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News

Pro-life leaders deny documentary’s claim that ‘Roe v. Wade’ plaintiff faked pro-life conversion

Describing Norma McCorvey — 'Jane Roe' of the infamous Roe v. Wade — as colorful, 'rough around the edges,' and deeply hurting, pro-life leaders who were friends with McCorvey weighed in on the shocking new claims, which the filmmaker held onto for several years.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 10:03 pm EST
Featured Image
Norm McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade, surrounded by young people January 27, 2001 during a pro-life rally in Austin, Texas. Joe Raedle/Newsmakers
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A documentary that will be released on Friday claims that Norma McCorvey faked at least some of her famous conversion from pro-abortion to pro-life and admitted as much on camera. McCorvey was the “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, the case that imposed abortion on demand across America in 1973,

McCorvey died in 2017 at age 69. She never aborted the child with whom she was pregnant when her lawyers challenged Texas’s abortion law; by the time her case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, her daughter had already been born. McCorvey went on to become an abortion activist and live as a lesbian before becoming a pro-life Christian in 1995 — which the FX documentary AKA Jane Roe now claims was done for money.

McCorvey was baptized by Flip Benham, father of the now famous brothers Jason and David, and ultimately became Catholic. She was confirmed by Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

Other titles by AKA Jane Roe’s filmmaker, Nick Sweeney, include My Transgender Kid, Girls to Men, and My Transgender Summer Camp (the “Born in the Wrong Body” series), along with Secrets of the Living Dolls.

Abortion activists immediately pounced on Sweeney’s claim that his upcoming documentary shows McCorvey saying at the end of her life, “If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my a--. That’s why they call it choice.” 

Sweeney also says McCorvey supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Pro-life leaders responded with stories of their friendships with McCorvey, who they say was colorful and complicated. In the words of pro-life leader and filmmaker Jason Jones, McCorvey was a “thoughtful, decent, beautiful woman who wrestled some powerful demons.”

“Norma was a very unfiltered person,” veteran pro-life activist Rev. Patrick Mahoney told LifeSiteNews. “No one paid her” to convert.

Mahoney noted that McCorvey had requested that pro-life leaders, not abortion activists, speak at her memorial service.

“For any person to say that the [pro-life] movement used Norma and felt guilty about that is simply untrue and flies in the face of objective facts.”

“She was loved by me and our entire community,” he added. “No documentary can ever take that away.”

Filmmaker ‘took advantage of Norma in the vulnerable last days of her life’

A 2013 Vanity Fair article about McCorvey describes her as similarly complex and having endured abuse and many hardships.

“Norma McCorvey, now 65, has presented a version of her life in two autobiographies, I Am Roe (with Andy Meisler, 1994) and Won by Love (with Gary Thomas, 1997),” wrote Joshua Prager. “In McCorvey’s telling, the story is a morality tale with a simple arc: An unwanted pregnancy. A lawsuit. Pro-choice. Born-again. Pro-life. Peace. The truth is sadder and less tidy.”

Prager interviewed McCorvey’s then-79-year-old former lesbian partner, who called her a “phony”; her mother, who spoke about how she “beat the f---” out of Norma when she was a child; her I Am Roe co-author, who recalled McCorvey’s financial situation as sparse (“When I knew her, she was cashing checks at the 7-Eleven”); and even Flip Benham, who baptized her as she joined the pro-life movement, who said McCorvey “just fishes for money.”

“I knew Norma well, and at one time, she lived with my family in the Wichita, Kansas, area for several months,” commented Operation Rescue president Troy Newman. “I knew her to be a straightforward, down-to-earth woman who was witty and kind. She loved children and adored my own five children.”

“There is no way her Christian faith or her pro-life beliefs were false. The makers of ‘AKA Jane Roe’ should be ashamed that they took advantage of Norma in the vulnerable last days of her life, then released their spurious movie after she passed away when she could not defend herself.”

In a press release, Operation Rescue also addressed the appearance in the documentary of Rev. Rob Schenck, a former pro-life activist who now supports abortion and “accused Operation Rescue of paying Norma McCorvey to say she was pro-life and taking advantage of her.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Operation Rescue loved, respected, and protected Norma, even taking her in to our own families,” responded Newman. “Rob has turned on those he once called friends and is now trying to hurt us. It is very sad that his bitterness and confusion were also exploited by the filmmakers.”

Operation Rescue’s press release added, “It is no surprise that Director Nick Sweeney would come out with outrageous falsehoods about Norma and Operation Rescue to advance his own depraved, leftist, pro-abortion agenda. Because of that, he simply has no credibility.”

Father Pavone: Norma’s conversion was real

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, released screenshots of a text message he says McCorvey sent him on May 24, 2016 about her work with the documentarian. In those messages, McCorvey apparently said Sweeney was paying her for her interviews.

Pavone said McCorvey was sincere, noting that he was her “spiritual guide for 22 years,” spoke with her the day she died, and officiated at her funeral.

Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life, tweeted that McCorvey, with whom she was friends for 25 years, was not paid to be pro-life and “how some documentary filmmakers got her to say so is suspicious, at the very least.”

Yesterday, Morana and Pavone released a video over an hour-long discussing the claims of the documentary.

‘The last couple of years of her life were very hard’

Jason Jones, whose works include the famous pro-life films Bella and Crescendo, said he thinks the pro-life movement used McCorvey “unintentionally” but that the pro-abortion movement used her “intentionally.” He also said he’d helped McCorvey pay her electric and water bills a few times over the years, but there was no “quid pro quo.”

“Norma McCorvey did not use Christians and the pro-life movement for money,” said Jones. “If she did, she got a really bad deal.”

The documentary claims that McCorvey was paid $500,000 over the course of 25 years — $20,000 a year, presumably for things like honorariums or help on projects.

“She’s somebody who had a lot of sorrow. You could see it in her eyes. You could see how painful her life was,” said Jones. “There’s a lot that’s public about how hard her childhood was, and then there’s a lot that’s not public about the challenges she faced in life.” 

“People say a lot of things that aren’t true, especially under duress, when they’re sick, when they’re dying, when they suffer from depression, which is what Norma was going through,” he continued. “The last couple of years of her life were very hard.”

Jones said that in 2008, McCorvey was giving a speech to pro-lifers in Chicago when she told the crowd, after staring at them for two minutes, “All of you hate me. All of you hate me. You’re judging me. I can feel it. You hate me.” The rest of her speech was “incoherent,” according to Jones, and he felt after that that she should focus on taking care of herself first.

“She was used by the abortion industry. And the pro-life movement – we were probably not as thoughtful about the challenges she was facing as we should have been, and now even in her death, she’s being used again by the advocates of abortion. Can you imagine that? Even in her death,” he said. 

“So, what I say is, those of us who knew her should tell the truth about her: that she was fun. She was spirited. She had a great sense of humor, as all people who’ve suffered a lot in life do. She had that very special sense of humor that was birthed in pain. She is a woman that carried the most divisive Supreme Court decision in the history of this republic on her shoulders. And both sides were fighting for her. When she was advocating for abortion for the first half of her public life, she made more money than when she was advocating for life. So if you’re picking a side, and you wanna make money, go work for Planned Parenthood.”

Jones concluded: “Norma did struggle with mental illness, especially towards the end of her life. Norma and I had conversations, and I know that some of her struggles went to deep and dark places.”

McCorvey was “very rough around the edges,” pro-life activist Rebecca Kiessling wrote on Facebook. “Norma had serious mental health issues and lots of people in the pro-life movement knew it.”

Other questions about AKA Jane Roe documentary

Some on Twitter asked why Sweeney held onto the footage of such a bombshell claim for several years. 

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who is now a pro-life activist, posted a lengthy statement about the FX documentary on her Facebook page. Johnson urged people to listen to Father Pavone:

Of all of the people who claimed to be friends with Norma McCorvey, the one I saw who loved her completely was Fr. Frank Pavone. Listen to his opinion of this nonsense. Listen to his perspective. I have a personal and private story of a time I saw Fr. Frank put his life on hold to care for Norma in her time of need. He journeyed with her into the Catholic Church. He watched her place all of her faith into the loving arms of Christ. He truly saw her as Norma McCorvey, not Jane Roe. He loved her well. There is a reason that HE was not asked to be in this recent documentary. If he would have been involved, the entire thing would have crumbled. He knew the real Norma. And he knew the sincerity of her conversion. 

Attorney Allan Parker of the Justice Foundation said, “In view of my many conversations with Norma and considering the sworn testimony she provided to the Supreme Court, I believe the producers of the newly-released FX documentary ‘AKA Jane Roe’ paid Norma, befriended her and then betrayed her. This documentary cannot be trusted and the perception it attempts to create around my friend and former client, Norma, is patently false.” 


  abortion, aka jane roe, catholic, norma mccorvey, roe v. wade

News

Pro-lifers plan protest Friday against new Chicago-area Planned Parenthood

Pro-Life Action League president Eric Scheidler noted that Planned Parenthood has a history of using deception to sneak into Illinois communities.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 9:43 pm EST
Featured Image
Downtown Waukegan, Ill. Richie Diesterheft / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 (cropped)
LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

CHICAGO, May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life advocates will hold a protest outside of Illinois’s newest Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Waukegan on Friday, May 22, at 12 p.m. Central Time. The event, coordinated by the Pro-Life Action League, will “expose Planned Parenthood’s true agenda and call on City officials to investigate how they deceptively opened the Waukegan facility,” according to Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League.

Scheidler noted that Planned Parenthood has a history of using deception to sneak into Illinois communities. Their facilities in Aurora, Flossmoor, and Fairview Heights were all developed through shell companies, deceiving both local governments and the public about what business was really coming to town.

“Planned Parenthood has already cornered 40% of the American abortion market,” said Scheidler. “That they're celebrating the opening of a new abortion facility even in the midst of an international pandemic shows that Planned Parenthood is really all about abortion.”

Scheidler emphasized that protesters will wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines, and the Waukegan police are being informed of their plans.

Scheidler’s Pro-Life Action League is joined by a coalition of pro-life groups in protesting the Waukegan Planned Parenthood center. Coalition leaders have issued the following statements:

  • Mary Kate Knorr, Illinois Right to Life: “Governor Pritzker has closed churches, schools, and businesses in the name of protecting human life, but has allowed a new abortion clinic to open, where the lives of thousands of human children will be violently ended. He says that he is 'listening to the scientists’ — what about the science that clearly shows abortion takes a human life?”
  • Steve Karlen, 40 Days for Life: “Illinois has become the Wild West of abortion. In openly working to lure Wisconsin women across the border to a state lacking even the most basic abortion safety regulations, Planned Parenthood reveals it has never been interested in women’s health, but in financial gain.”
  • Sarah Minnich, Students for Life: “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that Americans are willing to sacrifice nearly everything to protect vulnerable human life, and that must extend to unborn human beings to ensure justice for all.”
  • Shawna Weber, Young Americans for Freedom (College of Lake County Chapter): “Our chapter is proud to stand against this atrocity that has just come about in our area, and we will fight against the disgusting practice of abortion on our campus and in the world, no matter what. Life is life at conception, and we want to show these women that there are far better options.”
  • Bonnie Quirke, Lake County Right to Life: “Lake County is the third largest county in Illinois, which up to this time had no abortion clinics. Planned Parenthood needs to know that Lake County will continue to mobilize all aspects of the right to life movement to oppose their efforts, because societal problems are never solved by killing.”

  abortion, illinois, planned parenthood, pro-life action league, waukegan

News

Northern Ireland govt plans to exert more power to enforce extreme new abortion law

'The Government stands ready to provide whatever support we can to the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to commission full abortion services,' Northern Ireland's secretary of state declared.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 9:32 pm EST
Featured Image
shutterstock.com
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

May 20, 2020 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has declared that more power will be exerted onto Northern Ireland in order to ensure that the Westminster abortion regime is fully enforced in the region.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children says that the Government’s regulations are so extreme that they go far beyond any abortion legislation in Europe.

During a set of Parliamentary questions which were answered this week, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Robin Walker, responded to a question from pro-abortion Labour MP Stella Creasy. 

