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Trans activist sues pro-family group for $15K for not calling him a woman

'Using the wrong pronouns towards a transgender individuals is a hate crime,' Jonathan Yaniv claimed.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 9:53 pm EST
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Zolnierek / Shutterstock.com
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence

LANGLEY, British Columbia, March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Transgender activist Jonathan “Jessica” Yaniv is suing a well known British Columbia parents’ rights advocate for $15,000 for allegedly spreading hate against him by referring to him with male pronouns.

Yaniv filed his suit against Kari Simpson of CultureGuard, a group that battles the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curriculum in the schools, on March 17 at a small claims court in Langley, British Columbia.

“Kari Simpson is exhibiting hatered [sic] and spreading that hate over social media due to me being transgender[.] ... She also purposely uses the wrong pronouns in an effort to hurt, and spread hate towards me, referring to me, a female, as ‘he/him/his,’” he wrote.

“Using the wrong pronouns towards a transgender individuals is a hate crime. Purposefully using the wrong pronouns constitutes discrimination and criminal harassment.”

For her part, Simpson says she’s ready to take on Yaniv, who gained international notoriety for the human rights complaints he filed last year against at least 16 beauticians for refusing to wax his male genitals, as well as for his widely disseminated online social media messages that reveal a disturbing sexual interest in young girls.

“I’m delighted at the invitation that Yaniv has provided me with into the court system to once and for all determine whether or not people have the right to deal in reality versus delusion, and whether the court will order people to lie,” Simpson told LifeSiteNews.

“I will protect Yaniv’s position to dress up like a woman, put lipstick on, but where his delusion ends is where my reality begins,” she added.

“He is not a woman. He should not be accessing women’s washrooms. He is a danger. He is a predator. And he is abusive.”

Yaniv, a 32-year-old tech writer who runs a website called Trusted Nerd, was most recently in the news when he pleaded guilty March 16 at the Surrey provincial courthouse to possessing a prohibited weapon.

His criminal conviction stemmed from an August 5 incident in which Yaniv brandished and appeared to fire off a Taser during an online debate, prompting a number of people to call the Langley RCMP.  Yaniv was arrested later that night, and in a subsequent search, the RCMP found two stun guns, bear spray, and pepper spray at his residence.

On Monday, B.C. Provincial Court judge Jay Solomon ordered a pre-sentence report, which includes a psychological report, before Yaniv’s scheduled June 1 sentencing. He faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Yaniv’s suit against Simpson appears connected to this court appearance, at which he strongly objected to her being present, telling her: “You’re not allowed to be here, b----!” He then called the Surrey RCMP, which is housed close to the courthouse, and officers showed up, Simpson told LifeSiteNews.

Constable Elenore Sturko, a self-identified member of the LGBT community, told LifeSiteNews that the officers attended because of an alleged “courthouse disturbance” but closed the file after an investigation and that she could not confirm if Yaniv made the complaint because of privacy concerns.

The next day, Yaniv filed his lawsuit against Simpson, claiming in a request to have the filing costs waived that “I have become suicidal due to her level of harassment and her involvement in anti-LGBTQ and anti–SOGI 123 politics. It’s stressful and causing me severe anxiety, and depression.”

He further claimed that “when I go to my audiologist [Simpson] starts recording me from her office above him.” Presumably, he is referring to the February 14 incident, which Simpson recorded and describes on her website as beginning when Yaniv photographed her office.

Yaniv also filed a suit claiming $30,000 in damages against Donald Smith, an autistic man whom Simpson describes as “intellectually vulnerable.”

Yaniv claims in his filed document that Smith’s posted videos referring to him “as a man” have caused Yaniv “much emotional damage” and “significant financial loss” and that Smith has broken his bail conditions.

But according to Simpson, Yaniv has been calling the Surrey RCMP and making allegations against Smith, and as a result, Smith is now charged with criminal harassment, uttering threats, and breach of undertaking and has spent 39 days in jail awaiting his June 2020 trial.

Simpson has become involved in Smith's case and was principally responsible for getting him released from pre-trial custody on a $10,000 surety  — which, she suspects, “put a target on my back because it messed up Yaniv’s plan to keep Donald in jail” and led to Yaniv’s suit against her, she told LifeSiteNews.

She says that for her defense, she will be requesting documents relating to Yaniv’s “biological reality ... that entitles me to prove whether or not my pronoun use is appropriate.”

Simpson has argued previously in a case she filed with the B.C. Law Society that there is no law in Canada — including the Liberal Bill C-16, which added “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the human rights code and the Criminal Code hate speech section — that actually compels people to use particular pronouns.

Yaniv’s lawsuit will “allow us to challenge the gender identity provisions within our human rights legislation once and for all,” she told LifeSiteNews.

“This is a perfect opportunity for some semblance of grammatical order and logic to be established in the nation of Canada, as far as the rights of individuals to deal with reality versus delusion and compelled speech,” added Simpson.

Meanwhile, Yaniv is facing a civil suit by reporters Keean Bexte and David Menzies of Rebel News for allegedly assaulting both men on separate occasions: Bexte on January 13, Menzies in August, in incidents that were recorded.

Amy Eileen Hamm, a reporter for the Post Millennial, is also suing Yaniv for defamation after the trans activist claimed that Hamm voyeuristically sexually assaulted him in a ladies’ room at the Surrey courthouse January 13.

Related:

Man who identifies as ‘female’ asks township to approve LGBT pool party for ‘topless’ 12-year-olds, no parents

Canadian LGBT lawyer faces challenge for claiming transgender pronouns are ‘the law’


  courts, jonathan yaniv, kari simpson, lgbt tyranny, pronouns, transgenderism

News

Experts criticize tyrannical modern state structure as destructive to families

Among the more striking remarks was Professor Guido Hülsmann's acknowledgment that abortion disincentivizes men to marry because the state empowers women to destroy the family at any time.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 9:13 pm EST
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Professor Guido Hülsmann. Demo für alle / YouTube
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

BÖBLINGEN, Germany, March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The modern state is harming families, Guido Hülsmann, a professor of economics in Angers, France, argued at a pro-family symposium.

“Today, we have above all state interventionism to the detriment of the family,” Hülsmann said.

The symposium, organized by DemoFürAlle, took place on February 15 in the German town of Böblingen. Apart from Hülsmann, major speakers were Imre Téglásy, director of Human Life International in Hungary; Raphael Bonelli, an Austrian psychiatrist; and Hubertus Knabe, a historian intimately familiar with the authoritarian government in former East Germany.

Hülsmann explained that the modern state was created in contradistinction to a society based on natural law. Thus, the state was able to define what is right and what is wrong. The modern state has a tendency, he said, to grow in an “unlimited” way.

The professor argued that the state generally does not intend to harm families. Sometimes, the state might not even be aware of the consequences of a policy. Other times, the harmful consequences are in fact known and approved nonetheless, because the policy would improve another situation.

In that context, Hülsmann strongly criticized “our current monetary system, because it generates constant price inflation, which is quite deliberate.” Price inflation “creates irresistible incentives for a debt economy.”

“If you have constant price inflation, then it is worthwhile for everyone to finance long-term investments by credit,” Hülsmann said. He then asked, “How many families have been broken by the fact that there were debts the family was unable to pay?”

Hülsmann also referred to the modern state’s goal to emancipate and liberate the individual.

Laws allowing abortion and divorce make it less attractive for a man to get married, since the woman is more easily able to destroy the family at any point, he explained. Kids staying at school until the late afternoon, which was very uncommon in Germany, leads to an education less optimal than it could be, Hülsmann said, since the parents are no longer raising their own children.

The retirement and health care systems in a modern welfare state are not the best for families, according to Hülmann.

“You don’t necessarily need the wife or the husband to cope with these life problems, to prepare for old age, to stay in good health. In principle, you can have any lifestyle you want. You can do dangerous sports, consume excessive alcohol, take drugs, etc. In the end, all responsibility is taken away,” he said.

“Since you know that you will receive a state pension, the incentives to have children in the first place and to raise children decrease, because you receive payment regardless of whether and how many children you yourself have raised as future taxpayers. The benefits will be socialized and the costs of raising children will remain private,” the professor clarified the retirement question.

Hülsmann concluded by pointing out that long-term goals to help the family in the modern state require short-term sacrifices.

Imre Téglásy of Human Life International in Hungary started his talk by looking at the term “nation.” Since “nation” is from the Latin word nasci, which comes from the word meaning “to be born,” Téglásy reasoned that there are no nations without births.

Hungary still has a low birth rate, even compared to other European countries, but the government has implemented certain measures intended to increase those numbers.

Some of the incentives of Hungarian government, led by prime minister Viktor Orbán, include tax benefits and home purchase loans for families, more spaces in nurseries, various transfer payments for couples with more children, car subsidies, and no income tax for mothers of four.

All of this sounds good on paper, but Téglásy looked at the effect those policies had. He said there was practically no improvement for many families in need, while the subsidies still help that part of the population that is wealthier.

While Fidesz, Orbán’s party, targets middle-class families, the fertility rates of poorer families that did not benefit from the policies increased more significantly.

Overall, the fertility rate went up from 1.25 to roughly 1.4 in the course of the last eight years. According to Téglásy, however, all Eastern European countries increased the rate slightly after the fall of communism.

Hungary’s new constitution states, “Every human being should have the right to life; embryonic and fetal life should be protected from the moment of conception.”

Nevertheless, the law permitting abortions is still in force. Up to 30,000 abortions are performed every single year in Hungary. Téglásy mentioned that Poland, another Eastern European country with a conservative government, has only 1,000 abortions per year.

“Now it is high time for true conservatives to stand up for a full turnaround. It is time to return to God, the Creator and Lord of the universe, and to the constitution of natural law,” the director of Human Life International in Hungary said.

“It is also high time to fully and uncompromisingly recognize as persons all human beings who are still in the bosom of their mothers. We are convinced that the bosom of mothers is the most intimate and dearest border of every nation, including the Hungarian nation.”

“The atheistic profit-oriented model of Western societies continues to prevent us from recognizing the rights of children before birth and the right of parents to educate their children,” he concluded.

Hubertus Knabe, who has studied the history of former East Germany, began by quoting from the family laws of that country, which referred to the family as the nucleus of society. However, “the reality looked very different.”

Kids spent ten hours or more of their day in daycare, as the mother was required to work. “After work, the second shift was waiting for the women, namely shopping, looking after the children, working in the household.”

According to Knabe, that second shift amounted to about 47 hours every week, since modern conveniences, including stores that have everything in stock, were generally unknown in East Germany.

There was also a lack of places to live. Only after getting married, people moved up on the waiting list of those looking for an apartment. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, Knabe said, 800,000 people were on that list.

“The most prominent example of such a marriage is our chancellor, who is called Merkel because after graduating she married Ulrich Merkel, a fellow student, in order to get an apartment in Berlin, and then divorced him after a short time,” Knabe pointed out.

In fact, many marriages ended quickly, but often they bore children. “Statistically, divorce usually occurred within the first three to four years of marriage.”

Even though East Germany had many policies intended to help families, for instance extra money for every child, and loan money at the beginning of marriage that did not have to be paid back after a certain number of children, the fertility rate was only 1.4 in the late 1980s.

