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News

Jewish rabbi, Catholic priest sue NJ governor and top cop for violating religious rights

'These religious leaders were persecuted,' said the Thomas More Society. 'Their rights to the free exercise of religion, their freedom of speech, assembly, and expressive association were trampled upon.'
Tue May 12, 2020 - 8:47 pm EST
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James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com
Thomas More Society
By

May 12, 2020 (Thomas More Society) — A 45-year-old Orthodox Jew emerges from a boiler room, quivering and shaking. A fellow worshipper examines pants that were ripped while jumping a fence. A dozen young children cower upstairs after a police officer opens the front door of their home, uninvited. This occurred shortly after law enforcement officers interrupted a morning prayer service, frightening members. The prayer service had been held outdoors in order to accommodate social distancing requirements.

Eventually, the adults return to the backyard of the synagogue Premishlan in Lakewood, New Jersey, where they will worship outdoors in order that they may flee when they see the police coming. It may sound like the opening moves of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom against the Jewish people, but it is only COVID-19 under New Jersey’s Order 107 banning “Gatherings of Individuals,” as exercised by the police of Lakewood on April 13, 2020. On May 4, 2020, the Thomas More Society filed a lawsuit in federal court against New Jersey’s governor and chief law enforcement officer on behalf of Rabbi Yisrael Knopfler and Reverend Kevin Robinson.

A little over three weeks before Rabbi Knopfler’s congregants fled in fear, on March 20, 2020 — the day prior to Order 107 going in effect — parishioners at Saint Anthony of Padua Church in North Caldwell, New Jersey — 70 miles north of Lakewood on the Garden State Parkway — were preparing for Mass. A local police officer arrived and demanded that the Mass be cancelled. As Reverend Kevin Robinson was threatened with arrest, his congregation cowered anxiously in the basement, not unlike what their Orthodox counterparts in Lakewood would soon do.

After the North Caldwell police chief warned him that charges would be filed for violating Order 107, Pastor Robinson refrained from offering Mass. A related administrative order (Order 2020-4) issued by the Superintendent of the State Police, in his capacity as State Director of Emergency Management, “clarifies” that gatherings of 10 or fewer people are allowed but only under the vague proviso that such gatherings are “presumed” lawful unless there is “clear evidence to the contrary.”

This ten-person limit reduces the allowable Catholic congregation to 7 people or fewer, depending on the type of Mass and number of church personnel needed to execute it. For the rabbi and his congregation, the problem is even more acute: Jewish synagogue prayers require a minimum quorum of ten men. That means that there would be no additional people allowed. Under these constraints, a bride could not even attend her own wedding.

“This is an alarming case of extreme governmental overreach,” stated Thomas More Society Special Counsel Christopher Ferrara. “Order 107 is beset by vagaries, ambiguous ‘clarifications,’ and double standards. The alleged enforcement of this troublesome order has violated Reverend Robinson’s and Rabbi Knopfler’s constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. These religious leaders were persecuted. Their rights to the free exercise of religion, their freedom of speech, assembly, and expressive association were trampled upon.”

“Under Order 107, people can sit in business offices without numerical limitation, but not in churches or synagogues,” added Ferrara. “The same accountant or lawyer who can sit in an office with a hundred people is subject to criminal prosecution for ‘disorderly conduct’ if he sits in a church or synagogue with more than 9 others. This is absurd. Father Robinson and Rabbi Knopfler are entitled to First Amendment liberty, equal protection, and substantive due process, which they did not receive. This is an intolerable breach of the rights due every American and cannot be allowed to stand.”

Read the Thomas More Society’s First Amended Complaint for Civil Rights Violations, Injunctive Relief and a Declaratory Judgement on behalf of Reverend Kevin Robinson and Rabbi Yisrael A. Knopfler, filed with the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey — Newark Division in Rev. Kevin Robinson and Rabbi Yisrael A. Knopfler v. Philip D. Murphy, Governor of the State of New Jersey, in his official capacity, and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of State Police and State Director of Emergency Management, in his official capacities, on May 4, 2020, here.


  catholic, coronavirus, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, new jersey, orthodox jews, phil murphy, police state, quarantine

News

WATCH: Day 2 of Canada’s virtual March for Life features two powerful pro-life films

The movie night featured the live streaming of 'Crescendo' and 'Sing a Little Louder.'
Tue May 12, 2020 - 7:42 pm EST
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Anthony Murdoch
By Anthony Murdoch

PETITION: Support pro-lifers threatened and arrested for praying outside of abortion facilities Sign the petition here.

OTTAWA, May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – More than a thousand Canadians tuned in to view two “impactful” pro-life films and hear from one of the movie’s producers during day two of Campaign Life Coalition’s 23rd annual Canadian March for Life. The event is taking place virtually this year because of the coronavirus.

The movie night (click here to watch) featured the live streaming of two pro-life films, “Crescendo” and “Sing a Little Louder.” It included a conversation with pro-life activist and film producer Jason Jones and CLC’s Global Policy and Advocacy adviser Mattea Merta. Jones is the founder and president of Movie to Movement.  

Debbie Duval, the national capital organizer for CLC, told LifeSiteNews that day two of the virtual March for Life went well, and the conversation with Jones and Merta was enlightening. 

“The second day of the virtual National March for Life went on without a hitch,” said Duval. On the first night, the website crashed due to overwhelming traffic. 

“The conversation with Jason Jones and Mattea Merta was really interesting discussing all aspects of the most vulnerable groups in our society. The films Crescendo and Sing a Little Louder were short but very impactful.”

The live stream of day two of the 2020 Virtual National March for Life can be seen on the March for Life Canada’s YouTube channel

In his conversation with Merta, Jones said the award-winning film “Crescendo” is a story “to promote the beauty of the human person.” He also told Merta that “Crescendo” is a work of art that celebrates the dignity of the child in the womb and the mother. 

“I never make a film to make a film. I make a film to change culture,” said Jones to Merta in their conversation. 

The second film of the evening was the short picture “Sing a Little Louder.” It is a movie inspired by the true story of a man who in his youth witnessed the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust from the pews of his Church. 

Duval told LifeSiteNews that she had one pro-life viewer comment to her that the film left him speechless. 

“One viewer said he was speechless and had not realized the similarities between the Jews and the current dehumanizing of the preborn children whilst we are all singing louder by watching TV and many other entertainment escapes,” said Duval. 

“The comment was just from a viewer that spoke directly to me. They are pro-life but shocked and really made the correlation between the Christians singing louder to avoid taking action and our current society, with all our escape measures to avoid dealing with it including being afraid to stand up and be persecuted.”

Today’s pro-life movie night will feature the film Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death. It can be viewed at marchforlife.ca and CLC’s YouTube channel starting at 8 p.m. EST. It will be followed by a conversation with Alex Schadenberg, who is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

CLC decided in April to hold this year’s March for Life virtually, as the coronavirus health restrictions on public gatherings made it impossible to conduct the event as usual in Ottawa. 

CLC is the largest leading national pro-life and pro-family political lobbying group in Canada. The CLC virtual Canadian March for Life started Sunday and will continue until May 15. This year’s theme is “Be not afraid Canada!”

Despite being in a virtual format, the 2020 March for Life will replicate some of the March’s usual mainstays, such as the candlelight vigil, Masses, and a rally.  

For Sunday’s kickoff, more than 3,000 tuned in to view a free screening of global pro-life advocate Obianuju Ekeocha’s documentary Strings Attached. Sunday’s event saw such a high demand that for a brief time the site, marchforlife.ca, crashed. 

CLC noted that although the free screening is no longer available, the film can be viewed for a small fee at stringsattachedfilm.com.

The “virtual” march will take place on Thursday, May 14. This day is chosen for the March as it is the same day 51 years ago in 1969 when abortion was legalized in Canada. This was the day when then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (Justin Trudeau’s father) passed a heavily criticized Omnibus Bill that amended the Criminal Code to allow abortions to be done in hospitals.

This law remained in effect until the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the 1969 law as unconstitutional in the 1988 Morgentaler decision. The law was removed on a technicality, however.  The court ruled that it violated a woman’s Charter right to security of the person since the law could not be applied equally across the country. 

The court encouraged the Canadian Parliament to come up with replacement abortion legislation. This effort failed when then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s draft law failed in a Senate tie vote. Canada has since had no abortion law at all, and thus abortion is permitted up through all nine months of pregnancy.

On Wednesday, the pro-life Mass in memory of Fr. Alphonse de Valk, C.S.B will take place starting at 6 p.m. EST, followed by the virtual Candlelight Vigil for victims of abortion at 8 p.m. EST.

For Thursday, the day's online program begins with the National Mass for Life from Ottawa’s Notre-Dame Cathedral starting at noon EST. It will be celebrated by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. 

The Mass will be followed by a “Be Not Afraid” pro-life special hosted by EWTN’s Doug Keck. The virtual march will then take place from 2:30 to 4:40 p.m. EST, which will include a “great lineup of pro-life, religious, and political leaders,” according to the March for Life website. 

The Virtual March for Life will end Friday, May 15, with a pro-life webinar organized by CLC’s Youth and Niagara Region Right to Life. 

Before the evening ends, there will be a free one-time screening of the film “Because of Grácia,” which will include an interview with the film’s director, Tom Simes.

