All articles from May 19, 2020


News

Legal group warns Alberta govt for ‘singling out’ houses of worship in COVID reopening plan

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms expressed outrage at Alberta's 'stark contrast' in treatment between houses of worship and restaurants.
Tue May 19, 2020 - 8:29 pm EST
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Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta. cpac / YouTube
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
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CALGARY, Alberta, May 19, 2020 (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms) — The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca) has issued a legal warning letter to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney over his government’s arbitrary and unscientific treatment of houses of worship compared to restaurants and bars.

“There is a glaring difference between treatment of restaurants and bars, and treatment of houses of worship, when it comes to the permissible numbers of people, social distancing, the service of food, the requirement to record the names of Albertans who enter the building, the spacing of cars, and other important issues,” states lawyer and Justice Centre president John Carpay.

The Alberta government’s regulations for restaurants and for houses of worship are reprinted below.

When Alberta’s restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars re-open, they cannot exceed 50% capacity, but there is no limit to the number of customers allowed in at one time. So, a large restaurant that seats 300 people can still serve 150 customers at a time.

In contrast, houses of worship must reduce attendance to 50 people or one third (not 50% like restaurants) of normal worship service attendance, whichever is smaller. This means that a large temple that seats 1,000 or 2,000 people must still limit its attendance to only 50 people.

“Why are churches and mosques limited to 50 people when large restaurants can host 100 or 200 people?” asks Carpay.

Under Alberta’s relaunch regulations, diners at restaurants can sit together at the same table, even if they are not from the same household. In stark contrast, worshipers from differing households are required to maintain six-foot social distancing “at all times,” unless they live in the same household. 

PETITION: Tell politicians not to discriminate against churches when reopening society! Sign the petition here.

“Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, has been saying for more than nine weeks that six-feet social distancing is as a life-saving necessity. Why is it suddenly fine for six restaurant patrons from six different families to sit side-by-side, one or two feet apart? Where is the science to support a completely different standard for churches?” continues Carpay.

Houses of worship are told they cannot provide “cooked food, open food, or beverages.” This attacks the central and long-standing Sikh tradition and practice of feeding all people, Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike, who come to the temple.

“Why is it not good enough for a Sikh temple — and other houses of worship — to adhere to the same standards that are imposed on restaurants?” asks Carpay.

Restaurants will see dozens or hundreds of unrelated strangers come and go every day, seven days a week. In contrast, most houses of worship have gatherings once per week, but are largely empty the other six days.

The Alberta government will also continue to ban communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper: “Services must not include sharing food or beverages. Services must not include any contact between congregants such as hand shaking or the sharing of communal items (e.g. communion chalice).” Restaurants serve food on plates that have been touched by at least several people and then carried through the restaurant past other patrons before being placed in front of the customer. In contrast, in Catholic churches the priest is the only person who touches the communion bread prior to its distribution directly to the communicant. [LifeSite editors’ note: According to the Catholic faith, the consecrated bread becomes the body of Jesus.]

“Why is Jason Kenney preventing Catholics from receiving communion, which is the focal point of their faith, when restaurants can serve food to customers from different households who are seated together at the same table?” questions Carpay.

The Alberta Government demands that if houses of worship host “drive-in” services, “[v]ehicles should be separated by a minimum of two metres.” No such requirement is imposed at Tim Hortons drive-throughs, where staff serve hundreds of customers every day, handing food and beverages to cars that are very close to the serving windows. 

“Social distancing is a crucial life-saving measure, or it is not. Why single out houses of worship with this requirement?” points out Carpay.

The Alberta Government now directs houses of worship to “keep a listing of congregants who were present for services” and “maintain an up-to-date contact list for all staff and volunteers, including names, addresses and phone numbers.”

“Stores, restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bars do not have to inform the Alberta government about who their patrons are, let alone ask patrons for their addresses and phone numbers. Why should houses of worship be any different?” asks Carpay.

“Only in a police state is the government interested in tracking and recording the activities and movements of citizens,” the lawyer notes.

The Alberta Government also prohibits social gathering before and after worship services: “Social activities (e.g. communal dinners, lunches) outside of services are not permitted.” In contrast, restaurants are permitted to serve dinners and lunches every day, serving far more food to far more people than houses of worship do.

“If the government’s goal is to ‘reduce the spread,’ why are restaurants permitted to serve food while houses of worship may not?” says Carpay.

“In the course of a ‘gradual’ re-opening, which the Alberta Government claims as its goal, what is the rational and scientific basis for all these differences? At best, it appears that they are explained by a philosophy or worldview that sees restaurants as far more important than churches. At worst, these differences are an expression of anti-religious sentiments, and a dismissal of people’s essential need to worship and practice their faith,” concludes Carpay.

For more information contact:

John Carpay
Phone: 403-619-8014
Email: [email protected][email protected]


Alberta government guidelines for houses of worship

It is critically important that places of worship understand the potential for spread within their congregation and take steps to minimize the risk of spread and the impacts of COVID-19 on some high-risk populations. Places of worship should also follow the Workplace Guidance for Business Owners. Worship leaders are encouraged to continue to hold services remotely and using other creative mechanisms such as drive-in services.

All places of worship should follow the public health guidance below and review their programming and worship services to keep everyone, especially the most vulnerable, safe.

COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Supporting Congregants’ Safety

· Staff, visitors and congregation should use the self-assessment tool before attending. · Offer multiple services and opportunities to worship to reduce the attendance to 50 people or one third of normal worship service attendance, whichever is smaller and whichever ensures physical distancing will be maintained. · Staff, visitors, and congregation should be provided information on the requirements for operation and the importance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. · Consider posting signs indicating COVID-19 physical distancing protocols. · Physical distancing must be maintained between people who are not from the same household at all times. · Staff, visitors, and congregation may choose to wear non-medical masks, however, it is not required if physical distancing is maintained at all times. · Infants and children should remain with their parents or guardians at all times. Nursery/children’s church is not permitted. · Individuals not from the same household should be reminded to maintain physical distancing when returning to vehicles or homes. · Consider having cohort families, whereby two cohort families sit together with sufficient spacing between them and other cohort family pairs. Supporting Staff and Religious Leaders · Religious leaders should support COVID-19 prevention activities, procedures, and education. · Staff and volunteers should be given information and training about appropriate physical distancing, processes, and hygiene practices. · Staff should wear appropriate PPE if they are unable to maintain 2 metres of separation from congregants. Facilities · Control and stagger entry into facilities. · Congregant lineups should be reminded of the importance of physical distancing. This should be clearly marked to prevent congestion. · Organizations should maintain a single point of entry and a separate point of exit. · Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol content must be available at facility entrance and exit and available throughout the venue. · Congregants should be reminded to clean their hands on entry and exit. · Develop and implement procedures for increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of high traffic areas, common areas, public washrooms. · Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch/shared surfaces such as: doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, faucets and taps, elevator buttons, railings. · Facilities should be cleaned and sanitized at least once between services. · Seating should be arranged or marked (in case of pews) to ensure social distancing. · Facility rental programs should be suspended if they cannot adhere to gathering restrictions.

COVID-19 INFORMATION GUIDANCE FOR PLACES OF WORSHIP
alberta.ca/BizConnect Email: [email protected] ©2020 Government of Alberta | Published: May 2020

Cultural and Religious Practices · Services should not include providing cooked food, open food, or beverages. · Services must not include sharing food or beverages. · Services must not include any contact between congregants such as hand shaking or the sharing of communal items (e.g. communion chalice). · Social activities (e.g. communal dinners, lunches) outside of services are not permitted. Singing · Congregational singing is a high-risk activity and is not allowed. Infected people can transmit the virus through their saliva or respiratory droplets while singing. Consider soloist music or piano/guitar offertories as an alternative. · While there is no evidence of exactly what a safe distance would be to prevent transmission from someone singing, if one or two people are singing as part of a live streamed or recorded service, factors that would reduce risk would be having the singers face away from others, or having barriers (e.g. Plexiglass) that separate those singing from each other and any others, and ensuring that there are no individuals with chronic medical conditions or those over 65 present. · Note that if the singers are members of the same household, risk mitigation between them would be unnecessary. Drive in Services · Drive-in services may be held in designated parking lots or staging areas, and must meet the following conditions: o Event organizers must have measures in place to keep people from leaving their vehicles at the service. o Vehicles should be separated by a minimum of two metres. o Where washroom access is provided, frequent cleaning and disinfection must occur. o People leaving their vehicles to use the washrooms must maintain a minimum of two metres of separation from others at all times. Support for Public Health · To enable management of cases through contact tracing and follow-up, keep a listing of congregants who were present for services. · Maintain an up-to-date contact list for all staff and volunteers, including names, addresses and phone numbers.

