All articles from February 12, 2020


News

Opinion

Blogs

The Pulse

  • There are no pulse articles posted on February 12, 2020.

Podcasts


News

Euthanasia requests dramatically increase at Dutch ‘end-of-life’ clinic

More than 3,000 inquiries were received in 2019 and nearly 900 people were killed by the death teams.
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Dutch “end-of-life clinic” that specializes in euthanasia for those who have difficulty obtaining a lethal shot from their own family doctor has registered a sharp increase in the number of patients hoping to avail themselves of its services.

In 2019, no less than 3,122 people contacted the institution in the Hague hoping to see their death wish honored. This was a 22 percent increase compared with the two previous years, when the clinic’s “clientele” seemed to have reached a stable plateau.

The proportion of demands followed by death -- what is now called the “Expertise Centrum Euthanasie” -- has remained roughly the same at 29 percent, which means that in absolute figures the Center has organized an unprecedented number of euthanasias. There were 898 people killed by its teams in 2019. Of those cases, 885 have already been assessed by the Netherlands’ regional euthanasia review committees and found fully compliant with the law.

One of the most “remarkable” increases in demand, according to the Expertise Centrum, was dementia patients. Requests went up from 70 to 96 between 2018 and 2019. It is not known how many of these were followed by a voluntary end-of-life procedure.

But the NVVE (Netherlands Association for a chosen end-of-life), which originally created the end-of-life clinic in 2012 as a tax-exempt foundation, is certainly pushing to make that record even higher.

The NVVE is celebrating its annual “Euthanasia Week” from February 7 to February 14. Festivities include large numbers of mainly pro-euthanasia stories in the media; NVVE also organizes meetings locally throughout the country in order to push people to talk about the issue. Dementia and the possibility of euthanasia for dementia patients are high up on the list of themes.

Psychiatric suffering and the death wish of those who have had “enough of life” are also on the agenda, with NVVE activists giving information about the best way to make a living will and to formulate advanced directives in order to make sure to get euthanasia when one wants it.

The Expertise Centrum Euthanasie revealed that it received an average of 13 euthanasia requests every working day. Demands have gone up even more speedily since July 2019. It was the first month that more than 300 patients asked for “help.” It is expected that more than 3,300 people will do the same in 2020.

They are catered to by a team of some 140 doctors and health care providers throughout the country. These “death squads” consist of a doctor and a nurse who perform euthanasia in the patient’s own home, usually between 15 days and two months after a request has been submitted. For psychiatry patients, the waiting period is longer and can reach up to one year.

These death teams each perform an average of 12 euthanasias per year; the center hopes not to go above that figure.

This is one of the reasons why the end-of-life clinic changed its name in September. Contrary to what was imagined when it was created eight years ago, there is no “hospital” facility at the center’s headquarters in The Hague, as an overwhelming majority of patients prefer to die at home.

On the other hand, the Euthanasia Expertise Center employs an army of doctors, psychiatrists, nurses and case managers who have a double function: helping people who find it difficult to obtain euthanasia to fulfill their death wish, and giving advice to doctors were confronted with requests and need any kind of information, either technical or otherwise.

The big question is now whether “ordinary” euthanasia, as procured by patient’s own doctors and medical teams, will also be found to have been on the rise in 2019. A slight decline in 2018 was not deemed to be significant in the long run.

Are more people reaching out to the Euthanasia Expertise Center, while house doctors are showing themselves increasingly wary of providing euthanasia? This could be one explanation for the sudden increase.

 “Family doctors have become extra apprehensive,” said a spokesperson.

That, after all, is the centers’ reason of being: making sure that people who face rebuttal on the part of their own healthcare centers, who cannot or will not provide euthanasia or who consider the request incompatible with the law’s guidelines, can all the same find an obliging doctor.

The euthanasia doctors’ center by definition is just that. One of them was under the spotlight in 2016 when a television documentary was filmed of a generally healthy 68-year-old woman who had semantic dementia and who repeatedly used childish expressions like “I want bammo” that were interpreted as a death wish. She was euthanized while the TV cameras were filming. Also, the act was deemed compliant with the law.

First-ever criminal proceedings in a euthanasia case since it became legal in 2002 took place in the Netherlands last year. That case ended with the acquittal of a female doctor who had euthanized an Alzheimer’s patient who at the time of death was visibly resisting the fatal shot and was no longer capable of expressing her will.

Doctors in the Netherlands now certainly have more elbow room when faced with a living will previously made by a person who was not suffering from dementia.

On the other hand, commentators and the Netherlands underscore the fact that as the population grows older, and euthanasia having become generally acceptable in the view of the public, it is likely that demand will continue to increase. Most cases involve terminal cancer and patients are afraid of dying a terrible death.

At the same time, cases of psychiatric suffering are prompting more and more demands for euthanasia. The Euthanasia Expertise Center says there is “high need” for professionals who can assess those requests and is finding it difficult to hire enough psychiatrists.

Perhaps these physicians still overwhelmingly prefer to help their patients live, not die.


News

Refugee judge rejects rape victim’s bid to stay in Canada because she chose life for baby

The refugee adjudicator doubted that a woman would ‘keep a child of rape.’
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A member of Canada’s refugee board rejected a mother’s application to stay in the country after the mother revealed that she had been raped and decided to keep her child. The adjudicator doubted the mother’s story, saying that no woman who was truly raped would “keep a child of rape.”

Canada’s Global News revealed yesterday that Sarwanjit Randhawa, an adjudicator for the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), had rejected the mother’s bid to stay in Canada. That decision has now been overturned. 

Randhawa wrote in her April 2019 decision that she could not believe a woman who conceived a baby as a result of rape would not have an abortion. 

“(I am) sensitive to the subject of rape, but the claimant’s explanation does not make sense as to why she would keep a child who would remind her of being raped, unless that is not the case,” she wrote.

During the women’s hearing, which had taken place around a fortnight before, Randhawa asked her if she had considered having an abortion when she discovered she was pregnant. 

The woman replied that the girl was her first child and that she opposes abortion. She added that she knew what it is like to grow up without parents and argued that the rape wasn’t the baby’s fault.

These arguments could not penetrate Randhawa’s pro-abortion mentality. 

“If you’re raped, why would you keep a child of rape?” she asked.

Fiorella Nash, a British pro-life campaigner for women’s rights, told LifeSiteNews that the IRB adjudicator’s attitude was “absolutely ludicrous.” 

Nash has both helped refugees and written about their struggles with a “corrupt” immigration system.

“An awful lot seems to depend on the preferences of the judge,” she said. 

Even pro-abortion Canadian feminists have expressed horror at Randhawa’s attitude toward the refugee, but Nash blames the abortion lobby for the adjudicator’s ingrained ideas. 

“The abortion lobby has to take responsibility for the fact that it has created a situation like this with its intense rape rhetoric,” Nash said. 

“The arrogance of secular society is shown in that they assume abortion is some sort of solution for rape,” she continued.  

“A woman’s choice here is not being taken seriously. (Randhawa) can’t process that she made the decision.”

Nash believes the outrageous idea that a rape victim must necessarily abort a child conceived in the attack resembles the judicial victim-shaming of the past. 

“We’ve gone from ‘Did you wear a short skirt?’ to ‘Did you get rid of it?’” she said.

Global News cited a 1996 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology that showed that “on average” 32 percent of women who conceive children as a result of rape decide to keep their babies. Only half choose abortion.  

Randhawa’s attitude toward rape victims who keep their babies may not be her only prejudice. A 2008 study published in the Osgoode Law Review showed that Randhawa had rejected an unusually large number of refugee claimants in 2006, with a grant rate of 19.05 percent. According to the author, Randhawa’s grant rate should have been between 51.34 percent and 57.9 percent.


News

How this Russian political prisoner predicted the moral decline of the West

Renowned Russian novelist and political prisoner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn helped bring down the Soviet Union. He also predicted the moral decline of the West, but people didn't listen.
Featured Image
By LifeSiteNews staff

By LifeSiteNews staff
LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was a renowned Russian novelist, political prisoner, historian, and philosopher. Jonathon Van Maren calls him one of the greatest authors of the 20th century. Solzhenitsyn is well-known for his work detailing his time as a political prisoner and exposing the inner workings of the Russian political machine, the Secret Police, and much more.  

Solzhenitsyn died in 2008, but his wisdom and experience can provide guidance to all of us as we navigate the morphing of governments around the world into bodies that increasingly resemble communism.  

In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with Joseph Pearce, a man who became quite close to Solzhenitsyn as he wrote his biography. Pearce shares his stories of Solzhenitsyn and his wisdom that may help save society. 

Pope St. John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher may have been the political giants who helped to take down communism, but Pearce argues that Solzhenitsyn was responsible for helping people all across the West and the Soviet Union understand the ethical and moral issues with communism.  

In his youth, Solzhenitsyn was a faithful member of the Soviet Union. That changed with his arrest for “criticizing” Stalin, quite mildly, in “private” correspondence to a friend. His arrest and being sent to the Gulag Archipelago, a forced labor prison camp, gave him an inside look at the Soviet Union. His experiences made him one of the strongest opponents of the Soviet Union. 

Watch the entire interview here:  

Solzhenitsyn sees his arrest and a few other moments of suffering in his life as major points of conversion. Another big conversion experience happened during his time in the gulag when he was diagnosed with what was believed to be terminal cancer. This triggered his conversion to Russian Orthodoxy from atheism.  

After being released from the gulag after seven years of hard labor, Solzhenitsyn wrote The Gulag Archipelago and won a Nobel Peace Prize. His writings were so successful at exposing the evils of communism that they were banned in Russia and he became the target of a KGB assassination attempt. He miraculously survived being poisoned by the same toxins that the KGB used to successfully kill other dissenters and was exiled from Russia in 1974.  

Van Maren and Pearce explore how Solzhenitsyn’s work and philosophy can be applied today. 

“We are actually living in tyrannical times. It is basically impossible now for someone who believes what humanity always believed about humanity to actually have a position in a secular university or college. They will be fired,” Pearce tells Van Maren.  

The “lip service” that society now expects people to pay to the LGBT cause, pro-abortion activists, and anti-religion advocates shares many similarities with Soviet communism. And the similarities don’t end at universities and in relation to speech, but are permeating all areas of society as citizens are told we must affirm that men can “get pregnant” or a woman can “have a penis.”

Pearce and Van Maren both point to Solzhenitsyn as a source of strength and inspiration for those who want to fight back against this insane tyranny. Solzhenitsyn didn’t allow the forceful hand of Big Brother to crush and break him as it had so many others, but instead fought back and became stronger because of his time in prison. Pearce calls on Westerners to wake up to the tyranny of the LGBT agenda, to start fighting it, and to regain the courage we have lost. 

Listen to the entire interview:

Pearce points to the loss of courage in the West in highlighting the disparate responses of the French and the Russians to desecration of a sacred space. A group of activist women stripped down in both Notre Dame in Paris and in a Russian church. In Paris, nothing was done to these women; Mass-goers had to endure their display. In Russia, this same group was jailed for their blasphemous actions.  

Pearce does provide some hope, however, in highlighting that the even Solzhenitsyn recognized the Soviet Union had to fall. So too, Pearce sees the LGBT movement as something that will self-destruct eventually. It is just “unsustainable.”

Pearce encourages Van Maren and listeners to be holy, to be witnesses to the truth of Christianity, and to be courageous. Pearce also tells listeners to read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a novella of one day in a labor camp. He sees this as an inspiring novella that can encourage people to recognize the great strength of the human spirit. 

Finally, Pearce shares his experiences with Solzhenitsyn while he was writing the latter’s biography. Pearce emphasizes his surprise in learning of Solzhenitsyn’s great humor and contagious chuckle. 