Creasy asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he would “direct the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to commission services to comply with section 9 of the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Act 2019.”

Mr Walker responded by stating that the Government would provide whatever support possible to ensure full abortion services are commissioned in Northern Ireland.

He stated: “I am pleased that some service provision has commenced on the ground in Northern Ireland through existing sexual and reproductive health services during this uncertain time.

“I recognise the strain on the Northern Ireland health system at present. The Government stands ready to provide whatever support we can to the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to commission full abortion services, in line with the new legislative framework, as soon as possible.”

Anti-democratic and an abuse of power

The new regulations came into effect on 14 May. Earlier this month the Government was forced to withdraw its previous draft when it was found to be defective.

Liam Gibson, SPUC Northern Ireland Political Officer said: “By asking the Secretary of State if he will bypass the Northern Ireland Assembly to accelerate access to abortion, Stella Creasy has acknowledged that there is significant opposition to Downing Street’s abortion agenda in the Province. 

“It seems that she is eager to maintain pressure on the Government but her intervention is largely irrelevant. While Stella Creasy has served as the figurehead of the Westminster abortion lobby, the legislation she proposed was so badly drafted that it was considered to be legally unworkable. Section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act, which has created the most extreme abortion regime in Europe, was drafted by a Conservative Government and is being implemented by Conservative Ministers. 

“Stella Creasy is little more than a sock-puppet. She could have done nothing without the cooperation of the Government. Her continued attempts to undermine devolution allows Downing Street to deny responsibility for the extremist abortion agenda it is pursuing. Pro-life politicians in the Conservative Party need to hold the Prime Minister accountable for this abuse of power and reject the Northern Ireland Abortion Regulations when they come before Parliament.”

Return authority for abortion law to the people of Northern Ireland

79% of the people in Northern Ireland who responded to the public consultation rejected the Government’s proposals regarding the abortion regime.

SPUC Northern Ireland have stated that in forcing abortion onto the region, Westminster have torn up the devolution settlement and are treating Northern Ireland as a colony.

If you would like to help SPUC repeal Westminster’s abortion regime, sign the petition here to Repeal Section 9.

Politicians vow to exert more power onto Northern Ireland to ensure abortion regime is enforced.

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.


  abortion, northern ireland, robin walker, stella creasy, united kingdom

News

Mary’s Fatima plea to save souls from Hell ‘urgent and for today’: priest

Hell is 'not closed or empty,' said Fr. Serafino Lanzetta told the Rome Life Forum, and Our Lady's plea at Fatima for prayers and sacrifice remains.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 9:14 pm EST
Featured Image
Immaculate / Shutterstock.com
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Hell is “not closed or empty,” and Our Lady’s plea at Fatima for prayers and sacrifice to save souls from eternal damnation remains “urgent and for today,” Fr. Serafino Lanzetta told the Rome Life Forum.

A parish priest of St. Mary’s, Gosport, in the diocese of Portsmouth, U.K., where he is a member of a Marian Franciscan community, Fr. Lanzetta gave an address on “co-redemption and Marian consecration in the light of the Fatima message for our times,” for the 7th annual Rome Life Forum.

The forum is cosponsored by LifeSiteNews and the Voice of the Family and moved online this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If the Church would declare Mary as co-redemptrix as the fifth Marian dogma, that would “weld together” co-redemption and Marian consecration “as the identity of each Christian in this world,” said Fr. Lanzetta, who earned a habilitation, the equivalent of a doctorate, in theology from the Theology Faculty of Lugano in Switzerland.

“This would be propitious to officially gather that special Marian army needed in the latter times, marked by a special presence of our Mother and Queen, the Immaculate Conception” and “prepare for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so dear to each one of us.”

Mary is co-redemptrix because she “cooperated actively with Christ in carrying out the redemption of mankind,” and “her maternal contribution, though subordinate to the one of Christ, was by the will of God deemed ... necessary in relation to us,” he explained.

“As the first Eve had an influential role in the ruin of mankind, so the new Eve, Mary, with her obedience to God, with her fiat to God’s plan of salvation caused, in Christ and through Christ, the restoration of humankind.”

Mary’s role as co-redemptrix was “consummated” on Calvary when she consented to the “immolation” of her Son, and where the two offerings — “one is the body of Christ, one is the heart of Mary,” became “one sacrifice,” he said.

At Calvary, Mary also fulfils her role as the woman in St. John’s vision in Revelation 16:21 who cries out in the pain of childbirth.

“As the true mother of the living, the new Eve, Our Lady really gives birth to us. She on Calvary once again generates Christ for us in a bloody redeemer, so to speak,” Fr. Lanzetta said.

“And in Him and for Him she generates us to supernatural life. Her contribution is made possible by Christ, and is offered only in Christ so as to prepare the cooperation of us in our own salvation.”

Fr. Lanzetta emphasized that popes from Leo XIII to Benedict XVI have reiterated the doctrine of Mary as co-redemptrix as part of the Church’s ordinary magisterium.

Vatican II avoided the term to appease Protestants and further ecumenical dialogue, but the doctrine is present in paragraph 58 of Lumen Gentium, which describes Mary as “consenting to the immolation of her Son,” he said.

While there have been difficulties in accepting the doctrine since Vatican II,  “prudent theologians” have affirmed that it “has been proved to be part of the revelation of God” and is “mature enough to be solemnly proclaimed as a dogma of faith” if a pope wants to do so, Fr. Lanzetta said.

Mary’s request to the children at Fatima that Russia, all nations, and each single soul be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart must be seen in the light of her role as co-redemptrix, Fr. Lanzetta said.

“The logic of this request to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart is understandable in the framework of the theology of Marian consecration, whose foundation is the soteriological contribution of Our Lady to our own salvation.”

Mary told Lucia at Fatima in June 1917 that “my heart will be your refuge and the way to lead you to God.” The next month she revealed to the three children a vision of Hell and told them many people would go there because no one was praying or making sacrifices for them, Fr. Lanzetta said.

She also requested that Catholics make the five first Saturdays devotion, which along with the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart are the efficacious means to prevent Russia spreading its errors around the world.

However, because the consecration to Russia was delayed, and then made not as “precisely” as Mary had asked, Marxist ideology has been able to “triumph over the ruins of a collapsed communism,” Fr. Lanzetta said.

Marxism has been “transformed” into a “worldwide petition for an equal society shaping a new man made in the likeness of man with his instincts and desires, with not even a gender-based difference,” he said.

“This is our world today,” and this ideology is even “embraced within the Church,” resulting in a crisis of faith and a “creeping apostasy.”

Marian consecration is an essential and efficacious remedy to this, Fr. Lanzetta said.

Consecration is “perfect” when one makes a sacrificial offering of oneself to God through the mediation of His Mother, he said.

“This is the way to respond to the call of the Fatima message: to offer everything to God in order to cooperate with Him for the salvation of mankind, as Our Lady did in a very unique manner.”

However, consecration is not the same as “entrustment.”

Entrustment describes an “easier” commitment, one which avoids sacrifice in favor of a “mere pastoral and existential approach to faith,” and which derives from a “minimalist, shallow consideration of Mary in our salvation,” he said.

“Our Consecration to Mary lets us live in full the mystery of Marian co-redemption as asked by Our Lady of Fatima,” Fr. Lanzetta said. 

“In this way we can truly respond to Our Lady’s request to offer sacrifices so that many souls might be saved from an easy fall, so to speak, into eternal perdition. This appeal is urgent and it is for today.”

To see the video of Fr. Lanzetta’s talk, go here.


  blessed virgin mary, catholic, co-redemptrix, consecration of russia, hell, our lady of fatima, rome life forum 2020, serafino lanzetta

News

‘God matters’: Conservative leadership candidate Derek Sloan calls on authorities to reopen Canada’s churches

It's an insult, he said, to classify churches as non-essential and force people of faith to surrender their freedom to worship.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 8:32 pm EST
Featured Image
Derek Sloan in an April 2020 Facebook video titled "Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, must go!" Derek Sloan / Facebook
Anthony Murdoch
By Anthony Murdoch

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

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life candidate in the running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada called on authorities across the country to allow churches to reopen, saying “God matters to many people.”  

MP Derek Sloan made his comments in a May 20 email to followers titled “NEEDED – a plan to reopen the churches & other places of worship.” 

“During this unprecedented and trying time, we have found ways for people to get their groceries, to get their alcohol, to get their marijuana, and to get their takeout food, all the while observing the protocols of social distancing that keep us safe,” Sloan said.

“We could — and we should — be allowing religious congregations to use their buildings in the same way, with limited seating and social distancing of course, until it’s safe to allow things to return to ‘normal.’ Emergency powers are intended to keep us safe, NOT to shred our Charter-guaranteed rights to freedom of conscience and religion and of peaceful assembly,” he continued.

“I call upon provincial authorities across Canada to allow churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and all other places of worship to reopen and hold worship services while adhering to social distancing protocols. This is not a request for special treatment, but a request for equal treatment,” he added. 

Sloan said that in Canada “we can all stay safe without surrendering our constitutional freedoms, including the freedom to worship in assembly.”

Sloan’s email was a response to a Saturday decision by Ontario Premier Doug Ford to allow for drive-in church services

In response to Ford’s decision to allow for drive-in services, Sloan said the decision is welcomed but not good enough. 

“So now what? Premier Ford has amended the order and local police can no longer harass the ‘drive-in’ service. Is everything now ‘okay’? No, not quite. Not by a long shot,” Sloan said in his email. 

“It’s time — well past time, actually — to start thinking about how churches and other places of worship are going to figure in the order of things as Canada gradually reopens, piece by piece. Eight million Canadians attend worship services at least once a week, or at least they used to, just two months ago.”

Sloan then blasted the decision by Ontario’s government, which mirrors itself throughout Canada, that places of worship were deemed “non-essential.”  

“It was a hurtful insult to these Canadians to have their places of worship classified as non-essential by so many provincial governments. This is just the same as telling these people of faith, who put God at the centre of their lives, that religious worship is non-essential, that God doesn’t matter,” Sloan said in his email.

“Well, God matters to many people.”

Sloan recently spoke about his 12-point pro-life plan with Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) as part of the 2020 Virtual March for Life. Sloan’s plan includes a ban on sex-selective abortion, a ban on partial-birth abortion, freedom of conscience for healthcare workers, and a review of the current euthanasia and assisted-suicide legislation. 

Dr. Leslyn Lewis, the only other official pro-life candidate in the running, also spoke with CLC about her promised pro-life initiatives should she win the leadership race. 

Sloan sparked a media frenzy for saying in a letter and video that Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer, should be fired for her coronavirus response. 

Premier Ford’s post-coronavirus relaunch plan announced at the end of April does not specify when religious services will be allowed to resume.

Some provinces such as Alberta have allowed indoor religious services with a maximum capacity of 50 people, but no communion is permitted for Christian churches. 

As a result, the JCCF yesterday served a legal warning to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney over “his government’s arbitrary and unscientific treatment of houses of worship compared to restaurants and bars.”


  conservative party of canada, derek sloan, doug ford, drive-in church service, leslyn lewis, ontario, pro-life, reopening churches

News

Christian legal action successfully pressures Ontario govt to allow drive-in church services

A new directive exempts religious services from coronavirus gathering restrictions.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 7:48 pm EST
Featured Image
Christians at drive-in service at Church of God, April 26, 2020, Aylmer, Ontario. CTV / Video screen grab
Anthony Murdoch
By Anthony Murdoch

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

AYLMER, Ontario, May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Ontario Christian churchgoers who were threatened with fines for attending drive-in services have emerged victorious after their provincial government bowed to pressure to officially allow for drive-in “religious services.” All faiths will be able to hold drive-in services as long as they follow “social distancing” guidelines. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford signed an Order in Council directive on Saturday, amending Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (OEMCPA) to exempt religious services from strict coronavirus-enacted gathering restrictions.  

The Aylmer Church of God has been the epicentre of the controversy over drive-in services. At a drive-in service this past Sunday, Henry Hildebrandt, the church’s pastor, gave thanks for the turn of events.

