starbucks — trying to inflict that pain on as many people as possible. In an announcement shocking even for them, the coffee chain is launching a campaign to actively push kids into sex changes that damage them for life. Using #whatsyourname as its call sign, Starbucks started placing ads in the U.K. featuring a young girl (dressed like a boy) who wants the barista to write "James" on her cup. "Taking a customer's name, writing it on a cup, and calling it out is a symbol of our warm welcome," Starbucks says.
But it isn't just the "welcome" customers are supporting. The mega-chain has a much more serious agenda — donating piles of money to trap kids into this lifestyle of pain and suffering. "In addition to the ad campaign, Starbucks states it is partnering with Mermaids," an activist group for "supporting trans and gender-diverse children." "Transgender children," the website says, "deserve the freedom and confidence to explore their gender identity wherever their journey takes them, free from fear, isolation and discrimination." The goal? For Starbucks to raise at least 100,000 euros for the cause.
These aren't grown men and women the coffee giant is after. These are children — young girls and boys who are hurting, confused, and being destroyed by adults pushing them to chase these identities, despite the cost. And the cost, hundreds of parents and patients will tell you, is irreversible.
"I remember breaking down. It was like, this was a mistake. It should never have happened. But what do you do about it? How do you go through another harrowing transition? What do you do? I've got no hair. I've got a beard. I've had all [of] my body mutilated. How do I go back?" Debbie was 17. She would do anything to turn back time. "There are thousands of us," another young woman told the BBC, desperately wanting a way out. A way out from the life companies like Starbucks are telling children is the way to finally get noticed and valued. They don't mention the heartbreak. The regret. The years of physical agony.
But then, it's not as if Starbucks's agenda is a surprise. The liberal business has never truly cared about kids — not after spending thousands of dollars helping Planned Parenthood abort them — or working to deprive them of a married mom and dad. And yet, despite it all, plenty of Christians will still rationalize turning their cars into the first green drive-thru sign they see. "We're uncomfortable with boycotts," they'll say. But surely we're all more uncomfortable funding a war against innocent children. Try clicking through these stories and finding peace at Starbucks — or any company where your dollars help create more victims. Is the coffee really so good that you're willing to give a portion of every cup to promote this self-destruction? Ask yourself when you read this plea from a mom whose family will never be the same.
Once we have cut that beautiful body, when the voice is permanently broken, the beard is there for good, the breasts are gone, what happens if the body was never wrong to start with? What will you tell the daughters that realize, too late, that they have destroyed their ability to bear children, or to nurse them? When they find that their wounds had other causes, other origins, and required other treatments? I plead with you to hear the parents, and the many stories of young people who have changed their minds after medical transition. This is not health care, this is a medical experiment. This is not life-saving care, these are criminal actions. And [it] must be stopped.
You can help. Contact Starbucks and ask them to stop contributing to agendas that permanently scar our kids. Meet Lynn and hear why at the video here.
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – It cannot be pointed out often enough: Canada is one of the only nations on Earth with no restrictions on abortion whatsoever. Abortion is legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy, a fact that the vast majority of Canadians remain unaware of. This horrific status quo has resulted in babies being frequently born alive and left to die: According to the research of pro-life writer Pat Maloney, there were “766 late-term live-birth abortions in a five-year period.”
You would think the fact that wonderful stories of miraculous micro-preemies being born increasingly earlier and surgeries being done on preborn children would give Canadian political leaders pause, but that is not the case. Just the opposite: According to CTV, Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann “wants doctors to perform more late-term abortions, pointing to a report commissioned by the College of Physicians that claims there are insufficient and disorganized services in this area.”
According to a report by the ironically-named “clinical ethics working group” of the College of Physicians, abortion in the third trimester is difficult to access, and “pregnant women were refused services by several hospitals and doctors who said they would be stigmatized if they perform these late-term abortions.” In response, the health minister told her colleagues in the National Assembly that she is considering creating an “additional team” in order to “increase access” to late-term abortions.
While many Western nations are reconsidering the ethics of late-term abortion as medical technology advances, pushing viability back, Canadian politicians are still locked into an extremist position that has them defending abortions that Dr. Henry “the Father of Abortion” Morgentaler himself refused to perform. In fact, the key reason that it is so difficult to get a late-term abortion is because the vast majority of physicians—even those who commit abortions—believe that late-term abortions kill a human being, and cannot stomach performing a procedure that involves dismembering a nearly fully-developed child.