“He had very striking china-blue eyes. And the thing about them was on the surface they seemed very youthful, almost mischievous, that chuckle seemed to be there on the surface. But if you held the gaze you saw the depths and depths of suffering, and the knowledge and wisdom in there,” Pearce tells Van Maren. 

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

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

To receive weekly emails when a new episode is uploaded, sign-up here:

Subscribe

* indicates required

By selecting Email below, you agree to receive emails about The Van Maren Show Podcast.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.


News

Christians in the West facing persecution can learn a lot from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Joseph Pearce believes Solzhenitsyn has some profound insights for those living in the West
Featured Image
Stephen Kokx By Stephen Kokx

Stephen Kokx By Stephen Kokx
Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen
By Stephen Kokx

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Joseph Pearce is one of the world’s leading authorities on the late Russian writer and political prisoner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), author of The Gulag Archipelago

During an interview with Canadian pro-life activist Jonathon van Maren, Pearce, who has interviewed Solzhenitsyn in person, explained what Solzhenitsyn thought about the West and what sort of advice he would have given to Christians were he alive today.

Solzhenitsyn would have “rejoiced” if “the Iron Curtain had come down and the cream of Western civilization had come in over the top,” Pearce says. But what really happened was “all the dregs of Western low-life culture came in.”

Pearce told van Maren that Solzhenitsyn believed communism was a poison and a form of Western imperialism originating in Germany.

“He sees basically Christendom as being something that unites Russia and the West. He absolutely believes that Russia is part of that civilization, but he is opposed to the Enlightenment … the ideas of modern Western philosophy from the time of the Enlightenment onwards is evil and needs to be countered,” Pearce said.

“The delicious irony now is Russia is much more conservative than the West, which is much more socialist,” Pearce added, pointing to the advancement of the LGBT movement in the United States as evidence of the West’s moral decay.

Van Maren and Pearce agreed the left is increasingly tyrannical, especially in its enforcement of political correctness. But Pearce, striking an optimistic tone, believes that the LGBT movement will cannibalize itself in a way not dissimilar from how communism destroyed itself.

Solzhenitsyn, Pearce continued, is an example of how to live when “the screws” are being tightened on those who dissent.

Pearce ultimately believes that it’s the East that will show the West how to get out of the mess it’s in today. He said Russia as well as Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are leading the way forward.

The greatest witness we can be is to grow in holiness even as the tyranny is all around us. … We should not be too invested in the world. Evil is always in process of killing itself, because it kills innocent people at the same time. That's the tragedy. But we also believe there's a judge in heaven who will ensure that justice is done.”

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

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

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


News

Republicans kill bill to protect teenagers from ‘transgender’ surgical mutilation

Rep. Fred Deutsch, who sponsored the South Dakota bill, claimed that Republican Gov. Kristi Noem had opposed it behind the scenes.
Featured Image
giggsy25 / Shutterstock.com
Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas

Martin M. Barillas By Martin M. Barillas
Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

PIERRE, South Dakota, February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Republican-controlled South Dakota Senate turned down a bill that would have banned genital reconstruction surgery and hormone suppression therapy to anyone under the age of 16.

On Monday, the Health and Human Services Committee in the upper chamber voted 5-2 to kill House Bill 1057, the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, which had been initially sponsored by Rep. Fred Deutsch (R) and passed in the state House. In its original form, the bill would make gender-bending surgeries and therapies a Class 1 misdemeanor for health care providers, carrying a penalty of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.

Despite a last-minute amendment, which removed criminal charges for doctors but added a provision to allow patients to sue after genital-mutilating surgery, the bill could still not win enough support to leave the committee and go to the full Senate. On Monday, Rep. Deutsch told CNN he knew that the committee would turn down the bill and has concluded that it is dead for the duration of the year.

Deutsch claimed that Gov. Kristi Noem had opposed the bill behind the scenes. While she had earlier expressed some concerns, according to the Argus Leader, her spokesperson later claimed that the governor had never taken a formal position. Some physicians were opposed, as were the American Civil Liberties Union and LGBT activists.

Deutsch expressed satisfaction that the bill, at least, heightened the sensitivity on the part of parents and the wider public about the issue. As the child of a survivor of the Holocaust, Deutsch said he was inspired to propose the bill after learning about the suffering of children who had undergone surgery to obscure their sex. These surgeries reminded him of the sadistic experiments Germany’s Nazi regime meted out to Jews and other captives in the concentration camps of the 1930s and ’40s.

In a release, Deutsch expressed the hope that the Vulnerable Child Protection Act would have prevented health care providers from “pushing children and their parents to the point of no return.”

‘Crime against humanity’

In an interview with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Deutsch said that in his state, “we don’t allow mutilation of our children. I don’t care if it’s doctors. I don’t care if it’s parents.” He said he was shocked to see photos of children showing their surgical scars. “To me, that’s a crime against humanity when these procedures are done by these so-called doctors[.]” Saying he had relatives murdered at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, Deutsch added that he has seen photos of the “bizarre medical experiments” conducted there. “I don’t want that to happen to our kids. And that’s what's going on right now,” he said.

In 2016, LGBT groups condemned him for offering a bill that would have required public school children to use only those restrooms and locker rooms that accord with their sex.

Deutsch, a chiropractor, said he has been astonished by the cases of children who have been prescribed puberty-blockers and cross-sex hormones, which have effects that are still not fully understood. He noted that health care providers are prescribing testosterone to girls and estrogen to boys in “ultra-high mega-doses, as well as [encouraging] mastectomies and what they call the bottom surgery.” All of these surgeries, Deutsch warned, are “irreversible.” He said there is “no contradiction” between showing respect to transgender people and the belief that “irreversible and experimental surgical and chemical interference with a child’s sexual development is morally indefensible.”

In his statement, Deutsch asserted that “hasty intervention for children who are unsure of their identity ignores the experiences of the vast majority of young people.” According to the release, Deutsch said, “An ever-increasing number of people who had so called sex reassignment as minors now find themselves regretting the decision as they’ve matured. Performing irreversible sex reassignment on a minor whose brain is still developing is wrong.”

Deutsch said, “The solution for children’s identification with the opposite sex isn’t to poison their bodies with mega-doses of the wrong hormones, to chemically or surgically castrate and sterilize them, or to remove healthy breasts and reproductive organs. The solution is compassionate care, and that doesn’t include catastrophically and irreversibly altering their bodies.”


News

Democrat hearing pushes for bill to force unregulated abortion on the country

The Women's Health Protection Act would protect all means of abortion, including after fetal viability, "webcam" and dismemberment, without restriction.
Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger By Calvin Freiburger

Calvin Freiburger By Calvin Freiburger
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives renewed their push this week for a federal law broadly tying the hands of pro-life states, highlighting the stakes for abortion friends and foes going into this year’s elections.

H.R. 2975, the so-called Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA) of 2019, establishes a federal statutory right to perform and obtain abortions, including after fetal viability (under the broad cover of “health”), and specifically forbids states from subjecting abortion to ultrasound requirements, mandatory waiting periods, informed-consent requirements, and other health and safety regulations, such as admitting privileges.

It also protects so-called “webcam” abortions (i.e., dispensing abortion pills without an in-person doctor’s visit), forbids banning abortions on the basis of a “patient’s reasons” such as the race, sex, or disability of the baby, and forbids banning particular techniques such as dilation and evacuation (D&E) or “dismemberment” abortions.

Democrats reintroduced the WHPA last year, with Reps. Judy Chu, D-California, Lois Frankel, D-Florida, and Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, taking the lead in the House of Representatives, and Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, in the Senate.

On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House Energy  & Commerce committee held a hearing on the bill, featuring the pro-abortion testimony of Center for Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup, Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives medical director Yashica Robinson, and Holly Alvarado, an Air Force veteran who had an abortion. 

Representing the pro-life side were University of St. Thomas law professor Teresa Stanton Collett and Silent No More co-founder Georgette Forney, who shared her experience with abortion regret.

The WHPA “does more than simply ‘codify Roe,’ by responding in a very specific way to the state-level restrictions that are effectively eliminating access to care today,” Northup testified, claiming it is a necessary to a wave of “unnecessary” laws and regulations that burden so-called women’s healthcare. “In that way, the Women’s Health Protection Act can help ensure that the right to abortion first recognized in Roe is a reality. 

“It is my opinion that the deceptively named ‘Women’s Health Protection Act of 2019,’ if enacted, would affirmatively harm women, children, and families throughout the country,” Collett testified. She argued that (contrary to pro-abortion conventional wisdom) “there is no evidence” women need abortion to thrive economically, and that the WHPA “would eliminate hundreds of laws that protect women and girls from malpractice by abortion providers and misconduct by others.”

Little new ground was broken during witness cross-examination, with both Republicans and Democrats largely running through standard arguments for and against abortion. 

In response to a reference to Ellie Schneider – the little girl President Donald Trump invited to his latest State of the Union address, who had been born at just under 22 weeks – Robinson questioned the legitimacy of her story, saying she had never seen a child survive that young. In fact, the Schneider family’s story was extensively covered in 2018, with neonatologist Dr. Barbara Carr of St. Luke’s Hospital in Missouri confirming that Ellie was born that early and did indeed beat incredible odds.

Collett spent much of her time setting the record straight on numerous aspects of abortion policy, such as the fact that abortionists themselves commonly use ultrasounds; they simply don’t offer patients the opportunity to view the resulting image. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-California, took great umbrage at Collett dismissing the authority of medical groups aligned with the abortion industry; Collett responded by simply noting that the biases of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) is well documented.

WHPA will not become law this year, as Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate would reject it. It does, however, serve as a preview of what could pass if Democrats oust Trump and retake the Senate. Most of the Democrats currently running for the party’s presidential run have endorsed codifying Roe in federal statutes.


News

Did Pope Francis defend Pachamama idolatry at Vatican in new Amazon synod exhortation?

The pope wrote that it is 'possible to take up an indigenous symbol in some way, without necessarily considering it as idolatry'
Featured Image
Pope Francis receives Pachamama statue in Vatican gardens during indigenous ceremony, Rome, Oct. 4, 2019. Vatican News / video screen grab
Paul Smeaton By Paul Smeaton

Paul Smeaton By Paul Smeaton
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton
Image
People bow to Pachamama during pagan rite in Vatican Gardens prior to opening of Amazon Synod, Oct. 4, 2019.

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

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In his new exhortation released today on the Amazon Synod, Pope Francis made statements about “indigenous” symbols and “certain religious practices” that could be interpreted as a defense of the use of the controversial “Pachamama” statues during the synod in Rome last year.

In section 78 of Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis states that people should “not be quick to describe as superstition or paganism certain religious practices that arise spontaneously from the life of peoples.” In section 79, the Pope continues that it is “possible to take up an indigenous symbol in some way, without necessarily considering it as idolatry,” adding that a “myth charged with spiritual meaning can be used to advantage and not always considered a pagan error.”

On October 4, 2019, Pope Francis hosted a pagan ceremony with Pachamama statues in the Vatican Gardens and even blessed one of the statues. At the ceremony, people were bowing down to the ground worshiping the statue. Additionally, the Pope prayed in front of the Pachamama statue at St. Peter's Cathedral on October 7 and then accompanied it in procession into the synod hall. The Pope confirmed that the statue was “Pachamama” and apologized for other Pachamama statues being thrown into the Tiber river.

In response to the ceremonies in the Vatican Gardens, Bishop Athanasius Schneider called on all Catholics — bishops, priests and laity — to offer acts of reparation, protest and correction for the use of the Pachamama statues, which he called a “new golden calf.” 

In an open letter forcefully condemning the use of the Pachamama statue at the Amazon Synod in the Vatican, Bishop Schneider wrote: “In front of the eyes of the entire world and in the presence of the Pope, there were conducted clear acts of religious adoration of symbols and statues of the pagan, indigenous, South-American religions, the so-called 'Pachamama.'”