May 14, 2020 update: Proper attribution has now been given to two quotes. 


  abortion, campaign life coalition, crescendo film, jason jones, march for life canada, mattea merta, pierre trudeau, pro-life movie, virtual march for life

News

Twitter begins to censor ‘disputed or misleading’ tweets with warning label

Twitter defended its censorship, saying its goal is to ‘limit the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content.’
Tue May 12, 2020 - 6:52 pm EST
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Shutterstock.com
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

PETITION: Urge your governor to reject mandatory government surveillance post COVID-19 Sign the petition here.

May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Social media giant Twitter announced that it began to attach warning labels to “some tweets containing disputed or misleading information” in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“In serving the public conversation, our goal is to make it easy to find credible information on Twitter and to limit the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content,” Twitter said in a statement on Monday. The company introduced “new labels and warning messages that will provide additional context and information.”

Twitter indicated that in the future, “we may use these labels and warning messages to provide additional explanations or clarifications in situations where the risks of harm associated with a tweet are less severe but where people may still be confused or misled by the content.”

The warning labels will send users either to a website curated directly by Twitter and containing more information on whatever the subject of the Tweet was, or to an “external trusted source.”

In certain cases, Twitter might not even show a “harmful and misleading” tweet to users. Instead, it will display a message similar to those warning of potentially “sensitive material.”

“Some or all of the content shared in this tweet conflicts with guidance from public health experts regarding COVID-19,” the new warning message reads. Twitter users can still view the tweet, or they can choose to move along to a “trusted source.”

Severe misleading information, which is described as “statements or assertions that have been confirmed to be false or misleading by subject-matter experts, such as public health authorities,” is even removed by Twitter.

Information “which could be true or false” and is not yet confirmed remains without any warning labels, for now. Nonetheless, Twitter already said the company “will continue to introduce new labels to provide context around different types of unverified claims and rumors as needed.”

The social media giant remained vague on who determines whether a tweet is trustworthy.

Brit Hume, senior political analyst for Fox News, pointed out that within the past few months a lot of the information provided to the public on COVID-19 has changed.

He asked, “Will the ‘disputed’ tweets include the authorities telling us not to wear masks and then telling us we must wear them? Or tweets involving the wildly off-base model projections? How about China’s claims the virus did not escape from one of their labs?”

Twitter is not the only tech company implementing these kinds of measures.

At the end of April, YouTube, which is owned by Google, started using fact-check information panels for viewers in the United States, flagging, among other things, what the company deems to be “misinformation” regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The company claimed the fact-check information panels are necessary in order “for viewers to get accurate information during fast-moving events.”

On April 19, Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, announced that all content contradicting the Word Health Organization (WHO) on the coronavirus pandemic would be removed from the video streaming platform.

“We also talk about removing information that is problematic,” she said. “Of course, anything that is medically unsubstantiated. So people saying, like, take vitamin C, you know, take turmeric, like, those are – will cure you. Those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy.”

She then specified that any content going “against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy. And so remove is another really important part of our policy.”

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during an interview in mid-April that he considers protests against stay-at-home orders, which are often planned via Facebook, to be “harmful misinformation” that must be deleted.

While claiming that “it’s important that people can debate policies,” Zuckerberg indicated that there is a limit to how much freedom he will allow Facebook’s users to do this.

“But, you know, more than normal political discourse, I think a lot of the stuff that people are saying that is false around a health emergency like this can be classified as harmful misinformation that has a risk of leading to imminent physical danger and we’ll just take that kind of content down,” he said.

Facebook also introduced an international Oversight Board packed with leftists and those with ties to globalist George Soros, wielding massive power to judge what is acceptable free speech.

The Oversight Board was created to “help Facebook answer some of the most difficult questions around freedom of expression online: what to take down, what to leave up, and why.”

Dozens of conservative organizations denounced Facebook’s move.

On March 16, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube, which is part of Google, issued a joint statement regarding “fraud and misinformation” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts,” the tech giants wrote. “We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.”


  coronavirus, covid-19, facebook, google, mark zuckerberg, misinformation, oversight board, pandemic, susan wojcicki, twitter, world health organization, youtube

News

LifeSite is hiring an Email Marketing Coordinator. Apply today!

We are looking to hire a passionate and dedicated Email Marketing Coordinator.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 5:18 pm EST
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LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

Are you passionate about the battle for life and family? 

We are facing a growing assault on all that is good and true in our world, and we need a passionate, faith-filled person to join us in the fight to restore our culture. 

If you’re ready to give your life for the cause, then you’re in the right place.

Please apply through this link: https://lifesitenews.bamboohr.com/jobs

Here is the job ad below: 

Email Marketing Coordinator 

LifeSiteNews is looking for a talented Email Marketing Coordinator to join our Marketing and Advocacy teams. This person will be responsible for managing LifeSite and LifePetitions’ email campaigns to promote a culture of life to the world. They will be responsible for the planning, development, and execution of the organization’s long-term email marketing strategies.  

Location: This position is open to all US-based applicants and is open to tele-commuters.  
This position reports to the Director of Marketing 

Candidate Requirements:   

  • Proven work experience with email marketing or digital marketing  

  • Knowledge of SEO/SEM and Google Analytics  

  • Ability to create engaging email nurture programs 

  • Priority will be given to those familiar with Mailchimp 

  • Excellent written communication and copywriting skills 

  • Strong project management skills Ability to react to change productively  

Responsibilities will include:   

  • Managing, designing, and implementing direct email marketing campaign and helping it grow 

  • Optimizing and improving the volume and quality of leads converting at each stage of our funnels 

  • Providing clear visibility into campaign effectiveness by delivering reports and KPI’s for each program (including A/B testing) 

  • Proofreading emails for clarity, grammar, and spelling 

  • Making and implementing recommendations for improvement to increase pipeline 

  • Monitoring daily email campaign deliverability, ensuring high inbox success rate for all email campaigns 

  • Managing email calendar 

  • Developing and creating email marketing campaigns including headline and subject line creation 

  • Working closely with the Director of Marketing and the Advocacy Director to manage multiple campaigns and projects.  

  • Working closely with the Development department for different projects 

  • Ensuring prompt and accurate communication between departments regarding different campaigns 

  • Maintaining knowledge of and implementing email best practices, technologies and trends 

  • And other tasks as assigned 

Salary: This is a full-time position. Rate is negotiable based upon need and experience. Keep in mind that LifeSiteNews is a mission-based non-profit, although we always seek to meet our employees’ legitimate financial needs.   

Your application should include a resume, cover letter, at least three references, and answers to the list of questions provided on the job listing.  

We will contact successful applicants for an interview.  


  hiring, lifesitenews

News

9th Circuit upholds Trump rule keeping govt funds away from abortionists

The Protect Life Rule is expected to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving close to $60 million.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 5:11 pm EST
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Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

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

May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration may exclude the abortion industry from federal family planning funds, thanks to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision not to review an earlier decision in the case siding with the White House.

The Protect Life Rule requires “clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning” and bans “referral for abortion as a method of family planning.” The abortion lobby has responded with multiple lawsuits, and Planned Parenthood chose to withdraw from Title X rather than comply with what they call a “gag rule.”

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit lifted a temporary injunction against enforcing the rule last June, and the full court affirmed that decision in February, predicting that that lawsuits brought in California, Oregon, and Washington “will not succeed” on the merits.

Last week, the 9th Circuit denied the abortion lobby’s request to have its February judgment reconsidered by a different 11-judge panel or by all 29 judges on the court, Bloomberg reported.

“The full court has been advised of the petitions, and no judge has requested a vote on whether to rehear the matter as a full court,” the denial simply stated.

A different ruling against the administration, from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, means the Protect Life Rule cannot be enforced within Maryland for the time being.

The Protect Life Rule is projected to cut almost $60 million from the $616 million Planned Parenthood received during the most recent fiscal year. The incoming presidential and congressional elections in November will decide whether funding to the abortion industry is further restricted or restored next year.


  9th circuit court of appeals, abortion, defund planned parenthood, donald trump, family planning funds, protect life rule, taxpayer funding of abortion, title x

News

France’s highest administrative court to hear Catholics’ case for overturning public Mass ban

Despite other areas of society opening up like public transit and beaches, churches are still strictly forbidden from hosting public religious ceremonies.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 2:39 pm EST
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Sainte-Chapelle Chapel in Paris Shutterstock.com
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

Urgent appeal to the bishops of the world: Feed your flock Sign the petition here.

May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Four Catholic priestly and religious associations, along with a lay Catholic group, will separately argue to the highest administrative court in France about overturning the continued ban against all public religious services.

Four traditional Catholic priestly and religious associations and/or their personal representatives, and in a parallel procedure, the AGRIF (General Alliance against Racism and for the respect of French and Christian Identity) representing lay Catholics in France, have petitioned the highest administrative jurisdiction in France, the “Conseil d’Etat,” in order to obtain the suspension of the dispositions of the “deconfinement” decree of May 11 prolonging the prohibition of all public religious services indefinitely. 

The hearings in these emergency procedures will take place on Friday, May 15 and the Council of State’s decision should follow within 48 hours. 

For the time being, as was the case during lockdown, only funeral ceremonies are allowed to take place in churches, with a maximum of 20 participants.

The four religious associations are the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSP) and its representative Fr Benoît Paul-Joseph, Superior of the district of France; Fr Philippe Laguérie, former Superior general and founder of the Institute of the Good Pastor (IBP);  the Association of the friends of the French province of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP), together with its president Canon Gilles Guitard and the head of the French province, Canon Louis Valadier; and the Dominican traditional fraternity of St Vincent Ferrier with its representative Fr Louis-Marie de Blignières. All were linked to the former Ecclesia Dei commission.

