Pro-freedom lawyers’ group: Ontario lockdown is ‘unjustified violation’ of Charter freedoms
Dire predictions never materialized as a result of the COVID-19 virus, but restrictions on movement and gatherings remain in place.
Wed Jun 24, 2020 - 7:52 pm EST
By Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
By Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
TORONTO, June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Justice Centre has released a comprehensive Charter analysisof the violations of Ontarians’ freedoms to move, travel, assemble, associate and worship, as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Entitled “Unprecedented and Unjustified,” the Charter analysis of Ontario’s response to COVID-19 addresses:
the nature of the government’s lockdown measures and how they violate Charter freedoms;
the Charter’s requirement of government to justify these violations;
the inaccurate claims made about COVID-19 in March and April 2020;
the economic harm caused by lockdown measures;
the relationship between a prosperous economy and the ability to pay for good health care;
the negative impact of the lockdown measures on health care; and
a detailed analysis of the Command Table’s April 3 COVID-19 modelling and April 20 COVID-19 modelling.
“Unprecedented and Unjustified” questions whether the Ontario government has properly considered COVID-19 within its global and historical context. The 1957-58 “Asian flu” and the 1968-69 “Hong Kong flu” each claimed one million lives around the world, when the world population was less than half of what it is today. In more average years, the flu sadly takes between 291,000 and 646,000 lives, most of them vulnerable elderly people who are already sick with one or more serious health conditions.
Likewise, the primary impact of COVID-19 has been on residents in long-term care homes – approximately 75 percent of all deaths have occurred in these homes, the population of which represents approximately half a percent of all Ontarians.
As of June 22, COVID-19 had apparently killed 473,000 people around the world, although this number includes people who died of other causes while also having the virus. While very tragic, the number of deaths with COVID-19 is within the range of the annual flu and, like the flu, primarily impacts the elderly and vulnerable. Yet the Ontario government’s lockdown measures are based on the now disproven notion that COVID-19 is an unusually deadly killer that everyone should be alarmed by and that is a dire threat to all segments of the population.
“The concern that COVID-19 is going to result in hundreds of thousands of deaths was already disproven many weeks ago, so why is the lockdown still in place?” asked lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre. “The Charter serves to protect Canada as a ‘free and democratic society’ where governments respect the fundamental freedoms of Canadians to move, travel, assemble, associate and worship. The onus is on politicians in Ontario – not the citizens who elected them – to justify violations of these fundamental freedoms.”
“The Ontario government’s lockdown measures obviously violate the Charterfreedoms of Ontarians to move, travel, assemble, associate, and worship. The daily routines of millions of Ontarians, and their ability to earn a living to support themselves and their loved ones, have been dramatically impacted since large segments of the public and business spheres were ordered to close,” Justice Centre staff lawyer Lisa Bildy said.
“Tens of thousands of Ontarians were affected when hospitals were reserved primarily for COVID-19 patients, and many of these individuals are still suffering on long wait lists today,” Bildy continued. “It will be months or even years before we know the full death toll of the decision to cancel and postpone tens of thousand of medically necessary surgeries, after counting all the cardiac patients who died while waiting for heart surgery, and after counting additional cancer deaths caused by lack of timely diagnosis and treatment. Meanwhile, hospitals have not been operating at anything approaching full capacity, even when the curve was already flat.”
In Ontario, there were 1,092,000 fewer jobs in April than in February, with unemployment more than doubling from 5.5 percent to 11.3 percent. Of those who did not lose their jobs outright, most have been forced to work – and earn—much less.
“Unemployment, poverty and social isolation predictably lead to increases in anxiety, depression, mental illness, alcoholism, drug overdoses, family violence and suicide,” noted Carpay. “These mounting public harms are the ongoing collateral damage from Ontario’s myopic focus on stomping out all spread of a virus that is nowhere near as dangerous as once represented.”
“Health care requires money, and first-rate, excellent health care requires a lot of it. A prosperous economy is the only way to generate sufficient wealth to pay for good health care. We don’t need to choose between the economy and saving lives; we choose both or we choose neither,” continued Carpay.
“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires the Ontario government to answer some crucial questions: In June of 2020, why should schools, universities, places of worship, and many businesses and recreational facilities, remain even partially closed? Are strict and costly conditions for opening based on facts and evidence? Or are they based on speculation and unfounded fear? When will the Ontario government stop violating Charterfreedoms and destroying livelihoods by imposing and enforcing lockdown measures that appear to have caused more harm than good?” questioned Carpay.
June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A whistleblower on a company employed by Facebook to manage content on the site has released undercover video footage showing staff with an anti-conservative bias deliberately censoring pro-Trump, pro-conservative posts.
In a newly released video by Project Veritas, former Cognizant employee Zach McElroy filmed content moderators at the Facebook contractor admitting that they proactively deleted conservative and pro-Trump posts.
McElroy also revealed that Cognizant’s Facebook moderators were told not to censor a video of CNN host Don Lemon, where he said that white men are “the biggest terror threat in this country.”
“This is implying that white men are terrorists and so would typically violate (Facebook rules against “dehumanizing” speech). As this is a newsworthy event, FB’s content policy team is allowing a narrow exception for this content on the platform,” reads what appears to be a November 2018 memo given to moderators.
“Certainly there is obviously an intention on Facebook's part to have the back of people like CNN and hosts like Don Lemon,” McElroy says.
At one point in the newly released video footage, a Facebook insider tells a group of Cognizant content moderators that he’s thinking about deleting “every Donald Trump post I see on the timeline” of a Facebook user. As other moderators laugh and agree, another content moderator replies “Oh, OK, I thought I was the only one.”
Other footage shows Cognizant employees saying they’ll use their final days of working as content moderators to purge Facebook of conservative content.
“You don’t let any go, do you? Like, if you see a conservative post you just get rid of it, right?” a Project Veritas journalist asks a Cognizant content moderator. “Yes! I don’t give no fu*!s, I’ll delete it,” she answers.
“Even if it’s in policy, you’re deleting that, right?” the operative replies.
“Yeah, I don’t give no fu*!s. It’s like one week left. What are they gonna do?” she responds.
Another Cognizant content moderator said she would “delete all Republicans” on her last day at work.
“If someone is wearing a MAGA hat, I am going to delete them for terrorism and just going to like go crazy,” she says.
Other footage shows Cognizant’s service delivery manager, Demian Gordon, saying he wouldn’t hold staff accountable for taking down Trump posts.
“Gotta get the Cheeto (Trump) out of the office,” Gordon says.
One content moderator told a Project Veritas journalist that she had deleted posts that just included the text “#MAGA.”
While acknowledging that “the actions of the content moderators may not be conclusive evidence of structural bias at Facebook,” Project Veritas CEO James O’Keefe says. “McElroy’s story raises serious doubts about the ‘under oath’ testimony of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Congress where he claimed Facebook has no political bias.”
“It's very simple you've got a formula you've got a workplace full of mostly liberal-leaning Democrats, leftists, essentially,” McElroy concludes.
“They are being put in charge of moderating the entire public discourse. Facebook and Instagram are very large platforms. One of the biggest and our voices are in the hands of people who are almost entirely left-leaning.”
Earlier this month, Facebook promised to “protect political speech, even when we strongly disagree with it” after presidential candidate Joe Biden called for the social media giant to essentially censor Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
Multiple analyses have found that algorithm changes instituted at the beginning of 2018 disproportionately impacted conservative politicians and websites. Last year, an insider revealed that Facebook “deboosts” traffic to several mainstream conservative sites.
Black pro-lifer called out BLM in 2019: It ‘is not moving us in the right direction’
The Black Lives Matter movement is 'hostile to Christianity' and actually supports aborting black lives.
Wed Jun 24, 2020 - 6:40 pm EST
By LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff
June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Black Lives Matter movement has jumped back into the spotlight with the death of George Floyd and the riots sweeping across the nation; however, the movement, and its problematic beliefs, aren’t anything new.
Ryan Bomberger, a pro-life speaker, author, and co-founder of the Radiance Foundation, spoke with Jonathon Van Maren about the Black Lives Matter movement, abortion and the black community, and the importance of first defending the right to life back in early 2019.
The concerns Bomberger voices about the movement are just as pertinent today as they were a year ago.
Watch the full interview here:
Bomberger was adopted into a multi-racial family at a very young age, thanks to his mother choosing life. When he was in 8th grade, Bomberger was introduced to the horrors of abortion for the first time and he immediately knew he was pro-life.
Despite being active in the pro-life community as a volunteer, it wasn’t until he met and married his wife that he realized he was being called to full-time pro-life ministry. With his wife, he founded the Radiance Foundation, an organization committed to educating people about the horrors of abortion.
They run billboard marketing campaigns, do multimedia educational presentations on college campuses, publish articles exposing the truth about abortion, and provide material and financial assistance to mothers and families.
Bomberger highlights the targeting of black women by the abortion industry, beginning with Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger. Sanger was very open with her ideas that African-Americans were an inferior race and needed to be sterilized.
Bomberger also cites the fact that in New York City, more black babies are aborted each year than are born. Yet we don’t hear the cries of racial injustice over the loss of those black lives. Instead of standing up to defend unborn black lives, the Black Lives Matter movement supports “reproductive justice.”
Listen to the full interview here:
With the Black Lives Matter movement, Bomberger tells listeners, “I see a movement that is not moving us in the right direction...I see it as a destructive secular movement that is hostile to Christianity.”
He continues, “It is all about segregation.”
The Black Lives Matter movement creates more segregation and racial division, while supporting the worst racial injustice: the abortion industry’s targeting black women.
Bomberger calls on everyone, including black people, to be “committed to opposing abortion.”
Abortion kills tens of thousands of black Americans every year. Police killings are heartbreaking, as is any loss of life, but the Black Lives Matter movement is not the answer for real change, as Bomberger noted over a year ago.
“Every child in the womb is a person created in the image of God, a person loved by God and a little girl or boy who is our sister or brother,” the ad states. “Abortion is the unjust killing of an innocent person. All lives will not matter until every person is loved and respected no matter if they are black or white, born or preborn. We must unite to end the killing of babies by abortion.”
Originally, the newspaper agreed to run the ad. It later refused, however, asking that the wording be changed since it was “racist.” The Register Star sales manager told the Rockford Family Initiative that “all lives matter is seen as racist to the black community.”
“I was informed that we do need to let the client know that all lives matter is seen as racist to the black community and ask if he would consider changing that line,” the sales manager told the pro-life organization in an email obtained by LifeSiteNews.
By stating “All Lives Matter” the Rockford Family Initiative was simply attempting to use a politically savvy slogan that aimed at protecting all preborn babies, both black and white, from being targeted for abortion.
“It is with great disappointment,” Kevin Rilott of the Rockford Family Initiative told LifeSiteNews in response to the ad being banned, “that we learned the simple statement of love and hope ‘All Lives Matter’ is considered too offensive to be printed in our local newspaper.”
“The statement ‘All Lives Matter’ of course covers all people including African Americans, undocumented residents, the poor, the unborn, the sick, police officers, the lonely, people of all races, religions, cultures , and backgrounds - in short it means every person matters, every person is loved by God, and is our sister or brother.”
“The culture of death is in control of our society when our local paper is telling us their readers would be deeply offended if they ran an ad that is aimed at uniting our community behind the idea that ‘All lives Matter,’” Rilott continued.
“Rockford is one of the most dangerous cities in the country and we are just a few miles from Chicago were we see hundreds of people shot and dozens of people murdered every month but it seems the one thing we can't say in print is ‘All Lives Matter.’”
Rilott said that America is now “reaping what we have sown” by allowing abortion.
“By killing millions of unborn children, we have truly become a culture of death where all lives don’t matter,” he said.
“We respectfully ask the Register Star to allow our ads that remind our community that every one of our sisters and brothers in Rockford matters,” he added.
LifeSiteNews reached out to the Register Star for an explanation of why it saw the pro-life ad as “racist.” No response was provided by press time.
The BLM organization does not view all African American lives as invaluable as it openly supports abortion, which disproportionately targets African Americans. One courageous African American woman recently appealed to Black Lives Matter activists to protest in front of Planned Parenthood, since it was what she called the “Number one killer of the black population.”
FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A controversial bill that would have mandated kids to be vaccinated to attend public schools in a small Canadian province has been defeated. Lawmakers rejected removing “non-medical” religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions from existing law.
The bill had the support of New Brunswick minority Progressive Conservative (PC) Premier Blaine Higgs. If it had passed, it would have come into force on September 1, 2021.
Voting for the bill were 13 PC MLAs, which included Higgs and Cardy, and seven members of the Liberal Party.
Voting against the bill were six PC MLAs, 12 Liberals, three People's Alliance, and one independent MLA.
Four MLAs abstained from voting, which included three Green Party MLAs and one PC MLA.
Cardy said he was "deeply disappointed" that the bill did not pass, and that those who voted against it gave into pressure from groups opposing the bill who pushed "medieval conspiracy theories.”
Attorney General Andrea Anderson-Mason was one of the PC MLAs who voted against the bill. She was quoted in a CBC report as saying the reason she opposed the bill was due to a lack of “evidence” that there “had been an impact on the number of immunizations in our province as a result of the anti-vaxx movement.”