Raphael Bonelli, a psychiatrist in the Austrian capital of Vienna, said that from a psychological perspective, the family is the nucleus of society. The subconscious desire of every human being is to “grow old” with somebody else.

“No one has ever told me, ‘I have a longing for a person I can live with for the next five years, and then I separate from him.’ There’s no such thing,” Bonelli emphasized.

Narcissism and perfectionism destroy the family, he explained, because they focus on the “I” instead of on the other person.

What makes free human beings and happy relationships is self-transcendence toward the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, the psychiatrist said.

In order to lead a good life, self-transcendence is key, but in a certain order: God first, then the spouse, the children, the parents and parents-in-law, and finally siblings.

“You won’t believe how many people infringe upon that hierarchy,” Bonelli said. “If the hierarchies are not clear, families don’t work.” Many people even put their career at the top.

Bonelli concluded with a few comments on family policies, and the lack of recognition for mothers. “Smart people have children and no time to argue with idiots,” he said, referring to people with a family who have better things to do than petitioning politicians.


  abortion, angela merkel, demo fur alle, divorce, family, germany, guido hülsmann, hungary, poland

News

Priest flies with monstrance in plane to bless coronavirus-stricken land

The Diocese of Camden, New Jersey received a special blessing from the sky from Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 6:15 pm EST
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Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

PRAYER PLEDGE: Rally around the daily Rosary to stop the coronavirus Sign the petition here.

March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic priests are doing their part to heroically battle against the coronavirus, finding creative means to not only deliver the sacraments to the faithful but also to beg God for mercy and deliverance. 

With the help of a pilot parishioner, Fr. Anthony Manuppella, pastor of St. Gianna Beretta Molla Parish in Northfield, New Jersey, took the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary into the skies above the Diocese of Camden and prayed for God’s protection, for the sick to be healed, and for the end of this “modern day plague, the coronavirus.”  

“While we’re up in the plane, with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, and a statue of our Blessed Mother, I’ll be chanting the litany of the saints because traditionally that is the prayer that we’ve said in the past when countries, especially in Europe, have been hit by the various plagues,” said Fr. Manuppella in  PressofAtlanticCity.com video interview.

“After the litany of the saints, there are many, many intercessory prayers to combat the virus, to combat a pandemic, or plague if you will,” continued Fr. Manuppella. “And so I’ll be praying those and other prayers as well as we go over the whole diocese of Camden. And I’ll bless them with Jesus and pray for their protection, pray for those that are sick to be healed, and pray also for the end, the cessation, of this modern day plague, the coronavirus, because this is an invisible enemy, and so only the powers of heaven will be able to combat it, and with of course the help of doctors etc., but God is always Number One. We always turn to Him.”

“I would hope that this virus would compel people to speak and think more about returning back to God, returning back to church,” he added. “Seeing how fragile we are, and how much we need God, we could die any minute … we could be afflicted with this.”

With Masses canceled, clergy bring the Blessed Sacrament to their parishioners

Undeterred after Masses have been canceled throughout North America and Europe, priests are bringing the Blessed Sacrament to their parishioners’ homes.   

Image
Fr. Anthony Manuppella takes to the skies with Blessed Sacrament over Camden, New Jersey to pray for protection and healing in the diocese. SOURCE: Screenshot, PressofAtlanticCity.com video

Fr. Michael Hirmer, a priest in the diocese of Regensburg, Germany, processes through his town wearing a surgical mask and gloves, delivering the Eucharist to those who come out to receive communion. 

“My old buddy Michael Hirmer, priest in the diocese of Regensburg, brings the holy Eucharist in procession through the village,” wrote Ulrich Lehner in a Tweet.  

“The faithful are asked to come to the windows to get blessed or receive at the garden door,” noted Lehner.  

Fr. Anthony Huong Van Le, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Martinez, California, has set up a web page where people can sign up to receive communion at home after watching the parish’s Sunday live-streamed Mass.

Parishioners are advised, “Please leave your name, address, telephone number and you will be contacted prior to one of the clergy arriving at your home (wearing gloves and masks) to distribute the sacrament.”

“Carmelite priest Fr. Justin Cinnante blesses New Rochelle, New York, with the help of some friends, earlier this week,” noted Kathryn Jean Lopez in a tweet, with a video of Fr. Cinnante standing on the back of pickup truck cruising neighborhood streets.        

“New Rochelle has been hit hard by coronavirus,” added Lopez. 

Readers have told LifeSiteNews that priests in Massachusetts and elsewhere are leading the Stations of the Cross by conference call, and the practice of drive-thru parking lot confessions seems to be spreading like wildfire around the country.    

https://twitter.com/Timothy_Meads/status/1240258197081989126


  blessed sacrament, catholic, coronavirus, diocese of camden, new jersey, pandemic

News

Bill banning transgender changes to birth certificates passes Idaho Legislature

Gov. Brad Little has yet to announce whether he'll sign it into law.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 5:06 pm EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

BOISE, Idaho, March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Birth certificates in Idaho will continue to accurately record the actual sex of residents born there, according to a bill that just cleared the state legislature and now awaits a signature from Republican Gov. Brad Little.

House Bill 509 forbids altering the sex listed on state birth certificates in the name of “gender identity.” Changes would only be allowed in order to correct errors in “material fact at the time of birth,” or to correct a “clerical or data entry error.”

“The purpose of documenting factual information on vital records is to help the government fulfill one of its most basic duties: protecting the health and safety of its citizens,” the bill declares. “Allowing individuals to alter their vital records, including birth certificates, based upon subjective feelings or experiences undermines the government's interest in having accurate vital records.”

The bill passed the state Senate on Tuesday after passing the state House last month, CNN reported. LGBT activists have demanded that Little veto the bill; the governor has yet to announce his intentions. 

Critics objected that the bill flies in the face of a 2018 court order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale forcing Idaho to grant requests for sex changes on birth certificates. Idaho Senate Democrat Minority Leader Michelle Stennett complained that HB509 is “unconstitutional and will cost the state a lot of money in court because it could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.” 

In fact, the Constitution contains no language that could be construed as dictating the record-keeping policies of state governments. But that won’t matter if the LGBT lobby convinces the Supreme Court to reinterpret the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on sex discrimination (which was meant strictly as a biological concept by the law’s drafters) as extending to subjective “gender identity.”


  birth certificate, gender, gender identity, idaho, lgbt, transgenderism

News

Italian bishop links Coronavirus to society’s ‘immoral drifts’

'Often, natural misfortunes are not entirely natural, but have behind them man's morally disordered attitudes.'
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 3:08 pm EST
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Bishop Giampolo Crepaldi
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In a remarkable reflection on the coronavirus emergency, Bishop Giampolo Crepaldi of Trieste, Italy, has started to draw lessons from the situation in Italy, blasting the globalist mentality that only seeks “scientific-technical” solutions while neglecting the moral issues at stake in a crisis like the one the world is facing.

Bishop Crepaldi’s thoughts were originally published this Thursday morning by Vaticanist Marco Tosatti on his blog, Stilum curiae: the Italian text is here.

LifeSite’s full English translation of Crepaldi’s text will allow our readers to see that one bishop, at least, near the epicenter of the Italian epidemic hub of “COVID 19,” is worried about the health and well-being of his flock, but even more so about its “salvation.”

Remarkably, Bishop Crepaldi linked his approach to the present emergency to the hype around “Mother Earth.” He showed that nature is not exempt from catastrophes and that she is not “only good,” slamming the “naturalistic” and “pantheistic” errors of those who consider man to be the planet’s main “polluter.”

“Nature must be governed by man, and the new pantheistic postmodern ideologies are inhuman,” he wrote: “It is not man who must naturalize himself, but nature which must be humanized.”

He also underscored the eternal perspectives of mankind, writing: “Revelation teaches us that creation is entrusted to man’s care and governance for the ultimate goal which is God.”

He said: “Will this experience with the coronavirus be taken to the point of deepening and broadening this notion of the common good? As we fight to save the lives of so many people, procured abortion procedures do not stop, the sale of abortion pills, euthanasia practices, the sacrifice of human embryos and many other practices against life and the family do not stop. Rediscovering the common good and the need for common and concerted participation on its behalf in the fight against the epidemic requires intellectual courage and the will to extend the concept as far as it naturally needs to go.”

Bishop Crepaldi also offers deep-going thoughts on national sovereignty which nations need to face crises such as the one we are going through, globalist rejection of the “principle of subsidiarity” which requires decisions to be taken at local level as much as possible, and the relation between State and Church at a time when so many churches over the world are being forced into closing masses to the faithful.

“Political authority weakens the fight against evil, as is also the case with the present epidemic, when it equates Holy Masses with recreational initiatives, thinking that they should be suspended,” he wrote.

Here below is LifeSite’s full translation of Bishop Crepaldi’s text, with kind permission from Marco Tosatti of Stilum curiae.

Full translation of Bishop Crepaldi’s text:

The epidemic linked to the spread of “COVID-19” has a strong impact on many aspects of human coexistence and for this reason it also requires analysis from the point of view of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Contagion is above all a sanitary situation and this is enough to link it directly to the goal of achieving the common good. Health is certainly a part of that. At the same time, it poses the problem of the relationship between man and nature and invites us to overcome the naturalism that is so widespread today; and I would like to recall that, even without government on the part of man, nature also produces catastrophes and that a nature that is only good and originally free from contamination does not exist.

Secondly, it raises the problem of participation in the common good and solidarity, inviting us to address, on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity, the various contributions that political and social actors can make to solving this serious problem and to rebuilding normalcy, once the epidemic will be behind us. It has become clear that these contributions must be interlinked, convergent and coordinated. The financing of health care, a problem that the coronavirus highlights very clearly, is a central moral issue in the pursuit of the common good. There is an urgent need to reflect both on the objectives of the health system and on its management and use of resources, as a review of the recent past shows a significant reduction in the funding of health care institutions. The epidemic is threatening the functionality of productive and economic sectors, and if it continues, it will lead to bankruptcy, unemployment, poverty, social difficulties and conflicts. The world of work will be subject to major upheavals, new forms of support and solidarity will be needed and drastic choices will have to be made.

The economic issue relates to the credit and monetary issues and, therefore, to Italy's relations with the European Union, on which the final decisions in these two areas depend in our country. This again raises the issue of national sovereignty and globalisation, highlighting the need to re-examine globalisation understood as a globalist systemic machine, which can also be very vulnerable precisely because of its rigid and artificial internal interrelationship, so that when a nerve centre is hit, it causes global systemic damage that is difficult to correct. When lower social levels are removed from sovereignty, all will be swept away. On the other hand, the coronavirus has also highlighted the “closures” of states, which are unable to cooperate effectively even if they are members of the supranational institutions to which they belong. Finally, the epidemic has raised the problem of the relationship of the common good with the Catholic religion and the relationship between the State and the Church. The suspension of Masses and the closure of churches are only some aspects of this problem.

This, then, seems to be the complex picture of the problems posed by the coronavirus epidemic. These are subjects that challenge the social doctrine of the Church, and this is why our Observatory feels called to propose a reflection, inviting further contributions in this direction. Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in Veritate, written in 2009 at a time of another crisis, states:  “The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future In this way, the crisis becomes an opportunity for discernment and it enables us to develop new projects.” (n. 21).