“Such conduct of the highest Church authority which does not only not forbid the symbols of pagan religions and their worship, but, rather, even justifies them, causes a great damage for the salvation of souls, because thereby the First Commandment is being undermined and in practical terms is being rescinded,” Schneider said. 

Several other bishops and cardinals also condemned the use of the Pachamama statues during the synod. An international group of 100 priests and lay scholars called on Pope Francis to repent for the ceremonies.

God’s real presence...in nature? 

Also in the exhortation, the Pope compares the relationship Catholics have with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist with the “cosmic worldview” of indigenous peoples conscious of God’s presence in a “glorious and mysterious way” in nature. 

In section 74 Pope Francis insists that “a relationship with Jesus Christ, true God and true man, liberator and redeemer, is not inimical to the markedly cosmic worldview that characterizes the indigenous peoples, since he is also the Risen Lord who permeates all things.” 

He continues in that section to compare an appreciation of God’s “glorious and mysterious” presence in natural, created things with His Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Pope Francis writes: “He is present in a glorious and mysterious way in the river, the trees, the fish and the wind, as the Lord who reigns in creation without ever losing his transfigured wounds, while in the Eucharist he takes up the elements of this world and confers on all things the meaning of the paschal gift.”

The Catholic Church teaches that in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, natural elements, bread and wine, are transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Thus the Church teaches that a supernatural miracle occurs which transforms the substance of natural, created things, bread and wine, into God Himself. The Council of Trent teaches that “our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is truly, really and substantially contained in the august sacrament of the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of those sensible things.”

The Council of Trent declares that there is “no room for doubt that all the faithful of Christ may, in accordance with a custom always received in the Catholic Church, give to this most holy sacrament in veneration the worship of, which is due to the true God.”

In section 5 of Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis states that the document is not just addressed to the nine countries that share the Amazon region but “to the whole world." Pope Francis continues in section 5 to invite the world to acknowledge the land of the Amazon as a “sacred mystery.”

In section 7, Pope Francis says that he dreams “of Christian communities capable of generous commitment, incarnate in the Amazon region, and giving the Church new faces with Amazonian features."

This theme of the Amazonian region giving the Church “new faces” is developed in section 68, when Pope Francis writes: “The Holy Spirit adorns the Church, showing her new aspects of revelation and giving her a new face. In the end this means allowing and encouraging the inexhaustible riches of the Gospel to be preached ‘in categories proper to each culture, creating a new synthesis with that particular culture’.”

In section 70, Pope Francis states that the Church “needs to listen” to the “ancestral wisdom” of the Amazon region. He states that the Church needs to “listen once more to the voice of its [Amazon] elders.”

In section 82 Pope Francis suggests that the Church’s liturgy can be developed through an appreciation of “the experience of indigenous peoples in their contact with nature.” He writes: “we can take up into the liturgy many elements proper to the experience of indigenous peoples in their contact with nature, and respect native forms of expression in song, dance, rituals, gestures and symbols. The Second Vatican Council called for this effort to inculturate the liturgy among indigenous peoples; over fifty years have passed and we still have far to go along these lines.”

Bishop John Arnold, Catholic Bishop of the Salford diocese in the UK, gave a press conference in London today on Querida Amazonia. Bishop Arnold praised the document, saying he “loved the language” and that “it’s full, as everything Pope Francis writes, it’s full of the hope that he believes that as Christians we have fundamentally at the heart of our vocation and our belief.” He noted that the document was not just addressed to the Amazon, but to “all of us” and said that he thought it was, like Laudato si, “able to achieve great things.”

When asked at the press conference what he thought of Bishop Schneider’s comment that the First Commandment had been undermined by the Pachamama ceremonies during the Amazon Synod, Bishop Arnold said: “I don’t think that the Pope showed any disrespect to Christians by the presence of those statues, but respect for the people who were presenting themselves, their culture and their faith to him as we discussed their region.”

Asked whether we could expect to see Pacahamas in churches in western nations, or even in his own diocese, Bishop Arnold said that he didn’t think it would ever happen, but advocated the use of Buddhist spirituality in order to assist Christian prayer. He said: “I don’t think that is ever likely to happen at all. As Christians we should respect people and their beliefs and I would hope that we would never dismiss someone for the belief that they have. And we may well draw from their traditions and their beliefs to assist us in our gospel belief and practice. For example some people may see in Buddhist meditation a way of feeding their prayer life by their very use of a mantra.” 

When asked whether, at the request of parishioners, he would consider establishing spaces for regular devotion to Pachamamas in churches in his diocese, Bishop Arnold responded: “It wouldn’t happen because it’s not part of the Christian tradition. We have a sacred space, which is dedicated to our sacred images.” Asked if those images included Pachamamas, Bishop Arnold said “no.”


News

‘Major setback’ to female deacons, married priests or ‘back door’ to change? Amazon exhortation reactions

The document does not rule on married priests or on female deacons while at the same time not ruling anything out. 
Featured Image
Pope Francis attends the Pachamama ritual in the Vatican Gardens where a pagan 'sacred tree' planting ceremony took place, Oct. 4, 2019, Rome.
Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean By Dorothy Cummings McLean
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PETITION: Support Cardinal Sarah's and Pope Emeritus Benedict's Defense of Priestly Celibacy" Sign the petition here.

VATICAN CITY, February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The long-awaited post-synodal papal exhortation on the Amazon has been released. Catholics around the world have reacted in different ways to the document's refusal either to endorse or rule out married priests or female deacons. 

Italian journalist Roberto de Mattei described Querida Amazonia (“Beloved Amazon”)  in Correspondenza Romana as a major disappointment to the change-hungry “German-Amazonian” wing of the Church.  

“A slamming on the breaks on ‘viri probati’, failure of the Synod on the Amazon, open quarrel with the German-Amazonian bishops: these three points sum up the dynamic started by the post-synodal exhortation of Pope Francis,” De Mattei wrote. 

He recalled that the German-Brazilian Cardinal Hummes had sent all the bishops letters flagging text from the Synod’s final report, suggesting that Paragraph 111, which recommended married men for the priesthood, would form part of the Pope’s document. 

“However in the post-synodal exhortation Querida Amazonia, not only is a reference to paragraph 111 absent, but so is every other paragraph of the Final Document of the Synod, unlike what happened with Amoris Laetitia, which in its notes had cited about 80 times the final relatio of the 2015 Synod,” Mattei wrote. 

He concluded that the Synod on the Amazon was, therefore, a failure for the German-Amazonian progressives and that there will be an “explosion” among them.

Christopher Altieri of the UK’s Catholic Herald also mentioned the disappointment of progessive Catholics wanting radical changes to the priesthood.  

“People looking for revolutionary change in the Latin Church’s long-standing discipline regarding priestly celibacy — or even an opening to possible exceptions — are disappointed, as will be people who were looking for a disciplinary fix to thorny doctrinal questions, including the possibility of ordaining women to the Diaconate as it currently exists,” Altieri wrote. 

“The document does not rule on either of those hot-button issues, which occupied a significant amount of discussion time, column space, and energy both before and after the synod assembly. Querida rules nothing out. Francis’s words on the role of women, however, will not be likely to encourage advocates of admitting women to the Diaconate or restoring the Order of Deaconesses. His exhortation in any case offers no mechanism for further specific practical consideration of any question,” he added. 

“In fact, Querida doesn’t do much of anything.” 

Raymond Arroyo, host of EWTN’s The World Over talk show, tweeted that Pope Francis’s “silence on priestly celibacy” was “a major setback” for German Cardinal Marx “and the progressive forces who championed a regional exception [for the Amazon] that could be expanded later.”

Arroyo also tweeted that Querida Amazonia “is a major blow to those who for decades have advocated the ordination of women.”

But Father Raymond De Souza, writing for the National Catholic Register, suggested that Pope Francis, whose Amoris Laetitia allowed Holy Communion for the divorced-and-remarried by way of a footnote, has endorsed married priests “through a back door.” 

De Souza recalled that in 2018 the pontiff promulgated a new apostolic constitution that contained the new provision that “if it is expressly approved by the Roman Pontiff, the final document [of a synod] participates in the ordinary magisterium of the Successor of Peter.”

“A non-papal document could ex post be declared part of the papal magisterium,” De Souza explained. 

He then pointed out that in the opening paragraphs of Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis wrote that he “would like to officially present the Final Document, which sets forth the conclusions of the Synod, which profited from the participation of many people who know better than myself or the Roman Curia the problems and issues of the Amazon region, since they live there, they experience its suffering and they love it passionately. I have preferred not to cite the Final Document in this Exhortation, because I would encourage everyone to read it in full.”  

“What does ‘officially present’ mean?” De Souza demanded.

“... The ambiguous phrasing ‘officially present’ must have been chosen in part for its ambiguity. Time will tell if some bishops appeal to that ambiguity in order to advance the ordination of married priests.”

Steve Skojec at OnePeterFive also warned that the exhortation is no victory for faithful Catholics. 

“In fact, the document does not even mention the words ‘viri probati’ or ‘ordination’ or ‘celibacy.’ But that doesn’t mean the problem is gone,” he wrote.

“Most people prepared today to read the exhortation as a standalone document. That would ordinarily be a sensible approach, but in this case, it’s not possible to do so,” Skojec continued. 

“At the outset, Francis makes clear that he is presenting not only the exhortation, but also the synod’s final document — with the language” from the final document that proposes, in the words of the document, “to ordain as priests suitable and respected men of the community with a legitimately constituted and stable family.”

According to Skojec, the “bottom line, when one connects all the dots, is that there is nothing to celebrate here. Those who were concerned with the final document have just been told that it is now a part of the pope’s magisterium.”

“One of the prelates chosen to present it has answered plainly that its proposals are still in play. Nothing has been taken off the table,” he added.

Fr. James Martin, SJ, the pro-LGBT editor-at-large of America magazine, issued a six-minute video statement, in which he too suggested that Pope Francis had left the door open to serious changes. 

“... Pope Francis is officially presenting the Synod’s final document along with Querida Amazonia, so it accompanies the exhortation as part of his teaching,” Martin said. 

“That may mean that the Synod’s proposals are still up for discussion in the future. In any case, the question of the official status of proposals included in the Synod document, but not explicitly endorsed in the exhortation, should probably be left to canon lawyers,” he continued.   

Querida Amazonia will delight some and disappoint others.” 

In an essay highly flattering to the pontiff, Austen Ivereigh of the UK’s Tablet suggested that Pope Francis had not dismissed, but merely passed over, the issue of married priests because of the deep divisions between bishops on either side of the debate. 

“Beloved Amazonia does not close off the possibility, but passes over the whole issue, putting the focus firmly on the bigger picture of how the Church and the world can see the region as God does, and act in response,” Ivereigh wrote.  

The pope’s English biographer also pointed to Francis’ wish to give official leadership positions to women serving the Church in the Amazon. 

“For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the Pope is not just following a path out of the debate over the viri probati, but looking to a whole new kind of female-specific leadership in the Church,” Ivereigh stated.

Joshua J. McElwee of the dissident National Catholic Reporter honed in on the fact that Pope Francis had not, as expected, “allowed for the priestly ordination of married men” in the Amazonian region.  McElwee noted also that the pontiff hadn’t mentioned the Synod’s discussion of women deacons in his document. However, he too highlighted Pope Francis’ spoken endorsement of the controversial Final Document of the Synod on the Amazon. McElwee also pointed out that there were fourteen citations in Querida Amazonia to the Synod’s original working document.

Antonio Spadaro, SJ, the editor of Vatican newsmagazine La Civiltà Cattolica and considered by some to be the pontiff’s mouthpiece, gave a very strong endorsement to the idea that Pope Francis’ has not discouraged the more controversial ideas in the Amazon Synod’s Final Document.  

“This is the first time that a document of such magisterial importance explicitly presents itself as a text that “accompanies” another one, namely, the synod’s Final Document, The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology,” Spadaro wrote. 