Alberta government guidelines for restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs
GUIDANCE FOR RESTAURANTS, CAFES, PUBS, AND BARS alberta.ca/BizConnect Email: [email protected] ©2020 Government of Alberta | Published: May 2020

Overview This document should be used to support operators in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among guests and workers in restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars. Operators should also follow the Workplace Guidance for Business Owners and are required to follow the Food Regulation and Food Retail and Foodservices Code. Contact your local Public Health Inspector with Alberta Health Services for more information. COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Dining Areas · Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars must operate at no more than 50% seating capacity. Outdoor patio seating areas must also be at 50% capacity or less. · Arrange tables and chairs so that a 2-metre distance is maintained between each dining party. · Aisles should be wide enough to allow room for people to maintain physical distancing. Consider using one-way traffic flow help maintain distancing. · Physical barriers should be installed where tables cannot be adequately separated. For example, heighten barriers between adjoined booths. · Businesses should facilitate ways to prevent infection transmission, such as: o The use of dividers between booths or tables, o Setting limits on the number of patrons per table, based on size. A maximum number of patrons sitting together at larger tables should be 6. o Removing chairs. · Remove table condiments and other frequently touched items (for example, salt and pepper shakers, ketchup, hot sauce). · Consider keeping music to a low volume to help customers avoid leaning in to hear each another. Entry and Waiting Areas · Control access to the dining area, by asking guests to wait to be seated. · Ensure that customers have space to maintain physical distancing in waiting areas. · Encourage table reservations to prevent lineups. · Where possible, ask guests to wait outside until their table is ready, and use technology to provide notice that a table is ready. · Encourage guests to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content when entering and leaving. Facility · To maintain awareness, post COVID-19 signage throughout the facility. · Washroom capacity must allow for distancing between guests. For example, consider closing alternate urinals. · Thoroughly sanitize each table after customers leave. · Washroom sanitation and supervision should be enhanced. · Staff should perform hand hygiene frequently. COVID-19 INFORMATION GUIDANCE FOR RESTAURANTS, CAFES, PUBS, AND BARS alberta.ca/BizConnect Email: [email protected] ©2020 Government of Alberta | Published: May 2020 Service · All dining must be table service only. · Wait staff and servers who cannot be protected by 2 metres of distance or a physical barrier must wear a cloth or surgical mask. · Digital ordering devices, check presenters and other common touch areas must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after use. · Where reusable menus are used, thoroughly clean and sanitize between clients. Paper menus must be discarded after use. · Use rolled silverware and do not preset tables. The person performing this task must follow hand hygiene practices. · There can be no buffet service or self-service. · Guests dining inside the restaurant must order food and drinks from the table. · Continue to follow existing occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements. Quick Service and Take Out · Demarcate floors with physical distancing markers in areas where line-ups occur. Keep line-ups away from dining areas. · Provide signage and guidance to guests regarding ordering and mobile orders. Amusement · Facilities are open for dining, delivery and take out only. Recreational activities within bars, cafes, or pubs are not allowed at this time. This includes dancing on dance floors, VLT play, billiards, pool tables, karaoke, shisha, hookah and water pipes, and other activities.

Published with permission from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.


  alberta, coronavirus, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, jason kenney, quarantine

News

Chinese government scheming to spread influence inside America, Pompeo warns

The Chinese Communist Party is striving to embed itself in U.S. institutions, Trump's secretary of state declared, and 'we're doing everything we can to push back against that.'
Tue May 19, 2020 - 7:39 pm EST
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U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Gage Skidmore
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By Calvin Freiburger

May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Chinese Communist Party is currently engaged in a variety of operations to gain influence around the world, posing a risk to the national security of the United States, according to recent comments by secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

“The Chinese Communist Party working inside of their own country is one thing; their efforts to create control and influence around the world are quite another, and we have a responsibility to fix that,” Pompeo told Breitbart News this weekend.

One of the top Chinese projects Pompeo was referring to is the regime’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is an effort to develop numerous international partnerships, ostensibly for infrastructure and transportation projects. “Several Asian and African nations have acceded to the Chinese regime’s plans, only to find themselves in serious financial distress afterward,” Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle notes.

China is also working to get its hooks into the United States, Pompeo said.

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“I spoke to the National Governors’ Association a few months back where I shared that they are working to influence governors, mayors, school board members, private business owners to influence them to put the bright face of China on what is actually the Chinese Communist Party that’s seeking to exert their influence here inside the United States,” he explained. “You talked about our universities and our research labs. This is not about good Chinese people working on commercial projects. We find that acceptable. This is about the Chinese Communist Party exerting its influence here in the United States for missions that are deeply connected to the regime in China trying to exert influence in places where it ought not to be, and we’re doing everything we can to push back against that.”

The article goes on to note two cases of American professors, one at Harvard University and another at the University of Arkansas, who were arrested this year for seeking grants and other influential projects without disclosing that they were subsidized by the Chinese government’s “Thousand Talents Plan.”

“President Trump got this right in his campaign,” Pompeo said. “It’s something that presidents of both political parties have ignored for far too long. President Trump has taken it on squarely. You’ve seen it. It’s very public what he’s done on trade to try to make sure that that is fair and reciprocal.”

The secretary’s warnings come as the Chinese government finds itself in the global hot seat for its role in allowing the COVID-19 virus to spread globally while lying to the world about the danger.


  academia, belt and road initiative, china, chinese communist party, donald trump, foreign influence, mike pompeo, thousand talents plan

News

Health Canada approves human trial testing of coronavirus vaccine derived from aborted fetal cell line

Ad5-nCoV tests will be conducted in an ‘accelerated fashion.’
Tue May 19, 2020 - 5:57 pm EST
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Shutterstock.com
Anthony Murdoch
By Anthony Murdoch

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

OTTAWA, May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A Canadian vaccine watchdog group says Canada’s approval of a human clinical trial of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine made from aborted fetal cell lines should “be a concern” for everyone and that rushing a vaccine to market could do more harm than good. 

Pro-abortion Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday that Health Canada approved the coronavirus vaccine Ad5-nCoV to be used in human clinical trials. 

Ted Kuntz, president of Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC), a not-for-profit society founded by families who have suffered from vaccine reactions or injuries, told LifeSiteNews that Canadians should be concerned about the safety of the coronavirus trial vaccine.

“The decision by Health Canada to approve human trial testing for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine should concern us all,” Kuntz said to LifeSiteNews. 

“Bypassing standard and prudent safety protocols and rushing a vaccine to market not only increases the risk of producing a product that will cause more harm than good, it has the very real potential to severely undermine trust in our health professionals, our health agencies, and in the entire vaccine paradigm.”

The vaccine candidate Ad5-nCoV uses the HEK293 cell line that LifeSiteNews reported last week is made from fetal cells harvested from an aborted baby decades ago. The HEK293 cell line was developed and is owned by Canada’s National Research Council (NRC).

On May 12, the NRC announced a collaboration with the Chinese firm CanSino Biologics Inc. (CanSinoBIO) to test and develop Ad5-nCoV in Canada. The trial vaccine Ad5-nCoV was co-developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and CanSinoBIO and has already been used in initial human trials since mid-March in China. 

The clinical trials for Ad5-nCoV will be taking place at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University, which is in Halifax. A total of 600 people will be needed for the trial, according to a CBC report, that will be done in phases. 

Dr. Scott Halperin, the director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University, said to CTV that because of the scale of the coronavirus, his team will not wait for full results from one stage to the next, but rather conduct the tests "in a more accelerated fashion, without sacrificing any safety.” 

Speaking of the coronavirus trial vaccine approval on Saturday, Trudeau said if the “vaccine trials” are successful, the hope is that “we can produce and distribute it here at home.” 

"Research and development take time and must be done right. But this is encouraging news," Trudeau said at his Saturday press conference. 

Kuntz told LifeSiteNews in April that any type of forced vaccination is “morally repugnant” and unconstitutional in reaction to Trudeau, saying he needed time to “reflect” about the possibility of making a coronavirus vaccine mandatory in Canada. 

Alan Moy, M.D., founder and scientific director of the John Paul II Medical Research Institute and CEO of Cellular Engineering Technologies, confirmed for LifeSiteNews last week that Ad5-nCoV was indeed developed from an aborted fetal cell line. 

“Since it’s using an adenovirus replication-defective vector, it is using HEK293. HEK293 is an aborted fetal cell line,” Dr. Moy said to LifeSiteNews.

Moy also told LifeSiteNews that the Ad5-nCoV vaccine being promoted by the Canadian government in collaboration with China may not prove to be very effective because there is a “high incidence of immunity against Ad5.” 

The Health Canada approval was the last hurdle needed to get Ad5-nCoV ready for use in human clinical trials. Ad5-nCoV is the world's first phase 2 coronavirus vaccine, which is approved to “safely” be used in human tests.

Halperin said in the CBC report that Phase 1 testing will be on 100 candidates in the age range of 18 to 55, with Phase 2 expanding to 500 participants in the age range of 18 to 85. 

Phase 3 would be the stage to see "if the vaccine works," said Halperin in the CBC report, and could come “as early as” late summer or the fall. 

Halperin said in the CBC report that Health Canada could potentially approve an “emergency release” of a potential coronavirus vaccine even before Phase 3 is complete. The CBC report said that Halperin noted there are “some talks” that are now taking place on how this could be accomplished. 

The NRC said in its press release that it hopes its collaboration with CanSinoBIO will help it “to advance a scale-up production process for the vaccine candidate, using its proprietary HEK293 cell line.”

Canada’s collaboration with China to test Ad5-nCoV comes despite evidence that China is ground zero for the coronavirus. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is China’s only level four biosafety lab. There has been speculation that the coronavirus somehow escaped from its doors.

In April, it was reported that Trudeau gave close to $1 million of taxpayer money to help fund “research” for new COVID-19 “screening and diagnosis” tools at the Chinese lab where the virus is suspected to have originated.