And that is precisely what a late-term abortion entails. Several of my colleagues at the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform have had the opportunity to debate late-term abortionist Dr. Fraser Fellows of London, Ontario, who commits abortions up until 23 weeks and 6 days. During one debate, my former colleague Stephanie Gray showed a horrifying video of a baby being dismembered and pulled from her mother’s womb, and then asked him if the imagery she had shown was “an accurate reflection of what you see and what you do?” Fellows’ response: “Absolutely.”
Activists like the delusional Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada consistently attempt to lie their way out of explaining why they defend the barbarism of abortion by claiming that the imagery used by pro-lifers is fake. Unfortunately for her, not even Dr. Fellows, who has been committing abortions in Canada since 1969, is on her side with that. Consider the following exchange between Stephanie Gray and Dr. Fraser Fellows:
SG: Do you do dilation and extraction where you pull the child out intact?
FF: That would be an induction of labor in order to achieve that. So, it’s all about the opening of the cervix. The cervix is caused to be opened adequately, then the fetus can be aborted relatively intact, but that would take labor to achieve that.
SG: So, to protect the cervix, is that the reason why you would do the dilation and evacuation where you’re going to pull [the baby] out piece by piece?
FF: The restricting factor in doing an abortion is cervical ripening, or the dilatation of the cervix. So it’s all about preparation of the cervix in the later abortions that defines its safety or lack of safety.
SG: So what would you say is the size of these babies who are 21, 22, 23 almost 24 weeks? What’s the biggest that you have aborted?
FF: Well, we don’t weigh the fetuses. We know that fetuses beyond 20 weeks weigh anywhere from 500-750 grams.
SG: So would the baby fit in the palm of my hand?
SG: Although, I guess if they aren’t intact, you aren’t seeing the intact child?
SG: Statistics Canada recently confirmed that between 2000 and 2009, 491 babies were born-alive after abortion and left to die by attending medical personnel. In the entirety of your career since 1969, have you ever seen this happen?
SG: Would that be because you do not remove the children intact?
FF: We use to do abortions by induction of labor using abortifacients, but we would always make sure that the fetus would not be alive when it was born.
SG: So, are you therefore conceding that prior to the abortion, it was alive?
FF: Oh, yes.
SG: And would you concede that the act of abortion therefore kills the child?
FF: Abortion definitely ends the child’s life, yes.
If you won’t believe pro-lifers that late-term abortion dismembers and kills a living child, perhaps you might believe an abortionist who actually performs these abortions. Most doctors refuse to do these gruesome killings because their consciences cannot handle it, and so the work is left to a hardened few.
And Canada’s extremist politicians are left trying to find medical professionals willing to kill children big enough to fit in the palm of your hand—or survive outside the womb.
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. He discusses his powerful journey and conversion and the LGBT agenda. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:
February 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – “For us, Christ became a human being, not a man,” according to Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, the vice president of the German Bishops’ Conference and head of the “synodal path” discussion forum on women.
Bode made these comments, which are now causing a stir internationally, in a controversial February 5 interview to the diocesan newspaper Kirchenbote.
“The collaboration between women and men,” he explains, “is one of the most important signs of the time.”
Bode makes these comments in the context of the debates of the synodal path's discussion forum “Women in Ministries and Offices of the Church” which he, together with the theologian Professor Dorothea Sattler, heads. These two leaders also headed the preparatory forum which issued a preparatory document even before the synodal path officially started its first assembly at the end of January 2020.
“A human being is either a man(male)or a woman (female). To deny that Jesus became a man (male) is heretical,” responded Father Gerald Murray, a frequent EWTN guest, on Twitter. “The German Synodal Way is a fraudulent usurpation of the Church's teaching authority as this comment shows. Shut it down.”
A human being is either a man(male)or a woman (female). To deny that Jesus became a man (male) is heretical. The German Synodal Way is a fraudulent usurpation of the Church's teaching authority as this comment shows. Shut it down. https://t.co/860pk30cqy
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, also weighed in, tweeting: “Bishop Bode...I respectfully call you as one bishop to another to return to the truth of the Deposit of Faith for your salvation and for the good of the Church. Your statement that Christ became a human being but not a man is ridiculous & heretical. I cannot stand by in silence!”
