All articles from March 26, 2020


News

Opinion

Blogs

The Pulse

  • There are no pulse articles posted on March 26, 2020.

Podcasts


News

Leading coronavirus vaccine development using cells of aborted babies

Alternatives exist but are not getting as much press as Moderna's vaccine work.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 8:18 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Children of God for Life
By

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

CLEARWATER, Florida, March 26, 2020 (Children of God for Life) — In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical companies are racing to provide a vaccine to prevent further spread of the disease. Unfortunately, Moderna, the company that has been recently touted in news headlines for its developing mRNA-1273 vaccine to fight the virus, uses aborted fetal cell lines.

Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director of Children of God for Life, a prolife organization whose mission is to end the use of aborted fetal material in vaccines and medicines, said her suspicions were raised after checking Moderna’s patents and in particular, the use of the Spike (S) protein.

The idea behind using this Spike protein in a vaccine with messenger RNA (mRNA) is to teach the patient’s immune system to produce its own protein antibodies to block and destroy the virus so the person will not become infected. Unfortunately, Vinnedge said her heart sank when she discovered that Spike protein was produced using HEK 293 aborted fetal cells.

“It was detailed in several science publications”, she said. “And in light of the public fear and panic, I did not want to be the bearer of bad news.” Vinnedge said the heavy burden of revealing that knowledge made her dig further into others’ research. That’s when she found another well- known pharmaceutical company had a better solution.

Enter, Sanofi Pasteur which is using its own recombinant DNA platform to produce a Covid-19 vaccine. According to the Department of HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) reports, Sanofi is using the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform, which is also used in their licensed Flublok Quadrivalent vaccine.

As in most seasonal flu vaccines, the need to produce large quantities of vaccine quickly has been a problem for many years as pharmaceutical companies used chicken eggs to cultivate their viruses. It takes several months and millions of eggs to produce the vaccines and so many companies began to turn to other cell lines for faster production.

One such company was Protein Sciences whose recombinant DNA platform is based on insect cells. Their Sf9 cell line comes from the fall armyworm and is highly effective as a rapid growth medium. It has been used for several years in producing influenza vaccines. In 2017, Sanofi Pasteur bought Protein Sciences and is using this same platform for their newly developing Covid-19 vaccine which will allow them the flexibility to make millions of doses of vaccine quickly.

“This is great news for millions of people world-wide who are concerned with the use of aborted fetal material in life-saving treatments or vaccines”, stated Ms. Vinnedge. “There is a multitude of moral options that are safer and quite frankly, utilize a more modern technology.”

Vinnedge said she was particularly annoyed to see a recent article in the Washington Post trying to assert that President Trump’s ban on the use of aborted fetal tissue was blocking important research and treatments for Covid-19 virus.

“That accusation is laughable at best and nothing more than a political maneuver,” stated Vinnedge. “In fact, we have morally produced treatments for patients who are already infected, notably Hydroxychloroquine or Plaquenil. And there are more promising treatments on the way to prevent infection entirely. President Trump has done a great job of promoting morally responsible research ensuring that all Americans can have the protection they need.”

“It is deplorable that anyone would want to exploit the remains of aborted babies for financial profit especially when so many people will refuse to use those products because of their deeply held religious, moral and pro-life convictions?” she added. “We applaud the efforts of companies such as Sanofi Pasteur who are providing morally acceptable options!”

References

Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine news:
https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/moderna-ships-mrna-vaccine-against-novel-coronavirus-mrna-1273-for-phase-1-study-2020-02-24

Spike S Protein Info:
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/suppl/2020/02/18/science.abb2507.DC1/abb2507-Wrapp-SM.pdf (Material and Methods)

https://www.sinobiological.com/research/virus/human-coronavirus-spike

https://www.acrobiosystems.com/P3098-2019-nCoV-%28COVID-19%29-S-protein-Full-Length-%28R683A-R685A%29-His-Tag.html

https://www.biovendor.com/sars-cov-2-2019-ncov-spike-glycoprotein-s1-hek293-recombinant-2?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=organic

Sanofi Pasteur Vaccine Info:
https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/02/18/hhs-engages-sanofis-recombinant-technology-for-2019-novel-coronavirus-vaccine.html

https://www.poconorecord.com/news/20200311/sanofi-exploring-possiblity-of-covid-19-vaccine-that-would-be-produced-in-poconos

https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/sanofi-pasteur%C2%A0will-deploy-its-recombinant-dna-platform-produce-recombinant-2019-novel-coronavirus

https://www.fda.gov/media/123144/download (Sanofi Flublok Quadrivalent pack insert)

Washington Post article:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/trump-ban-on-fetal-tissue-research-blocks-coronavirus-treatment-effort/2020/03/18/ddd9f754-685c-11ea-abef-020f086a3fab_story.html

Published with permission from Children of God for Life.


  abortion, bioethics, coronavirus, fetal cell lines, moderna, vaccines

News

Tucker: Opposition to Trump is fueling media lies about chloroquine, a potential COVID-19 treatment

Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 8:03 pm EST
Featured Image
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― The media have been lying about a potentially effective treatment for the COVID-19 coronavirus, Tucker Carlson reported this week.

“Well, here’s why,” the Fox News pundit told his audience last night. “Donald Trump is for it.”

Ever since the American president announced the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus sweeping the world, the American media have been downplaying its potential, lying about it, and manipulating the public.   

“If Trump is for it, they're against it, even if it might save American lives,” Carlson declared. 

“What reactive children they are. And they immediately began a sustained push to discredit the drug long before the clinical results were in.”

Carlson cited both CNN and NBC, who accused the president of selling “unsubstantiated” or “false” hope. Some journalists have even held Trump responsible for the deaths of people who poisoned themselves with what they hoped were doses of hydroxychloroquine. CNN ran a story in which it claimed that a man in Arizona “has died after an apparent attempt to self-medicate with that drug.” In reality, the man and his wife swallowed chloroquine phosphate, an aquarium cleaner, allegedly believing this would protect them from the virus.  

“During the course of that segment, by the way, CNN never mentioned that the man ate aquarium cleaner and not medicine,” Carlson observed.  

“They lied about the substantial – in fact, the central – facts of what happened because they thought it might advance a political agenda.” 

CNN then cited three Nigerians who had died from overdoses of the drug, as if they had done so because of Trump’s announcement. 

Carlson was clearly disgusted by this politicization of a possible treatment for the coronavirus.

“Now, keep in mind, this isn't a tax bill they're lying about,” he said. “It's a potentially life-saving medicine that we are desperately trying to evaluate in the middle of a global pandemic.”

Bloomberg also ran an anti-hydroxychloroquine story called “Chloroquine no better than regular coronavirus care, study finds.” The study, performed in China, had involved only 15 patients. 

“So why is Bloomberg News writing about it?” Carlson asked. 

“Later in the story, we learned that, in contrast to the protocol in that tiny Chinese study, doctors here in the West are administering hydroxychloroquine with antibiotics, and that combination – the two of them hydroxychloroquine and antibiotics – appears to be effective.” 

Carlson stated that the Chinese study had nothing to do with the way that the drug was being used in the USA, and that the story “misleads.” He accused the media of “manipulating” its audience.

“This is what happens when science becomes political,” Carlson added.

“Suddenly, people start lying, and you can't trust anything you hear. That's a very dangerous thing to do at a moment like this. The truth is essential.”

Even a governor has been hating on hydroxychloroquine. Democrat Steve Sisolak, the governor of Nevada, has issued an emergency order banning state doctors from prescribing the drug for coronavirus unless it’s administered in a hospital.  

“Now, Sisolak is a politician; he's not a doctor,” Carlson said. 

“But he didn't hesitate to pronounce the drug ‘unproven’ as a treatment for coronavirus,” he continued.

“Well, that's true as a technical matter. But doctors prescribe medicines in new ways all the time. It's called ‘off-label usage.’ It's legal and very common in places where Democratic governors don't decide to micromanage the details of medical care.”

There is now a shortage of hydroxychloroquine in the U.S., however, in part because doctors are apparently stockpiling it for themselves and their families. Carlson said that this proves that Donald Trump is not the only person who believes it can work.

“A lot of practicing physicians think so, too,” he added. 

“Our leaders should be clear about that. And yet many of them are lying about it at a time when we are desperate for the truth. The thing we need, above all, is the truth.”

Carlson had stated that hydroxychloroquine is, in many ways, “the ideal medicine.”

“You may have taken it if you traveled abroad. It's been approved for use in this country for 65 years. It is cheap. It's considered safe. A month’s supply of it costs about 20 bucks,” he continued.

“So, in a lot of ways, hydroxychloroquine is the ideal medicine. If it turns out to be an effective treatment against coronavirus, things will change fast in this country and for the better.”

Carlson noted that “scattered reports” from health care providers across the U.S. say hydroxychloroquine is effective, that it is being prescribed in France, and that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he would try it on patients if he was treating them directly.   

Recently an American coronavirus patient stated that he would have died had he not requested the drug. 

Other drugs that have potential are favipiravir, a Japanese antiviral drug; remdesivir, the Ebola drug; and lopinavir and ritonavir, HIV drugs.   


  coronavirus, donald trump, hydroxychloroquine, president trump, tucker carlson

News

Abortion groups: Coronavirus means ‘supply chains’ for killing unborn need more funding

As one example, Planned Parenthood launched an emergency coronavirus appeal to raise funds for the Chinese Family Planning Association.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 7:43 pm EST
Featured Image
amenic181 / Shutterstock.com
Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
By Stefano Gennarini J.D.

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

NEW YORK, March 26, 2020 (C-Fam) — International abortion groups were quick to seize on the COVID-19 pandemic to call for more funding and fewer restrictions on abortion based on unverifiable claims.

According to abortion giant International Planned Parenthood Federation and other abortion groups the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will cause a surge in demand for abortion. Curfews and stay-at-home orders across the world will lead to unprotected sex and even domestic violence and rape, they say, while existing regulations and social distancing will make it harder to obtain abortion.

They are asking governments to repeal abortion restrictions and to give them government funds as a result.

“Potentially more people will need abortions during this time, so how will they access them?” International Planned Parenthood Federation asked in a blog post about the effect of the novel coronavirus last week. The post warns that this is “a stark reminder that we need to remove all laws, policies and practices which prevent access to contraception and safe abortion.”

These and similar talking points have been circulated widely in editorials and articles by abortion industry leaders in recent weeks. But scientific evidence suggests the coronavirus may actually result in fewer pregnancies and fewer abortions.

Well-documented fertility patterns during past epidemics, disasters, and wars, suggest an overall decrease in fertility according to a cautious early survey of the possible implications of the coronavirus for fertility by demographer Lyman Stone. But the effects of the pandemic on fertility are far from certain and will vary by country.

UN coronavirus emergency response plan unveiled this week by UN agencies and costing $2 billion echoes the abortion industry’s concerns and includes “sexual and reproductive health” as a “strategic priority” and lists it among the “essential commodities” whose transport should be guaranteed during the coronavirus emergency.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation launched an emergency coronavirus appeal to raise funds for the Chinese Family Planning Association, which implements China’s population control policies. The UN population agency, UNFPA, also launched a campaign to raise $67.5 million to be spent over two months.