In the past, Trudeau has openly spoken about his admiration for China. He famously praised China’s “basic dictatorship” while speaking at a Liberal Party fundraising event in 2013 after a reporter asked him which country besides Canada he most admires.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, who has been called out for her response to the coronavirus epidemic, has direct ties to the World Health Organization (WHO). She is one of seven people who sit on the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee (IOAC) for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. 

Despite this fact, the Trudeau government has persisted in backing the WHO, regardless of evidence that it is heavily influenced by the Chinese regime.


  ad5-ncov, alan moy, canadian centre for vaccinology, coronavirus vaccine, covid-19, fetal cell lines, health canada, justin trudeau, theresa tam, vaccine choice canada, wuhan virus

News

YouTube deletes viral COVID-19 video by anti-lockdown epidemiologist

Youtube's CEO says they are removing any content that goes 'against World Health Organization recommendations.'
Tue May 19, 2020 - 4:02 pm EST
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By Calvin Freiburger

May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Social media’s war on dissenting opinions about COVID-19 has come for another expert, this time deleting an epidemiologist’s YouTube video after it amassed 1.3 million views.

Knut Wittkowski is the former head of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design at Rockefeller University’s Center for Clinical & Translational Science, as well as the founder and CEO of drug developer Asdera, LLC. He is an outspoken critic of the lockdowns most states have adopted to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“There is no indication that hospitals could ever have become overloaded, irrespective of what we did,” he told Spiked in an interview last week. “I hope the intervention did not have too much of an impact because it most likely made the situation worse.”

Wittkowski opposes “social distancing,” and argues that society should have instead simply isolated the vulnerable while allowing the rest of society to develop herd immunity.

“The ideal approach would be to simply shut the door of the nursing homes and keep the personnel and the elderly locked in for a certain amount of time, and pay the staff overtime to stay there for 24 hours per day,” he continued. “How long can you do that for? For three weeks, that is possible. For 18 months, it is not.”

Wittkowski blames the present situation on governments rushing to act on the warnings of controversial Imperial College epidemiologist Neil Ferguson instead of organizing an “open discussion, including economists, biologists and epidemiologists, to hear different voices,” which could have identified the “fundamental flaw” in Ferguson’s models.

Now, Wittkowski says YouTube has taken down his video exploring the subject without explanation, the New York Post reports. In the 41-minute video, which can still be viewed at the American Institute for Economic Research’s website, the epidemiologist argues that herd immunity is “the only thing that stops the disease.” (Another part of the interview remains on YouTube.)

“They don’t tell you; they just say it violates our community standards,” Wittkowski says of the takedown. “There’s no explanation for what those standards are or what standards it violated.”

LifeSite contaced Wittkowski for comment, but did not hear back by press time.

Epidemiologists do not all agree with Wittkowski’s application of herd immunity to COVID-19, and his views certainly fall outside the consensus position currently driving most US policy. The Rockefeller Center itself issued a statement expressing the institution’s disagreement. 

However, YouTube did not arrive at its decision to block the video based on a careful analysis of the substantive facts of the question, but rather in deference to the position of its chosen – and controversial – authoritative body.

“Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki declared last month. “And so remove [sic] is another really important part of our policy.”

Critics have faulted the WHO for opposing bans on travel from China that could have limited the virus’s reach, and for legitimizing the false claims coming out of the Chinese government, among other offenses. The Trump administration has suspended US aid to the organization, pending a review.

As of May 19, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19, with more than 92,000 deaths and 360,000 recoveries. A large share of those deaths have come not from the general population but from nursing homes, and mounting evidence suggests far more of the public has contracted and recovered from the virus than the official count indicates. 

In addition, questions remain as to the accuracy of the official death counts, with the Trump administration’s own advisers divided on the matter. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the actual number is “almost certainly higher,” based on the possibility of people dying at home without being checked for COVID-19. Dr. Deborah Birx, however, reportedly suspects that US Centers for Disease Control numbers might be inflated by as much as 25 percent, given the problem of hospitals and health agencies classifying “COVID-19 deaths” as anyone who died after testing positive for the virus, even if the virus was not their actual cause of death.

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


  big tech, coronavirus, covid-19, free speech, herd immunity, knut wittkowski, lockdowns, social distancing, social media censorship, stay-at-home orders, world health organization, youtube

News

Why many Catholic universities ‘betray’ when it comes to abortion: Former Catholic university president

Many Catholic colleges betray Catholic values out of fear
Tue May 19, 2020 - 3:55 pm EST
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By Lianne Laurence

PETITION: Tell politicians not to discriminate against churches when reopening society! Sign the petition here.

TORONTO, May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — When it comes to defending the sanctity of human life, many Catholic colleges would rather “betray their Catholic values” than appear out of step with the secular majority, the former president of St. Michael’s University told the Virtual March for Life Rally last week (interview starts at 1:56:28).

David Mulroney made his remarks during an interview with Josie Luetke, youth coordinator with Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobbying group which organizes the annual March for Life.

The country’s largest pro-life event, the March marks the legalization of abortion on May 14, 1969. This year the event was moved online because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

A graduate of St. Michael’s University and former Canadian ambassador to China, Mulroney said he was asked to return as president when his alma mater was going through a crisis.

Affiliated with the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s “was struggling because it had lost its identity, it had lost its way. So student life was in crisis; the academic life and reputation of the university was in crisis,” said Mulroney, president from 2015 to 2018.

There’s a “real link” between the two, and Catholic universities that have a strong sense of their mission “also tend to be very strong academically,” he said, adding that a stellar example of this is Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ontario.

“I hired some really good people who helped me to work to change some of this” and “one of the things we worked on was to reach out to pro-life students and to encourage participation in the March for Life,” he said.

Mulroney indicated that there is a reason many Catholic universities are soft when it comes to abortion. What he “saw around the abortion issue at St Michael’s,” Mulroney said he also witnessed “around the table” during quarterly meetings with the presidents of Canada’s Catholic universities.

“Around that table was a great deal of fear in the university among academics and among administrators that they might somehow fall afoul of the secular powers that be.”

Catholic universities are often “federated with large, secular universities,” added Mulroney.

“And too many Catholic administrators and teachers would rather betray Catholic values than look somehow apart or out of step with the secular majority.” 

As president, he encouraged pro-life students at St. Michael’s to “go out and find allies,” which included Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins, who marched with the students, the Newman Centre, and the Sisters of Life.

“We also worked with other educational institutions, including evangelical institutions where that respect for life, the flame for life burns so brightly,” he said.

Mulroney advised pro-life students to “go and see your president and ask him or her to support you in your pro-life efforts and if he or she won’t, ask why. Write to the board of the university and ask for their support as well, and find allies, and be proud of your pro-life convictions.”

That was echoed by Florence Lavergne, formerly the Ontario coordinator of the National Campus Life Network (NCLN), who pointed out in a subsequent interview with Luetke that “the age group that has the most abortions are the university ages, so we know it’s the most vulnerable group, so that is why we need to be present there.”

Universities tend to be very “pro-choice” as institutions, with a pro-abortion women’s centre typically funded the student union found on most campuses, she told Luetke.

These are “very much pro-choice places. You’re not welcome to go there if you are pro-life…they’re very upfront.”

Moreover, students in health or social sciences will likely feel they are a minority, and encounter pro-abortion faculty, as Lavergne did when studying at Ottawa University, where one of her professors was an abortionist who told students she went into medicine for that reason.

At the same time, most students don’t have any opinion on the matter, and are “just the mushy middle,” said Lavergne, who is currently finishing her Master’s in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. 

“So, I think the average person is very easy to reach.”

She advised pro-life students to get training before becoming involved in pro-life activism “just to know how to answer the common arguments that come up.”

“When you’re doing activism or any sort of pro-life thing actually, at that moment you’re the face of the pro-life movement, so you want to represent it well,” Lavergne said.

Students can get involved by volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, working on the campaign of pro-life politicians, or starting high school pro-life clubs, she said. 

University students can check the NCLN website to see if there is a pro-life group on their campus and if not, consider starting one.

“I would say it’s not enough to just be pro-life if you’re not doing anything about it,” observed Lavergne. “So that’s the extra step that I challenge every pro-lifer to do.”

To view the May 10 to 15 Virtual March for Life events, visit marchforlife.ca or the March for Life YouTube channel, here.


  abortion, catholic university, david mulroney, florence lavergne, march for life, national march for life, virtual march for life

News

Trump says coronavirus vaccine will be voluntary: ‘Not everyone is going to want to get it’

The new vaccine will be for those 'who want to get it,' President Trump said Friday.
Tue May 19, 2020 - 2:57 pm EST
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President Trump delivers remarks at a coronavirus press briefing Friday, March 20, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Official White House Photo / Shealah Craighead
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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump has stated that a future coronavirus vaccine will be voluntary.   

On Friday, the president introduced “Operation Warp Speed,” an ambitious Manhattan Project-style initiative to fast-track the development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine by January 2021, tapping experts and resources in science, medicine, the military, and the private sector. 

Experts have warned that the plan raises serious ethical and safety questions which are of grave importance not only to pro-life citizens, but to everyone.  

However, President Trump did allay concerns about a mandatory vaccine on Friday, saying that the new vaccine would be for those “who want to get it,” adding, “Not everyone is going to want to get it.”