Bishop Bode...I respectfully call you as one bishop to another to return to the truth of the Deposit of Faith for your salvation and for the good of the Church. Your statement that Christ became a human being but not a man is ridiculous & heretical. I cannot stand by in silence! https://t.co/qWPuiuXiWC
Bode's collaborator, Professor Sattler, already said something similar about Jesus Christ in September 2019 when she stated: “God could have also become a human being as a woman.” Theologically, this would have been possible. But 2,000 years ago, she added, it was wise from God in light of the “cultural conditions” then to become a human being as a man. She further expounded that in theology it was always about “God's Incarnation, not about his becoming a man.” The question of “gender,” Sattler explained, “has no relevance with regard to the theology of redemption.”
All these arguments seem to be an attempt at undermining the Church's definitive teaching that women are excluded from the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
In his new February 5 interview, Bode also says that the synodal path's forum on women wishes to discuss what is today already possible with regard to the equality of women in the Church. At the same time, one does not wish to lose out of sight the fundamental questions, that is to say, the question of “ordained” offices for women, according to Bode.
In April 2019, this German bishop announced that the topic of the female “diaconate” will be part of the synodal discussions in Germany. “We will not be able to avoid the question of women,” he then added.
It it interesting to see that, even though the synodal path as organized by the German Bishops' Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) insists that it is meant to be participatory, one of the leading figures of this process had already promoted and announced one of its topics nearly a year before the beginning of that very process.
Bode is also a member of the small committee which organizes the synodal path. Next to him, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Professor Thomas Sternberg (the head of the ZdK) and his representative are in that group. Many commentators in Germany criticize this way of steering the current synodal path that is to take place for the next two years.
As a matter of fact, an internet survey among some 5,000 German Catholics in preparation for the synodal discussions has shown that the question of so-called female ordination was “very little” mentioned by the participants.
Bishop Bode now goes as far as to suggest that, had women been more included, the “cover-up” of clerical sex abuse “would have taken another course.” He refers here to “decisions made by cliques of men,” indicating that the cover-up took place mainly because the responsible persons were male. This same idea is also found in the preparatory document of the discussion forum on women as headed by Bode and Sattler. The document asks: “Would the situation world-wide [concerning the clerical sex abuse] be different, had women more leadership responsibility in the Roman Catholic Church?” In order not to lose women as members of the Church, the text states that “also the question of the sacramental ordination of women has to be asked.”
Furthermore, the document asks with regard to the possibility of female sacramental “ordination”: “Is there at all a possibility to gain, with human power of knowledge, certainty about the Will of God in this matter?”, thus questioning the binding nature of the doctrinal teachings of the Church in this field.
The authors explicitly question the binding character of the papal document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which Pope St. John Paul II, in a definitive manner, ruled out in 1994 the priestly “ordination” of women. This preparatory document, as prepared under the leadership of Bishop Bode, even questions the very nature of dogmas, claiming that human insights and positions are “always fallible”: “Each theological insight of men thereby always is marked by fallibility,” they write.
In his February 5 interview, Bishop Bode also repeated his desire for married priests who would continue to have their normal profession and work as priests on the weekends and as a side-job. The usual form of priesthood could co-exist with the new one, he claimed: “I am of the opinion that there can be both forms.”
Not only is Bishop Bode in favor of female “deacons” and married priests, he is also known for his support of the blessing of homosexual couples, a topic which is also part of the agenda of the synodal path. In January 2018, Bode proposed that the Catholic Church discuss the possibility of such a liturgical blessing, and in 2019, he wrote a foreword to a book with the same topic. Already in 2018, Cardinal Reinhard Marx had announced that the German Bishops' Conference had established a commission in order to reflect upon such a possible blessing.
Also in 2019, Bishop Bode said about the question as to whether he could picture a woman leading a Eucharistic celebration: “My imagination would allow it.”
In light of these reform ideas of Bishop Bode, it might be worth quoting here a prominent Protestant journalist and manager from Germany, Michael J. Inacker. In response to the German synodal path, Inacker commented on twitter: “Strange why Catholics imitate many of the mistakes of us Protestants with passion. What was once diversity in the #evangelical church is now reduced to simplicity. Nothing with a Christian profile. Cardinal #Woelki is right when he warns against Protestantization of Catholicism.”
Watch Mother Miriam's Live show from 2.7.2020. Mother continues her series reading from The Catechism Explained. Today, she focuses on sacred Scripture, the Bible, and the rich treasures that are found in scripture.
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