All articles from March 18, 2020


News

Opinion

Blogs

The Pulse

  • There are no pulse articles posted on March 18, 2020.

Podcasts


News

Follow LIVE coronavirus updates here

The situation is rapidly changing. LifeSiteNews is providing live updates relevant to our readers on this page.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 10:15 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
By Claire Chretien

Join us for the live stream of the White House coronavirus Task Force briefing.

To view the live chat options, visit the video on the LifeSite YouTube channel. 


LifeSite’s previous (and future) live updates on the coronavirus crisis and how it relates to issues our readers care about can be viewed HERE.

 

March 19, 2020, 1:11 p.m. EST: 39 Catholic priests in Italy have died from the coronavirus, Deacon Nick Donnelly reports.

March 19, 2020, 11:25 a.m. EST: Santiago Abascal, the leader of the Spanish pro-life political party VOX, has made a full recovery from the coronavirus after a week of quarantine.

There are no more public Masses in Germany.

Seminarians of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) in Wigratzbad have been exposed to the coronavirus. Twelve FSSP members are sick, but it’s unclear if they have been tested for the coronavirus. 

There have been numerous uplifting stories about priests blessing quarantined towns with the Blessed Sacrament.

Father Anthony Manuppella, pastor of St. Gianna Beretta Molla Parish in Northfield, New Jersey, flew over the entire Diocese of Camden with the Eucharist in a monstrance and a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A Catholic pilot helped them set up the flight from Atlantic City International Airport, according to a local media report.

“In an interview before takeoff, Manuppella drew parallels to popes who processed through the streets of Italian cities when the plague marched across Europe, killing millions,” the Press of Atlantic City reported.

In New Rochelle, New York, Carmelite priest Fr. Justin Cinnante stood was driven around in the truckbed of a pickup. He also held the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance.

March 18, 2020, 10:13 p.m. EST: 

March 18, 2020, 7:41 p.m. EST: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-FL, is the first member of the U.S. Congress to test positive for coronavirus. His district includes Ave Maria, Florida, where Ave Maria University is located.

March 18, 2020, 4:46 p.m. EST: Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida has cancelled all Masses “effective immediately...until it can be determined that it is safe to return to normal schedules and public worship.” Earlier this morning (see map below), Florida and Maine were the only states on the east coast of the U.S. where Masses had not been cancelled.

Bishop Barry Knesout of the Diocese of Richmond is self-quarantining himself “out of care and caution.”

The Diocese of London, Ontario, Canada, cancelled all Masses yesterday until at least April 30. Bishop Ronald Fabbro also cancelled all Confessions “except in the case of danger of death.”

Fabbro directed that “the Eucharist will not be taken to parishioners who are homebound. Instead, parish teams are encouraged to ask volunteers to keep in contact with these people through telephone calls or other electronic means. Such calls could be a simple chat or praying a decade of the Rosary with the person.”

The Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality in Massachusetts has ordered hospitals to stop “nonessential, elective invasive procedure[s]” to free up resources for the fight against the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, but abortions will continue as before.

LifeSite’s Dr. Maike Hickson has spoken with people on the ground in Italy, who share a grim look into daily life there now.

Bishop Marian Eleganti, auxiliary bishop in the Swiss Diocese of Chur, has been silenced by Bishop Pierre Bürcher, the apostolic administrator of the diocese of Chur, for criticizing the Church’s response to coronavirus.

Cardinals Raymond Burke and Robert Sarah, known for their orthodoxy, urged Catholics not to lose hope.

Burke wrote on Twitter:

The prolonged assault of the coronavirus naturally leads to sadness and fear. But we know that Christ is the Lord of nature and of history. Using natural means to defend ourselves against the pestilence, we do not forget our primary means of defense: prayer, especially the rosary and Eucharistic adoration. Christ never abandons us.

March 18, 2020, 11:10 a.m. EST: The Archdiocese of Ottawa also cancelled Masses yesterday.

New York City may issue a “shelter in place” order to its roughly 8.6 million residents, forcing them to stay in their homes unless leaving for a medical reason or shopping for “essentials.” A similar order has already been implemented in San Francisco.

The National Abortion Federation is calling “on leaders to ensure that outpatient abortion clinics can remain open and urges hospitals to continue to provide abortion care [sic],” insisting abortion is “an essential health service.”

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands sent an email to supporters yesterday evening making similar points.

“Continuing to see patients at our health centers, providing all services – including essential abortion care [sic] – to anyone who is in need is critical...Working hard to slow down the spread of the virus, all our health centers have appropriate screening precautions in place, and all Planned Parenthood staff who can telecommute are doing so – reducing the number of people in the clinic and reducing the risk of exposure for everyone,” the head of the abortion business’s regional affiliate wrote. 

March 18, 2020, 9:47 a.m. EST: The U.S. is closing its northern border to Canada. No “non-essential traffic” will be allowed, and trade will not be affected, President Trump tweeted.

According to the Washington Post and the Seattle Times:

The U.S. government is in active talks with Facebook, Google and a wide array of tech companies and health experts about how they can use data gleaned from Americans’ phones to combat the novel coronavirus, including tracking whether people are keeping one another at safe distances to stem the outbreak.

In recent interviews, Facebook executives said the U.S. government is particularly interested in understanding patterns of people’s movements, which can be derived through data the company collects from users who allow it. The tech giant in the past has provided this information to researchers in the form of statistics, which in the case of coronavirus, could help officials predict the next hotspot or decide where to allocate overstretched health resources.

“We’re encouraged by American technology companies looking to leverage aggregate, anonymized data to glean key insights for covid-19 modeling efforts,” said an official with the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

March 18, 2020, 9:27 a.m. EST: Catholic Masses in England and Wales are cancelled “until further notice” beginning on Friday, March 20, although churches remain open.

March 18, 2020, 9:19 a.m. EST: 

March 17, 2020, 5:15 p.m. EST: The ever-expanding list of Catholic dioceses that have cancelled Mass now includes Canada’s Diocese of Hamilton, Archdiocese of Edmonton, and the Archdiocese of Toronto.

March 17, 2020, 5:06 p.m. EST: The Archdiocese of Cape Town in South Africa has suspended all public Masses in the foreseeable future, including the Easter Triduum. This comes in the wake of President Ramaphosa declaring the nation to be in a state of emergency on Sunday. There have been 62 coronavirus cases in South Africa so far.

China has announced it’s kicking some American journalists out of the country.

In a new paper, epidemiologists are saying that if the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 is not stopped, deaths in the U.S. could potentially reach 2.2 million deaths and Britain 510,000. 

March 17, 2020, 12:38 p.m. EST: LifeSite’s Dorothy Cummings McLean has written a blog about life in the U.K. right now.

Amazon is restricting items it’s carrying in its warehouses through April 5. Vox explains:

Early Tuesday morning, Amazon said it would be “temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock and deliver these products to customers.” By “prioritizing,” Amazon means it will no longer accept new shipments to its warehouses for discretionary items through April 5. During that time, Amazon will continue to sell all types of products on its websites, but sellers listing discretionary items will have to store and ship them on their own if they aren’t already in, or on their way to, an Amazon warehouse as of Tuesday.

March 17, 2020, 12:01 p.m. EST: Samaritan’s Purse, the charity run by Franklin Graham, son of the famed evangelist and preacher Billy Graham, announced today it is airlifting a 68-bed emergency field hospital to Northern Italy.

“The cargo plane will carry approximately 20 tons of medical equipment, a specialized respiratory care unit developed specifically in response to COVID-19, and 32 disaster response specialists including respiratory therapists, doctors, and nurses,” the charity announced. “The Emergency Field Hospital will be set up just outside of Milan, Italy, where the coronavirus pandemic has overwhelmed the local medical infrastructure, leaving many families without access to critical care. The country is now reporting hundreds of deaths each day.”

The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), a group of priests whose canonical status is irregular but has inched closer and closer to full Communion with Rome under Pope Francis (and, of note, can licitly hear Confessions thanks to a directive from the Pope), is having a Mass at its chapels each day “for protection and deliverance.”

“In these times, not only do we want to take the precautions to prevent the spread of disease, but we must redouble our prayers and penance, begging for God’s mercy,” said Father Jurgen Wegner. “We will offer a Continuous Mass. This Mass will be the Mass of the day of Lent and the intention is ‘for protection and deliverance.’ We will assign each priest of the District a day where he will say his Mass for this intention and will let you know which priest will say the Mass and where.”

On March 14, Wegner issued spiritual and practical directives to those under his pastoral care. Wegner wrote that the measures are “drastic” and “they affect our spiritual lives, the public practice of our faith, the praise we want to give to our God and Master.”

Few of us have experienced a situation like this in our lives. Suddenly everything has changed! In the blink of an eye, what we took for granted is now very special. Some feel threatened and insecure by a small virus that has overturned public life around the globe.

We know that God rules all things with His almighty power! With our words, we've always confessed this truth. Now, however, facing an inescapable threat, this truth is imposed on us and it challenges us to learn it in reality: He, God, is the Master! We depend on Him. He alone knows how the crisis will develop. We will find out how it will affect us in time.

Even though we take all necessary precautions, for now, plenty is and will always be out of our control. We are in God’s hands! Feeling insecure and aware of our powerlessness, how will we respond? Some, completely overwhelmed by fear, turn towards themselves: they empty the shelves of the stores, thinking of no one else. It is striking how egoism and selfishness blossom in such circumstances and how we can become imprisoned by a merely natural approach. While some panic, others remain unconcerned. Many refuse to acknowledge the fact of their human frailty. They do not want to face the Lenten advice: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return...”

As Catholics, we can take this threat as a real spiritual challenge. Let us learn to humble ourselves. We should turn toward God more fervently, giving ourselves in His hands. Let recognize God is in charge of this trial and ordeal, confiding in Him with total faith. Even though He can enter our lives with a glove of iron, we know it His loving hand that touches us. 

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has suspended all public Masses effective at 12:00 noon tomorrow. The archdiocese’s guidelines for priests are not as strict as some in other places. According to a press release from the archdiocese:

Though public Masses are suspended in all churches in the Archdiocese, the right and need of the faithful to hear the Word of God and celebrate the Sacraments is not put aside. Pastors, along with all those who work with them, will be as attentive as possible to all the spiritual, pastoral, and charitable needs of the people they serve.

Priests will continue to offer the sacrifice of the Holy Mass during this period and to honor all requested Mass intentions.

Churches can remain open as a location for private prayer at the discretion of the pastor.  Baptisms, Confessions, Marriages, and Funerals will take place as usual but with due regard for the limitation of participants and reasonable social distancing.   

In conjunction with directives already in force in hospitals and institutions, all visits to the sick with Holy Communion, including in private homes, by priests, deacons, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are suspended.  In such instances, only priests will be available to celebrate the Sacraments for those in immediate danger of death. In all circumstances, government and health agency directives for group size and social distancing are to be observed as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia strives to meet the pastoral and temporal needs of all those in need.

March 17, 2020, 11:35 a.m. EST: 40 Days for Life, the twice-yearly prayer and vigil campaign to end abortion, reports that a Planned Parenthood employee in Pittsburgh coughed and sneezed “on pro-life volunteers peacefully praying outside of the [abortion facility] building.” 

Shawn Carney, CEO of 40 Days for Life, commented:

Four 40 Days for Life volunteers have been urged to seek testing for COVID-19 after a Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood employee conspired to infect the group holding a prayer vigil outside the abortion facility by intentionally coughing and sneezing on them. Despite CDC recommendations to cover all coughs and sneezes, this individual, who works with the public in a medical facility, purposefully violated these needed precautions in the wake of a global pandemic. We are calling for this individual to be removed from their position immediately.

In addition to advising the exposed volunteers to receive testing for COVID-19, 40 Days is complying with the CDC recommendations of having less than 50 people at any event for the next eight weeks. Additionally, we are canceling any gatherings that could potentially endanger volunteers and encouraging those who feel ill to stay home and follow CDC guidelines.

March 17, 2020, 11:21 a.m. EST: The government of Ontario has declared a state of emergency.

“We are facing an unprecedented time in our history,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This is a decision that was not made lightly. COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions. We are taking this extraordinary measure because we must offer our full support and every power possible to help our health care sector fight the spread of COVID-19. The health and wellbeing of every Ontarian must be our number one priority.”

Ford’s declaration and its associated orders legally force the following establishments to close immediately:

  • All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
  • All public libraries;
  • All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
  • All licensed child care centres;
  • All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
  • All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and
  • Concert venues.

“Further, all organized public events of over fifty people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship,” the government said in a press release. “These orders were approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.”

This follows a similar action in Quebec, which declared a state of emergency on Friday

March 17, 2020, 10:34 a.m. EST: Aleteia reported yesterday that over the past six weeks, six Italian priests have died from the coronavirus and another 20 are hospitalized with it.

March 17, 2020, 9:35 a.m. EST: The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has suspended public Masses.

March 17, 2020, 9:27 a.m. EST: The Archdiocese of Portland, led by Archbishop Alexander Sample, has cancelled all Masses in his archdiocese following directives from the Oregon’s governor banning gatherings of more than 25 people. 

“This is by far one of the most difficult communications I have ever written because of the impact it will have on the spiritual and faith lives of so many of us,” Sample wrote in his announcement. “May our hunger for the Mass and the Body of Christ be a source of grace for us.”

While governors mandate the closure of businesses, churches, and other institutions, abortion facilities seem to largely have remained open. Delta abortion facility in Louisiana is open today; Planned Parenthood’s comments to the media about its response to the coronavirus suggest most of its abortion facilities remain open. 

March 16, 2020, 4:38 p.m. EST: A source in Poland told LifeSiteNews that there were restrictions on Mass this weekend after all: only 50 people or fewer were allowed in churches. The faithful were dispensed from their Sunday obligation.

Switzerland has become the latest country to enlist the help of its military, according to the BBC. The country is “facing at least a month with everything but the bare essentials closed. There will be no bars, no cafes, no restaurants, no sports, no nightclubs, no cinemas, no museums.”

“We are at war,” French President Emmanual Macron repeatedly said today as he announced draconian measures locking down the country. 

All public Masses in the Diocese of Arlington have been suspended, including all weekday and Sunday Masses, according to an email from a parish in the diocese.

March 16, 2020, 2:06 p.m. EST: The U.S. Supreme Court has postponed oral arguments in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James Catholic School v. Biel, Becket Law announced. In these cases, two California Catholic elementary schools defending their right to select their religion teachers without interference from the government. The hearing was originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Its new date has yet to be announced.

March 16, 2020, 1:34 p.m. EST: “Millions of Americans began their work week holed up at home against the coronavirus Monday as the escalating outbreak shifted the nation’s daily routines in ways never before seen in U.S. history,” the Associated Press reported today. “The U.S. surgeon general, meanwhile, said the number of coronavirus cases in the United States has reached a level comparable to what disease-battered Italy recorded two weeks ago — a signal that infections are expected to rise in America.”

The European Union is considering tighter travel restrictions. 

Cuba has said it will allow a transatlantic cruise ship carrying passengers infected with the coronavirus to dock on its shore. 

Pro-life activist Jason Jones has shed light on some inconsistencies in the statements of Hawaii health professionals about the availability of coronavirus tests. An urgent care employee punched him when he questioned her on Facebook live. 

Woolworths, an Australian supermarket, has announced it will have a “dedicated shopping hour” for the elderly and disabled to safely purchase necessities.