 “The exhortation therefore does not go beyond the Final Document, nor does it simply intend to give it its seal. Francis accepts it entirely and accompanies it, guiding its reception within the synodal journey, which is in progress and certainly cannot be said to be concluded. The pope has written this because he wants to give an impetus to the synodal process. Indeed, Francis decides this time not to quote the document at all because that would give the impression of a selection of contents. Instead, his aim is to invite a complete reading so that it may enrich, challenge and inspire the Church: these are the very three verbs used by the pontiff.”

Spadaro seemed to say that Pope Francis is reducing the papacy so that synods can have more power. 

“The Petrine ministry, with this exhortation, is clearly expressed as a ministry of accompaniment and of discernment. The synod affirms itself as a fundamental reality in the life of the Church. It has a time of preparation, a central event and a post-synodal process of implementation, of which the exhortation is part. Clearly, Francis wants to make a contribution to the reflection on the relationship between primacy and synodality, the need for which is increasingly felt.”

In conclusion, despite assurances from some conservative Catholics that progressive Catholics must be disappointed, other conservatives have suspicions―and some progressives have strong hopes―that the novel proposals of the Final Document have not yet been dismissed. 


News

Company offers free porn to passengers stuck on cruise ship due to coronavirus

Porn producer framed the move as an 'effort to keep their minds off of the coronavirus and to help with the boredom'
Featured Image
A passenger is seen on a balcony of the Diamond Princess cruise ship as the ship arrives at Daikoku Pier where it is being resupplied and newly diagnosed coronavirus cases taken for treatment as it remains in quarantine after a number of the 3,700 people on board were diagnosed with coronavirus, on February 12, 2020 in Yokohama, Japan. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images
By Martin Bürger

By Martin Bürger
Martin Bürger Follow
By

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

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A porn producer has offered passengers quarantined on two cruise ships due to the coronavirus outbreak free access to pornography. The company framed the move as an attempt to combat boredom among the 7,300 passengers stuck on the ships.

Fox Business reported on a press release put out by the Miami-based porn producer CamSoda, according to which passengers are supposedly “not only dealing with the fear of infection, which is terrifying, but boredom.”

“We like cruises just as much as the next guy, but without activities or human interaction, the boredom must be crippling,” the statement continued.

One of the two cruise ships affected by the coronavirus is called Diamond Princess. “The entire ship is now on lockdown until February 19 – seven more days of mandatory room service,” wrote Business Insider.

Passengers are required to stay in their rooms while the ship is being quarantined. The smallest rooms comprise only 160 square feet, with no windows. The ship is currently docked in Yokohama, Japan.

Meanwhile, the second ship, World Dream docked in Hong Kong, released its passengers earlier this week, shortly after the porn company had made its offer.

“In an effort to keep their minds off of the coronavirus and to help with the boredom, we’re offering passengers and crews the ability to have fun in a safe and controlled environment with camming,” the porn producer stated.

The company is requiring “quarantined passengers and crew members to send a copy of their travel documents via email in exchange for 1,000 free tokens, which can be used to pay for livestreams with porn stars,” according to Fox Business.

Haley McNamara, Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, said in a statement that pornography “has no place on any mode of public transportation – whether it is a cruise ship, airline, or bus.”

“The research is clear that mainstream pornography, with common themes of incest, racism, and violence against women, is linked to offline sexual violence as well as other public health harms. Particularly on public transportation, pornography-use leaves fellow passengers vulnerable to an enclosed and toxic environment amounting to sexual harassment,” McNamara went on.

United Airlines recently began training its staff to respond to instances in-flight porn use, she explained. Carnival Corporation, the owner of the two ships, “rightly has some degree of filter for hardcore pornography.”

As Fox Business wrote, “In its Carnival WiFi terms of service, the following is said about Carnival’s standing on adult sites: ‘All internet usage subject to Carnival Corporation’s standard policies, which may limit browsing of sites identified as containing mature or violent content.’”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation urged Carnival Corporation to reject the offer made by the porn producer, for the sake of “the overall health and well-being of its passengers.”

The latest update from Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, was published late last night. It included the confirmation of an announcement made by the Japanese Ministry of Health, according to which there were 39 new positive cases of coronavirus onboard Diamond Princess.

“We are following guidance from the Japan Ministry of Health on plans for disembarkation protocols to provide medical care for these new cases,” Princess Cruises stated.


News

LGBT activist Catholic teacher brags about reading pro-gay, trans books to 5th, 6th graders

The Toronto archdiocese and board refused to comment.
Featured Image
twitter.com/misterdebuono
Lianne Laurence By Lianne Laurence

Lianne Laurence By Lianne Laurence
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic teacher who openly boasts about reading pro-homosexual and pro-transgender books to Grades 5 and 6 students cites the Toronto Catholic School Board adding “marital and family status, gender expression and gender identity” as prohibited grounds of discrimination to its code of conduct as his justification.

Paolo De Buono, an elementary teacher at Toronto’s St. James Catholic School, tweeted last week that the books he’s reading to 10- and 11-year-old students include Sparkle Boy, The Boy who Cried Fabulous, A Tale of Two Mommies, and A Tale of Two Daddies.

De Buono was a leading advocate of the Toronto District Catholic School Board (TCDSB) adding the terms to its code of conduct, which governs students and staff, during the months’ long and bitter battle over the issue. 

Teresa Lubinski, whom he mentions in his tweet, is one of four trustees who voted in November against the change.

The TCDSB is one of the largest publicly funded school boards in the world, with more than 91,000 students in 195 schools, and De Buono earns about $102,500 a year.

In other posts in a Twitter feed replete with pro-LGBT messages, De Buono displays a photo of his tie emblazoned with the slogan “It’s okay to be gay” and freely “outs” LGBTQ Catholic teachers:

Blais, who has marched with Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) in Toronto’s Pride Parade, teaches at Toronto’s Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts. She is a member of OECTA’s LGBTQ caucus, and Chaisson teaches at Ascension of Our Lord in Malton.

De Buono is also lobbying the board to allow “Diversity Klubs” for Grade 7 and 8, which he alleges are essential to combat “homophobia,” as he tweeted last week:

Code of conduct battle

De Buono’s actions seem to vindicate warnings by pro-family groups that changing the code of conduct would give LGBTQ activists cover to actively promote views of human sexuality contrary to Catholic teaching in Catholic schools. 

The long-running battle over the code ended November 7 when eight trustees voted for the change: Maria Rizzo, Norman Di Pasquale, Markus De Dominico, Frank D’Amico, Angela Kennedy, Joe Martino, Ida Li Preti, and Daniel Di Giorgio.

Voting against were Lubinski, Michael Del Grande, Garry Tanuan, and Nancy Crawford.

Those for the change argued the TCDSB was obliged to obey ministry of education directive PPM 128 that ordered all boards to align their codes of conduct with the provincial and the Ontario Human Rights Code, both of which include the terms.

Opponents argued that gender ideology contradicts Catholic teaching and is harmful to children, and that Catholics have a constitutional right to teach their faith in their schools.

However, a TCDSB report appended to the agenda the night of the vote said the Toronto archdiocese had advised the board to change the code.

On November 11, the archdiocese released a statement conceding it recognized terms were added to the code as mandated by PPM 128, but adding: “While the archdiocese recognizes that terms such as gender identity are included in the Code, we do not accept the view of the human person which underlies this terminology, since that view is not compatible with our faith.”

LifeSiteNews contacted TCDSB director Rory McGuckin for response to De Buono’s statements, but was told the director would not comment. Nor did the TCDSB communications department respond to multiple requests for comment.

LifeSiteNews contacted Neil McCarthy, spokesman for Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, asking for a statement. McCarthy replied that “there is no public comment at this time.”

De Buono should be fired: Campaign Life

The archdiocese also stated that the TCDSB’s revised code “includes additional provisions to ensure that it is interpreted according to Catholic faith.”

But that’s a “nonsensical proviso,” especially in light of such interpretations of the Catholic faith as De Buono’s, says Jeff Gunnarson, president of Campaign Life Coalition.

“As if there exists such a thing as a ‘Catholic lens’ that one can strap onto sinful behaviour in order to make it acceptable for Catholics to engage in!” he told LifeSiteNews. 

Campaign Life Coalition, Canada's national pro-life and pro-family political lobbying group, spearheaded opposition to the policy along with Parents as First Educators.

Campaign Life “begged” Cardinal Collins before the board voted “to publicly come out against their additions to the code of conduct and to demand that all trustees vote against them,” Gunnarson said.

Moreover, 1,915 people signed a Campaign Life petition “pleading with the cardinal to use his moral authority to encourage the trustees to reject gender identity theory,” he said, all to no avail.

Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life’s director of political operations, regards Collins’s failure to act at that time as paramount to a betrayal of parents, and contends that Catholics need their shepherd to take action now to repair the damage.

And as the cardinal is responsible under canon law to “to keep our Catholic schools Catholic,” says Fonseca, in this case that means Collins should see to it that the TCDSB fire De Buono.

“This pro-gay activist teacher has crossed a line and needs to be fired immediately. His excuse that he’s merely teaching kids about ‘respecting differences’ is so super-thin as to be non-existent,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews.

De Buono is “openly promoting the homosexual lifestyle and transsexualism to impressionable Catholic children,” and “destroying their supernatural faith and indoctrinating them to embrace and celebrate behaviours that are condemned by the Catholic Church as gravely sinful and intrinsically disordered,” he added.

“This is diabolical.”

Moreover, De Buono is “mocking our Catholic educational leaders – the trustees and the diocesan archbishop — by rubbing his dissent in their faces on Twitter, and essentially daring them to try to stop him,” said Fonseca. 

“Silence by His Eminence about De Buono will represent yet another betrayal on his part, on top of the last one. It’s time to redeem himself with an act of courageous leadership, to stand up against the LGBT bullies who have taken over our Catholic schools,” he added.

Gunnarson said Campaign Life “asks all Catholic rate-paying parents to contact the Toronto Archdiocese urging the Cardinal to put an end to this dissent.” 

To sign the petition to Cardinal Collins, go here

To respectfully express your views, contact:

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Office of the Cardinal
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M4T 1W2
Ph: 416-934-0606, ext. 609
email: [email protected]

Principal of St. James Catholic School:
Joanne Saragosa
416-393-5275
Email: [email protected]

TCDSB trustees:

Joseph Martino, Chair
Ward 1: Etobicoke
Phone: 416-512-3401
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Markus de Domenico
Ward 2: Etobicoke

Phone: 416-512-3402
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Ida Li Preti
Ward 3: North York

Phone: 416-512-3403
Phone: 416-222-8282 Ext.2660
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Teresa Lubinski
Ward 4: Parkdale-High Park, Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Phone: 416-512-3404
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Maria Rizzo
Ward 5: North York

Phone: 416-512-3405
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Frank D'Amico, CD
Ward 6: York

Phone: 416-512-3406
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Michael Del Grande
Ward 7: Scarborough/ North York

Phone: 416-512-3407
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Garry Tanuan
Ward 8: Scarborough

Phone: 416-512-3408
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Norm Di Pasquale
Ward 9: Toronto

Phone: 416-512-3409
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Daniel Di Giorgio
Ward 10: Toronto

Phone: 416-512-3410
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Angela Kennedy
Ward 11: East York/Toronto

Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]

Nancy Crawford
Ward 12: Scarborough

Phone: 416-512-3412
Fax: 416-512-3214
E-Mail: [email protected]


News

Pornhub caught hosting illegal vids of 15-year-old victim of human trafficking, rape

The world’s leading online porn site said it had ‘verified’ as a “model with valid ID” the girl who turned out to be a trafficked minor.
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Paul Smeaton By Paul Smeaton

Paul Smeaton By Paul Smeaton
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

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

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – An effort to shut down the largest pornography website in the world has been launched after the organization was caught saying that it had “verified” as a “model with valid 18+ ID” a 15-year-old victim of human trafficking who was shown being raped in dozens of videos uploaded to the site.