The end of ideological naturalism

Societies were and still are traversed by various ideological forms of naturalism that the experience of this epidemic could correct. The exaltation of a pure and originally uncontaminated nature of which man was the polluter was untenable; it is even more so today.  The idea of a Mother Earth originally endowed with its own harmonious equilibrium with whose spirit man would have to connect in order to find the right relationship with things and with himself is an absurdity that this experience could do away with. Nature must be governed by man, and the new pantheistic (and not only they) postmodern ideologies are inhuman. Nature, in the naturalistic sense of the word, also produces imbalances and illnesses and therefore it must be humanized. It is not man who must naturalize himself, but nature which must be humanized.

Revelation teaches us that creation is entrusted to man's care and governance for the ultimate goal which is God. Man has the right, because he has the duty, to manage the material creation, to govern it and to derive from it what is necessary and useful for the common good. Creation is entrusted by God to man, to his intervention according to reason and to his capacity for wise domination. Man is the regulator of creation, not the other way around.

The two meanings of the word “Salus”

The term “Salus” means health, in the sanitary sense of the word, and it also means salvation, in the ethical-spiritual and especially religious sense. The current experience with the coronavirus shows once again that the two meanings are linked. Threats to the health of the body induce changes in attitudes, in the way of thinking, in the values to be defended. They test the moral reference system of society as a whole. They demand ethically valid behavior, they call into question selfish, disengaged, indifferent, exploitative attitudes. They highlight forms of heroism in the common fight against contagion and, at the same time, forms of plundering of those who take advantage of the situation. The fight against contagion requires a moral rebuilding of society in terms of healthy and respectful behavior and solidarity, which is perhaps more important than the rebuilding of resources. The challenge of physical health is therefore linked to the challenge of moral health. We need profoundly to rethink the immoral drifts of our society, at all levels. Often, natural misfortunes are not entirely natural, but have behind them man's morally disordered attitudes. The origin of COVID-19 has not yet been definitively clarified; it may even turn out not to be of natural origin. But even if its purely natural origin is admitted, its social impact calls into question the community ethic. The answer is not and will not only be scientific-technical, but also moral. After the technical response, the serious coronavirus crisis should revive public morality on a new solid foundation.

Contribution to the common good

Ethical participation is necessary because the common good is at stake. The coronavirus epidemic contradicts all those who have argued that the common good as a moral end does not exist. If this were the case, what would all people inside and outside institutions be engaged in and fighting for? What commitment would citizens be called upon to make by restraining orders if not a moral commitment to the common good? On what basis is it said that a certain behavior is “mandatory” at this time? Those who have denied the existence of the common good or who have entrusted its implementation to techniques alone, but not to moral commitment for the good, are today contradicted by the facts. It is the common good that tells us that health is a good that we must all promote. It is the common good that tells us that the word Salus has two meanings.

Will this experience with the coronavirus be taken to the point of deepening and broadening this notion of the common good? As we fight to save the lives of so many people, procured abortion procedures do not stop, the sale of abortion pills, euthanasia practices, the sacrifice of human embryos and many other practices against life and the family do not stop. Rediscovering the common good and the need for common and concerted participation on its behalf in the fight against the epidemic requires intellectual courage and the will to extend the concept as far as it naturally needs to go.

Subsidiarity in the fight for health

The ongoing mobilization against the spread of the coronavirus has involved many levels of action, sometimes well coordinated, sometimes less so. There are different tasks that everyone has carried out according to their responsibilities. Once the storm has passed, it will be possible to take stock of what went wrong in the chain of subsidiarity, and to rediscover the important principle of subsidiarity in order to apply it better – and to apply it in all areas. One experience in particular must be valued: subsidiarity must be "for" and not a "prohibition of": it must be for the common good and, therefore, it must have an ethical basis and not just a political or functionalist basis; an ethical foundation based on the natural and finalized order of social life. This is a promising opportunity to move away from conventional visions of social values and goals.

An important point now highlighted by the coronavirus crisis is the subsidiary role of credit. The blockage of large sectors of the economy to ensure greater health security and reduce the spread of the virus is causing an economic crisis, particularly in terms of liquidity, for companies and households. If the crisis lasts for a long time, a crisis in the circularity of production and consumption is to be expected, with the specter of unemployment. In the face of these needs, the role of credit can be fundamental and the financial system could redeem itself from its many reprehensible deteriorations of the recent past.

Sovereignty and globalisation

The current experience with coronavirus also forces us to reconsider the two concepts of globalization and national sovereignty. There is a globalization that sees the entire planet as a “system” of rigid connections and articulations, an artificial construction governed by insiders, a series of seemingly unshakeable communicating vessels. However, such a concept has also been proved to be weak, because it suffices to strike the system at any given moment in order to create an avalanche domino effect. Epidemics can put the health system in crisis; quarantines put the productive system in crisis, causing the economic system to collapse, poverty and unemployment causing the credit system to run out of fuel, while the weakening of the population exposes it to new epidemics and so on in a series of vicious circles of global proportions. Until yesterday, globalization presented its splendors and glories of perfect technical-functional functioning, of unquestionable certainties about the obsolescence of States and nations, of the absolute value of the “open society”: one world, one religion, one universal morality, one globalist people, one world authority. But a virus may then be enough to bring down the system, since the non-global levels of response have been deactivated. Our experience warns us against an “open society” understood in this way, both because it is in the hands and power of a few and because a few other hands could bring it down like a house of cards. This is not to deny the importance of the international collaboration that pandemics require, but such collaboration has nothing to do with collective, mechanical, automatic and systemic global structures.

The European Union’s death by coronavirus

The experience of these days has shown once again a divided and ghost-like European Union. Selfish differences have arisen between Member States rather than cooperation. Italy has remained isolated, it has been left alone. The European Commission intervened late and the European Central Bank intervened badly. Faced with the epidemic, each State took steps to close down. The resources needed by Italy to deal with the emergency situation, which at other times would have been its own, for example with the devaluation of the currency, now depend on the decisions of the Union, to which it must bow down.

The coronavirus has definitively demonstrated the artificial nature of the European Union, which has revealed itself incapable of making the States , on which it has been superimposed by acquiring sovereignty, cooperate with each other. The lack of a moral cement has not been compensated for by an institutional and political cement. We must take note of this unglamorous end of the European Union by coronavirus, and realize that cooperation between European States in the fight for health is also possible outside the supranational political institutions.

State and Church

The word Salus means, as we have seen, also salvation, and not only health. Health is not salvation, as the martyrs taught us, but in a certain sense salvation also gives health. The proper functioning of social life, with its beneficial effects also on health, also needs the salvation promised by religion: "Man does not develop by his own strength alone" (Caritas in Veritate, 11).

The common good is of a moral nature and, as we have said above, this crisis should lead to the rediscovery of this dimension, but morality does not live by its own life, for it is incapable in the final analysis of being its own foundation. The problem arises here of the essential relationship that political life has with religion, the one that best guarantees the truth of political life. Political authority weakens the fight against evil, as is also the case with the present epidemic, when it equates Holy Masses with recreational initiatives, thinking that they should be suspended, perhaps even before suspending other forms of gathering which are certainly less important. Even the Church may be mistaken when she does not affirm, for the same authentic and complete common good, the public necessity of Holy Masses and the openness of churches. The Church contributes to the fight against the epidemic through the various forms of assistance, aid and solidarity which she knows how to implement, as she has always done in the past in similar cases. However, it is important to remain very attentive to the religious dimension of its contribution, so that it is not seen as a mere expression of civil society. This is why it is so important what Pope Francis said when he prayed to the Holy Spirit to give "pastors the pastoral capacity and discernment necessary to take measures that do not leave the faithful people of God alone. May the people of God feel accompanied by pastors and the comfort of the Word of God, the sacraments and prayer", naturally with the common sense and prudence that the situation demands.

This coronavirus emergency can be experienced by all “as if God did not exist” and in this case the next phase, when the emergency ends, will also apply such a vision of things as a logical continuation. In this way, however, the link between physical health and the moral and religious health that this painful emergency brought to light will have been forgotten. If, on the contrary, the need is felt to return to the recognition of God's place in the world, then the relationship between politics and the Catholic religion and between the State and the Church can also take the right path.

The urgency of the current epidemic profoundly challenges the Church's social doctrine. It is a heritage of faith and reason which, at the present time, can be of great help in the fight against the infection, a fight which must concern all levels of social and political life. Above all, it can help with regard to the post-coronavirus. We need an overarching view that does not exclude any really important perspective. Social life requires coherence and synthesis, especially when difficulties arise. That is why, in difficulties, people who know how to look in depth and upwards can find solutions and even opportunities to make things better than they were in the past.

Bishop Giancarlo Crepaldi
Bishop of Trieste, Italy


  catholic, coronavirus, giampolo crepaldi

News

Marvel goes full social justice with transgender New Warrior ‘Snowflake’

Comic book fans don't appear to be excited about non-binary 'Snowflake' and his twin 'Safespace.'
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 2:58 pm EST
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By Calvin Freiburger

March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Despite backlash from both fans and comic shop owners over the years, Marvel Comics continues to infuse its superhero offerings with “woke” characters and themes, this week announcing its most heavy-handed attempt yet with a new iteration of the teenage hero team the New Warriors.

Marvel announced the relaunch Tuesday in a press release, explaining that the previous members of the team will mentor a new cast of characters, each of whom represents a different cultural theme, such as internet memes or goth subculture. But the two who’ve received the most attention are Snowflake and Safespace, a pair of twins who see the superhero business as a “post-ironic meditation on using violence to combat bullying.”

“Snowflake is non-binary and goes by they/them,” writer and creator Daniel Kibblesmith explained. “The connotations of the word 'snowflake' in our culture right now are something fragile, and this is a character who is turning it into something sharp” with the power to make ice projectiles shaped like snowflakes.

Both terms are predominantly associated with political correctness on college campuses, particularly the idea that young liberals need to be insulated from contrary ideas that might “trigger” them. But Kibblesmith says his characters adopted them as code names to “take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honor.”

So far, comic book fans are less than impressed by the new additions to the Marvel Universe:

Even the far-left blog The Mary Sue panned the duo, arguing that even as LGBT “representation” goes, there “needs to be a lot more thought put into it than this.”

Mavel’s comic-book business has always been more political than its film side, although the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise is slated to feature same-sex romances in its upcoming films The Eternals and Thor: Love & Thunder.

This is despite the company’s poor success with “social justice warrior” themes in the past. In 2018, Marvel canceled all three of its comic book series that won GLAAD awards the previous year, citing poor sales. The year before, the publisher faced backlash from comic retailers for harming their business with their content’s social-justice emphasis.


  comic books, daniel kibblesmith, entertainment, lgbt, marvel, marvel comics, new warriors, pop culture, safespace, snowflake, superheroes, transgenderism

News

Bishop directs priests to give Communion to faithful outside church during COVID-19 outbreak

Bishop Michael Olson said that Communion should be given 'in designated spaces after Mass for those who are present in their cars or separated by a safe distance.'
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 2:43 pm EST
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Bishop Michael F. Olson Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth / Youtube screen grab
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By Martin Bürger

FORTH WORTH, Texas, March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Michael F. Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, asked the priests in his diocese to distribute Holy Communion outside of the church during their private Masses in response to the coronavirus epidemic. At the same time, however, he prohibited the reception of the Eucharist on the tongue.