March 14, 2020, 10:19 p.m. EST: Other notable coronavirus updates from today include:

  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the British army “on standby to keep food on supermarket shelves and petrol [gas] stations stocked with petrol as the coronavirus crisis intensifies.”
  • Many Catholic Masses in Ireland have been cancelled. The public health authorities on the Emerald Isle apparently are limiting public gatherings to 100 people.
  • Spain and France are both on lockdown. “In Spain, people are banned from leaving home except for buying essential supplies and medicines, or for work,” the BBC reported. “With 191 deaths, Spain is Europe's worst-hit country after Italy. In France, where 91 people have died, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and most shops are now shut.”
  • Ren Zhiqiang, a high-profile Chinese tycoon, has disappeared after criticizing Xi Jinping’s response to the coronavirus, which originated in China.
  • President Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus. The wife of Spain's prime minister has tested positive, according to the Washington Post.
  • The Vatican has announced that “because of the current global public health emergency, all the Liturgical Celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful” and “until April 12 the General Audiences and the Angelus presided over by the Holy Father will be available only in live streaming on the official Vatican News website.”
  • Georgia and Louisiana have both delayed their primary elections because of the coronavirus.
  • Beginning Monday through May 11, the U.S. Defense Department has banned military members from travelling domestically. “Service members will be authorized local leave only, although the Pentagon says exemptions may be granted ‘for compelling cases,’” Politico reported. “The Defense Department has also suspended ‘unofficial visits’ to the Pentagon and other facilities in the Washington area.”
     

March 14, 2020, 9:29 p.m. EST: The Archdiocese of Baltimore has cancelled all public Masses indefinitely. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has issued an executive order that says people who violate his ban on gatherings of more than 250 people will face up to a year in jail and $5,000 in fines.

March 14, 2020, 9:24 p.m. EST: Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a Presbyterian minister and veteran pro-life, human rights activist, told LifeSiteNews:

A.W. Tozer said, “A scared world needs a fearless church.”‪ During these difficult days of the coronavirus, it is critical that the church provide hope, comfort, inspiration, and support. What the church must never become, is an extension of the uncertainty and fear swirling around them. The Christian community must be transformational and never reactionary. In light of that, it is troubling to see so many churches cancelling their worship services. While each pastor must ensure the physical welfare of their parishioners, church leaders also have a sacred responsibility to oversee the spiritual and emotional welfare of their members. Given the current data surrounding Covid19, churches can put in safeguards to protect their most vulnerable members and still ensure a safe environment for community worship. Finally, it is very concerning to see governmental officials dictate to local churches how they are to conduct their spiritual life together and when and how they are gather.

Rev. Mahoney will be livestreaming prayer outside the U.S. Capitol tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. EST.

March 14, 2020, 1:53 p.m. EST: The Archdiocese of New York, which serves 2.81 million Catholics, has cancelled Masses this weekend.

March 14, 2020, 1:21 p.m. EST: In his signature ecclesial prose, Vatican whistleblower and former nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has written about the coronavirus situation:

What we are witnessing in these hours is dramatic — certainly throughout Italy, but in a tragically exemplary way, in Rome, the heart of Catholicism. 

The scenario is all the more disconcerting as what is at stake is not only public health but the salvation of souls — and for some time now we, as Pastors, have stopped inflaming the hearts of our faithful with the desire of eternal salvation. We have thus deprived them of those supernatural gifts which make us capable of facing trials here below, even the assaults of death, with the power of faith and that spark of inexhaustible and unshakable hope which comes to us from our yearning for the destiny of glory for which we were created.

The statements of the Italian Episcopal Conference, those of the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, as well as the surreal and spectral images that have come to us from the Vatican, are many expressions of the darkening of the faith that has struck the heights of the Church. The Ministers of the Sun, as St Catherine of Siena was fond of calling them, have caused the eclipse, and delivered the flock to the clouds of thick darkness (cf. Ezekiel 34:12). 

His full statement can be read here.

March 13, 2020, 10:04 p.m. EST: As Catholic bishops around the world cancel public Masses and shutter churches, President Trump has declared this coming Sunday, March 15 as a “National Day of Prayer.” 

“I am suspending for the time being the public celebration of Mass, both for Sunday obligation and daily Masses, beginning with this weekend’s Saturday afternoon Masses,” Bishop Mark Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston wrote to Catholics in West Virginia, the entire state of which is in his canonical jurisdiction. “I would remind our priests that the Roman Missal makes provision for a ‘Mass without a Congregation’ and I ask them to offer that Mass privately for their people.”

Milkwaukee’s Bishop Jerome Listecki has dispensed his flock from their Sunday Mass obligation through March 29, 2020, but didn’t prohibit priests from offering Mass publicly. He encouraged priests to “recommend to parishioners that communion be received in the hand versus on the tongue,” despite the fact that receiving Communion on the tongue is likely far more sanitary and Communion on the hand is supposed to be the exception, not the rule, around the world.

“This is not to dismiss personal piety and practice, but rather to make a choice that is best for the good of all. In the same manner, I am discouraging reception of the Eucharist via the Precious Blood. However, we must make sure some portion of the Precious Blood remains available for those who are gluten intolerant,” Listecki continued. 

“The Sign of Peace is part of the ritual of the Mass – it cannot be eliminated,” he insisted. “However, how we express the exchange of peace with one another can be either eliminated or announced to only include a simple bow or nod.” In the Traditional Latin Mass, the faithful do not shake hands or converse duringg the Sign of Peace.

“We don’t anticipate cancelling Sacraments – Mass, Reconciliation, Confirmation – but we will continue to monitor what is happening,” Listecki added.

Meanwhile, a bioethicist who thinks people should die at age 75 is advising former Vice President Joe Biden on the coronavirus. 

The Biden advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, wrote in 2014 that he “hope[s] to die at 75,” because “living too long” renders people uncreative, unable to work, “faltering and declining,” and “transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.”

Biden is 77.

March 13, 2020, 6:48 p.m. EST: The Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Diocese of Dallas have suspended public Masses, denying over 1 million Catholics access to the Eucharist this weekend. The Diocese of San Diego, led by Bishop Robert McElroy, is suspending Masses starting on Monday. McElroy recently claimed that climate change is more deadly than abortion.

March 13, 2020, 5:52 p.m. EST: The Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York has affirmed the right of the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.

“Catholics are hereby dispensed from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass for the weekends of March 14-15, March 21-22 and March 28-29,” the diocese also announced. “Churches will remain open and Mass schedules will remain mostly unchanged. However, the obligation is lifted for those three weekends. We will continue to monitor official health advisories and update these directives accordingly.”

The faithful were reminded, “Catholics who attend Holy Mass are not required to receive Holy Communion more than once per year. No one is under any obligation to either receive or distribute Holy Communion.”

“Parishioners who prefer to receive Holy Communion on the tongue still have that right, though they may freely choose to receive the Sacred Host in their hands during this precautionary time. (See Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 92)”

The 11:00 a.m. EST Sunday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will be offered “for all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe as well as those working to provide for the health and safety of persons around the world.” According to the archdiocese, Bishop Nelson Perez will offer that Mass, which will be livestreamed.

Several hours south, the Diocese of Arlington inexplicably deleted from its website a statement that noted public health officials have said Communion on the tongue is not less sanitary than on the hand. 

March 13, 2020, 5:35 p.m. EST: A source who just arrived in Germany has told LifeSiteNews that Masses in Munich are cancelled. European countries are instituting more travel bans. The BBC provides the following list:

  • Denmark: Bans all foreigners from entering without a valid purpose (such as residency or emergency family visit)
  • Poland: Foreigners banned from entering from Sunday
  • Czech Republic: Bans all foreigners from entering the country, except those with residence permits. Bans its own nationals from leaving
  • Slovakia: Closes borders to all foreigners except Poles and those with a residence permit
  • Austria: Closes three land border crossings with Italy to all foreigners, except those with a medical certificate issued within four days. No restriction on Austrian nationals
  • Ukraine: Closes border crossings to foreigners (except diplomats) for two weeks
  • Hungary: Closes land borders with Austria and Slovenia
  • Slovenia: Closes six border crossings with Italy. Bus and train travel suspended. Foreigners may only enter with a medical certificate issued within three days
  • Serbia: Closes border crossings with Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia
  • Romania: Closes borders with Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Moldova
  • Albania: Closes borders with Montenegro, Kosovo and North Macedonia

March 13, 2020, 5:24 p.m. EST: Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, has more details about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to exclude pro-life language from the massive coronavirus spending bill making its way through Congress:

Congress's coronavirus bill was supposed to be about saving lives – not taking them! But tell that to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who doesn't seem to mind exploiting a global tragedy to help out her pals at Planned Parenthood. Turns out, while Democrats are bashing the president for not working fast enough, they're bogging down the debate with secret language on abortion.

The revelations shouldn't have caught anyone by surprise, but when a White House official broke the news that Pelosi tried to bury taxpayer-funded abortion in the stimulus bill, even MSNBC was stunned. Openly liberal host Joy Reid didn't hold back her amazement, tweeting, “Wow... @kasie just reported that Republicans' objections to the House Democrats' emergency coronavirus bill include issues related to abortion. What does that have to do with COVID19...?”

Absolutely nothing, which is why so many Republicans – including the president – were so frustrated. Asked if he supported Pelosi's first proposal, the president didn't mince words. “No,” he fired back, “because there are things that are in there that have nothing to do with what we are talking about.” The original 124-pager wasn't serious, he said. This crisis is not the time “for them to get some of the goodies that they haven't been able to get for the past 25 years.” Not only is blowing a hole in the Hyde amendment the surest way to stop progress, it's also the best way to out themselves as hypocrites. “Pelosi wanted to sneak in a billion dollars in funding for abortion programs through the coronavirus stimulus package. Don't ever tell me the Democrats aren't politicizing this situation,” Human Rights editor Ian Cheong argued.

Even more astounding, Pelosi had the nerve to stand in front of the press and argue that this bill was about “putting families first.” If her colleagues had objections, she challenged, they should “save it.” “We need to just make a decision to help families right now...” If she really believed that, House Minority Steve Scalise (R-La.) wanted to know, why was she trying to stuff the stimulus with “liberal fantasies that have nothing to do with the coronavirus?” Simple. Because even in a crisis, the only economy Democrats care about is the abortion industry's.

Perkins also shared his thoughts on state governors pressuring churches to shut down Sunday services, allegedly to stop the spread of coronavirus:

For pastors across the country, the coronavirus is creating a different kind of crisis. Through any other national disaster, emergency, or terrorist attack, the mission of the church seemed clear: to be a refuge, a help, a haven. Now, with governors like Andy Beshear (D-Ky.) calling on sanctuaries to close their doors, Christian leaders are facing a new challenge – how to respond when the threat is in our pews?

Like a lot of people, Kentucky's Pastor Aaron Harvie, couldn't understand why Beshear was singling out churches to begin with. If there's a mandate, he said, his church would obey it. I agree. But why target sanctuaries and not schools? “I'd ask the governor,” Harvie said, “Who were your advisers? ...These are areas that you're treading into of which you don't actually have direct responsibility or authority.” Besides, he pointed out, “If we shut down services, it would add to fear.”

...

Well, there is certainly plenty of affliction now, as we fight for the health of our nation. Which is why, as our pastors gather Christians all around the country this Sunday, I encourage them to make this weekend a time of prayer for our nation, for our families, our neighbors, our communities. Together, let's heed the instruction of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians and not let anxiety overcome us, but rather, let us together give thanks that we live in a nation where we can openly seek God, get on our knees, and ask Him to intervene and stop this virus.

Veteran pro-life and human rights activist Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition has expressed similar concerns on social media.

March 13, 2020, 4:23 p.m. EST: Pro-lifers in Washington, D.C will continue their usual presence outside the city’s enormous Planned Parenthood tomorrow, LifeSiteNews has learned, and are encouraged to take “reasonable precautions” and stay home if they don’t feel well. 

March 13, 2020, 4:13 p.m. EST: The Archdiocese of Toronto has cancelled all weekend Masses. Cardinal Thomas Collins issued the following statement (emphasis in original):

In light of the present situation unfolding before us regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, our primary concern is the spiritual and physical health and welfare of the faithful and of all those who serve at our parishes, recognizing that we also have a duty to care for the community at large and the most vulnerable among us.

We have provided several updates over the past six weeks, guided by the best advice from local health officials. In all of this, we are guided both by our commitment to cooperate effectively with the civic officials responsible for the common good and also by our commitment to provide for the spiritual well-being of the faithful in our Catholic community. We need to care for others and to respond to these challenges with accurate and credible information.

The Chief Medical Officer of the Province of Ontario is asking that all public gatherings greater than 250 people be cancelled at this time. For this reason, as many of our weekend Eucharistic celebrations will exceed this number, I ask that our Catholic parishes cancel public Mass for the faithful this weekend; we will assess this decision for next weekend and any other that is required after consulting health officials. For this weekend and any other which may be required, I grant the faithful dispensation from their Sunday obligation. Churches should remain open for private prayer and Eucharistic Adoration. Daily Mass will continue during the week.

“Regarding Holy Communion, some health experts have indicated that it is preferable for communicants to receive the Eucharist in the hand rather than on the tongue,” Collins also wrote. “To respect the right of the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at this time I would ask that all those who wish to receive in this way be directed to a designated priest, deacon, or Extraordinary Minister. Where there is only the priest present for distribution of Holy Communion, those who wish to receive communion on the tongue can be invited to come forward after those who have received on the hand.”

Catholics around the world are apparently asking for the intercession of St. Corona, who was martyred in 165 A.D. at age 16.

March 13, 2020, 3:54 p.m. EST: “This day should be an inspiration to every American,” Vice President Mike Pence said as he praised Trump’s response to the coronavirus. Pence, who led the White House’s coronavirus task force, was viciously mocked by many in the media after a photo surfaced of him and others praying before a meeting.

March 13, 2020, 3:33 p.m. EST: President Trump has declared a national emergency.

“I’m also asking every hospital in [the] country to activate its emergency preparedness plan,” he said. 

He is granting the Department of Health and Human Services the broad authority to waive laws to enable telehealth; the power to waive certain federal license requirements related to medicine; the ability to waive requirements that limit hospital beds and length of stays; the ability to waive requirements that people be hospitalized for three days before entering a nursing home; and the authority to waive rules “that severely restrict where” hospitals can care for patients in their facilities.

“No resource will be spared. Nothing whatsoever,” he promised. Trump also promised the availability of far more coronavirus testing thanks to a new partnership with the private sector. 

“We don’t want everyone running out and taking” tests unless they have symptoms, Trump noted. He said the locations of testing spots, some of which apparently will be drive-throughs, will likely be announced Sunday evening.

He predicted the availability of 5 million coronavirus tests within a month but said “I doubt we’ll need anywhere near that.” 

“The goal is for individuals to be able to drive up and be swabbed without having to leave your car,” he explained.

Google has worked with the federal government “to develop a website” quickly – “unlike websites of the past,” Trump added, an apparent swipe at Obamacare’s disasterous website roll-out – to help people locate testing sites and complete questionnaires about their symptoms and potential risks of having contracted the virus. Leaders of Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and CVS were with Trump in the Rose Garden and offered reassurances that their stores will remain open.

“This will pass,” said Trump. “We’re gonna be even stronger for it...a tremendous amount has been learned.”