The Guttmacher Institute, meanwhile, is warning of disruption in the global supply chain of contraceptives and abortion pills.

In the U.S., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly attempted an alternative to the Senate $2 trillion stimulus that does not include the bipartisan Hyde Amendment, a U.S. law that prevents U.S. funding for abortion domestically except in cases where a child is conceived by rape or carrying the child to term would threaten the life of the mother. She reportedly attempted to do the same in March.

Abortion groups are asking States to waive required waiting periods and follow-up appointments to abortions, because they say the extra travel exposes mothers to the novel coronavirus.

They also argue that restrictions on movement in areas hard hit by the pandemic are making it harder for mothers to obtain an abortion, therefore telemedicine abortion should be allowed — a controversial practice promoted by the World Health Organization that could put mothers at risk.

In the UK, the government has already relaxed abortion regulation to allow telemedicine abortion following a campaign by abortion group Amnesty International.

After Texas and Ohio ordered all abortion clinics shut, declaring them non-essential, the National Abortion Federation, which represents abortion industry groups in the U.S., is urging State and Federal government authorities to designate abortion clinics “essential businesses.”

Published with permission from C-Fam.


  abortion, china, coronavirus, hyde amendment, international planned parenthood federation, ippf, planned parenthood, population control

News

Left-wing lawsuit demands Trump admin human rights org prioritize homosexuality, abortion

Homosexual rights and feminist organizations are insisting that abortion and LGBT issues be the centerpiece of the Commission on Unalienable Rights' work.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 7:30 pm EST
Featured Image
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at U.N. headquarters. David Dee Delgado / Getty Images
Austin Ruse
By Austin Ruse

NEW YORK, March 26, 2020 (C-Fam) — A recent lawsuit initiated by LGBT and feminist pressure groups charges that the U.S. State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights was created in violation of federal guidelines and must be disbanded.

In filing the lawsuit, Kerry Kennedy of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights said, “The Commission on Unalienable Rights’ discriminatory work must be stopped, quickly. Without action we risk the destruction of decades of progress by the human rights movement and emboldening oppressive regimes everywhere.”

Mark Bromley, chairman of the Council for Global Equality, said, “Secretary Pompeo often argues that the modern proliferation of human rights claims cheapens the currency of human rights but it is this illegal Commission, with its warped use of religious freedom and natural law to deny rights, that cheapens the very notion of religious freedom and our country’s proud tradition of standing up for the rights of those who are most vulnerable.”

While Secretary Pompeo’s office said early on the Commission would not be about abortion and LGBT, homosexual rights and feminist organizations are insisting they be the centerpiece of the Commission’s work.

The outrage from homosexual rights groups on account of the Commission on Unalienable Rights, created last July to examine authentic human rights and how best to advance them, is one aspect of the skewed focus on sexual rights issues.

The organized homosexual movement has become deeply entrenched in the State Department, according to highly-placed department sources, such that hardly any meeting at the State Department is conducted without consideration of how the issue affects sexual orientation and gender identity. Critics point out that the outsized attention paid to homosexual issues at the State Department is vastly out of proportion to the percentage of Americans who may be same-sex attracted.

The chief complaint is that the commission is one sided in the definition of what is and is not a human right. The controversy is embedded in the title of the Commission and its reference to “unalienable” rights. On one hand International documents tend to favor what many consider to be fundamental rights over against what Commission Chairman, Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon, once referred to as “rights talk,” the insistence on the ever-expanding notion of rights.

In a radio interview a year ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo worried that ever-expanding definitions of human rights inevitably harm fundamental human rights. Fundamental human rights can be found in foundational UN documents and include, freedom of religion, freedom of political self-determination, freedom of the press, and other rights that are readily recognized around the world.

In recent years, members of the sexual left, including those in the State Department, have attempted to create internationally recognized human rights to abortion and same-sex sexual expression. During the Obama administration, the homosexual issue was placed within the Office of Religious Freedom. Complaints based upon sexual orientation and gender identity became a part of the annual State Department Report on Human Rights. The abortion issue, under the guise of “reproductive rights,” was also included in the Obama-era report. Critics wondered what homosexuality and abortion had to do with religious freedom. Under the Trump administration, both issues were removed from the annual report.

Published with permission from C-Fam.


  abortion, commission on unalienable rights, courts, feminism, lgbt tyranny, mike pompeo, robert f. kennedy center for human rights

News

Planned Parenthood insists abortion continue because women fear for their finances

'Pregnancy-related care, especially abortion care [sic], is essential and life-affirming,' one abortionist said, 'especially now when there is so much insecurity around jobs and food and paychecks and childcare.'
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 7:22 pm EST
Featured Image
pexels
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

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

March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — In response to the coronavirus pandemic, abortion vendor Planned Parenthood’s talking points seem to focus not on the danger of COVID-19 itself, but on its possible economic consequences.

Meera Shah, who is a physician and works in a leadership role for Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic in the state of New York, said, “Pregnancy-related care, especially abortion care [sic], is essential and life-affirming, especially now when there is so much insecurity around jobs and food and paychecks and childcare.”

“Our doors will stay open because sexual and reproductive health care is extremely important, and we have to ensure access to it,” Shah told BuzzFeed News last week.

“It seems like patients are doing everything they can to get to their appointments at this time,” she continued. “Some patients have expressed to me ... that they were scared that they may not have health insurance in the future, that they may not be able to get their appointments, that childcare is becoming more of an issue now with all of the schools closed.”

Mark Harrington, founder and president of pro-life organization Created Equal, pointed out, “If Planned Parenthood cares about low income women losing their health insurance during these uncertain times, then it should be providing financial support, or childcare to these mothers.”

“Planned Parenthood doesn’t care about women. Planned cares about one thing — abortion,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“Pregnancy is not a disease. Babies are not a virus to be fought. Children are a blessing.”

Meanwhile, according to currently available data, including a small study done in China and published this February, COVID-19 in pregnant women cannot be tied to adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The Harvard Health Blog, which is associated with Harvard Medical School, pointed to the study of nine pregnant women who came down with COVID-19 and had symptoms. The study showed “that none of their babies were affected by the virus. The virus was not present in amniotic fluid, the babies’ throats, or in breast milk.”

Thus, Harvard Health Blog concluded, the risk of passing the disease to the unborn child “appears to be very low, and there is no evidence of any fetal malformations or effects due to maternal infection with COVID-19.”

The small study notwithstanding, the World Health Organization stated on its website dedicated to questions about the coronavirus and pregnancy that things are not entirely clear. “We still do not know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery,” wrote the WHO, which also heavily promotes abortion.

A baby in London reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, just minutes after being born, according to Live Science.

It is unknown when exactly the baby contracted the disease. “We can’t say it happened while the baby was still in the womb,” said William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The baby might have contracted the virus during birth or immediately after, he told Live Science.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) pointed out that currently, there are “no recommendations specific to pregnant women regarding the evaluation or management of COVID-19.”

However, ACOG cautioned, “pregnant women are known to be at greater risk of severe morbidity and mortality from other respiratory infections such as influenza and SARS-CoV. As such, pregnant women should be considered an at-risk population for COVID-19.”

ACOG, like WHO, supports abortion. As LifeSiteNews reported, the group claimed on March 18 that abortions are “a time-sensitive service for which a delay of several weeks, or in some cases days, may increase the risks or potentially make it completely inaccessible.”

“The consequences of being unable to obtain an abortion profoundly impact a person’s life, health, and well-being,” ACOG and several other pro-abortion organizations said.

Five different organizations representing more than 30,000 pro-life doctors responded by explaining how “across the United States, services that do constitute essential health care for women, including routine Pap smears, mammograms, and pelvic exams, are being postponed in order to reduce everyone’s risk of exposure to COVID-19, and to conserve scarce medical resources.”

Elective abortions are neither “essential” nor “urgent,” the doctors emphasized. To continue with such procedures would “consume critical resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment, and unnecessarily exposes patients and physicians to pathogens.”

During the Zika epidemic in 2016, supporters of abortion had used the virus as a direct excuse to promote killing the child of an infected pregnant woman in the womb. “Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry were quick to jump on the abortion bandwagon for pregnant women with confirmed or suspected cases of the Zika virus,” LifeSiteNews wrote in 2016.

Zika had been linked to microcephaly, a medical condition “of abnormal smallness of the circumference of the head that is present at birth or develops within the first few years of life and is often associated with developmental delays, impaired cognitive development, poor coordination and balance, deficits in hearing and vision, and seizures.”


  abortion, american college of obstetricians and gynecologists, coronavirus, planned parenthood, world health organization, zika virus

News

Bernie Sanders demands politicians ‘expand’ legal abortion amid coronavirus crisis

The Vermont senator blasted states that deny the 'right' to all-access abortion.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 4:43 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – For the past week, Capitol Hill has been dominated by bitter debate over the inclusion of unrelated spending in legislation meant to provide economic relief to Americans in quarantine. Yet despite the heat Democrats have already taken on the issue, Vermont senator and Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders doubled down Tuesday on expanding “access” to abortion-on-demand during the crisis.

“It is outrageous that right-wing politicians in states like Texas and Ohio are using this crisis to risk women’s health and safety by denying their right to abortion and other reproductive health care,” Sanders declared. “Instead, we should be expanding access with things like telemedicine.”

Numerous states have ordered temporary suspensions of non-urgent medical procedures, including elective abortions. The abortion lobby has bitterly objected to not receiving an exemption, with Planned Parenthood and its allies filing a lawsuit over the matter in Texas. 

Meanwhile, a multi-trillion-dollar bill meant to provide financial assistance to individuals and businesses that have been forced to stop working passed overwhelmingly in the Senate on Wednesday but faces uncertain prospects in the House of Representatives. The bill is full of unrelated expenditures for various public entities.

Sanders’ insistence on using the crisis to expand abortion is consistent with the absolutist pro-abortion platform he’s running on, which pledges direct taxpayer funding of abortion and contraception at home and abroad, and ban states from setting their own abortion policies, even on modest regulations such as ultrasound requirements or waiting periods.

Once voting began in the 2020 Democrat primary, Sanders temporarily became the frontrunner in the field, but before long fell back behind former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders currently has 910 delegates to Biden’s 1,215 and trails behind Biden 36.4 percent to 55.8 percent in RealClearPolitics’ national polling average.


  abortion, bernie sanders, coronavirus, democrats

News

Easter play started in response to plague canceled because of COVID-19

The passion play in Oberammergau was first performed in 1634, and after that people stopped dying from the plague.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 3:11 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

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

OBERAMMERGAU, Germany, March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The famous play depicting the passion of the Christ in the Bavarian town of Oberammergau, which was first performed in 1634 in response to the plague, has been canceled because of the coronavirus epidemic.

The passion play in Oberammergau is a performance that takes roughly five hours, involving more that 2,000 participants to present the story of Jesus Christ’s passion and death, starting with his entrance into Jerusalem.

“Almost half of Oberammergau’s population will devotedly act out the story of the man whose tidings for more than 2000 years have brought hope and power of life to an incredible number of people,” the official website stated.

Last week, however, it was announced that this year’s passion play would be moved to 2022.