Laila Mickelwait, of the pornography abolition organisation Exodus Cry, has posted screenshots from Pornhub’s social media accounts showing them saying that the girl is “a verified model with valid ID.” Those posts have now been deleted by Pornhub, but are cached (and so still available to view) online.

Mickelwait is now calling for the company that owns Pornhub, MindGeek, to be shut down.

She told Faithwire that the company is is “making money off of the exploitation, rape, and trafficking of hundreds if not thousands of women and girls who are victims, and their crime scenes are being hosted on their website.”

Mickelwait explained that in order to get an account “verified” on Pornhub users simply have to take photos in which they are holding pieces of paper with their usernames scrawled on them. She said that this means their policy “is set up to enable exploitation and trafficking under a facade of actually having some form of protection.”

According to Mickelwait, such a process means there is “no way” for Pornhub to confirm either the consent or the age of those participating in the uploaded videos.

Mickelwait described pornography websites as being run by “criminals and mega-pimps” and said that “the onus of responsibility is not just on the traffickers and those who are raping the girls; it’s on the website that is not only hosting these videos, but profiting off of them. And that’s what makes them a mega-trafficker.”

Micklewait’s expose of Pornhub comes the same week as mainstream media covered the story Rose Kalemba, who says that she begged the online pornography site for six months to remove videos on their website showing her being raped at just 14 years old. Kalemba, now 25,  says that Pornhub only took action and removed the videos after she threatened legal action.

Jonathan van Maren of LifeSiteNews has noted that these events reveal that Pornhub’s viewers are getting sexual enjoyment out of what, in some instances, turn out to be horrific crimes.

“The porn industry and the abortion industry reduce women and children to meat, feeding them to carnivorous consumers in a culture that has lost all sense of right and wrong. A culture that respected women’s rights would be outraged at the fact that millions upon millions of people entertain themselves by watching girls get sexually violated and thrashed onscreen, but our culture pretends that “women’s rights” means that if any children show up unexpectedly, they can be hastily shredded and discarded so that the show can go on,” van Maren observed.


News

Cardinal Marx says married priests still up for debate: ‘By no means is it off the table’

Cardinal Marx and Catholic organizations in Germany insists the allowance of married priests is still open for discussion after publication of the Pope’s Amazon Synod exhortation.
Featured Image
Cardinal Reinhard Marx Popow/ullstein bild via Getty Images
By Martin Bürger

By Martin Bürger
Martin Bürger Follow
By

PETITION: Support Cardinal Sarah's and Pope Emeritus Benedict's Defense of Priestly Celibacy" Sign the petition here.

BONN, Germany, February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Reinhard Marx has emphasized that the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia” is not intended to replace the final document of the Amazon synod published last October. The final document had called for the ordination to the priesthood of married men living in the Amazon region.

During the presentation of “Querida Amazonia” to German media in Bonn, the outgoing president of the German bishops’ conference stressed that the Apostolic Exhortation published earlier today “neither wants to replace nor to repeat” the final document of the synod.

“By no means is it off the table with the publication of the exhortation! Rather, Pope Francis speaks of his desire ‘to officially present the final document’ together with the Apostolic Letter, and invites us ‘to read it in full,’” Marx said.

The archbishop of Munich and Freising addressed the expectations many people had ahead of the publication of “Querida Amazonia.” Both conservatives and liberals had speculated that Pope Francis might open the door to married priests in the South American region.

“Those who expected concrete decisions and instructions for action in the post-synodal letter of Pope Francis will not find them in this exhortation. Instead, the Pope has performed a reception of the synod and its final document that is relevant to the church in the whole world and supported by the papal teaching authority,” clarified the German cardinal.

Returning to the question of celibacy, Marx pointed out that in the final document of the synod, a majority of two thirds of the 280 participants who had come to Rome to talk about “New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology” in the context of Amazonia, a vast region in South America, “spoke out in favor of exceptions to mandatory celibacy.”

While the participants had expressed their appreciation for celibacy as a gift of God, the final document also explicitly stated their call for married priests.

“Considering that legitimate diversity does not harm the communion and unity of the Church, but rather expresses and serves it, witness the plurality of existing rites and disciplines, we propose that criteria and dispositions be established by the competent authority, within the framework of Lumen Gentium 26, to ordain as priests suitable and respected men of the community with a legitimately constituted and stable family, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive an adequate formation for the priesthood, in order to sustain the life of the Christian community through the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments in the most remote areas of the Amazon region,” the final document maintains.

The members of the synod also “suggested further reflection on the question of admitting women to the diaconate,” Marx continued during his press conference in Germany.

“In the many consultations carried out in the Amazon, the fundamental role of religious and lay women in the church of the Amazon and its communities was recognized and emphasized, given the wealth of services they provide. In a large number of these consultations, the permanent diaconate for women was requested. This made it an important theme during the synod,” according to the final document.

Cardinal Marx explained that against the backdrop of the proposals for reform discussed in German, “these topics found a special echo in the eyes of the church and the public.” However, “they were not the main topics of the synod.”

“Accordingly, the post-synodal exhortation does not directly address these issues, but encourages the further development of the priesthood and in order to enable the regular celebration of the Eucharist.”

Pope Francis wrote in “Querida Amazonia” that in the “specific circumstances of the Amazon region, particularly in its forests and more remote places, a way must be found to ensure this priestly ministry.”

Francis said the while laypeople “can proclaim God’s word, teach, organize communities, celebrate certain sacraments, seek different ways to express popular devotion and develop the multitude of gifts that the Spirit pours out in their midst,” they still need the celebration of the Eucharist.

According to Pope Francis, “The way of shaping priestly life and ministry is not monolithic; it develops distinctive traits in different parts of the world.”

“If we are truly convinced that this is the case, then every effort should be made to ensure that the Amazonian peoples do not lack this food of new life and the sacrament of forgiveness,” the Pope underlined.

In this context, Pope Francis did not mention married priests, but only a promotion of prayer for vocations to the priesthood, as well as the activity of missionaries.

“This discussion will continue,” Cardinal Marx is convinced.

The archbishop of Munich also pointed to the post-synodal council consisting of 16 members that was established at the conclusion of the Amazon synod. The goal of the council is to implement the results of the synod.

In his statement to the press, Marx singled out only two members of that council, namely Cardinal Cláudio Hummes and Bishop Erwin Kräutler.

Hummes had previously expressed his openness to making celibacy optional. Already in a 2006 interview “with the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paolo, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who had just been named head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, said that ‘even though celibacy is part of Catholic history and culture, the church could review this question, because celibacy is not a dogma but a disciplinary question,’” according to Catholic Review, the official publication of the archdiocese of Baltimore.

Kräutler, formerly bishop of Xingu in Brazil, had said in 2019 that people in the Amazon region don’t understand celibacy, as LifeSiteNews reported at the time.

Various organizations in Germany have interpreted “Querida Amazonia” in a similar light as did Cardinal Marx.

Pirmin Spiegel of Misereor, a relief organization supervised by the German bishops, said in a statement that Pope Francis did not take anything back that was part of the final document published last October. “He does not reject it. Therefore, it is still valid,” Spiegel concluded.

Another Catholic relief organization, Adveniat, said that the Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia” did not “put a stop to further developments.”

At the same time, Bishop Franz-Joseph Overbeck of Essen, who is the bishop responsible for Adveniat, lamented that married priests were not allowed by Pope Francis.

“I would have wished the parishes in Amazonia that Pope Francis had followed the decisions of the Amazon synod and – as a regional solution – had given access to priestly ordination to proven married men (as so-called viri probati) from the Amazon region by way of a dispensation,” the bishop, who has previously shown his openness to women priests, said.

The disappointment in Germany about the apostolic exhortation was also expressed in a first analysis published by katholisch.de, the news website associated with the German bishops.

Having married men as priests was “not even worth an interpretable footnote for Francis, unlike those divorced and remarried in the letter ‘Amoris laetitia’ after the synod on the family.” The piece said that his reaction to the lack of priests is “strangely fainthearted and unimaginative” of the Pope.

“But the Pope does have a proposal to fight the lack of priests and thus to make the Eucharist again accessible for the faithful: the prayer for vocations. Let us pray that prayer is enough,” the article ends with a sarcastic statement.


News

Cardinal at Vatican presser: Question on women deacons, married priests not resolved

'They will continue to be debated, discussed, discerned, prayed over, and when mature presented to the appropriate authority for decisions.'
Featured Image
Juan della Torre / Wikimedia Commons

By John-Henry Westen

PETITION: Support Cardinal Sarah's and Pope Emeritus Benedict's Defense of Priestly Celibacy" Sign the petition here.

ROME, February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Asked if the Pope’s new exhortation on the Amazon Synod closed the door on women deacons and married priests, a Cardinal at the Vatican press conference presenting the exhortation said that “the Holy Father has not resolved” the questions and that “they will continue to be debated, discussed, discerned, prayed over, and when mature presented to the appropriate authority for decisions.”

Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, appointed by Pope Francis as the Special Secretary of the Synod for the Amazon, added that those decisions “can be made in a diocese, in a conference, and decisions that are made here (at the Vatican).”

Pope Francis released his exhortation, titled Querida Amazonia, today at noon Rome time.

The exhortation itself does not explicitly accept a married priesthood and seems to dismiss the idea of a female diaconate, but there are still many questions, and this was apparent at the press conference.

One of the key points in relation to this, is that right in the introduction of the exhortation, Pope Francis says he is “officially present[ing] the Final Document” of the Synod, which had approved the idea of ordaining married men to the priesthood and of establishing some new forms of ministry for women.

Adding to the confusion, in particular, is that in 2018, Pope Francis issued an apostolic constitution that stipulated the final document of a Synod of Bishops would become part of the papal magisterium should the Pope approve it. Titled Episcopalis Communio, it reads:

If it is expressly approved by the Roman Pontiff, the Final Document participates in the ordinary Magisterium of the Successor of Peter.

At the Vatican’s press conference, however, Czerny and others denied that the final document has magisterial authority.

Nevertheless Czerny insisted the questions are still open for discussion.

After the Vatican press conference today, LifeSite’s Rome correspondent Diane Montagna interviewed Cardinal Czerny about the question of the women’s diaconate, first briefly while he was still seated on the panel, and then in the Holy See Press Office where he was giving interviews. We present below their full exchanges.

First follow up

LifeSite: Cardinal Czerny, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is one sacrament. The diaconate is a part, an essential part, of that sacrament. Can we not rule out that a woman cannot be admitted to Holy Orders?

Cardinal Czerny: It’s under study.

It’s not under study if a woman can be admitted to Holy Orders.

The women’s diaconate is under study.

But not in the sense of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

We’ll have to see what the study produces.

Second follow-up 

LifeSite: I had wanted to ask you again: The Sacrament of Holy Orders is one sacrament in the Church. Within that sacrament there is the diaconate, the priesthood and the episcopacy. Are you willing, based on what you said here [at the press conference] to rule out that a woman can be admitted to the diaconate within the Sacrament of Holy Orders?

Cardinal Czerny: I really don’t know what you mean, “to rule out.” I have presented the final document of the Synod. You know what it has said about the diaconate. I’ve presented the [Apostolic] Exhortation. The Exhortation officially presents the final document, so that’s there to read. And we know that the Commission on the diaconate will be meeting again, and we’ll have to wait to see.

Yes, but even the Holy Father has said to the International Union of Women Superiors General that even if in the beginning of the Church there existed an order of deaconesses, and he’s talked about how they’ve participated in the baptisms in very appropriate ways. That’s a completely different thing than admitting a woman to the Sacrament of Holy Orders, as many are pushing for in the Church — whether it’s the Germans or in the United States. So according to this document that we received today, is it excluding women from Holy Orders?

