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Alberta govt about to pass ‘draconian…dangerous’ power grab bill, pro-freedom lawyers’ group warns

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms warns that the Minister of Health and the provincial government are about to be granted alarming new powers.
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 8:24 pm EST
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Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw YouTube
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
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CALGARY, Alberta, June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is issuing a warning to the Alberta government and an alert to the public regarding Bill 24: COVID-19 Pandemic Response Amendment Act, 2020. Bill 24 was introduced on June 18, 2020 and has now passed first and second readings. It is a large and complex omnibus Bill that amends 15 different laws at once. This would usually be the object of intense debate in the Legislature, because one Bill is revamping so many laws at once, so quickly. A review of the Hansard debates thus far shows that Opposition MLAs have had insufficient time to understand the impact of Bill 24 and its far-reaching implications.

Buried in Bill 24, in very complicated legal language, is another UCP power grab that circumvents democracy and gives the Minister of Health and the Alberta government alarming new powers. Premier Jason Kenney previously acknowledged public concern regarding Bill 10, and promised revisions to amend it. But instead of undoing Bill 10’s unconstitutional delegation of power from the Legislature to single cabinet ministers, Bill 24 extends these powers further. There are at least three significant areas of concern with Bill 24 that impact constitutional freedoms and our democracy.

First, Bill 24 takes the extraordinary temporary powers (section 52.6 of the Public Health Act), which are available only in the exceptional circumstances of a public health emergency, and makes some use of those powers available to the Alberta government permanently, even when no public health emergency exists.

Bill 24 would give the government a regular (non-emergency) power to enter long-term care homes, an isolation area for homeless persons in Calgary, and all airports (including private boarding areas) without a warrant, and take possession of these facilities, and personal property within them. Bill 24 would also give the government permanent power to conscript people or require people to render aid, and authorize the distribution of health services in these facilities, even when Alberta is no longer in a state of public health emergency.

“While perhaps well-intended, this extension of draconian emergency powers, for use at any time without notice during non-emergencies, is a step down a slippery and dangerous slope,” stated Jay Cameron, litigation manager for the Justice Centre.

The Justice Centre has already taken the Alberta government to court over Bill 10, which gave cabinet ministers new powers to write new laws and create new offences without any input from Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

“The United Conservative Party government has already shown its willingness to bypass democratic safeguards to enact authoritarian provisions, as in the broad release of private and personal health records to police services effected via Bill 10 and a unilateral Ministerial Order. Citizens ought to be wary of a government which continues to break down safeguards to increase its power,” continued Cameron.

Second, Bill 24 gives power to Health Minister Tyler Shandro to make regulations based on the Health Orders that were issued by Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw during the public health emergency, even though the public health emergency no longer exists. Dr. Hinshaw currently cannot issue new orders under section 29(2.1) of the Public Health Act because the state of emergency is no longer in effect. If passed, Minister Shandro has said that Bill 24 would change this, restoring Dr. Hinshaw’s law-making powers even though a state of public health emergency has not been declared, and would also give Minister Shandro the unfettered opportunity to create special Regulations for Health Orders.

Dr. Hinshaw’s Health Orders during the public health emergency bypassed the Legislature, avoiding all questions and debate about the devastating impact of her lockdown of society. After the fact analysis of the last few months evidences the dangers of putting one doctor in charge of millions of people for months on end. Dr. Hinshaw is not equipped to consider the social and economic harms that occur as a result of the prevention of commerce and the violation of Charter freedoms to move, travel, assemble, associate and worship. Further, she is not required by the Public Health Act to consult with other medical experts.

Bill 24 would give Minister Shandro the power to make Regulations regarding Dr. Hinshaw’s Health Orders, as though they were laws passed through the Legislature, when in fact they are laws created unilaterally by one doctor. The public should expect that these Health Orders, which existed only because of the public health emergency, should be discarded now that the emergency is over.

“It’s time for the regular operation of governance by and through and with the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly,” stated Cameron.

“Instead, under Bill 24, Dr. Hinshaw will be re-empowered to make Health Orders indefinitely, and her Orders will be expanded upon through Regulations created by Minister Shandro, all of which will once again happen without the active involvement of the Legislature,” explained Cameron.