After he had previously introduced the idea of mobilizing the military to help deploy the new vaccine, some were concerned that this hinted that the drug would be forcibly administered. One website asked, “what will you do when they come to your door, and tell you it’s mandatory?”

Anxiety about possible medical strong-arming by the military easily piggy-backed on top of wide speculation that legislation introduced in Congress earlier this month, known as the TRACE Act – the “COVID-19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everyone Act” –  would result in massive assaults by government agents against the constitutional rights of Americans.

Memes quickly cropped up on social media alleging that government officials could enter homes to forcibly test individuals and remove those who test positive – including children – and place them in government-sanctioned quarantine centers.  

Heavy-handed measures put in place by many governors and mayors hoping to stem the spread of the coronavirus by instituting lockdowns and using police to arrest citizens who engage in what are normally benign daily activities have certainly given cause to Americans to be on high alert.  

Apprehension about the possible curtailing of basic freedoms in response to the pandemic is well founded: Some cities have encouraged residents to snitch on their neighbors suspected of skirting lockdown orders. Citizens across the country have witnessed lone surfers and joggers, moms taking their kids to playgrounds, Christians sitting in their cars in church parking lots, and peaceful pro-life abortion protesters being ticketed or arrested and hauled off by police, despite practicing common sense physical distancing.

Regardless of the President’s assurances, the public remains gravely concerned. In just one week, nearly 440,000 people have signed a LifeSiteNews petition addressed to world leaders opposing a mandatory coronavirus vaccination. 

And while none of the experts LifeSiteNews has spoken to in recent days have expressed concern about forced vaccinations for U.S. citizens, there is still cause for concern in some jurisdictions, such as Canada.

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked by reporters April 28 whether a coronavirus would be mandatory, he said, “As to what sort of vaccination protocols will be in place, we still have a fair bit of time to reflect on that in order to get it right.”


  coronavirus, coronavirus vaccine, president trump

News

Trump gives pro-China World Health Org. 30 days to reform or permanently lose funding

'The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China.'
Tue May 19, 2020 - 11:19 am EST
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NEW YORK, USA - Sep 21, 2017: Meeting of the President of the United States Donald Trump with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in New York
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: Thank President Trump for halting U.S. funding to pro-abortion World Health Organization! Sign the petition here.

May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump issued another ultimatum to the embattled World Health Organization (WHO) Monday, threatening to permanently withdraw the United States’ support for the organization unless it undertakes quick, substantial reforms.

Last month, the president announced a temporary suspension of the more than $400 million the United States sends the pro-abortion United Nations entity every year, pending a review of its “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.” On Monday, he followed up by releasing a letter the Whitie House sent to WHO general-director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The letter explains that the administration’s review “confirmed many of the serious concerns I raised last month” as to the international body’s “repeated missteps” and “China centric” nature.

“The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” it says. “I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests.”

If the WHO “does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days,” Trump warns, “I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization.”

Critics have faulted the pro-abortion organization for, among other offenses, opposing bans on travel from China that could have limited the reach of COVID-19, and for legitimizing the false claims coming out of the Chinese government that initially downplayed the gravity of the situation and covered up the Communist regime’s mishandling of it.

“In December, the WHO refused to act on or publicize Taiwan’s warning that the new respiratory infection emerging in China could pass from human to human,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote. “In mid January, despite accumulating evidence of patients contracting what we now know as COVID-19 from other people, the organization repeated the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party] lie that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. In January the WHO, at Beijing’s behest, also blocked Taiwan from participating in critical meetings to coordinate responses to the coronavirus and even reportedly provided wrong information about the virus’s spread in Taiwan.”

Population Research Institute head and China expert Steve Mosher adds that Ghebreyesus and his senior adviser, Dr. Bruce Aylward, have been “carrying water” for the Chinese regime, from backing claims that the virus didn’t originate in China to praising the regime’s handling of the outbreak.

Trump’s latest warning echoes previous comments by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who suggested that the future of the United States’ relationship with the WHO will depend on whether the organization earns back the public’s trust.

“If the institution works and functions, the United States will always lead and be part of it,” he said. “When it’s not delivering, when in fact it’s failing to get the outcomes that are desired, we’re going to work with partners around the world to deliver a structure, a form, a governance model, that will actually deliver on the intended purposes.”

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


  china, coronavirus, covid-19, donald trump, foreign aid, tedros adhanom ghebreyesus, world health organization

News

London will blare Islamic call to prayer during Ramadan as churches remain closed

The words in the Adhan state: 'Allah is the greatest. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Come to prayer. Come to salvation.'
Tue May 19, 2020 - 10:22 am EST
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Amit Dave / Reuters
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

LONDON, May 19, 2020  (LifeSiteNews) – A London suburb totalling a mere 15 square miles in size and with a population of less than 300,000 people has granted permission for the first time to nine mosques to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer during Ramadan.

The news was published earlier this month in an article in The Metro, which included a video of the “Adhan” being chanted above from the roof of a mosque in Waltham Forest. 

Waltham Forest is one London’s 32 boroughs, each of which has its own elected local council.

Clare Coghill, the leader of Waltham Forest Council, said that the Adhan being broadcast was “an alternative form of connection” for Muslims, with mosques currently closed along with all other places of worship in the U.K. as part of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

“Ramadan is normally a time for the Muslim community to come together to pray and break their fast,” she said.

“Like many aspects of all our lives, this has been affected by Covid-19 and the requirement to remain socially distant. As an alternative form of connection during this special month, the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques contacted the council to request that as an alternative to congregating they announce a short call to prayer at a number of mosques adapted to remind worshippers to stay at home,” she continued.

“The council considered the request as it would with any religious or faith group looking to responsibly worship during this difficult time. Ramadan Mubarak to all our Muslim community.”

The Adhan will be broadcast each day at sunset, with an additional broadcast each Friday. The words in the Adhan state: “Allah is the greatest. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Come to prayer. Come to salvation.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the senior Catholic cleric in the U.K., marked the beginning of Ramadan by joining a host of religious leaders in an interfaith event titled “Ramadan at Home,” organised by the Naz Legacy. 

The Catholic bishops of England & Wales prohibited the celebration of public Masses before the lockdown came into force and, according to their own statement, played a crucial role themselves in convincing the government to require that churches be closed altogether.

Nichols recently told Catholics in Britain that it would be a “scandal” to open churches for private prayer.


  catholic, catholic bishops of england and wales, coronavirus, england, islam, ramadan

Opinion

Western media downplay, ignore Islam’s violent reactions to ‘blasphemy’

The fact that we don’t hold Islam to the same standards is a tacit acknowledgment that they do, indeed, have different standards.
Tue May 19, 2020 - 8:11 pm EST
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Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. andersphoto / Shutterstock.com
William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

May 19, 2020 (Turning Point Project) — Consider the following headline: “Mississippi: Atheist faces execution for insulting Jesus on Facebook”.

The alert reader will immediately recognize this as a piece of fake news. Which it is. I made it up myself.

But it’s based on a real headline. The recent headline reads as follows: “Nigeria: Atheist faces execution under sharia for insulting Muhammad on Facebook.”

Mubarak Bala, the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, and an atheist, was arrested in Kaduna for “insulting Prophet Muhammad.”

Now, if it was true, the first headline would elicit universal outrage. It would be front-page news in all the major Western newspapers, and the lead story on the evening news. CNN, NBC, and the BBC would spin the story as a typical example of Christian bigotry. And commentators would call for the arrest of the responsible Mississippi authorities, and possibly for an investigation of Christian churches in the state.

The second headline, however, only elicits a ho-hum reaction. Even though it’s a true story, it’s not considered important enough to be carried by most Western news outlets.

There are two reasons for this response. One is that Western media shy away from such stories for fear of being branded “Islamophobic.” They tend to ignore news that puts Islam in an unflattering light. The other reason is that journalists prefer news that is unexpected and out of the ordinary: the “man bites dog” type of story. But the arrest of a man in a Muslim country who blasphemes Muhammad is the kind of thing we’ve all come to expect.

Actually, Nigeria is not officially a Muslim country. About half the population is Muslim and the other half is Christian. But the current president of Nigeria is a Muslim and Kaduna where Mr. Bala was arrested is in a Muslim area. So, fifty percent is close enough for some Muslims to think that they can impose sharia law on everyone. Indeed, in Europe which is less than 10 percent Muslim, Europeans who live in Muslim areas are expected to conform to certain aspects of sharia law. The writ of sharia has a long reach.

But I digress. The point about the fake headline and the real one is that we have a double standard for Islam and Christianity. We give Muslims a pass for behavior we would never countenance in Christians or Western citizens.

Here’s another recent headline: “Pakistan minister calls for beheading of blasphemers.”

Ali Muhammad Khan, who is Pakistan’s minister of state for parliamentary affairs, tweeted, “Beheading is the only punishment for those who mock Prophet Muhammad.”

Here is how a roughly equivalent story in the U.S. might be headlined: “Head of Senate Rules Committee demands death penalty for those who mock Jesus.”

It’s a headline we never expect to see. But we’re not surprised or particularly perturbed when a Pakistani authority say something similar. When it comes to Islam and its representatives, we’ve learned to apply a more lenient set of rules.

A classic example of this double standard for Muslims and non-Muslims was the Rushdie affair. When Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, was published in the United Kingdom in 1988, it provoked outrage and even violence among Muslims. Because it allegedly blasphemed Muhammad, the book was banned in numerous Muslim countries, and a number of bookstores in both the U.S. and England were bombed.