They received public support from Dom Louis-Marie, Father Abbot of the Barroux  Benedictine Abbey in Provence, and will be represented at the Council of State by Jérôme Triomphe, who was one of the defendants of Pierre and Viviane Lambert in their bid to save the life of their son Vincent, the handicapped and minimally conscious young man who was dehydrated and starved to death in France last July. Triomphe is also the main lawyer of the AGRIF.

The AGRIF itself, which has a juridical habitation to represent in particular the interests of Catholics against discrimination and “racism,” is presenting a slightly different case for lay Catholics who have been deprived from public Masses and the Sacraments for nine weeks running. Also signing its recourse are president and founder Bernard Antony and two vice-presidents, Guillaume de Thieulloy and the author of this article. It is represented by Bruno Le Griel who is specialized in high court procedures.

With coronavirus infections and related respiratory disease and deaths on a downward trend, France officially entered into a period of “deconfinement” on Monday. A number of restrictions to liberty of movement were lifted and the partial reopening of shops, businesses, public transport, small museums and primary schools is taking place this week. Circulation is free within a hundred kilometer radius from each individual’s home. 

However, as announced by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe last week, churches (and other religious venues) may still not organize public religious ceremonies and reunions until further notice under any condition, even though individual faithful are allowed to enter and pray provided “social distancing” is observed.

The French bishops, traditional communities and lay Catholics have made clear that they are prepared to observe any rules necessary to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Despite their assurances, the French government has adopted a secularist stance while at the same time showing itself more open to local mayors or public transport authorities. For example, the government intended to keep the beaches closed but in Brittany, many beaches are to open shortly after local authorities finally received permission to manage the conditions under which small groups will be allowed to walk, swim and spend a little time just sitting on the sand.

Air transport authorities who complained about the stringent “social distancing” requirements that would compel them to fill the aircraft up to half capacity at most — forcing them to push up fares up to 43 percent — were also heard. Now passengers will only have to pass a temperature test and wear a mask for planes to be filled to capacity.

The Paris Metro is also functioning once again at 75 percent of its capacity, but “social distancing” has revealed itself to be a mental construct. On some lines, cars are full to bursting, and the badly aired underground corridors to reach the trains are also full of travellers. 

On the other hand, churches, which are generally big and well-aired buildings – where even congregations representing 50 percent of their nominal capacity can remain widely spaced apart, and that are mostly static by nature – are still being considered as potential nests of infection.

The religious associations’ emergency procedure underscores that the inequality of treatment of which they consider themselves to be victims is in direct violation of the French law of separation of State and Church of 1905 as well as international declarations of rights, which impose respect for all religions and freedom of worship, as a fundamental liberty.

It notes that while French Interior minister Christophe Castaner explained last week that believers have the option of praying at home, the law of separation strictly forbids interference of the State with the practice of religion: “The believer is sole judge of what is necessary and urgent for himself, not the government,” state the written arguments that will be presented to the Council of State.

Those arguments also insist that if psychological needs were taken into account even during the confinement in order to decide to open garden and do it yourself shops, spiritual needs also exist and are being “violated in an extremely grave manner,” because Catholic worship includes community worship and in particular access to Eucharistic Communion (but also confession) as an “essential spiritual good.”

“There is nothing symbolic or merely cosy about Communion for a Catholic. It is the reception of the body of Christ truly present with His body, His blood, His soul and His divinity,” and “the Catholic religion is the religion of Incarnation through which God makes himself truly present at Mass,” as opposed to other, even Christian religions which can do without material realities.

“No one is asking the government to profess the Catholic faith. Instead, we are demanding respect for this faith and for its urgent necessities,” the religious associations will plead.

Underscoring that Catholics are being treated as lesser citizens because for all other activities, solutions have been found while the prohibition of public worship is absolute, the religious associations add that there is no sanitary justification for prohibiting all forms of public worship.

The prohibition is totally illegal in so far as many places and activities that are supposed to be more prone to the spread of COVID-19, such as small shops and hairdressers, have been allowed to open and that gatherings of 10 people have become legal once more. The recourse adds that following religious ceremonies on television is not in exercise of the right to worship, no more than following the Tour de France on screen constitutes active cycling.

It is also illegal because it is not proportionate to its end because it is absolute, with no regard for the actual presence of the coronavirus or not in the different regions of France, and because there is no end date for the prohibition as was the case in former decrees relative to the COVID-19 crisis.

The AGRIF’s uses many of the same arguments, insisting on the fact that freedom of worship is a “fundamental liberty,” including free access to “goods necessary to the exercise of worship,” including places of worship, as administrative jurisprudence has established.

It also underscores that during confinement, on April 2nd, the Council of State overturned the general prohibition of public food markets, allowing local authorities to decide whether or not these could be held because they could judge whether sanitary requirements could be upheld. A large number of country markets were reopened from that date.

These requirements are much easier to implement in churches, the AGRIF argues. It even suggests that public ceremonies could only take place once a week, allowing churches and places of worship to be “naturally” totally disinfected through the absence of carriers of the coronavirus.

The AGRIF also underlines that 63 professions entered into discussions with the government in order to prepare deconfinement regulations, but that only the  representatives of religions, who were ready to talk with the authorities, were not allowed to join this cooperation.

“The question is not about knowing whether the extension of a general prohibition of gatherings in places of worship is justified by the present sanitary situation. It is to know whether these gatherings (for collective prayer, religious ceremonies, weddings…) can observe the same sanitary regulations as other activities that have been permitted to resume. The answer is obviously in the affirmative…” according to the AGRIF.

 It concludes its arguments with reminders that it is not up to the state to decide what is necessary to the practice of religion or not and that freedom of worship is “one and complete.”


  agrif, conseil d’etat, coronavirus, discrimination, edouard philippe, france, religious discrimination, religious freedom, sacraments

News

US spending $100 million on needles for ‘COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Campaign’

The federal government has ordered $100 million dollars worth of needles and syringes.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 1:54 pm EST
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shutterstock.com
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

PETITION: No to mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The federal government appears to be getting ready for hundreds of millions of Americans to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

According to Forbes, “Two separate orders signed off on May 1, 2020, total $100 million and specify needles and syringes ‘for a COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Campaign.’”

“One $27.5 million order went to Colorado-based Marathon Medical, the other $83.7 million to Texan business Retractable Technologies,” Forbes added. “The orders were placed by the Health and Human Services (HHS) department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).”

The development of a vaccine is also heavily funded, both privately and by the government.

In March, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is part of Johnson & Johnson, was granted more than $456 million in federal funding for their vaccine project using the PER C6 cell line, which comes from retinal tissue of an aborted baby.

Taxpayer money for vaccine development was also given to Sanofi (more that $30 million) and Moderna (more than $430 million).

On April 17, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who is responsible for the pro-life activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as other bishops and pro-life leaders from around the United States, sent an open letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calling for the ethical development of vaccines.

“To be clear, we strongly support efforts to develop an effective, safe, and widely available vaccine as quickly as possible,” they wrote. “However, we also strongly urge our federal government to ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited.”

Bill Gates, whose pro-abortion, pro-population control foundation is heavily involved in funding the research to create a coronavirus vaccine, said a vaccine would be ready next year, at the earliest. “Like America’s top public health officials, I say that it is likely to be 18 months, even though it could be as short as nine months or closer to two years,” he wrote.

Pro-life and conservative activists have raised concerns about the role of the foundation, which is both pro-abortion and pro-contraception, in the coronavirus response. Bill Gates has said that “eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.” He also suggested that life won’t go back to “normal” until the population is “widely vaccinated.”

As reported by SFGATE, Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom echoed Gates’ assessment during a press conference on May 5, saying the Golden State was “not going back to normal” anytime soon. “It’s a new normal with adaptations and modifications, until we get to immunity and a vaccine.”

READ: Illinois gov: Churches can’t fully reopen until corona vaccine or ‘effective treatment’ developed

Earlier this month, The New York Times pointed out several logistical difficulties with vaccinating an entire population, if not the whole planet.

“Here in the United States, more than 300 million people may need to be inoculated. That means at least as many vials and syringes – or double that amount, if two shots are required,” The New York Times wrote.

“To meet that demand, companies will have to ramp up manufacturing; products that doctors give little thought to now could easily become obstacles to vaccine delivery in the future.”

According to the article, herd immunity, which is established once enough people are immune to a disease to also indirectly protect others, will only be reached if 70 percent of the population are immune, either by having contracted the virus at some point, or by being vaccinated.

However, “most vaccination campaigns aim to immunize a high proportion of the population – around 90 percent – to successfully prevent transmission of disease.”

It is unclear how much of the population would consent to a coronavirus vaccine.

Over 344,000 people have signed LifeSite’s petition against a forced coronavirus vaccine.

“People of goodwill can disagree about the safety, efficacy and religious implications of a new vaccine for the coronavirus,” the petition says. “But, everyone should agree on this point: No government can force anyone who has reached legal adulthood to be vaccinated for the coronavirus. Equally, no government can vaccinate minors for the coronavirus against the will of their parents or guardians.”

RELATED:

US bishop: We must ‘halt’ development of any coronavirus vaccine derived from aborted babies


  abortion, coronavirus, forced vaccination, vaccinations, vaccines

News

Alberta health minister allows police to access confidential patient medical records

Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro used powers gained from a new coronavirus law to issue the directive.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 1:51 pm EST
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Anthony Murdoch
By Anthony Murdoch

PETITION: Urge your premier to reject mandatory government surveillance post COVID-19 Sign the petition here.