The Justice Centre previously warned against the unilateral law-making powers of the Health Minister pursuant to Bill 10.

Third and finally, Bill 24 extends Minister Shandro’s release of private medical information to the police from August 14, 2020, when it would have lapsed, to December 31, 2021, for an additional 16 months. Minister Shandro unilaterally created this new law to violate patient privacy and confidentiality on May 14, 2020 by adding sections 53(4.2) and (4.3) to the Public Health Act. Minister Shandro’s new law contains no safeguards outlining the use, storage and retention of the personal data by police. No safeguards exist to clarify how long this information will remain in the police’s possession. There are no limitations on how the police may use this private and personal information. There is no clause that mandates that the information will be destroyed at a later date.

“Providing the personal information of patients to police so that it can be accessed at the police’s discretion is the authorization of a warrantless search without judicial checks and balances, and it is a dangerous breach of privacy rights. Instead of reversing the unconstitutional release of patient records, or at least attempting to fix the deficiencies of Shandro’s new law, Bill 24 extends the ability to breach personal privacy for another year and a half,” stated Cameron.

Premier Kenney and Minister Shandro have both publicly stated that the circumstances of a public health emergency are no longer present in Alberta. Minister Shandro informed the Legislature on June 23 during debate on Bill 24 that the initial COVID-19 risk was “hard to scope”, and that he thought the worst case scenario was “severe,” but that “the risk as we know it today, based on our actual experience, is very different.”

“Shandro’s statements indicate awareness, if not admission, that the wholesale lockdown of Alberta was an overreaction,” commented Cameron.

Minister Shandro also stated in the Legislature on June 23 that “emergency powers should only last as long as they are needed” and that the extraordinary powers in section 52.6 are “no longer needed at this time in this province.”

“Given these statements, the Alberta government ought to be moving to protect constitutional rights and safeguards to win back public trust. Instead, it is increasing its capacity to sidestep Legislative oversight and public accountability,” stated Cameron.  

“There appears to be a dangerous trend towards authoritarianism in Canada, both federally and in some provinces. Governments are exploiting COVID-19 to the detriment of democracy and the rule of law, and the lawful and democratic rights of citizens. If Bill 24 passes in its current form we will commence litigation to challenge its constitutionality,” stated lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre.


  alberta, alberta legislature, bill 10, bill 24, covid-19, deena hinshaw, jason kenney, pandemic, public health act, tyler shandro, ucp, united conservative party

News

Pope Francis belittles as ‘adolescent’ priests who defied COVID lockdowns to give faithful sacraments

'I admired the apostolic spirit of many priests who visited by telephone, knocked on doors, called by homes (saying): 'Do you need something? I will do your shopping.''
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 7:55 pm EST
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Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

VATICAN CITY, June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has indicated that he was not impressed with priests who violated coronavirus lockdown rules to minister to the laity. 

In a speech he delivered Saturday to primarily bishops, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers from the Italian region of Lombardy, Pope Francis contrasted priests who violated the ban on public worship with priests who ministered to their flock in “creative” ways, like buying their shopping. 

“The pastoral zeal and creative solicitude of priests helped people to follow the way of faith and not to remain alone before sorrow and fear,” he said.  

“This priestly creativity ... overcame ... a few, ‘adolescent’ expressions against the measures of the authority having the duty of protecting the health of the people.” 

Francis said most priests were “obedient and creative.” 

“I admired the apostolic spirit of many priests who visited by telephone, knocked on doors, called by homes (saying): ‘Do you need something? I will do your shopping,’” he added.

“A  thousand things. Closeness, creativity, without shame. ... They were a sign of the consoling presence of God.”

He said these priests were “fathers, not adolescents.”  

The pontiff said Italian Catholics were able to feel like a community even without public worship. 

“These past months, the people could not participate personally at the liturgical celebrations, but they didn’t miss the feeling of community,” he said. 

“They prayed alone or with their families, even through means of social communication, spiritually united, and perceiving that the embrace of the Lord goes beyond the limits of space.”