“For the municipality of Oberammergau and the directing team of the Passion Play around Christian Stückl, the health of the population also comes first,” the statement pointed out. “The Corona pandemic has made it impossible to complete this year’s Play without endangering the participants and guests.”

The organizers of the passion play were not sure about what restrictions for public gatherings and large events to expect for the remainder of 2020. Thus, “a postponement of only a few months seemed unacceptable to everyone involved.”

At this point, the premiere for the passion play, which in normal times is performed every 10 years, is scheduled for May 21, 2022. This year, the organizers were expecting a total of 450,000 guests to more than 100 performances.

Like today, a very contagious disease had spread rapidly in the 17th century, when the people of Oberammergau first pledged to perform a passion play. At the time, it was the plague.

Father Joseph Alois Daisenberger, the parish priest of Oberammergau for many years in the 19th century, summarized the beginnings of the play.

“The first decades of the 17th century went by in peaceful calm for the people of Oberammergau,” he wrote. “But then followed the Thirty Years’ War with all its hardships from 1618 until 1648, which under the name of the Swedes’ War lives on the memory of the people.”

“As early as 1631, infectious diseases spread in Swabia as well as in Bavaria. This village was spared by dutiful vigilance until the church festival in 1632, when a man named Kaspar Schisler brought the plague into the village,” the priest continued.

Faced with a horrifying disease, the leaders of the community came together and pledged to act out the passion of Christ once per decade. “From this day forward, not a single person perished, even though a great number of them still showed signs of the plague.”

Passion plays had already been quite popular in the area when the play of Oberammergau was first performed in 1634. Only in 1680 did the organizers switch to the decadic years.

In 1770, a performance was canceled for the first time. Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria, prohibited the play, arguing that “the theater stage is no place for the greatest secret of our holy religion.”

The performance in 1810 was not allowed to take place due to the secularization which had taken place in Napoleonic Europe, prohibiting religious customs and devotions.

In 1920, following World War I, which ended in 1918, there was no performance. “Many musicians and actors had participated in the war and were severely injured or killed in action.”

The Second World War led to the cancellation of the 1940 passion play in Oberammergau. Adolf Hitler had been to Oberammergau for a special performance celebrating the 300th anniversary in 1934.

The last passion play to take place was in 2010. “This year, after great resistance within the village, the show is extended into the evening,” the website recalled. Historically, it took place during daylight hours.


  coronavirus, germany

News

UPDATE: Hospitals across US close doors to pastors despite ailing coronavirus patients in need

Metro Health in western Michigan hung up a LifeSite journalist seeking clarification about why they no longer allow pastors to visit sick patients.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 3:08 pm EST
Featured Image
Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen
By Stephen Kokx

UPDATE: March 30, 2020, 10:35am. The Dicoese of Grand Rapids has informed Catholics that Metro Health Hospital will allow priests but only to celebrate the sacrament of the anointing of the sick and Viaticum for the dying. Previously, the diocese said Metro Health would not allow priests “under any circumstances.” Holland Hospital will also permit priests but only to celebrate the sacrament of the anointing of the sick and Viaticum for the dying if the patient does not have COVID-19. 

UPDATE: March 27, 2020, 3:10pm. LifeSite has been informed that Spectrum Health in western Michigan has revised its policy of banning priests and clergy from visiting sick patients. Below is a statement they released Friday afternoon: 

All of us are experiencing difficult times during this pandemic. The quick spread of COVID-19 has required very challenging decisions by health care providers. We recently joined other hospitals across the state in revising our visitation policy. The temporary restrictions are intended to prevent the spread of illness and protect patients, health care workers and our communities. That restriction of visitors includes members of the clergy, and it was a difficult decision. Spectrum Health’s restrictions can be found here.

Spectrum Health greatly values pastoral care and providing spiritual and emotional support to patients, family and staff. Our Pastoral Care and Bereavement staff are working remotely but providing virtual spiritual care including virtual mass and services. We encourage clergy outside of Spectrum Health to do the same.

One of the Catholic priests on the Spectrum Health pastoral care staff is committed to being available and physically present for Catholic patients in need of last rites in our acute care hospitals in Grand Rapids, along with performing those rites virtually for those at our regional hospitals. In this unusual time, providing exceptional care for patients is quite different than before this pandemic started.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — As diagnosed coronavirus cases continue to grow, hospitals across the United States are beginning to take the unnerving step of banning priests and pastors from visiting persons suffering from COVID-19.

Facilities in Washington, Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida, Texas, and Kansas are, in various capacities, limiting chaplain access to patients.

The most common reasons that hospitals are giving for the prohibition is the need to prevent the spread of the virus by guests who may be unaware they have it and who may acquire it after coming in close proximity with infected patients.

But not everyone agrees with that assessment.

“Chaplains are trained healthcare professionals,” Brent Bond told Christianity Today last week. 

Bond is the senior director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board, an organization affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

“Many have gone through extensive training to be prepared for situations like this.”

But that training apparently isn’t enough for two hospitals in western Michigan that have implemented what many will likely see as overly restrictive if not anti-Christian guidelines.

According to a public statement released this week by Bishop David Walkowiak of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Spectrum Health and Metro Health Hospital have banned priests from entering their properties “under any circumstances.” 

Metro Hospital is affiliated with the University of Michigan healthcare system while Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system based in Grand Rapids.

In his letter, Walkowiak writes, “Unfortunately, the Church is unable to provide Catholics with the sacraments in a number of our local hospitals. It is sad that these conditions exist in these times when Catholics need and desire to receive the sacraments and gain their consolation and strength.”

Spectrum has already removed the entire pastoral care department from having an onsite presence.

The Catholic hospital system in the western Michigan, Mercy Heath St. Mary’s, will continue to allow priests to visit the sick, Walkowiak added.

“Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital will permit priests to celebrate the sacrament of the anointing of the sick and Viaticum for the dying only. The staff priest chaplain, Father Joachim, will handle all other anointings and regular pastoral care.”

Bishop Wakowiak’s statement urged Catholic to pray for an end to the outbreak as well as for those who are are sick and the health care workers who accompany them.

Catholic teaching holds that persons who are extremely ill and/or possibly near death are in great need of spiritual assistance. The Catholic Church provides Catholics who are at those stages of life with what it calls Extreme Unction, or, Last Rites, a sacrament that, in effect, strengthens the soul and prepares it to enter into eternal life. This can only be performed in-person and not over the phone or computer.

Spectrum and Metro’s decision to initially ban clergy from entering its facilities is somewhat puzzling given that on its website Spectrum says pastoral care and spiritual support are important parts of who they are. A search for the term “chaplain” on the website of Metro Health, on the other hand, found no such statement of belief, though the hospital does employ at least one spiritual care chaplain.

LifeSite reached out to both hospitals on Thursday for comment.

Rev. Nathaniel Johnson, a United Methodist minister, is the manager of the Pastoral Care & Bereavement department at Spectrum Health. He has been with them for eight years.

Though unable to give details about who made the decision to ban clergy from visiting sick patients in the first, he informed LifeSite that he would forward our questions to persons who could better answer them. LifeSite has posted the hospital’s public response at the top of this article.

Metro Health was not as accommodating.

A staff member in the spiritual care department told LifeSite that he would forward our questions to Kate Veenstra, the director of case management and social work. Unwilling to wait for Veenstra to respond, LifeSite called the hospital’s operator and was put through directly to her office. 

A woman named Cindy answered the phone and told LifeSite that she could take a message and that Veenstra would respond later.

LifeSite explained that it wasn’t interested in leaving a message and was seeking immediate clarification on whether the hospital was not allowing Catholic priests on its property. 

Cindy responded, “I’m going to transfer you to her … phone … actually … um … her secretary is out today and so I guess what I’d like for you to do is call back on Monday.” 

LifeSite said, “I’m not going to be able to do that. … I’m on a deadline for today and this is a big story and I think we deserve an answer from the hospital because people are dying and they need to know what they can do if they go to your hospital. So I need to speak with Kate today.”

“Um … well,” Cindy stammered, “she is in meetings throughout the day so I cannot promise that she’s going to call you back so I will transfer you to her phone number and then we’ll go from there.” 

“Great, thank you.”

Veenstra picked up the phone within seconds, answering with a cheerful, “Hi!”

“Kate, I thought you were in meetings all day?” LifeSite asked.

“Hi, who is this?”

“This is Stephen Kokx. I’m a journalist trying to get some answers. I work for LifeSiteNews … do you have a minute to talk?”

“No, nope, I don’t!”

“You don’t have one minute?”

“Nope!”

“People are concerned that people are dying at your hospital and they can’t see a Catholic priest. Do you think that’s a good thing or not?”

After five seconds of silence, LifeSite asked, “Will you abide by that policy?”

Veenstra immediately hung up the phone.

For respectful comments only, please contact the following:

U of M Metro Health

(616) 252-7200 (operator)
(616) 252-5033 (media relations)

Spectrum Health

Media Relations Department

Susan Krieger
(616) 391-5541
[email protected] 

(888) 989-7999 (General line)


  coronavirus, covid-19, david walkowiak, hospitals, michigan, priests

News

Abortionists sue Texas, demanding abortions continue during coronavirus pandemic

State Attorney General Ken Paxton called the actions 'unconscionable.'
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 2:38 pm EST
Featured Image
Dave Bledsoe / Flickr
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States’ largest abortion chain and its allies banded together for a lawsuit challenging emergency actions by Texas leaders to suspend non-essential medical procedures amid the coronavirus outbreak because abortions were not exempted.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised healthcare facilities to reschedule non-urgent appointments and elective procedures, both to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to free up time and resources to focus on patients afflicted by COVID-19 (the illness caused by the coronavirus).

Compliance with this guidance has been mixed, leading numerous states to mandate that facilities temporarily halt “non-essential” procedures. Among them, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement making clear that the suspension applies to “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”

Abortion providers and lobbying groups quickly denounced the move, and on Wednesday a pro-abortion coalition composed of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Lawyering Project filed a lawsuit against it in the Western District of Texas, BuzzFeed News reported.

The suit claims the suspension is an unconstitutional infringement on the “right” to abortion, enforcement of which should be immediately blocked. It also claims the wording of Paxton’s “any type of abortion” decree could be interpreted as prohibiting the use of abortion pills, despite the fact that the passage in question refers to “scheduled healthcare procedures,” not products.

The lawsuit goes so far as to suggest that killing children in abortion would actually be beneficial during a public health crisis because “prenatal care and delivery involve much greater exhaustion of hospital health care services and PPE than abortions.”

Paxton responded by calling the abortion lobby “unconscionable” for putting their business above the health needs of the state:

“Texas Right to Life is not surprised that the abortion industry is running to a federal court to fight against the governor’s executive order postponing all elective surgeries and procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Texas Right to Life said in a statement. “The abortion industry has never seen a safety regulation or common-sense health policy they did not believe they should be exempt from, fighting virtually every pro-life policy that threatened their bottom line. Shamefully, they have continued this pattern even during a global pandemic and public health crisis.”

Explaining the importance of holding abortion to the same standard as every other elective procedure, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) says that while “elective abortion is neither ‘essential’ nor ‘urgent,’” it “does consume critical resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment, and unnecessarily exposes patients and physicians to pathogens.”