"We were not provided with any information to show that people were even using the exemptions, and I think those are critical bits of data,” Anderson-Mason said.
The bill was heavily opposed by Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC), a not-for-profit society founded by families who have suffered from vaccine reactions or injuries.
Ted Kuntz, president of VCC, told LifeSiteNews that defeat of the bill was a “victory.”
“Parents and medical freedom activists claimed a major victory in New Brunswick, Canada, after a hard-fought, year-long battle against mandatory vaccination for public school attendance,” Kuntz told LifeSiteNews.
“While New Brunswick parents are breathing a sigh of relief, they recognize the need to further educate the public on the need to protect our right to informed consent, bodily sovereignty, and the right of parents to make medical decisions for their children.”
Under current New Brunswick law, kids must show proof of vaccination to attend public schools, but exemptions are given for religious, philosophical, or medical reasons.
Bill 11 would have removed religious and philosophical exemptions as reasons a parent could opt their children out of vaccination to attend school or an early learning and childcare facility. This would have left a medical exemption with a doctor's approval as the only reason one could opt out of getting vaccinated.
The notwithstanding clause would have protected the bill from a constitutional court challenge, and its initial inclusion in the bill was heavily criticized.
For his part, Kuntz told LifeSiteNews that the inclusion of the notwithstanding clause by the New Brunswick government was “tacit acknowledgment of the intent” of them to “violate charter rights and freedoms in New Brunswick.”
“Inclusion of the not-withstanding clause resulted in several members of the New Brunswick Legislature to question if the gravity of the issue warranted application of this rarely used section of the Canadian Constitution,” Kuntz told LifeSiteNews.
Kuntz said that it became clear during debate of the bill that the New Brunswick government was not able to “justify these egregious violations of Charter rights and freedoms and the elimination of a critical aspect of ethical healthcare, the right to informed consent.”
In June, Cardy said the bill was about “our children and ensuring their safety.”
VCC said in 2019 that their opposition to the bill was a “civil rights issue” and not a “medical issue.” They said there was no “medical justification for imposing vaccine mandates” with the bill and that the “risk of vaccine injury is completely ignored by our medical industry and governments.”
Public hearings on the bill were heard in August 2019, and Kuntz himself addressed the Committee on Law Amendments.
In May 2020, Kuntz on behalf of VCC sent an appeal to New Brunswick MLAs. In the appeal, he gave a summary of what he said to the committee in August.
“Bill 39 (11) effectively gives the state the power to decide what is injected into our body and our children,” he said. “This legislation eliminates the medical ethic of informed consent, removes therapeutic choice, denies a parent’s right to make medical decisions for their children, disregards bodily sovereignty, invites discrimination, and undermines a child’s right to a public education. Bill 39 (11) also removes a critical mechanism of accountability – voluntary choice.”
PETITION: Ask Archbishop Gregory to apologize to President Trump and the Knights of Columbus! Sign the petition here.
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, D.C. made the claim, contrary to Christian teaching, that a person’s “human dignity” begins at birth. He said this to Associated Press in comments linking racial justice to pro-life advocacy.
“Birth is only the first moment of a person’s human dignity, which is never lost throughout the journey of life,” Gregory stated in an email, according to the Associated Press.
“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception,” the Catechism states. “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life” (CCC 2270).
LifeSiteNews reached out to the Archdiocese of Washington for clarification. Paula Gwynn Grant, the archdiocese’s secretary of communications, said that “Archbishop Gregory’s full statement makes clear that respect must span the seamless garment of life from conception to natural death and underscores that the challenges we are facing now present a blessed moment for men and women across racial and cultural differences to align justly and collaboratively to create a more equitable way of living together.”
The “seamless garment” theory that sees issues such as intrinsic evils like abortion as morally equivalent to societal ills like poverty was championed by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.
“A consistent ethic of life does not equate the problem of taking life (e.g., through abortion and in war) with the problem of promoting human dignity (through humane programs of nutrition, health care, and housing),” Bernardin had said in 1984.
“But a consistent ethic identifies both the protection of life and its promotion as moral questions. It argues for a continuum of life which must be sustained in the face of diverse and distinct threats,” he added.
“Each of the issues I have identified today – abortion, war, hunger and human rights, euthanasia and capital punishment – is treated as a separate, self-contained topic in our public life,” according to the cardinal. “Each is distinct, but an ad hoc approach to each one fails to illustrate how our choices in one area can affect our decisions in other areas. There must be a public attitude of respect for all of life if public actions are to respect it in concrete cases.”
Some veteran pro-life activists say that those championing the “seamless garment” approach actually focus far more on issues like fighting poverty and war than they do on abortion.
The Church teaches that abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and same-sex “marriage” are intrinsically evil, but that issues like how to best address poverty, immigration, or taxes are matters of prudential judgement.
Elevating the fight against what is alleged to be systemic racism to the level of the fight against abortion, however, seems to contradict the Church’s understanding of “principles which are not negotiable.”
During a speech to members of the Christian Democrats in Europe in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI had named three such principles, the first of which was the “protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death.”
He did not mention racism at all. Instead, the Pope listed the “recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defense from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role.”
Lastly, Benedict XVI stressed that “the protection of the right of parents to educate their children” is not negotiable.
Gregory accused of ‘sowing disunity’ in Georgia’s pro-life movement
Gregory’s statement that “birth is only the first moment of a person’s human dignity, which is never lost throughout the journey of life,” wouldn't “surprise me,” says Dan Becker, who was active with Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) for 17 years, the last seven as its president.
Gregory’s tenure as archbishop of Atlanta from 2005 to 2019 was a disaster for Georgia’s pro-life movement, Becker told LifeSiteNews.
“We had a particular problem with Archbishop Gregory. In fact, I charge him before the Lord with sowing disunity in the pro-life movement here in the state of Georgia,” he said.
In 2013 Americans United for Life recognized Georgia as an “Allstar Most Protective” state for its many pro-life successes.
“These successes came by working together—Catholics and Protestants together for life,” Becker said.
“We had an annual march known as ‘Together for Life’ for 40 years together, and Archbishop Gregory destroyed that by removing all of the Catholics from the march and demanding that they attend his competing march down the road,” he told LifeSiteNews.
This also destroyed the “unity and effectiveness” of Georgia's pro-life movement and put Catholics, who were more than half of the GRTL chapter leaders, in the “very bad place” of having to chose between Gregory’s leadership and their pro-life advocacy.
More significantly, the Catholic archbishop was “never a fan of our ‘no exceptions’ legislation and he ended up undermining our political capital in the Georgia legislature with compromise legislation,” Becker told LifeSiteNews.
Georgia had achieved the “remarkable,” in that all seven of its elected state-wide constitutional offices were held by politicians who backed pro-life legislation that did not allow exceptions in the case of pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest.
“As soon as Archbishop Gregory backed a compromised position on life, which he did, the politicians took the easy route,” Becker said. “And that was the end of working together to protect the most vulnerable children facing death by abortion.”
Instead, Gregory instructed his people to back the newly formed National Right to Life affiliate that allowed for rape and incest exceptions, Becker told LifeSiteNews.
“It was our unity that provided a solid front against the pro-death forces up at the Capitol. That unity allowed us to save 100 percent of the babies facing death by abortion,” he said.
“That is no longer the case,” added Becker. “Although Archbishop Gregory departed for Washington in 2019, his legacy will be hard to repair.”
Gregory and the LGBT cause
Archbishop Gregory, in spite of Pope Benedict’s list of principles that Catholics cannot compromise, has repeatedly shown his support for the homosexual agenda. In 2019, Gregory told a female who identifies as a man and who claims to be a practicing Catholic that as a transgender person she belongs to the “heart” of the Church and fits right in “the family.”
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in 2015 to effectively legalize homosexual “marriage,” Gregory refrained from forcefully condemning the ruling, calling it “a decision that confers a civil entitlement to some people who could not claim it before. It does not resolve the moral debate that preceded it and will most certainly continue in its wake.”
He repeatedly encouraged a continued civilized discussion of the issue. “The decision has offered all of us an opportunity to continue the vitally important dialogue of human encounter, especially between those of diametrically differing opinions regarding its outcome,” he added.
However, in 2003, when John Paul II was Pope, Gregory, as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke out strongly against homosexuality when the Supreme Court ruled Texas’ sodomy laws unconstitutional. He even said their decision effectively declaring a constitutional right to sodomy should be “deplored.”
“In its decision, Lawrence vs. Texas, the Supreme Court has chosen to view homosexual behavior between consenting adults as a matter of privacy,” Gregory said in a statement preserved on the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest website from the early 2000s. “However, human sexuality cannot be viewed this way. Sexual activity has profound social consequences which are not limited to those immediately engaged in sexual acts. For this reason, the larger society has always shown a concern about what is and is not acceptable in sexual behavior between individuals.”
“The Catholic Church teaches, in agreement with other faith traditions and with what were once the norms generally accepted by society, that sexual activity belongs to the marital relationship between one man and one woman in fidelity to each other,” he said. “This relationship is the basis of the family which is the basic unit of society. Respect for the purpose of human sexuality and the family needs to be reaffirmed in our society; and anything which reduces respect for them—such as yesterday’s Supreme Court decision—is to be deplored.”
Gregory also praised a Vatican document declaring that “legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.”
He commented that establishing a legal equivalence between marriage and homosexual relationships “not only weakens the unique meaning of marriage; it also weakens the role of law itself by forcing the law to violate the truth of marriage and family as the natural foundation of society and culture.”
“Catholic politicians, in particular, must oppose such laws when they are proposed,” he said.
As Archbishop of Atlanta, Gregory invited pro-homosexual Jesuit Father James Martin to speak in his archdiocese.
Gregory let Nancy Pelosi give eulogy at his cathedral, condemned JPII shrine for Trump visit
Archbishop Gregory recently made headlines for issuing a stinging rebuke to the John Paul II National Shrine for “allow[ing]” President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to go through with a long-planned visit the day after Trump infuriated liberals by standing outside of St. John’s Episcopal Church with a Bible. The church had been set on fire the night before. Many in the media falsely claimed that the protestors outside St. John’s had been teargassed rather than pepper sprayed to clear the way for the president.
“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” said Gregory.
In response, the Shrine stated the presidential visit, which was done in conjunction with an executive order on international religious freedom, “was fitting given St. John Paul II was a tireless advocate of religious liberty throughout his pontificate. International religious freedom receives widespread bipartisan support, including unanimous passage of legislation in defense of persecuted Christians and religious minorities around the world.”
The Shrine, the statement added, “welcomes all people to come and pray and learn about the legacy of St. John Paul II.”
In 2019, Gregory offered a funeral Mass for the repose of the soul of pro-abortion journalist Cokie Roberts. Pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gave a eulogy from the lectern in Washington, D.C.’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle as the archbishop looked on.
Bishops’ letter silent on abortion industry targeting minorities
In a statement signed by Gregory and the other bishops in the state of Maryland, including Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, the leaders argue that “prayer and dialogue, alone, are not enough. We must act to bring about true change.”
That change “includes access to health and maternal care, meaningful educational opportunities, prison reforms, restorative justice initiatives, housing anti-discrimination efforts, juvenile justice reforms, and ending the grossly disparate practice of capital punishment.”
The letter did not mention abortion, for which black babies are disproportionately targeted, or the breakdown of the family and high rates of fatherlessness.
The bishops wrote that “Over the years, the Catholic Bishops of Maryland have stood firmly in our support of laws that sought to bring about justice and an end to unequal treatment based on race.”
At the same time, they appeared to confess the sins of other Catholics. “We vividly recall our own Church’s past sins and failings and admit to them freely,” they said.
The bishops then proceeded to list the trailblazing achievements of Catholics for the black community, including the Mother Mary League which founded “the first Catholic school for Black children in the United States, in Baltimore in 1828.”
ST JOHN’S, Newfoundland, June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Dr. Robert Walley, the founder of MaterCare International, a pro-life international organization of Catholic health professionals dedicated to the care of mothers and babies, died of cancer on June 22 at the age 81.
He leaves to mourn “with the most amazing memories, love and gratitude his beloved wife Susan,” three daughters, four sons and 15 grandchildren, reads his online obituary.
Walley also leaves a “great legacy of bringing thousands of children into the world as well as creating MaterCare International, which provides safe motherhood for women in developing countries.”
MaterCare International is a group of Catholic obstetricians and gynaecologists, midwives and general practitioners whose mission is “to improve the lives and health of mothers and babies, both born and unborn” and to reduce abortion worldwide and “maternal and perinatal mortality, morbidity in developing countries” through service, training, research, and advocacy, its website states.
It has projects in Nigeria, Ghana, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Rwanda, and an ongoing project in Kenya, where it built and maintains a hospital for high-risk mothers.
“I was in the military for 30 years and worked with all kinds of people from across Canada and elsewhere, and I have never admired, honoured and respected anyone the way I do Dr. Walley,” says longtime MaterCare board member Theresa Winchester.
“And I’m sure now he’s in heaven advocating for unborn children.”
Walley was a “Canadian pro-life stalwart,” said Matthew Wojciechowski, vice president of Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group.
“CLC was honoured to have Dr. Walley speak as an expert panelist during our recent United Nations event on best practices in maternal healthcare, where he shared his tremendous experience and success stories, but also the tragedies that continue to occur,” Wojciechowski told LifeSiteNews.