In a pastoral letter published Wednesday, the bishop announced the cancellation of all public Masses in his diocese.

“After consultation with my priests and civic officials at local and state levels, and in cooperating with them for the good of society, I am informing you that Mass will continue to be celebrated at the scheduled times throughout the territory of the Diocese of Fort Worth, but without a congregation physically present in the church,” Olson wrote.

The bishop asked that priests “celebrate these Masses assisted by a deacon and server/acolyte for the published intention at the scheduled time in the main sanctuary of the parish church.”

Holy Communion, he explained, will be distributed at the regular part of Mass, but outside of the church “in designated spaces after Mass for those who are present in their cars or separated by a safe distance.”

In case of bad weather, “Holy Communion may be distributed in the church with safe social distancing and without crowding with due respect for the limits on gathering size.”

However, Olson prohibited Catholics from receiving Holy Communion on the tongue “to prevent the spread of contagion.”

In his March 12 pastoral letter, the bishop had only “strongly encouraged” the faithful “to receive the host in the ancient form of on the hand out of charity for their neighbor.”

As Peter Kwasniewski, a theology professor and LifeSiteNews columnist, has pointed out, today’s way of receiving communion in the hand is not actually reviving some ancient practice.

“The ancient record bears witness to beliefs and attitudes that would, over time, develop into the longstanding traditional communion praxis of both the Latin West and the Byzantine East,” Kwasniewski wrote.

“In the West, Communion on the tongue, kneeling, is the natural and suitable result of St. Cyril’s Eucharistic piety. The attempt to turn back the clock to antiquity—an antiquity, moreover, deceptively misrepresented and fictitiously reconstructed—is, in the end, nothing but a Trojan horse for Calvinistic sacramental theology.”

Several dioceses in North America have pointed out that the reception of the Eucharist directly on the tongue is not more dangerous than reception in the hand.

The diocese of Arlington, Virginia, released a statement saying public health experts “assisting the Diocese have advised that receiving Communion on the tongue does not pose a greater risk of spreading illness than receiving Communion on the hand.”

An updated version of that diocesan statement, “Prevention and Response to the Coronavirus,” published by The Arlington Catholic Herald, no longer contains that sentence.

The Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, declared that “a parish cannot ban the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue.”

After consulting two doctors on the question of the manner of receiving Holy Communion, there was agreement “that done properly the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand pose a more or less equal risk.”

“The risk of touching the tongue and passing the saliva on to others is obviously a danger however the chance of touching someone’s hand is equally probable and one’s hands have a greater exposure to germs,” the archdiocese’s statement pointed out.

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, also emphasized the equal risk.

“The manner of receiving the host (in the hand or on the tongue) is the choice of each individual communicant. Both methods may risk the spread of disease, so it is important for ministers of Communion to exercise good hygiene,” the bishop wrote in his temporary regulations.

In the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas Paprocki stated that the reception of Communion on the tongue “is very sanitary when done properly.”

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone emphasized that germs can be spread “just as easily by hand-to-hand contact as by hand-to-mouth contact.”

Accordingly, those distributing Holy Communion “should try to avoid physical contact with the communicant...Those who present themselves to receive Communion on the tongue should not be denied their right to receive Communion in this way.”

Bishop Olson of Fort Worth, while prohibiting the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue, emphasized that efforts should be made to give the Eucharist “to those who are sick and deprived for any reason of Holy Communion in ordinary circumstances.”

He asked priests and deacons older than 60 not to distribute the Eucharist “for the sake of their health,” but left the final decision to their own judgment.

The bishop encouraged priests to open churches “for published and scheduled periods for individual adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacrament and prayer with scheduled opportunities for Confession behind the screen.”

Regarding the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, Olson said it should be done “with a cotton stock and not the bare thumb. The cotton stock is to be burned afterwards.”


  catholic, communion, coronavirus, holy communion, mass, michael olson

News

U.S. government preparing for possibility of 18-month pandemic

The U.S. government does not assume the epidemic will last over 18 months, but has merely prepared for that contingency.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 2:40 pm EST
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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PRAYER PLEDGE: Rally around the Cross to end the coronavirus pandemic Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ―  The United States federal government is making preparations in case the local COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic lasts more than 18 months. 

Washington’s 100 page plan, obtained by news agency CNN, does not assume the epidemic will last over 18 months, but has merely prepared for that contingency. It is also preparing for “multiple waves of illness” to strike the U.S. population. Most people who contract the Covid-19 virus will have no symptoms or very mild symptoms, but some people will indeed become very sick and need hospitalization. The elderly and younger people with other health issues are considered at risk. Evidence from other nations, particularly Italy, suggests that young people showing no symptoms may be spreading the virus to their elderly relations.    

The federal plan, signaling a reversal of President Trump’s early policy to downplay the pandemic, is considered necessary to cope with the lack of sufficient medical supplies and personnel. Dr. Irwin Redlener, 75, an expert in disaster preparedness, told CNN, “We are so incredibly underprepared for a major onslaught on hospitals.” 

In a “moderate outbreak,” 200,000 Americans will need ICU beds, and 64,000 will need ventilators. However, the nation’s current capacity is fewer than 100,000 beds. The U.S. has 62,000 ventilators in its hospitals and 8,900 in the national stockpile, but many ventilators are already in use. Redlener added that the U.S. doesn’t have the staff to operate them. 

CNN also reported that elective operations are being suspended and hospitals are now rationing their medical supplies. 

Since the first American case of the COVID-19 coronavirus was discovered two weeks ago, infections in the U.S. have risen to 9,415. At least 150 people in America have now died of the disease. Americans are being asked to be careful of not getting infected and of not spreading the virus to others. In some places, schools have been closed, bars and restaurants have become delivery-only establishments, and mass gatherings have been banned. In hard-hit California, some mayors have asked residents to “shelter in place.” Every Catholic diocese in the U.S. has dispensed Catholics from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass and has suspended all public Masses.

During a press briefing yesterday, President Trump likened the struggle to stop the coronavirus from overwhelming the nation’s health system to a war. 

“I view it as, in a sense, a wartime president,” he said. 

“I mean, that’s what we’re fighting. It’s a war. … It spread violently. It’s a very, very contagious virus.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said earlier this week that he is expecting the number of people needing hospitalization for the coronavirus to peak in a month and a half. He, too, likened the battle with the virus to a war. 

“This is a war. This is a long-term war,” he told his journalist brother Chris Cuomo on March 17. 

“This is not a few weeks. We have to get the American people set for it. They have to get the facts,” he continued. 

“They all talk about flattening the curve... I don’t see a curve. I see a wave. And the wave is going to break on the healthcare system and, I’m telling you, my little brother, it is going to be a tsunami.” 

Cuomo said that New York has 3,000 ICU beds, but that New York needs 100,000. He wants the Army Corps of Engineers to help build temporary hospitals. 

“We’re up to about 900 cases in New York,” he said. “It’s doubling on a weekly basis.” 

Tucker Carlson: I warned Trump about this

Conservative pundit Tucker Carlson has been talking more and more about the dangers of the pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, since he first mentioned it in January. According to a recent interview he gave to Vanity Fair magazine, the popular Fox News host went to President Trump to tell him that the coronavirus posed an “existential threat” to the U.S. 

Carlson blamed the incessant media attacks on President Trump for many Americans’ refusal to believe that the pandemic is actually a serious threat. 

“So a lot of Trump voters believe that all news about Trump is designed to hurt Trump. And they’re absolutely right about that,” he said.  

“It’s been monomaniacal, the coverage of Trump. So when the moment came, when there was something that ultimately really didn’t have anything to do with Trump, which is the emergence of a weird new virus from Eastern China, they were trained to believe that all coverage was designed to hurt Trump. Because that’s been true,” he continued. 

“So it was very hard to convince a lot of those news consumers that this was fundamentally not a political story.”

When asked by his interviewer not to blame the media, Carlson rebelled. 

“Oh, I’m definitely blaming the media and very much including Vanity Fair, and I hope you put that in there,” he said.

“And I also think, and obviously I think this or I wouldn’t have gone there in the first place, that it’s part of the role of leaders to look beyond the media and to look at the data that’s coming in from the intel agencies—who have also been discredited and justly so—but still, look at the numbers and look at the reports coming in and to make cool and rational judgments about what that means.”

Carlson, who said he was reluctant to take on the rule of presidential advisor, told the president that the epidemic “could be really bad.”

“I said exactly what I’ve said on TV, which is [that] this could be really bad,” he informed Vanity Fair.  

“My view is that we may have missed the point where we can control it. Once you get cases of community transmission, as we have all over the country now, by then it was clear it was happening,” he continued.  

“I know someone very well who was in the ICU—a personal friend of mine who I had just had dinner with a month and a half ago was in the ICU with double pneumonia and struggling for life. And so I just want to make it clear this is totally real; people you know are going to get it. And I’m concerned based on conversations I’ve had that we don’t have the medical capacity to deal with it. I think it’d be very hard to keep it from spreading given the nature of American life.”


  coronavirus, president trump, tucker carlson

News

US bishop pleads with priests around the world to provide confession during epidemic

'Catholic priests of the world...make yourselves available for Confession observing social distancing & all precautions'
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 2:26 pm EST
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Drive thru confessions at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Bowie, Maryland Virna Flores, Facebook
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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PRAYER PLEDGE: Rally around the daily Rosary to stop the coronavirus Sign the petition here.

TYLER, Texas, March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A bishop well-known for his defense of Catholic orthodoxy has a message for priests in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic: hear confessions. 

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Bishop Joseph Strickland visits Catholics rallying outside USCCB meeting Nov. 13, 2018. SOURCE: Doug Mainwaring / LifeSiteNews

Joseph Edward Strickland, 61, the Bishop of Tyler, Texas begged priests around the world to do what they can to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation to repentant sinners. 

“Catholic priests of the world...make yourselves available for Confession observing social distancing & all precautions,” the bishop wrote this morning on Twitter. 

“This MUST be done. It is tragic that many cannot receive Communion but hear their Confessions SOMEHOW & their souls will be ready to receive Him when possible.”

Catholics hold that the priest has the power to forgive all sins, acting as God’s instrument of mercy. Confession is integral to Christian life since it cleanses one from deadly sins that would otherwise cut one off from God and the Kingdom of heaven.

Strickland’s plea follows the suspension of all public Masses across the United States because of the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic. It did not fall upon deaf ears. 

“About to hear confessions this morning via drive-thru,” replied Fr. Paul-Michael Piega of the Diocese of Austen. He tweeted a photograph of the blue makeshift confessional he had arranged under a tent in a parking lot. Fr. Piega also directed Twitter readers to a live-stream of an Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in his church, St. Albert the Great.

Other priests in the USA, like Fr. Scott Holmer of Bowie, Maryland, have made similar arrangements, and photographs of brave confessors sitting in parking lots are making the rounds on social media.  Fr. Douglas Dietrich of Lincoln, Nebraska is hearing confessions from his office window.  

Twitter users voiced their appreciation of Strickland’s appeal to priests. 