“Elective abortion, both surgical and drug induced, also generates more patients to be seen in already overburdened emergency rooms,” AAPLOG continued. “Most abortion providers instruct women to go to an emergency room if they have any concerning symptoms after the abortion. Approximately five percent of women who undergo medication abortions will require evaluation in an emergency room, most commonly for hemorrhage. Surgical abortions can also result in hemorrhage. Emergency room personnel – who are already struggling to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic – will be further strained to provide care to these women.”

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


  abortion, center for reproductive rights, coronavirus, ken paxton, lawsuits, lawyering project, planned parenthood, texas

News

Media agencies challenge Twitter for locking out LifeSite over transgenderism

Copies of the letter have also been sent to Attorney General William Barr and the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 2:11 pm EST
Featured Image
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews co-founder and editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen and Media Research Center (MRC) president Brent Bozell are calling on Twitter to unlock LifeSite’s main Twitter account, which has been silenced for more than three months based on the demands of a radical transgender activist who objected to LifeSite’s scrutiny of his public actions.

Jonathan “Jessica” Yaniv is a man who “identifies” as a woman, and a Canadian transgender activist most recently in the news for admitting to possession of a prohibited weapon he brandished in a debate. Yaniv rose to infamy last year for filing 16 complaints against local beauticians who offer bikini waxes to actual women but have refused to wax his male genitals, then for seeking permission from the Township of Langley, British Columbia, for “LGBTQ2S” groups to hold topless-optional swimming parties for “all people aged 12+,” with parents and guardians barred from attending.

On December 5, 2019, LifeSite published a report titled, “Trans activist Jonathan ‘Jessica’ Yaniv ‘shocked…confused’ gynaecologist won’t see him.” LifeSite tweeted a link to the piece four days later, and subsequently received a notice that its account would be locked until the tweet was removed. (LifeSite’s sister account for Catholic stories remains active.)

Twitter didn’t specify which rule LifeSite’s tweet supposedly violated, but the social media giant declared earlier last year that “misgendering” someone – i.e., referring to individuals by their actual sex instead of their claimed “gender identity” – automatically constitutes “hateful conduct.”

LifeSite appealed the decision in December, only to receive a stock response: “Our support team has determined that a violation did take place, and therefore we will not overturn our decision.” It reiterated that the only way to restore the @LifeSite account would be to remove the offending tweet.

LifeSite submitted another appeal in February, eventually getting in touch with a Twitter representative who said they would need a case ticket number to escalate the matter further. In response, LifeSite both filed another standard appeal and a service ticket asking for the requisite number. To date, neither avenue has received a response.

On Thursday, Westen and Bozell co-signed an open letter to the social media giant, with copies sent to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees, as well.

“LifeSiteNews attempted to work with Twitter, but the process led nowhere,” the letter states. “When MRC attempted to assist LifeSiteNews in the appeals process, MRC was told by the D.C. Twitter representative that LifeSiteNews would need a ticket. However, despite LifeSiteNews’s repeated attempts, no ticket was provided to them. That gives the strong and disturbing impression that Twitter is not a neutral or objective platform.”

“There is a bigger problem,” Bozell and Westen continue. “While Twitter is deactivating the accounts of organizations that tell the truth about potentially dangerous sex offenders such as Yaniv, Twitter is simultaneously and knowingly allowing other entities that are engaging in illegal behavior, such as human sex trafficking to stay on the platform. This may fly directly in the face of FOSTA-SESTA which prohibits such activity.”

Twitter’s policies are notably more lax for those who lean closer to its ideology, including Yaniv himself. 

“In July 2019, Yaniv tweeted that I have a ‘loose vagina’ from having a baby, but that he has a ‘tight pussy,’” said Lindsay Shepherd of Canada’s Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF). “I replied that if Yaniv would like to sound like a woman, this is not the way to do it, as he was speaking like a male who hasn’t had a functional romantic relationship with a woman.”

“Yaniv then replied by mocking a reproductive abnormality I have called a septate uterus, a condition that increases the risk of miscarriage,” she continued. “I responded, ‘at least I have a uterus, you ugly fat man.’ I was permanently banned from Twitter the next day for ‘hateful conduct.’”

In the months since he entered the public sphere, Yaniv has also been accused of asking sexually-charged questions online about stripping in locker rooms to girls as young as 10. Earlier this month he pled guilty to one charge of possessing a prohibited weapon, stemming frorm an August incident in which he was seen brandishing and apparently firing a Taser during a heated livestreamed debate with American “transgender conservative” activist Blair White.

The letter explains that it has gone to the Justice Department and the relevant legislative committees “because our 67-member coalition, representing tens of millions of conservative Americans, was unable to get the attention and support of your Washington representatives.” MRC makes clear that it favors “working with social media companies in a constructive manner to address concerns about tech censorship,” but in this case has “been frustrated in our efforts to date.”


  free speech, jessica yaniv, jonathan 'jessica' yaniv, jonathan yaniv, lgbt, media research center, social media censorship, transgenderism, twitter

News

One world government needed to cope with COVID-19, says former British PM

'There has to be a coordinated global response...We need some sort of working executive,' said former PM Gordon Brown.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 12:59 pm EST
Featured Image
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Duncan McGlynn / Getty Images
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A former British Prime Minister has called for the creation of a global government to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Gordon Brown, who was both Prime Minister and leader of Britain’s left-wing Labour Party from 2007 until 2010, told British media that the world government he proposed would address the medical and financial crises caused by COVID-19. It would direct efforts to find a vaccine for the virus, organize its production and purchase, and stop profiteers. It would also direct the response of the central banks, protect emerging world markets, and “agree a joint approach to the use of government spending to boost growth.” 

The Guardian reported that Brown would have liked the U.N. Security Council to have been invited to an emergency online meeting of the G20 countries today. The meeting, hosted by Saudi Arabia, is tackling the issue of the novel coronavirus.  

“This is not something that can be dealt with in one country,” Brown said. 

“There has to be a coordinated global response.”

During the world-wide financial crisis of 2008, then-Prime Minister Brown convinced “other global leaders of the need to bail out the banks,” the Guardian reported. He then hosted the G20 countries at a summit in London, “which came up with a $1.1 trillion rescue package.”   

Contemplating the emerging financial crisis, Brown believes that there should be advocacy for the emerging world markets within the G20 countries through his proposed global taskforce. 

“We need some sort of working executive,” he said. 

“If I were doing it again, I would make the G20 a broader organization because in the current circumstances you need to listen to the countries that are most affected, the countries that are making a difference and countries where there is the potential for a massive number of people to be affected – such as those in Africa.”

He said also that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund need, as the Guardian paraphrased, “an increase to their financial firepower to cope with the impact of the [coronavirus] crisis impact on low- and middle-income countries.” 

Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, and a founding member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), took issue with the former Labour Prime Minister’s advocacy for a world government. 

“Gordon Brown doesn’t get it,” he tweeted this morning. “Globalisation is the cause of our problems, not our saviour.”

But English Catholic writer Laurence England found Brown’s advocacy more disturbing than naive. 

“Gordon Brown does get it,” he tweeted in response. “The One World Government is about sheer power over populaces, not about helping people. They want a world of slaves. He was a key Bilderberg attendee.” 

The Bilderberg meetings have been used as a forum for world elites since 1954 to further their vision for the world. Attendees are free to use information from the discussions. No one is allowed to reveal who said what. 

Other high-profile individuals who have participated in the Bilderberg meeting include elites such as David Rockefeller, Bill Gates, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Tony Blair, Emma Bonino, and Pierre Elliott Trudeau. 

According to its own literature, the purpose of the annual Bilderberg Meeting is to “foster dialogue between Europe and North America.” 

At the 2009 London Summit for the G20, Brown said, “I think the new world order is emerging, and with it the foundations of a new and progressive era of international cooperation.”

Brown is now the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education


  coronavirus, gordon brown, one-world government, united nations

News

24 countries consecrated to Sacred Heart of Jesus as world battles coronavirus

Portuguese Cardinal António Marto recited the consecration prayer in Fatima.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 12:09 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

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

FATIMA, Portugal, March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – On the feast of the Annunciation, which Catholics celebrated Wednesday, 24 countries were consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The consecration was initiated by the bishops of Portugal in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apart from Portugal, the 23 other countries consecrated were Albania, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Slovakia, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Mexico, Moldova, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Romania, Spain, Tanzania, East Timor, and Zimbabwe.

In the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal, Cardinal António Marto, the local bishop of Leiria-Fatima, recited the prayer of consecration.

“Heart of Jesus Christ, healer of souls and Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, through the Heart of Your Mother, to whom the pilgrim Church on earth is given, in Portugal and Spain, nations which have been Hers for centuries, and in so many other countries, accept the consecration of Your Church,” the cardinal prayed.

“By consecrating ourselves to Your Sacred Heart the Church is entrusted to the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, configured to the light of Your Paschal Mystery and revealed here to the three children as the refuge and way leading to Your Heart,” Marto continued.

He asked that Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima might be “the Health of the Sick and the Refuge of Your disciples born at the foot of the Cross of Your love.”

During the consecration, Marto asked God to grant a number of favors.

“Watch over Your Church, inspire the leaders of the nations, listen to the poor and the afflicted, exalt the humble and the oppressed, heal the sick and the sinners, raise up those who are bowed down and disheartened, release captives and prisoners and deliver us from the pandemic which besets us,” he began.

The cardinal continued, “Sustain the children, the elderly and the most vulnerable, comfort the physicians, nurses, healthcare professionals and voluntary caregivers, strengthen families and reinforce us in fellowship and solidarity, be the light of the dying, receive the deceased in Your kingdom, turn away all evil from us and deliver us from the pandemic which besets us.”

Finally, he asked God to “receive those who have died, encourage those who consecrate themselves to You, and renew the universe and all mankind.”

The consecration ceremony, watched live by tens of thousands of faithful, also included the rosary, prayed in Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Polish.

At first, only the Portuguese bishops had announced their intention to consecrate their country to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Soon after, the Spanish bishops asked to take part in this consecration. Earlier this week, the bishops of Portugal began accepting requests from other bishops’ conferences.

At Fatima, Our Lady appeared several times to three children in 1917. Two of those children died in the following years after contracting the Spanish flu, a pandemic that led to at least 25 million deaths within a few years.

Both children, the siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto, were canonized by Pope Francis when he visited Fatima in 2017.

One of the messages of Our Lady to the three children of Fatima was, “Pray the rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.”

As Catholics in many parts of the world are unable to go to Mass, they once again turn to the rosary. As Sister Lucia, the Fatima child who became a nun and lived until 2005, explained, the rosary is “something everybody can do, rich and poor, wise and ignorant, great and small.”


  catholic, coronavirus, our lady of fatima

News

Dutch cardinal: Only orthodox teaching and ‘worthy’ liturgy will attract Catholics

'More generally,' Cdl. Willem Eijk said, 'parishes with a strong identity and a worthy Sunday liturgy have the most appeal. We see families there, young people.'
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 11:38 am EST
Featured Image
Cardinal Willem Eijk Olivier Figueras
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The French-based association for the promotion of the traditional liturgy of the Latin Church, Paix liturgique (“Liturgical peace”) recently published an interview in French with Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht in the Netherlands regarding the future prospects of the Church in that deeply secularized country.

