A new report commissioned by Democrat lawmakers shows that the Trump administration’s pro-life foreign policy is achieving its objective of protecting life.
Fri Mar 20, 2020 - 9:35 pm EST
By Lisa Correnti and Rebecca Oas, Ph.D
By Lisa Correnti and Rebecca Oas, Ph.D
Lisa Correnti and Rebecca Oas, Ph.D
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 20, 2020 (C-Fam) — A new report commissioned by Democrat lawmakers shows that the Trump administration’s pro-life foreign policy is achieving its objective of protecting life, showing that 54 abortion groups declined U.S. taxpayer funds.
Furious with the Trump administration for defunding the global abortion industry, Democrat lawmakers requested the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) measure the impact on global health grant recipients. The results showed that the reinstated and expanded Mexico City Policy, enacted in the first week of Trump’s presidency, has had a targeted impact on the world’s biggest abortion groups.
The Mexico City Policy bars U.S. funding to foreign organizations that promote or perform abortion. Under President Trump, it was expanded to cover all global health assistance and renamed Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA).
Abortion groups that turned down U.S. funds were initially awarded over $260 million in U.S. multi-year grants by the Obama administration for healthcare delivery for HIV/AIDs, maternal and child health, tuberculosis, family planning, and nutrition. Of the $260 million, just $30 million was dedicated to family planning programming alone, indicating how the U.S. government has entangled family planning activities with other global health programs allowing family planning clinics to be eligible to an annual global health budget of over $8 billion.
Similarly, U.S. abortion providers have skirted the policy, strategically expanding their reach to foreign assistance including humanitarian, becoming eligible for more grants, making it harder to isolate and cut off their funding.
The GAO report found that U.S. agencies applied PLGHA to more than 1,300 already-active global health grants from May 2017 through September 2018. The total multi-year award funding to these organizations was more than $28 billion.
The report found overwhelming acceptance of PLGHA policy, with 96% of global health grantees complying. Just seven “prime” or major awardee grants, and 47 sub-awards, were declined, totaling $153 million. The two largest awards equaling $79 million, were forfeited by International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International (MSI). Of the 47 “subprime,” smaller grantees, over half were affiliates of IPPF and MSI, the majority operating in Africa.
While IPPF and MSI report being able to recover some of the forfeited U.S. funding from other sources, they say that budget shortfall caused the closure of clinics and services eliminated in locations that remained open.
Democrat lawmakers who asked for the report claim that PLGHA policy harms healthcare delivery in poor and rural communities, saying that family planning clinics are the only healthcare facility. One of the purposes of the expansion of the Mexico City Policy, however, is precisely to dismantle pro-abortion monopolies. The Obama administration established these monopolies by awarding U.S. health funding to abortion-promoting organizations rather than investing in a diverse group of health providers. They did this even though they knew that an incoming Republican administration would reinstate the Mexico City Policy and slash these groups’ funding.
The Department of State has “emphasized that the policy does not affect the level of funding for global health assistance and U.S. agencies can reprogram funds” to NGOs that will comply with abortion restrictions. The GAO did not address efforts to reprogram funds associated with declined awards. While it measures the impact of the Trump administration’s policy on abortion groups, it does not assess its impact on the provision of global health.
Lawmakers requesting the study are prominent abortion rights advocates: Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). House members included: Eliot Engel (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Ami Bera (D-CA) and the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY).
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) –– A diocese in England has issued guidance for laypeople to conduct funeral services in the event that a priest or deacon is unavailable due to the coronavirus and anticipates that some funerals may be led by those with the barest minimum of belief in the Catholic faith.
The Diocese of Lancaster has published online downloadable directions for “[p]arishes, other denominations, families and funeral directors” to use “so that funerals may be provided at a time of emergency.”
“In the absence of a priest or deacon, a lay-led Catholic funeral service should be offered to the bereaved,” reads the short announcement. “The service can take place in a church, or chapel, at a crematorium, in a cemetery, or other place if necessary.”
“The civil authorities may limit the length of time given to a service, especially at a crematorium,” cautions the diocese. “They may also limit the number of those attending. The service can be cut-down in length as circumstances dictate, but should not feel rushed.”
A designated lay parish leader or other competent person in the parish leadership team is cited as the first preference for a funeral celebrant. If no such leader is available, then a practicing Catholic family member or any family member or friend (or funeral director) is permissible, but the diocese warns that a person who has no Christian beliefs should not be asked to lead the funeral.
The document lays out themes that should be incorporated into the service, including faith in the resurrection of Christ Jesus; hope in eternal rest in the presence of God, together with all the angels and saints; and the importance of a life well lived as a disciple of Jesus in accordance with His teaching and gospel values.
Prayers for God’s mercy in the context of judgment along with support and prayers for the bereaved, especially family and others close to the deceased, should also be included.
The diocese also prefaces its directives for lay-led funeral services by advising that incorporating music might be problematic if not impossible and that adjustments would have to be made for the funerals of infants and young people.
UNITED STATES, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Leading bodies representing American medical professionals have called on doctors to continue performing abortions in hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic, calling the murder of the preborn “an essential component of comprehensive health care.”
A statement released earlier this week by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society of Family Planning, and a number of other medical professional member organizations has called on fellow medical professionals “to ensure abortion access is not compromised” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, many of the same organizations said the pandemic “is a public health crisis that requires the full attention and resources of our health care systems” and have called on hospitals to suspend elective surgeries.
The ACOG notes that “the pandemic is and will create stress and pressure on health care systems throughout the country” and highlights that some health systems have already decided to “cancel elective and non-urgent procedures to expand hospitals’ capacity to provide critical care.”
Nevertheless, the ACOG wishes for abortion to be exempt from any such decisions.
“Abortions use up much-needed resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment,” Dr. Francis noted.
In a statement sent to LifeSite, the AAPLOG stated that “abortions offer zero health benefits to women and do not treat a disease process” and issued a call for “abortions to be suspended according to the current recommendations pertaining to elective procedures and office visits.”
The pro-life medical statement stresses that abortion “potentially generates more patients to be seen in already overburdened emergency rooms.”
“Approximately 5% of women who undergo medication abortions will require evaluation in the hospital, most commonly for hemorrhage. Uterine perforation and hemorrhage can occur with surgical abortions,” the statement explains.
“Because most abortion providers do not manage their own complications, instead instructing women to go to an ER if they have problems, emergency rooms who are already struggling to keep up with the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to need to provide care to these women,” the statement continues.
“Our nation faces a critical blood shortage during this time, which will also negatively impact women’s health who experience abortion-related hemorrhage.”
AAPLOG says that the ACOG does not represent its membership when it claims that “abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care.”
The statement explains that “85% of OB/GYN’s do not perform abortions. If abortion was an ‘essential component’ of women’s health care, it would be a part of most, if not all, of our practices.
“Services that are, in fact, part of essential care for women, such as cervical cancer screening, screening mammograms, and screening pelvic exams, are being postponed across this country as many offices reschedule non-urgent appointments in order to reduce their patient’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 and to conserve scarce medical resources.”
The statement noted that Dr Francis has recently covered ACOG's “transformation into a politicized pro-abortion organization” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this month.
“In such an uncertain and tumultuous time, the entire healthcare profession is being called upon to conserve resources and healthcare professionals to an extent never seen before,” the statement notes.
“And yet, in the midst of this call, where hospitals are postponing elective procedures and many outpatient clinics are rescheduling non-essential office visits, the abortion industry continues with business as usual. What’s worse, some major medical organizations, like the American College of OB/GYN’s (ACOG), are supporting them in this.”
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A laicized priest and liberation theologian who was widely credited as a “theologian of reference” for the Amazon synod has declared that the coronavirus is Gaia’s retaliation for humanity’s mistreatment of the earth.
Earlier this week, Leonardo Boff, 81, published an article for a Brazilian magazine called A Terra e Redonda (“The Earth is Round”) in which he gave a quasi-spiritual environmental reflection on the pandemic that has killed more than 10,000 people since it was first detected in China in November 2019.
“Not without reason did James Lovelock, who formulated the theory of the Earth as a living, self-regulating superorganism, Gaia, write a book (called) Gaia's Revenge (Intrínseca, 2006),” Boff, who is a strong supporter of Pope Francis, wrote in his article “The Origins of Coronavirus”.
“I believe that current diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, SARS, ebola, measles, the current coronavirus, and the widespread degradation of human relations, marked by deep inequality/social injustice and a lack of minimal solidarity, are a reprisal for Gaia for the offenses we inflict on her without interruption.”
Boff did not go so far as to say that an anthropomorphized planet Earth was wreaking her fury upon the human race but suggested that “the Great Mother” is retaliating against us for polluting her. Boff also suggested that COVID-19 has erupted in the dirtier regions of the planet.
“It is not without reason that the virus has erupted there where there is most pollution,” he stated.
“I would not say, like J. Lovelock, that it is ‘Gaia's revenge’ because she, as the Great Mother, does not take revenge, but gives us severe signs that she is ill (typhoons, melting of the polar ice caps, droughts and floods, etc.) and, finally, because we do not learn the lesson, she makes a reprisal against us like the diseases mentioned,” he wrote.
“It is a reaction to violent human action.”
In Boff’s article, he saved most of his sympathy for the planet, sparing little for sick and dying human beings, as he continued to write as though Earth were a super-powerful, female entity. The priest quoted naturalist Théodore Monod, who wrote that the annihilation of the human race “would be a just price for our follies and our cruelties.”
However, Boff is not opposed to governments looking for vaccines to treat the sick, as the pandemic may mean “a human tragedy” with countless victims. However, he does not believe that vaccines will be enough to keep the Earth happy with us.
“But the Earth will not be content with these little gifts,” he wrote.
“She begs for a different attitude towards her: to respect her rhythms and limits, to care for her sustainability and to feel that we are more than sons and daughters of Mother Earth, but even (part of) the very Earth that feels, thinks, loves, worships and cares,” he continued.
“Just as we care, we must care for her. She does not need us. We need her.”
Boff theorized that Mother Earth “may no longer want us on her face” and predicted that she will “keep spinning through outer space, but without us for we have been guilty of ecocide and geocide.”
The elderly theologian, who achieved a kind of fame in the 1970s for his leading role in Marx-inspired liberation theology, is now believed to have influenced Pope Francis. His Earth-centered philosophy was swiftly detected in the pontiff’s encyclical Laudato Si’.
In a 2016 interview, Boff told a German magazine that the Argentinian pontiff is “one of us. He has turned Liberation Theology into a common property of the Church. And he has widened it.”
“Whoever speaks today of the poor, also has to speak of the earth, because it, too, is now being plundered and abused. ‘To hear the cry of the poor,’ that means to hear the cry of the animals, the forests, of the whole tortured creation,” he continued.
“The whole earth cries. Also, says the pope – and he thus quotes one of the titles of one of my books – we have to hear simultaneously the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth. And, for sure, both need to be liberated. I myself have dealt in the recent past with this widening of the Liberation Theology. And that (this environmental dimension) is also the fundamentally new aspect in Laudato Si.”
Boff also revealed that Pope Francis had reached out to him for help in writing his environmental encyclical.
“He asked me for material for the sake of Laudato Si. I have given him my counsel and sent to him some of what I have written. Which he has also used. Some people told me they were thinking while reading: ‘Wait, that is Boff!’”
In the same interview, Boff called Cardinal Raymond Burke the “Donald Trump of the Catholic Church” and thanked God that he had been “neutralized.”
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The spread of the coronavirus now holding much of the world hostage could have been substantially reduced if Chinese authorities had acted more swiftly and had been more forthcoming in their reporting during its early stages, according to a study by the University of Southampton.
Researchers with WorldPop, a population mapping group associated with the university, ran simulations of various outbreak scenarios in mainland China that revealed that dramatically different results could have been realized.
The results suggest that if interventions had been staged just a week sooner, the number of cases could have been reduced by 66%. Similarly, if Chinese health authorities had intervened two weeks sooner, cases would’ve been lessened by 86%. Intervening three weeks earlier would have reduced the number of cases by a whopping 95%.
Earlier action would have not only greatly reduced the number of infected individuals in mainland China, worldwide infection rates would have been substantially lessened. The global pandemic may never have had a chance to secure a foothold.
Conversely, the report also shows that if Chinese authorities had not acted to the degree they did, the spread could’ve been far worse: at the end of February, there were about 114,000 COVID-19 cases in China. “Without non-pharmaceutical interventions — such as early detection, isolation of cases, travel restrictions and cordon sanitaire — the number of infected people would have been 67 times larger than that which actually occurred.”
That means that over 7.5 million Chinese might have been infected by the end of last month, and the global repercussions could’ve been far more catastrophic than what we now witness.
Chinese authorities’ early attempts to suppress information laid the groundwork for the coronavirus pandemic
Hypotheticals aside, documentation reveals that Chinese authorities are culpable for both inaction and obfuscation, leading to the global health emergency the world now faces.
A timeline constructed by Axios from information reported by the South China Morning Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and others reveals a troubling pattern of cover-up and delay early on as the virus emerged in the Chinese population.
Among the disturbing findings in the Axios report:
Dec. 30, Ai Fen, a top director at Wuhan Central Hospital, posts information on WeChat about the new virus. She was reprimanded for doing so and told not to spread information about it.
Jan 1, An official at the Hubei Provincial Health Commission orders labs, which had already determined that the novel virus was similar to SARS, to stop testing samples and to destroy existing samples.
Form Jan. 11–17: Important prescheduled CCP [Chinese Communist Party] meeting held in Wuhan. During that time, the Wuhan Health Commission insists there are no new cases.
Jan. 14: WHO announces Chinese authorities have seen “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.”
As it turns out, the WHO — the World Health Organization — was repeating a lie and is complicit in the spread of the virus.