EDMONTON, Alberta, May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In what may be a serious breach of privacy and patient confidentiality, the Health Minister of one of Canada’s largest provinces has utilized new coronavirus related powers to authorize health workers to give police confidential patient medical information. 

Last week, the Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, announced via Twitter that Alberta Health Services (AHS) would be allowed to “provide information to police, confirming whether or not an individual has tested positive for COVID-19.″

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Ministerial Order (MO) 632/2020 was signed on May 4 and was issued under new powers gained by Alberta government ministers under Bill 10, the Alberta Public Health (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act, 2020

The Alberta-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) announced on May 1 that it will be legally challenging the Alberta government over the constitutionality of Bill 10

They had warned earlier that Bill 10 gives Alberta government ministers too much power saying, “A cabinet minister can now decide unilaterally, without consultation, to impose additional laws on the citizens of Alberta, if she or he is personally of the view that doing so is in the public interest.” 

MO 632/2020 adds a section to the Alberta Public Health Act as amended by Bill 10 allowing AHS the ability to disclose to law enforcement whether a person whom police have encountered has the coronavirus. 

“Information obtained by the Chief Medical Officer may be disclosed by the Chief Medical Officer to any police service, as defined in with the Police Act, to enable a police officer who has come into contact with the bodily fluids of an individual claiming to have COVID-19 to comply with Record of Decision – CMOH Order 05-2020 (or quarantine orders).” 

Minister Shandro says that (MO) 632/2020, which is in force for 90 days, was needed as a way to help police officers and enforcement agencies find out whether or not a person who has spit or coughed on officers claiming to have COVID-19, does indeed have it. 

Last Thursday, the JCCF released a message challenging the Alberta government under Premier Jason Kenney and Minister Shandro over the “use of new Bill 10 powers” in (MO) 632/2020. The JCCF says that it violates the confidentiality of patient medical information, even though it is tailored for law enforcement use only. The JCCF is considering additional legal action as a result of this new addition. 

In April, a form letter circulating from the Kenney government as a means to clarify “concerns” about Bill 10 downplayed the JCCF claim that Bill 10 can be used to create new laws with no oversight. 

However, the JCCF says that the new (MO) 632/2020 allowing police access to sensitive patient medical information “does precisely that.” 

“Minister Shandro’s unilateral creation of new laws without legislative involvement illustrates the extraordinary power that Bill 10 has given one politician,” said Jay Cameron, Justice Centre Litigation Manager in the JCCF news release.

“Minister Shandro’s new law is broad, and has all the markings of an unconstitutional intrusion on the lives and personal information of Albertans, and in our view constitutes an unjustified infringement of the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure as protected by section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Cameron told LifeSiteNews two weeks ago about his concerns regarding Bill 10. Kenney recently said he hopes to revise the “concerning” parts of Bill 10, but has not yet done so. 

The JCCF says that the newly added provision to Bill 10 is “poorly worded” and is “drafted broadly enough” so that it could “allow for the blanket release to police of the names of all Albertans who have tested positive for COVID-19, and perhaps even the medical records of those who have not.”

“Minister Shandro’s new law contains no safeguards outlining the use, storage, and retention of the personal data by police. It is unclear why the names of people who once tested positive for the virus and have recovered should be conveyed to police, or how long this information will remain in the police’s possession,” says the JCCF news release. 

“There are no limitations on how the police may use this private and personal information. There is no clause that mandates that the information will be destroyed at a later date. Providing the personal information of patients to police so that it can be accessed at the police’s discretion is in effect a warrantless search without judicial checks and balances, and an alarming breach of privacy rights.” 

(MO) 632/2020 was praised by the Chief of Police Dale McFee for the City of Edmonton, who told Global News last Thursday that the law is needed to help front line workers. 

“We have unfortunately had a few incidents where our officers have been intentionally spit or coughed on by individuals claiming they have COVID-19, so the ability to verify whether someone has tested positive will also help us quickly determine whether officers in this situation are required to isolate immediately,” said McFee to Global News. 

“We take confidentiality seriously, but we will not tolerate our front-line workers being put at risk in this way as they work to keep the rest of us in this province safe.”

Alberta has seen protestors gather at the legislature on a few occasions to voice their opposition to the lockdown measures. 

Last week, an Edmonton man was fined $1200 while attending a peaceful rally at the Alberta Legislature expressing his concerns about the coronavirus. 

Video of the event shows sheriffs forcibly grabbed Mr. Lefebvre by his arms and then detaining him for about 30 minutes. Mr. Lefebvre is now challenging the fine with the help of the JCCF

On May 10, police arrested Cody Haller during a peaceful protest and dragged him out of the Alberta legislature grounds. Video shows Haller asking police: "Am I being arrested? Am I being detained? What did I breach?" Police ticketed him for “contravening order of medical health officer of health,” reported CTV news. 

One day later, Premier Jason Kenney issued a statement about peaceful protests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental right that includes both the freedoms of speech and assembly. We understand that a number of peaceful protests have occurred outside the legislature since a public health emergency was invoked, where protestors observed physical distancing guidelines largely without incident. Yesterday was the first time an arrest occurred,” Kenney stated. 

“Elected leaders do not direct operational decisions of law enforcement officials. We are inquiring why an arrest occurred yesterday, but not at previous protests. If we are not satisfied with the explanation, the government will modify public health orders to clarify that it is acceptable for individuals who are respecting physical distancing guidelines to be present in outdoor public venues, including for the purpose of protesting,” he continued. 

“We recognize that law enforcement is dealing with a situation without precedent during this pandemic. At the same time, we expect that law enforcement will exercise common sense in respecting both fundamental rights and protecting public health,” he added. 

Alberta was the first Canadian province to launch a coronavirus contact tracing application which since launching a week ago, has been downloaded more than 120,000 times. 

Cameron told LifeSiteNews that they are closely keeping an eye on government-issued contact tracing apps.

“We are watching carefully and remain concerned about the slippery slope and government comfort with accessing and utilizing personal data,” said Cameron.


  alberta, bill 10, coronavirus, jason kenney, ministry of health, police state, tyler shandro

News

Single Republican joins dozens of Democrats sponsoring COVID govt tracking bill

Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey switched from Democrat to Republican in early 2020 over a dispute with other Democrats over whether to impeach the president.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 11:38 am EST
Featured Image
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.). Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

PETITION: Urge your governor to reject mandatory government surveillance post COVID-19 Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-abortion congressman Jeff Van Drew is the only Republican cosponsor of a bill that would grant $100 billion to entities engaging in contact tracing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill, known as H.R. 6666, would authorize the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to “award grants to eligible entities to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID–19, to trace and monitor the contacts of infected individuals, and to support the quarantine of such contacts.”

Any funds would have to be used not for contact tracing directly, but “to hire, train, compensate, and pay the expenses of individuals,” as well as “to purchase personal protective equipment and other supplies.”

Already, states “are building armies of contact tracers,” as The Hill reported.

“Contact tracing,” according to The Hill, “is a pillar of basic public health, a critical element in battling infectious disease around the globe. The goal is to identify those who have been infected with a virus and those with whom the infected person has come into contact.”

California is trying “to build an army of 20,000 people to test, trace and isolate people who may have been infected.” The numbers in other states are smaller but not insignificant.

Tech giants Apple and Google had announced a way to do contact tracing digitally, raising some concerns about privacy.

“The software would silently keep track of people who’d been near someone who tested positive for the virus, prompting those contacts to be tested and quarantined if necessary,” WIRED explained.

Nevertheless, states and municipalities across the country “have looked carefully at cutting-edge contact-tracing solutions and largely said, ‘No thanks,’ or ‘Not now.’”

Instead, they continue to have men and women trace contacts the old-fashioned way. This is precisely the point.

Public health officers, WIRED emphasized, “are typically MDs and PhDs who aren’t dazzled by cool-looking software, especially if the pitch comes from people without public health backgrounds. They’re uncomfortable deploying untested technology during a pandemic, when glitches can cost lives.”

If signed into law, H.R. 6666 will appropriate $100 billion to support activities like contact tracing within the fiscal year 2020. However, the bill would also appropriate “such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal year 2021 and any subsequent fiscal year during which the emergency period continues.”

Among the 39 original cosponsors of the bill, Jeff Van Drew was the only Republican. As of May 12, six additional Democrats have become cosponsors of the bill.

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat in New Jersey in 2018, Van Drew officially switched to the Republican Party in early 2020. His decision was made after disagreements with the vast majority of Democrats on impeaching President Donald Trump in 2019.

According to Vote Smart, Van Drew’s position on abortion is quite clear. He had written on his campaign website, “I’m strongly and unequivocally pro-choice: I support Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose.”

“Any efforts to weaken or undermine that right will face my fierce opposition,” Van Drew said in 2018. (That statement has since disappeared from his campaign website.) “Proudly, I have consistently voted in the New Jersey State Legislature to support critical women’s healthcare funding that provides preventive health services, cancer screenings, and prenatal care for low-income women.”

As pro-abortion Rewire.News pointed out, “Van Drew received a zero percent rating from National Right to Life and a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood Action Fund in 2019, as well as a 100 percent rating in 2016–2017 from Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey.”

However, as Politico reported in January, Van Drew signed “a GOP discharge petition ... that would circumvent leadership and force a floor vote on anti-abortion legislation if it gets 218 signatures.”