Walley also “shared the fact that his decades long live-saving work was entirely dependent on generous donors and that he never received a cent from government grants, compared to the many other organizations who treat pregnancy as a disease and commit abortions in the developing world and receive millions in funding annually,” he added.
“But that didn’t deter him from his work. He continued to save lives, care for them and treat all people with dignity.”
Walley was “relentless” in his efforts to raise attention and funds to help mothers in Africa, and particularly to build “special hospitals” to treat obstetric fistula, even though he “ran into roadblock after roadblock,” echoed past president of Campaign Life Coalition Jim Hughes.
In one instance, Walley was “on the verge of getting a large endowment, and they said, ‘Of course you’ll provide birth control information as well,’ and he said, ‘What are you talking about? These women aren’t looking for birth control, their insides are blowing up’,” Hughes said.
“And they didn’t give him the money because of that.”
The only child of British Naval officer Leslie Walley and his wife Marjorie, Walley was born June 30, 1938, in Malta, where his father was then stationed. He became a Catholic at age 10 because of the influence of the Cabrini Sisters and De La Salle Fathers who ran the Catholic schools he attended.
Walley met his wife Susan, a nurse from Guernsey, when they worked together at a London hospital. When he decided to do part of his training in Canada because abortion had been legalized in England, he asked her to marry him and they spent their honeymoon on a boat crossing the Atlantic.
The Walleys moved to Canada permanently after a London teaching hospital gave him the choice to either do abortions, change his specialization, or leave the country. Soon after he arrived in Toronto, Walley, who earned a Masters of International Public Health from Harvard, was hired as a professor at Memorial University in St. John’s.
He helped start the Family Life Bureau of Newfoundland, worked with the Canadian bishops on life issues, and in 1985 Pope John Paul II appointed him to the Pontifical Council for Health, where he served for 15 years.
During this time, he organized MaterCare with like-minded pro-life colleagues who were battling the aggressive global abortion industry, and who first met in Rome in the 1990s, where Pope John Paul II urged them to put their pro-life convictions into action.
MaterCare succeeded “because the Lord wanted” it, and also because of the support of his wife, Susan, who is now in a long-term care home in St. John’s with dementia, Walley told LifeSiteNews in a recent interview.
“All of this … wouldn’t have been done without Susan. She was a superb nurse and she stayed at home and she looked after our seven kids.”
Counted among Walley’s many honours is a membership in the Order of the Knights of Malta, and a 2012 Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal, the highest award the pope can bestow upon laity and religious. He also received the Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life from the Catholic Civil Rights League in 2017.
“Dr. Robert Walley was an inspirational leader and outstanding Catholic protagonist, especially in his remarkable work with mothers and other women in the underdeveloped world,” said Philip Horgan, currently on leave as president of the CCRL.
“He showed by his witness the incredible good that comes when talented folks bring their knowledge and skills to a need,” added Horgan. “He will be missed. May Eternal Light shine on him, and may Susan and his extended family be comforted.”
Winchester recalled that she first heard about MaterCare in 1997, when the Catholic Women’s League adopted a national resolution to support Walley’s organization.
“The cause really struck me because my mom had 14 children” but “never really had to worry whether she would die in childbirth,” she said. In contrast, for countless mothers in developing countries, “pregnancy is a possible death sentence.”
She met Walley in person four years later when he and his son Simon came to Ottawa to talk to Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) officials about funding for MaterCare, and Winchester joined them as a newly appointed board member.
Although MaterCare received some CIDA funding initially, that did not last long, Winchester said. The CWL remains one of its major donors as MaterCare continues its vital work under medical director Dr. Bogdan Chazan of Poland and project manager Simon Walley.
She and Dr. Walley had a mutual admiration for Winston Churchill, “who found himself leading the free world in the fight against Nazism and fascism,” Winchester recalled.
One of Walley’s favorite expressions was “KBO,” which is what Churchill used to say in “the darkest times of the war.” It stands for “Keep Buggering On,” which is to say: “We really don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re going to keep doing it,” she said.
“And that was Rob’s motto, and anyone who knows Rob, knows KBO, so if you finish his obit with ‘KBO, Rob,’ a lot of people would know, okay, gotcha,” added Winchester.
“Because that’s Rob to a T.”
A private funeral service for Dr. Robert Walley will be held at St. Pius X Church on Saturday, June 27, 2020. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to MaterCare International.
June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Another batch of documents obtained by the conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch is shedding more light on the US Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) past involvement in unethical research, particularly its “humanized mice” experiments using tissue derived from aborted babies.
Controversy broke out in 2018 when an FDA notice surfaced detailing a contract to the fetal tissue procurement firm Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR) to acquire “Tissue for Humanized Mice.” Specifically, the experiments entailed implanting human thymus and liver tissue and stem cells from a human liver into a mouse, to give it a more human-like immune system for the purpose of testing drugs.
Dozens of pro-life leaders and House members successfully pressured the FDA and HHS to terminate the contract, but concerns remained over nearly $100 million in tax dollars that continued to pay for other research using tissue and organs from aborted babies.
In response, the Trump administration pledged to review the relevant funding and organizing via listening sessions with scientists, ethicists, and pro-life groups on the research. But scientists have since demanded that the administration resume funding that involves fetal tissue, under the pretext of developing treatments for COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Judicial Watch announced that it has received 165 pages of FDA records detailing the eight “humanized mice” contracts the agency made with ABR from 2012 to 2018. The contracts, totaling $96,370, were for the acquisition of “fresh and never frozen” tissue from babies aborted within the first six months of pregnancy.
“As part of this process [the Division of Applied Regulatory Science] needs to repeatedly acquire the proper type of tissues,” an FDA official explains in the new documents. “In order for the humanization to proceed correctly we need to obtain fetal tissue with a specific set of specialized characteristics,” including an “age range [of] 16-24 weeks” and that the “tissue must be fresh and never frozen.”
The existence of the contracts is not new information, and the details highlighted by Judicial Watch mostly focus on costs and payment. However, they offer a new window into the process, particularly the coldness with which the parts of dead babies are discussed like commodities.
One email thread from July 2017 is particularly noteworthy in that it shows ABR complaining about an FDA specialist requesting greater detail for the transaction than was generally required in past dealings.
“We‘ve done business with the F.D.A. for many years and we‘ve not experienced such rigorous procedures for the production of purchase orders,” the ABR representative writes. “Will this process be necessary for each P.O. created now?”
“These documents are a horror show,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “These records show that the FDA was trafficking in human fetal parts. Incredibly, there continues to be a push to reopen these monstrous experiments!”
Pro-lifers emphatically reject the notion that tissue from aborted children is necessary to cure illness.
“The fact is that there are modern, successful alternatives available,” the Charlotte Lozier Institute says. “Already, over 60 potential treatments are under investigation — none of which need aborted fetal tissue to fight coronavirus. Instead of wasting precious time listening to these dishonest claims, we should continue to focus our attention on successful, ethical alternatives that don't require the exploitation of baby body parts, taxpayer dollars, and public sentiment that just wants a swift and compassionate end to this crisis.”
NEW YORK CITY, June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to New York City Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday calling out the hypocrisy of enforcing COVID-19 restrictions against religious gatherings while giving a pass to crowded Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests.
“Mayor de Blasio’s recent public statements and enforcement of COVID-19 orders have demonstrated a troubling preference for certain First Amendment rights over others,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband and U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider wrote, Catholic News Agency reported. “New York City had vigorously enforced restrictions on religious gatherings, including by sending police officers to disperse numerous gatherings of the Jewish community, including outdoor funerals.”
“At the same time, Mayor de Blasio marched in large in-person political gatherings concerning the recent tragic death of George Floyd and made statements suggesting — in a manner forbidden by the First Amendment — that religious exercise was less valued and protected by New York City than political exercise,” the letter continued.
In April, de Blasio infamously condemned a Jewish funeral gathering in Brooklyn as “absolutely unacceptable,” declaring that his “message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed.” He and state Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, currently face lawsuits on behalf of three of those Jewish congregants as well as two Catholic priests for city and state restrictions on public religious assembly.
At the same time, de Blasio has justified permitting the massive Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests of the past few weeks on the grounds that “400 years of American racism, I'm sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services.”
The Big Apple relaxed some of its restrictions on June 21 when it moved into Phase 2 of its reopening plan, allowing churches to open at 25 percent building capacity rather than the strict 10-person limit. The DOJ letter credited de Blasio for this change but warned that it would continue monitoring the city for potential abuses.
“The Justice Department is glad Mayor de Blasio will now permit greater religious exercise,” the letter said, “and will continue to monitor New York City’s reopening to ensure that New York City extends the same respect to the freedom of religion, both in terms of indoor and outdoor gatherings, as it does to the freedoms of speech and assembly.”
As of June 24, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 2.4 million COVID-19 cases, with more than 123,000 deaths and a million recoveries. More than 40 percent of those deaths have come from nursing homes. Thanks in large part to Cuomo’s decision to force nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients, New York has been the hardest-hit state, with more than 413,000 cases, 31,000 deaths, and 87,335 recoveries.
PETITION: Thank President Trump for halting U.S. funding to pro-abortion World Health Organization! Sign the petition here.
NAIROBI, Kenya, June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Abortion “is homicide,” the bishops of Kenya told Catholic members of parliament and legislators of good will as the chamber considers an abortion bill.
The teaching of the Church on abortion “has never wavered,” they said. “The life of the unborn is human life and its termination is homicide.”
“The proposed legislation goes against the teaching of the Gospel,” the bishops wrote. “It is a bill against the Constitution, against the right to life and against the protection of children and of the family.”
According to the bishops, the wording of the bill “is [deliberately] ambiguous,” speaking of “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, when in fact it simply wishes to introduce in Kenya unhealthy practices.”
“In the past, these words have been redefined by various UN agencies to encompass controversial sexual and abortion rights, including for young children,” the bishops explained.
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops stated, “This Bill is a pathway to promoting a foreign agenda which insists that preventing unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions require States to adopt Policy measures” that are against Catholic teaching, including expanding the use of contraception.
In a separate statement, the bishops again strongly criticized the government for trying to introduce sex education in schools, as well advancing an abortion bill.
During a Mass broadcast by national television station KBC, Bishop Joseph Mbatia of Nyahururu, which is north of the capital of Nairobi, read a statement by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops addressing a wide variety of issues currently affecting the Kenyan faithful.
“We are totally opposed to those trying to introduce comprehensive sexual education in schools as a way of curbing teenage pregnancies. We are also opposed to the bill in the Senate on abortion,” the bishop said.
“Parents have the God-given privilege and obligation to bring forth life and to nurture every life they bring forth, especially in matters of virtues, values and character-building, including age appropriate human sexuality education,” he added.
He also urged parents to join in the bishops’ call to withdraw the abortion bill.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that direct abortion, “that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”
“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority,” the Catechism continues. “These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin.”
“Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death,” the Catholic Church emphasizes.
In addition to abortion and sex education, the bishops also pointed out “domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse, defilement, and lack of basic necessities of life” as issues of concern, especially for children amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We must protect our children against all forms of exploitation,” said Bishop Mbatia.
“As Catholic bishops we strongly hold that safeguarding of all children is everyone’s responsibility,” he added. “We reiterate our [belief] that strong family values and personal responsibility on nurturing and safeguarding children can go a long way towards eradicating or significantly reducing child sexual exploitation and the resultant teenage pregnancies that scatter life goals of our dear children.”
The Catholic Church and pro-life movement in Kenya have been able to achieve some victories in the past.
In 2018, global abortion giant Marie Stopes was banned from offering any kind of abortion in the African nation.
In September 2018, Marie Stopes was instructed to desist from promoting its lethal services via Kenyan radio networks. The advertisements being run were seen by many as “drumming up” business for abortion with a direct appeal to teenage girls.
The advertisements were not only judged to be offensive in terms of taste in this deeply Christian country, but for some they also appeared to be undermining existing Kenyan law on abortion, which only permits abortion in the case of a threat to the life of the mother. Advertising for abortion is not permitted under Kenyan law and is also prohibited under local medical practitioner rules.
Thus, the breaching of the broadcast rules by Marie Stopes in September 2018 initiated an inquiry from Kenyan medical authorities. This resulted in a letter being sent on November 14 from the Kenyan Medical Practitioners Board to Marie Stopes stating that “Marie Stopes Kenya is hereby directed to immediately cease and desist offering any form of abortion services in all its facilities within the republic.”
DES MOINES, Iowa, June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed a lawsuit against a new law in Iowa that requires mothers to wait at least 24 hours after their initial appointment before getting an abortion. As reported by KCCI 8 News, the law, which was passed earlier this month, also requires mothers to view an ultrasound of their baby and receive adoption information.
The legislation was made public on the evening of June 13, a Saturday, and pushed through by Republicans in the early hours of June 14, a Sunday. While Democrats criticized this strategy, Republican Rep. Shannon Lundgren said, “We’re always thinking ahead and thinking about how we can advance the life movement in the state of Iowa.
Planned Parenthood immediately responded. “We at Planned Parenthood see firsthand the burden on our patients when politicians create arbitrary barriers to safe, legal abortion, like this new waiting period,” complained Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa Executive Director for Planned Parenthood North Central States. “This law is really about shaming Iowans and making it harder to access abortion.”