Tucker Carlson: “Wokeness is our Achilles heel”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson said last night, “The coronavirus calamity happened because China hid the truth and they’re still trying to do that.”
“This calamity, this pandemic, was avoidable. It happened because China hid the truth about what was happening from the rest of the world. They’re still trying to do that,” said Carlson. “Whether from stupidity or greed, people outside of China, including [in] this country, are playing along as if on script.”
“It’s racist!” That’s what the media is talking about in the middle of a life-threatening pandemic.
And the Chinese know this. They know that wokeness is our Achilles heel, and they know they can control us with it. They know that any conversation in this country, no matter how serious, can be shut down instantly by somebody, maybe a mindless ABC correspondent, saying “racism,” and that’s why they’re pushing it.
Carlson said that what is truly scary is that “woke” mainstream journalists and networks believe that viewers “should be lied to and controlled.”
The importance of early interventions
The Southampton University researchers underscored the importance of early interventions.
“Our study demonstrates how important it is for countries which are facing an imminent outbreak to proactively plan a coordinated response which swiftly tackles the spread of the disease on a number of fronts,” said study author Dr. Shengjie Lai of the University of Southampton. “We also show that China’s comprehensive response, in a relatively short period, greatly reduced the potential health impact of the outbreak.”
“We have a narrow window of opportunity globally to respond to this disease and given effective drugs and vaccines are not expected for months, we need to be smart about how we target it using non-drug-related interventions,” said Professor Andy Tatem, director of the University of Southampton’s WorldPop group.
“Our findings significantly contribute to an improved understanding of how best to implement measures and tailor them to conditions in different regions of the world,” he continued. “We are now focused on adapting this work to new settings beyond China to support response efforts. Different countries may need different approaches, but we aim to help them make informed decisions on how best to put interventions in place.”
At the time of the writing of this article, there are 254,653 reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide resulting in 10,415 deaths; 87,351 individuals have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
China, Italy, Spain, Iran, Germany, and France remain the hardest hit.
TORONTO, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Two pro-candidates for Canada’s Conservative Party leadership have cleared the final hurdle and are officially on the ballot.
Ontario M.P. Derek Sloan and Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis have both succeeded in raising $300,000 and gathering 3,000 signatures to be verified by the party, and both are supported by Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group.
But in an email thanking his supporters, Sloan also blasted the Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) for not postponing the race in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and attendant massive societal upheaval, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Thursday could extend over months.
“How can leadership candidates talk about a broad range of issues when there is really only one issue (COVID-19) that‘s on anyone’s mind?” wrote the rookie M.P. and father of three.
“Fortunately, there is an easy answer. All LEOC has to do is to delay everything by 3 to 5 months. Instead of balloting in June, let’s do it in November,” he said.
The party should also move the deadline for buying Conservative memberships in order to vote for a leader from April 17 to October, said Sloan.
“It seems that the only people in the party who think it’s a good idea for this contest to continue as scheduled are the two Red Tory candidates (MacKay and O’Toole) and their supporters on the LEOC,” he wrote.
So far, only four candidates — Sloan, Lewis, former Nova Scotia M.P. Peter MacKay, and current Ontario M.P. Erin O’Toole — have met the stringent criteria to get on to the ballot.
Meanwhile, Ontario lawyer Jim Karaholios, also supported by Campaign Life, has also just been disqualified.
That’s according to a tweet on Friday from broadcaster and journalist Andrew Lawton, referring to the Conservative Party’s Dispute Resolution Appeals Committee Friday:
Conservative Party of Canada confirms Karahalios was disqualified for "statements made by Mr. Karahalios through email, mail, and social media earlier in the month." Karahalios appealed but was unsuccessful. pic.twitter.com/kDwuQxqcKo
The two remaining approved candidates, Marilyn Gladu and Rudy Husny, must submit the balance of $300,000 and 3,000 signatures to the party by March 25 to remain in the race.
Campaign Life Coalition is urging pro-life Canadians over 14 years of age to buy Conservative Party memberships before April 17 to be eligible to vote for the party’s next leader.
Correction: This article originally stated that LEOC disqualified Karaholis on March 17, however, according to the DRAC statement, it was the Chief Returning Officer who issued a ruling on March 17. It has not yet been verified as to what that ruling was. LifeSiteNews regrets the error.
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The official Twitter account of the U.S. Jesuit order celebrated the decision of a pro-abortion Democrat politician to join the order.
Cyrus Habib, the lieutenant governor of Washington, announced yesterday that he will “not be running for re-election this year, and instead will pursue a different calling by joining the Jesuit order of the Catholic Church.”
LifeSite has spoken with senior members of the U.S. Jesuits and confirmed that Habib will be joining the order, after their official Twitter account posted the news yesterday, saying “Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib will not seek re-election in order to join the #Jesuits.”
In 2013 and 2014, Habib voted for bills requiring health plans that provide coverage for maternity care to provide coverage for abortion.
In 2016, Habib voted against a bill to reverse a public accommodations law that allows transgender people to use opposite-sex bathrooms and locker rooms, arguing that the law protects "a civil right to be included.”
Habib was also an active part of Pete Buttigieg’s campaign to win the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election. Earlier this month, he tweeted that he was “honored to have been a part of #TeamPete and proud of @PeteButtigieg for running an inspiring campaign,” after the openly homosexual, pro-abortion former mayor of South Bend, Indiana dropped out of the race.
I'm honored to have been a part of #TeamPete and proud of @PeteButtigieg for running an inspiring campaign. As always Pete is putting country before self. Looking forward to working with him to heal our country and #WinTheEra in the years to come.
Buttigieg has repeatedly refused to condemn late-term or partial-birth abortion and has even tried to justify abortion on religious grounds, claiming in September “there’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath.”
Buttigieg had pledged to appoint pro-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and make the abortion drug RU-486 available over the counter. As mayor, he vetoed Women’s Care Center’s re-zoning application to build a pro-life pregnancy center near the site of a proposed abortion center, and he has largely dodged questions about the discovery of thousands of babies’ corpses on the property of a deceased area abortionist.
Buttigieg also indicated during a campaign town hall that if elected he would cut federal funding from any foster and adoption programs that “discriminates against LGBT communities.”
Like Buttigieg, Habib has now endorsed Joe Biden, another pro-abortion politician who identifies as Catholic.
As a Democrat I'm proud of our party for uniting behind a candidate who can and will beat Donald Trump. Congrats @JoeBiden on another dominant night! Time for us all to come together and turn our attention to the general election.
Primrose told LifeSite that she had “no idea” if either the Jesuit provincial or vocations director were aware of Habib’s voting record.
Asked if Habib is being asked to publicly recant his pro-aborition voting record, Primrose said LifeSite was the first to bring the issue to her attention.
Asked if, as the Jesuits director of communications, she was concerned that a politician who has voted so clearly against Catholic teaching is joining the order, Primrose said she didn’t know anything about what was being asked and “would like to be informed before offering an opinion.”
Primrose said she would pass on LifeSite’s questions to the provincial and vocations director and ask for a response. We had not received any communication from them before publication.
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The coronavirus lockdown has forced parents across the United States to turn to homeschooling as the only way to educate their kids.
On the evening of March 19, almost all states decided to close all schools.
“Combined with district closures in other states, at least 104,000 U.S. public and private schools are closed, are scheduled to close, or were closed and later reopened, affecting at least 47.9 million school students,” according to Education Week.
At the same time, the number of “online resources for families and teachers is growing as social distancing becomes the necessary, new normal,” wrote Lindsey M. Burke of The Heritage Foundation. “But policy actions by officials in school districts and state governments, as well as at the federal level, can maximize health and safety and provide learning opportunities for students,” she is convinced.
LifeSiteNews reached out to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), an organization that for almost four decades has been fighting for the rights of parents to educate their children in the home.
“Yes, we have had inquiries and requests ranging from how to keep kids learning at home for two to three weeks and how do I juggle working from home with my kids learning from home … to how do I actually jump into full-time homeschooling on short notice,” said Sandra Kim, HSLDA’s media relations manager.
Seton Home Study School, a large provider of resources for Catholic homeschooling families, is experiencing a similar situation.
“Seton has been receiving a significant number of inquiries about the possibility of parents transferring to our accredited home study school for the remainder of the year. We have even changed one of our policies to make that easier to do in high school,” Draper Warren, Seton’s director of admissions, told LifeSiteNews.
High school credits at Seton are now available for just a quarter of the school work, where before, the school online issued full or half credits.
Even though it is the middle of the school year, homeschooling is still an option.
“It is absolutely possible to start homeschooling in the middle of the year or at any time,” Warren emphasized. “Seton Home Study School is the largest Catholic homeschool provider, and our accredited school allows parents to move at their own pace and adopt whatever schedule works best for them. This means that they can enroll and start school at any time.”
Kim explained, “Many families must start homeschooling for a variety of reasons from bullying to health issues. It’s just a matter of deciding what material to use and beginning from there.” In other words, having families start homeschooling in the middle of the year is nothing uncommon.
While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, “each state has its own laws and specific requirements.” Thus, Kim said, “it’s important for parents to know and follow their state’s homeschool law.”
HSLDA was founded with the specific purpose of giving legal advice to homeschoolers.
Many parents have no alternative to homeschooling their children, given that most schools in the country closed down to stop the coronavirus epidemic. The avoidance of a disease, however, is not the only, and certainly not the best, argument to educate children in the home.
Warren pointed out three main reasons.
“The first one tends to be a little shocking,” he warned, “but many families actually homeschool because of socialization, not in spite of it. School environments can sometimes foster the notion that you are only supposed to be friends with others of your own age, and it can foster really severe generational gaps and a difficulty communicating with those of different ages.”
“At Seton, we have actually created a huge online community for our students 13 and up to discuss the issues of the day and make like-minded Catholic friends. Homeschoolers are also freed up to participate in more extra-curricular activities,” Warren added.
The second for homeschooling is the academic performance of the students. Schools have to move along all students at the same pace, whereas in a homeschooling environment, “some can grasp concepts quickly while others can thrive with more review.”
In this context, Kim said, “If a child is more interested in say, animals or space exploration, then it’s possible to explore that fully as well by wrapping other subjects like reading, writing, and math around those topics.”
Similarly, “If math is difficult or not their favorite, then there are a thousand and one ways to make math more relevant, accessible, and engaging to them: whether sneaking math into solving real-life problems like cooking, grocery shopping, or building a project, or using creative manipulatives and movement games in the younger years.”
Finally, Warren, who was homeschooled himself, mentioned “religious and moral” reasons. “Homeschooling allows parents to make religion a truly robust subject and guiding principle. It also allows parents to avoid some of the more harmful philosophies being pushed onto our children in public schools.”
What is going to happen once the coronavirus epidemic is over and schools reopen?
“I think it will be interesting to see what conclusions parents will make after getting a chance to experiment with what learning from home could look like for their family,” Kim said.
Warren is already optimistic. “I expect this experience will have long-term repercussions for the entire field of education,” he said.
“This is true not just for K-12 students, but for college students as well. I think a certain portion of families are going to have great experiences during this trial period of homeschooling, and absolutely want to continue.”
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As societies around the world cope with the spread of the coronavirus, pro-abortion activists in both America and Europe see travel bans and the closing of “nonessential” businesses as a pretext to demand easier access to chemical abortions.
Last week, President Donald Trump waived various regulations to give patients and physicians the ability to meet remotely via webcam, to allow “maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients” without having to meet in person and potentially spread the virus.
On Thursday, Vice’s Christine Grimaldi complained that the move didn’t extend to so-called “webcam” abortions, in which doctors dispense abortion pills long-distance, eliminating the “need” to leave the house and pick up the pills after an in-person medical consultation.
“Abortion is obviously a time-sensitive medical procedure. It’s not an elective procedure that can just be rescheduled a month or two later,” said abortionist Daniel Grossman, who directs the far-left Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH).
Yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Office of Medical Affairs is holding firm, telling Vice in a statement that “certain restrictions, known as a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS), are necessary for mifepristone when used for medical termination of early pregnancy in order to ensure that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks.”
Across the pond, activist groups such as Alliance for Choice, Abortion Rights Campaign, and Abortion Support Network are making the same demand of the European Union, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) reported.
“The opportunistic advances now being made by the shameless pro-abortion lobby, during a time of fear, suffering and hardship for so many, exposes just how debased the pro-abortion ideology is,” SPUC director of communications Michael Robinson responded. “The pro-abortion lobby appears to be scrambling to exploit the current Coronavirus crisis. They are disregarding the genuine fear of so many people and are treating this crisis as an opportunity to further their pro-abortion agenda.”
“This national crisis is a time to ensure that as many lives as possible are saved, not to be plotting to kill even more innocent children in their mothers’ wombs,” he declared.
Pro-lifers argue that abortion pills aren't truly safe for women even when “properly taken,” and administering them without full medical supervision only increases the danger.
Although they “cannot with certainty be causally attributed to mifepristone,” the FDA warns that “as of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal.”
March 23, 2020 update:On March 19, the official French-speaking website of the seminary stated, “As expected, the virus did its work in the seminary, and now most priests and half of the seminarians are sick.” Priests and seminarians living in Wigratzbad were officially tested for coronavirus only on March 20. Nonetheless, a great number of them were showing symptoms at the time. After the weekend, on Monday, March 23, the seminary reported on “a marked improvement today at the seminary since the number of seriously ill patients is less than ten.”
OPFENBACH, Germany, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Almost all priests and roughly half of the seminarians currently at a German seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), a traditionalist community of priests and seminarians, have been infected by the coronavirus.
On the evening of March 13, the seminary had first announced that a priest, who stayed at the seminary as a guest, had contracted the virus. At the time, the community, which is dedicated to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, had stated that all Masses in Wigratzbad would take place without the seminarians joining.