“Thank God we stood as one heart and as one soul, and this morning we won as one."

Lisa Bildy, a lawyer for the Alberta-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), told LifeSiteNews, “We are pleased that the Ford government has finally clarified the order and is now permitting this congregation and others to worship in peace.

“It appears starting legal action was necessary to make that happen.” 

Bildy noted she does have concerns that the amendment still does not allow for communion services. 

“There are still inconsistencies in the treatment of faith groups as compared to businesses,” said Bildy. “While someone can get a coffee passed to them through their car window, they can't get the sacraments handed to them in the same way.”

Last month, Aylmer police said the Church of God congregants who took part in a Sunday drive-in service on April 26 would “be held accountable” for allegedly breaking coronavirus social distancing rules. The church has now held six consecutive drive-in services. 

Police said they would use video evidence they recorded of the event to back any fines issued as a result. However, despite the earlier warning and saying they had reasonable grounds to lay charges, Aylmer police backed off on holding the non-compliant citizens “accountable” for attending the drive-in service on April 26. 

Hildebrandt said the law was a direct violation of religious freedom as protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In early May, with the help of the JCCF, Hildebrandt filed a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge against the Ontario provincial government after police showed up at a drive-in service and threatened to hold those present “accountable.”

Bildy told LifeSiteNews that as far as the charter challenge is concerned, the JCCF is in the process of sorting out with the Ford government's lawyers what will happen next, “now that parts of the claim have been resolved.”

The order, according to paragraph 14 of subsection 7.0.2 (4) of the OEMCPA terms set out in Schedule 1, states that it is against the law for more than five people to get together to conduct a religious service. 

Schedule 1 now exempts religious services, reading, “Clause (1) (c) does not apply to a person who attends a gathering for the purposes of a religious service, rite or ceremony if, throughout the gathering, the person follows all of the following precautions that apply to the person.”

The new precautions include a list of rules that must be adhered to, one of which bans the exchange of “materials.” 

1.  Each person attending the gathering must remain within their vehicle and it must be closed to the elements.

2.  A person must not be in a motor vehicle that contains members of more than one household.

3.  The driver of a motor vehicle must ensure that it is positioned at least two metres away from other motor vehicles.

4.  No more than five persons may conduct the service from outside a motor vehicle and must remain at least two metres apart from those attending the gathering.

5.  The persons conducting the service must make sure the church or building is closed to all except to those conducting the service.  

6.  No materials must be exchanged. 

7. A person who ordinarily uses a non-motorized vehicle because of their religious belief and who attends the gathering must remain within their non-motorized vehicle. 

The changes to the OEMCPA means that all churches and other places of worship in Ontario will be able to hold drive-in style services without fear of being fined.

Churches need to be opened: ‘God matters’ 

MP Derek Sloan, pro-life candidate in the running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, welcomed Ford’s allowance of drive-in services but said in an email to his followers on May 20 that this action is not good enough and churches need to be opened. 

“So now what? Premier Ford has amended the order and local police can no longer harass the ‘drive-in’ service. Is everything now ‘okay’? No, not quite. Not by a long shot,” Sloan said in his email. 

“It’s time — well past time, actually — to start thinking about how churches and other places of worship are going to figure in the order of things as Canada gradually reopens, piece by piece. Eight million Canadians attend worship services at least once a week, or at least they used to, just two months ago.”

Sloan then blasted the decision by Ontario’s government, which mirrors itself throughout Canada, that places of worship were deemed “non-essential.”  

“It was a hurtful insult to these Canadians to have their places of worship classified as non-essential by so many provincial governments. This is just the same as telling these people of faith, who put God at the centre of their lives, that religious worship is non-essential, that God doesn’t matter,” Sloan said in his email.

“Well, God matters to many people.”

Sloan then put out a call for all provincial governments in Canada to allow places of worship to open so long as they follow safety measures.

“I call upon provincial authorities across Canada to allow churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and all other places of worship to reopen and hold worship services while adhering to social distancing protocols. This is not a request for special treatment, but a request for equal treatment,” Sloan said. 

“In Canada, we can all stay safe without surrendering our constitutional freedoms, including the freedom to worship in assembly.”

Premier Ford’s post-coronavirus relaunch plan announced at the end of April does not specify when religious services will be allowed to resume.

Some provinces such as Alberta have allowed for the resumption of indoor religious services with a maximum capacity of 50 people, and no communion is allowed for Christian churches. 

As a result, the JCCF yesterday served a legal warning to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney over “his government’s arbitrary and unscientific treatment of houses of worship compared to restaurants and bars.”


  aylmer church of god, canadian charter of rights and freedoms, christians, coronavirus, doug ford, drive-in church service, emergency management and civil protection act, henry hildebrandt, justice centre for constitutional freedoms, ontario

News

Uncovering the grotesque organ harvesting practices in China

Ethan Gutmann wrote The Slaughter, a book that exposed China's harvesting of organs from living people to the world. Today he joins Jonathon to discuss this terrible practice to which the world turns a blind eye.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 7:42 pm EST
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By LSN

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Ethan Gutmann, an investigative writer and defender of human rights, joins Jonathon to discuss the live organ harvesting that he discovered was happening in China.  

Van Maren and Gutmann discuss the current situation in China, how Gutmann uncovered the live harvesting of organs 15 years ago, and why Gutmann thinks this is a good reason for us to be cautious in our dealings with China.  

Gutmann lived in China from 1998 to 2002 and was able to see the persecution of the Chinese people firsthand. He had a fairly optimistic view of China prior to moving there, thinking that the opening of the economy to Western business was a good sign. After seeing the Falun Gong religious ceremony in Bejing and the persecution festival goers suffered, Gutmann realized the Chinese regime wasn’t as open as he thought.  

Watch the full interview: 

Gutmann also saw the censorship of information on the internet and its use as a surveillance tool as further red flags for what was actually happening in China.  

It was all of these experiences that inspired Gutmann to begin investigating what was happening in China and lead to the book The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem.  

Gutmann’s book was hailed as an “atom bomb” by Donald Morrison of Time magazine. It took Gutmann seven years to interview and write The Slaughter, exposing the terrible organ harvesting occurring in China. 

In China, doctors harvest organs from living individuals, mostly prisoners, for healthy people who can pay enough for the new organs. This began with prisoners who were being executed for committing a crime and spread to prisoners in labor camps, and other individuals. Gutmann’s book focuses on actual experiences of people in prison camps, including doctors, who report people waking up on operating tables while their organs were being harvested.  

Listen to the full interview: 

Gutmann recounts an interview he had with a woman who had escaped from a labor camp. She mentioned a medical examination the camp completed that didn’t make sense to her. After hearing her explain the examination, Gutmann realized they were looking to see how healthy her organs were. She hadn’t realized it and even got frustrated with Gutmann for asking about this seemingly insignificant exam when she wanted to share her sufferings and spiritual struggle from her time in the labor camp.  

Gutmann also shares the story of a doctor who took out the kidney and liver of a man who had been shot, but not fatally. His heart was still beating throughout the operation.  

When a demonstration broke out in 1997, the Chinese government shot many of the protestors and began harvesting their organs. It was clear this was “state run.” 

Around this same time, provinces across China began building transplant centers, training surgeons and surgical teams.  

Who gets the organs? The Chinese middle class and very wealthy people. This has become so much of a problem that organ tourism is now an industry of sorts in China.  

According to Chinese medical journals, the average age individuals from which organs are harvested is 28. Gutmann highlights the fact that 28 years old is not an age when significant amounts of the population are dying.  

Gutmann tells listeners that the Chinese created and patented a device that “knocks out your cerebral cortex,” effectively leaving one in what some would call “brain death” – a perfect state to harvest healthy, functioning organs. 

According to Gutmann, there are one to three million Chinese people of non-Han Chinese descent who are in concentration camps. These people are disappearing at a rate of about 25,000 per year, almost certainly due to organ harvesting.  

A healthy individual’s organs can be harvested and sold for half a million to a million dollars to organ tourists.  

Gutmann points to this grotesque abuse of human rights as a good reason for international powers to be wary of the Chinese government and their dealings with China. If a country can do this to its people, what other things will it be willing to do for its own benefit?  


  china, coronavirus, organ harvesting, the van maren show

News

Cdl Sarah: Corona crisis has laid bare ‘insidious disease’ of Church thinking she’s a ‘worldly institution’

The Cardinal said it’s time for the Church to return to preaching about eternal life.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 6:45 pm EST
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Urgent appeal to the bishops of the world: Feed your flock! Sign the petition here.

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – “The Church has messages for this world, but only because she has the keys to the other world.” With these words, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, underscored the Church’s mistaken bid to appear necessary to the world on the world’s terms.

According to Cardinal Sarah (read his full remarks below), the COVID-19 crisis has revealed both the world’s incapacity to come to terms with the scandal of death and the Church’s failure to bring to it the only possible answer and consolation that it alone can provide: the promise of eternal life.

Cardinal Sarah, born in French Guinea in 1945 to Christian parents who had converted from animism, has repeatedly deplored the developed West’s rejection of traditional values such as respect for life, for the family, and for the elderly.

In several best-selling books, Cardinal Sarah has also pleaded over recent years for the Church to return to its spiritual fundamentals, to “silence” in order to be more open to God, and to a Christ-centered liturgy.

His take on the coronavirus epidemic is that the Church now has the chance and the opportunity to return to “essentials” and to bring a world that has counted too much on the “security” of technology to understand that only she can provide answers to its newfound doubts.

“The Church has committed herself to the struggles for a better world. She has been right to support ecology, peace, dialogue, solidarity, and the equitable distribution of wealth. All these struggles are just. But they could make us forget the words of Jesus: ‘My kingdom is not of this world,’” wrote Cardinal Sarah in his op-ed for Figaro Vox, the internet platform of French daily Le Figaro on Tuesday.

The COVID-19 epidemic, wrote Sarah, “laid bare an insidious disease that was eating away at the Church: she thought that she was ‘of this world.’”

He accused the secularism of the state of being responsible for choosing to confine the elderly and to isolate them, leaving them with the risk of dying of “despair and loneliness.” “The answer could only be a response of faith: to accompany the elderly towards a probable death, in dignity and above all the hope of eternal life,” he proclaimed.

Despite the so-called protection of the elderly in nursing homes in France, in many of them healthcare personnel were not provided with masks and other protective equipment and large numbers of residents were infected in several regions. More than a third of all deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 in France (10,308 of 28,022 to date) were registered among residents of nursing homes for the elderly. In comparison, a heat wave in August 2003 in France directly caused an excess mortality of 14,800, mainly affecting individuals ages 75 and over.

To date, deaths attributed to the COVID-19 crisis have reached a world total of 323,286 individuals. Every year, 6.15 million people die of lower respiratory tract infections. But the focus on the coronavirus has led to seeing “COVID-19 deaths” as a particular tragedy. Seventy-one percent of French victims were over 75 and 18 percent were ages 64 to 75.

Here below is LifeSite’s working translation of Cardinal Sarah’s op-ed.

***

Does the Church still have a place in times of epidemic in the 21st century? In contrast with past centuries, the bulk of medical care is now provided by the state and healthcare personnel. Modernity has its secularized heroes in white coats, and they are admirable. It no longer needs the charitable battalions of Christians to care for the sick and bury the dead. Has the Church become useless to society?

Covid-19 is bringing Christians back to the essentials. Indeed, the Church has since long entered into a distorted relationship with the world. Confronted with a society that pretended not to need them, Christians, through pedagogy, did their best to demonstrate that they could be useful to it. The Church has shown herself to be an educator, the mother of the poor, an “expert in humanity” as Paul VI put it. And rightly so. But little by little, Christians have come to forget the reason for this expertise. They ended up forgetting that if the Church can help man to be more human, it is ultimately because she has received from God the words of eternal life.