No. This document doesn’t go further with regard to this question than the final document of the synod. And as I said already, the Holy Father will be recalling the Commission on the diaconate, and we’ll have to see what its results are.


News

Pope releases new exhortation on Amazon Synod

While the text fails to accept the progressives’ most high-profile proposals, many are sure to argue that it leaves ample room for them to advance a revolutionary agenda.
Featured Image
Pope Francis gives a speech on October 31, 2016 in Malmo, Sweden. Michael Campanella / Getty Images

By Maike Hickson

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

ANALYSIS

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis released his official text on the Amazon Synod today at noon Rome time, bringing with it what is sure to be a strong debate and controversy over its meaning for the life of the worldwide Church.

While it seems the pope’s apostolic exhortation, titled Querida Amazonia, fails to accept the progressives’ most high-profile proposals for a married priesthood and female diaconate, many are sure to argue that it nevertheless leaves ample room for them to advance a revolutionary agenda for the Church. (The full text of the exhortation is here on the Vatican website.)

The Synod of Bishops for the Amazonian Region took place in Rome between October 6 and 27, 2019. Controversy ahead of the Synod reached full force with the release of the Instrumentum Laboris, or “working document,” which earned strong public criticism from cardinals and bishops. Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Gerhard Müller, and Raymond Burke took issue with its radical departures from perennial doctrine. Brandmüller condemned it as heretical and even apostate. 

The Synod itself was then plunged into controversy almost as soon as delegates arrived in Rome, thanks to an apparently syncretic ceremony that took place in the Vatican Gardens on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Concerns about a central totem of the Synod, a representation of the fertility goddess Pachamama, dominated reports about the gathering.

Consistent with the Synod’s themes, the Pope’s exhortation decries social injustices against the poor in the Amazon, and the ecological crisis, while emphasizing forcefully that the Church must preach the Gospel of Christ to the people of the region.

In the midst of these themes, however, the exhortation includes a number of controversial passages, and changes to Church practice, that, while framed here for the Amazon, could have far-reaching application:

  • He advocates an “inculturated liturgy” incorporating Amazonian dance and rituals, and mentions in a footnote the idea of establishing an Amazonian liturgical rite.
  • He recommends granting lay people formal authority of Amazonian parishes, and mentions their ability to “celebrate certain sacraments” (excluding specifically the Eucharist and Confession).
  • He says women should be given formal positions in the community that include a “commission from the bishop”.
  • He applies the Amoris Laetitia approach to sacraments in the Amazon context, saying there is no “room … for a discipline that excludes and turns people away.”
  • And he seems to defend the veneration of the Pachamama statue at the Synod.

The concern that proposals for the Amazon could have worldwide import have been voiced since the moment the Synod was called. It became clear as the Synod process developed that Church progressives – and most especially the large liberal wing of bishops in Germany – were latching onto it to advance their cause through the challenging pastoral situation of the Amazon region.

And the pope’s exhortation does indeed seem to open the door to that possibility. In his introduction, Pope Francis describes the 40-page document as a “brief framework for reflection that can apply concretely to the life of the Amazon region,” but at the same time he highlights that he intends the exhortation to have worldwide significance: “I am addressing the present Exhortation to the whole world. … the Church’s concern for the problems of this area obliges us to discuss, however briefly, a number of other important issues that can assist other areas of our world in confronting their own challenges.”

While the exhortation does not explicitly support the idea of ordaining married men to the priesthood or of establishing some sort of female ministry, only the ensuing discussions will show whether these issues are in fact off the table. The reason for caution is that right in the introduction of the exhortation, Pope Francis endorses the final document of the Amazon Synod. He declares that he is “officially present[ing] the Final Document.” Then he adds: “I have preferred not to cite the Final Document in this Exhortation, because I would encourage everyone to read it in full.” (Read the full text of the Amazon Synod’s final document here.) And as he says, he indeed does not quote from the final document in the text.

As some sources told LifeSiteNews, these words as chosen by Pope Francis could open the door to many debates as to whether or not the conclusions of the Synod's final document – with its approval of the idea of ordaining married men to the priesthood and of establishing some new forms of ministry for women – might still be applicable and valid for the reform plans in the Catholic Church of the Amazon region.

In particular, in 2018, Pope Francis issued an apostolic constitution that stipulated the final document of a Synod of Bishops would become part of the papal magisterium should the Pope approve it. Titled Episcopalis Communio, it reads:

If it is expressly approved by the Roman Pontiff, the Final Document participates in the ordinary Magisterium of the Successor of Peter.

At the same time, the fact that Pope Francis personally does not explicitly endorse the reform plans of the Amazon Synod's final document can be seen as something that might very well discourage and even anger the progressivist camp within the Catholic Church.

We here highlight now some of the most important aspects of the text that are sure to be a source of heated discussion.

Laity running parishes

Perhaps the key pastoral challenge identified for the Amazon region has been the drastic shortage of priests, and in the exhortation the Pope is clear about the importance of priests and the need for an increase in vocations. He calls for prayers for vocations and urges bishops of the world to send missionary priests to the Amazon. He does not take up the proposal of the viri probati, “proven” married men who could be ordained where priests are lacking, but he does urge an increase in permanent deacons, and he calls for laity to be given formal authority for parishes.

When dealing with the question of the lack of priests in the Amazon region, the Pope asks what aspects of the priest's ministry “cannot be delegated,” and he points to the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confession, as well as that of Extreme Unction since this Sacrament often includes Confession. He writes:

In the specific circumstances of the Amazon region, particularly in its forests and more remote places, a way must be found to ensure this priestly ministry.  The laity can proclaim God’s word, teach, organize communities, celebrate certain sacraments, seek different ways to express popular devotion and develop the multitude of gifts that the Spirit pours out in their midst.  But they need the celebration of the Eucharist because it “makes the Church”.

He then insists that the Amazonian Church needs an “ecclesial culture that is distinctively lay”:

A Church of Amazonian features requires the stable presence of mature and lay leaders endowed with authority and familiar with the languages, cultures, spiritual experience and communal way of life in the different places, but also open to the multiplicity of gifts that the Holy Spirit bestows on every one.  For wherever there is a particular need, he has already poured out the charisms that can meet it.  This requires the Church to be open to the Spirit’s boldness, to trust in, and concretely to permit, the growth of a specific ecclesial culture that is distinctively lay.  The challenges in the Amazon region demand of the Church a special effort to be present at every level, and this can only be possible through the vigorous, broad and active involvement of the laity.

A footnote on this paragraph states: “It is possible that, due to a lack of priests, a bishop can entrust ‘participation in the exercise of the pastoral care of a parish… to a deacon, to another person who is not a priest, or to a community of persons’ (Code of Canon Law, 517 §2).”

Official ecclesial positions for women

Pope Francis rejects the “reductionism” that “women should be granted a greater status and participation in the Church today only if they were admitted to Holy Orders.” He warns against “clericalizing” women, thus undermining their unique and special “contribution.” Thus he encourages “the emergence of other forms of service and charisms that are proper to women” and fit to the needs of the Amazon.

However, he then calls for women to be given official positions that would include “public recognition” and “a commission from the bishop”:

In a synodal Church, those women who in fact have a central part to play in Amazonian communities should have access to positions, including ecclesial services, that do not entail Holy Orders and that can better signify the role that is theirs.  Here it should be noted that these services entail stability, public recognition and a commission from the bishop.  This would also allow women to have a real and effective impact on the organization, the most important decisions and the direction of communities, while continuing to do so in a way that reflects their womanhood. 

Such an idea had been recently laid out by Cardinal Walter Kasper, one of the key advisors of the Pope.  In July of 2019, Cardinal Kasper told LifeSiteNews with regard to the female deacon issue that new forms of ministries for women might not be necessary since the Church is “free” to bestow on women a “non-sacramental, liturgical blessing” that would not be a “sacramental ordination” but which would confirm women in Church ministries in which they already function, such as extraordinary Eucharistic ministers, lectors, and aiding in the Church's charitable works and administration.

Inculturated liturgy

To advance the Church’s missionary purpose in the Amazon, Pope Francis encourages “a necessary process of inculturation,” and he even calls for an “inculturated liturgy.” For the Pontiff, the sacraments “unite the divine and the cosmic, grace and creation.” In the Amazon region, he explains, “the sacraments should not be viewed in discontinuity with creation.” Therefore, he sees that “we can take up into the liturgy many elements proper to the experience of indigenous peoples in their contact with nature, and respect native forms of expression in song, dance, rituals, gestures and symbols.”

Here the Pope refers to a possible “Amazonian rite” - albeit only in a footnote (120) after the sentence: “The Second Vatican Council called for this effort to inculturate the liturgy among indigenous peoples; over fifty years have passed and we still have far to go along these lines.” The footnote then says that “During the Synod, there was a proposal to develop an 'Amazonian rite.'”

Further speaking about inculturation, the Pope says: “For the Church to achieve a renewed inculturation of the Gospel in the Amazon region, she needs to listen to its ancestral wisdom” and to the “rich stories of its peoples.”

Furthermore, the Pope also tells us we “should esteem the indigenous mysticism that sees the interconnection and interdependence of the whole of creation, the mysticism of gratuitousness that loves life as a gift,” as well as the “sacred wonder before nature.”

Applying Amoris Laetitia in the missionary context

The Pope also insists that in its missionary work in the region, the Church should not exclude people from the sacraments by “imposing straightaway a set of rules,” quoting Amoris Laetitia. He writes in paragraph 84:

The sacraments reveal and communicate the God who is close and who comes with mercy to heal and strengthen his children.  Consequently, they should be accessible, especially for the poor, and must never be refused for financial reasons.  Nor is there room, in the presence of the poor and forgotten of the Amazon region, for a discipline that excludes and turns people away, for in that way they end up being discarded by a Church that has become a toll-house.  Rather, “in such difficult situations of need, the Church must be particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort and acceptance, rather than imposing straightaway a set of rules that only lead people to feel judged and abandoned by the very Mother called to show them God’s mercy”.  For the Church, mercy can become a mere sentimental catchword unless it finds concrete expression in her pastoral outreach.

Defense of Pachamama ritual?

In his last chapter on the Church, Pope Francis also seems to make an explicit defense of the use of the controversial “Pachamama” statues during the Amazon Synod in Rome. The Pope writes in paragraphs 78-79:

Let us not be quick to describe as superstition or paganism certain religious practices that arise spontaneously from the life of peoples. … It is possible to take up an indigenous symbol in some way, without necessarily considering it as idolatry.  A myth charged with spiritual meaning can be used to advantage and not always considered a pagan error.  Some religious festivals have a sacred meaning and are occasions for gathering and fraternity, albeit in need of a gradual process of purification or maturation.  A missionary of souls will try to discover the legitimate needs and concerns that seek an outlet in at times imperfect, partial or mistaken religious expressions, and will attempt to respond to them with an inculturated spirituality.

‘The message that needs to be heard in the Amazon’: Christ

In four strong paragraphs (62-65), the Pope honors the missionary activity of the Catholic Church in the Amazon region and insists that we as Christians “cannot set aside the call to faith that we have received from the Gospel.” He writes:

…we are not ashamed of Jesus Christ.  Those who have encountered him, those who live as his friendsand identify with his message, must inevitably speak of him and bring to others his offer of new life: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).

An authentic option for the poor and the abandoned, while motivating us to liberate them from material poverty and to defend their rights, also involves inviting them to a friendship with the Lord that can elevate and dignify them.  … If we devote our lives to their service, to working for the justice and dignity that they deserve, we cannot conceal the fact that we do so because we see Christ in them and because we acknowledge the immense dignity that they have received from God, the Father who loves them with boundless love.

The poor, he adds, “have a right to hear the Gospel”:

Without that impassioned proclamation, every ecclesial structure would become just another NGO and we would not follow the command given us by Christ: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15).