“With the powerful help of faith, hope and charity, we do not let ourselves be discouraged. In a few days, the first healed ones will be able to take over from the newly sick, to maintain the spiritual and material life of the house,” the seminary community wrote.
Since God only allows evil for the sake of a greater good, the community expressed its confidence in the Lord “who alone is able to give meaning to our temporary existence on this earth.”
Since the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue had already been banned, the FSSP declared that only the celebrant would receive the Eucharist. The faithful were encouraged to do a spiritual communion.
On the next day, the French blog of the seminary, which has a German-speaking and a French-speaking section, clarified that the priest first infected was from Italy.
“The whole seminary has been in strict confinement for a week, because the disease spreads rapidly. A dozen priests and seminarians are showing flu-like symptoms, forcing us to completely reorganize schedules and services. Cooks, cleaners, secretaries … we have to do everything by ourselves, but everyone is generous and adapts without difficulty.”
The community is using the quarantine to meditate on the meaning of life.
“Life is short and fragile, and if one is worried about one’s health, one must be even more concerned about one’s salvation. The invisible threat of illness stimulates us to trust more in God, and to increase our prayers and penances even more,” the French blog wrote.
Earlier this week, the government prohibited gatherings of any kind in churches, meaning the public is now no longer able to participate in Mass in Wigratzbad.
This year, 90 seminarians are preparing for the priesthood in Wigratzbad. The community received 30 new seminarians last fall.
Meanwhile, 59 religious sisters in Italy have been tested positive for coronavirus.
Just outside of Rome, one convent of the Daughters of St. Camillus, composed of 40 sisters, was isolated. Additionally, 19 members of the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul, also located outside of Rome, were diagnosed with coronavirus.
According to a report by Catholic News Agency, 28 priests in Northern Italy have already died of coronavirus.
“Avvenire, the Italian newspaper owned by the Italian bishops conference, attributes at least 28 of these priests’ deaths to COVID-19, and also notes two additional cases: that of Fr. Guido Mortari, who died of pneumonia before he could get tested, and Fr. Giorgio Bosini, who had a serious underlying medical condition,” Courtney Mares wrote.
The vast majority of priests who died were over 70 years old. The youngest died at 54.
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter is among the major internet companies that have stepped up to play an active role in countering “misinformation” about the risks of and response to the coronavirus, although critics fear the measures it has announced could do more harm than good.
This week, the social media platform announced that it’s taking a “wide range of actions on potentially abusive and manipulative content” related to the subject, and to that end it is broadening his definition of “harmful” content.
Content that may be removed includes “denial of global or local health authority recommendations” (such as discouraging people from engaging in “social distancing”); descriptions of “ineffective” treatment or prevention methods, “even if made in jest”; “denial of established scientific facts” from “global and local health authorities”; urging people to go out to local businesses in defiance of government mandates; statements such as “ignore news about COVID-19, it’s just an attempt to destroy capitalism by crashing the stock market”; “unverified” claims that could “incite people to action and cause widespread panic”; impersonation of official government bodies, including parody accounts; and more.
While some of these rules are fairly straightforward, the language about humorous content can be seen as overreach, particularly if it affects obvious satire or jokes that, while potentially in poor taste, are obviously not meant to be taken as real information.
Per “social distancing” recommendations, Twitter is taking on this task with reduced manpower, meaning it will be increasing its reliance on “machine learning and automation” to monitor and remove objectionable content. The company acknowledges that artificial systems “can sometimes lack the context that our teams bring, and this may result in us making mistakes,” so it will not be suspending any of the accounts whose content is removed by these systems.
Twitter is part of a joint effort by tech giants including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Reddit to fight “fraud and misinformation about the virus” while “elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.”
Google’s own efforts in that regard have already produced some hiccups, such as inadvertently blocking legitimate news apps and even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control from appearing in certain searches on the Google Play store.
MADISON, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Dane County, Wisconsin, home to the left-wing stronghold of Madison, has just launched an online tool for the express purpose of reporting to the authorities citizens who gather in groups of ten or more, in defiance of emergency measures ordered by Democrat Gov. Tony Evers to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
This week, Evers ordered the closure of malls, bars and restaurants across the state, and ordered establishments such as churches, theaters, movie theaters, arenas, and fitness centers to bar gatherings of ten or more people. Public schools also remain closed until further notice. So far, Wisconsin has seen three deaths and 206 known coronavirus cases.
On Thursday, Public Health Madison and Dane County launched an online form for people to “report mass gatherings that are being held in Dane County” to law enforcement. WKOW notes that violations of Evers’ order are punishable by up to a month in prison and/or a $500 fine.
Critics argue Evers’ crackdowns on private gatherings go too far.
“The balance between protecting physical security and the security of fundamental individual rights to freely worship, maintain and operate private businesses, and associate on private property is a delicate one,” writes WISN radio host Dan O’Donnell. “And as compelling as the need to protect Wisconsin’s citizenry against Coronavirus may be, the need to protect the citizenry’s freedom will always take precedence.”
O’Donnell argues that the “right of the collective to security can only infringe on the individual’s right to liberty when that infringement isn’t more restrictive than it needs to be,” yet Evers has opted to “take a sledgehammer to Coronavirus instead of using a scalpel.”
Evers “has no special access to information about this pandemic,” yet “panicked and suspended our liberties without warning after private organizations and citizens had already adopted extreme measures to protect themselves,” agrees Empower Wisconsin Foundation president Eric O’Keefe. “The dictates of Gov. Evers do nothing to add to our protection. Instead they have seized from all of us our authority to conduct our lives.”
“This is happening in ways invisible to him, as his approach prevents people from making their own decisions about how to survive the loss of their businesses, their jobs, or beloved relatives,” O’Keefe continues. “We are social beings. We need others to survive, and we need the freedom to associate with others in order to be fully alive.”
VATICAN CITY, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence to Catholics directly affected by the coronavirus, upon meeting certain conditions, while the Vatican has clarified that priests can give general absolution to groups of Catholics caught up in the pandemic, as deemed necessary by the local bishop.
The Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary released two documents today, the first announcing a special indulgence for Catholics affected by Covid-19, including the sick, their family members, health workers and anyone who takes care of them “even with prayer”, putting themselves at risk of falling ill. The plenary indulgence, which remits those who fulfill its stipulations from temporal punishment in Purgatory, has the following conditions:
Detachment “from any sin”
Spiritually uniting themselves to the Church through the celebration of Mass, or
Reciting the Holy Rosary, or
The pious practice of the Via Crucis, or
Some other form of devotion, or
Reciting the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Those who avail themselves of this indulgence must offer their demonstration in a spirit of “faith in God and charity towards brethren, with the intent of fulfilling the usual conditions (sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion, and prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father) as soon as it is possible for them.”
The difficulties in participating in sacramental confession during a pandemic were addressed in the second document released by the Apostolic Penitentiary today.
Titled “Note from the Apostolic Penitentiary regarding the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the current pandemic situation,” the letter discusses physical safeguards for the confessor and the penitent against infection and also the possibility of waiving individual confession in favor of general absolution.
Collective or general absolutions in the Catholic Church are normally strictly reserved for emergency situations, such as an impending disaster or the moments before a battle when a military chaplain has no time to hear individual confessions. When circumstances allow, penitents who receive general absolution should pray an act of contrition, and, when grave sins are involved, should confess them individually as soon as possible.
The document released today reminds Catholics that “even in the Covid-19 period, the sacrament of Reconciliation is administered according to the norms of universal canon law and the instructions of the Ordo Paenitentiae [Order of Penance].” This means that general absolution, the granting of God’s forgiveness to a group of the faithful without a priest hearing their confessions first, will not be permitted without case-by-case decisions by bishops.
“Individual confession represents the ordinary method for the celebration of this sacrament (cf. can 960 CIC), while general absolution, without previous individual confession, cannot be given except where there is immediate danger of death, there not being enough time to hear the confession of the single penitent, or a grave need (cf. can. 961, § 1, 2° CIC), whose consideration belongs to the diocesan bishop, taking into account the criteria agreed upon by the other members of the Episcopal Conference (cf. can. 455, § 2 CIC), and [...] the penitent's intention to confess later and in person the serious sins that at the moment he was not able to confess (cf. can. 962, § 1 CIC),” the bulletin reads.
However, because of the coronavirus epidemic, the Apostolic Penitentiary believes that in places where the virus runs rampant and is likely to reoccur, there will be “grave need” for general absolution. However, this is at the discretion of a bishop, and if a priest believes that several faithful should be given general absolution together, his bishop should either be warned or informed “as soon as possible.” This is for the sake of spiritual safety.
Bishops are also responsible for the physical safety of priests and penitents, the document relates.
“In the present pandemic emergency, it is up to the diocesan bishop to indicate to priests and penitents the prudent safeguards for individual celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, such as the celebration in a ventilated place outside the confession box, the adoption of fitting distance, the recourse to protective masks ... while safeguarding the sacramental seal [of Confession] and the necessary discretion,” it states.
The document also stipulates that it is up to the diocesan bishop to determine, for his own diocese and relative to the level of the pandemic contagion, when and where there is a grave need for granting general absolution. It offers as an example the entrance to a hospital ward, saying that the priest’s voice should be amplified, so that the faithful can hear him.
The bishops are also asked to consider assembling groups of voluntary “extraordinary hospital chaplains” so that they can help “guarantee the necessary spiritual assistance to the sick and the dying.” This should be done in consultation with the hospitals and with reference to rules preventing the contagion from spreading.
The document also offered advice to those in a position where it is impossible to receive any form of absolution, counselling them that perfect contrition, coming from a love of God above all else, a sincere wish to be forgiven, and the firm intention of receiving individual confession when it is possible will obtain the forgiveness of sin, “even mortal sins.”
Finally, the directive noted that we are in a situation unprecedented in the history of the Church.
“The Church has never before experienced so much the power of the communion of saints and lifted up to her Crucified and Risen Lord so many offerings and prayers, in particular the sacrifice of the Holy Mass, celebrated daily, even without the people, by priests,” it proclaimed.
“Like a good mother, the Church begs the Lord that humanity will be liberated from such a scourge, invoking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy and Health of the Sick and of her Spouse Saint Joseph, under whose patronage the Church has always walked in the world.”
VATICAN CITY, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has found it necessary to remind the world that the Catholic Church’s celebration of Easter cannot be moved to a different date on account of the coronavirus lockdown.
In a letter released today, Sarah said that he had received a number of questions about Easter because of the coronavirus pandemic. He reminded readers that Easter is “the heart of the entire liturgical year and is not simply one feast among others.”
“The Easter Triduum is celebrated over an arc of three days which is preceded by Lent and crowned by Pentecost and, therefore, cannot be transferred to another time,” he stated
The annual Chrism Mass, usually celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week, may, however, be postponed by bishops to a later date. Expressions of popular piety and processions common to Holy Week and the Easter Triduum may also take place later in the year, depending on the judgement of local ordinaries. The cardinal suggested September 14 and 15.
Sarah stated that wherever civil and ecclesiastical authorities had placed restrictions on public assembly because of the coronavirus, the celebration of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter would go ahead in churches and Cathedrals without the physical presence of the lay faithful.
“The faithful should be informed of the times of the celebration so that they can prayerfully unite themselves in their homes,” he continued.
“In this occasion, the means of live (not recorded) televisual or internet broadcasts are helpful.”
Some parts of the usual ceremonies will be eliminated. For example, there will be no washing of feet, “which is already optional”, during the Holy Thursday liturgies. The customary procession from the altar to the place of repose will also be omitted, and the Blessed Sacrament will be kept in the tabernacle.
Easter Vigil Mass will be celebrated only in cathedral and parish churches where it can be done. The preparation and lighting of the paschal fire will be omitted, as will the usual subsequent procession. The Baptismal Liturgy will contain only the “Renewal of Baptismal Promises,” suggesting that there will be no baptisms or confirmations in the affected areas.
“Decisions regarding monasteries, seminaries and religious communities shall be made by the Diocesan Bishop,” Sarah directed.
The cardinal confirmed that this was by the mandate of Pope Francis, for 2020 only.
For the first time in the history of the Church, many bishops around the world have voluntarily suspended public Masses for an indefinite time period, as a way of slowing or stopping the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Priests have been encouraged to continue saying Masses, and the lay people have been advised to join them in prayer, particularly by participating in live-streamed Masses from home.
March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Alessandra Bocchi believes that at least one positive thing to come out of the coronavirus pandemic is that globalization is being exposed for the danger that it is.
“I think globalization has gone too far,” she told Canadian pro-life activist Jonathon van Maren this week. “We rely on, you know, things that we have no idea where they come from. And we have no idea that we're even dependent on someone else.”
Bocchi is a international journalist who has written for a variety of outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, First Things magazine, The American Conservative, and Spectator USA.
An Italian, she hails from Lombardy, the region hardest hit with the coronavirus. She is currently stuck in Rome thanks to the government’s lockdown and is live-tweeting her experience there.
Bocchi told van Maren that while the pandemic is “strengthening” Italy’s sense of national solidarity it “worries a lot of us because we don't know what the consequences will be for our economy.”
She explained that a friend of hers who lives in the Italian countryside raises his own chickens and grows his own vegetables. He “feels secure,” she said, but added, “that’s not how I feel living in a major city where I have to go to the grocery store every day.”
She and van Maren made note of the fact that Italy and the United States are reliant on China for a host of goods and products. Bocchi said that it would be better if that wasn’t the case.
Italians “wish we had more localism right now … the more self reliant we are, the more independent we are.”
SUMMARY: The report that follows will prove that Catholic Relief Services created a health referral network which includes “sexual and reproductive health” as a component. In relation to this, CRS’s project partnered with another project, creating a direct referral system with an organization called RENATA, a group which promotes and dispenses contraception and even takes girls to have abortions. At least three other organizations included in this network (created by CRS as the lead on the project) promote and/or provide condoms and contraception. This network was designed to last beyond CRS’s participation in the project, planting seeds of corruption which will only bear corrupt fruit.