Instead of killing an unborn child right away, the short waiting period allows mothers to rethink their initial decision.
On Tuesday, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit, trying to block the law from going into effect on July 1. According to the ACLU press release, “The additional appointment creates an unnecessary burden for all Iowans seeking this care, but is especially challenging for those who need to navigate financial, transportation, work, and child care barriers.”
Erin Davison-Rippey said, “Many of our patients must drive four or more hours one-way for abortion services, so this legislation will only create more hurdles to getting care. It’s already hard enough for many Iowans to access abortion services, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. This is clearly a political ploy to create barriers to sexual and reproductive health care in Iowa.”
Abortion access, however, had not been severely limited in Iowa. In fact, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds had attempted to ban nonessential surgical abortions in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic. This attempt was corrected a few days later, when abortionists and the government agreed to continue to allow abortions on a case-by-case basis.
Reynolds’ spokeswoman still touted the compromise as a success, claiming the governor was “pleased that her proclamation remains in full effect and that surgical abortions will not be exempted from this suspension of non-essential and elective surgeries.”
In 2018, the Iowa Supreme Court struck down a law similar to the new one. The law had required mothers to wait a full three days before getting an abortion. As in 2020, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood had filed a lawsuit, claiming the law was both unconstitutional and medically unnecessary.
Prior to that, in 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the constitutionality of a 24-hour waiting period in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, ruling that it “rationally furthers the State’s legitimate interest in maternal health and in unborn life.” Thus, it is more likely for the courts to also uphold the current Iowa law requiring mothers to wait 24 hours before any abortion.
JACKSON, Mississippi, June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Mississippi legislature yesterday sent to Gov. Tate Reeves’ desk a bill banning abortions on the basis of sex, race, disability, or genetic makeup. Reeves, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill, called the Life Equality Act, into law.
The bill passed the Senate on Thursday and then was affirmed by the House yesterday by a concurrence vote.
“Children shouldn't have to pass a genetics test to earn the right to be born, should they?” Senator Jenifer Branning, a Republican from Mississippi’s Philadelphia district, asked on the Senate floor. “There are some fights that are just worth fighting, aren't there?”
“I am very proud to have helped protect the unborn and help get the Life Equality Act into Mississippi law!” commented Rep. Carolyn Crawford (R-Pass Christian), who sponsored the bill in the House.
“Mississippi has once again declared that measures to protect innocent lives are a priority for us,” said Rep. Nick Bain (R-Corinth) who defended the bill on the House floor and in committee.
The bill requires that “in every case in which a physician performs or induces an abortion on an unborn human being, the physician shall within fifteen (15) days of the procedure” submit to the government a report stating what day he aborted the baby and what method of abortion he used. He must also submit a “statement confirming that the reason for the abortion, as stated by the maternal patient, was not because of the unborn human being's actual or presumed race or sex or the presence or presumed presence of any genetic abnormality.”
The bill allows exceptions in cases of medical emergency. Abortionists who break the law could face felony charges, up to 10 years in prison, and suspension or revocation of their medical licenses.
“On the basis of race and sex, a family’s preference for a male or a non-bi-racial child must absolutely come to an end in Mississippi,” wrote Brett Kittredge for the Mississippi Public Policy Center. “The pressure many women receive to have a particular kind of child is unacceptable in our diverse society.”
“We are excited to see the Life Equality Act advance one step closer to becoming law,” said Sue Liebel, State Policy Director for the Susan B. Anthony List. “Governor Tate Reeves is a strong pro-life leader and we are confident he will sign it without delay.”
“Mississippians agree: Abortions carried out because of a baby’s sex, race, or potential disability, such as Down syndrome, constitutes modern-day eugenics,” she said. “It is unacceptable in this day and age that unborn children can be targeted for lethal discrimination in the womb, something that would not be considered tolerable anywhere else in our society.”
Laws banning abortions committed specifically because of a baby’s race, sex, or disability have passed in several other states, including Indiana, Arkansas, and Kentucky.
In Iceland, nearly 100 percent of babies whose prenatal tests indicate they may have Down syndrome are aborted. Numbers in other parts of Europe and the United States are also well above 50 percent.
Bill Gates’ wife: ‘Black…indigenous people’ should get COVID vaccine first
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s role in funding COVID-19 vaccine research has been a point of particular concern, due in large part to the couple’s history as radical advocates for abortion and population control
June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As work continues on developing a vaccine for COVID-19, left-wing philanthropist Melinda Gates says that “black people” and “indigenous people” in America should be immunized against the virus before whites.
"One of the reasons we are so involved in this is that you don't want the first vaccines to go to the highest-bidding countries," said Gates, wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Fox Business reports. "There are 60 million healthcare workers [around the world]. They deserve to get the vaccine first, they're the ones dealing with this on the front lines, trying to keep us all safe."
"Then you have to start to tier from there, based on the countries and the populations," she continued. "Here in the United States, it's going to be black people who really should get it first and many indigenous people, as well as people with underlying symptoms, and then elderly people."
Mrs. Gates’ remarks came during the couple’s virtual appearance at the Forbes philanthropy summit last week.
While many frame a vaccine as a prerequisite for fully reopening society, the prospect of making it mandatory remains controversial for a number of reasons. While mainstream media often fixates on parents who oppose vaccines based on hotly-debated fears over side effects, they tend to overlook another group that supports vaccines in general while having an ethical conflict with vaccines derived from aborted babies’ cells.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s role in funding COVID-19 vaccine research has been a point of particular concern, due in large part to the couple’s history as radical advocates for abortion and population control.
“It is important for people to understand why so many are suspicious of the philanthropy of Bill Gates and his ilk, and why so many react with suspicion to the medical opinions of a certain sector of our elites,” LifeSiteNews’ Jonathon Van Maren explains. “It is because they lie to us about abortion, day in and day out, and tell us that destroying a child in the womb is “health care” and “an essential service.” It is because they tell us that the birth control pill has no side effects and is also health care, that the abortion pill is safe, that abortion has no negative impact on women, and hundreds of other lies that we know to be lies.”
During last week’s event, Bill Gates accused the US government of withdrawing from “global problem-solving” and “just trying to cast blame” by withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO) over its initial response to the coronavirus outbreak, namely its adoption of Chinese misinformation.
The Trump administration emphatically rejects claims that abandoning the WHO constitutes abandoning the COVID-19 relief effort. “The United States continues to be the undisputed leader in foreign assistance,” James Richardson, director of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources at the State Department, said last month, noting that the US is currently responsible for “49 percent of all government and multilateral assistance” in response to COVID-19.
Catholics from all over the world—from Israel, Uganda, Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, Pakistan, Singapore, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and other countries—are gathering daily to pray the rosary, led by Father Anthony Pillari, J.C.L., an American priest currently studying in Italy.
Our goal is, by means of this daily rosary and by embracing and living out the message given by the Virgin Mary at Fatima, the triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. To help obtain that goal, Bishop Athanasius Schneider graciously composed the following prayer for this worldwide rosary crusade:
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, you are the holy Mother of God and our tender Mother. Look upon the distress in which the Church and the whole of humanity are living because of the spread of materialism and the persecution of the Church. In Fatima, you warned against these errors, as you spoke about the errors of Russia. You are the Mediatrix of all graces. Implore your Divine Son to grant this special grace for the Pope: that he might consecrate Russia to your Immaculate Heart, so that Russia will be converted, a period of peace will be granted to the world, and your Immaculate Heart will triumph, through an authentic renewal of the Church in the splendor of the purity of the Catholic Faith, of the sacredness of Divine worship and of the holiness of the Christian life. O Queen of the Holy Rosary and our sweet Mother, turn your merciful eyes to us and graciously hear this our trusting prayer. Amen.
+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana
To learn more about the urgency of responding to Our Lady’s message at Fatima, and about what you can do, please read Cardinal Burke’s 2017 address at the Rome Life Forum.
As St. Padre Pio once said, “The rosary is the weapon for these times.” Through prayer, God can shape history, change the world, and bring about a great time of renewal and peace for the Church and for the world, through the triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. Join us today!
Chinese communist govt cuts off widow’s pension for refusing to renounce Christ
Local officials threatened that her subsidy would be stopped unless she removed images of Jesus from her home.
Wed Jun 24, 2020 - 12:01 am EST
By LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff
FUZHOU, China, June 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic widow in Fuzhou city, Jiangxi province, has had her pension revoked because she refused to renounce her faith.
According to a report in Bitter Winter, the elderly woman had been receiving a small subsidy since her husband died in 2018. At the end of 2019, local officials threatened that her subsidy would be stopped unless she would remove images of Jesus from her home. “Because the Communist Party feeds you, you must only believe in it, not God,” they told her. When she refused to remove the images of Jesus, they canceled her subsidy. “It has become difficult to maintain belief in God because of religious persecution,” she told Bitter Winter.
Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “It is a heartbreak and an outrage that widows and other elderly are forced to renounce their faith in order to receive stipends. For many, they may need these funds to survive. It is a pathetic act of cowardice to force desperate widows to choose between their survival and their God. This widow, who refused to renounce her faith potentially in the face of abject poverty, is heroic.
“This form of religious persecution,” Littlejohn continued, “is on the rise in the area of China where we have our Save a Widow Campaign. I was just informed that in our area, a government official has instructed our widows to stay home on Sundays and not to go to church. He also ridiculed Jesus, saying, ‘The Chinese government gives you 160 RMB (about $23). How much money does Jesus Christ give you?’
“Fortunately for the widows in our area, they have a ready answer,” Littlejohn added. “Our fieldworkers bring love and compassion to widows, along with practical help: a $25 monthly stipend that makes a huge difference in their lives, providing food and warmth. Our fieldworkers encourage these widows in their faith, and many have found new hope that there is a God who loves them.”
China also has a skyrocketing rate of senior suicide. The One Child Policy has destroyed the family structure in China. In the past, the Chinese enjoyed large families and it was not a burden for children and grandchildren to support the elderly. Now many elderly are completely abandoned and destitute, especially elderly widows. And the sad solution for many is to end their lives. “We are extending a lifeline to abandoned widows, who are eternally grateful for the help,” Littlejohn said.
June 23, 2020 (The Bridgehead) — After nearly a decade of conflict, most in the West have tuned out news of the civil war in Syria. There have been squabbles about whether intervention is wise, with strategists of different schools fighting for Donald Trump’s attention, controversies over whether Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, and a general sense of fatigue at the very prospect of another Middle Eastern adventure. After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the Arab Spring, the Syrians seem to have picked the wrong time for a revolution. Nobody in the West is interested in backing freedom fighters anymore. Most are certain that we cannot determine who, exactly, those would be in the first place.
The Syrian revolution began in March 2011, after pro-democracy demonstrations began in the city of Deraa after decades of corruption, high unemployment, and a suffocating lack of freedom. Mindful of the Arab Spring toppling leaders elsewhere, the government responded with a deadly crackdown. This triggered opposition forces around the country to take up arms, call for Assad’s resignation, and push security forces out of their areas. Violence escalated, and Assad vowed to crush what he referred to as “terrorism.” The ensuing war would trigger a refugee crisis in Europe, level ancient Christian communities where the language of Christ was still spoken, displace more than 6 million people, and result in at least 400,000 casualties in the first five years. Hundreds of medical facilities have been attacked and hundreds of medical personnel killed.
Syria has become a battleground for nations and groups with differing agendas, making the conflict impossibly complex. Russia is using her Syrian military bases to back Assad, and Iran is believed to be assisting the dictator, as well. Jihadists groups such as al-Quaeda and the Islamic State have taken advantage of the chaos to reassert themselves, while thousands of Shia militia men hailing from Hezbollah in Lebanon but also from Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq have joined Assad’s security forces. Western nations such as the UK, the US, and France, which were once supporting rebel groups they considered moderate, have pulled back to focus on humanitarian aid since jihadists have become the dominant force in many areas. Israel is concerned about Iran’s increasing foothold in Syrian and has launched airstrikes on Iranian weapons shipments to Hezbollah.
With the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe finally ceasing to dominate headlines, it is easy to forget the ongoing misery of the Syrian people. Much of Syria’s rich cultural heritage has been devastated, with all six of the nation’s six UNESCO World Heritage sites being damaged. Healthcare is limited and difficult to access, with most groups barring humanitarian agencies from coming in to address the shortage. Neighborhoods have been leveled everywhere. Hospitals have been bombed. Millions of people live inside a civil war. And one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen, the 2019 Oscar-nominated For Sama, tells the story of a few of those people.
For Sama is a love letter from a young Syrian mother Waad al-Kateab to her daughter. With footage she shot herself, al-Kateab tells the story of the five years from the uprising in Aleppo to her eventual escape with her husband (first to Germany, and then the U.K) in 2016. The film unfolds like rising flames, and al-Kateab captures the laughter, the brutal losses, and the day-by-day slog for survival of those who live in Aleppo as block by block, barrel bomb by barrel bomb, the once-magnificent city—their home—is reduced to rubble. Against this apocalyptic backdrop, al-Kateab falls in love with Hamza, a doctor, sets up a home with him (and is particularly proud of the flowers in their little courtyard), and gives birth to a daughter, the beautiful Sama. Set in the centre of this inferno, the mundane seems miraculous.