The Church has committed herself to the struggles for a better world. She has been right to support ecology, peace, dialogue, solidarity, and the equitable distribution of wealth. All these struggles are just. But they could make us forget the words of Jesus: “My kingdom is not of this world.” The Church has messages for this world, but only because she has the keys to the other world. Christians have sometimes thought of the Church as a help given by God to humanity to improve its life here on earth. And they did not lack reasons, so true is it that faith in eternal life sheds light on the proper way to live in this century.

Dying of despair and loneliness

Covid-19 laid bare an insidious disease that was eating away at the Church: she thought that she was “of this world.” She wanted to feel legitimate in her own eyes and according to her own criteria. But a radically new reality has appeared. Triumphant modernity has collapsed in the face of death. This virus revealed that, despite its assurances and security, this earthly world was still paralyzed by the fear of death. The world can solve health crises. It will certainly solve the economic crisis. But it will never solve the enigma of death. Faith alone has the answer.

Let us illustrate this very concretely. In France, as in Italy, the issue of nursing homes for the elderly, the so-called “EHPADs,” has been a crucial point. Why is that so? Because it directly raised the question of death. Should elderly residents be confined to their rooms at the risk of dying of despair and loneliness? Should they stay in contact with their families, risking death from the virus? We did not know how to answer.

The State, trapped in a secularism that chooses on principle to ignore hope and send cults back to the private domain, was condemned to silence. For the State, the only solution was to flee physical death at all costs, even if it meant condemning moral death. The answer could only be a response of faith: to accompany the elderly towards a probable death, in dignity and above all the hope of eternal life.

The epidemic has hit Western societies at their most vulnerable point. They had been organized to deny death, to hide it, to ignore it. It came in through the front door! Who has not seen those giant mortuaries in Bergamo or Madrid? These are the images of a society that not long ago was promising an immortal, augmented man.

Forgetting fear

The promises of technology make it possible to forget fear for a moment, but in the end they prove to be illusory when death strikes. Even philosophy merely restores some dignity to human reason when it is overwhelmed by the absurdity of death. But it is powerless to console hearts and give meaning to what seems to be definitively deprived of meaning.

In the face of death, there is no human response that can hold. Only the hope of eternal life can surpass the scandal of death. But who is the man who will dare to preach hope? It takes the revealed word of God to dare to believe in a life without end. It takes a word of faith to dare to hope for oneself and one's family. The Catholic Church is therefore called back to its primary responsibility. The world expects of her a word of faith that will enable it to overcome the trauma of this face-to-face encounter with death that it has just experienced. Without a clear word of faith and hope, the world can sink into morbid guilt or helpless rage at the absurdity of its condition. Only the Church can enable it to give meaning to the deaths of loved ones, who died in solitude and were buried in haste.

But if that is so, the Church must change. She must stop being afraid of causing shock and of going against the tide. She must give up thinking of herself as a worldly institution. She must return to her only “raison d'être”: faith. The Church is there to announce that Jesus conquered death through His resurrection. This is at the heart of her message: “And if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith … and we are the most wretched of all men” (1 Corinthians 15:14-19). All the rest is only a consequence of this.

Our societies will come out of this crisis weakened. They will need psychologists to overcome the trauma of not being able to accompany the elderly and the dying to their tombs, but even more, they will need priests to teach them to pray and to hope. The crisis reveals that our societies, without knowing it, are suffering deeply from a spiritual evil: they do not know how to give meaning to suffering, finitude and death.


  catholic, congregation for divine worship, covid-19, elderly, france, robert sarah, secularism

News

Catholic GOP committeewoman fired from healthcare job after cheering cancellation of LGBT ‘pride’ parade

No only did the employer fire the home caregiver, but LGBT activists have harassed her and her family.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 4:23 pm EST
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By Calvin Freiburger

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

TOLEDO, Ohio, May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A home healthcare company in Toledo, Ohio has terminated one of its caregivers over a social media post celebrating the cancellation of a local LGBT “pride” event due to COVID-19.

In a since-deleted Facebook post, Kristi Kille, who is also a committeewoman for the Lucas County Republican Party, wrote that she was pleased to see the 2020 Toledo Pride festival put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions. Another event has been scheduled for August 22.

“For once, COVID-19 has caused something GOOD to happen,” she wrote, NBC 24 reported. “The 2020 Toledo 'Gay Pride' Parade has been CANCELED!!!!"

Local LGBT activists groups condemned the comment, as did Toledo City Councilmember Nick Komives. Even the Lucas County GOP joined the denunciations, issuing a statement that Kille’s comment "was neither issued by, nor supported by the Lucas County GOP," and that "we're very proud of the members of the LGBT community who participate in the party and we're a stronger party because of their involvement."

But Kille’s biggest blow came when Arista Home Care Solutions fired her from her job as a certified home health aide on May 15, she told LifeSiteNews via email.

Kille says her job was going well and her patients and superiors were all very pleased with her work. But despite her social media commentary never being an issue before, Arista punished her after pressure from LGBT activists.

“The next morning, when I was at my clients' house, the owner called about that post,” Kille says. “That was the first time I knew something of what was going on because of that post. Throughout the day, she and I talked via telephone about the situation and she said that her daughter is ‘gay’ and was wondering how I'd treat ‘gay’ clients. The company was harassed, nonstop, by phone calls, Facebook comments, and bad reviews, and these people were demanding that I get fired.”

The next day, the company called her into the office and had another caregiver take over her shift at a patient’s home.

“At that meeting, the owner and her husband did not say I was fired because of these people,” she explained. “But it was all based on that. They told me about the situation being on the news the night before. They told me that they thought long and hard and consulted their attorney about this because they did not want to fire me. They admitted that it was hard to fire a good employee. I told them that their rights were violated by these people. The owner gave me a termination letter stating different violations that I committed – which I didn't do. But that's all for legal purposes.”

On May 11, five days before Kille’s firing, Arista owners Clayton and Paula Biriney released a statement that they were “aware of hateful comments recently posted by an employee on their personal Facebook page,” which “do not reflect our views personally, nor do they represent the culture of our company, or the dedication and compassion of our other employees,” and that they would be “dealing with this situation in a forceful manner.”

Kille added that several LGBT activists have harassed her and members of her family over her comments – at least one instance of which being serious enough to file a police report. She has also declared that she will not compromise her statements of faith for expediency:

In addition to America’s ongoing debates over LGBT activists’ positions on cultural issues such as marriage and gender fluidity, LGBT “pride” parades are particularly controversial for the bizarre, sexually-explicit displays they often feature, and activists’ comfort subjecting children to them.

Toledo Pride’s announcement that they’re “working with local bands, drag performers, and other entertainers to host a virtual Pride event, featuring a simulcast event, a virtual parade and a family fun day” (emphasis added) suggests the group is similarly unconcerned about age-appropriateness.


  arista home care solutions, clayton biriney, homosexuality, kristi kille, lgbt, lucas county republican party, ohio, paula biriney, pride parades, speech, toledo, toledo pride

News

Cardinal Burke: ‘Consecration of Russia’ to Our Lady ‘more needed now than ever’

The cardinal connected the errors of communist Russia with the current corona crisis.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 12:40 pm EST
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ROME, May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke renewed his call today for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima, saying that the current worldwide coronavirus crisis shows that it is “more needed now than ever.”

In a powerful address during the virtual Rome Life Forum hosted by Voice of the Family (read full talk below), the Cardinal connected the errors of communist Russia with the current crisis, highlighting the prominent role that the atheist communist regime of China has played in it.

“The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is more needed today than ever,” he said. 

“When we witness how the evil of atheistic materialism, which has its roots in Russia, directs in a radical way the government of the People’s Republic of China, we recognize that the great evil of communism must be healed at its roots through the consecration of Russia, as Our Lady has directed.”

“Recognizing the necessity of a total conversion from atheistic materialism and communism to Christ, the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, in accord with her explicit instruction, remains urgent.”

(Read more about Cardinal Burke’s call for the consecration of Russia, and why it is still so necessary, here.)

The Rome Life Forum, which runs from May 20-22, is on the topic “Coronavirus in the light of Fatima: a tragedy and a source of hope.”

The Cardinal’s lecture, “Fatima: Heaven’s answer to a world in crisis,” dealt first of all with the coronavirus pandemic, the current suspension of liberties, and threats of worse indignities to the human person. 

Burke declared that it is “never morally justified to develop a vaccine through the use of cell lines of aborted fetuses” and that the thought of it being injected into one’s body is “rightly abhorrent.” He noted also that vaccination may not be imposed “in a totalitarian manner” on citizens.” He also decried proposals for placing microchips under people’s skin that would allow them to be “controlled by the State regarding health and about other matters.”

Burke said that the current lockdown is not how God has “called us to live” and observed that there are people using the pandemic to promote a “single world government,” environmental causes, and even radical changes in the practise of the Catholic faith. 

The Cardinal was critical of the way some Church leaders have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that there has been a “failure” to announce the Gospel and to insist that the Church be permitted to carry on her mission. 

“Individual priests and Bishops have been wise and courageous in finding the means to remain close to God’s flock in their care, especially by bringing the Sacraments to those who are ill and dying, but sadly the general impression among the faithful is that their priests have been taken away from them or have abandoned them,” the Cardinal said.  

“The greater part of the faithful have been denied the Sacraments now for weeks.”

Burke deplored the interference of the state in the Church’s worship during the pandemic and decried proposals for arrangements when it ends, including making attendance at Sunday Mass optional for the faithful.

The Cardinal contradicted pastors who have called faithful Catholic selfish for wanting the sacraments during the emergency, saying that the laypeople’s desire is “at the heart of our faith.” Burke also decried irreverent methods proposed for the Communion of the Faithful. 

Burke raised the subject of the People’s Republic of China, noting that it believes the only acceptable religion in China is China itself. The Cardinal said its role in the genesis of the pandemic, its influence over health authorities, and its power over other nations raised questions. He also called for a return of the study of civics to American schools, so that students are equipped “to exercise the fundamental virtue of patriotism.”       

The Cardinal stressed that the atheist materialism and communism that threatened the Catholic faith in 1917 continues to threaten the world through the People’s Republic of China and drew his audience’s attention to the messages of Fatima. Burke enjoined it to pray daily for the conversion of Russia, do penance, and make reparation for sins.

Register for Rome Life Forum here.

***

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

Rome Life Forum 2020
15 May 2020

Fatima: Heaven’s Answer to a World in Crisis

We are living through most troubled and troubling times. A virus has been, in some way, unleashed, traveling to all parts of the world. It has caused and is causing many to suffer from the associated illness, COVID-19, to a greater or lesser degree. Many have died and are dying, either directly from the illness or from complications of which the illness is a part. In response to the spread of the contagion, many governments have imposed severe restrictions on the movement of their citizens, confining citizens to their homes and closing down the operation of all but essential services. The effect on the economy of families, local communities and nations has been devastating.

The origin of the virus remains yet unclear. Reports about its nature and course are conflicting. At present, there is a forceful debate about whether its course will now permit us to resume our daily activities or whether, because of a threat of the resurgence of the contagion, we must continue to live confined to our homes. We receive reports from those who are retained to be experts that are clearly contradictory. There is also a legitimate fear of unscrupulous persons using the health crisis for political and economic ends.

A peculiar aspect of the resulting international health crisis, what is called a pandemic, is that the greater body of the healthy are placed under severe restrictions, even regarding their practice of the faith, on the assumption that infection with the virus often remains hidden until it suddenly manifests itself. In a certain way, each of us becomes a possible danger to others. In such a situation, natural human interaction is rendered severely limited. Among some, the situation has led to constant worry about possible infection and the nurture of an illusion that somehow we can create a perfectly sanitary environment in which we will not be threatened by any bacteria or virus or in which by prophylactic measures, including universally imposed vaccination, we will be protected, with certainty, against the coronavirus.

With regard to vaccination, it must be clear that it is never morally justified to develop a vaccine through the use of the cell lines of aborted fetuses. The thought of the introduction of such a vaccine into one’s body is rightly abhorrent. At the same time, it must be clear that vaccination itself cannot be imposed, in a totalitarian manner, on citizens. When the State takes on such a practice, it violates the integrity of its citizens. While the State can provide reasonable regulations for the safeguarding of health, it is not the ultimate provider of health. God is. Whatever the State proposes must respect God and His Law. 