March 20, 2020 (Lepanto Institute) — For the last two weeks, we’ve been releasing segments of a 100-page report that is the result of a year long investigation of Catholic Relief Services programs in Africa. In our first segment, we showed CRS-copyrighted documents that promote condom use. In our second segment, we uncovered the fact that CRS is the proprietor of a website called OVCSupport.org, which is an internet library for documents that promote abortion, contraception and condom use.
In this report, we’re going to take a close look at one of CRS’s own projects in Cameroon, and we’ll prove to you that CRS was directly and willfully responsible for the creation of a health referral network that that involved sending teenaged girls to Planned Parenthood style clinics for sexual and reproductive health services.
Below is the full video explaining this report, or, if you prefer to read it, following that is the transcript.
From June of 2014 to June of 2019, Catholic Relief Services was in charge of a $7.6 million, USAID-funded project called Key Interventions to Develop Systems and Services for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, or KIDSS, for short.
Increase use of targeted services by orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and their households at community and facility levels
Improve capacity of communities, vulnerable households, and local facilities to provide HIV services, and
Strengthen government systems and policy environment for sustainable care and treatment of OVC affected by HIV.
CRS then explained in its flyer what all that means. It said:
“KIDSS facilitates access to direct services for OVC through case management, assessing families for their strengths and needs, creating case plans, and linking families and children to appropriate services to achieve their case plans. The project also ensures that all those identified as HIV-positive are linked to clinical care and treatment services and supports community-based activities to retain children and adolescents in care.”
What you will soon see is that the “linking of families and children to appropriate services” is a referral network, but the question here is what exactly are the services children and families are being referred for?
Well, on the back side of this flyer, CRS created a chart giving an overview of the services provided. As you can see at the bottom of the chart are the letters SRH, which means sexual and reproductive health. And right beside the chart is a set of “key results,” and among them is “HIV negative children benefit from HIV prevention activities, including sexual and reproductive health education.”
This isn’t the only time Sexual and Reproductive health services is mentioned by CRS as a part of the KIDSS project. In September of 2017, CRS held a conference call on OVC programming, and during the call, CRS representative Carl Stecker discussed the KIDSS project. About 20 minutes into his presentation, Dr. Stecker clearly indicated that SRH was included as a part of CRS’s own initiative within the KIDSS project. Here’s what he said:
“At the year 3, FY17, we’re coming to the close of which now, we started all of our additional services which include Early Childhood Development, Scholarships (especially for girl children ages 10-17), our Sexual and Reproductive Health Behavior Change and gender-based violence prevention programs …”
In addition to this, in the Spring of 2018, CRS posted a job announcement that indicated it was looking for a SRH/GBV specialist for its KIDSS project. This job announcement said:
“An international humanitarian based in Yaoundé is seeking a highly qualified Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (AYSRH) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Specialist to support the implementation of AYSRH and GBV prevention and response Programming targeting adolescents and youth. The SRH/GBV Specialist will be responsible for ensuring the quality of AYSRH and GBV activities implemented by local partners and promote integration with other orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) services.”
Clearly, CRS is not ignorant of the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health services in the KIDSS project. But this is just the beginning of the concern. We needed to know exactly what sexual and reproductive health meant in this case, and who CRS’s partners were. What we discovered was that CRS was partnered with pro-abortion, contraception-providing agencies who are no different than Planned Parenthood, for the referral of those sexual and reproductive health services.
The organizations included by CRS for this referral network are: RENATA, Horizons Women, SWAA Littoral, and Merenso.
One thing to bear in mind as you examine the evidence I’m about to show you is that the goal of this project is sustainability, so that the local organizations will eventually take charge of the project as a whole. And given the organizations CRS chose to include, this means that organizations as rotten as Planned Parenthood will be included in directing the project, which will ultimately have an impact on the society as a whole. In fact, one of the organizations itself is active in trying to change the country’s pro-life laws so that abortion can be legalized.
Do you remember how, in our last video, we mentioned that CRS had removed a bunch of documents from the OVCSupport website, and then reinstated most of them? One of the documents CRS did NOT reinstate was a USAID document titled, Addressing Children of Key Populations. We weren’t even aware of this document until we began investigating KIDSS and its partners, and then it started showing up on internet searches. But when we clicked on it (this is the original link), every indication was that it had been deleted.
Well, when CRS deletes a document, we have to ask if there is something in the document CRS doesn’t want us to see. As it turns out, there’s a very good reason CRS wouldn’t want us seeing this document, which you’ll understand in a moment. Fortunately, the internet never forgets and we found a cached version of this document somewhere else [the cache is now gone as well. We have saved the cached document to our website, altering it only to fix the formatting, so that it is readable].
On page 13 of Addressing Children of Key Populations, USAID explained that in September of 2016, KIDSS (under the leadership of CRS) partnered with another program called Continuum of Prevention, Care and Treatment of HIV/AIDS with Most-At-Risk Populations (CHAMP). The purpose of the partnership was to pilot “an integrated approach to improve HIV outcomes and overall well-being among children of [female sex workers] FSWs.” USAID explained that CHAMP would refer HIV positive children of female sex workers for enrollment in the KIDSS program. From there KIDSS would evaluate the children as case managers and put together an assessment of needs for each child, assigning various services. USAID then explained the services that would be provided by KIDSS, including the referral of adolescent females to an organization called RENATA. The document says:
The KIDSS menu of services includes: early childhood development, household economic strengthening, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education and risk avoidance, post gender-based violence (GBV) care package, educational support (school block grants and scholarships), nutritional assessment including counseling and referrals for nutrition supplementation, linkage to ART and retention support, and age-appropriate adherence counseling and psychosocial support. In addition, adolescent girls are referred to a CHAMP sub-partner, RENATA, which is a national network of teenage mothers with extensive experience providing services to women and girls who have experienced violence.
The very next line provides a clear explanation as to why CRS would want to hide this document. After indicating that CRS’s project is referring adolescent girls to RENATA, USAID then says:
RENATA provides comprehensive SRH services (including condoms), GBV prevention and a comprehensive post-GBV care package. (emphasis added)
On 22 May 2018 a PEPFAR solutions template was submitted by Maury Mendenhall of USAID. The beginning of the document asks what the problem was, so Mendenhall explained that “most” female sex workers were not tested for HIV prior to childbirth, which means that a large number of children could be infected and un-diagnosed. Identified in the solution portion is the partnership between CHAMP and KIDSS that we just identified. As with the USAID document, this solution template explains that referrals are made to RENATA, which “provide GBV prevention and full-spectrum SRH services.”
On page 7 of this PEPFAR report is a chart explaining the relationship between KIDSS and RENATA. In short, the working referral relationship between CRS’s project and RENATA is completely undeniable.
As can be seen in the chart, KIDSS is identified as providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education and risk avoidance. KIDSS is referring adolescent girls to RENATA, RENATA is providing “comprehensive SRH,” and RENATA is referring girls back to KIDSS.
Explaining the relationship between RENATA and KIDSS even further, Mendenhall states that KIDSS case managers “facilitated linkage to treatment for all HIV-infected children (providing accompaniment as needed) as well as community-based care and support services.” It also explained that “Older adolescent girls are also referred to RENATA,” identifying it as a “national network of teenage mothers with extensive experience providing services to women and girls who have experienced violence and comprehensive SRH services.”
Another interesting thing to note is that in joint visits to children and their mothers by CHAMP and KIDSS workers, “RENATA’s Peer Educators (Tantines) provide GBV prevention and comprehensive SRH services; comprehensive post-GBV care is provided via one-stop shops.”
What this indicates is that KIDSS care managers aren’t just making referrals to RENATA, but are in point of fact, including RENATA for the inclusion of “comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services” at in-home visits. The reason for RENATA’s inclusion in these in-home visits is made abundantly clear on page 6, where it says:
The target population is biological children (age 0-17 years) residing with HIV-infected FSW. Motherhood is common among female sex workers (FSWs) and with low contraceptive use and high burden of unintended pregnancy, they have poor reproductive outcomes and preventable mother-to-child HIV transmission risk.
In short, KIDSS is bringing RENATA to female sex workers in order to promote and provide contraception for the purpose of preventing “unintended pregnancy.”
But the clear intertwining of RENATA with KIDSS doesn’t end there. In fact, the connection to CRS appears to be even more direct. A man named Gael Ekobono indicates on his LinkedIn profile that he is a case manager for “Catholic Relief Services/RENATA/KIDSS”.
Given that Ekobono started his work for CRS/RENATA/KIDSS in 2018, it is reasonable to conclude that he was hired as a result of the job announcement we mentioned earlier. If this is the case, then the indisputable ties between CRS and RENATA are as direct as they are undeniable.
And while the documents we’ve already mentioned illustrate RENATA’s role as providing sexual and reproductive health services in the KIDSS project, further information on RENATA reveals that it poses an immediate danger to the lives of preborn children and the souls of their mothers.
As part of the implementation of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) KIDSS project in Douala RENATA wishes for its need for project implementation staff to recruit for the following positions …
At the beginning of the job announcement, RENATA provides some background information on the organization, giving greater details on the Sexual and Reproductive Health services that it provides.
Founded in 2005, RENATA (Aunties National Network) is an a-politic and non-profit organization whose vision is a society without gender-based violence and without HIV/AIDS. This large national platform was founded by the victims of early pregnancy and GBV to respond to the ever-increasing incidence of rape, early pregnancy and breast ironing in Cameroon estimated at 5 , 2% following a study conducted by an anthropologist and the collaboration of GIZ in 2005. RENATA’s mission is thus the fight against early pregnancy, harmful traditional practices and gender-based violence through its main campaign popular in Cameroon “Rape is a crime, Break the silence”. The main activities carried out are as follows:
Prevention of early pregnancy and promotion of Family Planning methods
The aim is to equip girls and young women with the causes of early pregnancy, reproductive health, family planning, HIV/AIDS, harmful practices such as abortion. In recent years, 4728 girls have been trained in the northern regions. 84% of these girls were screened with a 97% removal rate. The follow-up training carried out revealed a rate of acceptance of Family Planning of 59.4% with a rate of 94.8% of use of the reliable methods (IUD, Jadelle, Depo, Pill) and 5.2% of male and/or female condoms.
As part of the E2A project implemented in partnership with MSH and USAID, RENATA has contributed to the promotion and reinforcement of the quality of RH and FP services (at the community and FOSA level in 5 health districts). of the central region (Djoungolo, Biyem-Assi, Green City, Nkolndongo and Efoulan).
In addition to this, RENATA is actively involved in the promotion of so-called “safe abortion” in Cameroon and calling for the decriminalization of abortions. In May of 2018, the very same month in which it was recruiting for CRS’s KIDSS project, RENATA took part in a “Needs Assessment on Safe Abortion Advocacy.” On page 17 of the Assessment, under the heading “Advocacy and measures to prevent unsafe abortions,” it states:
Various organisations in Cameroon, such as women for change, IPPF, PSI, RENATAare advocating for safe abortion services, changing the legality conditions and provision of contraceptives.
The Aunties’ advice often focused on the benefits of using condoms and how to use them properly. Some girls were given “morning-after” pills and others received support in bringing their pregnancy to early and safe termination, usually with the cooperation of the boy or man involved. In a few instances, the entire association had supported girls in getting safe abortions and even in laying charges against rapists.
There’s a lot more I could tell you about RENATA, and it’s all bad, but RENATA isn’t the only horrible organization that CRS included in the KIDSS project. In fact, four out of the overall five Community Based Organizations (or CBOs) working with CRS on the KIDSS project are involved in the promotion and/or the distribution of contraception and condoms.
We discovered the identities of the CBOs that CRS recruited because one of them mentioned all five in an article that it wrote about a three-day event they all participated in for the KIDSS project. Originally published in French, the English translation says:
The Codas Caritas conference room has experienced unusual excitement since October 24, 2018. Such animation is justified by the holding of the kick-off meeting of the KIDSS project project for the 2019 fiscal year which runs until Friday 26 October 2018. Under the auspices of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the 5 Community Based Organizations (CBOs) implementing the project made the trip to take part in the activities. These are Horizons Women , Renata , SWAA Littoral , Merenso and Codas Caritas. In total, about 66 people filled the conference room located at the locality of Terminus in Douala.
We’ve already told you about RENATA, so let’s talk about SWAA Littoral. SWAA stands for “Society for Women and AIDS in Africa.” Bearing in mind that SWAA is one of the Community Based Organizations in CRS’s KIDSS Project, all you really need to know about it is that it published this trifold brochure that promoted all manner of modern contraceptives, including abortifacients.
The front of the brochure identifies that it is a publication of SWAA, and on this side, you can see the description of spermicides, female condoms, male condoms, and injectable contraception.
On the other side, you can see contraceptive pills, implantable contraception, the diaphragm, cervical caps, vaginal rings, IUDs, and the contraceptive patch.
Horizons Femmes is another CBO working with CRS on the KIDSS project. In fact, it’s the organization which identified all five CBOs participating in the KIDSS project, and a quick perusal through its website reveals that it is an organization that hands out condoms and gives condom demonstrations.
In January of 2018, Horizon Femmes held a workshop as part of what it calls the “Trusted Partners” project as part of its efforts to combat gender based violence and HIV/AIDS. The stated purpose of the workshop was to “mobilize partners of sex workers and women living with HIV to talk about attitudes to HIV and GBV prevention.” The discussion on HIV prevention included “two demonstration sessions of male and female condom wearing were made respectively by a participant and a staff of the association.”