Since then, his National Right to Life rating has increased to 17 percent. Planned Parenthood Action Fund has not yet come out with a new rating.


  big brother, contact tracing, coronavirus, jeff van drew, police state, quarantine

News

Planned Parenthood slammed for Mother’s Day post thanking ‘moms on the front line’

One reaction on Twitter: 'Praying for all the mothers you’ve made childless, likely feeling deep sorrow today.'
Tue May 12, 2020 - 11:08 am EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

May 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The nation’s largest abortion chain is under fire for posting a Mother’s Day greeting on social media purporting to honor motherhood, despite Planned Parenthood’s primary business being to help women avoid motherhood in violent fashion.

“From moms at home, to moms on the front line — thank you,” reads the graphic:

Many pro-life observers called attention to the post, with reactions ranging from disgust for Planned Parenthood’s dishonesty to puzzlement at its apparent tone-deafness:

Nationwide, Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report says it aborted 345,672 and distributed more than 2 million contraceptives during the 2018–2019 fiscal year. By contrast, it reported just 9,798 prenatal services and 4,279 adoption referrals.

Planned Parenthood also opposes a mother’s right to know about, let alone have a say in, her daughter’s decision to abort a child. Even the mothers it “serves” in abortion should not have the option of viewing their child on ultrasound, according to the abortion giant.


  abortion, liberal hypocrisy, mother's day, motherhood, parenthood, planned parenthood, women

News

‘Right to support prostitution’ case could allow US tax funding of foreign abortions

The case involves a pledge against prostitution that U.S.-funded foreign entities are required to make. It has obvious implications for abortion funding abroad.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 8:29 am EST
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Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor. Leigh Vogel / Getty Images
Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
By Stefano Gennarini J.D.

NEW YORK, May 12, 2020 (C-Fam) — The U.S. Supreme Court could pave the way for the judicial repeal of the Mexico City Policy if it recognizes a global right to free speech for foreign non-governmental organizations affiliated with U.S.-based organizations.

The Mexico City Policy, like other U.S. conditions on foreign assistance tied to fighting terrorism supporting women’s rights and opposing racism, could all be on the chopping block if the U.S. Supreme Court extends First Amendment free speech rights to foreign entities affiliated to U.S. based organizations, U.S. Solicitor General Christopher Michel said Tuesday during oral arguments in the case of United States Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc.

The case involves a pledge against prostitution that U.S. funded foreign entities who work on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention abroad are required to make. Congress’ purpose in enacting the condition almost twenty years ago was to fight “coercive practices that spread HIV/AIDS and degrade women and girls,” Michel said during the hearing.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the anti-prostitution pledge was unconstitutional as applied to U.S.-based groups because it sought to compel speech, but it did not rule on its application to foreign organizations.

The same organizations who were involved in the 2013 decision are now asking the Court to extend their First Amendment free speech rights to foreign affiliates who share their name, logo, and mission. Among the leading organizations suing the government are Pathfinder International and CARE USA, both of which openly oppose the Mexico City Policy.

Michel characterized the case in terms of globalist versus U.S. government prerogatives in foreign affairs.

“Respondents’ position is that they and their foreign entities that they’ve chosen to keep separate should somehow be treated as some kind of single global unified entity,” he emphasized.

The U.S. Solicitor General described this as a “right to optimal message management,” which he argued “is simply not what the First Amendment protects.”

The organizations’ lawyer, David Bowker, complained that taking a position against prostitution was a form of “hypocrisy” for his clients. He argued that it harms their “integrity and their reputation and their brand when they’re forced to speak out of two sides of their mouths.”

For Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor the case may seem like a déjà vu. She ruled that foreign non-governmental organizations did not possess any right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution in a 2002 case, Center for Reproductive Rights v. Bush, when she was an appellate judge on the Second Circuit.

That case involved the Mexico City Policy, disparagingly called a “global gag rule” by abortion activists. The policy prohibits U.S. funding for foreign organizations that promote abortion. Like the current case, the 2002 case involved a network of domestic organizations with foreign affiliates who argued their free speech rights extended to their affiliates abroad. Although, the Mexico City Policy does not require compelled speech.

Sotomayor’s 2002 decision was based on appellate precedent. As a Supreme Court Justice, she is not bound to her prior ruling. Indeed, during oral arguments she seemed eager to strike down the Mexico City Policy.

“The long and the short of this is that a domestic agency that does not want to adopt a policy of being opposed to abortion but who is willing to not support it in a program, they can’t receive funds...” she said at one point, letting the word “abortion” slip in instead of “prostitution.”

Published with permission from C-Fam.


  abortion, courts, free speech, mexico city policy, sonia sotomayor, supreme court

News

UK, France increase do-it-yourself abortion access amid coronavirus restrictions

Governments are pushing the dangerous procedure in countries where the safeguards of medical professionals in clinics and hospitals has ordinarily been available to women.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 8:21 am EST
Featured Image
Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.
By Rebecca Oas Ph.D.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 12, 2020 (C-Fam) — For years, abortion advocates have been working to increase access to do-it-yourself abortion drugs and information where the procedure is illegal and there are few trained abortionists. What has changed during the novel coronavirus pandemic is that governments are pushing the dangerous procedure in countries where the safeguards of medical professionals in clinics and hospitals has ordinarily been available to women.

In the U.K., the government revised its health policy last month to allow women to purchase abortion pills by mail up to ten weeks of pregnancy. The revision also removes the need for a woman to be referred for an abortion by a doctor — she needs only a phone consultation with a nurse or midwife to be sent the pills. She is then left to self-induce the abortion in her own home or other living situation.

Abortion advocates cite the reported increase in domestic violence as an argument for abortion to be regarded as “essential.” Yet pro-life organizations like the U.K.-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) see a dangerous downside to making mail-order abortion pills available in their country. “My fear is that many women will be pressured into phoning for an abortion by abusive partners,” says SPUC’s Antonia Tully. “We know that domestic violence is a huge indicator for abortion.”

France’s health ministry also loosened its restrictions on abortion pills, allowing them to be used at home up to nine weeks. Again, the justification for the policy change was to limit the need for trips to health facilities during the pandemic and resulting lockdown.

France and the U.K. are among the Western European nations that have effectively offered legal abortion on demand for decades, and have been among those most aggressively lobbying for an international right to abortion.

However, many of the countries that were first to legalize abortion were also careful to ensure that it was “safe” for women by embedding it within the medical establishment. In addition to gestational limits, abortions had to be provided by licensed physicians, performed in a clinical setting, and sometimes required prior approval by one or more doctors.

Since the rise of medical abortion — or abortion by pills — the abortion lobby has been pushing for the “demedicalization” of abortion. This includes ensuring that not only doctors, but nurses, midwives, and even pregnant women themselves, can legally perform abortions. Where abortion is illegal or restricted, it means ensuring they have access to the pills and instructions regardless of the law. Abortion advocates are quick to point out that all of these things are in line with recommendations by the World Health Organization.

For organizations pushing to make abortion pills widely available, especially in cases where it is against the law, the COVID-19 pandemic provides a rare opportunity. While abortion advocates and providers of black-market abortion pills are quick to insist that demedicalization “should have happened a long time ago,” they are hopeful that measures such as those taken by France and the U.K. will not be temporary.

Meanwhile, regardless of changes to laws and policies regarding self-induced abortion by pills, the companies that manufacture them have also been affected by the pandemic. Global distributors of abortion pills, such as DKT International, are seeking to “ring the alarm bells to the reproductive health community” about the potential stockouts and increased shipping costs for abortion pills, contraceptives, and other similar commodities.

Published with permission from C-Fam.


  abortion, abortion pill, coronavirus, do-it-yourself abortion

Opinion

Over 350K sign petition against mandatory coronavirus vaccination

In only the last four days, LifeSite’s petition rejecting mandatory coronavirus vaccination has garnered huge support.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 7:30 pm EST
Featured Image
Billion Photos / Shutterstock.com
LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — In only the last four days, LifeSite’s petition rejecting mandatory coronavirus vaccination* has exceeded 350,000 signatures.

“The enormous response to this petition shows that many people around the world absolutely will not accept a mandatory vaccine for the coronavirus,” said Gualberto Garcia Jones, director of advocacy of LifeSite.

Over the next couple of weeks, LifeSite will be delivering this petition to governments around the world — in person, where possible — to make sure this message is heard, loud and clear.

Right now, you can help make sure the American government knows about hundreds of thousands of people objecting to mandatory vaccination by going to the White House Facebook page and posting this story as a comment under a White House post.

PETITION: No to mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus Sign the petition here.

This petition is necessary because of the rush to produce a vaccine, as well as the recent suggestions made by a variety of policy-makers and “influencers” supporting coronavirus vaccination.

For example:

  • Leading coronavirus vaccine development goes forward using unethical techniques.
  • The coronavirus crisis has led to more digital surveillance and talk of mandatory vaccine “tattoos” for kids.
  • California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, said he thinks society can fully re-open only after a vaccine for the coronavirus has been produced.
  • In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also been “reflecting on” the implications of a protocol forcing all Canadians to be vaccinated.
  • Arch-globalist Bill Gates, who seems to believe that being a billionaire somehow confers expertise in a vast array of topics, has also asserted that society will not return to “normal” until widespread vaccination for the coronavirus has taken place.

But unwitting citizens must not be used as guinea pigs for New World Order ideologues, or Big Pharma, in pursuit of a vaccine (and profits) that may not even protect against future mutated strains of the coronavirus.