The scenes in this film bring home the reality of war from a civilian’s perspective like none I have ever seen. We see al-Kateab try to put her daughter—the same age as my own—to sleep as shells blow up nearby. We see bombs hit and buildings shudder and the young mother clutching her daughter while the lights flicker—but the little girl no longer even starts or cries at the explosions. This is her normal, like the sound of the rooster three doors down is for my daughter. Even when fear overwhelms the adults, the little girl seems to take it in stride. Al-Kateab chats to her little girl like all parents do, but civil war banter is surreal: “Lots of airstrikes today, but they didn’t hit us. Yay!” A smile from Sama. Al-Kateab worries about formula and baby food running out; children use a bombed-out bus as a playground; a shell strikes the hospital where the family lives, and as smoke and dust races through the hallways, the mother calls through the darkness: “Who’s got Sama?”
I spoke to Waad al-Kateab a few months ago to ask her about her experience. “Before the revolution started,” she told me, “I was just a normal student who wanted to finish my university and to leave Syria and find my life outside. There was no dream for us in Syria. If you want to work in media, it is all controlled by the regime. If you want to be a teacher, everything you teach your students is written by them. If you are a doctor, there are certain rules. Anything you wanted has been corrupted. Anyone on the street can arrest you and beat you up in front of everyone, regardless of what you were doing.”
The arbitrary violence of totalitarianism is omnipresent, and one of the first scenes in the film shows the results of a massacre in east Aleppo. The bodies of butchered civilians, apparently opponents of the regime, had been pulled out of the river and lay in rows. Many of the dead were still handcuffs. Al-Kateab recorded as shrouded bodies were tossed into a mass grave as the gathered crowd began to sing in defiance. Rage and grief bubbled below the surface.
Most searing were the scenes of parents grieving their children. One mother arrived at the hospital, hunting for her son Mohammed. She found only his body and became hysterical, howling with grief: “It’s Mummy, I’ve got your milk, wake up!” We see a boy break down as he realizes that his little brother is dead. We see a mother carry her dead son off, refusing any help, insisting she will carry him herself—it is the last thing she can do. The misery seems relentless at times, and when I asked al-Kateab if she watches herself in the film and sees someone else, she shook her head. “I feel like I am there now.” The film shows her meeting Sama for the first time after her daughter was born and dissolving into tears. It was because she realized that she had brought this beautiful little girl into a brutal hellscape, where familiar things and friends were flattened by airstrikes and life hung by a thread.
But it was Sama, she told me, that helped her and Hamza forget all of that. When they talked to her, they could get lost in her beautiful face. When they played with her, they could forget everything but the moment, drawn into a child’s world. “There are times,” she said, “when you can see nothing but that.” Sama also gave them a new responsibility—to fight for her. They did not want her to grow up amid the destruction, and when she became older, al-Kateab told me, they wanted an answer when their daughter asked them what they had done when Syria was burning. This documentary is their answer. They took strength from their little girl. Little children are the essence of hope, and spur us on to the impossible. All of it was for Sama, and all the others.
For Sama is particularly exceptional considering the circumstances of the filming. When al-Kateab began recording what was going on around her, she didn’t even know how to use a camera. She learned under pressure—to use mics, to charge batteries, to use the right hard drives and protect her files from viruses. At first, she told me, she didn’t even realize that she should back up her footage, and it was a miracle that she lost none of it. Journalists would jet into Aleppo for a day, and she would get tips from them. And they all tried to cope with the horrors and stay sane. “Every time you lost someone, it was like the first time you lost someone,” she told me. “We were strong because we needed to be strong, but nobody could truly adjust.” Today, living in England with her family and working on stories for the BBC, she still feels a surge of fear every time she hears an airplane. Nightmares have plagued the whole family.
By the end of the documentary, when Hamza, al-Kateab, Sama, and a few friends were permitted to leave Aleppo after being contacted by the Russians, the once-beautiful city had been reduced to craters of concrete and rebar, the medieval architecture leveled. Drone footage revealed acre after acre of rubble, a metropolis ground to dust block by block like Warsaw in 1944 or Mogadishu decades later. Even then, they did not want to leave, and Hamza wondered aloud to the camera whether their daughter would forgive them for going into exile and abandoning their beleaguered homeland. Now the parents of two little girls, Hamza and al-Kateab still hope to return one day. She is happy in London, al-Kateab told me, “but I still can’t stop hoping I can go back to Syria.” Watching the film and seeing how much they sacrificed to stay, it is impossible not to believe her.
For Sama is an essential record of wartime, of human suffering, of a collapsing country, and of aborted dreams. It shows us the unspeakable power of the ties that bind us to home, of idealism tempered by blood, and most of all, of the power of children to give us hope in the midst of relentless tragedy. Who among us could fathom bringing a daughter into the world in Aleppo, Syria, during a brutal war that brought daily death? It seems insane, but when you realize that the revolution, the risks, and the bizarre optimism are all for Sama and for the other children, it begins to make sense. For Sama is a testament to what parents will do for their children, of the power of family bonds, and of the loves that give people the courage to stand up to tyrants and to attempt the impossible task of building a new world.
In the lawsuit, Doe accuses Catholic Relief Services of sexual discrimination for denying medical insurance coverage for his “husband,” claiming that CRS first promised prior to hiring him that such coverage would extend to him — later reneging on that promise. Doe also claims that when he tried to get CRS to honor its promise, a senior CRS official threatened to fire him for continuing to pursue those benefits.
Within the 22-page complaint are several factors which immediately call into question the Catholic identity of the organization on the whole.
In the Background Information portion of the complaint, beginning on page 3, Doe indicates that in mid-2016, a CRS recruiter contacted him “regarding a potential job opportunity with the organization.” Doe traveled to Maryland for an interview, and during a follow-up call with the recruiter, Doe asked if his “husband” would be covered by CRS’s spousal health insurance benefits, to which the recruiter responded, “All dependents are covered.”
At this point, in mid-2016, it should be noted that CRS was on the verge of hiring a man that CRS knew was in a same-sex “marriage.” But in April of 2015, a full year prior to the hiring of John Doe, the Lepanto Institute revealed the fact that CRS had a senior executive vice president who was in a same-sex “marriage.” The following month, the then CEO of CRS, Dr. Carolyn Woo, gave an interview to Aleteia regarding the situation, saying:
CRS has a senior person who is in a civil gay marriage, and the question is, “Is that a violation of Church teaching?” I just want to say we are working through this. Gay marriage, of course, is a very complex issue. The Church is very clear that marriage as a sacrament is a between a man and a woman open to procreation. There’s also the Church teaching on natural law. Those are the teachings. nnn Does it mean that the Church should not employ anyone who is in a gay marriage? Are we giving a blanket No? ... If it’s not a blanket No, are there particular positions, such as positions that are ministerial in nature, positions which relate to the formation of the faith of young children at school? ... While the teaching is clear, as it translates into practice there has not been defined a common approach for dealing with employment, particularly when the position is non-ministerial, when the person is not a Catholic, when the agency is not a school. So, we’re in that area when there have been various steps forward, but not a clear path.
Civil marriage is protected by the State of Maryland and 36 other states, as well as DC, so we’re also dealing with a new intersection between in this case state law and Church teaching where the practice is being defined.
Exactly one year later, the Lepanto Institute again caught CRS employing a man in an active homosexual relationship. It was right about this time that CRS was actively recruiting Mr. John Doe, who told them before being hired, that he is in a same-sex “marriage,” and for a time, received health insurance coverage for his “spouse.” According to the lawsuit filing:
During his onboarding session, CRS’s staff reiterated to Mr. Doe that all dependents would be covered under the CRS-sponsored health insurance, with no mention of exception for same-sex spouses. With this confirmation, Mr. Doe applied for his health insurance, including coverage for his husband by submitting his marriage certificate to human resources and registering himself and his husband on the CRS Employee Self-Service website.
A little over a year after Doe was hired by CRS, CRS finally ended health insurance coverage for his same-sex partner.
The basis for Doe’s lawsuit is Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act (MFEPA). This past Monday, June 15, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII civil rights protections against discrimination on the basis of sex extend to homosexuals and transgenders. As stated in the lawsuit, the MFEPA
prohibits an employer from engaging in discriminatory compensation when “an individual is affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, including each time ... benefits or other compensation is paid, resulting wholly or partly from the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice.
The suit then claimed that “CRS engaged in an unlawful employment action when it terminated Mr. Doe’s spousal benefits based on Mr. Doe’s sexual orientation and sex.”
Considering the previous discoveries made by the Lepanto Institute that CRS had employed other individuals (no longer with the organization) in same-sex relationships, it appears that Doe’s suit may be indicative of a much broader situation. Page 10 of the lawsuit suggests that there are others employed by CRS which are also involved in same-sex relationships, stating: “In the absence of injunctive relief, CRS will continue to discriminate against Mr. Doe and other employees similarly affected.”
The most intriguing aspect of the lawsuit is the charge that CRS is subject to the Title VII employment requirements under the Civil Rights Act. The majority opinion in the recent SCOTUS decision indicated that it remains uncertain whether these protections would impact religious organizations saying that “how these doctrines protecting religious liberty interact with Title VII are questions for future cases too.”
While Catholic Relief Services claims the title “Catholic” in its name, and is indicated as a “religious organization” under IRS regulations, there is a possibility that the plaintiff in this lawsuit could argue that while CRS claims to be Catholic in name, it is not Catholic in practice. Despite the fact that the use of contraception (including condoms) and sterilization are identified by the Catholic Church in Her laws and in Her doctrines as intrinsically evil acts, CRS has been caught repeatedly participating in the promotion of the same.
In addition to CRS’s program activities which are in direct conflict with Catholic moral teaching, CRS’s annual revenue from the federal government is grossly disproportionate from the funding it receives from Catholics. According to CRS’s most recent Annual Report, only about 25% of its annual revenue comes from what could be considered Catholic sources, while a whopping 75% comes from the public sector, the majority of which is US Government grants. Of its overall revenue of $989 million, CRS received $226 million from private (Catholic) sources, and over $761 million from Commodities and freight, US Government grants, and “other” public grants. Considering the fact that only 25% of its annual revenue at best comes from what could be considered “Catholic” sources, and because CRS does not actively work to spread the Catholic faith, it remains to be seen how CRS can call itself a “Catholic” organization.
The lawsuit filed by John Doe is asking the court to award Doe what could amount to sizeable financial compensations for “unpaid wages,” “punitive damages,” “attorney’s fees,” and “compensatory damages for economic and emotional harms.”
However, the most damaging requests being asked of the court could be orders to require “CRS to reinstate Mr. Doe’s spousal benefits,” “CRS to modify its benefits policies to provide benefits for employees’ same-sex spouses,” and “CRS to implement anti-discrimination measures.” If these requirements are so ordered by the courts, then any Catholic contributing to CRS would, as a direct result of this decision, be contributing to “spousal support” for same-sex couples.
EDITOR’S NOTE (Lepanto Institute):The fact of the matter is that CRS did this to itself. By indiscriminately hiring active homosexuals and others hostile to Catholic moral teaching, it was only a matter of time before a lawsuit like this would happen. And now, because CRS chose to align itself more with the world than with the Church, the agency is being forced to reap what it has sown. As eloquently stated in the Book of Sirach, ‘Who pities a snake charmer when he is bitten, or anyone who goes near a wild beast? So it is with the companion of the proud, who is involved in their sins.’
5 reasons why Catholics should only receive Holy Communion on the tongue
Catholics who receive Communion on the tongue don't do so out of some false piety or holier-than-thou attitude. Receiving Christ on the tongue while kneeling reinforces reverence for Our Eucharistic Lord.
June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – With orders to refuse the faithful Holy Communion on the tongue coming from governmental health authorities and even some bishops, I wanted to give you the reasons why I could never receive Holy Communion in the hand. And, if the matter was forced, I would make the sacrifice of just making a spiritual Holy Communion. Below are five reasons why Catholics should not receive Holy Communion on the hand.
#1 The first point I’d like to make is about the reverence due to Almighty God.
I want to dismiss the false notion that people receive Communion on the tongue out of some false piety or holier-than-thou attitude. While I can’t discount that there is some of that going on, from those I’ve witnessed and read about, receiving on the tongue comes from a deep reverential love of the King of Kings whom we receive in this Great Sacrament. And I believe receiving Our Lord on the tongue while kneeling reinforces that reverence for Our Eucharistic Lord.
Some of the most powerful arguments for the need for this type of reverence are in the Bible.
Remember when Moses first met the Lord God in the burning bush, as we read about in Exodus 3? Moses was told not to come too near to the burning bush and to remove his sandals because he was on holy ground. In Psalm 95 we read, “Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us.” We see it in the New Testament too, when Peter, James, and John on Mt. Tabor at the Transfiguration, saw the glorified body of Jesus, which we receive in Holy Communion – and they prostrated themselves with their foreheads to the ground.
But the Biblical account that speaks to this subject most directly for me is what happened with the Ark of the Covenant. You can read the account in both 2 Samuel 6:1-7 and 1 Chronicles 13:9-12. The Ark of the Covenant was designed by God and built to the Lord’s specifications. It contained manna, the staff of Moses, and the tablets of the 10 commandments. It was so sacred that it was never allowed to be touched except by certain Levites – the priests of the time. That reservation of touching the Ark to priests only was potently reinforced when a layman named Uzzah who was transporting the Ark at the request of King David was struck dead by God for touching it.