A few weeks later, Horizons Femmes held another workshop on “HIV and nutrition.” The stated purpose of the workshop was to “inform participants about the importance of balanced eating, about the need to avoid excessive alcohol, and about the impact that adherence to hours of medication can have,” and included in this was a demonstration on condom application. Horizon Femmes said:
Since we know that prevention is better than cure, the educational talk was reinforced by the traditional demonstration of male and female condom wearing.
Michelle Mbiaga of Horizon Femmes, an NGO in Yaounde says, “We used to give out two condoms per commercial sex hawker per day and we have increased the number to 4, which is still not enough for over 20 ladies we receive in our centre daily”.
“The demand is increasing and annually about 9000 female condoms are distributed.”
MERENSO is another partner in the KIDSS project that is involved in the promotion of abortion, contraception and condoms. The first thing we found about MERENSO was a blog it ran which has no new entries since 2009. What is important to note is that an entry from January 2009 provides examples of what MERENSO does in relation to sexual and reproductive health. This entry is a copy of MERENSO’s Annual Activity Report for 2008. In section II.4, MERENSO indicated that it participated in a project focusing on “good sexual health,” and “the promotion of male and female condoms.
In section II.4.1, MERENSO indicated that among the fourteen topics it counseled on were “sexual life,” “abortion,” “sexual and reproductive rights,” “contraceptive methods,” and “correct condom use.”
In section II.4.4, MERENSO provides specific details on its condom distributing activities:
But that was 2009. We needed to make sure MERENSO was still involved in the promotion of grave moral evils before we included them in this report. On MERENSO’s page regarding its participation in the 2nd National Forum on PMTCT from 10–12 September 2019, it posted a picture of its display at the forum itself.
Of particular note is the woman circled in red in the image on the left. The woman circled in the picture is holding a model of a vagina and is pulling a female condom out of it, as can be seen in the blown-up image on the right.
What this proves is that even as recently as September 2019, MERENSO is involved in the promotion and demonstration of female condoms. It also serves as further proof that MERENSO maintains the promotion of condom use as a means of educating people in sexual and reproductive health even now, as it did in 2009 with its annual report.
Another project MERENSO is participating in currently is titled, “Scaling up HIV prevention to help reduce mortality and morbidity by 2020.” The project is funded by The Global Fund for the year 2019–2020. Under the heading “Activities,” MERENSO posted a photograph of several people sitting at a table with a large phallus (circled in red) situated in the middle.
Let’s review. Catholic Relief Services is the lead on a USAID-funded project in Cameroon called KIDSS. One of the purposes of the project was to create a health referral network, specifically including sexual and reproductive health as a component.
In relation to this, CRS-KIDSS partnered with CHAMP and created a referral system with an organization called RENATA, which promotes and dispenses contraception, and even takes girls to have abortions.
Other Community Based Organizations included in the CRS-led KIDSS project include the contraception and condom promoting Horizons Femmes, SWAA Littoral, and MERENSO.
There can be absolutely no doubt that CRS has created a referral network in Cameroon that includes organizations intent upon corrupting the morals of young people by promoting and providing contraception and condoms.
What must be remembered is that this referral network will last well beyond CRS’s participation in the project. So, by establishing a referral network that includes four organizations that are actively involved in the promotion and distribution of contraception, CRS has made itself a willing participant in the promotion of activities that corrupt the morals of the youth.
In our next report, we’ll prove to you that this isn’t the only time CRS has set up a referral network that included Planned Parenthood–style organizations.
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A doctor committing abortions in Texas is self-quarantining, potentially leading to fewer abortions in his state. The Huffington Post reported that Joe Nelson is withdrawing from public life for two weeks, as he was unable to obtain a coronavirus test for himself after experiencing some symptoms.
Nelson told HuffPost “he was mostly worried about how his unplanned absence might affect women’s ability to get abortions in the state.”
“Potentially, it could have a huge impact. There are not that many doctors who provide abortion care in Texas. A lot of the doctors that do come in from out of state. In a situation where doctors are less likely to want to travel, if there’s no one to cover me, patients will have to wait,” Nelson explained.
Kim Schwartz of Texas Right to Life told LifeSiteNews, “We pray that all abortion facilities close during this outbreak. Let this be a time when the whole world comes to see the value of human Life.”
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute is equally worried that fewer women might be able to have their children killed in parts of the country following the coronavirus outbreak.
“Health care providers are being diverted to help address the epidemic while also being most at risk of acquiring the disease. This may create a shortage of clinicians who can provide sexual and reproductive health services and increase wait times for patients in need,” the Guttmacher Institute stated.
“In places that already have a limited number of providers, this will put an extreme strain on capacity to serve patients, especially for non-emergency care.”
Shortages of contraceptives and drugs “due to disruptions in supply chains overall” could occur in the near future. “China, the second-largest exporter of pharmaceutical products in the world, has shut down several drug-manufacturing plants, which has in turn caused delays at Indian factories that produce generic medicines.”
Stocking up on items “like oral contraceptives, the contraceptive patch and ring, condoms, spermicide and lubrication,” considered “important” by the Guttmacher Institute, might be difficult not only because of shortages. Insurance companies “often limit reimbursement to just one month of prescription drugs at a time.” Accordingly, drugs to disrupt women’s fertility for subsequent months would not be free.
The institute also claimed that government funding is now focused on issues related to the coronavirus, “which would take funding away from reproductive health programs and decrease access for patients who rely on free or subsidized care. Likewise, the need for new precautionary equipment, training and protocols will further draw time and resources away from other work, including projects and programs related to sexual and reproductive health.”
Due to the closure of workplaces in many parts of the country, “people with low incomes may be unable to afford sexual and reproductive health care,” which always includes abortions.
The Guttmacher Institute speculated that “if pregnant women and infants are found to be at heightened risk” from the coronavirus, “that may prompt some people to avoid having children and could lead to increased demand for contraceptive and abortion services.”
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) –– Scientists who are now claiming that the Trump ban on fetal tissue usage is blocking coronavirus treatment research are using the current pandemic opportunistically to reinstate the usage of tissue derived from aborted babies at government research facilities.
“A senior scientist at a government biomedical research laboratory has been thwarted in his efforts to conduct experiments on possible treatments for the new coronavirus because of the Trump administration’s restrictions on research with human fetal tissue,” blared the lede in a Washington Post article.
Kim Hasenkrug, an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, told the Post that he has been arguing for a month that the pandemic “warrants an exemption to a ban imposed last year prohibiting government researchers from using tissue from abortions in their work.”
U.S. scientists had found last year that “mice could be transplanted with human fetal tissue that develops into lungs — the part of the body the new coronavirus invades,” according to the Post report. These “humanized mice” are seen as important by some because they “could then be infected with coronaviruses — to which ordinary mice are not susceptible — closely related to the one that causes the new disease, covid-19.”
The fetal tissue to create the “humanized mice” that researchers like Hasenkrug would like to access would have to be provided by women undergoing elective abortions.
Hasenkrug, who works at an NIH research lab, has been prohibited from using aborted baby body parts since Health and Human Services (HHS) announced last year that it had changed its policies concerning the use of fetal tissue.
“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” an HHS statement explained.
Playing on people’s fears
“Those who advocate experimentation using body parts harvested from aborted children are shamelessly exploiting the coronavirus pandemic, playing on people’s fears at a vulnerable time so that a select few can continue to use aborted fetal tissue in their research,” declared a statement released by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) in Washington, D.C.
“Instead of wasting precious time listening to these dishonest claims, we should continue to focus our attention on successful, ethical alternatives that don't require the exploitation of baby body parts, taxpayer dollars, and public sentiment that just wants a swift and compassionate end to this crisis,” said CLI.
Last month, CLI criticized claims made in a USA Todayopinion piece by San Francisco–based professors Irving Weissman and Joseph McCune. The pair made an appeal similar to Hasenkrug’s, asserting, “People will suffer and die for lack of adequate treatments,” because aborted fetal tissue could not be used for research.
In December 2018, CLI’s vice president and research director, Dr. David Prentice, and senior fellow in life sciences Dr. Tara Sander Lee testified before Congress regarding the array of ethical alternatives to experiments using aborted baby parts and that fetal tissue research is medically unnecessary.
Sander Lee explained that less than 0.4 percent of the NIH’s budget is currently going toward research involving fetal tissue; that “after over 100 years of research, no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissue”; and that researchers have access to a wealth of ethical sources for human tissue, including cells that can be given the coveted quality of pluripotency, or the ability to become other types of tissue.
The CLI scholar went on to detail how the original polio vaccine was first developed with monkey kidney cells; how vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella can be produced with cell lines from chicken eggs, human placentas, human kidney cultures, monkey cells, and chick embryo fibroblasts; how the vast majority of the research currently being done on the Zika and Ebola viruses does not use fetal tissue; and how even the vaccines currently being produced in the United States with fetal tissue are using cell lines from the 1960s rather than newly obtained tissue from abortions.
Ethical alternatives currently available to researchers “include, but are not limited to, fresh human tissues from adult and pediatric populations, donated and discarded biopsies and surgical specimens, from both living and post-mortem individuals,” she continued. “There are numerous examples of investigators successfully using these ethical alternatives for research and clinical trials for studying the most complex processes, such as brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders, immune response to pathogens, and stroke.”
Sander Lee is an associate scholar with the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry, studied molecular and cell biology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and has 20 years of experience with both academic and clinical medicine.
March 20, 2020 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) — The death lobby is promoting the approval of assisted suicide and prescribing of lethal drugs via telehealth. This means that a person could be approved for death by lethal drugs, without being examined or even meeting the death prescribing doctor.
Today's fundraising email from Kim Callinan, the President of an assisted suicide lobby group, states that the current Covid-19 crisis provides a new opportunity for assisted suicide. She writes:
As always, we are responding quickly to the needs and opportunities of the times. As the workforce grapples with the pandemic, telehealth is gaining prominence as a critical mode of delivering medical care. This provides a unique opportunity to make sure health systems and doctors are using telehealth, where appropriate, for patients trying to access end-of-life care options. These efforts should improve access to medical aid in dying in the short and long-term.
Let's think this through. A person with difficult health issues who feels like on burden on others, or is experiencing depression or existential distress, could be assessed, via telehealth, and prescribed lethal drugs for suicide.
The death lobby focuses on facilitating death and protecting doctors who are willing to be involved with killing their patients. They are not concerned with protecting people.
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – With all the talk of infection rates, with businesses and schools locking down, with the stock market bouncing around wildly, and hoards of people trapped at airports trying to get back into the country, anyone can be excused for succumbing to a moment or two of panic.
It’s hard to take the long view when you’re in the middle of such an emergency as this. But God has a way of making good come out of difficult times.
We saw it in Florida, where I live, with Hurricane Irma. Damage was extensive. Loss was great. People and communities were deeply hurt. But after the cleanup, rebuilding, landscape restoration, and a period of economic recovery. much was actually better than it had been before.
If we look behind the fear of coronavirus currently gripping the nation, we can spot a few genuine blessings.
There’s an element of irony in some of them, such as the slowdown in prostitution. How long anxiety about contagion will depress patronage of streetwalkers, brothels, and peepshows no one can say. But we should applaud any improvement in our moral atmosphere, no matter how temporary.
The small signs of bipartisanship we’re seeing might be just as fleeting. Certainly, public pressure hasn’t been sufficient to keep our politicians from trying to load all kinds of pork onto pandemic-response legislation. But at least Washington is getting the message that the people want their government to take strong and effective action — and that means being willing to cooperate across party lines.
We’ve received a special National Day of Prayer out of this crisis. That’s no small thing in a highly secularized society where prayer is too-often mocked and God acknowledged only grudgingly. Expressions of faith are more in evidence right now than at any time since the days after 9-11, when churches were bursting at the seams.
Perhaps most importantly, the sudden appearance and rapid spread of coronavirus has provided an occasion for us to reflect on life and death — and some of the big issues related to those. We should think about what it means to be human; how we should be living as a community; what we owe each other as neighbors; what we really believe.
Large concerns can be read in some of the small, even silly, moments associated with the pandemic, such as the hoarding of toilet paper. These little scenes raise important questions about how to reconcile our genuine needs with our obligations of charity. After all, we really are in this together.
We tend to not spend much energy pondering such questions. But now we’ve been given a great opportunity to do so. And that’s to everyone’s benefit.
There will be heartache associated with this crisis, no doubt. Some people will suffer greatly — even to the loss of their lives. Any of us could be touched by tragedy.
But those who come through may see new value in human existence. They may rediscover faith. They may come to a new relationship with God.
What a true grace that would be.
A priest of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, Rev. Michael P. Orsi currently serves as parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish in Naples, Florida. He is host of “Action for Life TV,” a weekly cable television series devoted to pro-life issues, and his writings appear in numerous publications and online journals.
Christians must figure out how to deal with a new, religiously indifferent America
We’re living in the midst of a second Reformation. Over the next generation, the Church in the United States will face a very painful contraction.
Fri Mar 20, 2020 - 11:09 am EST
By Francis X. Maier
By Francis X. Maier
Francis X. Maier
By Francis Maier
March 20, 2020 (The Catholic Thing) — We’re living in the midst of a second Reformation. That may seem implausible. Life today is very different from 500 years ago. Theology, to take just one example, profoundly shaped human thought, culture, and social organization in 1520. Today it’s a marginal discipline. Religion has declining public influence.
As technology advances and reshapes society with new modes of thought, the process of secularization speeds up. Inherited religious certainties weaken, become irrelevant to many adults and incomprehensible to the young. Fewer than half of U.S. Catholics now believe in Christ’s “Real Presence” in the Eucharist.
This shouldn’t surprise us. The atheist ideologies of the last century still had a kind of “religious” dimension — e.g., Marx’s belief in the eventual withering away of the state. Today’s advanced consumer economies are different. They neither dispute nor attempt to disprove things supernatural, but rather, as the philosopher Augusto Del Noce noted, render them uninteresting, unintelligible, and ultimately absent. Thus, they’re more thoroughly atheist.