Entrepreneur Eteuati Auvaa responded with a tweet saying, “Thank you, your Excellency, Bishop Strickland for your clear & proactive leadership at this critical time.”

“Perhaps God has allowed this diabolical virus to shake up people's complacency about sin, and its consequences,” he added. 

“Keep encouraging them to find ways,” tweeted a Catholic grandmother calling herself “Conquered By Love”. 

“Just find a way! I spent 50 yrs encouraging reverence in diocese but confess this is NOT the time to give into histrionics of people who will deny Sanctifying Grace. I’ll pull up in a car and receive the Body and Blood of Christ in my hand,” she added.

Current guidelines in hard-hit Italy stipulate that people who do not have symptoms of the Covid-19 coronavirus should remain one meter (roughly 3 ) apart in public spaces.


  catholic, confession, coronavirus, joseph strickland

News

It’s time to ‘place all our hope in God’: Vatican’s former doctrine head comments on coronavirus

'The believer knows: our life is in God's hands,' writes Cardinal Müller during Rome's lockdown.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 1:59 pm EST
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Cardinal Gerhard Müller
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By Maike Hickson

PRAYER PLEDGE: Rally around the daily Rosary to stop the coronavirus Sign the petition here.

March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written a small spiritual reflection (see full reflection below) on the world's situation since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. 

He reminds us that as human beings, we are reminded now of our limits, in spite of our medical and other advances. 

“Although the situation is certainly not comparable to the dangers and turmoil of wartime, the experience of helplessness is similar,” the German cardinal writes. 

But this situation, then, can also become an opportunity to turn to God. 

“There is also a chance,” he explains, “to reflect on what is important without our attention being distracted by the many distractions of modern life.”

Cardinal Müller concludes: “Let us now, during Lent before Easter, place all our hope in God. His Son is the Servant of God as prophesied in the Old Testament Who ‘bore our sicknesses and bore our pains.’ 

“And so we confess of Jesus: ‘By His wounds we are healed,’” he adds.

***

Trust in God in Times of Crisis

By Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Rome

The life-threatening coronavirus has spread and has taken over almost the entire world. There is still no vaccine that could prevent the spread of the contagious disease and cure those affected. 

Political leaders are taking all measures available to them to protect the population. They restrict public life and call on people to avoid social contact wherever possible. The scientists in the laboratories are working intensely to find an antidote to this insidious disease, which has already claimed thousands of lives.

Although the situation is certainly not comparable to the dangers and turmoil of wartime, the experience of helplessness is similar. No one knows if and when it will affect him or if people close to him will be in danger. As in times of plague and cholera, of failed harvests and famines, we again feel the limits of what is possible. Everyone knows: the possibilities to protect ourselves from infection are limited. There is no guarantee that it will not affect me of all people. We sit at home and pass the time. Many of us get bored and lack the opportunities for activity at work and in our leisure time.

But when we are thrown back on ourselves in this way, there is also a chance to reflect on what is important without our attention being distracted by the many distractions of modern life.

The believer knows: our life is in God's hands. We have no permanent home on earth. After our death, we must answer before God's Judgment Seat for our deeds and the whole course of life. But we can rely on the mercy of God in life and death, if we only commend ourselves to it.

Even if we do everything humanly possible in medicine and use the reason given to us by God to optimize human living conditions, we still reach the limits of our possibilities. We do not know when, but we know that the hour of farewell from this world will come. 

The Apostle Paul has all the misery of humanity before his eyes when he writes to the young Christian community in Rome: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. (...) the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:18-21). 

Let us now, during Lent before Easter, place all our hope in God. His Son is the Servant of God as prophesied in the Old Testament Who “bore our sicknesses and bore our pains.” And so we confess of Jesus: “By His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4seq).
Let us use the time at home to reflect: Who am I? How can I serve the community with my talents in life?  Do I love God with all my heart and all my soul and do I love my neighbor as myself? Do I put my hope in Jesus Christ alone, in life and death?
Before His Suffering and Death on the Cross, Our Lord comforted His disciples in their fear and confusion with the words: “In the world you are in tribulation. But have courage: I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Translation Maike Hickson


  catholic, coronavirus, gerhard müller

News

Trump backs new coronavirus treatment using malaria drug

Trump said that chloroquine would be available 'almost immediately' and would be available by prescription.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 12:40 pm EST
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U.S. president Donald Trump with coronavirus task force speak from the White House, March 19, 2020. PBSNewsHour / Youtube screen grab
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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― U.S. President Trump has just announced that the FDA has approved the use of a malaria drug to treat the Covid-19 coronavirus.

At a press conference today, the American president called the discovery a “tremendous breakthrough”. 

“[It’s] a drug called chloroquine, and some people would add to that ‘hydroxy’,” Trump explained. 

“Hydroxychloroquine. Now this is a common malaria drug. It’s also a drug used for [serious] arthritis. .. But it is known as a malaria drug, and it’s been around for a long time,” he continued. 

“We know that if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anyone. … And it’s shown very, very encouraging early results.”   

French researchers reported on March 17 that they had been able to treat successfully the Covid-19 coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.  

Trump said that chloroquine would be available “almost immediately” and would be available by prescription.  

The president called the FDA “incredible patriots” and praised FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn. 

“I’d shake his hand, but I’m not supposed to do that,” he joked. 

At the beginning of his speech, Trump referred to the disease as “the Chinese virus.” He also appeared to blame the Communist Chinese government for covering up the initial outbreak in Wuhan when he said that “if people had known about it, it could have been stopped right where it came from, China.” 

He acknowledged that some people believe that the pandemic is an “Act of God”, but stated that he does not believe this.

“It’s just something that surprised the whole world,” he said.

He noted that the “whole world, almost, has been inflicted with this terrible virus.”

Trump also seemed optimistic about the development of a vaccine. He said such a vaccine would have to be thoroughly tested to make sure it would not harm people in the long run. He said his administration had “slashed red tape” to get vaccines and therapies developed.

“As you know, earlier this week we began the first clinical trial of a vaccine candidate for the virus, and it was launched in record time. It was just a few weeks and that would have taken years to do, not so long ago.” 

He warned, however, that clinical trials for vaccines take a long time to ensure that “bad things” do not go into people’s bodies.


  coronavirus, donald trump

News

Porn industry trade group asks smut producers to ‘cancel all shoots’ due to coronavirus

'It is a small blessing that this evil industry has been forced by the coronavirus to temporarily halt its production of poison.'
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 12:20 pm EST
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By Martin Bürger

March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — In the United States, the coronavirus pandemic is colliding with another epidemic of longer standing and with a deeper infection rate: pornography. 

The Free Speech Coalition, an organization that usually promotes the spread of pornography, “is calling for a voluntary shutdown of all adult entertainment productions in the United States and Canada” due to the coronavirus.

“In accordance with the recent order from the Governor of the State of California to close all ‘non-essential businesses,’ and similar orders from other government officials throughout the United States and Canada, we ask that producers cancel all shoots through March 31, and recommend that performers immediately stop filming with partners who are not a part of their household,” the organization stated Sunday.

Just two days earlier, the so-called Free Speech Coalition had maintained that “with the wide variety of production, including self-produced and custom content, and the lack of a specific COVID-19 risk to performers, we are not yet issuing a blanket ban.”

Michelle L. Blanc, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, explained that her organization does not “take this decision lightly.”

“We understand that, for many performers, producers, and crew, the economic impact this will have is potentially devastating,” she added. The Free Speech Coalition “is currently working on a plan” to help pornographers and people getting paid to commit sexual acts on camera “survive this crisis. We are talking with our members at all levels to find solutions and resources to lessen the impact.”

This is not the first time that the porn industry shut down in order to prevent the spread of a non-sexually transmitted disease.

“The industry last issued a one-week moratorium in 2018, after an adult male porn performer tested positive for HIV (he was later found to have contracted the virus off-set),” Rolling Stone reported.

Jonathon van Maren, communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, told LifeSiteNews, “It is a small blessing that this evil industry has been forced by the coronavirus to temporarily halt its production of poison.”

“However, I am concerned that the many former porn users are at risk of falling back into their addiction from being trapped indoors for such a long period of time,” cautioned van Maren, who speaks at colleges and high schools on a variety of issues, including pornography.

“It’s important that we support each other and keep each other accountable during this pandemic.”

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, pointed out that not producing pornography for a few weeks would hardly affect the industry.

“Wow. That is really decent of them to shut down their $16.9 billion per year business for 2 weeks. This is nothing more than them going on vacation or a spring break. Big deal,” she remarked to LifeSiteNews.

The porn industry has been using the coronavirus epidemic to gain customers.

One porn producer, CamSoda, offered passengers quarantined on two cruise ships due to the coronavirus outbreak free access to salacious videos. The company framed the move as an attempt to combat boredom among the 7,300 passengers stuck on the ships.

Later, Pornhub decided to offer “premium” pornographic video content for free to all Italians.

“Italians can receive free premium porn content from a giant hub for Internet smut after Pornhub announced they will open their vaults of videos to the entire country,” the New York Post wrote.

According to Vice, PornHub is currently featuring “coronavirus porn.”

As LifeSiteNews reported, PornHub was caught hosting 58 videos of a 15-year-old girl who was a victim of human-trafficking. She was repeatedly raped on camera. Additionally, the girl was forced to have an abortion by her male abductor.

Jennifer Roback Morse explained that she was “not impressed” with the porn industry’s claims “about how ‘clean’ they are. They test the performers for STI’s regularly.”

“American slaveholders used to brag,” as well, she said. They would say, “We take care of our slaves when they are sick and old. You Northern businessmen just throw away sick and old workers.”

“Slavery and pornography are both affronts to human dignity,” the president of the Ruth Institute emphasized. “You cannot put enough regulatory band-aids on these economic practices to make them into morally legitimate industries.”

A petition launched by LifeSiteNews demanding that authorities shut down the most famous provider of pornography, has gained almost 55,000 signatures. Readers can still sign and share the petition.


  coronavirus, pornography

Opinion

For Ukraine, coronavirus crackdown is like Soviet Union revisited

Younger Ukrainians are now getting a taste of what their parents and grandparents lived through.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 10:03 pm EST
Featured Image
Kyiv, Ukraine. Oleg Totskyi / Shutterstock.com
Nolan Peterson
By Nolan Peterson

KYIV, Ukraine, March 19, 2020 (The Daily Signal) — Ukraine has gone into a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

As of Tuesday, the country is completely closed to foreigners. All international air traffic has stopped and Ukraine’s land borders are closed, too. 

Ukrainian citizens stuck abroad have been instructed to go to their nearest consulate so they can get a seat on a chartered flight home. All domestic air, train, and bus travel has been suspended.

Here in the capital city of Kyiv, the only businesses allowed to stay open were grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. The government has ordered everything else closed. Schools, gyms, malls, movie theaters, barbershops, museums. Everything.

The government has banned gatherings of more than 10. And, in a bid to free up hospital space for a potential flood of cases of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, the government has banned elective surgeries for the time being. 

Not abiding by these rules is a crime, enforceable by arrest.