Cardinal Eijk spoke frankly about the decline of Catholic practice in the liberal-minded Netherlands, a fact he linked with ever-growing “individualism” and also with a lack of prayer and truly “lived” faith even before the Second Vatican Council.

He also observed that only truly orthodox Church teaching and “worthy” liturgy can attract the faithful, in particular the traditional liturgy that appeals first and foremost to the young.

In its introduction to the interview, Paix liturgique recalled that Dutch Catholicism flourished before Vatican II, despite signs of weakness:

As in many other places where semblances of Christianity had been reconstituted (Brittany, Canada, Ireland, etc.), the upheaval that accompanied and followed Vatican II led to an extremely dramatic collapse. There, as elsewhere, the social crisis that culminated in 1968 had been preceded by an ecclesiastical revolution, with, among other figures, that of the Dominican theologian Edward Schillebeeckx. An emblematic event was the publication, in 1966, of the famous Dutch Catechism, which took great liberties with Orthodoxy. The Metropolitan See of Utrecht was occupied by Cardinal Willebrands, who was at the same time president of the Secretariat for Christian Unity and who embodied the most advanced of ecumenical spirits (“We must not speak of a ‘return’ for separated Christians,” he said).

Paix liturgique also recalls how, in the early 1980s, Dutch Catholicism was a “field of ruins.” “John Paul II made every effort, through a policy of systematically ‘classical’ appointments, to attempt a ‘restorationist’ renaissance amidst the ruins. The man responsible for this conservative turnaround of what remained of the Dutch Church was Cardinal Simonis, who succeeded Willebrands in Utrecht in 1983,” writes the association.

“Willem Jacobus Eijk, who had defended a doctoral thesis on euthanasia and another on genetic manipulation, and who was a specialist in medical ethics, was ‘pushed’ to the fore by Simonis. Born in 1953, made a bishop in 1999, Wim Eijk was appointed by Benedict XVI as Archbishop of Utrecht in 2007, replacing Cardinal Simonis; he was made a cardinal (in extremis, some say!) in 2012. He was president of the Bishops’ Conference until 2016,” wrote Paix liturgique.

The association notes that Eijk “discreetly” entered the present debates by giving his support to the dubia regarding Communion for “remarried” divorced persons and by questioning the silences of the magisterium concerning communion to Lutherans. “As a result, from the Netherlands, where Progressivism had triumphed at the time of the Council, a star of hope is rising,” according to Paix liturgique.

Here below is LifeSite’s complete translation of the interview.

* * *

Paix liturgique: Eminence, at the time of the Council, the Church in Holland was at the forefront of revolutionary agitation (Dutch Catechism, crazy liturgical initiatives, the “magisterium” of the Dominican theologian Edward Schillebeeckx). Pope John Paul II tried to fight against this. Looking back, how do you see these moments?

Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk: After the Second Vatican Council many people in the Netherlands went much too fast. People thought, among other things, that priestly celibacy would soon be abolished, and many priests took the lead. When it turned out that this would not happen, many resigned. At the famous Pastoral Council in Noordwijkerhout (1968-1970) anyone could join the discussion on the future of the Dutch Church, which led to much chaos. There were also many liturgical experiences, with the aim of keeping young people in the churches. All this has been in vain, because young people do not come to church to listen to the guitar; they come for Christ. If they want guitar, they prefer to go to a guitar concert.

The church in the Netherlands ultimately became polarised in this direction. Pope John Paul II was very concerned about this situation and opened a special assembly of the Synod of Bishops, together with the bishops of the Netherlands, in Rome. This took place in 1980 and was the starting point of a long journey towards normalization.

Pope John Paul II knew the Netherlands personally: as a student at the Angelicum in Rome, he had already visited the Netherlands in 1947. We have a letter from him in which he wrote that he admired the powerful organization of the Dutch Church. He nevertheless noted a lack of spirituality, a lived faith and personal prayer life among Dutch Catholics.

PL: The whole of the West has been stricken by a crisis of secularization. How do you explain this de-Christianization?

Cardinal Eijk: The first signs of the decline of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands appeared immediately after the last war. The Catholic Church in the Netherlands was an organization based more on social ties than on the content of the faith shared by its members. This was also true in other Western European countries, but perhaps a little less so. Many believers did not have enough personal ties with Christ. In fact, semi-ecclesiastical life, organized around the Church (especially with Catholic schools and Catholic sports and scouting clubs) was often the only link Catholics had with the Church – a social link.

That is what has disappeared. And that is precisely why the Church could not resist the rise of the individualistic culture in the 1960s, which reduced the strong mutual cohesion that had existed until then throughout Dutch society, and that even disappeared completely in some places. The individualism that prevailed from then onwards has its direct cause in the rapid growth of prosperity in the 1960s, which enabled people to live largely independently of one another. This culture has since become a hyper-individualistic culture thanks to the introduction of social media around 2005.

PL: This de-Christianization is very visible in Protestant communities. The Netherlands has undergone heavy Protestant influence over the last few centuries, but recent studies show that only 17 percent of people declare themselves to belong to a Protestant community, mainly to the Dutch Protestant Church. How do you see the situation of Protestant communities in the Netherlands today?

Cardinal Eijk: The Protestant communities in the Netherlands have indeed declined considerably in recent decades. The Dutch Reformed Church lost almost all of the elite and workers in the last quarter of the 19th century and then gradually emptied itself out after the First World War. Only the very orthodox Protestant denominations stabilized or even increased slightly. This is proof that orthodoxy has a future. Religions that adapt to the culture and the present time lose themselves and then lose their followers.

This is also true in the Roman Catholic Church: parishes with a strong identity and a worthy Sunday liturgy have the most appeal. We see families there, young people are seeking them out. The number of believers is certainly decreasing, but those who choose to be believers today are usually active believers who join religious celebrations.

LP: As the Protestants decline, Catholics have become the largest religious community in the country (21 percent). How do you see the situation of the Church in your diocese and in your country?

Cardinal Eijk: The situation is worrying. In the second half of the 1960s, a whole generation of young people decided to stop going to church. These young people, now grandparents, have passed little faith on to their children – or no faith at all. And we are now dealing with their grandchildren, who generally know nothing about the Christian faith and very often are not even baptized. In 2002, less than half of the Dutch people, 43 percent, declared that they belonged to a church. This percentage then decreased by 12 points in 14 years: in 2016, only 31 percent still considered themselves members of a church. This development reflects the speed of secularization in the Netherlands. This, of course, has an impact on the number of Dutch people registered as Catholics: there were 5,106,000 in 2000, but we can observe that their numbers are still declining. In 2015, a reduction of 24 percent was observed compared to 2000: the numbers declined to 3,882,000 Catholics out of a population that went from 15,864,000 to more than 16,500,000 over the same period. The number of Catholics who attend church every Sunday has fallen from 385,675 in 2003 to 186,700 in 2015: this is a decrease of 52 percent in 12 years.

Hundreds of churches have already been closed and will continue to do so. We have to be realistic about this. While the number of practicing Catholics in Western European countries declines, and the number of volunteers and the amount of financial resources are reduced as a result, it is inevitable that a large number of churches will be closed, however painful that may be.

LP: Do you see any signs of renaissance in this overall negative panorama?

Cardinal Eijk: It is early times yet to speak of a renaissance, but there are signs of hope. First of all, when we celebrate the Eucharist, the Lord comes to us under the species of bread and wine, and when we receive communion, we receive Him personally, whether many or few people take part in the celebration. This is the source of a great and profound inner spiritual joy that nothing and no one, not even secularization, can take away from us. And it is not a selfish joy, insofar as those who receive it have the firm will to promote faith in Christ as much as possible.

Secondly, today's individualistic culture is not eternal: it will have to give way to a different culture, one that could reveal itself to be more open to the Christian faith.

Finally, there is a special reason for hope. Certainly, the Church is diminishing in “quantity,” that is, in the number of Catholics. It is in itself painful and disturbing to have to acknowledge this fact. But on the other hand we can also observe that the “quality” of those Catholics who do remain is increasing.  

LP: Are there contemplative communities in Holland?

Cardinal Eijk: Yes, but their number has decreased over the last decades. In the archdiocese of Utrecht there are religious orders and congregations of sisters and monks dedicated to prayer. Their presence in prayer is invaluable to the Church.

LP: What is the place of the proclamation of clearly assumed doctrine and morals in this renaissance?

Cardinal Eijk: According to the rector of the minor seminary of Apeldoorn, Bishop Toon Ramselaar, an important cause of the crisis of faith in the Netherlands is that the belief of Catholics was “nothing more than a system of truths and commandments” which no longer affected their daily life. The faith had therefore lost its relevance in daily life for most Catholics, so that they abandoned it en masse within a short period of time. Note that he made this observation as early as 1947, after discussions with priests and laity about the crisis of the Church they saw coming.

The history of secularization among Dutch Catholics and the diagnosis made by Karol Wojtyla [the future John Paul II] immediately after the Second World War have taught us one thing: the proclamation of catechesis and the unfolding of the liturgy must have a spiritual character in the sense that they should not be limited to a transfer of abstract truths and ethical statements, but that it is important that they lead children, young people and adults to a truly personal relationship with Christ and to a true life of prayer.

LP: And what is the place of liturgy in this renaissance? Do you think that the return to a sense of the sacred, to silence and adoration is important in developing a new evangelization?

Cardinal Eijk: It is essential. Today, the guest rooms in the monasteries are crowded. Those who come to monasteries in this way lack something in their daily life and seek to find it in the silence of the religious houses. This can be a first step towards discovering or returning to the faith. Unfortunately, though, the visit to the monastery is often a one-off: once back in daily life, the overload of activities starts again for everyone as before.

In any case, the sacred silence of the church, adoration, worthy celebrations are indispensable and, moreover, all this seems to attract people who are looking for God.

LP: Are there any groups in Holland attached to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite?

Cardinal Eijk: Yes, there are, but they are small. An Association for the Latin Liturgy has existed in the Netherlands since 1967. Initially, its aim was to promote Latin celebrations according to the Novus Ordo. But since Pope Benedict XVI's Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, this association is now committed to the Latin Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy. In these celebrations according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Liturgy, it is striking that the faithful are often young people. However, their numbers are not very large in the Netherlands, unlike in France, for example.

PL: Do these groups have a role to play in the new evangelization of the country?

Cardinal Eijk: I would say that they do not play a major role in re-evangelization, but they demonstrate unequivocally that the future is for the Orthodox faith, clearly and authentically manifested. This is what attracts people and what they are seeking after.

LP: In 2017 the Society of St. Pius X bought the Church of St. Willibrord in Utrecht. Are you hopeful that it can join in a re-evangelization effort?

Cardinal Eijk: I am happy that St. Willibrord has been preserved for a liturgical function. But I would not be able to evaluate in what measure the FSSPX can play a role in the re-evangelization of the Netherlands.

PL: Do you think that the extraordinary form of the liturgy has a future and a role in the future of the Church?

Cardinal Eijk: Yes, it seems to me that the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy will have a role in the future of the Church. The extent of this role is difficult to measure and it will probably vary from one country to another. In any case, it is impossible to will away Latin as a liturgical language, be it in the extraordinary or the ordinary form of the liturgy. 