Pope Francis praised doctors and nurses and other people in secular life who brought healing and comfort to the sick during the bleakest days of Italy’s early experience of the coronavirus pandemic. He asked his audience not to forget the “positive energy” generated at that time and said individualism as a guiding principle for society has been, more now than ever, shown to be illusory. 

“God has created us for communion, for fraternity,” he said. 

Among those present at the lecture were the Archbishop of Milan and the bishops of Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona, Crema, Lodì and Padua. 

The coronavirus pandemic hit Lombardy early and hard before spreading throughout the rest of Italy, Europe and the United Kingdom. The first known Italian COVID-19 patient in the region fell ill in mid-February. On March 8, as the virus spread rapidly through northern Italy, Lombardy was placed with other northern and central areas under quarantine. This was only partially effective. As of today, there have been more than 93,000 cases reported for the Lombardy region, and the deaths of more than 16,500 residents have been blamed on the virus.   

The quarantine, which included a ban on public worship and most travel outside the home, extended to the entire country on March 10. This left many priests uncertain as to how to minister to the spiritual needs of their people. In some places, authorities turned a blind eye to cautious Eucharistic and other devotional processions; in others, police fined priests for appearing outdoors without sufficient cause or even interrupted Mass.   

One aspect of the coronavirus measures that troubled faithful Catholics in northern Italy was that churches were singled out for closure weeks before restaurants, swimming pools and other public venues were made to close their doors. On March 8, shortly after the nationwide ban on public gatherings, even private prayer in the churches of Rome was suspended. This decision was overturned on March 13 after Papal Almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski refused to close the doors to his titular church and displayed the Blessed Sacrament for adoration.  

“It is the act of disobedience, yes, I myself put the Blessed Sacrament out and opened my church,” Krajewski said

“It did not happen under Fascism, it did not happen under the Russian or Soviet rule in Poland — the churches were not closed,” he explained.   

“This is an act that should bring courage to other priests.”


  catholic, covid-19, italy, konrad krajewski, pandemic, pope francis, priests

News

Trump signs law to hold China accountable for its human rights abuses

'The Act holds accountable perpetrators of ... indoctrination camps, forced labor, and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs.'
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 7:12 pm EST
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Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — President Donald Trump has signed into law the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act aimed at curtailing human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region.

More than a million Uyghurs, most of whom are Muslim, are believed to be held in concentration camps by the Chinese governemnt. A 2018 UN report found that human rights abuses in such camps include brainwashing, beatings, torture, rape, forced abortions, forced sterilizations, and summary executions.

The new law, signed June 17, stipulates that the president will place property-blocking sanctions and visa-blocking sanctions on foreign individuals and groups identified as having committed human rights abuses.

“The Act holds accountable perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses such as the systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labor, and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities in China,” Trump said in a statement about the law. 

“I note, however, that section 6(g) of the Act purports to limit my discretion to terminate inadmissibility sanctions under the Act. In some circumstances, this limitation could be inconsistent with my constitutional authorities to receive as diplomatic representatives certain foreign officials under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution. Accordingly, my Administration will treat section 6(g) of the Act as advisory and non‑binding. My Administration will make appropriate efforts to comply with section 6(g) of the Act by notifying the relevant congressional committees before terminating sanctions with respect to a person under the Act, but it will not treat the provision’s requirement for advance notice as binding to the extent that it interferes with the President’s conduct of diplomacy,” he added.

“This is a very strong statement to the totalitarians in Beijing,” Reggie Littlejohn, an attorney and founder of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told The Stream.

“It’s saying the U.S. is willing to challenge them on their human rights abuses,” she continued. “These are not just crimes against the Uyghurs on Chinese soil. They’re crimes against humanity.”

The law also requires U.S. agencies to report to Congress on human rights abuses in Xinjiang and to take efforts “to protect U.S. citizens and residents, including ethnic Uyghurs and Chinese nationals studying or working in the United States, from harassment and intimidation by the Chinese government.”

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC), one of the world’s largest organizations advocating for the human rights of the Uyghur people – said in a press release that the law is “the first legislative initiative to take concrete action to end the Uyghur crisis and hold those responsible for atrocities accountable.”