“The current measures may look harsh today, but two weeks later we may all be thankful that they were introduced,” said Vasyl Myroshnychenko, 39, co-founder of the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Rattled by the impending lockdown, Ukrainians rushed the supermarkets Monday to stock up on food and other supplies. Shoppers jostled each other trying to get to the last bit of certain things such as canned goods or buckwheat groats. 

At the glitzy Le Silpo supermarket in Kyiv’s city center, the shelves were left barren in the wake of the panicked purchasing. It was madness.

Closed borders. Empty shelves. Restrictions on movement.

Fear.

Some younger Ukrainians on social media compared the coronavirus crackdown to the opening scenes of a zombie movie. However, for older Ukrainians who can remember life in the Soviet Union, this whole crisis feels, well ... eerily familiar. 

“Parliament’s current decisions on quarantine ... are a purely Soviet measure to subdue society,” said Viktor Zherditskiy, 63, a resident of Kyiv.

Ukraine’s older generations remember everyday life under Soviet rule, with its myriad restrictions and deprivations. They also retain a deep-seated distrust of the government in a time of crisis — an attitude that stems from, among other things, the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. 

“When the government authorities start stroking the heads of their citizens, and in a quiet voice try to convince them that everything will be fine, the more I begin to worry,” said Sergiy Tsyhipa, 58, a Red Army veteran and former special operations soldier.

Expectations

However, for Ukraine’s millennials — for whom the Soviet Union is not a living memory — the coronavirus lockdown is unprecedented and extraordinary.

“In my opinion the virus isn’t the biggest problem,” said Igor Didenko, 31, who lives in Kyiv. “Nowadays, the main problem is panic, and this panic leads to serious problems for our people. Like increasing prices for food and medicine.”

Younger generations are used to fully stocked grocery stores, where you can buy practically anything you’d find in a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s store back in the U.S. Young Ukrainians are used to trendy Western retail shops, Apple products, IMAX movie theaters, and the convenience of Uber and Uber Eats. 

It’s all available in Kyiv these days. 

Ukraine’s millennials have gotten used to a certain Western standard of living. They grew up watching many of the same movies and TV shows, and listening to much of the same music, as their American contemporaries. 

In this globalized era, that’s not necessarily unusual. But it’s definitely a far cry from Soviet times, when it was illegal to possess a Western rock record obtained on the black market.

Young Ukrainians are used to many of the same freedoms and opportunities that we, as American citizens, take for granted. The freedom to travel, too, has become an expectation.

In 2017, the European Union approved visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens. Prior to that, Ukrainians had to spend hundreds of dollars on complicated visa applications to travel to Europe. (Russians still do, by the way.) 

Nowadays, though, thanks to the EU’s landmark decision, Ukrainians can simply hop on a plane at their whim and go see the Continent. 

It’s become a badge of honor among young Ukrainians to pepper their Facebook or Instagram feeds with photos of their European escapades. Older Ukrainians can hardly believe it. For them, such easy and unfettered access to Europe would have been unthinkable in their youths.

Thus, for younger Ukrainians, the COVID-19 crackdown is uncomfortably exposing them to how their parents and grandparents used to live — not just during the Soviet era, but in the years immediately after the U.S.S.R.’s dissolution in 1991.

Life in the 1990s, after all, wasn’t much easier than during the Cold War. A decade of near anarchy followed the Soviet collapse; it was a time of economic and societal collapse. 

In fact, during the 1990s, Ukraine’s population and its industrial output decreased by a larger share than during World War II, when Ukraine was the deadliest battlefield of the deadliest war in human history.

There was a certain “survival of the fittest” mentality that one had to adopt to make ends meet in Ukraine in the 1990s as the economy self-imploded and criminals took over the government. When the banks privatized, many people lost their life savings. 

Like the Soviet era that preceded it, the 1990s left a permanent impression on the mentalities of many Ukrainians who lived through it. You now see evidence of this while in line at supermarkets when people of a certain age press forward as if the cashier might close down the register at any random moment. 

Or at Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport, when some Ukrainians line up at their gate more than an hour before their flight’s boarding time — as if they might be barred from boarding the aircraft if they’re not waiting at the front of the line.

Now, with the coronavirus lockdown in full swing, those older generations are being reminded of the hard times they lived through, which have forever forged their mindsets.

“Coronavirus is another catastrophe for our country,” said Tsyhipa, the Soviet army veteran. 

Why We Fight

For younger Ukrainians, this whole crisis has been an education in what that they’ve been fighting for since 2014. After all, it was Ukraine’s millennials who led the way in overthrowing the corrupt, pro-Russian regime of Viktor Yanukovych during the country’s 2014 “Revolution of Dignity.”

After Russia invaded that year, it was the younger Ukrainian generations who rose up and led a grassroots war effort. With no propaganda prodding, they banded together into civilian volunteer battalions and struck out for the eastern front and turned back Russia’s forces. 

Those young Ukrainians fought back when their homeland was in peril and earned their country’s long-awaited independence from Russia. And in government halls across the country, young Ukrainians also have shouldered the simultaneous fight against corruption.

Across Ukraine today, empty pedestals mark the spots where Soviet statues of Vladimir Lenin once stood. Every street, town, or city in Ukraine that once bore a Soviet name has been renamed in the Ukrainian language. It’s now technically illegal in Ukraine to play the Soviet national anthem, or to wave the Soviet hammer-and-sickle flag.

Young Ukrainians have a dream for a better life, and they’ve proven time and again that they’re brave enough to fight for it. They know what they’re fighting for — that’s clear.

And now, thanks to the coronavirus crackdown, they understand a little better what they’re fighting against.

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic will pass, and life will go on. The borders and the stores will reopen, people will go back to work, and the grocery store shelves will be replenished. 

But life never tastes sweeter than in those moments when you think you might lose it. The same goes for freedom and opportunities.

Americans might well take stock of how life has changed for them during the coronavirus crisis, but also of how lucky they are to be Americans. Because the coronavirus lockdown is what life was like every day in the Soviet Union. 

Remember, a microscopic virus isn’t the only way in which we may lose our freedoms, and the fruits of our democratic way of life. We’re perfectly capable of doing those terrible things ourselves, with or without Mother Nature’s help.

Published with permission from The Daily Signal.


  communism, coronavirus, freedom of assembly, quarantine, soviet union, ukraine

Opinion

Why Saint Joseph is the most perfect icon of Marian consecration

Let us reflect on the unique and virginal espousal of St. Joseph with Mary, the key to understanding the figure of the Carpenter of Nazareth as the first type of Marian consecration.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 7:00 am EST
Featured Image
Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock.com
Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta
By

March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The month of March is dedicated to the great figure of St. Joseph. In this reflection, I would like to highlight especially the mystery of the relationship between St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary. I would say that this is the very source of the whole mystery concerning St. Joseph and the way he comes into play in the New Testament and in the Church. If we look attentively at his life, all takes place through Mary. Joseph starts to be known as the husband of Mary (see Matt. 1:16), and because of this spousal relationship — to be investigated in its spiritual depth — he is introduced into the mystery of Christ and becomes his foster father. All through Mary.

Let us take a moment to look at the Gospel of St. Matthew (1:18–19) where Joseph of Nazareth is presented first as the husband of Mary and then as a “just man”: “Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.” Here we understand that Mary and Joseph were espoused when Mary was found with a baby, although they did not live together yet. In fact, the Jewish espousal had two moments: the celebration of the marriage as a legal union and the cohabitation that normally took place after one year. Also St. Luke (1:27) takes into account that Joseph was espoused to Mary: “The Angel was sent to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary.”

By this blessed and unique espousal with Mary also the relationship of St. Joseph with Jesus is shaped. Joseph comes into a personal contact with Jesus through Our Lady, when he is the one who gives the name “Jesus” to the son of Mary (cf. Matt. 1:21). Also at the moment of the adoration of the shepherds, who came with haste to see the sign of God, Joseph is found between Mary and Jesus: “They found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger,” says the Gospel (Lk. 2:16), as to point to the Christian path that leads to fully discover who that Baby is — from Mary to Jesus. Through the espousal with Mary, Joseph can embrace Jesus and hold Him in his arms. Joseph is therefore the most perfect icon of Marian consecration. With him the ancient motto starts: to Jesus through Mary.

Let us reflect more on the unique and virginal espousal of St. Joseph with Mary, the very key to understanding the figure of the Carpenter of Nazareth as the first type of Marian consecration.

The espousal of St. Joseph to Mary was extraordinary. When we consider this great mystery, we should be able to transcend the natural meaning of the nuptials and go deeper into its spiritual aspect. This marriage was thoroughly spiritual. In the account of St. Matthew (1:18–19) above quoted, about Joseph being espoused to Mary but not yet cohabiting with her, we can discover something more. It is that while Joseph was already united to Mary — initially and only lawfully — he was not fully united to her, something that we can read in the light of being not consecrated to her yet, since cohabitation was meant to be virginal and chaste for the reason that we will see shortly. The marriage with Mary should be considered under two higher aspects: the initial marital union, and its consummation, to be read rather as consecration to her, a full donation of himself to Mary. Consummation here gets a new and spiritual meaning, foretelling what Jesus would choose in his marriage with the Church on the Cross. As for Jesus crucified, the gift of oneself is “consummated” in his love “to the end” — total love until death. So it is with St. Joseph. His total love to Mary is consummated in his sacrifice: he gave himself up until death for being one with Mary so as to take part in Jesus’s redemption. But this consecration to Mary came to pass after the angel’s revelation, when Joseph had the full knowledge of who Mary was and whose Son was the One in her womb. Joseph is ready to take Mary unto him and through her to look after Jesus. 

Now let us see all this in the light of the further account of St. Matthew’s Gospel (1:20–24), where we read: “But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife.” 

Here we should focus, above all, on the last sentence of the pericope, which in the original reads: “kai parélaben tèn gunaîka autou” (“took unto him his wife”). The verb para-lambano, to take, has basically two meanings: 1) to take with oneself, to join to oneself or 2) to receive something transmitted. The verb is the same as the one that occurs in St. John’s Gospel (19:27) to describe the taking or receiving of Our Lady into St. John’s life: “And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own” (the original reads: “élaben o mathetès autèn eis ta ídia”). Hence, we can easily conclude that also Joseph, and before anyone else, from that hour, the hour in which he was instructed by the Holy Spirit about Mary and the Baby (echoing the instruction of Our Lord on the Cross to the beloved disciple), took Mary unto him. From that moment of the full and perfect marriage with Mary, he gave himself completely to her so as to come through her into Jesus’s mystery and to participate actively in the work of redemption.

One last point needs to be elucidated in order to have a full picture of St. Joseph’s marriage with Mary as his consecration to her. The fact that the espousal was virginal is of great importance. This can prove that Joseph gave himself completely to Mary in the second period of the marriage, understood rather as a spiritual consummation of that union. The Gospel, while highlighting the reception of Mary by Joseph into his life, says also that Joseph “knew her not until she brought forth her firstborn son” (Matt. 1:25). The word “until” does not mean that after the birth of Jesus, they had normal marital relations. In fact, there are several examples in the Bible where “until” clearly does not imply a change afterward. We can recall among others the words of the Messianic Psalm (109 [110]:1): “The Lord said to my Lord: sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” Obviously, Christ won’t reign at the right hand of the Father only until his enemies are defeated. Also when Jesus promised to his apostle to be with them “until the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20), He did not mean to be with them no more after the Parousia. Instead, with the temporal preposition “until,” the Evangelist wishes to say Joseph and Mary, unlike an ordinary Jewish couple, did not consummate their marriage on their wedding night. This is because Mary had taken a vow of virginity, as it clearly appears in her response to the Angel: “I know not man” (Lk. 1:34). All this was not unknown to the Jewish custom; rather, it was a vow of abstinence according to the book of Numbers 30 that Joseph had accepted.