This petition calls on policy-makers to be cool-headed in this regard, not allowing the rush to produce a new vaccine to, itself, become the driving force behind a vaccination program.

“We can now see more clearly that some of our politicians — people who are supposed to work for the public — are attempting to use this health crisis as an excuse to curtail our personal freedoms,” Garcia Jones said, adding: “We cannot allow them to achieve that goal.”

People need to continue to speak up all around the world, so if you haven’t yet signed the petition, please consider signing and sharing with your like-minded family, friends, and colleagues.

Please CLICK HERE to read and sign the petition. Thank you!

*While LifeSite opposes immorally produced vaccines using aborted fetal cell lines, we do not have a position on any particular coronavirus vaccines produced without such moral problems. We realize many have general concerns about vaccines, but also recognize that millions of lives have been saved due to vaccines. The issue at stake here, and in our petition, is whether the government has the authority to force adults and their children to take a coronavirus vaccine. The position that we take is that the government does not possess that authority.


  big brother, coronavirus, petition, police state, vaccines

Opinion

Too many pro-LGBT activists, politicians are Catholic school graduates

From the founder of the Human Rights Campaign to Joe Biden, baptized Catholics are well represented among those in favor of destroying the traditional family.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 8:00 am EST
Featured Image
Former .V.P Joe Biden grows irritated while defending calling V.P. Mike Pence 'a decent guy.' YouTube screenshot
Joseph Sciambra
By

May 12, 2020 (Sons of St. Joseph) — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest LGBT advocacy group in the US. Founded in 1980 by Steve Endean, a self-described “Midwestern Catholic boy” who once considered the priesthood, Endean found some initial support in the Catholic Church when he held LGBT advocacy meetings (a group later organized into the Gay Rights Legislative Committee) at the Newman Center when he was a student at the University of Minnesota during the early 1970s. Endean’s early concerns were focused on influencing local elections to further the burgeoning gay rights movement. Another pioneering LGBT rights group (active in the 1970s) was the National Gay Task Force that included Jesuit priest Robert Carter as one of its original founders. Endean died of AIDS in 1993.

According to HRC’s “Mission Statement”:

The Human Rights Campaign envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

HRC is incredibly active on the local, state, and federal levels to support and influence policy and legislation that might concern the LGBT community; HRC has advocated for same-sex marriage, LGBT-inclusive educational programs at schools, and state and federal laws that prohibit so called “conversion” or reparative therapy. HRC boldly states:

The Human Rights Campaign, along with tens of thousands of advocates, works around the clock to lobby members of Congress on critical legislation that would greatly affect the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that HRC gained popular national recognition during the lead-up to the Supreme Court decision (Obergefell v. Hodges) in 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage in the US. The HRC logo (the equal sign) became an unofficial symbol for the same-sex marriage cause. During this period of time (2012–2019), the Executive Director of HRC was Chad Griffin. A graduate of Jesuit Georgetown University, in 2013 Griffin spoke about his Catholic education and how he believed that it does not prohibit same-sex marriage:

Nowhere, ever, did it tell me to oppose a right that I might have. Or to support discrimination against my brothers and sisters.

The objectives of the HRC are not limited to simply influencing secular governments; the group also maintains a keen interest in assisting those who want to change the teachings of the Catholic Church that pertain to homosexuality and gender issues. On their website, the HRC makes available a downloadable guide entitled: “Coming Home to Catholicism and to Self.” There are separate guides that target other religions, such as: Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism. The Catholic “guide” relies heavily on the opinions of Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministry and representatives from the pro-LGBT dissident groups Dignity and Call to Action. In HRC’s Catholic guide, Gramick stated:

Historically, the Christian church has changed how it views sexuality but only officially after the change first occurred at the bottom, among the people. As a community, when we listen to each other’s stories, and feel for each other, we’ll experience a change of attitude.

She continued:

[Pope] Francis says don’t obsess on cultural issues. He asks us to be obsessed with loving people, with supporting people, with having compassion. That’s the first step.

Gramick was officially silenced by the Vatican in 1999, an order which she ignored, and in 2010 the USCCB declared that New Ways Ministry “has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church” to speak on the LGBT issue. Regardless, in 2016 Jesuit priest James Martin accepted the “Bridge Building Award” from Gramick and News Ways Ministry — and the address he delivered at the ceremony served as a basis for his book “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.” Since then, Martin has repeatedly recommended New Ways Ministry and participated in their various conferences and events. Via his official social media accounts, Martin regularly criticizes reparative therapy and has encouraged bishops to do the same.

In 2020, Martin was interviewed by HRC for a feature article: “Bridging the Gap: Welcoming LGBTQ People into the Church This Easter” and in a promotional video for the HRC website. Regarding his recent meeting with Francis at the Vatican, Martin said:

I was just advocating. I was just bringing the voices of LGBT people into that room with me and that’s what I felt like my mission was — to be their voice. And [Pope Francis] was very inspiring and encouraging and positive.

On May 6, 2020, presidential candidate and Catholic-born Joe Biden received the official endorsement of HRC. According to HRC:

[Biden’s] LGBTQ platform is the most comprehensive LGBTQ equality plan by a presumptive presidential nominee in our nation’s history.

On Biden’s official campaign website is a special page dedicated to LGBT issues: “THE BIDEN PLAN TO ADVANCE LGBTQ+ EQUALITY IN AMERICA AND AROUND THE WORLD.” Including restoration of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and the banning of reparative therapy (this would include the passage of the “Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2019” which would prohibit reparative therapy for any individual, including adults), the centerpiece of Biden’s plan is the enactment of the “Equality Act” during his first 100 days as President. The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Among other problematic features, the Equality Act would prohibit all religious exemptions — for example, if churches or religious institutions prohibited employees from engaging in homosexual behavior, they would be in violation of the Equality Act.

In 2016 Biden obtained an officiating certification in order to “marry” a male same-sex couple. As Vice-President, Biden attended Mass at the Jesuit parish of Holy Trinity in Washington DC. The parish is home to an “LGBTQIA+ Ministry.” Also in 2016, Vice-Presidential nominee and Catholic-born Tim Kaine (an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act) stated, during a speech at an HRC event, that one day the Catholic Church would accept same-sex marriage. Kaine graduated from an all-boys Jesuit high-school and later served as a Jesuit missionary.

The current Chaplain for the US House of Representatives is Jesuit priest Patrick Conroy. He is also a supporter of the pro-LGBT Catholic ministry “Out at St. Paul” which is located at the Paulist parish of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City. Conroy appeared in a series of testimonial videos created by the ministry; it included a same-sex couple who are also members of “Out at St. Paul.” One of the men stated:

If we leave it, if we abandon the Church then it’s never going to change. So we have to continue living here, being an example and encouraging other people to be that example because that’s what’s going to change the Church.

Published with permission from the Sons of St. Joseph.


  catholic, georgetown university, homosexuality, human rights campaign, james martin, jeannine gramick, joe biden, lgbt tyranny, new ways ministry

Blogs

Telltale signs that your child may be viewing pornography during lockdown

Too many parents still fail to realize that screen time can be genuinely dangerous.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 7:39 pm EST
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Ternavskaia Olga Alibec / Shutterstock.com
Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Throughout the course of the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve consistently noted that parents need to be even more vigilant than usual. With many children spending far more time than usual in front of screens, it is necessary for parents to be aware of the fact that even entertainment targeted at children is now infused with a sexual and progressive agenda — and worse, that the porn industry is specifically targeting children by tagging hardcore porn content with the names of characters from Disney films and Paw Patrol.

Schooling is also moving largely online, a trend that many schools were pursuing prior to the lockdown, a move I believe is a mistake — the last thing children need these days is more screen time. (Educators defend this move by saying kids need to learn how to be tech-savvy in a digital world, but I’ve seen toddlers using a smartphone with frightening adeptness — it is far more likely that children will not learn how to handwrite than not be able to work a digital device.) And the longer kids spend online, the more opportunities the porn companies have to win new customers.

One tech expert wryly observed a few years ago that first human beings invent a new technological device, and then they figure out how to watch porn on it. This is also true, as it turns out, for the devices children in lockdown are being provided for educational purposes. Parents are responding to this unfortunately predictable outcome with appropriate alarm. According to one news outlet in Oregon, it has now been “estimated that most kids have viewed pornography while online — some intentionally and others unintentionally.”

One mother, Emerald Cumberland, was “blown away” to discover that “her 10-year-old son has been searching for pornography on his school learning device” after her husband checked the boy’s browser history. Experts are now warning parents that they should have filters on their digital devices (I recommend Covenant Eyes) and that they should be watching their children very carefully, especially if they are spending more time using a device in the bathroom or during the night. Those are key, tell-tale signs that the child is viewing pornography.

Too many parents still fail to realize that screen time can be genuinely dangerous, especially if the device they have provided to their child is unfiltered and unrestricted. Many parents believe that it “won’t be my kid,” and those parents are wrong. The documentary Over 18, for example, followed the story of a young boy named Joseph who began using hardcore porn at age 9. He was homeschooled and began looking at porn sitting across the kitchen table from his mother. Porn is everywhere, and millions of children — children — are viewing it every day. That very well may include your children.

While filters on digital devices and your home Wi-Fi connection are important, nothing can replace having open conversations with your children. I recognize that these subjects can be difficult to broach, which is why some time ago I had a conversation with an expert on the subject — Kristen Jenson of Protect Young Minds — on my LifeSiteNews podcast. Many parents will be spending far more time with their children than usual right now, especially as most schools have not yet re-opened. This is the perfect opportunity to talk to your children about the danger pornography poses to their future, minds, and souls.