Amazon as ‘theological locus’

The Pope returns to some of the cosmic language that appeared in the Amazon Synod's working document. He speaks, for example, about “entering” into “communion with the forest,” about the “Amazon region” becoming “like a mother to us,” and even repeats an expression of the Synod's preparatory document, calling the Amazon region a “theological locus, a space where God reveals himself and summons his sons and daughters.”

Dorothy Cummings McLean contributed to this report.


Opinion

China’s communist govt forcibly rounds up Coronavirus victims, treats them like animals

China has declared a ‘People’s War’ against the epidemic, but it’s really a war against the people who are sick with the virus.
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Steven Mosher By Steven Mosher

Steven Mosher By Steven Mosher
Steven Mosher Steven Mosher Follow Steven
By Steven Mosher

February 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In order to combat the worsening coronavirus epidemic, Communist Party leader Xi Jinping has declared a “People’s War” against the virus. 

The communist leader has mobilized the entire machinery of the state -- the military, the government, and the Party -- and put the entire country on a war footing.  The province of Hubei, the epicenter of the epidemic, has been cordoned off from the rest of China, while an invading army of “veteran Party members,” medical personnel, and military units have been sent to the province to take control.  Their orders are to arrest anyone found to be carrying the disease and put them into containment centers. They are authorized to use force against anyone who resists, and Xi himself has said that anyone who disobeys government orders would be punished. Videos out of China appear to show coronavirus victims being forcibly dragged from their homes.

Xi’s extreme actions suggest that the epidemic is far worse than the official numbers would suggest, which by Tuesday night stood at 1,115 dead and 45,182 infected. How much worse is impossible to say, given the almost complete blackout of news from the quarantined province.   One leaked report from the Chinese social media giant TenCent suggested that the real death toll was 25 times higher than official claims. The report was immediately taken down and has proved impossible to verify, but it may be closer to the truth than the absurdly low official figure.  

Ask yourself this question:  Would the Communist authorities quarantine tens of millions of people and shut down the Chinese economy for weeks on end because of a few hundred deaths?

What is crystal clear to me is that the Chinese Communist Party is acting entirely as one would expect such a criminal enterprise to behave when faced with a disaster of its own making.  In a January 19 meeting with senior health officials, the head of China’s National Health Service, Ma Xiaowei, summed up the Party’s priorities as politics, safety, and research. That is to say, the Party is putting politics first, containing the spread of the epidemic second, and research into how to cure the sick a distant third.  

The Chinese public is rightly blaming its leaders, and the totalitarian system of control they have created, for allowing the disease to reach epidemic proportions in the first place. In response, the Party is putting its propaganda machine into overdrive. In an effort to protect the image of “People’s Leader” Xi Jinping, it is locking up critics and trying to shift the blame for the regime’s failures onto the local authorities in Hubei. At the same time, it continues to criticize “hostile foreign forces” -- by which it principally means the United States -- for creating panic in China by “overreacting.”  Of course, as the disease continues to spread day by day, President Donald Trump’s early decision to cancel direct flights to and from China, as well as rescue American citizens trapped in the plague city of Wuhan, was exactly the right call. 

The Party’s second goal is to contain the epidemic by any means possible, and to do this it has put in place the largest quarantine in world history. In fact, it might be the world’s first multi-level quarantine. Not only has the entire population of Hubei, some 60 million people, been isolated from the rest of China, but also a dozen-and-a-half cities within Hubei itself have been cut off from the rest of the province. Except for emergency supplies, road and rail traffic in and of the province is at a standstill. Food and medical supplies are dwindling, factories and shops have been idled, and tens of millions of people have been virtually confined to their homes for the past three weeks.

But it is in the forced quarantine of individuals that the “People’s War” gets really ugly. On the ground in Hubei and in other places experiencing outbreaks, the police are going door to door in an effort to round up the infected and those they have been in close contact with. Anyone showing any symptoms of illness, such as a fever or a cough, is summarily arrested and taken to what the authorities are calling a “hospital,” but is in reality a sports arena or a high school or college gymnasium that has been turned into a detention center.

Early on in the epidemic, Yang Yunyan, the Vice Governor of Hubei Province, declared that they have located enough such sites to house 100,000 people. Spoken at a time when the official tally of infected was only 15,000 or so, the claim was another indication that the regime was seriously lowballing the real numbers.  Not surprisingly, Yang’s statement was quickly scrubbed from the internet. Still, a few days later, the leaders of Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the capital, directed that all hotels, hostels and empty factories should be prepared to be transformed into quarantine stations. 

Aside from converting existing buildings, the authorities are also hastily constructing a series of new buildings. Much fanfare has accompanied these new “hospitals” that have been built in as little as 10 days.  Here, say the authorities, is concrete proof of People’s Leader Xi’s concern for the sick, not to mention proof positive of the superiority of the socialist system.  But just calling a big concrete box a “hospital” does not make it one. The pictures of these “hospitals” show row after row of beds, but scarcely any medical equipment or medical workers in sight. With hundreds of coronavirus victims lying a few feet apart from one another, they almost seem designed to spread the disease, rather than cure or even contain it. In such crammed conditions, the sick will undoubtedly reinfect one another, as well as pass other secondary infections along.  

What China is doing has nothing to do with quarantine, properly understood, and everything to do with a kind of ruthless triage system. The well-connected can always get a hospital bed.  Indeed, there is one hospital in Wuhan that is designated for the care of sick Party and government officials. As for ordinary people, those who are suspected of carrying the coronavirus are simply culled from the population and locked up for the duration of the epidemic, often receiving minimal medical care. There is a good chance that the containment centers will become giant morgues.

Xi Jinping is not the first Chinese Communist leader to use the term “people’s war.”  The inventor of that phrase was the late Chairman Mao Zedong, who used it as shorthand to describe a Communist military strategy of mobilizing the entire population to fight against an enemy -- in his case the Japanese army, which had invaded China prior to World War II.  

But who is the enemy today?

On the pretext of launching a “people’s war” against the epidemic, “People’s Leader” Xi has ironically launched a “war” against his own “people,” at least those whom he suspects of harboring the coronavirus. 

This isn’t quarantine.  It is more like quarter-and-kill.

Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order. A former National Science Foundation fellow, he studied human biology at Stanford University under famed geneticist Luigi Cavalli-Sforza. He holds advanced degrees in Biological Oceanography, East Asian Studies, and Cultural Anthropology. One of America's leading China watchers, he was selected in 1979 by the National Science Foundation to be the first American social scientist to do field research in China.


Opinion

Bishop McElroy, how is climate change deadlier than abortion?

Are 'both abortion and the environment' really 'core life issues in Catholic teaching'?
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
By John Horvat II

By John Horvat II
John Horvat II
By

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Abortion presents a problem for the Catholic left since it does not fit into its social justice agenda. It certainly involves social justice in the highest degree since it is a great injustice to deprive an innocent person of life. However, the left, by its nature, always seeks to change “oppressive” social structures that they deem unjust. Abortion does not fit squarely into this category. Indeed, some Catholic leftists will use the oppressive structures of poverty or patriarchy as a reason to justify abortion.

While the Catholic left prefers other issues like climate change, social revolution, and illegal immigration, it is hard to argue against the missing 60 million Americans. These issues pale in comparison to the magnitude of death caused by the sin of abortion. Thus, abortion has long occupied the preeminent place on the American Catholic political scene.

A bishop speaks out  

However, a key Catholic figure is directly disputing abortion’s preeminent place as a non-negotiable issue for faithful Catholic voters.

Speaking at the University of San Diego on February 6, Most Rev. Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, cast doubt on abortion’s preeminent position, especially in light of the upcoming elections. He did not directly discourage opposition to abortion but put climate change on equal footing, declaring that “both abortion and the environment are core life issues in Catholic teaching.”

The two issues pose unequal threats, however. For the outspoken liberal bishop, “the long-term death toll from unchecked climate change is larger [than that from abortion] and threatens the very future of humanity.” 

Three questions about Bishop McElroy’s controversial statements need to be answered. 

To Bishop McElroy, the politician 

The first is addressed directly to Bishop McElroy, the politician: “Your Excellency, why are you raising this issue now?”

Bishops need to be involved in political battles, but that is not their chief function. They must uphold Church teaching even when it is not politically correct or opportune.

Thus, American Catholics must question why the bishop is raising this issue now. Pro-life Catholics have reached the height of their political power mobilizing millions nationwide. They have turned the tide to the point where nearly half of all Americans identify as pro-life. No one, not even the president, can ignore the influence of the pro-life movement. 

This influence is starting to bear fruit in the appointment of pro-life judges. Some are even saying that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is possible. By denying abortion’s preeminence, the bishop is undermining decades of work in the trenches by countless Catholics and other Americans to end the intrinsically evil sin of procured abortion in America and the world.  

In making this statement during an election year, Bishop McElroy intentionally muddles the issues in the hope of encouraging Catholics to vote for radical pro-abortion candidates who are eco- or illegal immigration-friendly. 

To Bishop McElroy, the scientist

The second question involves Bishop McElroy, the scientist: “Your Excellency, why are you speaking as a scientist?”

Bishop McElroy is not a scientist and thus speaks outside his competence when painting a picture based on alarmist scientific speculation devoid of solid facts. He cites “existing trajectories of pollutants” that are “unchecked.” Like so many before him, he makes catastrophic predictions of rising temperatures, famines, and even “perilous viruses.” 

He is quick to blame a “trajectory of danger unleashed by fossil fuels” that makes action over the next 10 years imperative. His speech reads like a blessing of the Green New Deal. He even claims that “it is a far greater moral evil for our country to abandon the Paris Climate Accord than to provide contraceptives to federal health centers.”    

Just as abortion is not settled law, catastrophic climate change is far from being settled science. Abortion kills tens of millions every year around the world. There are no recorded deaths specifically due to climate change. In striving to diminish the world’s population, those promoting the intrinsic evils of abortion and contraception work hand-in-hand with climate change activists.

To Bishop McElroy, the bishop 

The third question is the most tragic and important one: “Your Excellency, why aren’t you speaking as a bishop, which is your area of competence?”

Bishops speak about matters touching on God and His relationship with humanity. But Bishop McElroy’s speech projects a purely naturalistic worldview, a perspective from which God and the supernatural are absent. 

Sin and vice distance humanity from God. They turn the world into a hell of disorder and conflict. The denouncing and condemning of sin, the defense of God, His Divine Law, and the Catholic faith – such are the bailiwick of a bishop. So also is the extolling of the practice of the virtue of purity as the true solution to contraception and abortion. Such are the messages the world expects from a bishop. But this is especially true for Catholics since he is their shepherd. How sad that today, instead of the bread they ask for, the Catholic faithful so often receive stones (see Luke 11:11).

To claim that climate change is deadlier than abortion is to deny the truth anyone can see. Moreover, when sin expands its dominion unchecked, the world it creates is necessarily an ecologically hostile one—as evidenced by China's environmentally disastrous, pro-abortion regime. 

People must work toward preserving the environment, a gift of God. However, their first duty will ever be to obey God and His Divine Law. 

Unless America can get it right with God—putting an end to the nation’s sin in Roe v. Wade, which legalized the mass slaughter of innocent pre-born Americans—then all that can be expected are His chastisements. 

And in chastising, as the Church teaches, God frequently uses secondary causes, and the forces of nature, which He created, are among them. 


Blogs

Celebrities destroying their ‘transgender’ kids is seeping into mainstream culture

If the transgender phenomenon is a peer contagion, then it is difficult not to conclude that the steady trickle of celebrities coming out to normalize transgenderism is a dangerous trend.
Featured Image
Celebrity couple Dwyane Wade (right) and Gabrielle Union (left). Noam Galai / Getty Images
Jonathon Van Maren By Jonathon Van Maren

Jonathon Van Maren By Jonathon Van Maren
Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — If the transgender phenomenon is, as Dr. Lisa Littman concluded, a peer contagion, then it is difficult not to conclude that the steady trickle of celebrities coming out to normalize transgenderism is a dangerous trend, indeed.