To bring this reflection to a close, let us imagine what it meant practically for St. Joseph to receive Mary unto him so that everyone can have in this great patriarch a model of consecration to Mary. It was for St. Joseph to share all his life, thoughts, wills, goods with Mary in order to please Jesus and to do God’s will; to be virginally devoted to Mary in order to be conformed to the obedience of Jesus to the Father; to love Mary with all his chaste heart so that he could always be vigilant in his ministry as the keeper of Christ and the servant of the redemption; and finally to remain devotedly in the presence of Mary so as to be always in the presence of Jesus. To know who Mary is was for Joseph to know who God is, where He abides.

Consecration to Our Lady, as St. Joseph firstly and most perfectly did, should always aim at getting a Josephine chaste disposition of heart. As we love Our Lady with a pure heart — with the pure heart of St. Joseph — in response, she welcomes us under her mantle of purity, so as to be secure from all snares of impurity and wretchedness in the world. May St. Joseph be more known as the patriarch of love to Jesus through Mary and for his role of mystical spouse of Mary.


  blessed virgin mary, catholic, holy family, marian consecration, st. joseph

Blogs

Coronavirus can help us rediscover the power of silence — and maybe find God

It would be a huge step in the right direction if Americans came out of this realizing just how pointless the countless trivialities our soulless culture obsesses over really are.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 9:37 pm EST
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KieferPix / Shutterstock.com
Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen
By Stephen Kokx

March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — As odd as it may sound, one of the first things I did after embracing traditional Catholicism six years ago at the age of 27 was to turn off my car radio.

Up until then, whenever I got in my car, I would listen to the latest pop, classic rock, or rap songs. The question wasn’t whether the radio or CD player was going to be on. The question was simply, how loud would it be?

As I came to a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith — thanks, in part, to the writings of St. Alphonsus — the less drawn I was to the world and to what it considers music.

Songs I once relied on to get me through the ups and downs of life no longer had the same meaning. I came to see them as nothing more than catchy forms of noise pollution that, if I happened to hear them by accident, I frustratingly couldn’t get out of my head for the next 48 hours.

Eventually, I embraced the silence. If I drove somewhere, I turned the radio off and prayed, oftentimes the rosary. If I listened to anything, it was classical music or Gregorian chant.

This had an enormous impact on my spiritual life. My mind was basically freed from my obsession with the music industry’s latest up and coming “artists” and their mind-numbing songs. I slowly shifted from a naturalistic outlook to a more supernatural one that, I believe, has allowed grace to be more easily poured into my soul.

I suspect that the coronavirus outbreak is giving millions of people a chance to experience something similar to what I went through those six long years ago.

Across the world, sporting events have been canceled. Movie theaters are closed. Bars, restaurants, and casinos are shut down. People aren’t able to rely on the “entertainment” that got them through their day. Their distractions, in other words, have been cut to a minimum, and they’re no longer able to console themselves with the things that have brought them a false sense of comfort for many years.

What an enormous gift! God has essentially given to mankind a chance to enjoy the world as it is and to bask in the beauty of silence, in opposition to what Cardinal Robert Sarah has called “the dictatorship of noise.”

It’s also an occasion for millions of souls to realize that the many things they’ve been attached to are, in reality, meaningless traps that often divert their attention away from the things that really matter — faith, family, and friends.

This sort of moment doesn’t come around very often. Practically speaking, it would take millions of Christian missionaries traveling to all corners of the world to get people to start thinking about changing their lives in the way the coronavirus is forcing them to.

Unfortunately, I have a hunch that when the outbreak is over, not everyone is going to realize that many of the things they love are really just pointless addictions. Most are simply unwilling or unable to break free from the distraction-filled life they have been living. “As the dog returns to his vomit pile, so the fool repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11).

It would be a huge step in the right direction if Americans came out of this realizing just how silly the countless trivialities our soulless culture obsesses over really are. They probably won’t, though. Many will likely look back and see this snapshot in time as a nuisance they begrudgingly tolerated instead of a moment where they joyfully embraced the penance they were forced to endure and offered it for the salvation of souls.

Whatever the case, my hope is that my fellow Americans will, as I did, turn off their car radios (and television sets) and engage in actual leisure activities and hobbies that better prepare the soul to receive the grace almighty God so desperately want to give them. Reading, cooking, painting, walking and biking, journaling, and gardening are, in my estimation, the best places to start.


  catholic, coronavirus, prayer

Blogs

Why Coronavirus gives Christians a perfect opportunity to follow God, be faithful to Him

A fallow field is necessary for an abundant harvest in the season ahead.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 7:03 pm EST
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Danielle Zuccaro Danielle Zuccaro Follow
By

March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – I've not lived much more than a quarter century, so I can only attest to the fact that the last decade seems as if society has been absolutely off the rocker. Many of our more seasoned readers may feel as though that's been the case for the last half century. And I would say they're probably right.

At a certain point with chaos, enough is enough. And like a deck of cards, all comes tumbling down. Just when it seems like a sick culture couldn't get any worse, another sickness sets in, and in the truest sense, society comes to a grinding halt. Life looks a little different now.

As Christians, we've long had to swim upstream and go against the tide. That is part of being a Christian after all. Some may feel that the current situation of a virus epidemic, though, is yet another persecution of sorts, another time in which we seem to have the short end of the stick, with public Masses being canceled and the spiritual nourishment of Our Lord’s body that we need in order to be faithful to him being stripped away from us.

For me personally, I've found myself this past week thinking to all the "would-have-beens." Plans have ground to a halt even in the various apostolates of which I am a part – ways in which I had planned to serve God in the coming weeks and where I find my greatest joy. The rug seems to have been pulled out from under my feet. I've found myself thinking, "Why, God? All I was doing was to glorify You. It was in Your plan for me."

But then I sense the tenderness of His Providence speak through my own preoccupations with my own plans, and He says, "No, this is part of My plan." 

A lover must never take for granted the Beloved. And I think that even as Christians who love the Lord, we can fall into that trap, too. We can become complacent thinking we are serving Him, when we're really serving ourselves. Our prayer lives can become stale and our service to others can become routine. Sometimes the Beloved must withdraw in order to test the love of the lover. That is what I have seen God do before, and in a sweeping, dramatic way, I believe He is calling us all back to our first Love right now. "Yet even now … return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning."

Our churches are closed, and, yes, it is a cross for many, myself included. I can see and hear the pain in the voices of our dear priests who so desire that their flock participate fully in the Holy Mass with them. But I truly believe that this is a necessary time. I am no farmer, but I do know that a fallow field is necessary for an abundant harvest in the season ahead. 

Fellow Christians, I think this is our fallow time. But I have hope in Galatians 6:9: "Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up."


  christians, coronavirus, epidemic, virus

Blogs

The world has a lot to learn from Taiwan’s hugely successful response to Chinese coronavirus

In the midst of the worldwide panic, this one nation stands out.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 5:52 pm EST
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President Tsai Ing-Wen of Taiwan. Carl Court / Getty Images
Steven Mosher Steven Mosher Follow Steven
By Steven Mosher

March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In northern Italy, hundreds of elderly, denied ICU beds and ventilators, are dying. In Iran, the mullahs are digging mass graves the length of football fields. From all appearances, they will soon need more.

You might say that this was inevitable, since both countries have close relations with China, the original epicenter of the epidemic. And it is true that both have chosen to be key waystations in China’s New Silk Road, which Beijing touts as a highway to riches.  

Right now, it is looking more like a one-way ticket to an early death.

But there is another country, far closer to China, whose economy is even more closely intertwined with the Communist giant’s. From that country’s capital, you can fly direct to every major Chinese city, including Wuhan. Until recently, thousands did every day.

Yet, despite this huge cross-border traffic with neighboring China, the 25 million people of this island nation are virtually free of the Wuhan Flu.

The country in question is Taiwan, which as of March 16 is reporting only 67 cases and one death. Most of those earlier infected have since recovered, and there have been few new cases. In other words, the deadly invader has been stopped in its tracks.

How is that even possible?

One reason is that the democratically elected government of Taiwan reacted to the widening epidemic in real time.  

China first admitted to the World Health Organization that it had “several” cases of a new pneumonia on December 31. The very same day, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control began monitoring passengers arriving from Wuhan. 

With China withholding information about the nature of the new pneumonia, Taiwan erred on the side of caution, screening passengers for no fewer than 36 known viruses. 

When China shocked the world by quarantining one of its major cities, Taiwan reacted immediately, banning flights from Wuhan on January 26. It was the first country in the world to do so.

As the disease reached epidemic proportions in China and began to spread around the world, Taiwan put in place no fewer than 124 safety protocols for the virus.

To prevent community spreading, the government distributed 6.5 million masks to primary and secondary schools, along with 84,000 liters of hand sanitizer and 25,000 forehead thermometers. It required office buildings and residential complexes to screen entrants for signs of fever, and to put hand sanitizers next to elevators. 

It took these actions even though it was not allowed — because of China’s opposition — to attend the World Health Organization’s emergency meetings on the Chinese Coronavirus. (This actually may have been a good thing, since the WHO has been covering up for China from the get-go.) 

As everyone now knows, speed is everything when it comes to controlling epidemics.    Even a week’s dalliance can lead to uncontained community spreading of the virus. A month’s delay can be fatal to many.

Taiwan is today largely free of the Chinese coronavirus not only because it did everything right, but because it did everything early. Why?

Taiwan’s leaders, led by President Tsai Ing-wen, know from long experience that the Beijing regime is run by pathological liars who will always put their own political survival ahead of all other considerations, including the lives of those they rule. They saw in the Wuhan Virus a replay of the SARS epidemic of 2003, which China’s leaders lied about as well until the mounting death toll made it impossible to do so. 

That experience caused the island nation to create strategic stockpiles of items that would be useful when — not if — a future epidemic emerged from China. And when it did, they did not hesitate. They acted.

Taiwan’s wariness where China is concerned is based on much, much more than Beijing’s irresponsible behavior during past epidemics. The Chinese Communist Party remains, as it has always been, an existential threat to Taiwan’s continued existence as a separate nation.

Communist leaders, including President-for-Life Xi Jinping, regularly threaten to use military force to annex the island. In fact, just a couple of days ago, he once more sent bombers to circle the island in a pathetic effort to intimidate the population there. 

This is why Taiwan’s west coast is dotted with watchtowers. The Mainland is a mere hundred or so miles away and the watchers are always alert for the possibility of an invading Chinese army.

In this case, the invasion took the form of a tiny virus carried in the bodies of incoming passengers. But it was an invasion nonetheless and President Tsai acted immediately and successfully to repel it. 

The rest of the world can learn an important lesson both from Taiwan’s wariness and its response.  