It’s in this sense — a revolution in how we think about and organize the world; a world where the idea of God is ridiculous because it has no “utility” — that we’re living a new “Re-formation.” We’re also living a huge paradox because Man is an instinctively believing animal. We’re all believers in something. We all take certain things on faith, and then build our reasoning on those articles of faith.
Without God at its center, society always reverts to some form of idolatry. As the late Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger wrote, “there is no worse idol than that which imitates the true God.” In his own French laicist environment, he saw how a society that removes God from public life and discourse invariably puts itself and its concerns in his place — no matter how much religious “neutrality” it claims.
Luckily, people still suffer and die. This is a source of hope. Mortality anchors us to questions of meaning. And questions of meaning, seriously engaged, open a path to clear thinking and a search for answers, answers that only Jesus Christ can fully satisfy.
As Catholics in the years ahead, we might profitably focus our concerns on four main areas:
First, the uniqueness and fragility of the American Experiment. The religious roots of the United States were, in part, a rejection of the expansive and idolatrous state. A strong version of religious freedom is essential to American public life. Ordered liberty with limited government can only succeed if citizens have a deep reservoir of self-mastery and guiding beliefs, reinforced by communities of shared moral convictions. Personal excess and indifference to community eat away a res publica.
Second, sex. Sex is hardly a neglected topic. But one central crisis of our age is anthropological — in other words, who and what is a human being? Is being “human” something fixed, a part of God-created nature, or moldable according to the will?
Wilhelm Reich’s The Sexual Revolution was, in retrospect, a work of perverse genius. He foresaw in the 1930s that lasting revolutions take place not politically or economically, but in personal sexual relations. For Reich, marriage and the family were prime targets, and America, with its deep streak of individualism and conflicted Puritan roots, was the ideal seedbed for the revolution he sought. Human sexuality — how, when, why, and under what conditions we discipline sexual desire and behavior — defines what a culture means by being “human.” Sexual anarchy inevitably diminishes claims of any “sacred” human dignity and increases the need for a coercive state.
Third, Church reform. American civic life needs religion to thrive; and not just any religion, but specifically Jewish/Christian belief. “Spirituality” is too easily reduced to private therapy, and it lacks communal strength. Only the Catholic Church has the experience and organizational depth to succeed at resisting dehumanizing trends in our national life.
But the Church has been crippled by decades of internal post-conciliar divisions and cultural assimilation, and weakened further by sex abuse. She lacks the ability to produce consistently strong clergy leadership; to realistically face her problems; and to quickly and creatively address them. Her current structures are classically bureaucratic and sclerotic, starting at the very top.
Fourth, the role of laypeople. “Clericalism” is as much a lay illness as it is a clergy problem. It enables laziness and provides a convenient alibi for many laypeople to avoid the missionary obligations of their baptism. It invites people not to repudiate the Church on well-reasoned grounds, but to drift away from her out of irritation and indifference. Ironically, at the same time, lay Catholic leaders, movements, organizations, and communities shoulder a heavily disproportionate share of the evangelizing energy today in the United States.
This is not without precedent. Church reform has rarely started with bishops and senior clergy; historically, it forces its way up from below. On a practical level, it becomes important to understand which lay leaders, movements, and organizations are most effective, and why.
The point is this: The “next America” that Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote about a decade ago is here, now. Over the next generation, the Church in the United States will face a very painful contraction, loss of influence, and right-sizing. This is not necessarily a bad thing; seeing and understanding reality accurately are the first steps in changing our reality for the better.
Renewing the soul of a culture (and through it, the political and economic structures it sustains) is the expertise of the Christian Church. And renewing the Church in our age will not primarily be a matter of technical skill or organizational structure or material resources — as important as those things are — but the persuasive power of faithful lay witness.
Awakening lay people to their vocation and the meaning of “holiness”; steeping them in fidelity to the Church and her teaching; and empowering them to take leadership in the Church. Such is the way God begins to “make all things new” (Rev 21:5) in the Church, in the nation, and in the world.
March 20, 2020 (OnePeterFive) — “We glory in tribulations” (Rom. 5:3)
Millions of Catholics in the so-called free Western world will, in the coming weeks or even months, and especially during Holy Week and Easter, the culmination of the entire liturgical year, be deprived of any public acts of worship due to both civic and ecclesiastical reaction to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The most painful and distressing of these is the deprivation of Holy Mass and sacramental Holy Communion.
The current atmosphere of an almost planetary panic is continuously fueled by the universally proclaimed “dogma” of the new coronavirus pandemic. The drastic and disproportionate security measures with the denial of fundamental human rights of freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, and freedom of opinion appear almost globally orchestrated along a precise plan. Thus, the entire human race becomes a kind of prisoner of a world “sanitary dictatorship,” which for its part also reveals itself as a political dictatorship.
An important side-effect of this new “sanitary dictatorship” that is spreading throughout the world is the growing and uncompromising ban on all forms of public worship. Beginning on March 16, 2020, the German government issued a ban on all forms of public religious gatherings for all religions. Such a drastic measure of strict prohibition of all forms of public worship was unimaginable even during the Third Reich.
Before these measures were taken in Germany, a governmentally ordered prohibition of any public worship was implemented in Italy and Rome, the heart of Catholicism and of Christianity. The current situation of the prohibition of public worship in Rome brings the Church back to the time of an analogous prohibition issued by the pagan Roman emperors in the first centuries.
Clerics who dare to celebrate Holy Mass in the presence of the faithful in such circumstances could be punished or put in prison. The world “sanitary dictatorship” has created a situation which breathes the air of the catacombs, of a persecuted Church, of an underground Church, especially in Rome. Pope Francis, who on March 15, with lonely and halting steps, walked through the deserted streets of Rome on his pilgrimage from the image of the “Salus populi Romani” in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore to the Miraculous Cross in the church of San Marcello, conveyed an apocalyptic image. It was reminiscent of the following description of the third part of the secret of Fatima (revealed on 13 July 1917): “The Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow.”
How should Catholics react and behave in such a situation? We have to accept this situation from the hands of Divine Providence as a trial, which will bring us a greater spiritual benefit than if we had not experienced such a situation. One can understand this situation as a divine intervention in the current unprecedented crisis of the Church. God uses now the merciless world “sanitary dictatorship” to purify the Church, to awaken the responsible in the Church, and in first place the pope and the episcopate, from the illusion of a nice modern world, from the temptation to flirt with the world, from the immersion in temporal and earthly things. The powers of this world have now forcibly separated the faithful from their shepherds. The clergy is ordered by governments to celebrate liturgy without the people.
This current purifying divine intervention has the power to show all of us what is truly essential in the Church: the Eucharistic sacrifice of Christ with His Body and Blood and the eternal salvation of immortal souls. May those in the Church who are unexpectedly and suddenly deprived of what is central start to see and appreciate its value more deeply.
In spite of the painful situation of being deprived of Holy Mass and Holy Communion, Catholics should not yield to frustration or melancholy. They should accept this trial as an occasion of abundant graces, which Divine Providence has prepared for them. Many Catholics have now in some way the chance to experience the situation of the catacombs, of the underground Church. One can hope that such a situation will produce the new spiritual fruits of confessors of faith and of holiness.
This situation forces Catholic families to experience literally the meaning of a domestic church. In the absence of the possibility to assist at Holy Mass even on Sundays, Catholic parents should gather their families in their homes. They could assist in their homes at a Holy Mass broadcast on television or the internet, or if this is not possible, they should dedicate a holy hour of prayers to sanctify the Day of the Lord and to unite themselves spiritually with the Holy Masses celebrated by priests behind closed doors even in their towns or in their vicinity. Such a Sunday holy hour of a domestic church could be done for instance in a following way:
Prayer of the rosary, reading of the Sunday Gospel, Act of Contrition, act of Spiritual Communion, Litany, prayer for all who suffer and die, for all who are persecuted, prayer for the pope and the priests, prayer for the end of the current physical and spiritual epidemic. The Catholic family should also pray the Stations of the Cross on Fridays of Lent. Furthermore, on Sundays, parents could gather their children in the afternoon or in the evening to read to them from the Lives of the Saints, especially those stories drawn from times of persecution of the Church. I had the privilege to have lived such an experience in my childhood, and that gave me the foundation of the Catholic faith for my entire life.
Catholics who are now deprived of assisting at Holy Mass and receiving sacramentally Holy Communion, perhaps only for a short time of some weeks or months, may think about these times of persecution, where faithful for years couldn’t assist at Holy Mass and receive other sacraments, as was the case, for instance, during the communist persecution in many places of the Soviet Empire.
Let the following words of God strengthen all Catholics who are currently suffering from being deprived of the Holy Mass and Holy Communion:
“Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4: 12–13)
“The Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor. 1:3–4)
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6–7).
In the time of a cruel persecution of the Church, St. Cyprian of Carthage (+258) gave the following edifying teaching on the value of patience:
“It is patience which firmly fortifies the foundations of our faith. It is this which lifts up on high the increase of our hope. It is this which directs our doing, that we may hold fast the way of Christ while we walk by His patience. How great is the Lord Jesus, and how great is His patience, that He who is adored in heaven is not yet avenged on earth! Let us, beloved brethren, consider His patience in our persecutions and sufferings; let us give an obedience full of expectation to His advent” (De patientia, 20; 24)
We want to pray with all our trust to the Mother of the Church, invoking the intercessory power of Her Immaculate Heart, that the current situation of being deprived of Holy Mass may bring abundant spiritual fruits for the true renewal of the Church after decades of the night of the persecution of true Catholics, clergy, and faithful that has happened inside the Church. Let us hear the following inspiring words of St. Cyprian:
“If the cause of disaster is recognized, there is at once found a remedy for the wound. The Lord has desired His family to be proved; and because a long peace had corrupted the discipline that had been divinely delivered to us, the heavenly rebuke has aroused our faith, which was giving way, and I had almost said slumbering; and although we deserved more for our sins, yet the most merciful Lord has so moderated all things, that all which has happened has rather seemed a trial than a persecution.” (De lapsis, 5)
God grant that this short trial of the deprivation of public worship and Holy Mass instill in the heart of the pope and the bishops a new apostolic zeal for the perennial spiritual treasures, which were divinely entrusted to them — i.e., the zeal for the glory and honor of God, for the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and His redeeming sacrifice, for the centrality of the Eucharist and its sacred and sublime manner of celebration, for the greatest glory of the Eucharistic Body of Christ, the zeal for the salvation of the immortal souls, for a chaste and apostolic-minded clergy. May we listen to the following encouraging words of St. Cyprian:
“Praises must be given to God, and His benefits and gifts must be celebrated with giving of thanks, although even in the time of persecution our voice has not ceased to give thanks. For not even an enemy has so much power as to prevent us, who love the Lord with our whole heart, and life, and strength, from declaring His blessings and praises always and everywhere with glory. The day earnestly desired, by the prayers of all has come; and after the dreadful and loathsome darkness of a long night, the world has shone forth irradiated by the light of the Lord.” (De lapsis, 1)
March 19, 2020
+ Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana
A sample of prayers for the Sunday domestic holy hour
The Perfect Act of Contrition
“Oh my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell; But most of all because I have offended Thee, My God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, To confess my sins, to do penance, And to amend my life. Amen.”
Prayer for making a Spiritual Communion
“At Thy feet, O my Jesus, I prostrate myself, and I offer Thee the repentance of my contrite heart, which is humbled in its nothingness and in Thy holy presence. I adore Thee in the Sacrament of Thy love, the ineffable Eucharist. I desire to receive Thee into the poor dwelling that my heart offers Thee. While waiting for the happiness of sacramental Communion, I wish to possess Thee in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, since I, for my part, am coming to Thee! The love embrace my whole being in life and in death. I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee. Amen”
Prayers of the Angel of Fatima
“My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee! I ask pardon for those who do not believe,
do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee. Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He is offended. And through the infinite merit of His Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners. Amen.”
The Universal Prayer (attributed to Pope Clement XI)
Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith. I trust in you: strengthen my trust. I love you: let me love you more and more. I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow. I worship you as my first beginning, I long for you as my last end, I praise you as my constant helper, and call on you as my loving protector.
Guide me by your wisdom, correct me with your justice, comfort me with your mercy, protect me with your power. I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you; my words: to have you for their theme; my actions: to reflect my love for you; my sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory. I want to do what you ask of me: In the way you ask, for as long as you ask, because you ask it. Lord, enlighten my understanding, strengthen my will, purify my heart, and make me holy. Help me to repent of my past sins and to resist temptation in the future. Help me to rise above my human weaknesses and to grow stronger as a Christian.
Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am: a pilgrim in this world, a Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those under my authority, my friends and my enemies. Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor. Help me to forget myself and reach out toward others. Make me prudent in planning, courageous in taking risks. Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.
Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer, temperate in food and drink, diligent in my work, firm in my good intentions. Let my conscience be clear, my conduct without fault, my speech blameless, my life well-ordered. Put me on guard against my human weaknesses. Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law, and come at last to your salvation. Teach me to realize that this world is passing, that my true future is the happiness of heaven, that life on earth is short, and the life to come eternal. Help me to prepare for death with a proper fear of judgment, but a greater trust in your goodness. Lead me safely through death to the endless joy of heaven. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn and prayer to Our Lady, the star of heaven
Stella caeli exstirpávit,
quae lactávit Dóminum
Mortis pestem quam plántavit
Primus parens hóminum.
Ipsa Stella nunc dignétur
Quorum bella plebem caedunt
Dirae mortis úlcere.
O piíssima stella maris,
A peste succúrre nobis.
Audi nos, Dómina,
nam Fílius tuus nihil negans te honórat.
Salva nos Jesu, pro quibus Virgo Mater te orat!
℣ In omni tribulatióne et angústia nostra.
℞ Succúrre nobis, piíssima Virgo Maria.