Now, get this, Uzzah was trying to do the right thing. He was doing what he thought was right to save the Ark. He and his brother were transporting the Ark in a cart pulled by oxen. And, along the journey, it was tilted and so Uzzah used his hand to steady the Ark and was struck dead by the Lord. Scripture explains that the Lord struck him down because he was not to touch the Ark.
It is very much the same in our time when many are trying to do what they think is the right thing for the coronavirus by receiving Communion on the hand.
And yet with the Ark, it was not the right thing to do even though it is what seemed expedient – it was done for good intent to save the Ark from harm, just as many are receiving on the hand today with good intent to save their brothers and sisters in Christ from possible Coronavirus infection or to save the Church so she has the freedom to distribute Holy Communion at all.
Nevertheless, touching the Ark was the wrong thing to do. The Lord’s decision here perplexed David, who thereafter was afraid to bring the Ark of the Lord to himself.
And yet what was the Ark of the Covenant compared to Our Lord Himself in the Eucharist? The Ark was revered in the temple. It was carried in ceremony and was considered holy. And yet it was only the footstool of God. It was His presence, veiled, and a prefiguring of His Real Presence in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we receive in Holy Communion.
My wife, a convert to Catholicism, asked me the other day how communion in the hand makes sense given the practices in the Church of consecrating the altar and sacred vessels used in the Mass. We see priests, bishops, even the Pope, covering his hands with the vestment called a Humeral veil during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. This is all about the sacredness of Christ in the Eucharist. If we allow everyone to touch the Sacred Host with their hands the practice of the Humeral veil becomes truly strange.
I’ll conclude this point on reverence towards Our Eucharistic Lord quoting from Dietrich von Hildebrand, a German Catholic philosopher and religious writer known and loved by the last number of Popes. He was reportedly called "the twentieth-century Doctor of the Church" by Pope Pius XII. Pope John Paul II greatly admired the philosophical work of von Hildebrand as well, remarking once to his widow, Alice von Hildebrand, "Your husband is one of the great ethicists of the twentieth century." Benedict XVI also has a particular admiration and regard for von Hildebrand. He knew him when he was a young priest in Munich. The degree of Pope Benedict's esteem is expressed in one of his statements about von Hildebrand: "When the intellectual history of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century is written, the name of Dietrich von Hildebrand will be most prominent among the figures of our time."
Here was what Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote about the subject of Communion in the hand in his book The Devastated Vineyard:
“Unfortunately, in many places Communion is distributed in the hand. To what extent is this supposed to be a renewal and a deepening of the reception of Holy Communion? Is the trembling reverence with which we receive this incomprehensible gift perhaps increased by re-receiving it in our unconsecrated hands, rather than from the consecrated hand of the priest? It is not difficult to see that the danger of parts of the consecrated Host falling to the ground is incomparably increased, and the danger of desecrating it or indeed of horrible blasphemy is very great. And what in the world is to be gained by all this? The claim that contact with the hand makes the host more real is certainly pure nonsense. For the theme here is not the reality of the matter of the Host, but rather the consciousness, which is only attainable by faith, that the Host in reality has become the Body of Christ. The reverent reception of the Body of Christ on our tongues, from the consecrated hand of the priest, is much more conducive to the strengthening of this consciousness than reception with our own unconsecrated hands.” (The Devastated Vineyard, pp. 67/8.)
#2 The Authority of the Church
It’s important to say that I’m saying this knowing full well we are in the midst of a Coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the very first point I’d like to bring to your consideration is that the Church has already considered the matter of the allowance of Holy Communion on the tongue while facing the spread of this type of virus even in modern times. In 2009, in the midst of the H1N1 influenza pandemic, a lay Catholic in England in a diocese where Holy Communion on the tongue was restricted due to the pandemic wrote the Vatican about the matter.
The response from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, dated July 24, 2009, was posted online by Rorate Caeli. The Congregation, which is tasked with authoritatively responding to such questions, wrote back quoting Church law on the subject, saying, “each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue" (n. 92, nor is it licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful who are not impeded by law (Church law) from receiving the Holy Eucharist.)
The Vatican response added, “The Congregation thanks you for bringing this important matter to its attention. Be assured that the appropriate contacts will be made.”
Canonist Cathy Caridi over at the Canon Law Made Easy blog pointed out the significance of that line about appropriate contacts will be made. Caridi says it, “makes clear that after sending this letter, the CDW intended to contact the clergy who were illegally barring Catholics from receiving Communion on the tongue, to inform them in a formal, official way that by doing so that they were violating the law.”
Caridi concludes: “It would be only logical to assume that if the faithful contact the CDW now, with information about current illegal practices in their own parishes/dioceses where they are forbidden to receive Communion on the tongue; the CDW will respond in precisely the same way.”
“The CDW will have to respond in the same way, not because Coronavirus isn’t dangerous, but because the right of the faithful around the world to receive the Eucharist in the way that is the Church’s established norm—on the tongue—cannot be curtailed by anyone other than the Supreme Authority of the Church. This is an issue not of germs, but of the Church’s hierarchical structure. No bishop on earth (still less a parish priest acting on his own!) has the authority to countermand a law or specific directive of the Vatican that is intended to apply to the universal Church. Period.”
#3 The witness of Saints and Popes and Angels
St Thomas Aquinas, regarded universally as the greatest Doctor of the Church, wrote in the 1200s in his Summa Theologica: “out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated, hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this sacrament. Hence it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it, except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency.” (16 ST, III, Q. 82, Art. 13)
In 2008, Pope Benedict decided to stop giving Holy Communion on the hand to the faithful and would only give Holy Communion to the faithful on the tongue and kneeling. A Vatican webpage commemorating this decision was published in 2009 (updated to include a photo of Pope Francis) and can still be found on the Vatican website.
The Vatican webpage says: “From the time of the Fathers of the Church, a tendency was born and consolidated whereby distribution of Holy Communion in the hand became more and more restricted in favor of distributing Holy Communion on the tongue. The motivation for this practice is two-fold: a) first, to avoid, as much as possible, the dropping of Eucharistic particles; b) second, to increase among the faithful devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”
A celebrated saying of Saint Augustine, cited by Pope Benedict XVI in n. 66 of his Encyclical Sacramentum Caritatis, ("Sacrament of Love"), teaches: “No one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it” (Enarrationes in Psalmos 98, 9). Kneeling indicates and promotes the adoration necessary before receiving the Eucharistic Christ.
From this perspective, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger assured that: "Communion only reaches its true depth when it is supported and surrounded by adoration" [The Spirit of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2000), p. 90]. For this reason, Cardinal Ratzinger maintained that “the practice of kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries-old tradition, and it is a particularly expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species” [cited in the Letter "This Congregation" of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 1 July 1, 2002].
John Paul II, in his last Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia ("The Church comes from the Eucharist"), wrote in n. 61:
“By giving the Eucharist the prominence it deserves, and by being careful not to diminish any of its dimensions or demands, we show that we are truly conscious of the greatness of this gift. We are urged to do so by an uninterrupted tradition, which from the first centuries on has found the Christian community ever vigilant in guarding this ‘treasure.’ Inspired by love, the Church is anxious to hand on to future generations of Christians, without loss, her faith and teaching with regard to the mystery of the Eucharist. There can be no danger of excess in our care for this mystery, for ‘in this sacrament is recapitulated the whole mystery of our salvation.’”
The webpage concludes: “In continuity with the teaching of his Predecessor, starting with the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in the year 2008, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, began to distribute to the faithful the Body of the Lord, by placing it directly on the tongue of the faithful as they remain kneeling.”
The current head of the Vatican department that deals with the issue of Communion is Cardinal Robert Sarah. Without a doubt, he is one of the saintliest Cardinals alive today.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI strongly endorsed Cardinal Sarah saying publicly in an afterward to a reprint of Cardinal Sarah’s book The Power of Silence that, “With Cardinal Sarah, a master of silence and of interior prayer, the liturgy is in good hands.”
Benedict adds: “Cardinal Sarah is a spiritual teacher, who speaks out of the depths of silence with the Lord, out of his interior union with Him, and thus really has something to say to each one of us.”
It is this Cardinal, this saintly African Cardinal who is in charge of the Church’s dicastery dealing with the sacraments, that has pleaded with priests to only give Holy Communion to the faithful kneeling and on the tongue.
In the preface to a 2018 book critically analyzing Communion on the hand, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, wrote:
Why do we insist on receiving Communion standing and on the hand? Why this attitude of lack of submission to the signs of God? May no priest dare to impose his authority in this matter by refusing or mistreating those who wish to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue. Let us come as children and humbly receive the Body of Christ on our knees and on our tongue. The saints give us the example. They are the models to be imitated that God offers us!
Cardinal Sarah also warned strenuously “The most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and Lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful.”
“Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host,” he said.
Let us now look at how faith in the real presence can influence the way we receive Communion, and vice versa. Receiving Communion on the hand undoubtedly involves a great scattering of fragments. On the contrary, attention to the smallest crumbs, care in purifying the sacred vessels, not touching the Host with sweaty hands, all become professions of faith in the real presence of Jesus, even in the smallest parts of the consecrated species: if Jesus is the substance of the Eucharistic Bread, and if the dimensions of the fragments are accidents only of the bread, it is of little importance how big or small a piece of the Host is! The substance is the same! It is Him! On the contrary, inattention to the fragments makes us lose sight of the dogma. Little by little the thought may gradually prevail: “If even the parish priest does not pay attention to the fragments, if he administers Communion in such a way that the fragments can be scattered, then it means that Jesus is not in them, or that He is ‘up to a certain point’.”
The second track on which the attack against the Eucharist runs is the attempt to remove the sense of the sacred from the hearts of the faithful. (...) While the term ‘transubstantiation’ points us to the reality of presence, the sense of the sacred enables us to glimpse its absolute uniqueness and holiness. What a misfortune it would be to lose the sense of the sacred precisely in what is most sacred! And how is it possible? By receiving special food in the same way as ordinary food. (…)
The liturgy is made up of many small rituals and gestures — each of them is capable of expressing these attitudes filled with love, filial respect and adoration toward God. That is precisely why it is appropriate to promote the beauty, fittingness and pastoral value of a practice which developed during the long life and tradition of the Church, that is, the act of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling. The greatness and nobility of man, as well as the highest expression of his love for his Creator, consists in kneeling before God. Jesus himself prayed on his knees in the presence of the Father. (…)
May this book encourage those priests and faithful who, moved also by the example of Benedict XVI — who in the last years of his pontificate wanted to distribute the Eucharist in the mouth and kneeling — wish to administer or receive the Eucharist in this latter manner, which is far more suited to the Sacrament itself. I hope there can be a rediscovery and promotion of the beauty and pastoral value of this method. In my opinion and judgment, this is an important question on which the Church today must reflect. This is a further act of adoration and love that each of us can offer to Jesus Christ. I am very pleased to see so many young people who choose to receive our Lord so reverently on their knees and on their tongues.
One of the other aspects of his preface was Cardinal Sarah’s recollection of the Fatima apparitions and the Angel that appeared to the three Fatima children prior to their seeing Our Lady Herself.
At one of the appearances of the Angel of Peace appeared to the children, the Angel brought Holy Communion to them. The Angel prostrated himself before the Eucharistic Lord, teaching the children to do the same.
#4 Profanation or Desecration of the Holy Eucharist
As we have seen in the comments of Popes and Cardinals of the Church, one of the main concerns with Communion in the hand is the loss of fragments of the Eucharistic Christ.
This has been one of the main themes of the heroic Bishop Athanasius Schneider who penned a book on the subject of the reception of Holy Communion in 2012 called Dominus Est – It is the Lord!
The Fathers of the Church demonstrate a lively concern that no one lose the smallest particle of Eucharistic Bread, as exhorted St. Cyril of Jerusalem in this very impressive manner:
Be careful that you do not lose anything of the Body of the Lord. If you let fall anything, you must think of it as though you cut off one of the members of your own body. Tell me, I beg you, if someone gave you kernels of gold, would you not guard them with the greatest care and diligence, intent on not losing anything? Should you not exercise even greater care and vigilance, so that not even a crumb of the Lord’s Body could fall to the ground, for It is far more precious than gold or jewels? (Mystagogical Catecheses, 5, 2)
Already Tertullian (who died in 240) gave witness to the Church’s anxiety and sorrow, should even a fragment be lost: “We suffer anxiety lest anything from the Chalice or the Bread fall to the ground” (De Corona, 3). St. Ephrem, in the fourth century, taught thus: “Jesus filled up the Bread with Himself and the Spirit and called It His living Body. That which I have now given you, says Jesus, do not consider bread, do not trample underfoot even the fragments. The smallest fragment of this Bread can sanctify millions of men and is enough to give life to all who eat It” (Sermones in Hebdomada Sancta, 4, 4).
By 1980 the practice of Communion on the hand had become widespread, as did the desecrations of the Holy Eucharist that would surely accompany it.