Then, in 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the death of Rushdie and his publishers. Shortly after, Iranian officials offered a $6 million reward for killing Rushdie. Although Rushdie himself benefited from police protection, others were not so lucky. The Japanese translator of the book was killed on July 11, 1991. The Italian translator was seriously injured in a stabbing attack on July 3, 1991. And the publisher of the Norwegian edition barely survived an attempted assassination in 1993. It’s also likely that the Turkish translator of the book was the intended target when a mob set fire to the Hotel Madmak in Sivas, Turkey. The 1993 massacre resulted in 37 deaths.

But, of course, none of this could have been known in 1989 when the world weighed in on Khomeini’s fatwa. At first, the West rallied to the defense of Rushdie. No Western government banned The Satanic Verses, and many politicians, particularly in Great Britain spoke up for Rushdie’s right to freedom of speech. So did many prominent authors and publishers. After the assassinations, however, the literary establishment changed its tune, and began a program of self-censorship. In the following years, numerous books that were deemed offensive to Islam were cancelled or else pulled from the shelves. And, particularly in Europe, the book banning continues to this day.

Many prominent Jewish and Christian leaders, however, gave Khomeini the benefit of the double standard right from the start. They seemed more concerned with Rushdie’s irreverent attitude toward Islam than with his freedom of expression. Robert Runcie, The Archbishop of Canterbury opined that Rushdie was guilty of blasphemy; and L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper criticized Rushdie for offending millions of Muslims. At the same time Christian leaders had little to say about the violent reaction of Muslims to the book such as the bombing of bookstores and the mob attack on the American Cultural Center in Islamabad which occurred two days before the fatwa was issued.

Many in the Church had already adopted the double standard toward Islam. No Christian or Jewish leader would have defended an archbishop or chief rabbi who did what Khomeini did, but somehow it seemed a less serious matter for a Muslim cleric to order another man’s death.

Indeed, some Catholics seemed envious. I remember reading some conservative Catholic columnists at the time who thought Rushdie was asking for it; and a couple of my acquaintances thought it too bad that the Church couldn’t handle the dissenters in its own ranks in the same way. Liberal Catholics were also upset by Rushdie — not because of the blasphemy (which didn’t bother them), but because of his insensitivity to diversity. By the late Eighties, liberals were already putting a higher priority on diversity than on freedom of speech.

In short, a number of Christians made excuses for behavior — Khomeini’s fatwa — that would have been entirely unacceptable in a Christian leader. We know it would be unacceptable because fifteen years after the publication of Rushdie’s veiled criticism of Islam, there appeared another extremely popular work of fiction, which was no less than an all-out attack on Christianity, and, in particular, on the Catholic Church.

By almost any measure, Dan Brown’s best-selling The Da Vinci Code — which has sold some 80 million copies — presents a blasphemous portrayal of Jesus. Moreover, his challenge to Christian belief was a very effective one. A poll of Canadian readers found that fully one-third of them believed Brown’s manufactured version of Christian history to be the true one. Meanwhile, in contrast to the response to Rushdie’s book, very few in the secular world expressed any concern that The Da Vinci Code might be offensive to hundreds of millions of Christians.

The book certainly called for a strong response from the Catholic Church. And many Catholics did respond with vigorous criticism of Brown. Yet no one expected to open their morning paper and read: “Pope pronounces death sentence on Dan Brown for blasphemy.” And, of course, no such headline ever appeared.

If the pope had made such a pronouncement he would have been immediately and strongly condemned not only by secular leaders, but also by Christian leaders. In addition, it’s highly likely that prominent voices would have demanded that he be tried before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for incitement to murder (in fact, years later, Geoffrey Robinson, a high ranking UN jurist did ask the British government to detain Pope Benedict XVI when he visited England, and remand him to the ICC for “crimes against humanity;” but these supposed crimes had nothing to do with Dan Brown).

By contrast, when Ayatollah Khomeini actually did issue an incitement to murder, the world’s response was fairly restrained. Yet there can be little doubt that the fatwa was intended to result in Rushdie’s death. Here is an excerpt:

I am informing all brave Muslims of the world that the author of The Satanic Verses…along with all the editors and publishers aware of its contents, are condemned to death. I call on valiant Muslim wherever they may be in the world to kill them without delay, so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of Muslim henceforth. And whoever is killed in this cause will be a martyr, God willing.

The West’s differing responses to The Satanic Verses and The Da Vinci Code are quite telling. Of the two books, The Da Vinci Code offered a much more sweeping, and far more widely read indictment of a major faith. Yet, aside from a handful of Catholics, few commentators seemed concerned that Catholics might be offended. By contrast, many Westerners expressed outrage over Rushdie’s offense to Muslims.

After Khomeini’s fatwa, Rushdie went into hiding for almost a decade. After the success of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown went on the celebrity circuit, and continued to write bestsellers, content in the knowledge that the Church would not be dispatching albino monks to track him down.

In the wake of bookstore bombings and attempted assassinations, Western publishers adopted a policy of self-censorship that had the effect of enforcing Islam’s blasphemy laws. But there was no corresponding censorship after The Da Vinci Code controversy. Indeed, publishers rushed to cash in on a spate of Da Vinci–like anti-Christian/pro-goddess books. No one, it seemed, was worried about the possibility of Vatican retribution.

I have been referring to the West’s disparate treatment of Islam and the West as a “double standard,” but, in a sense, it’s not. The double standard only comes into play when two parties who share the same standards are judged differently for the same behavior. But if the two parties have completely different standards, the issue becomes complicated. If you believe that there are universal standards which apply to all people of all cultures, then it’s fair to judge Islam harshly. On the other hand, if you’re a relativist who believes that there are no universal standards, then you have no right to criticize Islam when it violates Western/Christian norms.

Since relativism is the road most taken in the modern world, it’s easy to understand the reluctance to criticize Islam. After all, as is commonly said, “they have a different culture.”

The fact that we don’t hold Islam to the same standards is a tacit acknowledgment that they do, indeed, have different standards, and therefore — at least from a cultural relativist standpoint — they shouldn’t be held to ours.

The irony is that while we tacitly accept the reality that Islamic values are quite different from our own, many in the West, and particularly in the Church, still insist that we share the same values. Currently, the Vatican-backed Higher Committee of Human Fraternity seems to be working on the assumption that Islam and Christianity share the same humanistic values. One wishes that were so, but the fact that the West consistently judges Islam by a different, and lower standard, suggests that it is not. Increasingly, what we see is not a sharing of values, but a subordination of Western and Christian standards to those of Islam.

This article originally appeared in the May 16, 2020 edition of Catholic World Report. It is published here with permission from the Turning Point Project.


  dan brown, fatwa, islam, jihad, ruhollah khomeini, the da vinci code, the satanic verses

Blogs

Catholic political scientist: We must be ‘vigilant’ against New World Order post-COVID

Professor Felix Dirsch has published a response to the criticism of the Viganò Appeal concerning the corona crisis and its potential dangers to freedom worldwide.
Tue May 19, 2020 - 7:47 pm EST
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Prof. Felix Dirsch. kanal schnellroda / YouTube
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By Maike Hickson

May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Professor Felix Dirsch, a German theologian, philosopher, and political scientist, has published a response to the criticism on the part of German media with regard to the May 7 Viganò Appeal concerning the corona crisis and its consequent potential dangers for the various freedoms of our countries. He sees a suppression of dissident voices at work.

In his commentary published on the website of the journalist Boris Reitschuster, Dirsch regrets the “inquisitorial reflexes of the media” that suppress an objective debate of the matters at stake, and he speaks of “a rather ‘subtle dictatorship’ as a result of the tendentious orientation of the leading media of quality: the exclusion and discrediting of dissidents whose own concerns are rejected without examination of the facts, even if the statement finds many starting points in the current discourse.”

Furthermore, Professor Dirsch quotes a recent article published by the prominent globalist and entrepreneur Bill Gates, who explained that the current corona crisis will foster major changes in the world now, one being the promotion of international “institutions to prevent the next pandemic,” thus furthering a globalized society.

Says Dirsch:

One of the protagonists in this field, the U.S. entrepreneur Bill Gates, who exerts great influence on the World Health Organization (WHO), comments on this in a guest article in the renowned Economist. He sees three major medical breakthroughs as a result of the corona crisis. It is obvious that the innovations will bring about fundamental global power shifts. It is no coincidence that Gates associates such research advances with the UN. In the translation of his article on Focus-Online it says: ‘Our progress will not only be seen in science. It will also be seen in our ability to ensure that everyone benefits from this science.’ I think we will learn from the years after 1945 in the years after 2021. With the end of the Second World War, leaders created international institutions like the UN to prevent further conflicts. After Covid-19, leaders will work on institutions to prevent the next pandemic.

Furthermore, Professor Dirsch supports the well reasoned interventions of Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who seems to have been especially singled out by critics in Germany, as well as of Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Both prelates have now published extensive defenses of their support of the Viganò Appeal and criticize an atmosphere in the public that suppresses a substantial debate and instead labels critics with derogatory names such as “conspiracy theorist.”

The author also regrets that there is a division even among Catholic conservatives with regard to this debate about the coronavirus and its dangers for our freedoms in society. He explicitly mentions here the criticism of Professor Roberto de Mattei, who had reproached the prelates signing the Viganò Appeal since they should keep to their theological and moral competencies.