The stock market has already begun to climb.

March 13, 2020, 3:25 p.m. EST: The Catholic bishops of the Netherlands are the latest prelates to cancel weekend Masses because of coronavirus. Daily Masses are allowed to continue; the bishops are attempting to ban Communion in the hand.

March 13, 2020, 3:10 p.m. EST: Today’s episode of The John-Henry Westen Show brings an on-the-ground update from Rome.

In Canada, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton has quarantined himself after experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement:

With the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, we are confronted once more with the fragility of our lives, and again we are reminded of our common humanity — that the peoples of this world are our brothers and sisters, that we are all one family under God.

God does not abandon us, he goes with us even now in this time of trial and testing. In this moment, it is important for us to anchor our hearts in the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Now is the time to intensify our prayers and sacrifices for the love of God and the love of our neighbor. Let us draw closer to one another in our love for him, and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives.

United with our Holy Father Pope Francis, let us pray in solidarity for our brothers and sisters here and around the world who are sick. Let us pray for those who have lost loved ones to this virus. May God console them and grant them peace.

We pray also for doctors, nurses, and caregivers, for public health officials and all civic leaders. May God grant them courage and prudence as they seek to respond to this emergency with compassion and in service to the common good.

In this time of need, I invite all the faithful to seek together the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I share this prayer with you:  

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

March 13, 2020, 3:03 p.m. EST: As Americans await President Trump’s address to the nation during which he is expected to declare a national emergency, Monsignor Rossi announced that the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will indeed “suspend the public celebration of Mass and there will be no scheduled Confessions effective Saturday, March 14, until further notice, as directed by the Archdiocese of Washington.”

March 13, 2020, 2:30 p.m. EST: In Colorado, the Archdiocese of Denver, the Diocese of Colorado Springs, and the Diocese of Pueblo have all suspended public Masses, citing orders from the state’s governor against large gatherings. The rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Monsignor Walter Rossi, has announced that the shrine will remain open this weekend. Rossi is currently taking a leave of absence from the board of the Catholic University of America as he is investigated for alleged homosexual predation.

Rossi’s decision comes as welcome news to Catholics in the nation’s capital whose parishes are all closed this weekend by order of Archbishop Wilton Gregory. The basilica is not a diocesan despite being physically in the Archdiocese of Washington. A LifeSiteNews article on this is forthcoming.

March 13, 2020, 1:24 p.m. EST: Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark have joined Archbishops Gregory and Etienne and Bishop Taylor, cancelling public Masses as well. “All liturgical services” in the Chicago archdiocese are banned beginning tomorrow. Newark will still have daily Masses, but not public Masses on the weekend. 

The PGA tournament has become the latest sports championship to be cancelled. 

March 13, 2020, 12:30 p.m. EST: Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas was the first bishop in the United States to cancel all public Masses up to and including Easter Sunday. He also suggested that it “would be problematic” to anoint the sick if they are infected by the coronavirus. Read LifeSite’s article on this from this morning here.

March 13, 2020, 12:06 p.m. EST: A letter from Vicar of Rome Cardinal Angelo DeDonatis announcing that the Eternal City’s parish churches will be reopened says that the March 12 decision to close all churches in Rome was made in consultation with Pope Francis.

March 13, 2020, 11:58 a.m. EST: Brazil’s President Bolsonaro says he does not have coronavirus

A White House source has informed LifeSiteNews that pro-lifers have succeeded in ensuring that the Hyde Amendment, which bans most federal dollars from  funding abortions, will be applied to the coronavirus testing and spending bill that Congress is expected to pass later today. U.S. House Democrats have apparently conceded on that front.

March 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The coronavirus pandemic has churches in multiple countries closed and Masses in some archdioceses cancelled indefinitely, political leaders self-quarantining themselves, and governments enacting strict measures to try to contain the spread of the virus.

The situation is rapidly changing. LifeSiteNews will be providing live updates relevant to our readers on this page. 

In the U.S., it’s “certainly going to get worse before it gets better,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the government’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases predicted this morning. “There's no doubt we have not peaked yet.”

This morning, the Diocese of Rome announced it is reopening its parish churches for prayer, although Masses are still suspended. Additionally, the churches of religious and monastic communities are supposed to stay open. Access, however, is limited to “the same communities that habitually use them,” since they are living there. Others are not allowed to enter, according to the new decree.

Churches have been closed to the faithful in both Italy and Slovakia.

Polish bishops, however, have called for more Masses in response to the coronavirus, saying that it would be “unimaginable” to close churches. More Masses will enable smaller congregations, they said, and “just as hospitals treat diseases of the body, so the Church serves to, among other things, treat illness of the soul.” The Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa will have an extra daily Mass prayed for the intention of ending the coronavirus outbreak.

In the United States, Archbishop Paul Etienne has suspended all public Masses in the Seattle archdiocese. Etienne released a video Wednesday explaining that he had introduced the ban “out of an extreme measure of caution” and reminded his priests of their obligation to say Mass every day.

Last night, Washington, D.C.’s Archbishop Wilton Gregory announced that all public Masses are suspended until further notice and Catholic schools in the archdiocese are closed for two weeks. The governor of Maryland, into which Gregory’s archdiocese extends, has banned gatherings of more than 250 people.

Bishops in Quebec, Canada have followed suit. Masses are also cancelled in Belgium.

In Philadelphia, Bishop Nelson J. Perez has taken the less extreme step of suspending his flock’s obligation to attend Sunday Mass this week instead of forbidding them the holy sacrifice. The bishops of Austria have similarly released Catholics from their Sunday obligation, as have the bishops of Ireland.

The miraculous pools at the shrine of Lourdes, France have been closed since March 1 in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Scottish seminarians studying at Rome’s Pontifical Scots College have been sent home. Christendom College sent students studying abroad through its famed Rome program home.

Many U.S. universities are extending spring break and moving classes to online formats. At some schools, students are not allowed back on campus once they have left. The NBA has suspended its season. So has professional soccer in the U.K.

Political figures exposed, begin self-quarantine 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now self-isolating and his wife Sophie is confirmed to have coronavirus. The couple recently returned home from London, England.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro’s press secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, tested positive for coronavirus. As Wajngarten met with President Donald Trump over the weekend, this has led to questions about the American president’s health. However, President Trump has stated that he is “not concerned.” This morning, it was reported that President Bolsonaro has coronavirus, but he has tweeted that his test was negative. President Trump is expected to address the nation at 1:30 p.m. EST today.

An attendee at the massive conservative conference CPAC, which took place at the end of February, tested positive for coronavirus, leading to concerns about how many people the person was in contact with.

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are self-quaranting along with Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Doug Collins of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Mark Meadows of North Carolina. All are Republicans. Rep. Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat, is also self-quarantining. He announced he’d had dinner with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley of California has closed her Capitol Hill office for the week.

The mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, has announced that he is also self-quarantining. So has the Sunshine State’s Gov. Rick Scott.

A Washington, D.C.-based staffer for Senator Maria Cantwell, D-WA, has tested positive for coronavirus. “Cantwell is closing her D.C. office for the remainder of the week for a deep cleaning,” The Hill reported. 

Congress remains open as of now. Canada’s Parliament has shut down.

The leader of Spain’s pro-life, populist party Vox has tested positive for coronavirus.

Travel restrictions

The United States has shut its borders to travelers from Europe who are neither U.S. citizens nor residents. The countries affected by this ban are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. President Trump announced this travel ban in a speech from the Oval Office on Wednesday night.

U.S. citizens and residents returning home from Europe will be expected to self-isolate for 14 days.

Non-citizens and non-residents who have been in China and Iran in the past 14 days will also be refused admittance. U.S. citizens and residents will be allowed home if they land at one the 11 airports offering health screening. According to CNN, these are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), Newark (New Jersey), San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington.

The U.S. is not alone in closing its borders to Europeans. The Czech Republic has also announced that it will close its borders to non-Czechs traveling from Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and the U.K., as well as from China, Iran, and South Korea.

Australia will not permit non-Australian travelers from China, Iran, Italy, and South Korean to enter for 14 days after leaving those countries. Australians traveling from these nations are being required to self-isolate for two weeks after returning home. 

Austria has banned travelers from China’s Hubei Province (where the virus originated), Iran, Italy, and South Korea from visiting the country unless they have a recent medical certificate declaring them free of the coronavirus.

Hong Kong will not permit any non-resident who has been in South Korean or China’s Hubei Province for the past two weeks, or who has a Chinese passport issued in the Hubei Province, to enter Hong Kong. Hong Kong residents returning home from those regions will have to self-isolate for two weeks after their arrival.

According to CNN, which has a comprehensive list of travel restrictions, India is suspending all travel visas and has placed a two-week quarantine on all travelers who have recently visited China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Spain.

Italy has closed a number of its airports down completely to passenger travel. Rome’s Ciampino airport will be shut to passenger traffic from midnight Friday. Terminal 1 at Rome’s Fiumicino airport will close on Tuesday.

Canada has not imposed travel restrictions.


  coronavirus, live coronavirus updates

News

WATCH: Overflowing biohazard bucket of killed children carried out of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood appears to have scraped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to biohazard human tissue disposal.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 9:02 pm EST
Featured Image
Cheryl Sullenger / YouTube
Operation Rescue staff
By Operation Rescue staff

SAN LUIS OBISPO, California, March 18, 2020 (Operation Rescue) — Abortion facilities struggle across the nation to find vendors who will pick up and transport the remains of aborted babies for proper disposal.

However, in San Luis Obispo, California, Planned Parenthood appears to have scraped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to biohazard human tissue disposal, and has raised red flags with local pro-life activists.

A new video taken on March 10, 2020, by pro-lifer Teresa Marsano shows a man hoofing it to an unmarked van with a red biohazard tub he picked up from Planned Parenthood. 

The plastic red tote looked heavy. It was so full of bulging biohazard bags that the lid teetered precariously on top of the pile and could not be properly closed.

Image

When the man stopped to load the overfilled tote into the back of an awaiting van, he was forced to adjust other red totes that had shifted and tipped over inside.

So, what would happen if the over-loaded tote with the unsecured lid shifted during transport as well?

Marsano said that there was a woman in the passenger seat of the van kicked back with feet on the dash. The couple seemed completely unprofessional, which made her question if they actually knew what they were doing or whether they had been properly trained to handle biohazard material that likely contained human tissue.

There were no markings on the vehicle. The man who picked up the tote from Planned Parenthood indicated that the van was new and that biohazard stickers had been ordered. There was nothing to indicate the company that was responsible.

“We have seen abortion facility biohazard containers picked up under suspicious circumstances before. This appears to be the ‘new normal’ for Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics, as waste control companies attempt to distance themselves from doing business with abortion facilities,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

Marsano plans to file complaints with the appropriate agencies. 

Operation Rescue will post updates as new information becomes available.

Published with permission from Operation Rescue.


  abortion, california, planned parenthood

News

In dueling fundraisers, pro-life org out-raises Planned Parenthood by $500K

For the first time in the five years it's been going head-to-head with a Planned Parenthood fundraiser, a free national pro-life event has come out on top.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 8:53 pm EST
Featured Image
welcomia / Shutterstock.com
LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

PETITION: Urge state governors to stop abortions during coronavirus crisis Sign the petition here.

DALLAS, Texas, March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — For the first time in the five years it's been going head-to-head with a Planned Parenthood fundraiser, a free national pro-life event has come out on top, out-raising the abortion giant.

Heroic Media's 5th Annual National Prayer Luncheon for Life, held March 6, simultaneous with the abortion giant's "awards" luncheon, raised more than $1.8 million this year — besting the competition by more than $500,000, despite the star power of Planned Parenthood's keynote speaker, Soledad O'Brien, and the $250 per person ticket price. Last year, Heroic Media's luncheon garnered $1.4 million while Planned Parenthood raised $2.2 million.

"Pro-life Americans continue to step up to the plate and put their treasure at the service of women and babies in need," said Brett Attebery, Heroic Media's Executive VP of Marketing and COO. "Their generosity is really unparalleled." 

Heroic Media will use the funds "to help abortion-minded women and babies across the United States," Attebery said. "The luncheon really puts a spotlight on the diabolical work that Planned Parenthood is doing to deceive women at a time when they are most apt to make the irreversible choice to abort their preborn child."

Author, activist, and filmmaker Jason Jones addressed the pro-life event this year, explaining how Americans are embracing life — particularly young people who see through the abortion industry's lies. Jones and NFL star Benjamin Watson have produced a new documentary — Divided Hearts of America: The Truth About Abortion in America — to be released later this year.


  abortion, culture of life, good news, heroic media, jason jones, planned parenthood

News

YouTube cracks down on coronavirus content amid staff cuts, increased AI reliance

Censoring efforts resulted in the CNN and CDC apps being blocked.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 4:39 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to dramatically alter the practices of a wide range of businesses, internet giant Google has undertaken a balancing act between protecting its own employees and monitoring “misinformation” on the pandemic, with mixed results.

Google was part of a joint statement with other tech giants, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, and Twitter, vowing to band together to fight “fraud and misinformation about the virus” while “elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.”

These efforts include a 24-hour “incident response team” to promote accurate information and take down erroneous content, and Google’s sister site Verily partnering with the federal government to develop an online tool to evaluate fears about potential cases and evaluate the need for testing.

On October 16, Google announced that it was taking a variety of steps to reduce the need for workers to physically come into its offices, among them a temporary increase in its “reliance on automated systems” to “review content on our platforms, like YouTube.” YouTube elaborated that these systems “will start removing some content without human review,” although such removals won’t accompany account strikes “except in cases where we have high confidence that it’s violative.”

News 18 reported that to curb the dissemination of phony or otherwise-unreliable apps on the subject, Google has taken to censoring search results for “coronavirus,” “COVID 19,” and “COVID-19” on the Google Play store (but not “COVID19” without spaces). In doing so, they inadvertently blocked users from finding and downloading the official CNN and U.S. Centers for Disease Control apps, as well as the apps for news sites such as NHK World Japan, News Republic, and Channel News Asia.

The company also said that, per its “sensitive events” policy, videos with “more than a passing mention of the coronavirus” will be ineligible for monetization, a reveal panned by critics.

“Some commenters wondered if the demonetization would hit only smaller creators, while big media outlets and ‘late night hosts’ would still be able to discuss coronavirus, and continue to make money on YouTube,” Reclaim the Net’s Didi Rankovic wrote. “According to these rules, sensitive events are ‘atrocious acts that result in the loss of human lives’ – mass shootings, armed conflict, death, tragic events, and terrorist acts.”

Rankovic fears this “deliberately broad and vague language” could be used to “demonetize every channel dealing with current news in pretty much any format.”

Readers can click here for LifeSiteNews’ live updates on the coronavirus and its impact all over the world.


  big tech, coronavirus, fake news, google, youtube

News

A country completely shut down: behind the scenes of Italy’s lockdown

Get an inside look at what's happening in Italy from freelance journalist Alessandra Bocchi, currently stuck in Rome.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 3:38 pm EST
Featured Image
LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

March 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – On Friday, President Trump declared a state of national emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. Countless European countries have closed their borders in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. The entire country of Italy is shut down, with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies.  

The panic that has swept across the entire world is due mainly to the lack of information health officials and scientists have about the virus. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a strain that has not been seen previously and the transmission and death rates are currently difficult to calculate.  