March 28, 2020 update: This report has now been updated with a more accurate translation. 


  catholic, liturgy, netherlands, traditional latin mass, vatican ii, willem eijk

News

Bishops of Buenos Aires say priests have ‘grave responsibility’ to bring sacraments to the sick

'It is time to bring the consolation of the sacraments,' the bishops say.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 11:32 am EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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

March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The bishops of Buenos Aires, led by Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli, are reminding priests of their “grave responsibility” to bring the sacraments to those who request them during the COVID-19 emergency, and say that the nation’s bishops’ conference has worked out an arrangement with the government to exempt priests from travel restrictions so that they can do so.

In a letter sent to the clergy entitled, “It is time to bring the consolation of the sacraments,” Archbishop Poli and his auxiliaries note that Pope Francis has encouraged priests to go out to those who are sick to give them sacramental grace, particularly in the form of “viaticum,” which is the bringing of the Eucharist to those who are in danger of death.

They quote Francis as saying, “Let us pray to the Lord also for our priests, so that they may have the courage to go out to the sick, bringing the power of the Word of God and the Eucharist, and that they might accompany the health workers, the volunteers, in this labor that they are doing.”

“These words come to us with all of their insistence,” write the bishops, “and we want to take up this present moment by generously offering the gift of ministry that we have received.”

The content of the letter was reported to the public by the bishops’ Catholic Information Agency of Argentina (AICA), on March 23.

Encouraged by ‘cloud of witnesses’ who sacrificed their lives to bring sacraments to sick

The bishops recall similar cases of epidemics that have struck Argentina, such as the yellow fever epidemic of 1871, and the cholera epidemic in the city of Córdoba in 1868. They note that according to one account, 67 priests died giving the sacraments to the dying in 1871. They also invoke the example of the Argentinean saint Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, who attended to victims of the cholera epidemic. Brochero is known to have died with leprosy because of his ministry to lepers.

“Encouraged by this cloud of witnesses that preceded us in social charity, we expect priests to help us to reflect on what is the best way to carry out our ministry, to take up the present moment in the face of the pandemic that has been unleashed in the world and that has begun to show signs of its presence in the population,” the bishops write.

“Let us think about what will be our contribution to the movement in solidarity that has unfolded in these days, with the consciousness of knowing, that through the gift that has been received, we have the grave responsibility to bring the consolation of the sacraments to those who ask for them.”                                                                      

Exemption from lockdown given to religious ministers in Argentina

The bishops write that the Argentine Episcopal Conference has intervened to secure an exception from obligatory social isolation for religious ministers “so that they can fulfill their spiritual ministry in favor of the sick and elderly, and bring viaticum to those who are in extreme danger of death.” They add that this proposal was “very well received by the national authorities,” and that the government of the City of Buenos Aires immediately implemented the recommendation.

“This regulation includes a certification that an individual is a priest and at the same time explains the motive for which he is being transported,” write the bishops. “We recall that the regulation only permits such movement for extreme cases of spiritual care, and not for any other reason. It is necessary to go to the website indicated by the Directorate of Organizations and Worship to be registered on line.”

The statement comes at a time when Catholic priests in many jurisdictions worldwide are prohibited from offering the Mass publicly, and are unable to offer Holy Communion to the faithful, nor even the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, which is given to the dying for their spiritual and physical healing.

In Italy, for example, public Masses are prohibited, and priests are not permitted to give the anointing of the sick, also known as “extreme unction,” to those who are dying. It appears that the bishops have made no arrangements with the authorities to override these restrictions. The same is currently true in the city of Guadalajara in Mexico, where priests have been told that they will not be admitted to hospitals to give extreme unction. In the U.S., two hospitals in Michigan are also refusing to allow priests to visit dying patients.


News

2 days left: Protect life during coronavirus

We only have 2 days to raise enough money to last us through the next few months of uncertainty.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 7:58 am EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Did you know that the news you receive from us depends on the generous donations of readers like you?

Hopefully you’ve seen my emails about our Spring campaign. The donations we are seeking will ensure that you have access to an alternate, Christian news source during the next few months of the crisis currently consuming our communities and our economy.

There are only 2 days remaining in our Spring fundraising campaign. Because of the pandemic and the uncertainty of the economy, we are struggling to raise what we need to keep providing the news you rely on. We need your help.

We are living in difficult times with the coronavirus pandemic increasingly affecting our families, churches, communities and nations. 

However, we are intensely committed to providing you with the truth on all aspects of the pandemic so that you can make the very best decisions on how to respond. 

As a reader of LifeSiteNews, you have no doubt seen the questions, research, and investigative reporting that the mainstream media is unwilling to provide. They mostly mimic each other and provide essentially the same panic-inducing, globalist talking points and propaganda. 

Our journalists are asking the tough questions and demanding answers. For example, the coronavirus has closed our churches, schools, and businesses—but why not the abortion industry?

You have put your confidence in us, and our journalists are asking the questions and reporting the most important facts. We are also providing you with ongoing coverage from around the world about Christian leaders' responses who are calling the faithful to increased prayer and trust in God’s Providence—at a time when our world has foolishly rejected God and is more fearful than ever. 

So, today, I am asking you to stand with us on the Frontlines with a financial gift of whatever amount you can afford. No gift is too small or insignificant. Every dollar helps and is put to very good use.

Your support today means we can reach you and millions of people each month with vital news. That is the power your generosity can have! 

Today we are barely halfway to our goal of 500 new monthly donors for our spring campaign, which will ensure we can bring you the best news throughout the rest of this crisis. Will you be one of the 50 committed supporters we need and give a gift today? 

Even if it's just $5, will you sustain efforts to change the culture year-round – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? If you are able to give a gift today, please use this secure link: https://give.lifesitenews.com/sustainlife 

We are counting on you at this late hour to help us reach our goal. We simply cannot continue this mission without you. 

No matter what direction our culture takes, your support today will boldly defend the unborn, the true meaning of family, traditional morality, and freedom! Please give today.

Thank you in advance for your support, and please keep LifeSite in your daily prayers! We know this is also a spiritual battle, and we rely heavily on your spiritual support to undertake what sometimes seems like humanly impossible. 


  campaign 2020, coronavirus, spring campaign 2020

Opinion

Justin Trudeau is destroying Canada from the inside out

If Trudeau had a shred of decency in his nature, he would resign on the instant.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 9:00 pm EST
Featured Image
Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images
David Solway
By David Solway

March 26, 2020 (American Thinker) — To adapt a phrase from Matt Margolis, Justin Trudeau is the worst prime minister in Canadian history. Like his American counterpart Barack Obama, he is both a know-nothing and a do-nothing leader and an unmitigated disaster to the well-being of his country. For example, Trudeau's unconscionably late and incomplete response to the COVID-19 pandemic — the "19" tells us it has been known for quite some time — much like Obama's delayed response to the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, and his determination to keep an illegal border crossing open, is only the latest of his ill-gotten political escapades.

Indeed, like the Obama of 57 states and the Austrian language, Justin Trudeau is a full blown ignoramus masking as an intellectual prodigy. Former National Post and Walrus editor Jonathan Kay, who acted as an "editorial assistant" for Trudeau's memoir Common Ground, swooned over his book-lined shelves. "Trudeau probably reads more than any other politician I know," Kay fawned, even if his "boyish, eager-to-please personality leads him to project publicly in a way that can seem intellectually unsophisticated." Trudeau is indeed intellectually unsophisticated — not that there is anything wrong with that, but there is something wrong with pretending to know more than one does.

He likes to present himself as erudite. Anyone who refers to mankind as "peoplekind," confuses Japan with China on more than one occasion, believes that terrorism "happen[s] because someone feels excluded," or proudly states regarding the review of an arms deal with Saudi Arabia that "we take ... the breaking of contracts very seriously in this country" cannot be considered an intellectual giant. In 2016, he attempted to demonstrate his putatively brilliant insight into quantum field theory. Instead, he revealed himself a shallow dilettante at play, as if little more than an ethereal quantum fluctuation himself, whose antics could fool only an equally ignorant media and frivolous electorate. Trudeau studied environmental geography at McGill University and engineering at the Université de Montréal, but few people know that he failed to complete degrees in either faculty.

His major accomplishments prior to being elected to the highest office in the land were instructing snowboarding, practicing yoga, and substitute teaching high school drama classes. His pre-political achievements, impressive as they are — I neglected to mention whitewater rafting and blackface partying — have little to do with the savvy needed to govern a G8 nation.

As for my second charge, his acolytes would protest that he is by no means a do-nothing prime minister. He is active in ways certain to damage the welfare of the nation, signing on to the global warming boondoggle and imposing, like a dutiful "Climate Barbie," an unnecessary carbon tax on an already tax-burdened people; working against Western Canada's economic interests by shutting down pipelines; unleashing his legal attack dogs against journalist and author Ezra Levant for publishing a book unfavorable to his regime while he had no qualms apologizing to and gifting convicted war criminal Omar Khadr with $10.5 million; entertaining a "soft spot for tyrants" like Fidel Castro and Xi Jinping, a deeply ingrained family tradition; announcing that budgets balance themselvesbribing newspapers; engaging in acts of demonstrable corruption; using taxpayer money for private vacations; wasting millions of dollars in foreign subsidies on debatable pretexts such as funding "reproductive rights" (AKA abortion facilities) in Africa and Latin America; endorsing the destructive agenda of radical feminists; admitting unvetted immigrants in great numbers, primarily from dysfunctional and terror-sponsoring nations, while continuing to politicize the refugee question; hiking the national debt by billions of dollars, thus indebting future generations in perpetuity; and disgracing the country in puerile cosplay forays into the realm of farce, such as his excellent adventure in India.

Image

YouTube screen grab.

True, this is "doing" in a sense, but it is really a form of "not doing" anything of benefit to a nation whose prosperity is fast ebbing away. Trudeau seems indifferent to the dire consequences of his tenure. His adolescent mocking of the American president at a Buckingham Palace reception may have earned him the plaudits of his European confrères, but it put the country in a less than optimal position with our powerful neighbor. Every major economic undertaking is stymied at the highest levels. Plants are closing. People are out of work. The capital gains tax is skewed and punitive, as Herbert Grubel shows in Unlocking Canadian Capital: The case for capital gains tax reform. As Spencer Fernando asks in Lake Superior News, "[w]hy would anyone invest in Canada now?"

It goes on. As I have written elsewhere, "[n]o decisive action had been taken to combat the COVID-19 epidemic until just recently, two and a half months after it was blatantly obvious we had a highly contagious new virus loose in the world. As of this writing, our borders have finally been closed to non-Canadian citizens — but with exceptions: permanent residents, diplomats, air crews, and U.S. citizens." Not much of a closure. The illegal blockade of the country's transportation system mounted by indigenous bands and plutocratic leftist foundations protesting oil pipelines remained in place for weeks, interrupting domestic supply chains and leading to shortages across the board — fuel, foodstuffs, medications, pharmaceuticals, and sundry imports. Trudeau did nothing until the shelves were almost empty and the crucial grain industry had lost $300 million. The barricades have only now been dismantled. The threat of Wexit — the Alberta-inspired separation movement — is not taken seriously and, indeed, is being provoked and exacerbated by a Liberal administration that believes that Canada has "no core identity" and that the West is flyover country, just as the Democrats view the Midwest and its resident "deplorables." And as noted, his tardy and partial response to the coronavirus has put the country in severe peril.