Oremus: Deus misericordiae, Deus pietatis, Deus indulgentiae, qui misertus es super afflictione Populi tui, et dixisti Angelo percutienti Populum tuum: contine manum tuam ob amorem illius Stellae gloriosae, cujus ubera pretiosa contra venenum nostrorum delictorum quam dulciter suxisti: praesta auxilium gratiae tuae, ab omni peste, et improvisa morte secure liberemur, et a totius perditionis incursu misericorditer liberemur.
Per te Jesu Christi Rex Gloria, Salvator Mundi: Qui vivis, et regnas in secula seculorum. Amen
The Star of heaven, who breastfed the Lord, extirpated the plague planted by the first parent of men.
This star may now deign to restrain the stars who with their wars kill the people with the mortal cruel ulcer.
O most pious star of the sea, deliver us from the plague. Hear us, o Lady, for your Son, who denies nothing to you, honors you. O Jesus, save us, for whom your Virgin Mother prays!
In all our tribulations and anguishes,
Succour us, o most pious Virgin Mary.
Let us pray. God of mercy, God of love, God of forgiveness, you have compassion over the affliction of your people and you said to the Angel who was striking your people: Stay your hand out of love of that glorious Star, at whose precious breasts you sweetly sucked to remedy the poison of our trespasses. Grant the help of your grace and we shall be surely and mercifully delivered from any plague, of unprepared death and of any perditious attack. Through you, Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, the Savior of the world, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.
March 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Right now, LifeSite is in the midst of its Spring fundraising campaign. These campaigns always remind me of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to bring you the truth about family, faith, culture, and life. The dedication of our staff to the pro-life cause is truly inspiring.
It is an absolute pleasure and a joy to work with the gifted people here. That’s why I encourage you to watch the video below. It is a powerful call to arms for readers like you to put on your armor and step out with the entire LifeSite family onto the battlefield for Christ.
If you join our Sustain Life program and become a regular monthly donor, your gift will be doubled for the next year thanks to a generous donation from a LifeSite supporter. Will you consider becoming a Sustainer? It is crucial to our success in the culture wars to have as much ammunition as possible. Can you step up and play a leading role in the fight for truth? Click here to become a monthly sustainer: https://give.lifesitenews.com/sustainlife
I want take a few moments today to highlight just some of the phenomenal people you just saw in that video who help make LifeSite such an effective force for truth.
LifeSite’s Washington D.C. correspondent Doug Mainwaring has been with us for several years. His conversion story is truly amazing. Decades ago, Doug divorced his wife and left his children so he could live the homosexual lifestyle. Not until he realized how empty and unsatisfying that lifestyle was did Doug come back to Christ and rebuild his family. He and I discussed his awesome journey during an episode of my podcast last September. Be sure to watch it! Doug’s transformation from a selfish gay man to a selfless father who provided his two young boys with a sturdy home in is nothing short of remarkable.
LifeSite editor Claire Chretien is likewise an inspiring figure. Still in her 20s, Claire is a strong voice for the unborn, having written hundreds of articles for LifeSite over the past several years. But it wasn’t until she attended college at the University of Alabama that she embraced the pro-life cause. In recent months, Claire has interviewed some of the most well-known defenders of faith and family in the world, including Chinese Cardinal Zen and Alexander Tschugguel, the young man who tossed the Pachamama idol into the Tiber during the Amazonian Synod.
Lastly, you should know that I too spent many years away from God when I was a young man. Having lived a hedonistic lifestyle, I know first hand the despair that results from living apart from our Creator and His laws. But, by his grace, I was brought to my knees and shown the truth. I know the temptations our gravely diseased culture puts in the face of everyday people. We need to take a stand and fight the lies and deceit the devil is using to drag countless souls to hell. Join me during this Spring campaign by making a donation and we will make a difference for family, for faith, and for life. May God bless you.
EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― As I sit at home, writing articles for LifeSiteNews, I have to say I miss the gym.
Like so many other people around the world, I’m practising social distancing, which in my case means sticking close to home as much as possible, going only to the local supermarket and going for walks instead of spin classes. Exercise is necessary to body and mind, as fighting for the cause of life in a hostile world over the web is both sedentary and stressful. So although I’m not going to the gym, I’m also praying that the gym is still in business by the time I go downtown again.
Right now so many businesses are fighting for their lives. So far I’ve written two emails to my favorite café and our favorite special-occasion restaurant asking how we can support them without dropping by. The café suggested I buy bags of their parent company’s coffee online. I suggested to the restaurant that they start a delivery service. To paraphrase what I said to the café manager, I can’t imagine Edinburgh without them.
I don’t want to give you the impression that my husband and I dine out every month, but it seems that we have landed on a number of mailing lists over the years. So far I have received appeals from a Polish restaurant in London and a French restaurant in Edinburgh to come and eat a meal or at least buy a gift certificate. They say they’ve removed a third of the tables and they’re cleaning more than ever … These are local treasures, well-reviewed, veteran institutions. Will they be there in three months?
Will everybody at LifeSiteNews be here in three months?
It’s a gloomy question, but we’ve hit gloomy times. Last night I went to the last public Mass permitted by the Scottish Bishops for goodness knows how long. Never in my life have I imagined that I might not be able to go to Sunday Mass because the Bishops themselves had told priests to shut the doors. When I was a kid I thought maybe the Communists would invade and Catholics would have to go underground, but this pandemic was a contingency I never mentally prepared for. Although I love Mass, I guess I took it for granted it would always be there.
We can’t take for granted that anything or anyone will always be there, and there are so many people I want to support right now. My Latin Mass priest. The crazy-fun instructors at my gym. The mother-and-daughter beauticians who just opened a salon on my street. The Argentinian staff at the steakhouse where my husband and I had his birthday dinner. The friendly American kid who started the café.
I’m going to continue to support them as much as I can. The thing is, I’m scared of spending any money right now. My husband, now working at home, is employed for a charity, too. I’m almost tempted to regret dropping out of my government job all those years ago.
But we’re trusting in God, and I’m trusting in LifeSiteNews’ readers to support your favorite media team, the way that I’m going to support the local community that I love. I’m proud and happy that I get to fight for life and freedom every day, especially as I see powerful people use the coronavirus epidemic to advance the culture of death, most recently with the outrageous pro-abortion legislation in New Zealand.
I’m also grateful that I’m part of such a great, faith-filled team and that every workday we have the opportunity to pray together for each other, for our readers and allies, for our critics, and for those in most need of conversion. The coronavirus pandemic and the loss to so many of us of public worship has only inspired us to pray harder and to work harder to get out the truth to our readers, ensuring that you get the news you won’t easily find anywhere else. For some reason, the BBC was not as quick as we were to break the news of President Trump’s backing of a coronavirus treatment that has proven successful.
Thanks to your support, both our team and our outreach have grown so much, and with your continued support, we can continue our work fighting the culture of death to restore a culture of life.
We’re all afraid of what the pandemic will do, but the cause of life must be fought. In a world that is so desperate for hope, I ask you to consider making a regular contribution to our daily battle to change the world.
The fundraising teams tell me that LifeSiteNews needs 100 of our most committed readers to pledge a monthly gift of $10 and 50 of you to pledge a monthly gift of $25 to keep fighting the good fight with our articles and commentary. That works out to between 33 and 83 cents a day, which is a lot less than I have to pay for a MSM paper!
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Chinese Coronavirus has now spread to a reported 150 countries. But the rulers of the country where the pandemic started have good news: They have, they declared, won a complete and total victory over the dangerous pathogen.
On Thursday, Chinese propaganda outlets reported that there had been “no new infections of the novel coronavirus” in Wuhan, which is ground zero in the global pandemic. As for China as a whole, they cited the National Health Commission is saying that “domestic transmissions are zero.”
The Chinese Communist Party is now touting its “success” in stopping the virus in its tracks is a model for other countries to follow. “Learn from China,” is the latest Party line.
Were all of this true, it would be the fastest end to a pandemic in human history. It would also be a stirring tribute to the sheer efficiency of Chinese-style socialism and a redemption of sorts for the country that caused the problem in the first place.
But of course it isn’t true at all. It is sheer fabrication, no sturdier than the shoddy warehouses that were put up in a week to house the victims of the Wuhan virus. It is just one more piece of Chinese propaganda to add to the ever-growing pile of lies that Beijing has been telling these past three months.
Ask yourselves what is the likelihood that China has actually reduced the number of new cases to zero, as it claims? That in the entire 1.3 billion people of China there is not a single new case? I would say that the likelihood of this happening is about the same as the CCP discovering a cure for cancer, establishing a base on Mars, and inventing faster-than-light interstellar travel—all on the same day.
What the Communist leadership of that country did was much simpler. It simply directed doctors across China to stop diagnosing and reporting new cases of the disease. Overnight, new cases dropped to zero.
Who needs medicine, when you can just “cure” disease by fiat?
The Beijing regime has worked hard over the past few weeks to create the narrative that it was quickly getting the epidemic under control. For example, there is evidence that some local jurisdictions have been deliberately underreporting the number of patients who test positive for the virus. Whether this is being done in response to a national directive, or simply to conform to the official narrative is not clear, but the result has been falling numbers of infected.
Remember the makeshift detention centers masquerading as “hospitals” that were built in a week? They have all been emptied out in a hurry, with many of the occupants sent home while reportedly still testing positive for the disease.
Their continued presence in the centers interfered with the narrative the Party was trying to promote, and so they had to be sent home.
Finally, at least one province is requiring all government offices to destroy all “documents and data” they may have received concerning the epidemic. This, again, is being done so that the official narrative of unbridled success can stand unchallenged.
In Beijing, the hospitals have canceled all elective procedures. This, too, suggests that they are still trying to cope with an influx of coronavirus patients.
There is little doubt that the disease continues to percolate through the population.
The only thing the Party’s effort to redeem itself in the eyes of the world has actually accomplished—aside from making hundreds of millions of people roll their eyes—is to make it more difficult for those in China who have the disease to find treatment.
In contrast to the Fake News out of China, there is real news from the United States and its allies. A common anti-malarial drug, chloroquine, shows promise as a possible treatment.
A French study shows that chloroquine and azithromycin (your common “Z-Pac”) stops the Wuhan virus cold. Congressman Mark Green, a former flight surgeon, told FOX News’ Shannan Bream last night that the drug “cocktail” “is very promising. One hundred percent of the virus gone in six days.”
Chloroquine may not only be effective in treating the Chinese Coronavirus but may also prevent one from catching the disease in the first place. In countries where malaria is common, many take chloroquine to protect themselves against it.
As the map shows (view here), those African, South American, and South Asian countries that have malaria are reporting almost no cases of the virus.
This suggests that chloroquine might be used to prevent, as well as treat, the disease. We will see.
I believe, under President Trump's leadership, we will relatively soon have the Chinese Coronavirus under control in the United States. We are trying out new treatments daily, and mobilizing our vast resources in public-private partnerships to save lives in the U.S. and around the world.
I do not want to minimize the challenge that we now face as a people. This Chinese Coronavirus can only be defeated if we all work together to protect one another from its spread. It is a time to put aside our differences and focus on the tiny enemy that is invisible to the human eye.
At the same time, we should never forget that real enemy here is not the virus, but the corrupt and tyrannical political system that, through its evil and incompetence, unleashed this plague upon the world.
If the Chinese Communist Party had simply allowed medical professionals in China and around the world to do their job at the outset of the outbreak, the Chinese Coronavirus could have been confined to Wuhan proper. Instead, they put politics first, lied to their own people and the world, and they are still lying today.
Everyone who falls ill or dies from the Chinese Coronavirus is a victim of the Chinese Communist Party. They will “own” this virus for all time. I hope it will come to be known as the Chinese Communist Party Conronavirus.
One final point: I always knew that the United States would have to save the world from Chinese tyranny at some point. I just did not imagine that it would be in this way and at this time.
But with God's help and much prayer, we will prevail.
Steven W. Mosher @StevenWMosher 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.
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world and governments call on their citizens to stay home, many pro-life organizations have been impacted as well.
I serve as communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, which has five offices across Canada, and in nearly every major city where we do daily activism and outreach, a state of emergency has been called. While we are still doing whatever outreach we can—driving our Truth Trucks, for example—our street outreach to students and passersby is obviously out of the question for the next couple of weeks. Many of us are working from home on the internships and projects we have planned for the year.
My speaking engagements in Canada and the United States were cancelled within a few days, and I’ve been asked instead to do webinars on pro-life subjects for those stuck at home—last night, I spoke to campus leaders from across Michigan via Zoom on behalf of Protect Life Michigan. CCBR is also now offering our pro-life study series, A Christian’s Guide to Defending Life in the Womb, online over the next five weeks so that pro-lifers can take advantage of this time stuck at home to get better prepared for activism or conversations about abortion with peers.
It has been surreal to see how fast the world can change all around us and how day-to-day activities can suddenly be so different, and so I thought I’d check in with some of my pro-life friends from around the world to see how they were coping with the coronavirus pandemic and the new guidelines surrounding social distancing and staying away from other members of the public.
First, I checked in with my friends at Created Equal, a pro-life outreach group based in Columbus, Ohio that displays abortion victim photography on campuses and elsewhere and posts testimonies of changed minds online, as well as regular sidewalk counselling outside abortion clinics. Yesterday, they posted a picture on Instagram of the “Closed” sign outside the Columbus Planned Parenthood, and I emailed Created Equal’s founder, my friend Mark Harrington, to ask how his team was coping with the coronavirus pandemic thus far.