“Despite admonishments and expressions of concern, the CCP has continued to disappear more and more Uyghurs into internment camps and forced labour facilities, to strip away the very last of their rights and to undermine Uyghur culture, language, religion and identity without any material consequences,” the WUC state.

“Moving beyond rhetoric to taking real and meaningful action is essential to bringing an end to the Uyghur crisis.”

When the bill passed through the U.S. House of Representatives late last year, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, told listeners on "Washington Watch" that it was an example of the United States finally beginning to “show some strength” in the face of the global threat from China. 

"(I)t's vital to say to Beijing that oppressing your own people, that stamping out faith, that going after (religious) people and ethnic minorities is not permissible. We won't allow it ... And China's desire to dominate the world is not something we're going to stand by and watch happen,” Hawley said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said last year after the bill passed the House of Representatives by indicating that the Chinese government would take action in response to the bill.

“Do you think if America takes actions to hurt China’s interests, we won’t take any action?” she said.

“I think any wrong words and deeds must pay the due price,” Chunying added.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent human rights watchdog group, thanked the Trump administration for passing the law and called for the “swift implementation” of sanctions against Chinese government officials known to have committed human rights abuses.

Earlier this year, Chinese exile and human rights activist Chen Guangcheng called on world leaders to “recognize the threat the Chinese Communist Party poses to all humanity.”


  beijing, china, chinese communists, josh hawley, reggie littlejohn, trump administration, u.s. commission on international religious freedom, uyghur human rights policy act, women's rights without frontiers, world uyghur congress

News

Archbishop identifies ‘five wounds’ afflicting the Church

In a secularized culture that is rejecting the Catholic Church, the specificity of Aguer’s point of view lies in the fact that he considers the danger to come mainly from within. This also means that the answer lies within the Church, which needs to heal those wounds in order to play its true role.
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 7:07 pm EST
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Bishop Héctor Aguer (retired). CanalTLV1 / YouTube
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Hector Aguer, former Archbishop of La Plata in Argentina, has offered a meditation on the “five wounds” that are presently affecting the Catholic Church that he has always served and loved on the Spanish website InfoCatolica.com.

Archbishop Aguer, following the example of the Blessed Antonio Rosmini (1789-1855), priest and founder of the Institute of Charity, sought which wounds are affecting the Mystical Body of Christ, His Church, today. At the time of Rosmini’s writing of his book “The Five Wounds of the Holy Church” the text was condemned by the Holy See. It would later be rehabilitated at the same time as Rosmini himself.

Hector Aguer, who was “exiled” from his diocese from one day to the next in order to make way for Pope Francis’ appointee to the see of la Plata, Archbishop Victor Manuel “Tucho Fernandez,” ghostwriter of the most controversial passages of Amoris laetitia, has often been vocal in his condemnation of the culture of death and the distorting of children’s consciences by faulty teaching.

In his most recent column, Aguer named five contemporary “wounds” that are directly affecting the Church and not only the surrounding culture: relativism, the devastation of liturgy, secularization of priestly life and flawed formation in the seminaries, ruin of the Christian family and of the natural family order, and lastly, the de-Christianization of society, which Aguer attributes to the lack of true Christian life on the part of Catholics, “Christians who do not live as such.”

In a secularized culture that is rejecting the Catholic Church, the specificity of Aguer’s point of view lies in the fact that he considers the danger to come mainly from within. This also means that the answer lies within the Church, which needs to heal those wounds in order to play its true role.

Hector Aguer’s conclusion is particularly forthright: “The Catholic absence from those areas where new cultural vigor is emerging leaves the world in the hands of the Father of lies.”

Here below is LifeSite’s translation of the part of Archbishop Aguer’s op-ed in which he describes the contemporary wounds to the Catholic Church.

I venture to present a hypothesis regarding the actualization of the wounds of the Church, those that she suffers in these days; I do so modestly, as an expression of the respect and love that I profess for Catholicism, and of the pain that it causes me to recognize them. These are not my own ideas; many authors with greater wisdom and authority than I have expressed their anxiety, and countless faithful, at times with outbursts of indignation, give their opinion on the ecclesial situation and do not even hide ideological positions. The “social media” constitute a world tribune, a confused areopagus. I will not locate the wounds, as Rosmini did, which one on which hand or which foot, which one on the side. I will only list five evils, about which I have spoken on various occasions, or which have been the subject of my writings.