PETITION: Tell politicians not to discriminate against churches when reopening society! Sign the petition here.

Speaking with the Tagespost, de Mattei argued that the bishops are leaving their field of expertise — which is that of theology and morality — when making 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.”

About this, Dirsch comments:

Even the historian Roberto de Mattei, known for his orthodoxy, questioned the competence of the bishops. He should have taken into account that Church dignitaries may very well express their opinion on questions concerning the common good. The magisterial authority is of course not as binding in such matters as in matters of faith.

The Catholic professor also addresses the fact that several German bishops and dignitaries had distanced themselves from the Viganò Appeal and especially criticized Cardinal Müller in person. “That state media such as ARD and ZDF [two German public-service television broadcasters] reject divergent views as a ‘conspiracy theory’ without defining this multifaceted concept,” Dirsch explains, “is anything but astonishing. But the fact that the German Bishops’ Conference dissociates itself from the appeal may be considered a bit much.” He especially shows himself astonished at the lack of charity toward fellow bishops, as well as at the eagerness of German bishops to please the spirit of the times, something that they just recently bemoaned with regard to their episcopal predecessors during the reign of Hitler.

In light of such regrettable conduct, Professor Dirsch also points out that indeed, there are serious researchers and experts who bring forth similar arguments to those of the Viganò Appeal, adding that there are taking place developments toward a world government — such as the World Bank, a World Court of Justice, and so on — which very well may be a cause of concern. He concludes by saying: “The danger cannot be dismissed that it is not the peoples who determine their own destinies, but a small elite. Also those who stigmatize all unpleasant opinions as conspiracy theories can hardly want such a trend.”


Translation of full statement by Professor Felix Dirsch: All Against Some

Instead of an objective discussion, the debate about the Viganò Appeal shows the usual inquisitorial reflexes of the media.

In our times characterized by the plurality of media, obsessed with clicks and gigabytes with which one can earn an enormous amount of money, it is not easy to bring it about that a topic is widely discussed. Often only excitement makes it into the leading media – and from there into countless secondary channels.

The appeal Veritas liberabit vos has achieved the feat of a controversial, if largely one-sided reception. The document was produced by some within the Vatican (in cooperation with various experts). Curial cardinals and curial archbishops such as Gerhard L. Müller, Joseph Zen Zen-kiun and Carlo M. Viganò were the first signatories. Numerous supporters, doctors, lawyers and others — mostly believers — put their name under the letter since its publication.

That such an appeal is not the last word of wisdom is self-evident. This text, too, which is addressed to all people of good will and does not contain any specifically dogmatic topics, can only vaguely hint at some things. More precise justifications of some theses are missing. So far, the objections are correct. Of course, such a paper is written to stimulate reflection. It is not intended to replace a comprehensive treatise.
He who is interested in contemporary events will detect numerous topics that are widely debated worldwide: These include the reference to the dangers of new tracking apps, which might make possible improved controls worldwide, the criticism of restrictions on freedom and of corona panic-mongering, which has been pointed out by a whole phalanx of [German] virologists and other experts (from Sucharit Bhakdi to Karin Mölling and Hendrik Streeck). The prohibitions of worship are justly being targeted. The reference to the dangers of a world government has provoked a particular rejection.

As in other debates in recent years, one particularly worrying fact stands out: Although dissenting opinions can certainly be expressed, one basic feature however dominates, which points to a rather ‘subtle dictatorship’ as a result of the tendentious orientation of the leading media of quality: the exclusion and discrediting of dissidents whose own concerns are rejected without any examination of the facts, even if the statement finds many reference points in the current discourse. One of the co-signatories, Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop in Astana (Kazakhstan), expressed his dismay at the omnipresent ‘demagogic and popular rhetoric.’ In a personal statement he refers among other things to the consequences of the compulsory vaccination which endanger freedom. Not only in the case of the so-called Viganò document, one can only shake one’s head over the deficits of the prevailing culture of debate.

That state media such as ARD and ZDF [two German public-service television broadcasters] reject divergent views as a ‘conspiracy theory’ without defining this multi-faceted concept is anything but astonishing. But the fact that the German Bishops’ Conference dissociates itself from the appeal may be considered a bit much. Even more worthy of criticism is the way of dealing with the fellow bishops. The usual speech bubbles (“right-wing populism”, “conspiracy theory” and so on) prove that the notorious left and left-liberal propaganda arsenal has been adopted. Not only the vicar general [Klaus] Pfeffer from Essen revealed himself as a follower of the zeitgeist [“Zeitgeistlicher”]. The conformist Church, it can be pointed out, has struck again. Quite a few may remember well-known Church statements on illegal mass immigration, which reached its peak in 2015/16. The fact that prominent Catholic laymen such as the ZdK [Central Committee of German Catholics] chairman Thomas Sternberg raised their voice with a pathetic commentary is really outrageous. As if it were self-evident, and without any content-related discussion, Mr. Professor sees the reputation of Cardinal Müller ruined, on whom the shitstorm focused. Aha, that is to say: Impulses to current debates that are not politically correct ruin the reputation of the contributor! And here, Müller himself did not even write a line of it. A journalist even labeled this steadfast churchman as “Hans-Georg Maaßen of the Catholic Church” [a German lawyer and former president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution]; Müller may well understand the comparison with this excellent lawyer as praise.

The actions of the clergymen who are part of the regime seem particularly embarrassing against the background of the bishops’ letter on occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of the war [World War II]. In it connections of numerous Catholics to the National-Socialist tyrannical state are admitted, which are anyway relatively undisputed. In fact only few remained without guilt. For that reason alone the raised warning finger, which has long become customary, is not due to those born after the war! The many opponents among the Christians who raised their voices are not being discussed in detail because of the gesture of subservience to the spirit of the times. The fact that this circle was rather manageable can hardly surprise us also in light of today’s experiences. German Civil Service Catholicism – like large parts of the post-war society – presents itself as “executioner” (Walter Cardinal Brandmüller). One does not get the impression that today’s Church leaders are more critical of the state authorities than they were back then. While in the dark 12 years [under Hitler’s reign] the fear of reprisals by the rulers understandably prevailed with many, today it is the fear of the virus, which is admittedly often only advanced in order to reduce civil rights and liberties.

The author of these lines, who has also put his name under the document, regrets that the Catholic-conservative camp is also divided with regard to the [Viganò] appeal. At least, the weekly newspaper Die Tagespost let two well-known signatories, Müller and Schneider, speak for themselves [see here LifeSites reports]. Even the historian Roberto de Mattei, known for his orthodoxy, questioned the competence of the bishops. He should have taken into account that Church dignitaries may very well express their opinion on questions concerning the common good. The magisterial authority is of course not as binding in such matters as in matters of faith.

A word on the hot topic “world government” is appropriate here. No one will claim that it is just around the corner. Global-centralist tendencies are nevertheless frightening and should be debated beyond any speculations of conspiracy theories. Recently, the media reported extensively on the search for and financing of a new vaccine. One of the protagonists in this field, the US entrepreneur Bill Gates, who exerts great influence on the World Health Organization (WHO), comments on this in a guest article in the renowned Economist.  He sees three major medical breakthroughs as a result of the corona crisis. It is obvious that the innovations will bring about fundamental global power shifts. It is no coincidence that Gates associates such research advances with the UN. In the translation of his article on Focus-Online [a German magazine] it says: “Our progress will not only be seen in science. It will also be seen in our ability to ensure that everyone benefits from this science. I think in the years after 2021, we will learn from the years after 1945. With the end of the Second World War, leaders created international institutions like the UN to prevent further conflicts. After Covid-19, leaders will work on institutions to prevent the next pandemic.”

The appeal by the dignitaries and the many lay people who support it can help to remain vigilant against an even greater increase of power by leading globalists who look for major crises to instrumentalize them for their own purposes. In 1994, David Rockefeller — among other things the initiator of the still influential Bilderberg Conference — made it perfectly clear before the U.S. Economic Committee: “We are at the beginning of a global upheaval. All we need is a really big crisis and the nations will accept the ‘New World Order’.” The cryptic sentence can also be understood as a lasting warning.

Such a quotation says little in itself. Of course, it is occasionally misused by wacky conspiracy theorists. But if one registers in the last decades the tendencies toward centralization worldwide, one can only call for vigilance. The globalism that has been institutionalized long since is manifold: World Parliament, World Court of Justice, World Bank, World Army and World Police. There is the danger of a successive accumulation of power, which Kant had already discussed in his study Perpetual Peace. Such developments, with their potential to endanger freedom and democracy, need no further discussion. The danger cannot be dismissed that it is not the peoples who determine their own destinies, but a small elite. Also those who stigmatize all unpleasant opinions as conspiracy theories can hardly want such a trend.
Professor Felix Dirsch is a Catholic theologian and political scientist. He is the author of various publications, including Nation, Europe, Christianity and Right Christianity. Dirsch criticizes the influence of the 1968 generation and “political correctness.”