In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Alessandra Bocchi, who is currently in Rome, joins Van Maren to discuss what is actually happening on the ground in Rome and across Italy.  

Bocchi is a freelance journalist who writes for the Wall Street Journal, First Things, and many other publications. Bocchi was on The Van Maren Show in the past to share her on the ground experiences of the Hong Kong protests.  

Watch the full episode here: 

Bocchi shares with Van Maren that she is from Lombardy, the hardest hit region of Italy, but is “stuck” in Rome due to the government’s requests that people not leave their current locations in order to stop the spread of the virus.  

The streets of Rome, according to Bocchi, are deserted, with people only leaving their apartments for absolute necessities, i.e., groceries and medicine. Practically everything has been shut down.  

She shares that it is even worse in the Lombardy region where the first case of COVID-19 in Italy was reported.  

Bocchi and Van Maren discuss the distressing perspective people are sharing about COVID-19 not being concerning because it is killing mainly people over 70 years old. This lack of concern for the value of all life is truly disheartening. Some are even hoping this outbreak will help to decrease the world’s population.  

Bocchi and Van Maren encourage everyone to listen to the experts when it comes to understanding what is happening with the coronavirus. There is so much misinformation being spread.

As the world looks to Italy to understand more about this novel virus, you don’t want to miss this inside look at what is really happening there.  

Listen to the full episode here: 

 

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 Acast webpage here.

To receive weekly emails when a new episode is uploaded, subscribe below: 

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

Tory leadership hopeful Sloan blasts Trudeau ‘conversion therapy’ ban as ‘madness’

'The Liberals condemn the notion that parents should be able to help a child identify with the body they were born with' while they 'celebrate giving a child hormones and irreversible plastic surgery...'
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 3:28 pm EST
Featured Image
Derek Sloan dereksloan.ca
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Conservative Party leadership hopeful Derek Sloan has slammed the Trudeau Liberal bill that will make it a crime punishable by up to five years in jail to help minors with unwanted gender confusion or same-sex attraction.

A rookie Ontario MP and father of three, Sloan warned in a March 17 email to Conservative Party members that if Bill C-8 is passed, parents will go to jail for attempting to help their minor children — which the bill defines as under 18 years of age — identify with their biological sex.

“This is madness,” wrote Sloan.

“The Liberals condemn the notion that parents should be able to help a child identify with the body they were born with. ‘Conversion therapy’ is what they call any professional treatment in this area. All the while, the Liberals celebrate giving a child hormones and irreversible plastic surgery as ‘gender affirmation’,” he added.

“If that seems backwards to you, that’s because it is. In fact, for teenagers suffering from gender dysphoria, it can be a nightmare.”

A declared pro-life advocate who is supported by Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life and pro-family political lobbying group, Sloan is in the midst of fundraising the final $150,000 he must submit to the party by March 25 to get on the ballot. 

So far only two men — pro-abortion former Nova Scotia MP Peter MacKay and current Ontario MP Erin O’Toole — are verified candidates in the race, which so far remains scheduled to end June 27 with the leader announced at a Toronto convention.

The party’s leadership race committee decided Sunday not to extend the deadline despite requests it do so by some candidates as Canada goes into partial shutdown. At least four provinces so far — British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta — have declared a state of public health emergency in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the National Post reported.

Sloan blasted the Liberals in his email for being so “radically ideological – and completely out to lunch” as to have as their “biggest priority” a bill criminalizing “conversion therapy” even while Canada is dealing with the pandemic.

Tabled by Justice Minister David Lametti on March 9, Bill C-8 will make it an offense under the Criminal Code to: 1) cause a minor to undergo conversion therapy, 2) remove a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy, 3) cause a person to undergo conversion therapy against his/her will, 4) profit from conversion therapy, and 5) advertise conversion therapy.

The bill defines “minor” as an individual under 18 years of age — even though the Liberals have lowered the age of consent for anal sex to 16 years of age.

Bill C-8 defines “conversion therapy” as: “a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour.” 

(“Cisgender” is a neologism for a person who identifies with his or her biological sex and is not sexually attracted to a person of the same sex.)

The bill adds: “For greater certainty, this definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates (a) to a person’s gender transition; or (b) to a person’s exploration of their identity or to its development.”

Under the bill, causing a minor to undergo “conversion therapy,” either in or outside Canada, or of forcing an adult to do so, is punishable by up to five years in prison. Advertising or profiting from “conversion therapy” is punishable by up to two years in jail.

Sloan pointed out that the federal bill follows similar legislation in PEI, Nova Scotia, and Ontario’s Bill 77, brought in by Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government in 2015. None of these provincial bills involved an amendment to the Criminal Code, which is under federal jurisdiction.

“Now the gender ideologists in the federal Liberal Party want to drag the rest of Canada into an upside-down world that eliminates parental rights in this area,” he wrote.

“Of course, every responsible MP should support measures to prevent coercive counselling that harms patients,” Sloan observed. 

But “conversion therapy bans” are “far too broad and represent a dangerous overreach into personal liberties and parental rights,” he noted. 

Moreover, “studies show that the vast majority of children who identify as ‘trans’ grow out of it, and by adulthood they end up happily identifying with the body they were born with, regardless of their sexual orientation,” Sloan wrote.

In an email sent by Sloan to his followers on March 10, he called the bill an “Orwellian example” of how the liberal left changes the meaning of words to hide the truth. 

In his email, Sloan slams the Canadian Federal Government for promoting the gender ideologist line that a child’s biological sex is “fluid” and “that they indeed might not be ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ as their parents have rightly taught them.”

Sloan’s email said gender ideologists first “lure confused children who develop gender dysphoria to take hormones to alter their still developing bodies.” Then if a child or parent wants to stop the “conversion,” gender ideologists “condemn efforts at counselling as ‘conversion therapy’.”

He added that the whole thing is a “nightmare.” 

He pointed the finger directly at the Liberal Party under Trudeau as taking “the rest of Canada” into a lopsided place where parental rights are stripped. 

“Now the gender ideologists in the federal Liberal Party want to drag the rest of Canada into an upside-down world that eliminates parental rights in this area,” said Sloan.

“Not only that: these so-called ‘conversion therapy’ bans prevent underage patients suffering from gender dysphoria from getting counselling help, even if they ask for it.”

Sloan mentioned that studies have shown most children who identify as “trans” do “grow out of it” by the time they become adults.

Jack Fonseca, Director of Political Operations at Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that Sloan is to be commended for “calling out the insanity and child abuse being pushed by ‘gender ideologists’ as he calls them.”

“He is 100% correct in his assessment. They are stark raving mad in pushing boys to believe that they are girls in the wrong body, and vice-versa. I would go further and argue that these ideologists are predatory child abusers, pushing kids to sexualize at an early age, and to commit an extreme form of self-harm, in the form of bodily mutilation,” he said. 

Fonseca said that Sloan has emerged as the “lone voice of sanity in the House of Commons on this issue, calling a spade a spade with regards to the unscientific theory of Gender Identity. In having the courage to condemn this evil, proposed law, he is demonstrating that he is a natural leader, and truly fit to take on the role of Opposition Leader, and future Prime Minister.”

“I hope that every Conservative MP will carefully read MP Sloan’s analysis of the disingenuously named ‘conversion therapy’ bill, and join him in working to defeat this unconstitutional and child abusive legislation. Not only do we need to defeat C-8, but I think we need to start pushing for a law that makes it illegal to commit sex change mutilation surgery and to give body-modification hormones to still-developing children under the age of 18.  When they are adults and more capable of giving informed consent to procedures that have serious and irreversible effects like sterility and loss of bone density, is one thing. But for adults and the government to allow children to decide for themselves such matters — when the law deems those same children are too young and mentally immature to have sex, drive a car, or get a tattoo — represents criminal negligence,” he added. 

CLC is urging social conservatives to ensure that Sloan makes it onto the final ballot by helping in raise $150,000 (the balance owing on his $300,000 entry fee) that needs to be submitted to the party by March 25th.  Sloan’s campaign page where donations can be made is found here

Sloan’s denunciation of Bill C-8 has been echoed by other pro-family groups, including Parents As First Educators (PAFE). Campaign Life’s analysis of Bill C-8 is here, and PAFE’s is here.

Campaign Life is also supporting Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis and Ontario businessman Jim Karaholios in the race. Information on the three candidates is available at Campaign Life’s website here.

Campaign Life is urging Canadians 14 years of age and older to buy Conservative Party memberships before April 17 to be eligible to vote in the leadership race. 

Note: Anthony Murdoch contributed to this report.

RELATED:

Trudeau moves to criminalize therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction


  conversion therapy, conversion therapy bans, free speech, homosexuality, justin trudeau, transgenderism

News

Bill to ban most abortions upon Roe v. Wade overturn sent to Utah gov’s desk

A third bill requiring that women be given a chance to view an ultrasound image of their baby failed to make it through the state House.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 2:55 pm EST
Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

SALT LAKE CITY, March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Utah Legislature has given its final approval to a ban on most abortions and a requirement that fetal remains be treated humanely, both of which now await signatures from Republican Gov. Gary Herbert. 

Senate Bill 174 would ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest, severe birth defects, or threat of “substantial impairment” to the mother’s health. It would not take effect unless and until the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Senate Bill 67 requires that aborted babies be either buried or cremated by the facilities that aborted them.

The abortion ban passed the Senate 22-5 and the House 51-21, while the fetal burial bill passed the Senate 22-6 and the House 58-14, Deseret News reported. A third pro-life bill, which would have required abortionists to offer women the opportunity to see ultrasound images of their babies, passed the state Senate but died in the House. In the Senate, six female lawmakers (two of whom were Republicans) walked out in protest of the ultrasound bill.

“Utah already has over 30 restrictions on abortion, and Utahns have shown they’re not interested in more restrictions in abortion,” complained Alliance for a Better Utah spokeswoman Katie Matheson, who said her group will push Herbert to veto SB174. The governor has not yet hinted whether he will comply.

“My rights stop when it hurts someone else,” said Republican state Sen. Daniel McCay, the lead sponsor of SB174. He noted that government’s “primary function is to protect life.”

Because they don’t take effect until after Roe falls, “trigger laws” like SB174 won’t provoke lawsuits or impact future abortion deliberations at the Supreme Court. Supporters say it’s important to prepare state laws for a favorable abortion ruling, which they hope President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees will deliver in the near future. 

Bills such as SB67, meanwhile, are meant to prevent the bodies of aborted children from being treated like medical waste, both out of respect for their dignity and to underscore their humanity. They have been motivated across the country by horror stories about abortion facilities destroying the babies they kill with methods such as “big ovens,” or abortionists stockpiling corpses on their own property.


  abortion, abortion trigger laws, fetal burial, humane disposal of fetal remains, trigger laws, ultrasound laws, utah

News

‘Christ never abandons us’: Cardinal Burke offers hope amidst coronavirus

Cardinal Robert Sarah told the faithful, 'no one, absolutely no one can prevent you from turning toward God and imploring his help during this great test.'
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 12:33 pm EST
Featured Image
Cardinal Burke at the Rome March for Life 2017 LifeSite
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinals Raymond Burke and Robert Sarah have urged Catholics not to lose hope during the global coronavirus pandemic and panic.

Burke, one of the two remaining dubia cardinals and one of the world’s foremost defenders of Catholic orthodoxy, reminded Catholics of the power of prayer and God’s sovereignty. 

“The prolonged assault of the coronavirus naturally leads to sadness and fear,” Burke posted on Twitter. “But we know that Christ is the Lord of nature and of history. Using natural means to defend ourselves against the pestilence, we do not forget our primary means of defense: prayer, especially the rosary and Eucharistic adoration.”

“Christ never abandons us,” he added.

Sarah similarly urged Catholics to pray and trust in the Lord. 

“If the circumstances or the civil or church provisions provoked by the coronavirus prevent you from going to church simply to encounter the Lord or from taking part in the Eucharist, know that no one, absolutely no one can prevent you from turning toward God and imploring his help during this great test,” Sarah, the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship, wrote in a letter to the faithful that he posted to Twitter.

He urged the faithful to pray more without becoming weary.

“Together with one heart and one soul and united in the same faith, let us lift our hands toward God and beg him,” Sarah continued. “Entrust to him the world and His Church. His heart will be touched and will save us.”

Bishops around the world are citing the coronavirus as they mandate Masses in their dioceses be canceled, many for an indefinite period of time. Cases of the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, have been reported in more than 150 countries. There have been 197,000 coronavirus cases reported worldwide as of yesterday, with at least 7,900 deaths.

Italy, France, and Spain are all on lockdown. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency, as have many state governments. The economy and stock market have tanked with historic speed. Italy is the country that has been hit hardest other than China. Many countries have issued severe travel restrictions and closed their borders. Trump announced today he’s closing the U.S.-Canada border to “non-essential” travel, something he says will not affect trade.

LifeSiteNews is providing live, continual updates about the coronavirus and how it relates to pro-life issues, faith, and freedom HERE.

Translation of Sarah’s comment by Danielle Zuccaro of LifeSiteNews.


  cardinal burke, cardinal raymond burke, cardinal robert sarah, cardinal sarah, catholic, coronavirus, raymond burke, robert sarah

News

Swiss bishop censored by apostolic administrator for criticizing Church’s response to coronavirus

Bishop Marian Eleganti had also stated his belief that God would not allow a consecrated host to be the carrier of a virus. 
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 12:00 pm EST
Featured Image
Bishop Marian Eleganti, auxiliary of Chur, Switzerland.
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

CHUR, Switzerland, March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – An outspoken Swiss auxiliary bishop has been censored by his brother bishop who is an apostolic administrator after criticizing the Church’s response to the coronavirus epidemic and stating his belief that God would not allow the consecrated host to be the carrier of a virus. 

Bishop Marian Eleganti, auxiliary bishop in the Swiss Diocese of Chur, was ordered by Bishop Pierre Bürcher, the apostolic administrator of the diocese of Chur, Switzerland, that he may only speak to the media when his comments are “in agreement” with those of the apostolic administrator and the diocesan press office.

Bishop Bürcher stated that Bishop Eleganti’s comments on the coronavirus pandemic were not previously discussed with him or with the Episcopal Commissioner for Media and Communication. 

“Accordingly, confusion has arisen among the faithful and in the public about the attitude of the diocese of Chur in this regard. For this reason I have instructed auxiliary bishop Marian that in the future he will only voice his opinion to the media in agreement with me and the diocesan press officer,” Bishop Bürcher said.

In an interview with Catholic news website kath.net, Eleganti had accused parts of Church leadership of following “only the logic of the state, the secular one.” Government directives are “implemented obediently, but no longer that wisdom by faith and prayer, which is folly and scandal to the world, but which in our context could be expected from the Church.”

He also stated his belief that Christ, who is truly present in the Eucharist, would not allow the host to be a carrier of something harmful to those who receive. 

“How faith in the real presence of Christ in the Host … can exist together with the fear of a deadly contamination from which the God present in the Host will not save me is a mystery to me.”

The auxiliary bishop was criticized  for his view. 

Raphael Rauch, editor in chief of the Swiss Catholic news service Kath.ch, called Eleganti a “horror clown,” adding that “he’s exploiting a crisis for his ecclesio-political agenda.”

Franziska Driessen-Reding, an influential person among Catholics in Zurich, characterized Eleganti’s remarks as “cynical.”