Thanks to Trudeau, Canada is a country going nowhere but down, fulfilling a displaced version of Obama's dream for America. The puts and calls, so to speak, are completely out of whack in Trudeau's administrative behavior. He sells low and buys high, placing the country at a disadvantage all across the board — in health, immigration, trade, climate, economics, foreign policy, and intellectual prestige, effectively giving the country away. He wouldn't last a day on Wall Street.

If Trudeau had a shred of decency in his nature, he would resign on the instant, as reputable judges recuse themselves in cases of potential conflict of interest. He is simply not up to the task of governing a country. I cannot see how he differs substantially from agents of ruination like Obama or Biden or Sanders or Warren or Buttigieg. If I were asked to cameo the state of affairs in Canada today, I would say, "Canada currently suffers from a triple whammy: the coronavirus, the rail blockade whose effects are still being felt, and Justin Trudeau." God help us.

David Solway's latest book is Notes from a Derelict Culture, Black House Publishing, 2019, London. A CD of his original songs, Partial to Cain, appeared in 2019.

This post originally appeared at the American Thinker. It is published here with permission from the author.


  coronavirus, justin trudeau

Opinion

Data show many cases of coronavirus are in people aged 20–44

And the younger cohort who are developing serious complications is concerning.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 8:46 pm EST
Featured Image
Andrij Vatsyk / Shutterstock.com
Carol Brown
By Carol Brown

March 26, 2020 (American Thinker) — Recent data of coronavirus cases in the United States show that 40% of those requiring hospitalization have been between the ages of 20 and 54. For those in critical condition who require intensive care, 12% have been between the ages of 20 and 44.

The mortality rate from the virus remains highest among the very old, with the greatest number of deaths being those 85 and older. But the younger cohort who are developing serious complications is concerning. As of this writing, the CDC is monitoring these cases to see if they comprise people with underlying health conditions or not. If not, that would represent a shift in the trend.

Related to that, there are a few reports that suggest that some who recover from the virus may be left with significantly impaired lung function for many years. Such long-term consequences can occur after pneumonia, but there seems to be evidence that damage done to the lungs in severe cases of coronavirus is particularly harsh due, in part, to the way the virus affects all of the lung tissue rather than just small areas.

Meanwhile, when comparing this virus to the season flu, there are stark realities one cannot ignore. The coronavirus has a much longer incubation period, is far more contagious, and requires more hospitalizations, and even using the most conservative number, it has a mortality rate ten times that of the flu (1% compared to 0.1%).

Trump is right. This is a war.

I have no idea if our response has been too much or too little, or if it will prove to have been just right. It certainly seems unsustainable. But for now, stay home, wash your hands, and pray.

To read more about topics discussed in this blog post, see herehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, and here.

This post originally appeared at the American Thinker. It is published here with permission from the author.


  coronavirus

Opinion

Huge long-term sacrifices of freedom predicted as coronavirus panic continues

Cell phone technology to track and oppress people is no longer the realm of science fiction. It is happening right now.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 8:39 pm EST
Featured Image
PeskyMonkey / Shutterstock.com
Liberty Counsel
By

March 26, 2020 (Iowa Standard) — Governors and mayors have been issuing broad executive orders that are not well vetted and assuming broad powers to shut down businesses with little notice, ordering people to stay home, and imposing fines on violators. Most of the orders operate as if there are no Constitutional protections.

In Los Angeles County, Mayor Eric Garcetti threatened to turn off the water and power to “non-essential” services or people who violate the county’s “safer at home” order. The mayor is dispatching “ambassadors” to monitor compliance and threatening prosecution for violators.

In California, some jurisdictions are using Chinese-made drones equipped with night vision to monitor compliance with the lockdown.

In Orange County, Florida, Mayor Jerry Demings issued an emergency executive order at a 5:00 p.m. press conference before the order was even signed. Demings issued the order the same day President Trump said he wants to get America back to work by Easter. Demings’ wife was a member of the Democrat-led impeachment team against Trump.  The mayor’s press conference caused hysteria and confusion over which businesses were being ordered to close and the order was not posted on the county website for at least an hour and a half after the press conference. In reality, the order allows many exemptions, but people panicked as they heard on the radio driving home that they may not be able to work. Orange County has over 1.3 million people, and many more who work in the county, with only 50 cases of the Coronavirus, which is less than 0.000038 of one percent of the population.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said there is no evidence that people without symptoms can spread the virus even if they test positive. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website says, “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”

New York Governor Cuomo is urging President Trump to nationalize private businesses by forcing them to produce certain medical products. Democrat U.S. House Representative Ilhan Omar is calling on the federal government to take over private hospitals.

Technology Review discussed a disturbing scenario using technology to curb the spread of viruses.

We don’t know exactly what this new future looks like, of course. But one can imagine a world in which, to get on a flight, perhaps you’ll have to be signed up to a service that tracks your movements via your phone. The airline wouldn’t be able to see where you’d gone, but it would get an alert if you’d been close to known infected people or disease hot spots. There’d be similar requirements at the entrance to large venues, government buildings, or public transport hubs. There would be temperature scanners everywhere, and your workplace might demand you wear a monitor that tracks your temperature or other vital signs. Where nightclubs ask for proof of age, in future they might ask for proof of immunity — an identity card or some kind of digital verification via your phone, showing you’ve already recovered from or been vaccinated against the latest virus strains. ...

In the near term, we’ll probably find awkward compromises that allow us to retain some semblance of a social life. Maybe movie theaters will take out half their seats, meetings will be held in larger rooms with spaced-out chairs, and gyms will require you to book workouts ahead of time so they don’t get crowded.

Ultimately, however, I predict that we’ll restore the ability to socialize safely by developing more sophisticated ways to identify who is a disease risk and who isn’t, and discriminating — legally — against those who are.

We can see harbingers of this in the measures some countries are taking today. Israel is going to use the cell-phone location data with which its intelligence services track terrorists to trace people who’ve been in touch with known carriers of the virus. Singapore does exhaustive contact tracing and publishes detailed data on each known case, all but identifying people by name. ...

We’ll adapt to and accept such measures, much as we’ve adapted to increasingly stringent airport security screenings in the wake of terrorist attacks. The intrusive surveillance will be considered a small price to pay for the basic freedom to be with other people.

This article is not futuristic. The same scenario is now at work in China. There people must install an app on their cell phones that have a green, yellow, and red light that controls access to places. South Korea is using similar cell phone app technology. In Lombardy, Italy, the government is using location data to monitor the virus. Israel is now using the same cell phone tracking technology used to monitor terrorists to track the virus and monitor compliance with quarantine orders. A man in Tel Aviv who walked outside in violation of the quarantine order was taken to the ground by three police in hazmat suits. The scene looked like the videos of similar arrests in China.

U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D–S.C.) told Democrat caucus members that the Coronavirus bill was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” Even today, the $2-trillion spending bill is still being written as members of Congress are being pressured to pass it. Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Church Schumer have inserted funding totally unrelated to the virus, including funding for Planned Parenthood and for research on aborted babies, requiring that any company that receives funds have a “diverse” board of directors which includes an LGBT member, as well as funding for the failed “Green New Deal.”

Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s former adviser, is remembered for his infamous comment, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” That is exactly what politicians, some media, vaccine, technology, and big government advocates are doing with the Coronavirus.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Our liberty is most vulnerable in times of crisis. We must be very careful not to sacrifice freedom for security. We will get through the Coronavirus, but in the process, we must not sacrifice our freedom. The loss of freedom that we allow today could have long-term consequences. Once lost, freedom is hard to regain,” said Staver.

Read this for more information on Americans’ rights in a state of emergency.

Published with permission from the Iowa Standard.


  big brother, coronavirus, freedom of association, quarantine, surveillance, tyranny

Opinion

Church is ‘auto-persecuting’ its own members in coronavirus pandemic

Churchmen, by closing the churches and suspending Masses, seem to be bringing to its ultimate coherence a process of auto-demolition begun in the 1960s.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 8:27 pm EST
Featured Image
Roberto de Mattei
By Roberto de Mattei

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

March 26, 2020 (Rorate Caeli) — The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) is a rare bird, of Australian origin, which takes its name from the colour of  its plumage. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a financial analyst and former Wall Street trader, in his book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Random House, New York, 2007), chose this metaphor to explain the existence of unexpected, catastrophic events that could turn collective life upside down.

The Corona Virus has been the “black swan” of 2020, writes Marta Dassù, of the Aspen Institute, explaining that the epidemic is putting the economic activity of Western nations in crisis and “demonstrates the fragility of the global manufacturing chains; when a shock hits one of its rings, the impact becomes systemic” (Aspenia, 88 (2020), p.9). “The second pandemic is on its way — writes Federico Rampini in La Repubblica of March 22 — which also needs to be dealt with and cured. It is called the ‘Great Depression’ and will have a balance of victims parallel to that of the virus. In America nobody uses the term ‘recession’ anymore because it is too bland.”

The world’s interconnected economy is proving itself to be a precarious system, but the impact of the Corona Virus is not only economical and sanitary, it is also religious and ideological. The Utopia of Globalization, which until September 2019, seemed to prevail, is [now] undergoing an irremediable debacle. On September 12, 2019, Pope Francis had invited the leaders of the major religions, and the international exponents of the economic, political and cultural world, to participate in a solemn event which was to take place in the Vatican on May 14, 2020: the Global Compact on Education. Around the same time “the prophetess” of deep ecology, Greta Thunberg, arrived in New York for the U.N. Climate Change Summit 2019, and Pope Francis on the eve of the Amazon Synod, sent a video- message to her and the participants at the summit, manifesting his full consonance with the globalist aims.

On January 20, 2020, the Pope addressed a message to Klaus Schwab, Executive President of the World Economic Forum (WEF), of Davos, underlining the importance of an “integral ecology”, which takes into account “the complexity of the interconnection of our common home”. But by then a mysterious virus had already begun to inflict a deadly blow on “the global village”.

A few months later, we find ourselves faced with an absolutely unprecedented situation. Greta is forgotten, the Amazon Synod a failure, the world’s political leaders reveal their incapacity in dealing with the emergency, the Global Compact is off and St. Peter’s Square, spiritual centre of the world, is empty. The ecclesiastical authorities conform to (sometimes anticipating) the restrictive decrees from the civil authorities who forbid Masses and religious ceremonies of any kind. The most symbolic and paradoxical event is perhaps the closing of the Sanctuary in Lourdes, par excellence place of physical and spiritual healing, that barred its doors, for fear that someone might get ill there, praying to God for his health.  Is it all a maneuver? Do we find ourselves faced with a totalitarian power that is restricting the freedom of citizens and is persecuting Christians? 

It is strange, however, this persecution seemingly without any heroic form of resistance, unto martyrdom of the persecuted; so unlike anything that has happened throughout all the great persecutions in history. In reality, it is not anti-Christian persecutions that we should speak of, but of “auto-persecution” among Churchmen, who, by closing the churches and suspending Masses, seem to be bringing to its ultimate coherence a process of auto-demolition begun in the 1960s  with the Second Vatican Council. And unfortunately, individual exceptions apart, even the traditionalist clergy, who are closed up in their houses, appear victim to this auto-persecution.