1. I begin with the wound that I consider the most comprehensive and profound: relativism, an evil with historical roots that spread in the 20th century, permeating the culture, thought and attitude of the multitudes. Relativism has penetrated the Church, and manifests itself in her as doubt, neglect and omission of the doctrine of the faith. One of the main causes has been, in the opinion of many, a biased interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, the denial of its homogeneous continuity with the previous magisterium. The masters of relativism often claim that that great Assembly was a revolution that determined a change of era. From the metaphysical point of view, the relativist position is equivalent to the negation of the Absolute, and is camouflaged in ambiguous propositions. As an attitude of thought it means the abandonment of objective criteria and the primacy of subjectivism. In fact, anyone says what comes to mind, and there is no one to correct it; worse, those who should correct it promote confusion. During the last decades, numerous authors have expressed theological relativism, with the subsequent damage to the formation of priests and in the pastoral orientation of the clergy. Ethical relativism includes the denial of nature, from which objective, universally valid principles of behavior are followed: neither the natural law nor the commandments of God’s law are expressly reminded and urged upon the faithful as a norm of personal life and relationship with others. Sociological reductionism insists on emphasizing the conditioning of epochal factors and cultural validity. The spread of relativism and its current consequences frustrate the intention of Vatican II: “The whole Church must work vigorously in order that men may become capable of rectifying the distortion of the temporal order and directing it to God through Christ” (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 7). Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote in his book The Day Is Now Far Spent: “It is decisive that fundamental values should govern the life of societies. Relativism feeds on the negation of values to affirm its deleterious intent.” We have extraordinary resources to overcome the temptation of relativism: the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the complete and clear magisterium of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

If relativism is permanently installed in the Church, the world will go to ruin.

2. The devastation of the liturgy. A stern warning from Vatican II was not heeded: “No other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 21§3). It is true that many priests celebrate Mass with dignity and succeed in incorporating the faithful into “a full and active participation” (ibid.). But there is no denying, and I am referring to what happened in Argentina, that the most sacred rite of Catholicism has been widely manipulated, and improvisation, the abolition of beauty – especially in music –, gestures and attitudes such as shouting, applause, dancing, have been imposed, that are completely alien to the sacred nature of the celebration. The sacred is undermined or has disappeared. I myself have heard my fellow bishops say that there is no longer any distinction between the sacred and the profane, and that they were pleased with this development. The one-sided conception of the Mass as a fraternal gathering has obscured its sacrificial nature; one does not see that what unites the faithful is a supernatural reality: the common participation by faith and charity in the Lord's Paschal Sacrifice which becomes sacramentally present in the Church's rite. In some cases the celebration becomes a show or a little party for children; the worship of God disappears, it is only satisfaction, the “feeling good” of those present that is sought. With that decline that I am briefly describing, faith is placed in parentheses and the reference to God is replaced by the centrality and primacy of man. The phenomenology of religion shows the error of such a posture; probably a man of the Stone Age would be scandalized by some Catholic celebrations today; he would not find in them the indispensable reference to “that which is other,” to transcendence, to the world of the gods. The loss of the sense of worship has a cultural effect that is destructive of man's authentic humanity. Cardinal Robert Sarah has written: “The sense of the sacred is at the heart of every human civilization.” I stop here; readers can surely add to the above details their own reflections and experiences.