“In view of the many victims that the Corona pandemic has already claimed, his talk of ‘God’s punishment’ is simply cynical,” she said. The assumption that Holy Water cannot transmit diseases is “irresponsible and dangerous superstition.”

The Swiss Bishops’ Conference distanced itself from Eleganti: “Auxiliary Bishop Marian Eleganti’s statements are of a purely personal nature and therefore obligate only him,” a spokeswoman said.

Eleganti was not surprised by the negative reactions to his video. However, he called criticism by fellow Catholics “astonishing.”

He told LifeSiteNews in comments earlier this week that the Eucharist is a “supernatural reality” that cannot be understood from a simply natural perspective. 

“For the naturalists among us, there is no supernatural reality. Even the Catholic belief that a blessing will change something about the water is irrational for them, and at best it is psychology. Not to speak of the Catholic belief in the transubstantiation of the Holy Host into the Body of Christ at Holy Mass. What can at most be expected of their so-called reason is a symbolic understanding of transubstantiation and the consecrated host,” he said. 

“I would like to ask them: In which claim is there more faith in miracles or more faith in supernatural reality? When I claim that in Holy Mass, through the priest’s words of consecration, the bread is transformed into the Body of Christ, which we believe, or when I claim that the Body of Christ, which I receive in Holy Communion, will not harm us in the current context, which they obviously cannot believe (hence the precautions, the effectiveness of which I doubt for my part)? May they themselves answer my question in their own conscience. I, for my part, remain faithful to my belief in the salvific effect and power of the Holy Eucharist, because for me it is the present God, the Body of Christ,” he added. 

St. Thomas Aquinas, in addressing a similar difficulty in the Summa Theologica, indicated that while Transubstantiation changes the substance of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus, the accidental properties remain and could, therefore, harm the individual if contaminated by poison, for instance. 

He wrote in IIIa Q83 a.6, ad3 of the Summa: “If it be discovered that the wine has been poisoned, the priest should neither receive it nor administer it to others on any account, lest the life-giving chalice become one of death.”

In a similar vein, priests generally make sure that Consecrated Hosts are consumed within a certain period of time to avoid the danger of them going rancid or decaying.  


  catholic, coronavirus, eucharist, holy communion, marian eleganti, pierre burcher

News

‘Last pro-life Democrat’ Rep. Dan Lipinski defeated by pro-abortion challenger

Marie Newman won the race 48.2% to 45.8%.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 11:51 am EST
Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Left-wing challenger Marie Newman defeated eight-term incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski Tuesday in Illinois’ Democrat primary for the U.S. House of Representatives, marking a blow to the last vestiges of so-called “pro-life Democrats” on the national level.

Lipinski had the enthusiastic support of some national pro-life groups. Hailing him as a “pro-life champion,” the Susan B. Anthony List spent heavily on a campaign to reach more than 17,000 “pro-life Democratic” households via digital advertising, phone calls, and direct mail. Students for Life of America, meanwhile, worked on contacting more than 10,000 voters “in defense of an endangered species – the pro-life Democrat.”

Newman, a La Grange businesswoman who had the support of the party’s most progressive elements, won the race 48.2% to 45.8%, the Chicago Tribune reports

“I am bursting with pride and gratitude for the amazing coalition who helped bring about much needed change in our district,” she said. “We are going to work together to lower healthcare costs, to fight climate change, and to continue building a hospitable community for everyone, no matter where you come from.”

It seems that fears over the coronavirus played a role in Lipinski’s defeat, particularly the cancellation of events on the South Side, Irish Catholic areas that carried Lipinski in 2018.

“Irish Catholics? The 19th Ward? That’s our base,” said campaign spokesman Phil Davidson. “The opportunity just vaporized.”

Various pro-life activists and media figures lamented Lipinski’s defeat, some out of affection for Lipinski himself and others as a sign of the Democrat Party’s hardline stance on abortion:

However, it is disputed just how pro-life Lipinski truly was, or whether his membership in Congress was a net positive for the pro-life cause.

Lipinski’s voting record has mixed scores on abortion but generally averages above 50% from pro-life groups and below 50% from pro-abortion ones. He supports requiring doctors to provide live-saving treatment to newborns who survive abortion, but also voted for the so-called Equality Act, a broad pro-LGBT bill whose provisions would have also imperiled the rights of health workers who object to participating in abortion. On February 13, 2020, he voted in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, which if enacted would essentially enshrine abortion into the U.S. Constitution.

Furthermore, while individual lawmakers can technically vote against their party’s official position on any given issue, their party affiliation decides which party’s leaders have majority control over the House or Senate. This influences legislation’s fortunes in various ways, including scheduling votes, setting procedural rules, controlling committees, and more.

“Remember, the Speaker of the House ultimately determines the legislative agenda and if the party committed to elective abortion controls the chamber, its candidate for speaker will inevitably be pro-abortion,” Life Training Institute president Scott Klusendorf has argued. “Nevertheless, these pro-life members vote for their party’s candidate for speaker, which all but guarantees that pro-life bills never see the light of day. In most cases, then, they aren’t reforming their party’s pro-abortion stance; they’re enabling it.”

It is on these grounds that Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi justified her own endorsement of Lipinski in 2018, arguing at the time that his victory would contribute to securing “a pro-choice gavel when we win the Congress.”


  abortion, dan lipinski, democrats, illinois, marie newman, pro-life democrats

News

Abortions continue as Massachusetts hospitals forbid ‘non-essential’ procedures

Hospitals in Massachusetts are ordered to cancel any 'nonessential, elective invasive procedure' to free up resources to fight the coronavirus — but abortions will continue as before.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 10:54 am EST
Featured Image
MAD.vertise / Shutterstock.com
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

MASSACHUSETTS, March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Even though hospitals in Massachusetts are ordered to cancel any “nonessential, elective invasive procedure” to free up resources for the fight against the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, abortions will continue as before.

“Terminating a pregnancy is not considered a nonessential, elective invasive procedure for the purpose of this guidance. However, the ultimate decision is based on clinical judgment by the caring physician,” a memorandum of the Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality in Massachusetts stated, according to MassLive.com.

The article also reported on the document recommending that providers “use their discretion on invasive procedures that must move forward to ‘preserve the patient’s life and health,’ though the order states that doesn’t apply to canceling or delaying life-sustaining care.”

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post claimed that abortion might be harder to come by in Texas. Joe Nelson, an abortionist in the Lone Star State, “is now self-quarantining for 14 days.”

Nelson told HuffPost “he was mostly worried about how his unplanned absence might affect women’s ability to get abortions in the state.”

“Potentially, it could have a huge impact. There are not that many doctors who provide abortion care in Texas. A lot of the doctors that do come in from out of state. In a situation where doctors are less likely to want to travel, if there’s no one to cover me, patients will have to wait,” Nelson explained.

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute is equally worried that access to abortion might be limited in parts of the country.

“Health care providers are being diverted to help address the epidemic while also being most at risk of acquiring the disease. This may create a shortage of clinicians who can provide sexual and reproductive health services and increase wait times for patients in need,” the Guttmacher Institute stated.

“In places that already have a limited number of providers, this will put an extreme strain on capacity to serve patients, especially for non-emergency care.”

The institute also claimed that government funding is now focused on issues related to the coronavirus, “which would take funding away from reproductive health programs and decrease access for patients who rely on free or subsidized care. Likewise, the need for new precautionary equipment, training and protocols will further draw time and resources away from other work, including projects and programs related to sexual and reproductive health.”

Due to the closure of workplaces in many parts of the country, “people with low incomes may be unable to afford sexual and reproductive health care,” which always includes abortions.

The Guttmacher Institute speculated that “if pregnant women and infants are found to be at heightened risk” from the coronavirus, “that may prompt some people to avoid having children and could lead to increased demand for contraceptive and abortion services.”

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, attempted last week to weaken restrictions on federal abortion funding within emergency legislation to combat the coronavirus.

Mark Harrington, president of the pro-life organization Created Equal, commented, “Clearly, the abortion industry will not ‘allow this crisis to go to waste.’”

Because of the coronavirus, Created Equal’s outreach efforts are focusing on sidewalk-counseling instead of events on college and high school campuses.

“We will take the necessary precautions to protect our health and the health of others, but we need to be proactive and deploy our assets to combat the hijacking of this emergency to advance abortion,” Harrington said.


  abortion, coronavirus, guttmacher institute, hospitals, massachusetts, modern medicine, planned parenthood

News

Google employee hits pro-life activist on video, then countersues him for $5 million for ‘injury to feelings’

The $5 million countersuit is 'absurd' and 'frivolous,' commented Dr. Michael New, who coordinates weekly pro-life activity outside the Washington, D.C. Planned Parenthood.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 10:52 am EST
Featured Image
YouTube screenshot
LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life activist Michael Gribbin is suing Quinn Chasan, the Head of Customer Analytics for Google Cloud, for allegedly assaulting him outside an abortion facility. Chasan has now responded to Gribbin’s lawsuit by countersuing Gribbin for $5 million, accusing him of battery, having violated D.C. “hate crime” laws, and causing “severe and extreme pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish.”

During the afternoon on Saturday, August 31, Gribbin was chalking pro-life messages on the sidewalk by the Washington, D.C. Planned Parenthood. Chasan stole Gribbin’s chalk and physically assaulted Gribbin. Gribbin was able to capture this on video.

Gribbin filed a report with the Washington Metropolitan Police. However, since they did not press charges against Chasan, Gribbin decided to file a civil lawsuit against Chasan last year.

“This is absurd. Michael Gribbin is a victim, not an assailant. There is no way his actions after before, during, or after the assault caused Chasan $5 million in damages,” commented Dr. Michael New, a Catholic University of America professor who coordinates weekly prayer vigils outside the D.C. Planned Parenthood. “Furthermore, any negative consequences incurred by Chasan are the direct result of his own misconduct. It is my hope that the judge dismisses Chasan’s countersuit as frivolous.”

According to legal documents, Chasan alleges that media coverage about the encounter has caused him “loss of his reputation, shame, mortification, and injury to his feelings, both personal and professional.”

“Once again, I want to reiterate the fact I hope Michael Gribbin's civil lawsuit is successful,” New continued. “Pro-life activists are not targets. No one should have to fear physical violence for espousing pro-life views in public. A ruling in Gribbin's favor will make it clear that individuals who harm peaceful pro-life activists will be punished.”

Gribbin is being represented in court by attorney John Garza. A pretrial hearing occurred on February 21 and a deposition is scheduled for later this month.


  google, michael gribbin, planned parenthood, pro-abortion violence, quinn chasan, washington, d.c.

Opinion

‘A scene from communist China’: Police disrupt Mass in Italian church

Police raid a church and break up a Mass at the altar. It’s not a news story from Communist China; we are in Italy.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 8:45 pm EST
Featured Image
ChiccoDodiFC / Shutterstock.com
Nico Spuntoni
By Nico Spuntoni

A scene from Communist China took place in Marina di Cerveteri north of Rome. A parish priest surprised by two law enforcement officials is ordered to stop a Eucharistic celebration. What’s the reason? Because there were faithful gathered outside in the churchyard praying at the recommended distance. 

Image

March 18, 2020 (La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana) — Police raid a church and break up a Mass at the altar. It’s not a news story from Communist China, we are in Italy. This is what happened in Cerveteri, a large town immersed in what was once the ancient Roman countryside, best known for one of the most important Etruscan burial grounds. The municipal police blitz took place towards the end of the celebration at St. Francis of Assisi in Marina di Cerveteri.

The most solemn moment of the service — the Eucharist — has just finished. The priest does even have the chance to begin the concluding rite inside an empty church (but with faithful watching live on streaming) when two local police officers in antiviral masks swoop in behind the altar. They then authoritatively tell the priest that the celebration has to cease immediately. What was their reason for stopping the Mass?  They say the parish priest had left the doors of his church open and outside in the churchyard, faithful had gathered in prayer. However, the few faithful present in the churchyard had kept a safe distance, far greater than the commonly known one-meter recommendation decreed by the Italian government.

The parish priest was caught by surprise during the moment of silence after Communion. He tried explaining to the law enforcement officers that he had taken all the recommended precautions, including blocking the churchs entrance with a lectern placed in the centre of the nave. But he is unable to stop them. One of the two policemen then grabs his microphone and announces, "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen. It is not permissible to conduct religious services and gather together. Please leave, this isnt allowed."

The priest, however, maintained his composure and without batting an eye proceeded to the concluding rite. The raid was filmed by one of the few faithful present who — like everyone else — had gathered outside the church.  It is probably the clearest indication of how Pope Francis is right in saying that "drastic measures are not always good."

In this case, in fact, the parish priest of Latium (the region where Rome is the capital) implemented what the pope hoped for in a homily he delivered in the chapel of his Santa Marta residence on the seventh anniversary of his pontificate: “We pray that the Holy Spirit will give our pastors the ability and the pastoral discernment to find ways that do not leave Gods holy faithful people alone.”  The parish pews in Marina di Cerveteri were completely empty and the entrance blocked, so yesterday’s liturgy was in effect not a public Mass and in compliance with provisions issued by the local bishop Gino Reali and the Italian Bishops Conference which had to adopt the Italian governments severely restrictive measures.

Image

These same measures also permit churches to remain open, so it is not clear why the parish priest — who also took care to discourage  parishioners from entering the building — should have closed the doors right at the time of the Sunday Mass which he privately celebrated. Moreover, can we really imagine a priest interrupting the liturgy to hunt down a few faithful who had arrived in the churchyard and who were visibly maintaining social distancing? Thanks to keeping the church doors open, Fr. Mimmo managed to find a way that would not leave Gods holy faithful alone, as Pope Francis most rightly requested last Friday.

However, the two local police officers saw the matter differently. Neither did they take into account the sacredness of moment and place where they intervened, much less the penal code which punishes offenders who disturb religious functions. If this really had been such a gross violation of Coronavirus emergency decrees, they could have simply asked the faithful gathered in the churchyard to go back home. Was it really necessary to break into the Lords house FBI-style in the middle of Mass and order it stopped in the most sacred space behind the altar at the foot of the tabernacle?

The police did not even spare the poor priests public humiliation. Instead, while scolding him in front of a live streaming audience, they ripped the microphone out of his hands to make a service announcement. The announcement could have easily been made outside the church and to the very few persons present. We should laud Fr. Mimmo who, in full compliance with safety regulations, left his church doors open and who, despite the disturbance of some tactless police, finished the Mass undaunted.

The sad scene in Marina di Cerveteri reminds us, indeed, of the terrible stories reported from places where Catholics must worship in secret. At the same time, this is also a sign of hope, reminding us of those brave priests who, during the Second World War, continued to celebrate Mass until the very end even as bombs fell from the sky right over their heads.

Published with permission from La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana.


  catholic, coronavirus, italy, police state, religious persecution, separation of church and state

Opinion

How would you handle the coronavirus if you were president of the USA?

Let's make you the president for the sake of this discussion.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 10:42 am EST
Featured Image
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Steve Bigler
By Steve Bigler

March 18, 2020 (American Thinker) — Let me offer a little perspective on COVID-19 from a physician's viewpoint. Allow me to first state that the perfect governmental balance in handling a pandemic is virtually impossible to achieve. To illustrate that, let's make you the president for the sake of this discussion.