There can be no question that life has become, in many respects, strange. There are those who have wanted to characterize the confinement to home as almost providential, that is, the occasion to make an extended spiritual retreat or to enhance family life. Certainly, we are called to accept whatever suffering comes into our lives, making it, with the help of God’s grace, a source of blessing for ourselves and others. The fact, however, remains that the situation does not correspond to the way in which God has called us to live and that, therefore, it constitutes a suffering. We cannot ignore the widespread negative effect of the situation in depression and other mental illnesses, in the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and so forth. While we are called to offer our suffering to God in love of Him and of our neighbor, we certainly do not want to foster it, as if it were a good in itself.

It is also clear that individuals and groups with a particular agenda are using the profound suffering, in what regards both the health and the economy of families, local communities and nations, to promote their agenda, whether it be the advance of a single world government, the promotion of environmental causes, and even radical changes in the practice of the Catholic faith. In the midst of the disorientation and confusion generated by the international health crisis, we must, above all, turn to right reason and to our faith in addressing the crisis for the good of all.

From the beginning of the crisis, there has been a failure on the part of the Church as one body to announce clearly the Gospel and to insist on the exercise of her mission, in accord with the Gospel, also in times of international crisis. Individual priests and Bishops have been wise and courageous in finding the means to remain close to God’s flock in their care, especially by bringing the Sacraments to those who are ill and dying, but sadly the general impression among the faithful is that their priests have been taken away from them or have abandoned them. The greater part of the faithful have been denied the Sacraments now for weeks.

It is tragic to hear reports of faithful who ask a priest to hear their confession and receive the response that the priests are forbidden to hear confessions, or who ask for Holy Communion and are told that the priests are forbidden to distribute Holy Communion outside of the Holy Mass. It is particularly tragic to hear the accounts of the faithful dying without the help of their priest or without any member of their family or friends present to assist them, and the accounts of lifelong faithful Catholics being buried without any Funeral Rites whatsoever. In some cases, these tragic circumstances have been dictated by the State and in some cases they have been dictated by the Church, beyond the demands of the regulations of the State or in conformity with regulations of the State, which are in violation of religious freedom.

The situation has rightly sustained an intense discussion on the relationship of the Church and the State. In the absence of due respect for the Church and for the religious freedom of her members, the State assumes the authority of God Himself, dictating to the Church regarding the most sacred realities like the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Penance. If we had any doubt regarding the loss of such respect, it was dispelled by incidents in which civil authorities attempted to prevent a priest offering the Holy Mass from completing the sacred action.

From the beginning, there has been a failure to make clear that among all of the necessities of life the principal necessity is communion with God. Yes, we need what is required for our nourishment, health and hygiene, but none of these essential needs can substitute for our most fundamental need: to know, love and serve God. As I was taught long ago, among the first lessons in the Catechism, God made man to know, love and serve Him in this life and thereby to obtain life everlasting with Him in Heaven. (1)

In the face of an international health crisis, we must turn first to God, asking Him to keep us safe from the contagion and from every other evil. Turning to God, we find the direction and strength to take whatever human measures are required to protect ourselves, according to the demands of right reason and of the moral law. Otherwise, if we falsely think that the combat against the evil depends totally upon us, we take measures which offend our human dignity and, above all, our right relationship with God. In that regard, the State should be attentive to the religious freedom of the citizens, in order that the help of God may be sought at all times and in all things. To think otherwise is to make the State our god and to think that mere humans, without the help of God, can save us.

If there was a lack of respect for our fundamental relationship with God at the beginning of the present international health crisis, there is a similar lack of respect in what is proposed, once the crisis has passed. One hears repeatedly the mantra that our life will never again be the same and that we can never return to life as we lived it before. It has been suggested, for instance, that the ancient gesture of giving one’s hand to another in friendship and trust must now be forever abandoned. Also, there is a certain movement to insist that now everyone must be vaccinated against the coronavirus COVID-19 and even that a kind of microchip needs to be placed under the skin of every person, so that at any moment he or she can be controlled by the State regarding health and about other matters which we can only imagine. It has also been suggested, even by pastors of the Church, that the present crisis should lead us to consider again whether Sunday Mass is essential to the Christian life or whether Funeral Rites are essential to the practice of our faith.

Yes, it is true that the experience of the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis has marked significantly our lives, but it must not assume the direction of our lives. Our Lord Jesus Christ remains the King of Heaven and of Earth. We remain created in God’s image and likeness, with the gifts of faith and reason. We remain sons and daughters of God, adopted in God the Son which we can onlyby the all-wondrous work of His Redemptive Incarnation. We live in God, we receive God’s life into our hearts and souls from the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, in order to do what is right and just and good for ourselves and for our world. We must return to a life lived in communion with God, using right reason and putting into practice the truths of our Catholic faith.

The Sunday Mass obligation, for instance, participates in natural and divine law, the Third Commandment of the Decalogue, which we are obliged to observe, unless, for reasons beyond our control, we are not able to do so. (2) During the present crisis, it has been said that Bishops dispense the faithful from the Sunday Mass obligation, but no human has the power to dispense from divine law. If it has been impossible, during the crisis, for the faithful to assist at Holy Mass, then the obligation did not bind them, but the obligation remained.

In this regard, I have been concerned about the response of some to the long-term impossibility of access to the Sacraments, who have said that it was actually good to be without the Sacraments, in order to concentrate on the more fundamental relationship with God. Some have expressed a preference for watching the televised Holy Mass in the comfort of their homes. But the Holy Mass is not some human representation. It is Christ Himself Who descends to the altars of our churches and chapels to make sacramentally present the saving fruit of His Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension. What on earth could be preferable to the presence of Christ in our midst in the sacramental action!

Some pastors have even rebuked the faithful who pleaded for the Sacraments, accusing them of wanting, in selfishness, to risk serious harm to the health of others. No one denies the need to take necessary sanitary precautions, but the desire of the Sacraments, especially of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, is at the heart of our faith. Our relationship with God requires that we leave the confinement of our homes and what we may imagine to be a perfectly protected environment, in order that He, through His only-begotten Son, can speak to our hearts and nourish them with divine grace. In this regard, even as it is perfectly normal that individuals leave the confinement of their homes to purchase, for instance, food and medicine, it is even more perfectly normal that persons of faith leave the confinement of their homes to pray and to receive the Sacraments.

Here, it must be noted that Our Lord has entrusted the sacred realities of His presence with us to the care of our pastors. It is they who have received the grace to safeguard those realities and to provide access to them for the faithful. Their knowledge and experience must always be conformed to the truths of the faith, handed down to us through the unbroken line of Apostolic Tradition. In a time of health crisis, public health experts may make recommendations about how best to protect the health of those who have access to churches and chapels, but it is the Bishops and priests who must implement such recommendations in a manner that respects the divine reality of the faith itself and of the Sacraments. For instance, to suggest that a priest distribute Holy Communion while wearing a mask and plastic gloves, and sanitize his hands at various times after he has consecrated the Sacred Host may, from a medical perspective be the most sanitary practice, but it does not respect the truth that it is Christ Who is giving Himself to us in the Sacred Host. At the same time, the prohibition of receiving the Sacred Host on the tongue and the mandate to receive Holy Communion in the hand, while it may be more sanitary, although that is debated, could only be justified by a grave reason.

It is true that historically the Church has used different sacred instruments to give Holy Communion to someone who was highly contagious, but these methods of reception of Holy Communion were not used for the Holy Communion of the faithful, in general. It was not assumed that the priest and the faithful, in general, were all infected, as seems to be the assumption today, and, therefore, could not receive Holy Communion in the most devout manner possible. Medical experts and public health officials can make recommendations to the Church, but it is the Church herself who must decide regarding practices touching upon the most sacred realities of our faith.

The coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic has also raised a most serious question for us as citizens of a nation. The role of the People’s Republic of China in the whole international health crisis raises many serious questions. While we as Christians love the Chinese people and want for them what is for their good, we cannot fail to recognize that their government is the embodiment of atheistic materialism or communism. In other words, it is a government which has no respect for God and for His Law. The President of China, Xi Jinping, has made it abundantly clear that the only acceptable religion in China is China. His government is based on the idolatry of the nation, and a number of its laws and practices are in open violation of the most fundamental precepts of the divine law written upon the heart of every man and woman, and articulated in the Decalogue. It is an evil form of government which, for instance, practices forced abortions and openly violates the religious freedom of the people. It is only right to ask what ethical principles have governed the involvement of the Chinese government in the coronavirus COVID-19 international health crisis.

At the same time, it is only right to ask what has been and what is the involvement of national and international public health organizations with the Chinese government in the matter of the virus which has threatened many lives and the very stability of sovereign nations. There is also the serious question of individuals with many billions of dollars at their disposal, who regularly and powerfully sustain an anti-life and anti-family agenda and who are publicly involved in the crisis and exercise a heavy influence on public opinion regarding it. As citizens of a nation, it is our duty to ask these questions and to pursue steadfastly honest answers to them.

When I was in elementary and secondary school, the study of what was called civics was taken with great seriousness. It was the study of how the government of one’s nation works to protect the common good, including just relationships with other nations. The goal of the study was to make students, the future of the nation, responsible for the government of their nation. I am told that, for a long time already, civics has not been taught in many schools. If such be the case, how will the students be equipped to be responsible citizens? The exercise of such responsibility is irreplaceable to a stable democratic government. It is also a part of the natural law, in specific, the Fourth Commandment of the Decalogue, which teaches us respect for our parents and for those institutions which safeguard and promote family life, ultimately for the nation. The present crisis should lead us to look again at education, a fundamental expression of our culture, and to provide what is lacking in the preparation of students to exercise the fundamental virtue of patriotism.

The present crisis has also made clear how dependent many nations are on the People’s Republic of China. Companies which for decades produced the necessary goods of a nation within the nation now produce those goods in China in the interest of economic gain. How many of the goods we use daily bear the label: “Made in China”? The present crisis must lead us to ask why, in our nations, we ourselves are not producing what is necessary for the healthy and strong life of the people of the nation. These are complex questions which are made all the more urgent by the fact that many nations are, in fact, dependent upon the People’s Republic of China, a government which fully and radically espouses atheistic materialism.

My somewhat long reflection should not lead to discouragement but rather to the courageous pursuit of our Catholic identity in Christ alive for us in His holy Church, an identity which by its very definition is for the common good, the good of all peoples. Christ came to save the world, and He calls us to life in the Holy Spirit, in order that we may be His co-workers in His Redemptive mission which continues until He returns at the end of time to establish “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells,” (3) to inaugurate the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, (4) His Wedding Feast, at which we are called to be participants through the grace of Baptism and Confirmation.

Our Lord sent His Virgin Mother to Cova da Iria near Fatima in Portugal in 1917, for the precise mission of calling us back to life in Him, to a strong Catholic identity, in the face of the rise and spread of atheistic materialism or communism. In speaking with you today about the critical situation in which we find ourselves, I could not give you better counsel than the Virgin Mother of God gave to us, through the three shepherd children at Cova da Iria: Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and the Servant of God Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart.

The appearances of Our Lady of Fatima came at a time when the world was in a terrifying crisis, a crisis which threatened its very future, a crisis which, in many and frightening ways, continues, in our day, to threaten the future of man and of the world. It is a crisis which has also infected the life of the Church, not, of course, touching the objective reality of Christ’s life in the Church for our salvation but, rather, obscuring and manipulating the Church from within for purposes alien to her nature and thus poisonous for souls.