3. Secularization of priestly life and flawed formation in the seminaries. This has been one of the most striking chapters of the crisis that followed Vatican II. The causes and meaning of that crisis will have to be clarified by historians, but it is not possible to deny that, as Paul VI lamented, “we expected a flourishing spring and a harsh winter came instead.” Jacques Maritain, a great friend of Pope Montini, evokes in The Peasant of the Garonne “the contagious neo-modernist fever, at least in the so-called ‘intellectual’ circles; in comparison, the modernism of Pius X’s time was a modest cold.” He also speaks of “a kind of immanent apostasy that had been in preparation for years, and whose manifestation was accelerated by certain dark expectations of the lower parts of the soul, attributed at times, mendaciously, to the spirit of the Council.” The clergy was particularly affected; thousands of priests abandoned the ministry; a form of “liberation” led many to neglect the spiritual life; numerous were also those who dedicated themselves to social and political “activism”; priestly celibacy, with which noncompliance can be registered with greater or lesser intensity in any epoch, was criticized on principle, and today the campaign to achieve its abolition is growing.

The luminous magisterium of Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, which was the cause of a certain recovery, no longer counts for much, and not only regarding celibacy. Experiments in reorganization of the seminaries have proliferated, and agitation and doubts continue. I have noticed that sometimes ridiculous attention is paid to disqualifying and persecuting students in whom an attachment to tradition can be found, such as those who would like to study Latin well and wear a cassock (and some are even forbidden to wear it), but the correctness of the doctrinal, spiritual and cultural formation is not looked after. Study is often opposed to “pastoral care,” and there is a rush of supposedly pastoral experiences for which young people are not prepared, and which lack educational value. How can the Church flourish with the neglect of serious philosophical, theological and spiritual preparation of her future ministers? Humbly, I can display a certain authority on this subject: I was the organizer of a diocesan seminary and its rector for a decade, as well as a professor in the Faculty of Theology, where seminarians from various dioceses studied. During my 20-year archdiocesan ministry, I went to the seminary every Saturday and always spent my vacation with the seminarians. One thing I have learned. Ek toû kósmou ouk eisìn, “they are not of the world” (Jn 17:16), said Jesus of the Apostles in his intimate conversation with the Father. Nor are priests “of the world;” their secularization – worldliness is an open wound in the heart of the Church.

4. Ruin of the Christian family and of the natural family order. Never has the Church had such a wide teaching on conjugal love, marriage and the family as in these last decades. However, the current culture is imposing itself with overwhelming force. The generalization of divorce, favored by the law, has led to many people not getting married, but to live in concubinage, which is no longer frowned upon. Now we do not speak of husband and wife, husband and wife, but of a “partner.” In almost all femicides, the murderer is the boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, the partner or ex-partner. We must also deplore the fact that marriages – when they exist – do not last; the terrible examples of people in “show business,” to which I add sportsmen and politicians, and the media with its continuous hammering, have led to the devaluation of conjugal love and family stability; many children are orphans of living parents, or “single parent” children. Sexual abuse occurs, in eighty percent of the cases, in the family setting, and the culprit is usually the mother’s partner. The sacrament of marriage is not properly appreciated, and the grace that flows from it is not known. Artificial birth control has become a common practice. The encyclical Humanae Vitae was resisted by vast sectors of the Church, and its fiftieth anniversary went unnoticed.

The pastors of the Church do not duly reiterate a teaching that is valuable not only for Christian life, but that has a cultural, social and political dimension. The legal approval of “same-sex marriage” and other iniquitous laws inspired by gender ideology alter the constitution of the family order, and the legalization of abortion is extended. The faithful are subjected to unprecedented pressure. A very serious phenomenon is the imposition by the State of school sex education programs that are contrary to the natural and divine law and that violate the rights of parents. Young people need to be accompanied so that they can recognize the value, beauty and usefulness, both personal and social, of the virtue of chastity, but this does not seem to be a pastoral priority. In Catholic schools, it is very difficult to form young people to these essential realities, and generally families do not collaborate; in many cases, for all that has been said, they are not in a position to do so.

In short, it is an open wound that bleeds abundantly; with this blood the life of society drains away. Is it a wound of society? Certainly, but it is also a wound of the Church. That is the tragedy.