Because of the exponential growth of a pandemic, to flatten the epidemiological curve, you have to take action before it's apparent that action is needed. If you wait until it's apparent, the curve will have taken its skyward turn, and it's too late. But if you act significantly early, you'll always be perceived by the populace as overreacting and inciting panic. The economy doesn't like panic, so it will tank.

If that's not bad enough, if your early actions ultimately work, and the pandemic curve is flattened such that things don't turn out so badly, well, then the, populace will be all the more convinced you acted needlessly. No one will stop to think the measures you took were precisely what mitigated the pandemic. 

On the other hand, if you act just a bit too late, the pandemic curve will not flatten, and many more lives will be lost. Then you will be crucified for not doing enough quickly enough! No matter what you do, it will be a no-win proposition. And your opposition party will gleefully use this reality against you, no matter the outcome of the pandemic.

Unfortunately, there is no scientific formula in existence that answers the question: when is precisely the exact right time to take massive economically and socially disruptive action in dealing with a pandemic? It's a judgment call. Aren't we all glad we don't have to achieve that impossibly delicate balance in making a judgment call that will impact the entire nation, if not the world?

In such scenarios, critics always base their criticism on 20/20 hindsight. Shame on them. I've read all sorts of recent criticism about Trump waiting too long to take decisive action — or waiting too long to get tested himself. People who are critical of Trump would be just as critical of him had he taken earlier action, well before it seemed necessary. Those people should admit to themselves that whatever Trump does, they'll dislike — simply because they dislike Trump.

As a reminder, how long did President Obama wait before taking action during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic? The answer is, not until a little over 1,000 Americans had died. Did Obama ever get tested himself for H1N1? Ever? The answer is no, he did not — at least not that he publicized to the nation. But I will give him credit for exercising his judgment to the best of his ability at the time. I don't think he delayed because he was stupid, or callous, or because he simply didn't care about American lives. Trump should be given the same consideration.

Could Trump have acted a little earlier? Yes. But perhaps only by a matter of a few days. Any earlier than that, and he would have been crucified for massively overreacting and destroying the economy, our educational system, and our social interactions. The outcry would have been furious.

As it is, he has taken measures that are unprecedented in my 72-year lifetime. His declaration of a national emergency happened much sooner in the progression of this pandemic than Obama's. Never before have I experienced a total shutdown of travel from Asia and Europe. I can't remember a time when sporting events of all kinds were canceled nationwide. I can't remember a time in my 41-year medical career (49 years counting med school and residency) that FDA regulations have been so quickly suspended in order to bring testing and treatments to the market more quickly.

And those who are firmly in the globalist camp should stop and think about our vulnerability due to a large majority of medical equipment and supplies being manufactured in China. How good does that idea seem now?

So I suggest that we all take a deep breath, recognize that all governmental leaders are human, they're never going to perform perfectly, and acknowledge that our current president has taken much more decisive action more quickly than any prior president has ever taken in the face of a viral pandemic.

And remember, it is impossible to 100% completely avoid a global pandemic — where zero people in a given country become infected and zero people in that country die. The best that can be hoped for is a modest flattening of the pandemic curve. At this point in time, it is my opinion that we'll achieve that in the U.S.

This article originally appeared at the American Thinker. It is published with the author's permission.


  coronavirus, donald trump, quarantine

Opinion

Joe Biden’s advocacy for Communist China spans decades

Biden has long been wholly enamored of China and its communist leadership.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 10:32 am EST
Featured Image
Steve McCann
By Steve McCann

March 18, 2020 (American Thinker) — Desperation has set in among the Politburo in China as their deliberate mishandling and obfuscation of the Chinese Coronavirus outbreak has threatened, and in all likelihood derailed, their grandiose plans for global hegemony. In what can be described only as one of the most ham-handed propaganda efforts in recent memory, China is now trying to deflect blame onto the United States for the coronavirus outbreak that has been recently categorized as a global pandemic. Further, the Chinese are unabashedly claiming that any criticism of their “valiant” efforts to stem the spread of the virus or using the nomenclature of “Wuhan Virus” or “Chinese Coronavirus” is racist and xenophobic

While their attempt to implicate the United States may appear absurd on the surface, the reality is that much of it will fall on fertile ground previously tilled and seeded over the past 25 years with vast amounts of money and investments. 

An end product of China’s infiltration of the American media and education establishment is the almost immediate regurgitation of China’s “racist and xenophobic” argument by the American mainstream media and the predominantly left-wing professional class. Hollywood and the entertainment cabal, already awash in Chinese capital and desperate for access to the Chinese market, have refused to criticize China’s handling of the coronavirus, focusing instead on President Trump. It is almost a certainty that when the pandemic recedes, there will be nothing produced that is even remotely critical of China.

The European Union is now China’s largest trading partner and investor. China is beginning to exert increasing influence in nations such as Italy and throughout the continent. This is why the European Union refused to initiate a travel ban from China during the entirety of the coronavirus outbreak, leading to Europe now being the global epicenter of the pandemic as well as the source of the bulk of the infections in the United States.

With this overall backdrop, the Chinese leadership are confident that their near clownish propaganda efforts will succeed. Their only obstacle is the re-election of President Trump, who is the only world leader in the past 25 years to understand what animates the Chinese and to stand up to their intimidation tactics.

The establishment of the Democrat Party believe they have a solution to that obstacle in what appears to be the inevitable nomination of Joe Biden.

Joe Biden, in his days in the Senate, was very partial to China, as he voted against all legislation aimed at curtailing China’s ambitions. In 2007, he opposed the idea of applying any tariffs on China despite the nation’s obvious unfair trade practices and theft of proprietary technology that was causing the loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs. America’s dependence on a communist regime for materials and goods, such as pharmaceuticals, continued to grow unabated. However, it was as vice president that Biden became wholly enamored of the country and its leadership.

For example, while in China, Biden, in August of 2011, approved of and defended China’s grotesque one-child policy, which brutally used forced abortions to implement the law. (In that same year, Biden was given the assignment, by Barack Obama, to be the point man on China due his close personal relationship with Xi Jinping, currently president and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

Joe Biden never missed an opportunity to downplay China’s threat to the United States. In May of 2013, in a commencement speech, he assured those concerned that the Chinese are “going to eat our lunch” that they had nothing to be concerned about, as China had immense problems and an inability to think differently. In May of 2014 Biden, described China as a nation incapable of producing innovative products and ideas. Two weeks after declaring his 2020 candidacy, Biden, in Iowa, said:

China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man...they can’t even figure out how to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.

In December 2013, Biden flew to Beijing on Air Force Two with his son Hunter on an official trip, ostensibly to discuss tensions over disputed territories in the East China Sea. Joe and Hunter were ushered into a red-carpet meeting with a delegation of various Chinese officials. Hunter remained with the delegation while his father met with President Xi Jinping. During these meetings, Joe Biden struck an extremely conciliatory and friendly tone with the Chinese leadership — much to the dismay of America’s allies in the region.

Ten day later, Hunter’s two-year-old company, Rosemont Seneca, signed an exclusive $1-billion (later expanded to $1.5-billion) deal with the state-owned Bank of China, creating an investment fund called Bohai Harvest, with money guaranteed by the Chinese government. As Peter Schweizer, who was the first to unveil these conflicts of interest, wrote in his book Secret Empires, “the Chinese Government was literally funding a business that it co-owned along with the son of one of America’s most powerful decision makers.” That is what it looks like to be “compromised by a foreign power.”

Anyone who has dealt with the Chinese government or an entity controlled by the government can attest that any foreign business transaction with China always has a requisite or implied quid pro quo that oftentimes does not involve monetary considerations. Once entangled in this web, it is nearly impossible to escape — as many businesses and nations, throughout Africa and Europe, much to their chagrin, have experienced. It would be naïve to believe that Joe Biden is not embroiled in this labyrinth of expectations and demands.

Nonetheless, Joe Biden is perhaps the ideal candidate for a party whose propaganda arms, the mainstream media and Hollywood, openly shill for the Chinese communist leadership and whose primary financial backers, high-tech and Wall Street billionaires such as Michael Bloomberg, have major financial and manufacturing ties to China and whose most dedicated foot soldiers are true believers in authoritarian socialism — and whose common enemy is Donald Trump and his America First populist movement.

Image

Vice President Biden raises a toast in honor of Chinese president Xi at a state luncheon at the State Department, September 25, 2015.
U.S. State Department photo.

To further amplify that the Democrat Party is a surrogate of the Chinese leadership and is abiding by the maxim that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, criticism of China’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic by anyone in Democrat party leadership, or their donor and left-leaning professional class, has been virtually nonexistent. On the other hand, the unceasing and often fabricated disparagement of President Trump is part of a calculated strategy to frame the coronavirus epidemic in a way that leads to his defeat in November. Even China’s not so veiled threat to withhold shipping vital drugs to the United States in retaliation for any criticism of their handling of the coronavirus outbreak was met with a deafening silence.

China is an existential threat to the United States. Joe Biden and the Democrat Party would abet the Chinese in their quest for global hegemony and in essence surrender American sovereignty. But first these collaborators must get rid of Donald Trump. Thus, any unseemly tactics, outrageous fabrications, and personal smears will be directed at him and his voters over the next seven and a half months to achieve that goal.

This article originally appeared at the American Thinker. It is published with the author's permission.


  2020 democrat primary, 2020 presidential election, china, communism, coronavirus, democratic party, donald trump, joe biden, xi jinping

Opinion

Cdl Zen is right: Vatican history with Communist China shows conflict with Benedict, too

We can get at the truth by retracing the whole history of the relations between the Holy See and China during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, from 2005 to 2013.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 9:23 am EST
Featured Image
Sandro Magister
By

March 18, 2020 (Settimo Cielo) — In the letter that the dean of the sacred college, Giovanni Battista Re, wrote on February 26 to all the cardinals, in contradiction with the previous letter addressed to them in September by Cardinal Joseph Zen Zekiun, there is one point on which the split between the two cardinal is absolute.

In his letter Zen had written, regarding the provisional and secret agreement of September 22 2018 between the Holy See and China on the appointment of bishops:

“I have cause to believe (and I hope one day to be able to demonstrate with archival documents) that the signed agreement is the same one that Pope Benedict had, in his day, refused to sign.”

To which Re rebutted:

“This assertion does not correspond to the truth. After having personally taken stock of the documents kept in the current archive of the secretariat of state, I can attest that Pope Benedict XVI had approved the draft agreement on the appointment of bishops in China, which could be signed only in 2018.”

Zen’s rejoinder came on March 1 in an open letter to Re, in which the Chinese cardinal writes:

“If you want to prove to me that the recently signed agreement was already approved by Benedict XVI, you just have to show me the text of the agreement, which I am barred from seeing till now, and the archival evidence which you say you could verify. Then there remains to be explained why it was not signed at that time.”

In the absence of public documentation it is difficult to say which of the two cardinals is more in the right.

However, we can get at the truth by retracing the whole history of the relations between the Holy See and China during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, from 2005 to 2013.

* * *

This is what one of the leading experts on the Chinese Catholic Church, Gianni Criveller, recently did in the chapter "An Overview of the Catholic Church in Post-Mao China", which appeared in the volume “People, Communities, and the Catholic Church in China,” edited by Cindy Yik-yi Chu and Paul P. Mariani, published in Singapore in 2020.

Criveller, 59, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, teaches at the Chinese University and the Holy Spirit College of Theology and Philosophy in Hong Kong. His essay has been translated in full and published in “Il Regno,” the most authoritative magazine of the progressive Italian Catholic camp.

Criveller's essay is of extraordinary interest, especially where he deals with the differences between the two Catholic communities in China, the one with official recognition from the regime, severely subjugated, and the highly endangered “underground” one, or where he explains the reasons and the effects of the “Chinafication” of the religions and of the return to Confucianism, advocated by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

But limiting ourselves to what Criveller writes about the years of Benedict XVI's pontificate, he does not hesitate to assign “historic” importance to the Letter to Chinese Catholics written by that pope in 2007. And about the fate of the bishops in that country he writes :

“Benedict XVI asked the civil authorities to recognize the underground bishops. However, he admitted that ‘almost always’ the official bishops are obliged to ‘adopt attitudes, perform gestures and make commitments that are contrary to the dictates of their conscience.’ Strangely, the phrase ‘almost always’ was omitted in the first Chinese translation issued by the Vatican, provoking the protest of Cardinal Zen. The pope left it up to the individual bishops to determine the best course of action to be taken in their specific situations, that is, whether or not to seek recognition from the civil authorities.”

Criveller notes that “the Chinese government made every effort to downplay the significance of this letter.” And proof of this was the regime’s persistence in installing illegitimate bishops, that is, not approved by Rome.

In 2006, the year before the letter was published, there had been three illegitimate ordinations. After that, from 2007 to the summer of 2010, the new bishops were ordained with the consent of both sides, "although the approval,” Criveller points out, “was always given independently, without direct negotiations.”

But in the fall of 2010 the situation deteriorated again. The illegitimate consecration of Guo Jincai as bishop of Chengde, writes Criveller, “caused a deterioration in relations between the Vatican and China.” And at the beginning of the following summer two other bishops were consecrated without the pope's approval: Lei Shiyin in Leshan and Huang Bingzhang in Shantou. The affront was received in Rome with such alarm that for the first time the Holy See reacted by publicly declaring the excommunication of those bishops installed by the regime.

Meanwhile, in December 2010, a no less disturbing episode occurred, as described by Criveller:

“The government held in Beijing, with great fanfare, the eighth national assembly of Catholic representatives. The agenda of the meeting included the election of the new leaders of the Patriotic Association and of the Conference of Bishops [that is, the two bodies with which the regime exercises ironbound control over the official Catholic Church —ed.]. Joseph Xing Wenzhi, auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, went grudgingly to that controversial assembly. Once there, he participated in it with a passive attitude. He returned to Shanghai depressed, apologizing to his clergy for not being strong enough purely and simply to boycott the assembly. Right away the bishop’s personal life took a sad turn. Bishop Xing was accused by the secret police of having an affair with a woman. It was an alarming retaliation against a bishop who had shown the courage to resist the government’s policies.”

In April of 2012 there were two more ordinations approved by both sides, in Nanchong and Changsha, but the newly ordained “were forced to accept illegitimate bishops as consecrators.”

Then again, on July 6 of that same year, there was another illegitimate ordination. Yue Fusheng was ordained bishop of Harbin “despite the request made by the Holy See to refuse the election.” The priests of that diocese who had opposed it were forced to write a letter of submission and to concelebrate with the illicit bishop. Again, the Holy See publicly announced the excommunication of the new bishop. Which, Criveller writes, “can be a significant example of how the Chinese authorities are capable, at times, of bringing onto their side people who previously had been explicitly loyal to the pope.”

Years earlier, in fact, while still an ordinary priest Yue had been part of a delegation of Chinese priests authorized to participate in the Mass celebrated in Manila on January 15, 1995, by John Paul II, visiting the Philippines for World Youth Day. And when at the beginning of the Mass the flags of the various national delegations were raised, including the flag of Taiwan, and in retaliation the political leaders of the Chinese delegation ordered them to abandon the ceremony, none other than Yue was one of the very few who had the courage to disobey and to stay. While today he “is known for his weakness and his adherence to the government.”