The lesson is this: China is a threat to its own people and to the world. The threat takes many different forms, from China’s theft of intellectual property to its cheating on trade, from its rampant cyberattacks to its reckless spread of epidemics. But whatever form it takes on any given day, it is always inimical to liberty, and it is often deadly.

Taiwan understands this. And, understanding this, has repelled the latest threat to its nation and its people. 

America needs to understand it too.

Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order.


  china, communists, coronavirus, taiwan, tsai ing-wen, world health organization, wuhan, wuhan flu, xi jinping

Blogs

Prudence, not panic, is the way forward in this crisis

Panic weakens our immune systems, and it also keeps us from thinking rationally at a time when thinking is required more than ever.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 4:23 pm EST
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shutterstock.com
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― I learned how to prepare for war from one of my favorite novels. 

Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love, highly praised by her mentor Evelyn Waugh, follows the fortunes of the upper-class Radlett family during the 1920s and 30s and into the Second World War. As Britain awaits the almost inevitable German invasion, the now-adult daughters gather with their children and other relations at the family’s draughty country house. Their husbands, brothers, and lovers join the army. Only unsympathetic characters run away to safety in America. 

The Radlett family, sincerely patriotic, put their best face forward. The daughters freely admit to each other that their children adore the disruption. Lord Alconleigh, the patriarch, trains up the local Home Guard and plans for a last-stand fight against the Germans. The narrator’s black sheep mother turns up with her Spanish boyfriend, who turns out to be a chef and a genius at keeping the pantry stocked with delicious edibles. The beauty of the family, bombed out of her London house, turns up covered in furs, for her wealthy boyfriend knows that people will be very cold during the war. 

Lord Alconleigh is convinced that he and most of the men will die in battle in the event of a German invasion, and yet nobody in the family panics. They calmly make their preparations, and they do their best to live together in harmony. When tragedy strikes, the family rallies around to protect the weakest member. Although this comic novel would not pass as moral reading, it does have a lesson or two about resilience and self-sacrifice in the face of adversity.

Fortunately we are not at war against human invaders but a nasty little virus and the panic it is causing. Of course, some people are not concerned at all. There are British holidaymakers in Spain who are refusing police instructors to stay indoors and instead drink, dance, and behave in the inimitable way of British holidaymakers in Spain, assuming that they’re going to get COVID-19 anyway, but not considering how crammed the local ICU will be when they get it. 

As I have written before, this is the real concern of the young and healthy: the ability of our medical systems to cope with hundreds, if not thousands, of people becoming very ill, all at once. If 80% of Edinburgh contracts coronavirus, but only 20% of them need hospital care, that will be 80,000 people needing hospital care within a three month period. This is not factoring in people who routinely need hospital care, like mothers in labor. There were 4,899 births in Edinburgh in 2018; imagine having a baby in a hospital crammed to overflowing with acute care patients. There were, by the way, 13,426 acute care beds for the whole of Scotland in 2018.  

It is, therefore, our duty not to pass on the virus to elderly or other people with weak immune systems and also our duty to do the best not to get sick. This involves refusing to panic. Panic weakens our immune systems, and it also keeps us from thinking rationally at a time when thinking is required more than ever. Prudence, on the other hand, counsels us to pay attention to local medical advice, to carefully assess how many supplies we need at home and where we can get more if needed, and to make contingency plans. 

Very few of us are British tourists drunk on the beaches of Benidorm, and very few of us wish we were, even now as public events are cancelled in our communities. As responsible adults, it is our job to keep ourselves, our spouses, our children, our elderly relations, and our most vulnerable neighbors safe and as content as possible under any condition. If the children must be home from school for the next two months, how will you work together as a family to help them thrive? If your livelihood is threatened, what can you do to soften the financial blow? If church services are suspended in your town, what can you do to preserve your spiritual health? 

It is true that most of us do not live in Italy, and so the terrible toll the virus has taken in Italy may not be repeated where any of the rest of us are. With proper precautions, it shouldn’t be. There really is no need to panic, but prudence is still a virtue.

I remember walking to my parents’ home from downtown Toronto up Bathurst Street during the Northeast blackout of 2003. I was terrified that once night fell, heedless young men in cars would endanger the lives of anyone still outside. Fortunately, this never happened, but I still think I did the right thing in going home at once.  

I am proud to work for LifeSite, especially now as I watch the world react to the threat of the coronavirus. Though most of our staff have had their parishes close their doors, one by one, to the sacraments, we are still praying daily, as an organization, for all of those affected, particularly our supporters and readers.

Our team of reporters across the globe are working around the clock to ensure you continue to receive accurate updates on the coronavirus that you aren't hearing anywhere else.  

No matter what, our reporting at LifeSite remains critical to restoring the culture. This is why we need prayers and financial support from our readers more than ever before.  

The coronavirus threat is very real, but our mission must continue. In a world that is so desperate for hope, I urge you to consider sustaining our efforts to change the culture year-round – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

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Clergymen recommend perfect contrition and spiritual communion in times of coronavirus

Both clergymen stress that it is important to stay in the state of grace and that there are means to do so in cases of lack of access to the Sacraments.
Thu Mar 19, 2020 - 3:23 pm EST
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Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Two clergymen – a priest and a deacon – both tell LifeSiteNews how important it is now for Catholics who cannot easily receive the Sacraments from their priests to practice perfect contrition and spiritual communion as a means to stay in the state of grace and to receive special sacramental graces. Father Paolo D'Angona of Diocese of Roermond (Netherlands) wrote a spiritual guide that he gave to LifeSite for publication. Deacon Nick Donnelly (Great Britain) has already published articles on this matter and explains his thoughts to us, as well. 

Both clergymen stress that it is important to stay in the state of grace and that there are means to do so in cases of lack of access to the Sacraments. Herewith, we present both of their statements.

Father Paolo D'Angona:

Coronavirus: A spiritual guide for patients in hospitals and quarantine

The critical situation that has arisen because of the coronavirus is becoming increasingly acute. In some places people are under quarantine or similar restrictions. In Austria, for example, there is already a general, very extensive ban on leaving the country. However, according to experts, all this is only the initial stage of a general development which will have extremely serious consequences – also for the possibility of receiving the Holy Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance, Holy Confession.

In this situation, it is more than useful to point to perfect contrition, a contrition that is perfect through charity. Through perfect contrition out of love for God, man can at any time reach the state of sanctifying grace. Since a person who does not die in the state of grace cannot go to heaven, perfect contrition is of the utmost importance. For all those who are not in the state of grace and do not have the possibility of acquiring the state of grace sacramentally, namely, according to the Church's teaching, perfect contrition is the only means of salvation. God alone knows how many people could be saved and have been saved only through perfect contrition.

The following text by Fr. Alfons Maria Weigl gives a brief and concise explanation of perfect contrition:

If you fall into sin – then perfect contrition

What should I do if I have sinned badly, if I even have to die and can no longer confess?

Above all, do not despair, but trust and repent! No one has sunk so low that he could not be saved by the Grace of God and the Blood of Jesus. Trust in the infinite Divine Mercy that bled for you on the Cross. Remember that the wounds of the Crucified Savior are the most poignant expression of an infinite love and goodness, and then repent of all your sins out of love for God by praying with holy earnestness:

“My Lord and my God! I repent of all my sins because I have offended You, the Eternal, Infinite Love and Goodness. I am determined to live and die according to Your Holy Will. I love You, O God, with my whole heart, and this is my greatest pain, that I grieve You, Who are all good; O wash me clean in Your blood.”

Or in short: My Jesus, mercy.

At the moment of greatest danger, the thought “Jesus” may suffice.

Penetrated by this attitude, you can be reconciled with God at any moment and become a child of God again. For love destroys sin and brings back grace. This loyalty of love includes the decision to confess at least the grave sins at the next confession. But if one could no longer confess, one would still be saved.

From: Most Rev. Fr. Alfons Maria Weigl, Gebetsschatz (published with permission from the Church)

Deacon Nick Donnelly:

The reason why I take the COVID-19 coronavirus so seriously is because it is highly infectious and we have no immunity to it, meaning our immune systems do not recognize it as a threat and therefore don’t protect our bodies from being hijacked by the virus. There is no comparison between COVID-19 and seasonal flu because we all have some immunity to the flu virus which is why most of us don’t get sick every year from flu. The last time a highly infectious, new virus emerged was between 1918 and 1919, and in just two years Spanish Flu killed 50 million people worldwide.

The rigorous enforcement of social isolation, quarantine in hospital and closure of churches in countries overwhelmed by COVID-19 means that Catholics are being denied access to the sacraments and the pastoral care of priests. As a deacon I’m very aware that in these circumstance the faithful will be understandably anxious about not being able to go to confession, receive Holy Communion or receive the Last Rites if they become critically ill. This is why I’ve been promoting two traditional devotions — the act of perfect contrition and spiritual communion through which we can receive absolution for our sins (under certain conditions), and the consolation of Eucharistic grace. In the absence of priests, God in his providence has given us these devotions as a means to receive his saving grace. Both devotions are officially encouraged by the Church and have been practiced by saints.

In the act of perfect contrition, which is intrinsically related to the sacrament of Confession and in spiritual communion, which is ardently focused on the sacrament of the Eucharist we receive his saving grace. It is important that you develop now the habit of making acts of perfect contrition, throughout the day, and especially after an examination of conscience last thing at night. Then if you become critically ill or in danger of death without the assistance of a priest, you can readily make an act of perfect contrition sure in the knowledge that you have been forgiven your sins and that if you die you will do so in a state of grace. If you don’t die then you can make a sacramental confession as soon as circumstances allow. 

Finally, follow the examples of St. Maximilian Kolbe O.F.M., and St Pio of Pietrelcina — Padre Pio — who both made ardent acts of spiritual communion throughout the occupations of the day and in the words of Padre Pio, “Fly with your spirit before the tabernacle, when you can't stand before it bodily, and there pour out the ardent longings of your soul and embrace the Beloved of souls, even more than if you had been permitted to receive Him sacramentally.”

As a final note by LifeSite: as Deacon Donnelly has written at Church Militant, this is how one best practices an act of spiritual communion: 

The key to spiritual Communion is to grow in your heart a constant desire for the Blessed Sacrament.

  1. If you are aware of serious or mortal sin, make an act of perfect contrition.
  2. Imagine the sacred words and actions of the Mass or watch online or on TV.
  3. Make all those acts of faith, humility, sorrow, adoration, love and desire that you usually express before Holy Communion.
  4. Desire, with earnest longing, to receive Our Lord present — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity — in the Blessed Sacrament.
  5. Say this prayer of St. Alphonsus Ligouri: “My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You are already there, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You; do not let me ever be separated from You. Amen.”
  6. After moments of silent adoration make all those acts of faith, humility, love, thanksgiving and offering that you usually express through prayers after Holy Communion.

  catholic, coronavirus, perfect contrition, spiritual communion

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EpisodesThu Mar 19, 2020 - 2:35 pm EST

Why every Catholic should have a devotion to St. Joseph

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Watch Mother Miriam's Live show from 3.19.2020. Today, on the feast of St. Joseph, the father of Jesus, Mother Miriam discusses the importance of a devotion to St. Joseph. Especially for fathers he is a great example an important saint for our devotion.

 

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