A final note: I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I know that the temptation for many parents right now is to put their kids in front of screens to distract them for a while or gain a few hours’ respite from an exhausting and hectic day. If you are doing that, please, please be watching what they are watching like a hawk.

If they have a smartphone, don’t let them take it to bed with them at night. Make them leave it with you.

Don’t allow them to be in a private area with screens.

As parents in Oregon found out the hard way, most kids have already viewed pornography online during the COVID-19 lockdowns. We have a responsibility to ensure that our children are protected from these digital toxins — now more than ever.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Scott Klusendorf about the fundamental flaw Klusendorf sees in the idea of locking down the country under the guise of preventing people from getting coronavirus.  

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


  coronavirus, lockdown, pornography, quarantine, technology

Blogs

Cardinal Müller and Bishop Schneider defend signing Archbishop Viganò’s corona crisis appeal

The signers of the appeal have been accused of being 'conspiracy theorists'.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 5:26 pm EST
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Cardinal Gerhard Müller | Bishop Athanasius Schneider
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller and Bishop Schneider, two signatories of the recent Appeal concerning the corona crisis written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, have now both responded to sharp criticisms of this Appeal. 

Müller reveals that none of his fellow German bishops who criticize him have contacted him personally, adding that “it would have been more urgent for the German bishops to agree in their dioceses on the New Evangelization” or to protest against the “persecution of Christians” in the world.

In the face of the strong reaction against this “Appeal for the Church and the World”, Bishop Schneider feels now reminded of the strategy of totalitarian regimes to silence opponents and to avoid a discussion of the facts.

Both Cardinal Müller and Bishop Schneider have made their comments for the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, which will soon publish longer texts by them. 

In his new statement, Cardinal Müller said that “it would have been more urgent for the German bishops to agree in their dioceses on the New Evangelization as proposed by Pope Francis; or loudly to protest against the persecution of Christians in the world, instead of working themselves up over a three-page document which certainly is not the last word on the subject – as is also the case with some documents of the German Bishops' Conference – but which is certainly an appeal for reflection.”

The German cardinal had stated already last Sunday that “everybody calls now people of a different opinion conspiracy theorists,” adding: “Of course, interested circles within the Church have used this Viganò text in order to use it to make indignant capital against their supposed opponents.” 

Bishop Schneider, in his own response as to why he has signed this May 7 Appeal written by Archbishop Viganò, stated that he feels reminded of the strategy of totalitarian regimes to silence the opponent instead of taking in the facts. 

Bishop Schneider insists upon a fair and honest debate and also warns against the possible danger of forced vaccinations which do not permit any alternate paths.

“Thereby,” Schneider explained, “the citizens are being habituated to forms of a technocratic and centrally directed tyranny, which paralyzes civil courage, independent thinking and especially any form of resistance.”

Both prelates respond to criticism, especially in Germany, with regard to the May 7 Appeal that called into question the world-wide response of lockdowns and strong restrictions of freedoms of citizens as measures against the coronavirus outbreak. The signatories of this Appeal – among them two other cardinals, Joseph Zen and Janis Pujats – are concerned for the Church and the world that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used as a “pretext” by world leaders to “control” people, strip them of their fundamental rights, while providing a “disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control.” They also reminded the public of the liberty of the Catholic Church who “firmly asserts her autonomy to govern, worship, and teach,” thus making clear that the state has not the authority to decide over church closures. So far, more than 34,000 people have signed this text.

In Germany, the head of the German Bishops' Conference distanced himself from this Appeal, and the German bishops' official news website Katholisch.de especially picked out Cardinal Gerhard Müller as one of the signatories. They especially call this group of prelates, as well as numerous journalists, experts, and priests who also signed this Appeal, “conspiracy theorists.” Even the successor of Cardinal Müller in the Diocese of Regensburg, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer felt compelled to distance himself from this Appeal. Other major German newspapers such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung have joined the public indignation over this Appeal. 

The Italian church historian Professor Roberto de Mattei had also made some distancing remarks. Speaking with the Tagespost, he argued that the bishops are leaving their field of expertise – which is that of theology and morality – when making such statements on health matters and politics.

For him, it is understandable when people criticize the interdiction of public Masses and of the administration of the Sacraments during the pandemic. However, he is perplexed when “bishops make statements on the field of health measures taken by government, since this is beyond their field of expertise which is, after all, a theological and moral one.”

At the same time, the Italian professor considers it to be legitimate when laymen, according to their own competence, discuss political, economical, or social measures taken by individual governments. Such debate is legitimate, even though one's opinion should not be turned into dogmas, “since the science of medicine is neither based on Divine Revelation nor on the natural law.”


  appeal for the church and the world, athanasius schneider, carlo maria viganò, catholic, coronavirus, gerhard muller, roberto di mattei, vaccines

Blogs

Famous Catholic Convert reveals his take on Pope Francis

Steve Ray converted to Catholicism in his late 30s. He believes there are elements in the Catholic Church trying to change the deposit of faith.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 4:48 pm EST
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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Today I had the chance to speak with well-known Catholic apologist, author, and veteran tour guide of the Holy Land Steve Ray about a wide variety of topics, including his thoughts on Pope Francis.

A former Baptist, Steve shared with me what it was like converting to Catholicism and what his views are on the coronavirus and the crisis in the church.

“I was born and raised Baptist, a very anti-Catholic family. My mom and dad were converted at a Billy Graham crusade in 1953,” he said. “I was born a year later, raised Baptist. And I have to say, that even though I discovered the fullness of the Catholic Church, I have no regrets for the way I was raised because my mom and dad gave me great schooling.” 

Steve and I also talked about the coronavirus and how the Church is responding to it.

“I'm very disappointed in the whole way that thing has happened,” he said. “I see people hiding themselves and closing the churches and being afraid.” 

“I don't want my priest to die [but] there seems to be a lack of the sense of heroism or courage that the clergy have demonstrated in the past…I just don't see the same sense of urgency and heroics that I did in the past with other situations in history.”

“I'm amazed,” he added, at “how quiet bishops, priests and the Catholic people had been.”

Steve told me he is “worried” that after the coronavirus has passed things may not go back to normal. 

“I'm afraid that we’ll get used to watching TV masses and think, you know what, this is kind of comfortable. I’ll just have a cup of coffee and watch it on TV.”

Our conversation then turned to Pope Francis, as I wanted Steve’s unique perspective on what’s going on in the church today.

“In some ways there are people in leadership of the church today who would like to be able to change [the deposit of faith]. And you know what? It makes me angry, I have to say, because this is my heritage as a Catholic. Jesus gave this not just to the pope. He gave it to all of us. We have a right to the truth and a right to the untarnished truth, the way it was handed on by the apostles and bishops of the early church and the doctors of the church and the councils. This is our right.”

“We have a right to the truth and the fullness of the truth. And I feel that there are elements in the church today trying to reach in that [deposit of faith] and change things around — put things in and take things out. And frankly, I object.”

He added: “I came into the Catholic Church because of certainty. And now, 27 years later, I see in the Catholic Church a lot of uncertainty, which is confusing people, causing people to be distressed.”

Last September, Steve was asked by the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher to give a talk on how a John Paul II Catholic can survive in a Pope Francis world.

Astonished by the request, he wondered if they were serious. “Yes!” he said. They felt that there was “something not right going on in the Vatican” and so they wanted me to talk about Pope Francis.

He also told me that he considers himself a “very loyal Catholic to the Church, to Mother Church, to the councils of the Church and to the office of the papacy."

But, “we have had good popes and we've had bad popes. We've had eloquent popes and some less elegant. Some that talk not enough and some who talk too much. Some who are more careful what they say and some were less careful what they say.”

“And not all of them were brilliant. Some of them were not. All were not saints. Some are great sinners. But it didn't change the fact that this is the Church and that men come and go in that chair. But my goal of being a Catholic is, I'm not here because of Peter, Paul, or Pope Francis. I'm here because of Jesus Christ. It's His Church. The popes come and go, but the Church will last forever. And I'm with the Church.”

Steve also explained to me the Church’s teaching on papal infallibility and how scripture, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine all support the idea that Catholics ought to resist the pope when it is proper to do so. In fact, he wrote about how Catholics should do that in a book he authored titled The Papacy: What the Pope Does and Why it Matters

If you want to hear more from Steve, visit his website CatholicConvert.com to read his many essays and watch his videos. 

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

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

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  catholic convert, catholicism, conversion, pope francis, steve ray, the john-henry westen show

Blogs

Netflix defends packing shows with LGBT ‘representation’: ‘every gay person is very necessary’

One 2017 list counted a whopping 57 shows on the platform featuring gay characters.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 4:04 pm EST
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rafapress / Shutterstock.com
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: No to mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus Sign the petition here.

May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Even in a world as uniformly left wing as Hollywood, Netflix’s wokeness stands out, from leading the pro-abortion mob against Georgia to controversial productions such as The Two Popes.

But one of the most pervasive manifestations of the streaming platform’s priorities is its glut of LGBT content. “LGBTQ” is a specific searchable genre, and one 2017 list counted a whopping 57 shows on the platform featuring gay characters.

Naturally, not everyone is impressed, as evidenced by this tweet going viral last week:

The visual apparently resonated with enough people that Netflix’s social media team felt the need to respond in the most condescending way possible:

“Every person is necessary” is certainly a lovely sentiment (if a little hard to swallow coming from a company that was outraged by a state deciding all of its people deserve a chance to make it out of the womb). Here’s the thing, though – fictional characters aren’t people. 