“During the Trump coronavirus press conference yesterday, government officials asked healthcare providers to cease performing all elective medical procedures,” he told me. “Obviously, this should include abortion providers. But will it? If abortion is health care, as the abortion industry claims, this is an opportunity for them to act like it and close. Of course, we know that they will want to have it both ways. We need to force the federal and state governments to be consistent and not treat abortion facilities differently than other health centers. They say that abortion is health care. They say abortion clinics are health centers. However, when they are held to the basic health standards, they fight those regulations. The medical community is being called on to treat Coronavirus patients. Will abortion centers close for the greater good of dealing with this threat? Abortion is not health care. Abortion is elective. Abortion is not necessary. Abortion is murder.”
Fortunately, Created Equal has developed many projects that can go on despite social distancing.
“Traditionally, the spring semester would be packed with outreach events on college and high school campuses,” Mark noted. “However, because of the shutdown, we are focusing our efforts on sidewalk counseling and our mass media projects. Irrespective of the Coronavirus, we have the means to reach the masses, continue to save babies, and change hearts and minds with our education projects like Operation Overpass, Mobile Billboards, and Clinic Outreach.” As long as the abortion clinics stay open, many pro-life organizations feel it is their duty to be there to offer alternatives.
Joseph Pardo, who operates Cree Women’s Care, the only pregnancy center in Puerto Rico (as well as the Spanish-language pro-life outreach organization Toda la Vida), echoed Harrington’s sentiments on abortion clinics needing to shut down. “As you may know, Puerto Rico is under complete lockdown,” he told me. “The executive order of the governor calls for all businesses to be closed except essentials like groceries, gas, doctors etc.…Everyone must stay in their homes unless they are going to and from one of these places. Our pregnancy center does not qualify as ‘essential,’ but for some reason the abortion clinics, which offer an elective procedure, remain open, making thousands of dollars killing children. We have started a social media campaign through Toda la Vida calling out the fact that abortion is NOT ESSENTIAL.”
Pardo and his pro-life team have checked out the clinics on Puerto Rico and discovered that of the 7 clinics on the island, only three are verifiably closed. Two said that they were closed on their voicemail, but called back to schedule appointments within the hour when the pro-lifers called them (Women’s Medical Pavilian and Clinica Lella) and the final two are openly working (Darlington Medical Associates and Family Planning of Ponce.) “Darlington Medical Associates offers abortion up to 9 months, medical marijuana, and hormone treatment for transitioning,” Pardo told me. “Obviously not essential services. The governor is being made aware of this issue tonight by a couple of pro-life senators. Pray—we will see what happens.”
My friend Manuela Steiner, who runs the continental campus organization ProLife Europe out of Vienna, Austria, told me that it is “an extraordinary time…we are basically under lockdown as well: school, universities, shops are all closed; all tourist locations are of course closed; we are called to stay home. The only exception is grocery shopping or doctor’s appointments. The coronavirus crisis has affected ProLife Europe very intensely! The main goal of our organization is to found pro-life groups at universities and schools—so now, with all the schools closed, it means that we cannot continue this work. We and all of our existing groups had to cancel public events all across Europe. But we must not be discouraged by this change—this time of crisis can also be a big chance for ProLife Europe, because we can still reach people online.”
ProLife Europe has launched a Corona Action Plan to help people utilize this time to reach out to peers who might actually have time to engage on abortion now that other activities have been largely eliminated: “With people not allowed to leave the house, there will be a lot of time spent on the Internet, and so we are putting all efforts into social media. Group meetings will be held via Skype. Most groups already have their own social media accounts, so now they are called to fill them with videos, pictures, posts. Just like discussing abortion with people on the street, you can have these discussions online. These are rather big changes for our group members, but we are prepared to lead them through this time! This crisis shows that people still do care for each other—and it is our responsibility to include pre-born persons in this situation.”
Eliza Clotea, the president of Students for Life Romania (who I met at a gala after the Austrian March for Life last October) has launched a similar plan called “Month for Life.” The Romanian March for Life has been cancelled for the time being, and “we were preparing more than 15 events but the pandemic has made us cancel them all—it was a bitter reality, but God has His plans and knows everything better. We are still fighting for life, even if it is not outside on the streets. The Internet is a great tool and we have made a list of 16 ideas for online and at home activities.” Students for Life Bucharest is offering students pro-life films to watch; pro-life podcasts have been recommended; tips for sharing pro-life content on social media have been sent out; pro-life webinars for high school students have been launched; and pro-lifers are being urged to take time to help the elderly.
I also reached out to my friend Andy Moore, who works at the Susan B. Anthony List. He sent me an email blast from SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, who laid out her organization’s response to the pandemic:
We take seriously the health of our canvassing team and the voters we seek to reach. Over the weekend our field team made a quick pivot from door-to-door canvassing to live calls to voters in our targeted battleground states. We hope voters may be more receptive to our phone calls during this period of quarantine.
Without missing a beat, our staff has moved to remote work. We are handling all of our ongoing activities and meetings online, continuing to monitor and impact activities on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures across the country. We continue to engage with our supporters and call out abortion extremism wherever it raises its head – in the Democratic primary, in down-ballot elections, and in the abortion lobby’s response to coronavirus.
Our Government Affairs team has been on the front lines, working late into the night last Friday to ensure that pro-life Hyde Amendment protections were included in the coronavirus response funding package- read our statement here. Our watchfulness continues this week as the Senate votes on related legislation.
We are actively tracking the abortion lobby’s insidious misuse of the Covid-19 quarantine to promote the chemical abortion pill. This dangerous drug ends the life of an unborn child and poses a severe threat to his or her mother. We will fight back against cultural and legislative attempts to expand this “chemical coat hanger.”
Around the world, the global pro-life movement has been facing this surreal and challenging time with the creativity the pre-born children we seek to protect deserve from us. As long as the abortion industry refuses to stop the work of killing babies, pro-lifers worldwide will continue to find ways to confront, expose, and fight this injustice—even if our nations have declared states of emergency and we are required to stay at home.
Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he speaks with Alessandra Bocchi, who is currently in Rome, about what is actually happening on the ground in Rome and across Italy. Bocchi is from Lombardy, the hardest hit region of Italy, but is “stuck” in Rome due to the government’s requests that people not leave their current locations in order to stop the spread of the virus. The scene she shares is quite surreal.
You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:
EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Both the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Catholic Church in Scotland have announced that public Masses will be suspended in these countries indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In England and Wales, the last public Masses will take place on Friday. In Scotland, they will take place on Thursday.
The inability to attend Mass is a hard cross for Catholics to bear anywhere, but it is particularly crushing in Great Britain, where Mass was essentially illegal from the late 16th century until the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1791. That the latest suspension has been ordered by the Catholic bishops themselves is both a new kind of suffering and a total loss of public worship. During civil persecution, Catholics could at least assemble for Mass in secret, ministered to in Scotland by the “heather priests.”
As a substitute for personal attendance at holy worship, the bishops of England and Wales have encouraged Catholics to make a “spiritual communion” and to watch a livestreamed Mass. The bishops of Scotland have added that parish priests should be available to meet with individual Catholics to give them the sacraments “as and when they are needed,” especially for the sick and housebound.
Barring an invitation to a private Mass, it seems, then, that the best way to keep the Sabbath Day holy in every place where public Mass is suspended is indeed to watch Mass from afar. I have a Master of Divinity degree, but I must confess that since the end of the Cold War I have never imagined a situation in which European or North American Catholics would be forbidden to attend Sunday Mass. However, here are my suggestions for making the best of Mass from home.
We could turn a room or area of our own dwellings into a temporary chapel where the entire household can watch Mass ― and individuals can slip away to pray whenever they like. Many dioceses around the world did not have public Masses last Sunday, and on social media, I saw a wonderful photograph of a large family assembling for Mass in a room set aside for worship. They had set up rows of chairs in front of the wall on which someone was projecting a live-streamed Mass. If a household lacks the technical knowhow or equipment to project a broadcast, then the largest computer or television screen in the house, set up on a decorated table or home altar, will have to do.
Saint John Paul II told families that we are the “domestic church”; well, let’s see how well we can make this a Sunday reality. To keep everything as normal as possible, as well as to continue to show respect for the Lord, let’s dress ourselves and our children in our Sunday best before we watch the Mass. Let’s also continue our rituals around Sunday Mass, keeping the fast, and celebrating Sunday brunch or Sunday supper, with all the usual Sunday treats, even if we have to cook or bake them ourselves instead of buying them or ordering them at our favorite diner.
Any other Sunday family prayers, such as the Evening Office or the Holy Rosary, should be prayed as usual, although this is probably not the time to introduce lengthy new devotions. That said, even small children, awed by the novelty of watching Mass from home, will probably tolerate the introduction of new prayers for the sick and an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
Families who are unable to access a livestreamed Mass on the internet or find a Mass broadcast on television could also create a temporary chapel or prayer space in the home. The continuing importance of Mass would be impressed upon the children if a traditional Missa Sicca (“Dry Mass”) were read aloud by the eldest man in the family or, if there isn’t an adult man in the household, the mother of the family. A Missa Sicca at home doesn’t usually have a homily, but reading some catechetical material to children after the Gospel sounds both natural and good.
Please find below a traditional Missa Sicca or “Dry Mass” that can be said at home, and do have as happy a Sunday as you can.
In the name of the Father + and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Introit: read the Introit verse of today’s Mass [or sing an Entrance Hymn]
I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word and deed (strike breast three times): through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech the blessed Mary ever virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the saints, to pray to the Lord Our God for me. + May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to life everlasting. Amen.
Lord, have mercy./x3
Christ, have mercy./x3
Lord, have mercy./x3
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise You, we bless You, we adore You, we glorify You, we give You thanks for Your great glory, Lord God, Heavenly King, O God, Almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; You take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. You are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Collect: read the collect of the day
Reading[s]: read today’s epistle [or readings]
Gradual, Alleluia/Tract (and Sequence): read them as given in the propers of the day
Gospel: read the gospel of the day
The Nicene Creed
Let us pray. It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give You thanks, Lord, Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. For out of compassion for the waywardness that is ours, He humbled Himself and was born of the Virgin; by the passion of the Cross He freed us from unending death, and by rising from the dead He gave us life eternal. And so, with angels and archangels, with thrones and dominions and with all the host and powers of Heaven, we sing the hymn of Your glory, as without end we acclaim:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Invocation of the Saints:
Almighty God, may our prayers be joined to the intercession of the glorious every virgin Mary Mother of God; also of the blessed Joseph, her spouse, and likewise of your blessed Apostles and martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddeus, Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, of all thy saints. Grant for the sake of their merits and prayers in all things we may be guarded and helped by Your protection. + Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for the Living:
Be mindful, O Lord, of N… our Pope, N… our Bishop, N… our Priest, Your servants and handmaids N… and N…, and of those entrusted to my care, for whom this sacrifice of praise is offered, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered by Your ordained priests throughout the world. Grant, O Lord, the redemption of their souls and the hope of their safety and salvation.
Prayer for the Dead:
Be mindful, also, O Lord, of Your servants and handmaids N... and N... who are gone before us with the sign of faith and who sleep the sleep of peace. To these, O Lord, and to all who rest in Christ, grant, we beseech You, a place of refreshment, light and peace. + Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for Eternal Happiness:
To us also Your sinful servants, who put our trust in the multitude of Your mercies, vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with Your holy Apostles and martyrs: with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and all your saints. Into their company we beseech You admit us, not considering our merits, but freely pardoning our offenses. + Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Spiritual Communion [to be said by all]:
My Jesus, I believe that You are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I long for You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself entirely to You; never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Are you stuck inside because of the coronavirus pandemic? Here are nine things you can do from home for the pro-life cause.
Write a letter to an unexpectedly pregnant mom
Embrace Grace is an organization that equips churches to serve women facing unplanned pregnancies.
“Through our two discipleship programs, we have 700+ active support groups and 6,000+ women have been empowered to learn how to have hope again,” Embrace Grace explains on its website.
Embrace Grace gives women considering abortion “love boxes” containing, among other gifts, a letter of hope from a stranger. All you need to do is print a template from Embrace Grace’s website, write the letter, and mail it to their headquarters.
Pray the rosary
During these strange times, Luke 21:11 has been on my mind: “And there shall be great earthquakes in divers places and pestilences and famines and terrors from heaven: and there shall be great signs.”
Then there’s this passage in John 10:12: “The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.” (The entire continent of North America, much of Europe, and other parts of the world are or are about to be without public Masses, ordered by bishops and priests with not much more than a shrug; an “I’m sorry, we know this is difficult” letter; and a reminder about hand-washing.)
Family members typically benefit when you pray the rosary, too. There’s something about the rosary that puts the soul at peace. My husband knows I’m far less crabby after praying a rosary than before.
And in your charity, pray for me, too; it’s been very hard for me not to feel despair during this time.
Learn more about a specific pro-life topic
Time stuck at home can be used to brush up on anti-abortion apologetics, learn about the evils of medical experimentation on embryonic humans, study the case against euthanasia, and educate yourself on the abortion industry.
These two talks were given during an Advent retreat but are totally appropriate for Lent and in light of the recent cowardice of so many Church leaders during this uneasy time. These talks focus on the four last things (death, judgment, Heaven, and Hell) and the end times.
Watch or listen to The John-Henry Westen Show
Learn about the coronavirus from China expert Steven Mosher or watch the uplifting conversion story of an award-winning photographer and punk rocker who is now a religious brother on his way to becoming a Catholic priest.
Apparently, the coronavirus is particularly dangerous for old people, whose valuable lives we have a duty to protect. You could offer to bring groceries or other supplies to an elderly person who is self-quarantining, taking proper precautions not to expose him or yourself to germs.
Watch a pro-life movie
This one’s really easy. Here is a list of some pro-life movies, most of which can easily be streamed for free or purchased online.
Also, one of my colleagues has informed me that the 1941 film Blossoms in the Dust has a pro-life message.
The pro-life group Created Equal also has produced an amazing documentary, Abortion: A Doctrine of Demons, showing the connections between abortion and satanism.
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