The immediate manifestation of the crisis was the rise of atheistic materialism or communism in Russia and its spread throughout the world. Atheistic materialism or communism is evil at its root, for it is the abandonment of faith in God and in His plan for our eternal salvation, as He, from the Creation, has written it into nature, and, above all, has inscribed it upon the human heart. It is the abandonment of the Mystery of Faith, an indifference, disregard or even hostility to the supreme reality of the Redemptive Incarnation of God the Son by which He has won for man eternal salvation, the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, of divine grace, so that man can live in communion with God, in accord with His plan for His creation. Christ has won for man the gift of His own life, so that man may attain eternal life, while preparing the world for its transformation, in accord with God’s plan, for the inauguration of “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (5) Christ is the Eternal Lamb of God, at whose Wedding Feast we are all called to have a place. (6)

God prepared the messengers of the Virgin of Fatima by three visions of the Angel of Portugal which took place during the Spring, Summer and Autumn of 1916. During the first vision, while telling the shepherd children not to be afraid and assuring them that he was “the Angel of Peace,” he taught them to pray three times with these words:

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope [in] and I love You. I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope [in] and do not love You. (7)

God’s messenger to the shepherd children was already indicating the way in which the Mother of God would lead the world to deal with the grave crisis of atheistic materialism or communism and its inherent apostasy: the way of faith and prayer, and of penance and reparation.

Apostasy is not limited simply to the denial of the faith, but it involves every aspect of the faith. In the words of the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, “[a]postasy is a sin against the faith, since it rejects revealed doctrine; against religion, because it denies to God true worship; against justice, since it tramples underfoot the promises of the Christian.” (8) Referring to a modern author who calls apostasy “spiritual suicide,” the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique declares:

This “spiritual suicide” is, after the hatred of God, the most grave of sins, for it, more completely and definitively than the faults simply opposed to the moral virtues, separates from God the powers of the human soul, intelligence and will. (9)

It is clear that apostasy, either explicit or implicit, leads hearts away from the Immaculate Heart of Mary and, thus, from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the only font of our salvation. In that regard, as the Message of Fatima makes clear, the pastors of the Church, who in some way cooperate with apostasy, also by their silence, bear a very heavy burden of responsibility.

The most respected studies of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima hold that the third part of the Message or Secret of Fatima has to do with the diabolical forces unleashed upon the world in our time and entering into the very life of the Church, which lead souls away from the truth of the faith and, therefore, from the Divine Love flowing from the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus. (10) Our Lady of Fatima makes it clear that only the Faith, which places man in the relationship of unity of heart with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the mediation of her Immaculate Heart, can save man from the material and spiritual chastisements which rebellion against God necessarily brings upon its perpetrators and upon the whole of both society and the Church. She, therefore, urges daily conversion of life for the salvation of souls and the salvation of the world.

Referring to the punishments necessarily connected with the grave sins of the time, Our Lady, during her apparition on July 13, 1917, announced the peace which God wants to give to souls and to the world. She teaches us that the peace of God will come to the world through two means: the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the practice of the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturday of the month. Our Lady spoke these words to the shepherd children:

To prevent this [the punishment of the world “for its crimes by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father”], I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.

In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc. (11)

Our Lady indicates the spiritual remedy of the deplorable situation in which the world and the Church find themselves. She also foretold the terrible physical chastisements which would result from the failure to consecrate the agent of the spread of atheistic communism to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through her Immaculate Heart and to undertake the regular practice of reparation for so many offenses committed against the immeasurable and unceasing love of God manifested so perfectly in the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus.

The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is more needed today than ever. When we witness how the evil of atheistic materialism, which has its roots in Russia, directs in a radical way the government of the People’s Republic of China, we recognize that the great evil of communism must be healed at its roots through the consecration of Russia, as Our Lady has directed. Recognizing the necessity of a total conversion from atheistic materialism and communism to Christ, the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, in accord with her explicit instruction, remains urgent.

The Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays represents the heart of a coherent life lived in Christ, a union of hearts, one with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We have the assurance of Our Lady that her Immaculate Heart will triumph, that the truth and love of her Divine Son will triumph. We are called to be agents of her triumph by our obedience to her maternal counsel. Let us not forget Sister Lucia’s description of the third part of the Secret, in which she quotes “the Angel with a flaming sword” whom she saw at Our Lady’s left side:

Pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: “Penance, Penance, Penance!” (12)

Sister Lucia then describes the martyrdom of those remaining true to Our Lord, of those who are of one heart, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with His Most Sacred Heart. (13) Let us not fail to embrace whatever suffering comes from our faithful witness to Him Who is the true treasure of our hearts, to Him Who is the King of Heaven and of Earth.

The reality of the apostasy of faith, manifested in the spread of atheistic materialism in our time, rightly and profoundly frightens us. Our love of Christ and of His Mystical Body, the Church, makes clear to us the gravity of the evil which seeks to rob us of our eternal salvation in Christ. Let us not give way to discouragement but rather remember that the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into glory, never ceases to beat with love for us, the children whom her Divine Son gave to her, as He was dying upon the Cross. (14) With maternal care, she draws our hearts to her glorious Immaculate Heart, in order to take our hearts to the Divine Heart, the Sacred Heart of God the Son Who is the Son of Mary, which has never ceased to beat with love for us and for our world. She instructs us, as she instructed the wine stewards at the Wedding Feast of Cana in their distress: “Do whatever he tells you.” (15) Let us, with the help of the Virgin Mother of God, be prepared to accept whatever sacrifice is asked of us, in order to be faithful brothers and sisters of Christ, faithful soldiers of Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, steadfast cooperators with His grace.

Let us pray daily for the conversion of Russia, and let us take up the way of prayer, penance and reparation, which Our Lady of Fatima teaches us. Let us make our own the prayer taught to the saintly shepherd children by the Angel of Portugal during his first vision:

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope [in] and I love You. I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope [in] and do not love You. (16)

Praying thus, let us not forget the words of the same Angel, God’s messenger to the shepherd children to prepare them for the apparitions of the Mother of God:

Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications. (17)

Let us never doubt that the Hearts of Jesus and Mary are ever open to receive our prayers and to help us in all of our needs.

For our part, let us follow the counsel of the same Angel, given to the shepherd children, during his second apparition: “Offer prayers and sacrifices to the Most High.” (18) Let us do, as the Angel went on to instruct the children:

Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an action of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you. (19)

Let us, in imitation of the saintly shepherd children, happily accept suffering for the sake of the forgiveness of sins and the repair of the disorder which sin always introduces into our personal lives and into the world. Let us be realistic about the great evils which beset the world and the Church, and, at the same time, let us be full of hope in the victory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for which we battle each day with the incomparable spiritual armaments of prayer and penance, and of reparation for sins committed.

I assure you of my daily prayers, asking Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, the Fourteen Holy Helpers and Saint Roch, to keep you safe from the evil of the coronavirus COVID-19 and from every other evil. May God bless you and your homes.

________

1 Cf. Father Connell’s Confraternity Edition New Baltimore Catechism, No. 3 (New York: Benziger Brothers, Inc., 1949), pp. 5-7, nos. 3-4.
2 Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2180.
3 2 Pet 3, 13.
4 Cf. Rev 19, 7-9.
5 2 Pet 3, 13.
6 Rev 19, 7-9.
7 “Meu Deus! Eu creio, adoro, espero e amo-Vos. Peço-Vos perdão para os que não crêem, não adoram, não esperam e Vos não amam.” Carmelo de Coimbra, Um caminho sob o olhar de Maria. Biografia da Irmã Maria Lúcia de Jesus e do Coração Imaculado O.C.D. (Marco de Canaveses: Edições Carmelo, 2013), p. 37. [Hereafter, Carmelo de Coimbra]. English translation: Carmel of Coimbra, A Pathway under the Gaze of Mary: Biography of Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart O.C.D., tr. James A. Colson (Washington, NJ: World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, 2015), p. 46. [Hereafter, Carmelo de Coimbra Eng].
8 “L’apostasie est un péché contre la foi, puisqu’elle rejette la doctrine révélée ; contre la religion, puisqu’elle refuse à Dieu le culte vrai ; contre la justice, puisqu’elle foule aux pieds les promesses du chrétien.” Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, Tome premier (Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1903), col. 1604. [Hereafter, DTC].
9 “Ce « suicide religieux » est, après la haine de Dieu, le plus grave des péchés, parce que plus complètement et plus définitivement que les fautes simplement opposées aux vertus morales, il sépare de Dieu les puissances de l’âme humaine, intelligence et volonté.” DTC, col. 1604.
10 Cf. Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, Toute la vérité sur Fatima. Tome 3: Le troisième secret (1942-1960) (Saint-Parres-lès-Vaides [France]: Renaissance Catholique Contre-Réforme Catholique, 1985), p. 552. English translation: Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth about Fatima, Volume Three: The Third Secret (1942-1960), tr. John Collorafi (Buffalo, NY: Immaculate Heart Publications, 1990), pp. 816-817.
11 “Para a impedir, virei pedir a consagração da Rússia a Meu Imaculado Coração e a Comunhão reparadora nos primeiros sábados. Se atenderem a Meus pedidos, a Rússia se converterá e terão paz; se não, espalhará seus erros pelo mundo, promovendo guerras e perseguições à Igreja. Os bons serão martirizados, o Santo Padre terá muito que sofrer, várias nações serão aniquiladas.
Por fim, o Meu Imaculado Coração triunfará. O Santo Padre consagrar-Me-á a Russia que se converterá e será concedido ao mundo algum tempo de paz. Em Portugal se conservará sempre o dogma da Fé, etc.” Carmelo de Coimbra, p. 63. English translation: Carmelo de Coimbra Eng, pp. 68-69. 
12 “O Anjo apontando com a mão direita para a terra, come voz forte disse: Penitência, Penitência, Penitência!” Carmelo de Coimbra, p. 64. English translation: Carmelo de Coimbra Eng, p. 69.
13 Cf. Carmelo de Coimbra, pp. 64-65. English translation: Carmelo de Coimbra Eng, p. 69.
14 Cf. Jn 19, 26-27.
15 Jn 2, 5.
16 “Meu Deus! Eu creio, adoro, espero e amo-Vos. Peço-Vos perdão para os que não crêem, não adoram, não esperam e Vos não amam.” Carmelo de Coimbra, p. 37. English translation: Carmelo de Coimbra Eng, p. 46.
17 “Orai assim. Os Corações de Jesus e Maria estão atentos à vos das vossas súplicas.” Carmelo de Coimbra, p. 37. English translation: Carmelo de Coimbra Eng, p. 46.
18 “Oferecei constantemente, ao Altíssimo, orações e sacrifícios.” Carmelo de Coimbra, p. 37. English translation: Carmelo de Coimbra Eng, p. 46.
19 “De tudo que puderdes, oferecei a Deus sacrifício em acto de reparação pelos pecados com que Ele é ofendido e súplica pela conversão dos pecadores. Atraí assim, sobre a vossa Pátria, a paz.” Carmelo de Coimbra, p. 37. English translation: Carmelo de Coimbra Eng, p. 47.


  consecration of russia, coronavirus, our lady of fatima, raymond burke, rome life forum 2020

News

California reopening plan discriminates against churches, Justice Dept declares

Gov. Gavin Newsom was informed that failure to accommodate religious worship could be a violation of the Constitution.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 12:33 pm EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

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

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – California’s official roadmap for lifting its various COVID-19 lockdown orders violates the Constitution by holding organized religion to a different standard than various secular activities, according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice to California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The California Department of Public Health’s long-term reopening plan calls for a modest lifting of certain restrictions over the course of weeks while stressing that more significant returns to normal life are still “months” away. Under the plan, “lower risk workplaces” such as manufacturing, schools, child care facilities, and offices could be reopened in weeks, while “higher risk” establishments such as religious services, beauty salons, gyms, and movie theaters will remain closed for months.

“We believe that the Constitution calls for California to do more to accommodate religious worship, including in Stage 2 of the Reopening Plan,” DOJ Civil Rights Division chief Eric Dreiband informed Newsom in a May 19 letter. “Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.”

The letter determines that "California has not shown why interactions in offices and studios of the entertainment industry, and in-person operations to facilitate nonessential ecommerce, are included on the list as being allowed with social distancing where telework is not practical, while gatherings with social distancing for purposes of religious worship are forbidden.”

Newsom’s office confirmed it has received the letter, but has yet to reply.