Translation by LifeSite’s Dr. Maike Hickson. Professor Dirsch and Boris Reitschuster kindly gave LifeSite permission to publish this text.


  athanasius schneider, carlo maria viganò, coronavirus, felix dirsch, gerhard müller, germany, new world order, police state, roberto de mattei

Blogs

Left-wing media isn’t concerned about truth – it just wants Trump out of White House

The liberal press, which is reported to be dominated by atheists or agnostics, has stepped up the negative coverage of President Trump.
Tue May 19, 2020 - 7:03 pm EST
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Michael L. Brown Michael L. Brown Follow Dr. Michael
By Dr. Michael Brown

PETITION: Pres. Trump don't give federal funds to COVID-19 vaccines made from aborted baby cells! Sign the petition here.

May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – I cannot prove this, but the caller to my radio show seemed totally credible. If what he said is true, then the animosity toward President Donald Trump in left-wing circles is even more extreme than some of us would have believed. And that is saying a lot.

The caller, named Rob, from Tampa, Florida, said he had previously worked at an NBC News affiliate up north. (He didn’t want to give further details so as to be able to speak with total freedom.)

As a committed Christian, he claims he was not just in the minority. He was alone, with all of the other newsroom staffers, totaling at least 30 people, identifying as either atheists or agnostics. And, he said, “Every single one of them was a hardcore leftist.”

Rob said his last year working at the station was the first year of Trump’s presidency, in 2017. During that time, a story about Trump was run for a few days, a story that “everyone knew was a lie.”

So he reached out to the assignment editor and said, “What you’re putting on TV is a lie. Why are you doing it?”

According to Rob, “The guy looked at me stone cold and said, ‘It’s not my duty or my obligation to tell the truth. It’s my obligation to get Donald Trump out of the White House.’”

Again, I can’t verify this story, although, to repeat, Rob did seem credible and he was quite aware of Trump’s shortcomings.

But what I can say is this: There is no question that the TV media leans overwhelmingly to the left, and there is no question that the leftist media is overtly and unapologetically hostile to Trump.

Looking first at the media’s anti-Trump reporting, in October 2017, Pew Research noted that, “The Pew Research Center, in a content analysis of the early days of the Trump presidency, found that 62 percent of the coverage was negative and only 5 percent was positive.

“In contrast, President Barack Obama's coverage in early 2009 was 42 percent positive and 20 percent negative, the study said.”

So, the coverage of Trump was more than 12 to 1 negative; the coverage of Obama was more than 2 to 1 positive.

One year later, in October 2018, the Media Research Center stated that, “Over the summer, the broadcast networks have continued to pound Donald Trump and his team with the most hostile coverage of a president in TV news history — 92 percent negative vs. just 8 percent positive.”

By January 2020, the figure had risen to 93 percent negative.

Certainly, Trump’s provocation of the media plays into these numbers. But whatever the cause, the anti-Trump sentiments have only intensified, and in increasingly unvarnished fashion at that.

As for the political leanings of the media, Nate Silver wrote in 2017 that, “As of 2013, only 7 percent of (journalists) identified as Republicans.” (This was down from 25.7 percent in 1971; strikingly, as of 2013, half identified as independent.) 

And a 2017 article in Politico pointed out, “The national media really does work in a bubble, something that wasn’t true as recently as 2008. And the bubble is growing more extreme. Concentrated heavily along the coasts, the bubble is both geographic and political. If you’re a working journalist, odds aren’t just that you work in a pro-Clinton county — odds are that you reside in one of the nation’s most pro-Clinton counties” (their emphasis).

With good reason, the article, written by Jack Shafer and Tucker Doherty, carried this title and subtitle: “The Media Bubble Is Worse Than You Think. We crunched the data on where journalists work and how fast it’s changing. The results should worry you.”

And then, this striking observation: “The people who report, edit, produce and publish news can’t help being affected — deeply affected — by the environment around them. Former New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent got at this when he analyzed the decidedly liberal bent of his newspaper’s staff in a 2004 column that rewards rereading today. The ‘heart, mind, and habits’ of the Times, he wrote, cannot be divorced from the ethos of the cosmopolitan city where it is produced. On such subjects as abortion, gay rights, gun control and environmental regulation, the Times’ news reporting is a pretty good reflection of its region’s dominant predisposition.”

Okrent’s analysis was shockingly candid (and note that it was published by the Times itself). To the headline’s question, “Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?” he responded, “Of course it is.” (Again, this was back in 2004.)

With regard to “the social issues: gay rights, gun control, abortion and environmental regulation, among others,” Okrent was equally blunt: “If you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you've been reading the paper with your eyes closed.”

As for “the editorial page,” he described it as “so thoroughly saturated in liberal theology that when it occasionally strays from that point of view the shocked yelps from the left overwhelm even the ceaseless rumble of disapproval from the right.”

Although I cannot get my hands on the research right now, more than one decade ago, I read with interest a survey indicating how news anchors across the nation held to radically leftist views on abortion and other social issues. I would imagine those numbers would look similar today. 

It is true that an academic article published by Science Advances in April 2020 argued that, “Although a dominant majority of journalists identify as liberals/Democrats and many Americans and public officials frequently decry supposedly high and increasing levels of media bias, little compelling evidence exists as to (i) the ideological or partisan leanings of the many journalists who fail to answer surveys and/or identify as independents and (ii) whether journalists’ political leanings bleed into the choice of which stories to cover that Americans ultimately consume.”

Rob, and a host of other observers, including me, would beg to differ.


  agnostic, atheist, donald trump, liberal press, media bias, media research center, pew research center, the new york times

Blogs

UK teacher union forbids livestreaming lessons, engaging with students

'Teachers cannot be expected to mark work,' the union insisted as the coronavirus panic curtails education.
Tue May 19, 2020 - 10:19 am EST
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maroke / Shutterstock.com
By Dr. Joseph Shaw

May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Britain’s teaching unions are decidedly unenthusiastic about the re-opening of schools as the coronavirus lockdown eases. Surprisingly, they aren’t keen on online learning, either. The National Education Union (NEU) has told its members not to live-stream lessons from their homes, engage one-to-one with pupils, or expect any input from parents. Their bald statement, directed to primary (junior) school pupils, “Teachers cannot be expected to mark work,” sounds like a parody of obstructive trade unionism from the 1970s.

It is a particularly puzzling attitude in the context of education. There has been a lot of talk of the harm done to the education of children by the closure of schools and how this will widen the gap between the educationally privileged and the educationally deprived. There has also been a lot of talk about the non-educational functions of schools. Apparently the role of schools is not just education, but the provision of childcare, especially for “key workers”; the surveillance of children in danger of domestic abuse; and the provision of nutritious meals. Given what is said about the nutritional value of much school catering, I can only assume that this last claim is made against a very low baseline.

Once you destroy the family, through divorce reform, the stripping out of blue-collar jobs, tax and welfare policies that punish one-earner families, the aggressive promotion of anti-family nostrums in schools and entertainment, and now through the re-definition of marriage, it’s amazing how the tasks once routinely done by families pile up on the shoulders of the state. Perhaps this was part of the plan. Or perhaps the proponents of these changes were genuinely too stupid and irresponsible to think their plans through.

I am intrigued to discover yet another task that has devolved onto schools. It is suggested by Chris McGovern, a former activist in a teacher union, and now a critic of them, as part of the National Education Union’s motivation for not liking online teaching while schools are closed: “because 93 per cent of youngsters having access to digital devices is insufficient.”

What McGovern means is that, in the mind of NEU leaders, it is better to hold back 93% of children lest they draw ahead of the 7%. This suggests that among the tasks of schools is the promotion of social justice, in the sense of an equitable distribution of educational goodies (otherwise known as skills and knowledge). Furthermore, where this task comes into conflict with the educational task itself — the actual handing out of the goodies — the former trumps the latter. If the only way to be equitable is to bring education to a halt, then education must be brought to a halt.

This may sound fanciful, but it actually fits a long-term pattern. Progressive teachers hate selection by ability, whether within schools or between them, because it allows more gifted children to draw ahead, academically, of the less gifted. One hears them suggesting that schools should not teach the more challenging skills, such as, er, reading music, because some will learn it and not others, and this will reinforce or create inequality. (If you thought I was going to say “Chaucer” or “ancient Greek,” the same argument largely put paid to them long ago.)

So schools are about providing education, or, if the circumstances demand it, preventing education from taking place. No wonder the NEU doesn’t want “parents to become teachers”: let that genie out of the bottle, and anything could happen.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. Contrary to what the NEU may think, the education of anyone helps everyone. I benefit when my dentist, my elected representative, the manager of the pension fund I will one day draw from, and even the guy sweeping the street outside my house are better educated. It may be annoying for me if I am directly competing with someone who had educational opportunities I lacked, but it is not bad for society, and the best possible employees in each job will create value and economic growth that will lift all of us. Progressive teachers don’t think about economics very much. Here is something else they don’t think about: education is good for its recipients irrespective of its economic benefits. It broadens the mind, if it is not mere indoctrination; it gives people intellectual maturity. I should rejoice if my job-market rival has a high level of intellectual culture: this is a form of intellectual virtue. Envy of the educated for their education is a cousin of “envy of another’s spiritual good,” one of the sins against the Holy Spirit.

The teachers who don’t grasp this are not in a good position to provide this intellectual formation to their pupils, least of all those at the bottom of the pile who need it most urgently.