But even more revealing of the deterioration of relations between the Holy See and China, in that 2012 which is the last glimpse of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, is what happened in Shanghai on July 7, with the ordination of Thaddeus Ma Daqin in the cathedral as new auxiliary bishop. Criveller writes:

“He was ordained with the approval of both sides. But the Chinese authorities imposed the presence of an illegitimate bishop, provoking the dismay of many priests, religious, and lay people who decided not to participate in the ceremony. Thaddeus Ma, in a shrewd maneuver, prevented the illegitimate bishop from laying his hands on him during the consecration rite. Towards the end of the Mass the new bishop declared that he wanted to be the pastor of all the faithful, so he would stop being a member of the Patriotic Association. An amateur video of Bishop Ma’s brief speech, publicly applauded by the people present in the cathedral, appeared for several days on various websites, until it was removed.

“Many thought the bishop’s gesture was courageous and prophetic. But the government officials present at the Mass went into a state of great agitation and took him away by force that evening. Officials put the diocese under investigation, interrogating priests and nuns. After eight years, Thaddeus Ma is still under ‘house arrest’ in the Sheshan seminary. His 2016 ‘confessions’ were written in captivity and we do not know if they were sincere and if he did or did not regret what he had done.”

* * *

If this is the known, public fabric of the relations between the Holy See and China regarding the appointment of bishops between 2005 and 2013, it is not clear how to fit into this fabric the alleged “approval” during those same years, by Benedict XVI, of the agreement signed five years later. An agreement whose contents are still kept secret and which has so far produced no new episcopal appointment, eighteen months after its signing, and on the contrary has been accompanied by a further “crackdown” — as Criveller writes at the beginning of his essay — in the regime’s control over the Catholic Church.

It should also be borne in mind that with regard to China, Benedict XVI availed himself not only of the secretariat of state, but also of an “ad hoc” commission in which Cardinal Zen had significant influence — a commission never convened again during the pontificate of Francis.

It is therefore not to be ruled out that Pope Benedict was presented with draft agreements on the appointment of bishops. Just as it cannot be ruled out that the Chinese side turned down, during those same years, potential proposals from the Vatican.

But that the agreement that Cardinal Re says was “approved” by Benedict XVI was identical to the one signed in 2018 remains entirely to be proven.

And given the narrative of those years, as reported most recently by Criveller, this seems implausible. All the more so if one compares it with the “historic” letter written by Pope Benedict to the Chinese Catholics.

* * *

It should be added that Cardinal Re’s letter falls under a phase of intensification of the Holy See’s policy of the “hand extended” to the Chinese regime.

The letter bears the date of February 26. And on the 14th of the same month, on the sidelines of an international conference in Munich, there was for the first time since the breaking of diplomatic ties in 1951 a meeting between the two foreign ministers of the Holy See and of China, Paul Richard Gallagher and Wang Yi (pictured).

The Vatican secretariat of state — headed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, whom Zen holds to be the main culprit of the surrender — issued on the occasion a press release with very optimistic tones.

And on March 5, in a video message broadcast in nine languages, Pope Francis himself expressed the hope that “Chinese Christians may be truly Christians, and be good citizens.” With a recommendation that also included a rebuke to the resistance: “They should promote the Gospel, but without engaging in proselytism, and they need achieve the unity of the divided Catholic community.”

All this, so far, without any reciprocation from the Chinese, which has only benefited from the Vatican’s openness without paying the slightest price. Exactly as with the 2018 agreement, which Criveller correctly calls “asymmetrical.”

Published with permission from Settimo Cielo.


  benedict xvi, china, chinese catholic patriotic association, giovanni battista re, joseph zen, pietro parolin, pope francis, schism, sino-vatican agreement

Opinion

Canadian psychiatrists: It’s ‘discrimination’ not to let mentally ill kill themselves

The Canadian Psychiatric Association has warned the government not to 'discriminate' against the mentally ill by barring them from lethal jabs.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 8:38 am EST
Featured Image
Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock.com
Wesley J. Smith
By Wesley Smith

March 18, 2020 (National Review) — Dedicated psychiatrists are often the only defense between patients with serious mental illness and suicide. But legalizing euthanasia shifts thinking 180 degrees because suicide has been redefined as health care and a right. Hence, protections — such as barring administered death to the mentally ill — soon come to be seen as obstacles.

That has happened in Canada, where the government is erasing its weak provision that death must be a “reasonably foreseeable” requirement to qualify for killing. Once that provision is repealed, psychiatric conditions diagnosed as “irremediable” could qualify for death.

This is the context in which the Canadian Psychiatric Association has warned the government not to “discriminate” against the mentally ill by barring them from lethal jabs when the law is changed. From the Association’s Position Statement (my emphasis):

2. Patients with a psychiatric illness should not be discriminated against solely on the basis of their disability, and should have available the same options regarding MAiD [medical assistance in dying, i.e., euthanasia] as available to all patients.

3. Psychiatrists will be mindful of the medical ethical principles as they relate to MAiD. They should not allow personal opinion or bias to sway patients who wish to consider MAiD as an option for addressing irremediable conditions.

4. While psychiatrists may choose not to be involved with the provision of MAiD, patients requesting MAiD must be provided with information regarding available MAiD resources and the referral process...

The CPA will continue to protect the rights and interests of patients with psychiatric conditions at all times, and with particular attention to the issues of decisional capacity, informed consent and irremediable conditions in the legislation and evolving landscape of MAiD. The CPA will advocate for the inclusion of appropriate safeguards in processes, protocols, procedures and legislation pertaining to provision of MAiD.

So the last line of defense protecting the mentally ill against suicide will be required by their Association’s ethics rules to cooperate in the very act they were once duty-bound to prevent, and indeed, participate in the euthanasia of eligible psychiatric patients by providing information about the process, and either killing them or referring them to a doctor who will. And they are not allowed to try to talk patients out of dying because that would be “bias.”

Published with permission from the National Review.


  assisted suicide, discrimination, euthanasia, maid, medical aid in dying bill, psychiatrist

Blogs

New Zealand lawmakers enact abortion on demand under cover of coronavirus

'Kiwis watched with growing disbelief,' said one New Zealander, 'as the unfettered extremism of the abortion lobby and its allies in Parliament was put on full display.'
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 8:13 pm EST
Featured Image
Sorang / Shutterstock.com
Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Plans for a public referendum on the decriminalization of abortion in New Zealand were scrapped by lawmakers today in favor of a parliamentary vote, and legislators voted 68 to 51 to remove abortion from the 1961 Crimes Act. Abortion already had been essentially legal, with women being required to obtain the approval of two physicians who determined that the pregnancy was a danger to the physical or mental health of the mother. The Crimes Act was never enforced in the case of abortion, and no women actually went to prison for having one (technically speaking, the law permitted prison terms of up to 14 years for aborting a child).

According to justice minister Andrew Little, removing this last bit of stigma against abortion was a necessary move that gives women more control over their bodies (and the bodies of their pre-born children, which he did not mention). Little said the status quo had resulted in women lying in order to obtain abortions and caused delays that he felt were unnecessary. “From now [on] abortions will be rightly treated as a health issue,” he stated on Wednesday. “The previous law required a woman seeking an abortion to go through many hoops.”

Under the new law, women will be able to get abortions up to twenty weeks with no questions asked, with the approval of a doctor being required to abort a baby after twenty weeks. Jan Logie, a Green M.P., told the New Zealand Herald, “It’s been a long time coming. Today I hope we will come out of the sexual and reproductive time warp that we’ve been stuck in for over 40 years.” Simeon Brown, a Conservative M.P., responded by pointing out that pre-born children have a heartbeat and can feel pain, and that the law should treat them with dignity and respect. Most politicians, unfortunately, did not feel the same way.

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Andy Moore, who became involved in the pro-life movement in New Zealand in 2008 when he co-founded ProLife NZ, the movement’s only youth wing at the time (he now works as the digital director for the U.S.-based Susan B. Anthony List), had a different reaction. “This is a dark day for Aotearoa, New Zealand,” he told me. “The country that markets itself as ‘100% pure’ has now entered the shameful company of just 7 other countries in the world — including China and North Korea — that permit abortion on demand, for any reason, through all nine months. Worse still, Kiwi taxpayers will be forced to pay for abortions with their hard-earned tax dollars.”

Moore highlighted the fact that the abortion extremism shocked many New Zealanders: “Kiwis watched with growing disbelief as the unfettered extremism of the abortion lobby and its allies in Parliament was put on full display. The majority of Kiwis found it morally repugnant that many commonsense and compassionate amendments — including on to ensure medical care for late-term babies who survive an abortion — were defeated.” Even the prime minister, Jacinda Ahern, voted against the amendment.

Predictably, not even total decriminalization was enough for some people, with many observers noting the fact that so-called “bubble zones” banning pro-lifers from offering help outside abortion facilities were not part of the bill, a provision that many abortion activists wanted.

On the day of the bill’s second reading, pro-life activists protested outside Parliament. Some of them held up signs featuring photographs of aborted babies, beautiful children who had been reduced to bloody clumps of flesh by the tools of abortionists. The prime minister said the photographs were “not OK,” and justice minister Andrew Little went even farther, stating that the pictures were “sick.”

He did not seem to realize that if the photographs of the aborted babies are “sick,” the actual act of aborting those babies is infinitely worse. Like so many politicians, Andrew Little could not bear to face the consequences of his own actions — and did not want to see the evidence that his bill has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with the ugly destruction of human life.

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 speaks with Alessandra Bocchi, who is currently in Rome, about what is actually happening on the ground in Rome and across Italy. Bocchi is from Lombardy, the hardest hit region of Italy, but is “stuck” in Rome due to the government’s requests that people not leave their current locations in order to stop the spread of the virus. The scene she shares is quite surreal.

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


  abortion, new zealand

Blogs

The Church encourages priests to say Masses, even without the faithful

Encouraging priests to deprive themselves of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with or without a congregation present, reflects a weak faith and tepid charity.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 8:04 pm EST
Featured Image
Anneka / Shutterstock.com
Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — In an article entitled “Private Mass Does Not Fit with a Contemporary Understanding of Eucharist” (first published in German at katholisch.de), three tired old “liturgists” from Bonn, Erfurt, and Münster are thundering from their academic “cathedras” against Mass being celebrated without the presence of the faithful.

These academics have nothing better to do than try to conserve what they perceive as “wins” from the postconciliar period, when the Mass, instead of being seen as a grace-bestowing renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary, was reinterpreted as a horizontal social event not very different from a Protestant assembly. The inherent value of the priest’s daily offering of the all-pleasing Victim for his own spiritual benefit and the benefit of the entire Church was downplayed in favor of concelebrations; often priests fell into the habit of saying Mass only when scheduled to do so in public.

This reductive notion of the Mass has never been the mind of the Holy Catholic Church, nor is it her mind today.

When such errors first began to arise after the Council, Pope Paul VI condemned them firmly in his Encyclical Letter Mysterium Fidei of 1965. He stated: “It is not permissible to extol the so-called ‘community’ Mass in such a way as to detract from Masses that are celebrated privately” (n. 11). Later in the document, he comments on “the public and social nature of each and every Mass”:

For each and every Mass is not something private, even if a priest celebrates it privately; instead, it is an act of Christ and of the Church. In offering this sacrifice, the Church learns to offer herself as a sacrifice for all and she applies the unique and infinite redemptive power of the sacrifice of the Cross to the salvation of the whole world. For every Mass that is celebrated is being offered not just for the salvation of certain people, but also for the salvation of the whole world. The conclusion from this is that even though active participation by many faithful is of its very nature particularly fitting when Mass is celebrated, still there is no reason to criticize but rather only to approve a Mass that a priest celebrates privately for a good reason in accordance with the regulations and legitimate traditions of the Church, even when only a server to make the responses is present. For such a Mass brings a rich and abundant treasure of special graces to help the priest himself, the faithful, the whole Church and the whole world toward salvation — and this same abundance of graces is not gained through mere reception of Holy Communion. (n. 32)

Rejecting the Mass without a congregation is neither more nor less than a rejection of the dogmatically defined Catholic understanding of the Mass, which is not about this or that group of people who happen to be present, but about bringing our world and all of the faithful back to the Father through Jesus Christ. It is obviously good when the faithful are present to participate in this offering — it is good for them — but the offering remains objectively real and efficacious whether a thousand, twenty, or no members of the faithful are present in person.

Are we forgetting, too, that Mass is offered in the presence of the holy angels and in communion with the saints of the Church triumphant so often honored in the liturgy and especially in the Eucharistic Prayer? Even a priest “alone” in a chapel is never alone; he is always in the company of God’s elect, “wrestling not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness” (cf. Eph. 6:12). Of course, this cosmic perspective — which is that of Sacrosanctum Concilium no less than of Catholic tradition as a whole — depends on a living faith in what cannot be seen by the human eye. The German progressivists seem to reduce everything to what can be seen, betraying a lack of faith in the invisible realm, which is not less but far more real than the physical world around us.

As I detailed in an article at New Liturgical Movement, we find encouragement for the priest’s personal offering of Mass in the current Code of Canon Law as well as in the postconciliar Magisterium. In his Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003), John Paul II teaches as follows:

If the Eucharist is the center and summit of the Church’s life, it is likewise the center and summit of priestly ministry. For this reason, with a heart filled with gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ, I repeat that the Eucharist “is the principal and central raison d’être of the sacrament of priesthood, which effectively came into being at the moment of the institution of the Eucharist.”… We can understand, then, how important it is for the spiritual life of the priest, as well as for the good of the Church and the world, that priests follow the Council’s recommendation to celebrate the Eucharist daily: “for even if the faithful are unable to be present, it is an act of Christ and the Church” (Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 13). In this way priests will be able to counteract the daily tensions which lead to a lack of focus and they will find in the Eucharistic sacrifice — the true center of their lives and ministry — the spiritual strength needed to deal with their different pastoral responsibilities. Their daily activity will thus become truly Eucharistic. (n. 31)

Benedict XVI concurs in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (2007):

The Eucharistic form of the Christian life is seen in a very special way in the priesthood. Priestly spirituality is intrinsically Eucharistic.… An intense spiritual life will enable him [the priest] to enter more deeply into communion with the Lord and to let himself be possessed by God’s love, bearing witness to that love at all times, even the darkest and most difficult. To this end, I join the Synod Fathers in recommending “the daily celebration of Mass, even when the faithful are not present” (Propositio 38). This recommendation is consistent with the objectively infinite value of every celebration of the Eucharist, and is motivated by the Mass’s unique spiritual fruitfulness. If celebrated in a faith-filled and attentive way, Mass is formative in the deepest sense of the word, since it fosters the priest’s configuration to Christ and strengthens him in his vocation. (n. 80)

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal that governs celebrations in the “Ordinary Form” provides rubrics for the offering of Holy Mass when only one minister participates (nn. 252–272), and for the offering of Holy Mass without the participation of a minister (n. 254). The rubrics that govern the celebration of the “Extraordinary Form” likewise provide for such a situation. Such consistent provision over many centuries, before and after the Second Vatican Council and down to the present, would make no sense if this scenario were not anticipated as a necessary and praiseworthy practice in certain situations. It is manifestly neither an abuse nor an “outmoded idea,” pace our Bonn professors.

The prayer of our Eternal High Priest is the holiest and most powerful of all prayers, and the Mass is His salvific prayer, His sweet-smelling oblation, offered at the hands of the ordained minister for the welfare of the living and the dead, and for the priest’s own sanctification. If the priest is not holy — if he does not assiduously pursue conformity with Christ the High Priest — his ministry will be increasingly empty, shallow, fruitless. That is of no benefit to the People of God.