“Attorney General Bill Barr is a great hero to people of faith,” commented First Liberty Institute president and chief counsel Kelly Shackelford. “The same people who shop at malls, work in factories, and eat in restaurants go to churches, synagogues, and mosques. Suggesting shoppers can be trusted to safely social distance, but churchgoers cannot is discrimination."

As of May 20, California’s 40-million population has seen 81,795 known COVID-19 cases (out of more than 1.3 million tests) and 3,334 deaths. As part of state and local officials’ response, Californians have been ticketed for standing outside abortion centers, forbidden from singing even in online church services, and encouraged by leaders to report their neighbors for alleged violations of the stay-at-home order.

Last month, Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi filed a lawsuit against Newsom’s prohibition of religious gatherings. The state backed down on its prohibition against gathering in church parking lots and listening to services from within the safety of one’s car. Hundreds of the state’s pastors have signed an open letter to Newsom that “declared their intent to begin holding in-person church services beginning on Sunday, May 31, 2020,” with or without permission.

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


  california, coronavirus, covid-19, gavin newsom, justice department, lockdowns, religious freedom, stay-at-home orders, trump administration

Opinion

America’s worst crisis is not coronavirus. It’s liberal media doomsaying

For the new doomsayers, the issue is not the coronavirus, but America. It should be pitied, not admired. America is not great. It is wrong and has lost its way.
Wed May 20, 2020 - 9:01 pm EST
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John Horvat II
By

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Until recently, being a doomsayer was a conservative privilege. Conservatives are the ones who uphold a Christian moral code and thus feel entitled to denounce its very real neglect. They have always been accused of seeing divine punishment on the horizon. Liberals generally ridiculed their warnings.

However, the coronavirus crisis has changed the script. Along with facial masks, liberals have now donned the role of doomsayers. They are decrying with indignation every detail of the handling of the crisis. They are waxing increasingly apocalyptical, seeing calamity under every ventilator.

A Vision of America Targeted

Unfortunately, the object of this new gloom and doom is not the very real danger of the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone should be concerned about it. Everyone should lament the tragic deaths.

That is not to say that liberals have no feelings about those who have died. However, the focus of their gloom is what they feel is a wrong vision of America and, therefore, the cause of our doom. They insinuate that this vision is much more deadly than the virus we all combat. They are convinced that conservative policies are misdirected.

It does no good to argue about the facts involved in the debate. They do not want to hear about exaggerated projections, misleading numbers, or the Chinese lab origin of the virus.

For the new doomsayers, the issue is not the crisis, but America. It should be pitied, not admired. America is not great. It is wrong and has lost its way.

A Darker Reality

Three elements make up this gloom-and-doom mentality.

The first is that the media present a picture of America that is much darker than reality. Every White House press conference is now a gloom-fest. The press corps’s questions imply a desire to find the darkest data. There is an unwillingness to admit the slightest victories. There is forgetfulness of heroic actions (like the solved ventilator crisis) that saved countless lives.

Besides, these media naysayers assume the worst possible outcome. Thus, anyone who forgets to follow a protocol is condemned as a potential killer. The most casual contact is automatically imagined to be lethal.

All these liberal media attitudes have created a climate of alarm, fear, and mistrust that prevents effective action and creates gloom everywhere.

PETITION: No to mandatory contact tracing and government surveillance for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

A Private War amid a Public Crisis

The second source of liberal gloom is the climate created by those who are using the crisis to extend the polarizing debate caused by the 2016 election. They concentrate on the person of the president and carry on a private war against him with provocations, vitriol, and political intrigue. Such caustic and abrasive attitudes exhaust the nation at a time of high tension. 

This is no time to carry out private wars. The issues should be set aside. The times call for sacrificing pet projects and personal prestige, not excoriating and impeding the direction of the war effort against the virus. However, this confused state of a war within a war cannot fail to drag down the nation when unity is needed.

A Vision that Is Not American

Finally, liberal doomsayers reject one vision of America just so that they may impose another. Their vision finds expression in the methods being used in most Western countries to fight the coronavirus. They claim that it must be accepted unconditionally, or untold thousands will die.

Parts of this vision are now being implemented in America. It is based on faulty models like the now discredited Imperial College London study. More liberal governors are particularly active in putting this vision in place. Liberal commentators and analysts (like former secretary of state Henry Kissinger) further claim that there will be no return to normal, alluding to an unrevealed future that will be run by more enlightened spirits.

This new vision is perplexing and frightening to countless Americans across the country because it is not an American vision of life.

The methods of this new vision for America are brutal and unfamiliar. They follow the Chinese communist lockdown model of coronavirus suppression that disregards individual rights and even the integrity of scientific data.

Suddenly, a global template for lockdown is imposed on us. It is not our own. The liberal naysayers condemn anyone who questions this template or proposes solutions more in line with our American tradition.

An American Vision

Our tradition calls for solving problems with American ingenuity. America has always held that all Americans are essential. Instead of finding a way to preserve health and wealth, our “non-essential” industries are locked down, denying millions the opportunity of mobilizing and participating in the total fight against the virus.

We like to face challenges by stepping up to the plate. However, the liberal template imposes massive one-size-fits-all plans that empty all the nation’s hospitals, for example, to treat COVID-19 patients who never come. This costly miscalculation leads to the deaths of those needing other treatments and the laying off of health workers who have nothing to do. It is nonsensical. It is not the American way of doing things. It violates every healthy business practice and rule of accountability.

We have always called upon God to help us in our trials, yet our churches are closed and sacraments denied. God is excluded and quarantined in this crisis when He should be at its center. 

Meanwhile, the nation suffers. The liberal doomsayers blame a backward and deplorable America for every problem that surfaces. They claim almost in triumph that the America we know has failed. Indeed, America has refused to embrace the brutal global standards that prevail. Cold secular models do not inspire us.

However, America has not failed. We see the heroic actions of health workers who give all to help others. We see countless acts of kindness and self-sacrifice by many seeking to ease the burdens of the crisis. We see others bombarding Heaven with their prayers for those who are suffering.  

We will always fail when forced to implement a totalizing Chinese communist model that does not respect God, freedom, and fundamental individual rights. If we are to survive this crisis, we must be faithful to ourselves and, above all, beseech God to help America. 

John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.


  coronavirus, mainstream media, united states of america

Blogs

Parents bring 5 kids into bank, and someone calls child services

'By the time they had returned home from their errand, a child protective services caseworker and a law enforcement officer were waiting at the door to investigate them for child abuse.'
Wed May 20, 2020 - 8:43 pm EST
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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Government overreach is one thing. Over-enthusiastic government employees or jumpy law enforcement during a pandemic is another. We can tolerate these things — at least for a while. But when government appears to be a threat to our families, that is something else. That is the stuff of nightmares.

This brings me to a story out of Kentucky recently reported by the libertarian publication Reason. In early March, the parents of seven children who had recently moved to the Bluegrass State headed to the bank to open a new account. Being recent arrivals, they took their kids along.

That’s when the trouble started. According to Jim Mason of the Home School Legal Defense Association, Reason reported, “[b]y the time they had returned home from their errand, a child protective services caseworker and a law enforcement officer were waiting at the door to investigate them for child abuse.”

Mason believes that this stunning overreaction is the result of widespread fear over COVID-19-based social distancing rules, and Reason obtained a copy of the letter from Child Protective Services that confirmed the story. The parents, who homeschool their children, left the two oldest in the car as they headed into the bank with the other five children, which featured a COVID-19 sign on the door. According to Jim Mason:

The teller immediately interrogated Bill and Kristy about why they had brought five kids into the bank at one time. She [the teller] told them they could not get within six feet of her and that they needed to take the children out. Kristy explained that the children were too young to be left unsupervised by an adult, and neither she nor Bill could take them elsewhere because the couple were opening a joint account, and both had to be present.

While Bill stayed with the children away from the counter, Kristy opened the account, feeling self-conscious as the staff whispered to each other and watched her family suspiciously. When Bill walked to the counter to show his New York ID and to sign, the bank staff asked why Bill's and Kristy's identifications were from different states, which the couple explained.

Back at home, the authorities confronted Bill and Kristy, who discovered that someone had called in an anonymous tip claiming that a mother of five had taken her children out with a man who wasn't their dad, and they had bruises on their arms that indicated rough grabbing.

According to Reason, the investigator “proceeded to question the kids away from the parents, and he made at least one of the boys take off his shirt to look for bruises. Kristy told Mason that the investigator wanted to do the same with the girls, but she objected, so he only pulled up the girls’ sleeves and took photos.” The investigator apparently did not wonder how a caller had spotted bruises on the arms of children wearing long sleeves in the first place.

PETITION: No to mandatory contact tracing and government surveillance for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

It appears that whoever called the authorities was deliberately attempting to get the parents in trouble. Bill and Kristy believe that it was someone who was inside the bank, as the caller had mentioned five children (the other two having been in the car). Additionally, the caller told lies specifically designed to set off warning bells, such as stating that the children appeared to have been physically abused as well as in the company of someone not their father.

The case, Reason noted, should have been cleared up quickly. Bill’s driver’s license quickly proved that he was the father, and the reported bruises were nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, it is often the case that an incident like this is just the beginning. Jim Mason told Reason that cases like this should be an “off ramp,” which means that if an investigator follows up on a call and finds nothing, he should simply leave (take the “off ramp.) But instead, “all too often investigators insist that they must robotically keep probing: opening cabinets, looking in the fridge, questioning kids. This Kentucky investigator even questioned the family about which homeschool curriculum they were using, as if that had some bearing on the case.” The Home School Legal Defense Association has been attempting to get legislation passed that will ensure that investigators who find no evidence of abuse or other issues simply leave the families in question alone rather than continuing to poke around.

HSLDA and other groups also want states to ban the sort of anonymous reports that had law enforcement show up at Bill’s and Kristy’s door based on deceit. They point out that it is easy for people to weaponize the process against parents and families they dislike and conjure a nonexistent case out of thin air. As Reason noted, lawyers are working with Bill and Kristy — “[b]ut the state gets 45 days to close an investigation, and Mason said it can easily get an extension, turning a time already tense with pandemic fears into a protracted period of torment.”

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: 


  child abuse, child protective services, home school legal defense association, kentucky, police state, social distancing

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President Eisenhower warned against rise of elites like Bill Gates who’d push public policy undercutting freedom

The coronavirus has resulted in Bill Gates pushing for more globalization and centralized world government
Wed May 20, 2020 - 3:37 pm EST
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9th July 1942: Major-General Dwight Eisenhower (1890 - 1969), commander of the American Forces in the European theatre of war, at the time of his promotion, by President Roosevelt, to Lieutenant General. M. McNeill/Fox Photos/Getty Images
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

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

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In an April 23 article for The Economist, Bill Gates has made predictions about the outcome and the changes of the current corona crisis. He claimed that only a vaccine will help us overcome the coronavirus and added that there is now a need for more globalized institutions that will help in the response of future outbreaks of disease. That is to say: for Bill Gates, this coronavirus is a reason for more globalization and centralized world government.

Professor Felix Dirsch, one of the signatories of the May 7 Viganò Appeal about the possible dangers to our civil freedoms in light of the corona crisis, quoted from this article by Gates in order to show that there is just concern about the dangers of a world government. 

This German political scientist and Catholic theologian stated about this article by Gates: “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.” And then Dirsch quotes Gates as saying:
“Our progress won’t be in science alone. It will also be in our ability to make sure everyone benefits from that science. In the years after 2021, I think we’ll learn from the years after 1945. With the end of the second world war, leaders built international institutions like the UN to prevent more conflicts. After COVID-19, leaders will prepare institutions to prevent the next pandemic.”

That is to say, just as after World War II, the United Nations was formed, after the corona crisis, there will be new global institutions established in order to be able to organize a global response to the next health crisis. 

In addition, Bill Gates also claims that “over the next year, medical researchers will be among the most important people in the world.”