Pope John Paul II published the letter Dominicae Cenae on February 24, 1980. In it he wrote:
In some countries the practice of receiving Communion in the hand has been introduced. This practice has been requested by individual episcopal conferences and has received approval from the Apostolic See. However, cases of a deplorable lack of respect towards the eucharistic species have been reported, cases which are imputable not only to the individuals guilty of such behavior but also to the pastors of the church who have not been vigilant enough regarding the attitude of the faithful towards the Eucharist. It also happens, on occasion, that the free choice of those who prefer to continue the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue is not taken into account in those places where the distribution of Communion in the hand has been authorized.
In a 2014 interview with the magazine of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales Bishop Schneider said:
“To my knowledge and experience, the deepest wound in the actual crisis of the Church is the Eucharistic wound; the abuses of the Blessed Sacrament…
“There is…the question of the objectively irreverent reception of Holy Communion. The so-called new, modern manner of receiving Holy Communion directly into the hand is very serious because it exposes Christ to an enormous banality.
“There is the grievous fact of the loss of the Eucharistic fragments. No one can deny this. And the fragments of the consecrated host are crushed by feet. This is horrible! Our God, in our churches, is trampled by feet! No one can deny it.
“And this is happening on a large scale. This has to be, for a person with faith and love for God, a very serious phenomenon.”
“We cannot continue as if Jesus as God does not exist, as though only the bread exists. This modern practice of Communion in the hand has nothing to do with the practice in the ancient Church. The modern practice of receiving Communion in hand contributes gradually to the loss of the Catholic faith in the real presence and in the transubstantiation.
“A priest and a bishop cannot say this practice is ok. Here is at stake the most holy, the most divine and concrete on Earth.”
The earliest accounts of Holy Communion are of course in the Scriptures where Our Lord gave Himself as Communion to the Apostles at the Last Supper. Some suggest that even there He might have given them Holy Communion on the tongue especially since we read in the last-supper narrative in the Gospel of John that Our Lord dipped a morsel of bread before giving it to the Apostle Judas.
However, even if Jesus gave the Apostles Holy Communion in the hand, they were all bishops, not laymen.
However, it does seem as though in the early Church there was at least in some places the practice of Communion in the hand. St. Cyril of Jerusalem who lived in the 4thcentury wrote:
Approaching therefore, do not come forward with the palms of the hands outstretched nor with the fingers apart, but making the left [hand] a throne for the right since this hand is about to receive the King. Making the palm hollow, receive the Body of Christ, adding “Amen”. Then, carefully sanctifying the eyes by touching them with the holy Body, partake of it, ensuring that you do not mislay any of it.
St. Cyril of course added the admonitions about not allowing the particles to drop as mentioned in the previous point.
Quoting again from Bishop Schneider’s book Dominus Est about the history of communion on the tongue:
Aware of the greatness of the moment of Holy Communion, the Church in her two-millennium-long tradition has searched to find a ritual expression that can bear witness in the most perfect manner to her faith, love and respect. This is verified when, in the wake of an organic development, stemming from at least the sixth century, the Church began to adopt the method of distributing the Sacred Species of the Eucharist directly into the mouth. This is attested to in several places: in the biography of Pope Gregory the Great and an indication by the same Pope relative to Pope Agapitus (Dialogues, III); the Synod of Cordoba in 839 condemned the sect of so-called “Casiani” because of their refusal to receive Holy Communion directly into their mouths; then the Synod of Rouen in 878 confirmed the norm in force regarding the administration of the Lord’s Body on the tongue, threatening sacred ministers with suspension from their office if they distributed Holy Communion to the laity on the hand.
In the Early Church, before receiving the consecrated Bread, people had to wash the palms of their hands. Moreover, the faithful bowed profoundly in receiving the Body of the Lord with the mouth directly from the right hand and not from the left. The palm of the hand served as a kind of paten or corporal, especially for women. Thus, one reads in a sermon of St. Caesarius of Arles (470-542): “All the men who desire to communicate, must wash their hands. And all the women must carry a linen cloth, on which they receive the Body of Christ” (Sermo, 227, 5). Customarily, the palm of the hand was purified or washed after the reception of the Eucharistic Bread as is up to now the norm in the Communion of clerics in the Byzantine Rite. In the ancient canons of the Chaldean Church, even the celebrating priest was forbidden to place the Eucharistic Bread into his own mouth with his fingers. Instead, he had to take the Body of the Lord in the palm of his hand; the reason for this was to signify that he was dealing here not with ordinary food but with heavenly food: “To the priest,” we read in the Canon of John Bar-Abgari, “it is directed that he receive the particle of consecrated Bread directly from the palm of his hand. He may not place It with the hand into the mouth, but must take It with his mouth, for this concerns heavenly food.”
In the 1500s, Communion in the hand was first introduced by Protestant reformer Martin Bucer specifically aiming to end belief in transubstantiation. Bucer convinced Thomas Cranmer, the heretic Archbishop of Canterbury, not to give communion on the tongue. Bucer taught: “I have no doubt that this usage of not putting these sacraments in the hands of the faithful has been introduced out of a double superstition; firstly, the false honor they wished to show to this sacrament, and secondly the wicked arrogance of priests claiming greater holiness than that of the people of Christ, by virtue of the oil of consecration.”
But the practice had no place at all in the Catholic Church since it had been condemned universally prior to the year 1000. The Q&A style 1908 Catechism of St. Pius X gives only one option for reception of Holy Communion. It reads: 47 Q. How should we act while receiving Holy Communion? A. In the act of receiving Holy Communion we should be kneeling, hold our head slightly raised, our eyes modest and fixed on the sacred Host, our mouth sufficiently open, and the tongue slightly out over the lips.
Communion in the hand was re-introduced into the Catholic Church as an act of rebellion soon after Vatican II. It began in Holland as an arbitrary act of defiance of legitimate authority the practice spread to Germany, Belgium, and France.
The consequences of this rebellion became so serious that the Pope consulted the Bishops of the world, and, after obtaining their opinions, promulgated the Instruction Memoriale Domini, in 1969. This Instruction is included and will be referred to from time to time. The principal points contained in it are:
1. The Bishops of the world were overwhelmingly against the innovation. 2. The traditional manner of distributing Holy Communion must be retained. 3. It is a sign of reverence which does not detract from the dignity of the communicant. 4. The innovation could lead to irreverence, profanation, and the adulteration of correct doctrine.Therefore: The Apostolic See strongly urges bishops, priests, people to observe this law, valid and again confirmed, according to the judgment of the majority of the Catholic episcopate, in the form which the present rite of the sacred liturgy employs, and out of concern for the common good of the Church.
In Memoriale Domini, Pope Paul admonished Catholics, bishops especially, that: “In view of the state of the Church as a whole today, this manner of distributing Holy Communion [on the tongue] must be observed, not only because it rests on a tradition of many centuries but especially because it is a sign of reverence of the faithful towards the Eucharist. The practice in no way detracts from the personal dignity of those who approach this great Sacrament, and it is part of the preparation needed for the most fruitful reception of the Lord’s Body.”
Davies says, however, a calamitous error of judgment then followed. It was agreed that wherever the practice “has already developed in any place” a two-thirds majority of the episcopal conference could petition the Holy See for permission to legalize the abuse. Quite clearly, the phrase “has already developed” meant by that date, May 28, 1969. Countries where the practice had not developed by that date were obviously excluded from the concession—and all the English-speaking countries come into this category.
When the National Conference of Catholic Bishops debated the question in 1977, Bishop Blanchette pointed out that the procedure approved by the Vatican was that permission could be requested from the Holy See if the contrary usage prevailed. He pointed out that the Bishops could hardly take the second step without taking the first.
Bishop Blanchette is reported in the National Catholic Register of June 12, 1977, recollecting, “I said, we are now going to discuss and probably vote on whether we want to petition the Holy See, and we have not established that a contrary usage prevails. I said a simple way to do that would be to ask the Ordinaries to indicate whether in their dioceses the contrary usage prevails. The Ordinary should know, he is the shepherd of the diocese. He has been asked to obey and his priests have been asked to obey, so if anybody knows whether the contrary usage prevails, he should. And so I asked that the agenda be amended so that the first step—finding out whether the contrary usage prevails—could be verified, and if it were verified then we could get on with the rest of the agenda. But if the first step is not verified, how can we logically go on to the second step? That was my motion.26 25”
Bishop Blanchette’s motion was supported in writing by five other bishops and sustained by the president of the conference. According to the rules, there should have been a written vote, but supporters of the innovation objected and voted, on a show of hands, to rule the president out of order.
It therefore seems quite reasonable to ask: just how legal was this vote? Then, of course, other extraordinary measures were taken to get the innovation adopted. Retired bishops were prevented from voting, and, when the necessary majority had still not been achieved, bishops who had not been present were polled until the necessary total was arrived at.
So as you can see, Communion in the hand in modern times came by way of abuse, deceit, and betrayal by wolves in the hierarchy.
It is for these reasons that I believe Catholics should not receive Holy Communion in the hand. Should you be in a situation where you are refused Holy Communion unless you take it in the hand, I would make a spiritual Communion only and then contact the proper authority to remedy the situation. Take that letter that was written by the Vatican on the question during the swine flu pandemic in 2009 to your priest or bishop. Ask them to give you Holy Communion at least after Mass if they feel they can’t do it during Mass since this is a compromise being practiced in many dioceses today. And if they still don’t permit you your right to receive Our Lord on the tongue apply to the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship with the proof of the denial of Holy Communion on the tongue and pray God the remedy comes soon.
In the meantime, offer up the sacrifice of being deprived of the Holy Eucharist and still attend Mass offering your own pain along with Christ’s own Sacrifice.
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June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – I rarely use the term “fake news” in my writing. In fact, out of the nearly 2,000 op-ed pieces I have written, I can only find a couple of times I used it in the title of one of my articles.
One reason I’m hesitant to use the term is because it is so overused. Everything these days is “fake news.”
Another reason I don’t use the term a lot is that it is often our convenient way of dismissing a story we don’t like. “That’s just fake news!” we exclaim.
Yet fake news really does exist. And once it circulates online, it becomes canonized, fixed in the popular mind of the day as if irrefutable truth.
Yet it’s becoming more and more difficult to separate truth from fiction when following the news.
You’ll read a juicy headline, promising some bombshell information, only to read the article and say, “That’s it?”
You’ll see the sensational title of a video only to watch the video and ask, “Where was the shock and awe?”
You’ll see a chyron (a TV news banner) running across the screen, but it doesn’t match the content you are hearing.
Worse still, you’ll see that the headline or title or chyron is merely an interpretation of the events, someone else’s spin on a quote. The facts are obscured by the opining. Yet you think you’re getting the facts.
And how often do we fail even to read the full article (or watch the whole video or TV report), let alone research the information for ourselves?
I was struck by this phenomenon in recent days when reading reports about President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa this past Saturday. (For the Trump-lovers or Trump-haters, here’s a spoiler alert: This is not a politically partisan article. This is not pro-Trump or anti-Trump. It is pro-truth.)
Before the rally, there were reports of as many as one million people registering for the event. There were plans for Trump to address an overflow crowd outside the arena. And it was fully expected that the arena itself would be packed.
None of that happened. Instead, according to the local fire department, 6,200 turned out for the rally, leaving many empty seats in the building.
Others disputed those numbers, claiming a substantially larger crowd was present, based on the capacity of the arena and the number of empty seats.
In any event, on Fox News alone, nearly eight million tuned in to watch, while online streaming services brought in as many as four million more. The Hill even reported that “President Trump's rally in Tulsa, Okla., generated the largest Saturday audience in Fox News Channel's 24-year history in delivering 7.7 million viewers, according to the early Nielsen data.” That is quite an accomplishment.
And, given the ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and the threat of protests outside the rally, the event was hardly a flop. (The White House denied reports that Trump was “furious” over the turnout.)
As for Trump’s performance during the rally, he seemed quite energized, as did his base. (Again, I’m just reporting the facts here, not making a political statement. You may have loved or hated his speech. That’s not the issue.)
And how did some of the media describe the rally?
Writing for CNN, Chris Cillizza offered “six excuses for why the Trump Tulsa rally was such a dud.”
A dud? Really? Drawing thousands of people in the midst of virus fears and protest concerns is a dud? Setting an all-time Saturday night viewing audience on Fox is a dud?
Worse still was the reporting by the Daily Mail for which “dud” was not a sufficiently derogatory description. Instead, one headline announced, “Two of Donald Trump's campaign staff who were at disastrous Tulsa rally test positive for coronavirus - but officials say they were 'wearing masks'” (my emphasis).
Yes, the rally was disastrous! (If you read the actual article, it barely mentions the rally. When it does, the description is much less bombastic.) Now this is a matter of fact. It is codified and canonized.
For Politico, the rally was not merely a “dud” or “disastrous.” Instead, it was a “debacle.”
To quote directly, “Inside Trump's Oklahoma debacle. The rally was meant to be a turning point in Trump's fortunes and efforts to take on Biden. Instead, Trump was furious and his campaign is reeling.”
True to form, just four days later, on Tuesday, June 24, the Mail reported, “Donald Trump finally gets the packed mask-free crowd he craved at 3,000-strong students rally in Phoenix and calls coronavirus 'kung flu' AGAIN - while cops fire pepper balls at protesters outside.”
So Trump finally gets his full house – meaning, on his second rally since the shutdown, just four days after the Tulsa rally. That is the meaning of “finally”?