It is heartwarming the outburst of generosity shown by 8000 doctors in Italy, in response to the appeal of the government for 300 volunteers in the Lombardy hospitals. How edifying an appeal to priests from the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference would have been, never to deprive the faithful of the Sacraments in churches, homes and hospitals! Many invite people to pray, but who remembers the prospect of being at the beginning of a great chastisement? Yet this is the prediction of Fatima, whose hundredth anniversary in 2017 was commemorated by many. On March 25th, Cardinal António Augusto dos Santos Marto, Bishop of Leiria-Fátima, renewed the ceremony of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the entire Iberian Peninsula.  It is certainly a meritorious act, but Our Lady asked for something more: the specific consecration of Russia, done by the Pope, in union with all the bishops of the world. It is this act, until now never done, that everyone is waiting for, before it is too late.

At Fatima Our Lady announced that if the world will not convert, various nations will be annihilated. Which nations will these be? And in which way will they be annihilated? What is certain is that the principal chastisement is not the destruction of bodies, but the darkening of souls. In Sacred Scripture, we read “that by what things a man sinneth, by the same also he is tormented” (Wisdom 11,16). The same thought, from the mouth of pagan Seneca, reminds us that “the chastisement of the crime is in the crime itself.” (Della fortuna , part II, chapt. 3).

The punishment begins when the idea of a just and remunerative God is lost, by entrusting oneself to a false image of God, Who, as Pope Francis said, “doesn’t permit tragedies to punish sins.” (Angelus, February 28th 2020). “How often do we think that God is good if we are good and that He punishes us if we are bad. It is not so,” reiterated Francis at the Christmas Mass last December 25th. Yet even John XXIII, ‘the good pope’, recalled that “the man, who  sows sin, reaps chastisement. The chastisement of God is His response to the sins of men; thus “He (Jesus) tells you to run from sin, principal cause of the great chastisements”(Radio Message December 28, 1958).

Removing the idea of chastisement does not mean avoiding it. Chastisement is the consequence of sin and only contrition and repentance of one’s sins may prevent the punishment that these sins inevitably bring, for having violated the order of the universe. When sins are collective, chastisements are collective. Why wonder at the deaths brought on a nation, when governments are guilty of homicidal laws like abortion, and during the epidemic the slaughter continues to have a preferential way?  As we see n Great Britain, where the government has even authorized “abortion” at home, so as not to interrupt the carnage during the Corona Virus! And when, instead of bodies, souls are hit, why be surprised that the loss of faith is the chastisement for those responsible? The refusal to see the hand of God behind the great catastrophes of history is a symptom of this lack of faith.  

The collective chastisement arrives swiftly, like a “black swan” appearing suddenly on the waters. This vision baffles us and we don’t know how to explain where it comes from and what it heralds. Man is incapable of predicting “black swans” which from one day to the next turn his life upside down. But these events are not a fruit of chance, as Mr. Taleb retains and all those analyzing the events from a secularist and human perspective, forgetting that chance doesn’t exist and that the maneuvers of men are always subject to the will of God. Everything depends on God and God goes all the way to the end when He begins his work. “For he is alone, and no man can turn away his thought: and whatsoever his soul hath desired, that hath he done” (Job, 23,13).

This article was translated from the original Italian by Rorate contributor Francesca Romana. It is published with permission from Rorate Caeli.


  catholic, coronavirus, quarantine

Opinion

Teen Vogue encourages 13-year-olds to make child porn through sexting

Encouraging teens to sext is encouraging minors to create and distribute child pornography.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 8:01 pm EST
Featured Image
kittirat roekburi / Shutterstock.com
Aubrey Pound
By Aubrey Pound

March 26, 2020 (National Center on Sexual Exploitation) — In mid-March 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Teen Vogue (which has a troubling history with teenagers and sexual exploitation) posted a Snapchat Discover story about sexting under the guise of helping teenagers sustain their relationships from a distance.

In case Teen Vogue has forgotten what a “teen” is:

  • Teen (noun): relating to teenagers
  • Teenager (noun): a person aged between 13 and 19 years.
    • Synonyms: adolescent, youth, minor, juvenile
  • Minor (noun): a person under the age of full legal responsibility.
    • Synonyms: child, infant, youth

Encouraging teens to sext is encouraging minors to create and distribute child pornography, which is more accurately referred to as child sex abuse material (CSAM). Also, online predators use social media platforms to pose as peers and groom children to send them sexually explicit material (i.e. “sext” with them) that they can then distribute and/or use to blackmail the child into other forms of sexual exploitation.

[Editor’s note: Click the images below to zoom, but please observe this content warning.]

Content promoting and encouraging this dangerous and illegal behavior isn’t okay in any context, but it is particularly troubling in a time when the FBI is warning parents that children are at increased risk of online sexual exploitation while they are stuck at home during COVID-19 school closures.

No less than the health and well-being of our youth is at stake.

Research shows that sexting is often linked to offline sexual coercion. Additionally, sexting and the sending of sexually explicit material via social media apps can lead teens to be sexually extorted, abused, and even trafficked. In this time of uncertainty, when kids will likely find themselves online more frequently, predators are poised to capitalize on increased opportunities to target young adolescents. Research also suggests that young adolescents who practice sexting experience other harmful effects including feelings of terror, stress, difficulty concentrating, and isolation.

In light of all this, one has to ask: why would anyone encourage teenagers to participate in such a problematic and dangerous behavior?

The actions of Teen Vogue and Snapchat are not without consequence and we are calling on Teen Vogue to retract this dangerous content and to replace it with a responsible admonition about the dangers of sexting and online sexual exploitation. Also, Snapchat, we are calling on you to stop allowing third parties to host such content on your platform.

We need you to use your voice to counter this harmful messaging. Complete the easy-to-use Action below [at this link —ed.] to send emails directly to Teen Vogue and Snapchat advocating for them to correct their dangerous missteps. Online child safety is at stake!

Published with permission from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.


  child pornography, pornography, sexting, teen vogue

Blogs

As coronavirus shuts down whole countries, trans demands look more and more insane

Trans activists are wreaking havoc on our society. With a pandemic and a potential depression, perhaps people will finally lose patience with their demands.
Thu Mar 26, 2020 - 11:57 am EST
Featured Image
An image from "The Danish Girl," just one of several recent big-budget Hollywood films positively portraying transgenderism. The Danish Girl screenshot.
Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

March 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — We have all seen many powerful images and poignant stories over the past several weeks: Italians out on their balconies, singing folk songs so they can be together while they are alone in quarantine; an elderly Italian priest infected with coronavirus who gave up the ventilator he was on to a younger person and passed away; the photographs of stunned and battle-weary health care workers after long shifts on the front lines. These are pictures and stories from the new world we have entered together, and we do not know how long we must be here or what lies on the other side.

If you read VICE, however, you might discover that “poignant” means something entirely different to a certain type of activist. According to Diana Tourjee: “The lack of options for simple panties are a poignant example of how deeply society actively disinvests in trans women.” I suspect Tourjee doesn’t know what “poignant” means, because if she did she would not be applying it to a situation where males identifying as women are struggling with their choices in underclothing. This sort of thing has always been ridiculous, but in the context of a global pandemic, it is much more obviously so to many more people.

Some activists are starting to realize this, as transgender demands suddenly plunge down the priority list. “Sex change” surgeries that LGBT activists claim are essential have suddenly turned out not to be when genuinely essential services are necessary and trans gender-bending suddenly becomes a luxury. And now, according to one source speaking to The Mirror, “Tory ministers look poised to shelve major reforms making it easier for transgender people to change their legal gender ... big changes to the Gender Recognition Act will be delayed indefinitely after they became embroiled in a row.”

The U.K.’s Tory government announced in 2017 that they were committed to changing the status quo, where transgender people needed to get a medical diagnosis in order to change how legal documents list their sex, which could be done only after living for two years “in their acquired gender” and obtaining two medical reports testifying to their gender dysphoria. Then–prime minister Theresa May stated that these changes would effectively “streamline and demedicalize” the process of legally getting one’s sex classification changed, announcing that “[b]eing trans is not an illness and it shouldn’t be treated as such.” (The Tories, who also spearheaded the redefinition of marriage, have been nearly as radical as the progressive politicians on matters of sexuality.)

Unexpectedly, May’s move triggered enormous pushback from critics, including left-wing feminists, who objected to the idea that males would be permitted in female-only spaces, and the government decided to hold a consultation on the matter. That was 18 months ago — the plan closed in October of 2018 — and as long ago as July, the Tories were promising that a plan was imminent. But no action — or even announcement — has been forthcoming. According to the Mirror’s source, “Boris Johnson just doesn’t want the fight. We just won’t talk about it. If anyone asks the response will be, ‘we’re thinking about it.’”

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Penny Mordaunt, who was the equalities minister for Theresa May, was shuffled out by Johnson in favor of Liz Truss, who has faced calls by both her predecessor and trans activists to take action on the file. Laura Russell of Stonewall demanded action, stating that “[r]eforming the Gender Recognition Act will simply make it easier for trans people to live their day to day lives, by making it less complicated to get the right gender on their birth certificate. It’s important the UK Government remains committed to trans equality and to reforming the Gender Recognition Act.” Many Tory M.P.s, however, do not feel the same way — a 2018 poll indicated that a mere 9% of them supported “self-identification of gender.”

A Government Equalities Office spokesperson stated: “It is vital that the next steps on any potential reform of the Gender Recognition Act are carefully planned and have the right backing. We had more than 100,000 responses to our consultation, and will announce more details on our proposed next steps in due course.” As the source noted, they assured everyone that they were still thinking about it — but many are certain now that Boris Johnson has no desire to kick the hornet’s nest all over again. He has other priorities to worry about.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads — and with it, the potential to transform our way of life — there is a chance that a fundamental reordering of our priorities could damage the influence of the trans activists. They do not have widespread public support for their most radical demands, they dominate the public discussion with the assistance of the media, and gender ideology is resulting in a massive and dangerous spike in children identifying as the opposite sex. Trans activists are wreaking havoc on our society, and with a pandemic, a potential depression, and loud cracking sounds emanating from society’s foundations, perhaps people will finally lose patience with their insane demands.

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 William Gairdner, author of The Trouble with Canada and a Canadian political philosopher, businessman, and former Olympian. The discussion centers on how socialism has taken such a strong hold in Canada and the impacts it has had on the country, plus what Canadians can do in the here and now to restore their country and the warnings Canada offers other nations, like the United States, considering going down the same path. 

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


  birth certificate, boris johnson, mutilation, theresa may, transgenderism, united kingdom

Podcast Image

EpisodesThu Mar 26, 2020 - 6:37 pm EST

A reminder to fast with our whole heart during lent

By Mother Miriam
By

To help keep this and other programs on the air, please donate here.

 

Watch Mother Miriam's Live show replayed on 3.26.2020. Today, Mother focuses on the importance of fasting in a committed way during lent. She reminds us that our hearts must be behind our fast, we must not fast begrudgingly or with pride.

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

Subscribe to Mother Miriam Live here.