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, education, homeschooling, quarantine, social justice, teachers unions, united kingdom

Blogs

This great 20th-century pope spelled out what human fraternity really means

Pius XII's Summi Pontificatus is a permanent record of sound Catholic teaching.
Tue May 19, 2020 - 8:04 am EST
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Pope Pius XII celebrating Mass. True Restoration / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

May 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — In our times, the phrases “world peace” and “human fraternity” are constantly on people’s lips. One often has a sinking feeling that the phrases have not only lost their original meaning, which was either Christian or compatible with Christianity, but have also become codewords for errors to which the Church is and ought to be opposed. Worse still, it seems that it is most often members of the Church hierarchy who misuse these slogans as they sign agreements and shake hands (or perhaps bump elbows) with globalist hegemons who wear invisible crowns of enormous financial power and behind-the-scenes political influence.

There was once a time when the popes thought, spoke, and acted more independently, drawing upon three millennia of Christian, Jewish, and pagan thought, giving voice to natural law and divine law.

Beholding the precarious peace of Europe shattered as dictatorships of Left and Right threw their armies into battle, Pope Pius XII (1939–1958) used the occasion of his inaugural encyclical Summi Pontificatus, promulgated October 20, 1939, to set forth the Catholic vision of the principles of unity that bind men and nations, and to implore the world, for love of peace, to return to the Church’s salutary teaching on political realities. After an introduction in which the pope, recalling Leo XIII’s consecration of mankind to Christ the King forty years earlier, states his intention of consecrating his pontificate to advancing the reign of Christ in the world, the leading motif is stated:

At the head of the road which leads to the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of the present day stands the nefarious efforts of not a few to dethrone Christ … In the recognition of the royal prerogatives of Christ and in the return of individuals and of society to the law of His truth and of His love lies the only way to salvation. (§21–§22; cf. §103).

Right from the start, Pius XII makes it clear that he sees Christ’s kingship as pertaining not only to individuals, but also to societies, as his predecessor Pius XI had emphasized in his encyclical Quas Primas of 1925. Summi Pontificatus proceeds to a critique of “popular modern errors” (§25):

The radical and ultimate cause of the evils which we deplore in modern society is the denial and rejection of a universal norm of morality as well for individual and social life as for international relations; we mean the disregard, so common nowadays, and the forgetfulness of the natural law itself, which has its foundation in God, Almighty Creator and Father of all. (§28)

The pope regards the “darkness over the whole earth” that accompanied the death of Jesus (Mt. 27:45) as a “terrifying symbol” of the effects of banishing Christ from public life (§30).

The peace of nations is disturbed above all by two errors: “forgetfulness of that law of human solidarity and charity which is dictated and imposed by our common origin and by the equality of rational nature in all men ... and by the redeeming Sacrifice offered by Jesus Christ” (cf. §35–§51) and “those ideas which do not hesitate to divorce civil authority from every kind of dependence upon the Supreme Being — First Source and absolute Master of man and of society — and from every restraint of a Higher Law derived from God as from its First Source” (§52ff.).

In the first portion, Pius XII identifies the sources of the objective unity of the human race (§36–§43). In Adam and Eve, the triune God created mankind after His own image and likeness; from this first couple the human race is descended. All members of this race have the same metaphysical nature, composed of material, perishable body and spiritual, immortal soul. All live together on the same earth, enjoying the same rights of dominion over it; all share the same end and mission within the world; all are called to the same ultimate end, divine happiness, by the same means, the Church and her sacraments. In the Son of God all men were created, by His blood redeemed, by His grace sanctified, by His love empowered to love. “In the light of this unity of all mankind, which exists in law and in fact, individuals do not feel themselves isolated units, like grains of sand, but united by the very force of their nature and by their internal destiny, into an organic, harmonious mutual relationship” (§42). Only in the Catholic Church and the civilization inspired by her can different nations, races, and cultures work peacefully together, sharing their diverse gifts for the upbuilding of the human race; apart from the Church, pluralism turns into antagonism (§44–§49). Wherever the Church has gone, she has sown peace by spreading the knowledge and love of God. The “corrupt and corrupting paganism” (§30) of modern times does the opposite: by denying to God and His law a reigning, regulative place in social life, it chokes noble aspirations, nurtures egoism, provokes conflict.

This brings us to the second error, which is the object of the pope’s most vehement condemnation: totalitarianism.

Once the authority of God and the sway of His law are denied in this way, the civil authority as an inevitable result tends to attribute to itself that absolute autonomy which belongs exclusively to the Supreme Maker. It puts itself in the place of the Almighty and elevates the State or group into the last end of life, the supreme criterion of the moral and juridical order, and therefore forbids every appeal to the principles of natural reason and of the Christian conscience. (§53)

No one in 1939 could have failed to see that Pius XII was speaking chiefly of the National Socialists of Germany, the fascists of Italy, and the militant communism of the Soviet Union, and his position was never misunderstood by these regimes, which did all in their power to thwart the pope’s efforts.

Pius XII then invokes the teaching of Leo XIII on the State’s authentic purpose: to “facilitate the attainment in the temporal order, by individuals, of physical, intellectual and moral perfection” and to “aid them to reach their supernatural end” (§58). Accordingly, “it is the noble prerogative and function of the State to control, aid and direct the private and individual activities of national life that they converge harmoniously towards the common good” (§59). To ward off faulty notions of the common good, the pope continues: “That good can neither be defined according to arbitrary ideas nor can it accept for its standard primarily the material prosperity of society, but rather it should be defined according to the harmonious development and the natural perfection of man” (ibid.). Against totalitarianism the pope reaffirms that “man and the family are by nature anterior to the State” (§61) and that the family has rights peculiar to itself (§63ff.), such as the parents’ right to educate their own children (§66).

Having proved that it harms the internal life of nations, Pius XII then shows why totalitarianism, being a sort of voluntarism or egoism writ large, inevitably leads to international discord, breaking the “reciprocal ties, moral and juridical” that bind the human race “into a great commonwealth” (§72).

To tear the law of nations from its anchor in Divine law, to base it on the autonomous will of States ... would [leave international law] abandoned to the fatal drive of private interest and collective selfishness exclusively intent on the assertion of its own rights and ignoring those of others. (§76)

After this analysis of the situation in 1939 at the outset of the Second World War, Pius XII, in a powerful rhetorical move, imagines a hard won cessation of hostilities and then asks of this postwar period: “Will that future be really different; above all, will it be better? ... Or will there be a lamentable repetition of ancient and of recent errors?” (§79). “Safety does not come to peoples from external means, from the sword which can impose conditions of peace but does not create peace. Forces that are to renew the face of the earth should proceed from within, from the spirit” (§81). The “new order” emerging after the war, if it is to prove any better than the interbellum order, “must rest on the unshakable foundation, on the solid rock of natural law and of divine revelation” (§82).

Echoing the teaching of Pius XI before him, Pius XII insists that the problems of the modern world are not due principally to economic factors:

Their root is deeper and more intrinsic, belonging to the sphere of religious belief and moral convictions which have been perverted by the progressive alienation of the peoples from that unity of doctrine, faith, customs and morals which once was promoted by the tireless and beneficent work of the Church. (§83)

Anticipating Vatican II’s accent on the role of the laity, the pope underlines that every baptized Christian has the mission of preaching the Gospel to the world, “the most noble and most fruitful work for peace” (§84; cf. §84–§91). The “first and essential duty” of the lay apostle is “individual sanctification,” especially in these times, when “obstacles and oppositions [are] vast and deep and minutely organized as never before” and “the conflict between Christianity and anti-Christianism grows intense” (§85–§86). In this combat “the family has a special mission, for it is the spirit of the family that exercises the most powerful influence on that of the rising generation” (§90).

In his closing observations, Pius XII returns to a charge often leveled against the Church: that she interferes with worldly progress and civil authority. In reality, “there is no opposition between the laws that govern the life of faithful Christians and the postulates of a genuinely humane humanitarianism, but rather unity and mutual support” (§93). He prays that the

present difficulties may open the eyes of many to see our Lord Jesus Christ and the mission of His Church on this earth in their true light, and that all those who are in power may decide to allow the Church a free course to work for the formation of the rising generation according to the principles of justice and peace.

Here the pope is stipulating the minimum negative duty of States toward the Church — allowing her freedom of action and education (§94). The Church in no way usurps the rights of civil authority; on the contrary, she preaches submission to earthly rulers as long as they strive to exercise their offices justly (§102). The Church is moving in a different sphere and has different aims: “Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace to men of good will” (§102). She is “the City of God, whose King is Truth, whose law is love and whose measure is eternity” (§110, quoting St. Augustine). If only today’s shepherds would awaken to the fact that they have an indestructible God-given right and duty to pursue the Church’s supernatural mission above and beyond anything that the State says or does to the contrary!

Beautifully, the encyclical draws to a close with an appeal to children to pray for peace: “In this way you will put into practice the sublime precept of the Divine Master, the most sacred testament of His Heart, ‘That they all may be one’” (§115, Jn 17:21).

Summi Pontificatus is a permanent record of sound Catholic teaching on the unity of the human family, the duty of men and nations toward one another, and the role of the one true religion in bringing about those goods that secularists say they want but can never obtain by their own methods.


  catholic, pius xii, separation of church and state, summi pontificatus, world war ii

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EpisodesTue May 19, 2020 - 3:09 pm EST

Growing deeper in our faith

By Mother Miriam
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Watch Mother Miriam's Live show originally aired on 5.5.2020 and re-aired on 5.19.2020. Today Mother speaks about the importance of knowing our faith and how we can all learn more. Mother encourages individuals and families to read the Bible and the Catechism to help deepen their faith.

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