In times of danger and difficulty, the faithful and their ministers stand in even greater need of the grace of God, supporting and strengthening them. To deprive the Church of so great a good as a single Holy Mass, or to encourage priests to deprive themselves of it on any day, would reflect not so much an enlightened attitude as a weak faith, a turning away from the supernatural, a tepid charity, a placing of hope in this world and its “solutions.” Whatever their merits, worldly solutions are not ultimate ones, and they cannot bring us the divine help we need.

Correction, 03-19-20: This blog post was updated to accurately reflect the locations of the three liturgists advocating against private Masses. LifeSite regrets the error.


  catholic, liturgy

Blogs

Yes, there’s a St. Corona, but she has nothing to do with fighting viruses

The saint has traditionally been hailed as the patron of treasure hunters.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 5:28 pm EST
Featured Image
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

FELTRE, Italy, March 18, 2020  (LifeSiteNews) ― A little-known saint has been rescued from her earthly obscurity because of her striking name. 

St.Corona, until now believed to be the patron saint of treasure hunters, has been promoted by spontaneous internet reports as the patroness of those fighting against plagues and pandemics. However, evidence for this claim is lacking. 

The historical details of the life of St. Corona are few. According to the webpage of the Basilica of Saints Victor and Corona in Anzu, Italy, her martyrdom, which closely followed that of St. Victor, was recorded in a fourth century work by a deacon in the Church of Antioch. The two saints were martyred in 171 AD in Syria during the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius (b.121 - d.180).  

The unknown author wrote that St. Corona, the young wife of one of St. Victor’s colleagues, was present when the soldier was put on trial for his Christianity and  tortured. Impressed by his courage, St. Corona declared aloud that she, too, was a Christian. She was arrested, interrogated and condemned to have her feet tied to the tops of two curved palm trees, which were then released, tearing her apart. 

“St. Victor, instead, had his head cut off,” the account ends. 

Another account of the martyrdom of Saints Corona and Victor appears in the Roman Martyrology. This account says the two were martyred during the reign of Antoninus (b.86- d.161). “Victor was subjected to various horrible torments under the judge Sebastian,” it reads. 

“As Corona, the wife of a certain soldier, was proclaiming him happy for his fortitude in his suffering, she saw two crowns falling from heaven, one for Victor and the other for herself,” it continues. 

“She related this to all present, and was torn to pieces between two trees; Victor was beheaded.”  

The relics of Saints Victor and Corona now resting in the Basilica are believed to have traveled from Syria to Cyprus and then to Venice before arriving in Feltre “probably in the ninth century,” the Basilica account states. 

Scientific research carried out in 1943 and 1981 confirmed that the relics are the bones of a man and a woman. The later investigation determined the presence of Cedrus pollen, suggesting that the relics are indeed from the Middle East, as the tradition states.   

Less certain is that anyone prayed to St. Corona for the relief of disease before this current outbreak of a coronavirus. Historically, she has had a following in German-speaking countries, but unfortunately her name was given to a folk magic ritual popular in the 17th and 18th centuries to find treasure. St. Corona thus became a patron saint of treasure hunting. She has also been invoked as the patron saint of money because her name so closely resembles a German word for currency.    

It would seem, therefore, the story that St. Corona is a noted patroness of plague and pandemic is too good to be true. A saint who is proven to have been invoked in times of pestilence is St. Edmund of East Anglia. Almost nothing is known about St. Edmund’s life and martyrdom, but his intercession was believed to have saved the French city of Toulouse from the plague that raged there between 1628 and 1631.  

The feast of Saints Victor and Corona is traditionally celebrated on March 14.


  catholic, coronavirus, italy, martyrdom, st. corona, st. victor

Blogs

UPDATE: Young man who threw Pachamama in Tiber releases new message from hospital

Alexander remains in the hospital and is asking for prayers for a full recovery.
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 3:33 pm EST
Featured Image
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Alexander Tschugguel, the young man who heroically tossed the Pachamama idol into the Tiber River during the Amazonian Synod, has provided an update on Facebook about his hospitalization from the coronavirus.

As I told you yesterday, I texted Alexander only a couple of days ago and he was too weak even to speak. Now, praise God, he seems to be doing somewhat better but please keep the prayers coming.

Several people have told me that there is likely a spiritual side to this story given Alexander’s courageous role in removing the pagan idols from Santa Maria Church in Traspontina during the Amazon Synod. After all, his actions, which were praised by faithful Catholic bishops and Cardinals, some even comparing him to the Maccabee brothers of the Old Testament, created a new vigor in the church.

It is very likely that Alexander was cursed or that he is a special target of the evil one whom he has infuriated by his holy actions.

So, in addition to praying for him, let’s all do some fasting too since the Lord told us that some demons only come out by prayer and fasting.

Alexander is not just some young man who had a bright idea to remove these idols and now basks in the glory of worldwide recognition. He undertook this action out of a true zeal for the house of the Lord. It was the same zeal which led our Lord to cast the money changers out of the temple.

He is a young man full of faith and hope. He is also a very well educated traditional Catholic with a wisdom well beyond his years. He is exemplary in his prayer life and his activism for life and family. He is generous with his time and despite all the fame he has rightfully acquired he remains humble. He wears his Austrian jacket with pride as a man who stands up for his nation, but for him the faith is paramount.

When he contemplated his action of removing the idols from the Church he knew full well that he was risking his own freedom. He discussed it with his wife and she, no doubt heroic as well, agreed and encouraged him. He carried out his act with spiritual guidance as well as with fervent and frequent prayer.

He is a leader in the Church Militant. It should therefore be no surprise that Satan would attack him.

We are all in a calamitous situation right now. All the world is in this same situation but it gives us amazing opportunities to focus on our spiritual life – the real battle. I ask you to promise that you won’t waste this time given to us on video games, movies, and all sorts of useless pursuits. Use this time to grow your spiritual life, to read the lives of the saints, and to practices of devotion you always wish you had time to perform. You have that time now. We’ve been gifted time now. Don’t waste it. Use it wisely.

Have you read the Bible cover to cover yet? No? Now is the time. Have you read St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary, or The Immitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis? No? Now is the time.

Have you always wished you could be praying a daily rosary with the family? Now is the time to establish that routine and vow to never let it stop.

At LifeSite today you will see suggestions for keeping holy the Lord’s Day – that is Sunday. It’s not just about watching a Mass on TV or the internet. Yes, you should do that, and there are great resources for that. But, you should set apart the whole of Sunday as a day devoted to God: for prayer for spiritual reading, for meditation and reflection, and for family time directed to the faith.

Life is all about coming to a holy death so we can be in heaven forever. Remember that all things work for good for those who love God. And we love Him with all our hearts! So this Coronavirus situation will surely benefit us! Praise the Lord!

Remember to pray for Alexander and for all those suffering with coronavirus for their healing but most of all for the spiritual healing of this world which is now feeling a first taste of the chastisement of God for rejecting Him.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

It is also available in audio format on platforms such as SpotifySoundcloud, and ACast. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe to the audio version on various channels, visit the ACast webpage here.

We’ve created a special email list for the show so that we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel, and you’ll be notified by YouTube when there is new content.

You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected].

Subscribe

* indicates required

By clicking subscribe, you are agreeing to receive emails about The John-Henry Westen Show and related emails from LifeSiteNews.

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.


  alexander tschugguel, coronavirus, pachamama, rome

Blogs

Italian Catholics on the ground relate ‘extremely grave’ situation caused by coronavirus

The entire social structures have 'broken apart' and the 'life of the Church is totally broken'
Wed Mar 18, 2020 - 12:53 pm EST
Featured Image
Medical staff collect a patient from an ambulance at the second Covid-19 hospital in the Columbus unit on March 17, 2020, in Rome, Italy. Antonio Masiello/Getty Images
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Different Catholic commentators from Italy have shown grave concern about the coronavirus and its rapid spreading and are supporting measures that are restricting the virus. In the midst of conflicting debates as to whether this illness is just a little bit worse than the normal flu, they see that it is dangerous and that we need to contain it. As we all struggle to understand this new disease and how to respond to it, LifeSite reached out to several well-informed Catholics who are already living under the conditions of lockout and closed churches.

LifeSite is presenting now the views of those Catholics who have been outspoken in this discussion, among them Professor Roberto de Mattei, as well as a Rome-based journalist, Professor Armin Schwibach, and Hilary White, a traditional Catholic journalist living in Italy.

Professor Roberto de Mattei, a church historian and the President of the Lepanto Foundation, has told LifeSite that he supports “restrictive health measures.” 

“Faced with the Coronavirus epidemic,” he states, “I believe that the Italian line, which aims to protect people's health, is fairer than that of some countries.” 

“I am therefore in favor of restrictive health measures,” the church historian goes on to say. He also reminds us that in Italy “it is forbidden to leave houses, unless you have to go to work, to a pharmacy or to a supermarket.”

But Professor de Mattei at the same time reminds us of the importance of our spiritual life. He regrets that the Masses are currently abolished in Italy, saying that “in my opinion, it would be possible to authorize them with due precautions. We are receiving extra Missam communion every day from a zealous priest.”

“Communion in the mouth cannot carry the virus if the priest disinfects his hands every time he distributes it,” Professor de Mattei explains.

He also stresses that “we must certainly do everything to preserve our lives but we must also ensure the spiritual goods that we need in order to persevere in the difficult days ahead.”

Practically, the spiritual means are: “the daily holy Rosary and Holy Communion as frequently as possible, even extra Missam. But above all we must love the justice of God, because without justice there can be no mercy and God is infinitely merciful because He is infinitely right.”

De Mattei also puts this current crisis in the context of the messages of  Our Lady of Fatima, saying that this is the moment “to remember the message of Fatima, because the divine punishments, which have already been affecting the Church for many years, are making themselves visible to the whole society.”

“It is time to multiply the calls for conversion and repentance and to nourish the supernatural spirit of those close to us,” the Catholic historian goes on to say. “We must certainly insist on asking for consecration to Russia. Pope Francis, or another Pope will make this consecration, but I fear it will be too late, as Our Lady predicted in Fatima.”

With reassuring words, Professor de Mattei concludes his comments to LifeSite, saying that everything that happens “is for the salvation of the elected and for the triumph of the Church,”  adding that “the closer the punishment is, the closer will be the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that Our Lady has promised us.”

‘Entire social structures have broken apart’

Other Catholics in Italy, such as Professor Armin Schwibach – the Rome Correspondent for the Austrian Catholic website Kath.net and a professor of philosophy – responds to the claim of many that the Coronavirus is not much worse than the usual flu. He responds: “Europe is broken, Italy, Spain, Germany. Is that not enough? The current damage in Italy is currently 650 billion euros.” Everything that existed 20 years ago, he continues, “no longer exists.” The “entire social structures have broken apart,” and the “life of the Church is totally broken.”

Schwibach also says that “the measures are necessary,” but they have grave consequences, even an increase of broken families because they “are simply locked up.” “Tonight,” he continues, “France will close, with military in the streets,” just as the Italians “have military in the streets here, too.” 

Schwibach recounts that “it’s not even certain how the supply will be regulated.” 

“I would advise everyone to take the matter seriously,” Schwibach tells LifeSite, and encourages everyone to “take a look at the films from the Italian intensive care units. The videos of the desperate doctors. The videos of the empty cities.” He adds that it is “not foreseeable how things will continue in the financial world.”

Professor Schwibach – who has repeatedly interviewed Cardinal Walter Brandmüller on matters of the Church – describes how “achievements of the last 50 years have been wiped away,” borders closed, and how “politicians first deny and then panic.” The European community, he adds, is gone.

‘The situation in Italy is extremely grave’

Hilary White, a former reporter of LifeSite and a resident of Perugia, Italy, has the following to tell us, while fully admitting that she is “nothing like an expert” but has simply read much on the topic: 

“The situation in Italy is extremely grave. The virus is incredibly transmissible; virologists have said it has between 100 and 1000 times the ability to bond with human cells than even our very worst viral epidemics like Spanish flu. This information is available online, but is mostly only being distributed by concerned people on social media. The MSM is either ignoring or suppressing it. Corona19 does not have the kill rate overall that SARS or other viruses do, but the two factors – extreme transmissibility and the fact that the person carrying the virus will not experience any warning symptoms for up to three weeks – is making it spread faster than anything we've seen in Europe in modern times. It's going faster than any of the great plagues of the past except the Black Death. This means that even with the comparatively lower death rate, the number of deaths overall will likely be much greater than other recent viral epidemics. Sheer volume will outpace the others, and is already.” 

White also provides us with some recommendations for further study. For her, “closing the churches is perfectly sensible,” due to the high transmissibility of the virus. 

LifeSite asked White about some practical recommendations. We reproduce them here for our readers' benefit:

“Practical things. In our village –  as in most of the rest of Italy – the supermarkets and pharmacies are open. Each family is asked to designate one person to do the shopping and the rest must stay at home. When you leave the property, you must carry a 'self-declaration' – a form that you fill out stating your address and where you are going and the reason for the necessity. (This came into effect since the last time I went to the village so I don't know if it is being enforced.) At the village supermarket, they are open all day so as to avoid creating crowds and queues. They are allowing one person at a time into the shop.”

She continues with her practical measures:

“When I went out last time to bring home supplies, I wore gloves. When I left the shop I removed them (according to surgical nursing protocols, that is, without touching the outside part) and discarded them immediately. I used alcohol-based sanitizer and gloves to use the water fountain and washed the bottles and discarded the 2nd pair of gloves. When I got my things home, I left everything on the terrace and, again wearing gloves, took out every item (each apple, each orange, each potato etc) including the bottles and cans, and soaked them in a solution of 1 gallon (about 3L) of water + 2 tsps of bleach and dish liquid for 2 or 3 minutes. Then transferred the sterilized items to a water bath. Then chopped, bagged and froze in the freezer chest.

This is the normal procedure of many people who live in developing countries where water and food supplies can't be guaranteed to be sterile or safe. It's standard for medical volunteers in places where viral outbreaks occur – like Ebola in Africa.

Vinegar does nothing to stop the virus. Use bleach in a solution of water. Soap – ordinary hand soap – is also very effective. Wash your hands any time you have contact not only with a person but with any object a person might have touched outside the home.

Everyone around here is keeping a minimum distance of 1 meter. But researchers have discovered that in a closed environment the virus can be transmitted up to 5 meters away.”

These are voices from Italy. Their situation might be worse than any future situation in this country – due to the high mortality rate they are experiencing. But the transmissibility and even a lower mortality rate will still do much damage to many lives in our country. 

Therefore, it may be better to prepare – both physically and spiritually – for some difficult times.

May Pope Francis do the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary now.


  catholic, consecration of russia, coronavirus, holy communion, italy, roberto de mattei

Podcast Image

EpisodesWed Mar 18, 2020 - 3:36 pm EST

A country completely shut down: behind the scenes of Italy’s lockdown

By Jonathon Van Maren   Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Alessandra Bocchi, who is currently in Rome, joins Van Maren to discuss what is actually happening on the ground in Rome and across Italy.

Bocchi is from Lombardy, the hardest hit region of Italy, but is ‘stuck’ in Rome due to the government’s requests that people not leave their current locations in order to stop the spread of the virus. The scene she shares is quite surreal.