This is due to their work with regard to developing vaccines, some of them even new forms called mRNA vaccines which “use genetic code to give your cells instructions for how to mount an immune response. They can probably be produced faster than traditional vaccines,” in Gates' eyes. Moreover, these scientists will also contribute in developing antiviral drugs – something that was so far not possible – and test kits that people could use from their homes in order to find out whether they have a certain disease. 

But the claim that the medical scientists will be “among the most important people in the world” is a troubling statement, a statement which eclipses the importance of spiritual leaders altogether, and certainly that of the Catholic Church.

On March 20, Bishop Athanasius Schneider had made some comments on the corona crisis that seem to relate to these words by Bill Gates. 

He then spoke about a “sanitary dictatorship:

The current atmosphere of an almost planetary panic is continuously fueled by the universally proclaimed 'dogma' of the new coronavirus pandemic. The drastic and disproportionate security measures with the denial of fundamental human rights of freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, and freedom of opinion appear almost globally orchestrated along a precise plan. Thus, the entire human race becomes a kind of prisoner of a world 'sanitary dictatorship,' which for its part also reveals itself as a political dictatorship.

Schneider then saw that part of this “sanitary dictatorship” was the ”ban on all forms of public worship.”

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in his comments on the May 7 Viganò Appeal and why he signed it, also pointed out the danger of “forced vaccinations.” Without mentioning Bill Gates' name directly, Müller mentioned that the “threat has been made publicly that 7 billion people will be forcibly vaccinated, even if the drugs have not yet been sufficiently tested, and that if people are not complying, fundamental rights will be withdrawn from them.” 

“No one can be forced to believe that a few 'philanthropic' super billionaires have the best programs for world improvement just because they have succeeded in accumulating a huge private fortune,” he commented.

Cardinal Müller further rejects the accusation of being a “conspiracy theorist” by referring to his own experience of having met people who themselves had been sterilized without their consent: “In Peru during the Fujimori era, I myself spoke to involuntarily sterilized men and women who had been cheated out of health and happiness with money and false promises,” he stated and asked: “What does this have to do with a 'conspiracy theory'?”

President Eisenhower warned about elite gaining power

Already in 1961, President Eisenhower had warned in his Farewell Address against a development in the United States, where certain elites would gain disproportionate influence in this country.

He first pointed out the then-impending dangers, foreign and domestic, just as we have our own today. Having Communism in mind, Eisenhower spoke of that “hostile ideology – global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method,” adding that, “unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration.”

But in light of these impending dangers, what would be temptations for the American society? President Eisenhower explained that “crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research-these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.”

Yet, in light of these temptations, Eisenhower saw a danger. As if talking to us in this corona crisis, he said that “each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs – balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage – balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between action of the moment and the national welfare of the future.”

And he warns us: “Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.”

Only during the past two world wars, Eisenhower explains, the United States developed an “armaments industry.” Since then, there developed a “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry.” 

Speaking about this new military establishment – and here we could also think of the increasing dominance of health institutions – Eisenhower comments: “The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.”

The American President warns that “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Eisenhower went on to say that “we must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted, only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

We could say today, with Eisenhower: “We should take nothing for granted, only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge medical and health organizations with our peaceful methods and goals, so that health and liberty may prosper together.”

But Eisenhower went even further and specifically spoke of the dangers of the growing influence of scientific elites, as well. Speaking about the “technological revolution during recent decades,” the President admitted that “research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.” But he saw here the danger “of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money.” At the same time, Eisenhower warned us that the opposite could also be true, namely “that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” 

Thus he concluded: “It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system-ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

Gates telling the world what to do

To return to Bill Gates' own article. He now insists that the corona crisis will not be over until most people are vaccinated. First, he states that many are now hoping that the corona crisis will soon be over.  “In a few weeks’ time,” he says, “many hope, things will return to the way they were in December. Unfortunately, that won’t happen.”

“I believe that humanity will beat this pandemic, but only when most of the population is vaccinated. Until then, life will not return to normal,” Gates adds. This, even though “in most of Europe, East Asia and North America the peak of the pandemic will probably have passed by the end of this month,” in Gates' own words. Gates predicts that until the vaccine has come, people will naturally be more cautious and stay sheltered. “ Sports will be played in basically empty stadiums. And the world economy will be depressed because demand will stay low and people will spend more conservatively.”

Additionally, Gates predicts that poorer countries that do not have proper health care systems “will not be able to care for the infected.” Finally, again, a vaccine alone can cure this problem. He states that “ people in rich and poor places alike will be safe only once we have an effective medical solution for this virus, which means a vaccine.” Such a vaccine, Gates states, might be available by “second half of 2021.”

Promising that the new technologies – new vaccine, antiviral drugs, and new test kits – “will prepare us for the next pandemic by allowing us to intervene early, when the number of cases is still very low. But the underlying research will also assist us in fighting existing infectious diseases—and even help advance cures for cancer. (Scientists have long thought mRNA vaccines could lead to an eventual cancer vaccine. Until COVID-19, though, there wasn’t much research into how they could be produced en masse at even somewhat affordable prices.)

Gates predicts that there will be “a mix of national, regional and global organizations” who will “participate in regular 'war games' in the same way as armed forces take part in war games. These will keep us ready for the next time a novel virus jumps from bats or birds to humans.” Such organizations should then also be helpful in the case of lab-made disease or even “an act of bioterrorism.” Such organizations, according to Gates, will be able to react even if a new virus appears in a poor country.

“This [corona] pandemic,” the co-founder of Microsoft writes, “has shown us that viruses don’t obey border laws and that we are all connected biologically by a network of microscopic germs, whether we like it or not. If a novel virus appears in a poor country, we want its doctors to have the ability to spot it and contain it as soon as possible.”

Thus we have arrived in a situation where globalized elites are telling the world what to do – and many world leaders appear to be listening. 


  bill gates, coronavirus, coronavirus vaccine, dwight eisenhower, vaccinations, vaccines

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Alberta bylaw practically banning traditional beliefs about sexuality would apply to Christian churches

The bylaw is a sweeping assault on parental rights, religious freedom, and the rights of those with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. 
Wed May 20, 2020 - 12:01 pm EST
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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

May 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Very few Christians have noticed, but one of the most dangerous developments for religious freedom in decades has been unfolding in Calgary, Alberta. 

A city council committee has already unanimously approved a so-called “conversion therapy” ban bylaw after a two-day public hearing featuring 121 speakers and 1,800 submissions on the subject. The bylaw is a sweeping assault on parental rights, religious freedom, and the rights of those with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. 

LGBT groups are already speculating on Twitter that if the ban passes the final vote at City Council on May 25, it could pave the way for similar nation-wide legislation.

Graeme Lauber is the executive director of Free to Care, an organization that seeks to build bridges between Christians and other groups in Canadian society as well as working to protect the rights of individuals to determine their own understanding of their sexuality and gender identity. For Lauber, it is personal—he realized he was attracted to other men when he was in middle school, but also understood that a relationship with a man was not something that God wanted for him. As an adult, he committed to a marriage with a woman, a relationship he describes as “the most important and life-giving relationship” in his life. 

A key component to the success of his marriage, he says, “has been the ability to access the love and support of other Christians for his choice to follow Jesus in his relationships and sexuality”—support which he now sees as under threat from current “conversion therapy” bylaws. Lauber has become an outspoken activist opposing this bylaw, and is urging Christians to stand up and push back. He was kind enough to agree to an interview with me earlier this week. 

LifeSiteNews: What is the background of this bylaw?

Graeme Lauber: The bylaw is part of a larger trend we are seeing in Canada. Some municipalities passed anti conversion therapy bylaws a couple of years ago, but these were very focused on the municipality’s jurisdiction (business licenses) and made provisions for people to consent to the help they wanted and for people to practice their faith. They were also more focused on therapeutic practices that would change sexual orientation. 

Over the past couple of years, we have seen that the wording of the bylaws have become “tighter” in the sense that provisions allowing adults to consent to the counseling or support of their choosing have been eliminated, and allowance for religious practice have disappeared. Also, rather than banning efforts to change sexual orientation, the bylaws seek to ban traditional beliefs about sexuality, so that counseling people or holding speaking events where the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman would effectively be banned. 

Who is pushing for it?

There is an academic at MacEwan University in Edmonton by the name of Kristopher Wells who has pushed the most recent bans through. He has created literature and consulted with municipalities to get the harsher municipal bans passed in places like Edmonton and Fort McMurray. He was present throughout the proceedings at Calgary City Council.

Obviously there are other LGBTQ activists who are playing a role in pushing these bans forward, and they are able to get some of their people involved. Finally, there are politicians who are looking for a defining issue, and they are keen to move the bans forward.

What does it include?

One of the most worrying aspects of the bylaw is that it includes using any “practice, treatment or service” that is meant to “reduce non-heterosexual behaviour” – so this means that anything that is done, and this includes prayer and pastoral counseling, in an effort to reduce certain types of sexual behaviour in an individual. This means that the bylaw could be interpreted to mean that even trying to help people get over a sexual addiction could be in view, if it is non-heterosexual. 

During an open committee meeting, Calgary City Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra said that the bylaw “absolutely applies to churches” and a range of activities that could be punished with a $10,000 fine were made clear:

  • pastoral counseling, especially anything on an ongoing basis
  • speaking events where same-sex behaviour is called into question (the status of preaching was unclear)
  • the ban on advertising in the bylaw would apply to word-of-mouth, though they admitted that would be hard to prove. This effectively means that if I, as a same-sex attracted person, found pastoral support helpful for staying in my heterosexual marriage and told a friend about it, I could be subject to the fine
  • donations to churches and institutions that support traditional understandings of sexuality will be deemed “proof of transaction” which allows the city to regulate this outside their normal jurisdiction of regulating businesses

Why is it so dangerous?

The biggest concern is that this has been a significant bait and switch. In people’s minds “conversion therapy” is a practice of shaming and abusing people due to their sexual orientation. However this bylaw bans much more than simply coercion – it seeks to ban sharing an opinion or belief around the definition of marriage and it shuts off support for anyone who has same-sex feelings but does not want to act on those feelings. 

In the end, this bylaw is rooted in the belief that our sexual feelings are “who we are” – that our attractions are somehow defining for us. The reality is that not everyone sees themselves as defined by their sexuality, but those people cannot get help and support – that will be unavailable to them under the bylaw.

What should worry everyone most, however, is that this bylaw interferes in the most intimate parts of people’s lives – their spirituality and their sexuality. It tries to dictate how people should set priorities when it comes to sex, relationships and gender, and that is simply not the role the state should be playing. As former Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau said, the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.

Is this a test-run for a similar law on the federal level?

We believe so. Bill C-8 is the conversion therapy bill that is currently at the federal level, and we believe the federal government is watching closely to see how things go in Calgary. 

What can Christians do to respond?

The most important thing is to make our voices heard. Our website, freetocare.ca, has help so that people can understand what is going on, and links to important resources. Calgarians can write to their city councillor and make their concerns known, and they can find guidance for that on our website. 

All Canadians can weigh in through our petition which is on the website to let the city council know of our concerns.

Christians concerned about the federal bill can go to fixthedefinition.ca and sign the petition about bill C-8.

Editor’s note: Sign Campaign Life Coalition’s petition titled “Helping LGBT individuals change is not a crime!” here.

***

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: 


  alberta, calgary, conversion therapy bans, free to care, graeme lauber, kristopher wells

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EpisodesWed May 20, 2020 - 6:52 pm EST

Uncovering the grotesque live organ harvesting practices in China

By Jonathon Van Maren   Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

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In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Ethan Gutmann, an investigative writer and defender of human rights, joins Jonathon to discuss the live organ harvesting that he discovered was happening in China.

Van Maren and Gutmann discuss the current situation in China, how Gutmann uncovered the live harvesting of organs 20 years ago, and why Gutmann thinks this is a good reason for us to be cautious in our dealings with China.


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EpisodesWed May 20, 2020 - 6:34 pm EST

We need to use this coronavirus chastisement to grow in holiness

By Mother Miriam
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Watch Mother Miriam's Live show from 5.20.2020. In today's episode Mother speaks about the importance of growing in holiness, especially during this time of chastisement.

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