As I noted earlier this year, Charlize Theron has made headlines for deciding to raise her son Jackson as a girl — and now another celebrity is coming out to announce that his son is now a girl. This time, it is 13-time NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade and his Hollywood actress wife, Gabrielle Union.

Dwyane Wade told TV host (and LGBT icon) Ellen DeGeneres that his twelve-year-old son, who was originally named Zion, came home one day and informed his parents that he now believed himself to be a girl. According to Wade, the boy dropped the news pretty bluntly: “Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward, I’m ready to live my truth. And I want to be referenced as she and her. I’d love for you guys to call me Zaya.”

Wade and Union promptly agreed to the name change and set about trying to figure out what was going on. To the fawning approval of major LGBT organizations, Union tweeted a “Huge huge huge THANK YOU to everyone whose dms I slid into, friends & family who provided information, resources, love & encouragement. We are humble LGBTQ+ allies with ALOT to learn & grateful for the support. We encourage yall to check us as needed. Again, thank you!”

Wade echoed that sentiment to DeGeneres: “That was our job, to go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship we have. My wife reached out to everybody on the cast of ‘Pose,’” Wade said, “We just tried to figure out as much information as we can to make sure we give our child the best opportunity to be her [sic] best self.” Pose, in case you’re wondering, is a TV series described as “an American drama television series about New York City’s African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ballroom culture scene.” It isn’t too hard to figure out what sort of parenting advice they might offer.

Having a trans child, Wade told DeGeneres, has given his family the opportunity to be social leaders. “Once Zion came home and said, ‘Call me Zaya,’ and ‘I’m ready to take on this,’ I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader,’” Wade said. “It’s our opportunity to allow you to be a voice. Right now, it’s through us, because she’s [sic] 12 years old, but eventually, it will be through her [sic]. ... We are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we are proud allies as well.”

Ellen DeGeneres, unsurprisingly, found the parental decision to support a son’s desire to be raised as a girl nothing short of inspiring: “What every parent should be doing is what you’re being now — which is unconditionally loving your child and supporting your child in whoever they are.” Of course, “whoever they are” is now an extraordinarily fluid category with serious consequences if so-called “sex change” treatments are pursued, but that’s beside the point. Parents no longer lead their children — they are led by them. This, as Matt Walsh pointed out over at the Daily Wire, will have serious consequences for the children in the years ahead.

Celebrities, unfortunately, have a lot of cultural power when it comes to pushing fringe behaviors into the mainstream, especially considering the fact that they feature in much of modern storytelling. To cite another example, Nikkie de Jager, the YouTube makeup artist superstar with thirteen million followers, also recently came out as transgender, revealing that he is a man — and his video revealing his “transition” racked up more than 32 million views. De Jager has now been asked to star as the online presenter for the next Eurovision song contest.

The normalization of transgenderism is being pushed from the top down, from the elites to the rest of us, and we do not yet know if the inevitable backlash that will accompany the brutal consequences of this social experiment will be sufficient to roll back the tide of gender insanity that is seeping rapidly through our institutions. Time will tell. In the meantime, adults affirming the confusion of children is applauded on daytime TV is our culture’s new normal. 

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 Joseph Pearce, biographer of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the renowned Russian novelist, political prisoner, historian, and philosopher. Pearce shares his stories of Solzhenitsyn, with whom he became close, and his wisdom that may help save society. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


Blogs

Cdl Marx steps down just as Pope disappoints progressives on married priests, female deacons

Cardinal Marx's sudden resignation from leadership of the German bishops seems symbolic for the whole state of affairs in the Catholic Church.
Featured Image
Cardinal Reinhard Marx at the first assembly of the German synodal path Rudolf Gehrig / CNA Deutsch
Maike Hickson By Maike Hickson

Maike Hickson By Maike Hickson
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

PETITION: Support Cardinal Sarah's and Pope Emeritus Benedict's Defense of Priestly Celibacy" Sign the petition here.

February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ­– Cardinal Marx's withdrawal from his leadership position in the Catholic Church in Germany might have a link to today's publication of Pope Francis' post-synodal exhortation of the Amazon Synod which does not explicitly endorse the German bishops' reform agenda concerning married priests and female deacons.

Many are surprised at yesterday's sudden declaration of Cardinal Reinhard Marx that he will no longer be available for a second term as the President of the German Bishops' Conference. Not many reasons are given except that he wishes for a younger bishop to take this position, that he himself would be 72 years of age at the end of his second term, and that he would like to concentrate on his work in his own Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

Yet, this decision seems also symbolic for the whole state of affairs in the Catholic Church. Having been elected for six years as the German bishops' leader in 2014, Marx accompanied the pontificate of Francis in a very intensive manner. But, more importantly, Marx made this decision public only one day before the publication of the post-synodal exhortation of the Amazon Synod which was heavily influenced by the German bishops. The Amazon Synod was closely linked with the German Synodal Path that the bishops had started to prepare since March of 2019, discussing similar topics such as female ordination and the married priesthood. The German bishops had heavily funded the preparations of the Amazon Synod, thus hoping to change the Church in a fundamental manner. One German bishop – who himself was involved in the synod preparations – even claimed that “nothing will be the same” after the Amazon Synod.

As it turns out today, the Pope's post-synodal exhortation of the Amazon Synod did not fulfill the reform requests of the German faction: neither married priests, nor female deacons have found direct approval by Pope Francis. Several well-placed sources in Europe told LifeSite that Marx's withdrawal from the leadership role in Germany is linked to this new papal document.

It is to be expected that the progressive faction of the German bishops – and they represent at least two thirds of the German bishops – will be disappointed and even indignant at Pope Francis' final decision not to pick up fully on their reform agenda. It thus will also make the ongoing Synodal Path discussions harder, since they will likely lack the official backing of a papal document from Rome. The Synodal Path itself has already come under heavy criticism internationally, with Cardinal Gerhard Müller calling it “suicidal” and with Father Gerald Murray, S.J. asking Church authorities to “shut it down.”

While this disappointment for the progressive wing in the Catholic Church might not indicate a sudden change of mind on the part of Pope Francis with regard to his overall reform plans, this papal document can clearly be seen as a direct failure of Cardinal Marx and his own aggressive agenda. Thus, it can be seen as a slight rebuff, thus making it harder for him to remain the leading public face of Germany's reform agenda.

Let us first review Marx's involvement in the Bergoglian reform plans, but also these recent intense conflicts with Rome.

For example, the German cardinal was a leading figure behind the two Synods of Bishops on Marriage and the Family of 2014 and 2015 in Rome, which led to the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (of April 2016) opening the door to exceptions to the rule that unrepentant adulterers may not receive Holy Communion. Working together with the retired curial Cardinal Walter Kasper, the German bishops had a strong influence over the synod debates and their final outcome, but also with the German bishops hosting a Day of Study ahead of the second family synod. Under Marx's leadership, the German bishops came out in February of 2017 with very liberal pastoral guidelines which essentially gave each couple in an irregular situation the permission to make, after a period of discernment with a pastoral counselor (not necessarily a priest), a “decision of conscience” whether or not they wish and intend to receive Holy Communion.

It was also under Cardinal Marx's rule that the Germans pushed for Communion for Protestant spouses of Catholics. In June of 2018, the German bishops published their guidelines which allowed some Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion, and this in spite of heavy criticism both from within the Church in Germany and Rome. It was finally Marx who spoke with Pope Francis in private and gained from him the now-famous “F.” signature that gave the Germans permission to go ahead with their controversial text, though not officially under their name, but, rather, as an “orientation guide.”

Next to these many controversial steps, Cardinal Marx, together with his Vice-President Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, promoted the idea of establishing a sort of blessing for homosexual couples in the Catholic Church. Under Marx's leadership, Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff delivered a talk to the German Bishops' Conference at their spring assembly in March of 2019, in which he pleaded for an acceptance of homosexuality. He then stated that homosexual relationships are to be “unconditionally accepted” and their sexual activity should not “be morally disqualified.”

The German “Synodal Path” that was approved by nearly all German bishops at that same spring assembly continues to follow Professor Schockenhoff's ideas. As LifeSiteNews's Martin Bürger reported, a preparatory document of the synodal path claims that “homosexual acts also realize positive meaningful values, insofar as they are an expression of friendship, reliability, loyalty and support in life.” Homosexuality, is not any longer to be considered as intrinsically evil. As Bürger adds: “A blessing of homosexual unions is not excluded by the working document.”

Just as with the debate about Communion for Protestant spouses of Catholics, also the Synodal Path provoked several corrective interventions on the part of Rome. Not only did Pope Francis write a Letter to the German Catholics reminding them of the importance of evangelization and of keeping the “sense of the Church,” two dicasteries also wrote letters to Germany, criticizing this reform process for overstepping competences that belong to the Universal Church and that giving laymen too much scope with regard to episcopal competences. Finally, however, Cardinal Marx came back from a visit with Pope Francis, saying that there is “no stop sign” for the German Synodal Path.

What will likely happen with the German Synodal Path, now that its leading representative and voice will leave its post? Professor Thomas Sternberg, the head of the lay organization Central Committee of German Catholics who co-sponsors the Synodal Path, is surprised about Marx's decision, yet still hopeful. He insists that Marx “will continue to play an important role” both as a German bishop and as a German cardinal. But even Sternberg has to admit that he was “sad” when he heard the news.

Much will depend on the next president of the German Bishops' Conference. Yet, it will be difficult to find someone as well connected in Rome, as powerful, and with a direct seat on the Pope's Council of Cardinals.

However, Cardinal Marx has also been controversial as nearly no other German bishop. His propensity to accommodate to the Zeitgeist of our time even led a group of German priests to call upon Cardinal Marx to resign. Here, we may list only a few examples:

  • 2016: He removes his pectoral cross when visiting the Jewish Wailing Wall as well as the Muslim Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem;
  • 2016: His own priestly seminary receives only one new seminarian for that school year;
  • 2017: He admits his own failures with regard to clerical sex abuse cases;
  • 2018: He praises Karl Marx and says about him: “Without him, there would not be any Catholic social doctrines”;
  • 2018: He comes under criticism from papal biographer Peter Seewald for closing down monasteries against the will of the nuns of those monasteries;
  • 2019: He proposes that women preach at Mass;
  • 2020: He claims that “spreading of fear” undermines the Gospel.

In light of all these controversial and heterodox words and actions on the part of Cardinal Marx, one last thought comes to mind: after creating so much chaos, the leader of such disorder now leaves.


Podcast Image

Episodes,

How this Russian political prisoner predicted the moral decline of the West

By Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, is a renowned Russian novelist, political prisoner, historian, and philosopher. Jonathon Van Maren calls him one of the greatest authors of the 20th century. Solzhenitsyn is well known for his work detailing his time as a political prisoner and exposing the inner workings of the Russian political machine, the Secret Police, and much more. 

Solzhenitsyn passed away in 2008, but his wisdom and experience can provide guidance to all of us as we navigate the morphing of governments around the world into governing bodies that increasingly resemble communism.  

In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with Joseph Pearce, a man who became quite close to Solzhenitsyn as he wrote his biography.  Pearce shares his stories of Solzhenitsyn and his wisdom that may help save society.


Podcast Image

Episodes,

Supporting Bishop Paprocki as he defends the Church’s true teaching on homosexuality

By Mother Miriam
By

Watch Mother Miriam's Live show from 2.12.2020. Mother reads Bishop Paprocki's recent statement standing up for the Church's true teaching on homosexuality. Mother encourages other bishops to stand up and lead their sheep clearly as Bishop Paprocki did.

You can tune in daily at 10 am EST/7 am PST on our Facebook Page.

Subscribe to Mother Miriam Live below: 

Subscribe

* indicates required

View specific date
Print All Articles