Certainly, Trump expected a packed house in Tulsa and didn’t get it. That would certainly irk him. And he couldn’t have been happy about reports of Chinese collusion in boosting the number of reservations made for the Tulsa event, whether true or not.
But, to repeat, to rally that many people in such difficult times is hardly a dud, a disaster, or a debacle. And to draw another 12 million viewers between TV and internet, including record-setting TV numbers, is even less a dud, a disaster, or a debacle. (Bear in mind that other TV networks did not air the rally, so the viewing numbers could have been much higher still.)
But the story has been told and the reporting has been done. The media has rendered its judgment, and opinion, to the point of fiction, has become fact. Let the viewer/reader beware.
Does the right-wing media do this as well? The sword can cut both ways.
All the more, then, do we need to do our homework and form our opinions for ourselves. We cannot rely on the media to do it for us.
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has hidden one of President Trump’s tweets, alleging that he violated the social media giant’s “policy against abusive behavior,” because he had said he intended to enforce the law.
Some had already moved to claim the area as “Black House Autonomous Zone,” spray painting that declaration on barricades they had erected and writing the initials, “BHAZ” in big letters on the columns in front of historic St. John’s Church on Lafayette Square. The venerable church building has been the site of repeated vandalism by protesters and rioters.
“There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President,” declared Donald Trump on Tuesday.
“If they try they will be met with serious force!” he added.
There will never be an “Autonomous Zone” in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!
Not long after, Twitter took the extraordinary step of hiding the tweet. Although the tweet is still available, those who wish to view it first come face-to-face with Twitter’s warning:
We’ve placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our policy against abusive behavior, specifically, the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group.https://t.co/AcmW6O6d4t
Many were outraged by the tech titan’s censoring of the President of the United States.
“Let’s be clear about what just happened,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
“Twitter labeled it ‘abusive behavior’ for the President of the United States to say that he will enforce the law. Twitter says it is ‘abusive’ to prevent rioters from forcibly seizing territory to set up a lawless zone in our capital.”
In a second tweet, McEnany reminded Twitter and the American public that the Seattle Autonomous Zone has been the scene of horrific violence: “Recall what happened in Seattle’s lawless CHOP zone where multiple people have been shot and one 19-year-old tragically lost his life!”
“We must have LAW AND ORDER!” she emphasized.
Let's be clear about what just happened.
Twitter labeled it "abusive behavior" for the President of the United States to say that he will enforce the law. Twitter says it is "abusive" to prevent rioters from forcibly seizing territory to set up a lawless zone in our capital ⬇️ https://t.co/IOhNBEy9Se
“This is beyond the pale,” wrote Texas congressman Dan Crenshaw. “The mob has infiltrated every corner of society.”
This is beyond the pale. The mob has infiltrated every corner of society. The President’s tweet is not only appropriate, but also necessary. Every mayor who claims to protect their citizens should repeat the same. Violent anarchists cannot be encouraged. https://t.co/yarukcsLQB
Parler.com is a social media platform increasingly being embraced by conservatives in order to avoid censoring, shadowbanning, and other tactics big name tech companies often use to silence conservative voices. LifeSiteNews has also launched our own pro-life, pro-family social media platform, LifeSite Connect.
Blue checkmarked @amuse wondered if past similar statements about protecting against creeping evil and violence from historic world leaders would’ve been treated by Twitter’s censors in the same way.
June 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Within two short years, two of Europe’s pro-life sanctuaries have fallen to the abortion industry.
In the Republic of Ireland, a fierce media campaign to frame the death of Savita Halappanavar as resulting from the 8th Amendment resulted in a vote for repeal in 2018; Westminster imposed abortion on Northern Ireland shortly thereafter. The Democratic Unionist Party responded by rejecting the new abortion laws at Stormont earlier this month in a motion that passed 46-40, but the House of Lords approved the abortion regime in defiance of the valiant efforts of pro-life DUP politicians.
Unbeknownst to most, there are still several beleaguered pro-life countries left in Europe. The tiny nation of Liechtenstein has held fast, with the royal family consistently rejecting any attempt at legalization. Malta, too, has thus far retained her pro-life laws. In recent days, reports in pro-abortion media outlets such as The Guardian have begun to highlight Malta’s pro-life regime. A media clamor for change has begun, and Maltese pro-lifers have been frustrated by the bias and the deceit leveled their way.
To better understand the situation in Malta, I contacted my friend Dr. Miriam Sciberras, who serves as the chairwoman of the Life Network Foundation Malta. A public lecturer, pro-life researcher, and dental surgeon, she served as Vice Mayor of her hometown, Zabbar, and earned a post-graduate degree in bioethics from the University of Ethics on the thesis “The right of premature neonates to palliative care.” Since then, she has been one of Malta’s most prominent pro-life activists.
LifeSiteNews: What is the status quo regarding abortion in Malta?
Dr. Miriam Sciberras: The deliberate killing of unborn children in their mother’s womb by abortion in any form is illegal in Malta, as is homicide. Malta’s current position in June 2020 is that of a sanctuary for life, a very brave solitary stand which we owe to past and present political leaders, who in spite of multitudes of political pressures have always maintained our right as a sovereign country to defend life from conception.
This stand is reflected in the laws of Malta. We are currently blessed to have a staunch pro-life Prime Minister in Dr. Robert Abela. The current leader of the opposition party, Dr. Adrian Delia is also proudly pro-life, and the current President, His Excellency Dr. George Vella, is publicly pro-life. President George Vella has declared publicly that he will not sign any abortion legislation during his presidency. There are obviously lobby groups who dissent from this stand, and who argue that Malta should join the abortion bandwagon.
Pregnant women and the children in their wombs are protected by the law in Malta. Pregnant women are safe and cared for, as are their pre-born children. Antenatal care focuses on the health of both mother and child, as two distinct patients. However, in the difficult medical cases, should a pregnant woman need lifesaving medical treatment, she is always given the option to be treated, even if this could result in the inevitable loss of her preborn child’s life. We follow the principle of double effect in these cases, and an effort is always made to save the premature child whenever possible. We do not need abortion for women to feel safe. Women deserve much better than abortion.
The media has been portraying Malta’s pro-life laws extremely negatively. What is the real story?
The reality is that for every law in any country you will find people who break it. The same can be said for abortion. There have always been a small number of women who in spite of all this, abort their child, usually in neighbouring countries where abortion is legal. The media has taken a pro-choice inclination and the abortion lobby’s sound bites are always published mostly in a biased way. We have been noticing this change in the last few years. The local media soundbites are then amplified beyond our shores to put increasing pressure on our local politicians.
Let’s take the current COVID-19 crisis. In our local news, it was reported that there were women seeking help to abort their children, and how closing the airports has put them in a miserable predicament. Our crisis pregnancy helpline has a different story to tell. We have seen a substantial increase in calls for help, too.
The truth is that crisis pregnancies are all around us, have always been around us, and will always be around us. It is our response to this reality that will shift the balance. We must be there to help these women in need of support. When a woman has time to recollect her thoughts, when she finds help, when she is allowed to discover the truth about the beginning of life and the growing nascent life inside her womb, her panic starts to subside. Eventually she starts to feel empowered and as she struggles, we walk with her, supporting her in all her needs all during the pregnancy, birth and beyond for as long as she needs us.
We are humbled to be of service to these women as we rejoice at the number of lives saved. There is nothing as awesome as watching an abortion-vulnerable woman fall in love with her child. I have been there, sharing these precious moments, looking at tear-filled eyes rejoicing at the wonder of their newborn son or daughter, knowing that they came so close to losing them to abortion. I have also been with women who have made rash decisions that they regret, and who are trying to heal from the pain of abortion, which can surface so many years later. These are stories that are hidden from the public, and that somehow we must find ways of exposing.
We face intense media pressure that markets abortion as a basic choice that needs to be available to women. The “my body, my choice” mantra is here too. This dishonest portrayal of a procedure that involves eliminating a life as choice ignores the gruesome truth of what the abortion procedure does to the pre-born child and the trail of blood left behind. Selective amnesia ignores post-abortion trauma on the mother, father and other family members as they struggle to ignore the reality of the loss. It also selectively ignores the biological reality of pregnancy which is that there are at least two lives involved, both with their right to life.
What are abortion activists doing to decriminalize abortion in Malta?
Their call is to destigmatise abortion so that women who have had abortions can be made to feel comfortable with their abortion. Their call goes so much deeper than meets the eye, and we can see that the call to decriminalize abortion is not only a local phenomenon, but part of the deceptive pro-abortion vocabulary leading to legalising abortion. Decriminalization means that the action done was not a criminal act, and so the logical next step would be the push to sanction this ‘non-criminal’ act. The law is there to protect the vulnerable--in this case, the innocent child in the womb. Abortion intentionally harms this innocent life or lives, and that is why it shouldn’t be decriminalised.
Abortion activists ignore the child in the womb completely. They never define choice, nor decriminalisation. The campaign of “my body, my choice” is an appealing call to arms for young teenagers who have not really thought much about what this actually means.
I would encourage anyone considering decriminalisation of abortion to have the guts to watch an abortion procedure being done and to look at the baby body parts after.
Abortion-vulnerable women and women in difficult situations need laws that protect them and their unborn children, especially in times of crisis. Decriminalisation would not favour women but their abusers. Statistics show that more than 60% of women who abort are pressured to abort by their partners. Women in these situations are lonely, scared, vulnerable, and need help. Oftentimes, when all has been said and done, it is the child born out of difficult situations that saves the mother.
The current job situation in Malta includes an increased number of foreign workers coming from the EU and other countries. This increasing number of foreigners, most of whom have grown up with abortion being sold as contraception, choice and order of the day puts added pressure on the local caregivers and authorities to maintain the current prolife status quo. These last few years we have also seen the setting up of pro-abortion lobby groups. Initially, they started lobbying for abortion in the rare cases or exceptions, but now they have thrown off their masks of deception and are lobbying outright for abortion as a choice.
What is the response of the politicians to these efforts?
Most of our local politicians are pro-life and have no issues working locally. Help is available for pregnant women, as regards antenatal support, delivery and maternity benefits. There is government subsidised childcare which will allow women who want to work or need to work, an opportunity to do so. At the parish level, there are groups who help support people in need, and there are also NGOs like ours ready to support pregnant vulnerable women. However our MEPs and government representatives working at EU level face a different reality. There is increasing pressure especially with EU-level policies, as abortion is now almost always included with sexual and reproductive health. The latest example we’ve seen is in the EU-coordinated COVID-19 Action plan of April 2020, a basically good package made up of 73 clauses--except the inclusion of abortion in Clause 48, not as an option but as part of the package.
Political correctness holds hostage politicians who defend life from conception. A post-truth society, which is the one we inhabit now, is no longer convinced by truth or science, but is manipulated by social media and marketing strategies.
It seems strange that not even the worldwide COVID-19 crisis can break the tight grip of the culture of death vultures on the EU institutions. Facing an impending demographic winter which threatens the actual survival of most EU countries, the EU insists on promoting abortion. At the risk of historical amnesia, the EU manages to ignore the foundations of the EU, and the Founding Fathers of Europe, and to acknowledge that the victims of wars and famines of recent decades have far outnumbered those of this current pandemic. This notwithstanding the fact that EU institutions were set up in the aftermath of World War II, when the evidence came out of abuse, torture, infanticide, human experimentation, eugenics, and outright genocide. Yet, we ignore, worse still legalize the genocide of infants in the womb, and in some countries also sanction the infanticide of children with disability.
World-wide, we are in desperate need of politicians who will courageously defend life without compromise.
What does the Maltese pro-life movement need the international pro-life community to know?
The international community needs to appreciate and acknowledge that there are still countries that are prolife sanctuaries. These countries are under attack as pan-global giants and pro-abortion lobbies set their eyes on making them a conquest. One can look at the situation developing in Ireland, Argentina and Gibraltar today. A unified front in the face of this onslaught is critical and could be starting point to turning things around if we support and learn from each other.
We cannot waste time and resources fighting abortion. We are too small and our resources limited. We need a legal approach to help entrench the God-given right to life from conception to natural death. One day, when abortion is exposed for what it is and what it does, it will be abolished to the annals of history, just like slavery and apartheid.
One day the truth about human life will be acknowledged and the God-given right to life and human dignity will be recognized. Until that day, prolife movements need to continue working threefold: supporting pregnant women and other vulnerable groups, educating the public on life issues, especially youths, and being a voice for the vulnerable in the public square.
The odds against us are formidable, but so were the odds against David when he took on Goliath.
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 famed Chesterton scholar and founder of the Chesterton society and the Chesterton schools, Dale Ahlquist. They discusss what G.K. Chesterton would think of the riots happening in the United States and the current state of the world.
You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:
Our times call for heroic Catholic families, not ordinary Catholic families
By Mother Miriam
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Watch Mother Miriam's Live aired on 6.24.2020. In today’s episode, Mother speaks about sin as rebellion. She shares from a talk Fr. Hardon about sin and rebellion. She also speaks about feminism and how it is permeating even Catholic thought.
Catholics who receive Communion on the tongue don't do so out of some false piety or holier-than-thou attitude. Receiving Christ on the tongue while kneeling reinforces reverence for Our Eucharistic Lord.