Saturating your programming lineup with gay or transgender characters – to the point where the American population that consumes this stuff overestimates what percentage of the country is actually LGBT – isn’t an affirmation of LGBT humanity or equality. It’s pandering, a statement about who matters the most to you. It’s trading one type of uniformity for another and calling it “diverse.” 

And it’s a perfectly natural reaction for viewers to roll their eyes at – or worse, become bored by – having the same theme beaten over their heads with every other series. To be sure, the decision to cater to the LGBT community and social-justice crowd to the exclusion of the mainstream is Netflix’s prerogative … but the company would do well to ask itself whether it really thinks demeaning the customers it alienates is a viable strategy for long-term growth.


  entertainment, gay characters, hollywood, homosexualty, lgbt, lgbt representation, netflix, pop culture, television

Blogs

‘Politically correct’ modifications to prayers do not help the Church to know the truth

In the reformed liturgy, to the detriment of the people, the language is softer and 'nicer.'
Tue May 12, 2020 - 7:30 am EST
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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) -- If one pays close attention to the differences between older (pre-Vatican II) and newer (post-Vatican II) prayers that are supposed to be for the same intention, one sees ample evidence of a disturbing tendency: the “doctoring” of prayers to say something softer and “nicer” than they used to say. This was no mere accident; it was part of a deliberate program to encourage a vaguer sort of ecumenism — one that did not have conversion as its goal — and to downplay real differences between Catholics and other Christians, between Christians and Jews, between believers and unbelievers, and so forth. The problem is that in downplaying the differences, one also downplays their serious consequences for the sanctification and salvation of souls. In other words, one risks betraying Christ Himself, who is the Truth and who calls us to a total assent to the full truth.

I will illustrate this problem with three striking examples: two drawn from the sacred liturgy and one drawn from popular devotion.

My first example is the Collect for the feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, the great Counter-Reformation Doctor of the Church whose feast is traditionally celebrated tomorrow, May 13th. (In the revision of the general calendar in 1969, his feast was moved to September 17th.) In the traditional Latin Mass, the Collect goes as follows:

O God, who didst adorn blessed Robert Thy Bishop and Doctor with wondrous learning and virtue that he might lay bare the snares of error and maintain the rights of the Apostolic See: grant by his merits and intercession that we may grow in love of the truth, and that the hearts of the wayward may return to the unity of Thy Church.

In the Novus Ordo Missae, the foregoing prayer, dating from 1932, was replaced with this:

O God, who adorned the Bishop Saint Robert Bellarmine with wonderful learning and virtue to vindicate the faith of your Church, grant, through his intercession, that in the integrity of that same faith your people may always find joy.

Note how openly the traditional Collect speaks of “laying bare the snares of error” and of upholding “the rights of the Apostolic See” against the Protestant reformers, and prays that “the wayward may return to the unity of Thy Church.” In the newly-published book The Traditional Mass: History, Form, and Theology of the Classical Roman Rite, Michael Fiedrowicz comments:

This (older) prayer does not lessen the charism of this saint, but rather increases it. It was precisely his astute refutation of the Protestant errors that made Cardinal Bellarmine the Catholic theological controversialist most feared by the Protestant Reformers, and to whose refutation several “cathedrae anti-Bellarminianae” (anti-Bellarmine professorships) were established. Furthermore, it is only the traditional prayer that speaks of the necessity of a return of heretics to the true religion of the Catholic Faith. The classical missal opposes an abandonment of the so-called ecumenism of return, the conviction of the Church of all ages that all confessions are in no way equally on the path to truth. The traditional orations recall in an uncomfortable way that in questions of faith there are not only various opinions, but also errors that must be overcome, or at least fought against. An abandonment of this battle would amount to a victory of relativism. (245–46)

My second example is from the Good Friday orations. In the usus antiquior or Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite (whether its Tridentine recension or the revised Holy Week of Pius XII), the Church prays as follows:

Let us pray also for heretics and schismatics: that our God and Lord would rescue them from all their errors, and vouchsafe to recall them to our holy Mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church. ... O almighty and everlasting God, who savest all, and willest not that anyone should perish: look upon the souls of those deceived by the wiles of the devil; that all heretical perverseness being removed, the hearts of those in error may become reasonable again and may return to the unity of Thy truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ … Amen.

University of Dallas theologian Dr. Christopher Malloy points out on his blog Theological Flint:

The Extraordinary Form of the Mass instructs us with careful precision on the precise goal of our prayers for all those in the world who are not Catholic. … These prayers instruct us clearly about the objectively grave state (of deprivation) in which those who are not Catholic live. Deprived of so many gifts and truths present or taught only in the Catholic Church, they face grave difficulties in coming to eternal salvation. It is understandable that non-Catholics would not agree to this proposition. What is sad is that Catholics have forgotten this element of faith. Only in the Catholic Church can one find the fullness of the means of salvation (Vatican II, Unitatis redintegratio, art. 3).

In the Novus Ordo, however, the analogous prayer on Good Friday has been rewritten as “For the unity of Christians” and reads:

Let us pray also for all our brothers and sisters who believe in Christ, that our God and Lord may be pleased, as they live the truth, to gather them together and keep them in his one Church. Almighty ever-living God, who gather what is scattered and keep together what you have gathered, look kindly on the flock of your Son, that those whom one Baptism has consecrated may be joined together by integrity of faith and united in the bond of charity. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

This may sound a lot nicer and less scary and more “generous,” but, in fact, it is a disservice both to Catholics — insofar as it does not communicate the full teaching of our own Church on the evils that weigh down those in error and the necessity of clinging to revealed dogmatic truths — and to separated Christians themselves, because they would never be able to see, in the nebulous witness of such a liturgy, that they are lacking in something of essential importance. In other words, the lex orandi or the way we pray has distorted, or at any rate, inadequately conveyed, the lex credendi or beliefs we ought to profess. Exactly the same pattern obtains here as in the old and new Collects for St. Robert Bellarmine.

My third example comes from the popular Divine Mercy novena that many Catholics pray from Good Friday until Low Sunday or the octave day of Easter.

In the original wording that St. Faustina Kowalska copied down, piously believed to be from divine dictation, the texts for Easter Tuesday read as follows:

Today bring to Me the souls of heretics and schismatics and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of heretics and schismatics. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of heretics and schismatics, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your Own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.

This original formulation can still be found on the internet

Some time after the Second Vatican Council, someone (I have not been able to find out exactly who) in charge of the Divine Mercy devotion in the United States decided that this language wasn’t going to cut it anymore and modified the texts so that they would conform to the new theological fashion:

Today bring to me the souls who have separated from my Church and immerse them in the ocean of my mercy. … Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated from Your Church. … Eternal Father, turn Your Merciful gaze upon the souls of those who are separated from Your Son’s Church, especially those who have squandered Your Blessings and misused Your Graces by obstinately persisting in their errors.

The website of the Marian Fathers offers a somewhat lame explanation of the change, saying, basically, that “after the Council we don’t speak that way anymore.” But why? What was erroneous or misleading about the Collect of St. Robert Bellarmine, the Good Friday prayer, or St. Faustina’s texts? They are general prayers and, as such, do not attribute degrees of culpability to any individuals. They simply point to an objectively deficient, harmful, and serious situation, and ask God in His mercy to rescue those who may be trapped in it. This is true mercy: to speak the full truth in real charity for the salvation of souls.

As Dr. Malloy points out:

Schism and heresy are gravely evil. Those who live in schism and heresy are thus in a gravely evil state. Why? Heresy is the denial of God’s truths. But knowing God’s truths leads us to heaven. Schism is the denial of the ecclesial communion and authority, but Christ guides us through the hierarchy. How well can we act when we go it alone? Or when we go with a community that goes off on its own? 

Now, what if it is not their fault? 1) God alone judges the heart; it is not our business to judge the heart. 2) God has charged us with a mandate: to preach the truth in season and out of season. 3) Even if they are “not at fault” for schism and heresy, they nonetheless necessarily lack many of the graces that will speed their sanctity and more securely provide for their salvation. Let us not fail God’s charge (#2) because we acknowledge our incapacity to judge (#1), because if we fail to offer the good news to everyone, we sin against our neighbor by leaving him in the darkness of error (#3). Although invincible ignorance cannot condemn us (#1), neither can it save us (#3).

Once again, and always, we see that the integral, all-encompassing lex credendi or creed of Roman Catholicism is found intact in the lex orandi of the traditional Roman rite of the Mass and of all the other sacramental rites, consecrations, blessings, and devotions that exist in its ambit. It is not to be found in the reformed liturgy of Paul VI or in anything that has been forcibly conformed to its fashion.


  catholic, collect prayers, novus ordo, post-vatican ii, pre-vatican ii, robert bellarmine, sister faustina

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EpisodesTue May 12, 2020 - 5:30 pm EST

Famous Catholic Convert reveals his take on Pope Francis

By John-Henry Westen   Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

Steve Ray converted to Catholicism in his late 30s after being raised Baptist. After studying Catholic theology on worship and authority, he entered the Catholic Church in 1994 on Pentecost Sunday. Today, he speaks with John-Henry about the coronavirus and the crisis in the Catholic Church. "There are elements in the church today trying to reach in that [deposit of faith] and change things around — put things in and take things out. And frankly, I object.”