5. The de-Christianization of society. The process thus described is, at the same time, a process of dehumanization. Its cause is, first of all, of an internal, religious nature: Christians who do not live as such; baptized persons who either have not completed Christian Initiation, or after completing the rite of “only communion” do not persevere in sacramental practice. They have not received a formation to the truths of the faith, and have been devoured by the pagan culture. Saint Paul already noticed this problem, for example, in the community of Corinth; he went so far as to say that not even among the pagans were there such grave vices (cf. 1 Cor 5:1; 6:8 ff.). This intrinsic weakness of the Church, the spiritual fall of its members from the level befitting a Christian community, prevents its vital presence in culture and in the structures of society. It makes it impossible for the faithful to shine in it, hos phosteres in kosmos, like lights in the world, as the Apostle himself taught (Phil 2:15). De-Christianization is not identified with the change in the forms of political organization. Leo XIII stated that “The right to rule is not necessarily, however, bound up with any special mode of government. It may take this or that form, provided only that it be of a nature of the government, rulers must ever bear in mind that God is the paramount ruler of the world, and must set Him before themselves as their exemplar and law in the administration of the State” (Encyclical Immortale Dei opus, 4).

In that document of 1885, he recalled that “There was once a time when States were governed by the philosophy of the Gospel,” and the energy proper to Christian wisdom had permeated the laws, institutions and customs of peoples; it permeated all classes and relations in society.

A homogeneous development of the Church’s Social Doctrine has been observed; the Compendium promulgated by John Paul II in 2004 includes a complaint against secularism, which in democratic societies is “hostile to granting any kind of political or cultural relevance to religious faiths. Such intolerance seeks to exclude the activity of Christians from the social and political spheres because Christians strive to uphold the truths taught by the Church and are obedient to the moral duty to act in accordance with their conscience. These attitudes even go so far, and radically so, as to deny the basis of a natural morality” (No. 572). As this last statement points out, the denial of the higher order of the spirit leads to dehumanization, to the denial of human nature and its demands.

The Church must recover, first of all, from the internal crisis that affects her, in order to become more relevant in the cultural and social order, so that she can help man to orient himself towards his authentic destiny. The Catholic absence from those areas where new cultural vigor is emerging leaves the world in the hands of the Father of lies (cf. Jn 8:44). There is a need for a reaction and a coherent and determined work to forge a counter-culture as a true alternative.


  abortion, catholic, hector aguer, homosexuality, liturgy, vatican ii

News

French town bans prayer procession started in 1340s to ward off plague

A music festival was still allowed to take place, however.
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 6:31 pm EST
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La Lunade, a traditional French prayer procession, involves a 6 km pilgrimage with a centuries-old statue of St. John the Baptist https://www.correze.catholique.fr/actualites/procession-de-la-lunade
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

ANALYSIS

June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – For the first time since the 14th century, a Catholic procession that takes place every year on the eve of the Feast of Saint John the Baptist in the town of Tulle was officially banned by the civil authorities, under the pretext of COVID-19 regulations. Local residents were shocked and surprised to learn, hours before the traditional march was to take place, that the local prefect – the government’s representative in the 100 or so “départements” of France – had decided not to allow it to go ahead.

Ironically, the “Lunade,” as the procession is called because it takes place at nightfall, when the moon (lune in French) becomes visible, first took place around 1340 or 1348 – sources differ – when Tulle, a town of 6,000 souls that had been occupied some 10 years earlier by the English, was suffering from famine, pestilence, and “great mortality.”

According to oral tradition, a monk of the Diocese of Tulle was praying in the cathedral for the town that was going through so much hardship, when he received a vision of St. John the Baptist asking him to organize a march around the city that would ward off the plague.

The procession duly took place and according to local tradition, the city was delivered of plague.

Since then, every June 23 is marked by the 6 km march among the hills that border Tulle, during which parishioners carry the same statue as the one that saved the city more than 670 years ago: a statue blackened by time, clothed with red velvet robes, and adorned with a white lily.

The procession took place uninterruptedly, even during the French Revolution in its years of “Terreur,” spates of secularism, and two World Wars. Nowadays, some 50 people turn up for the beginning of the procession at the cathedral porch after a  6:30 p.m. Mass, others join along the way at “stations” marked by crosses along the traditional route. By the time the procession returns to the cathedral some 300 to 500 faithful are present, which is not little for such a sparsely populated “département” as the Corrèze, of which Tulle is the religious and administrative capital.

This year, the procession of “La Lunade” was to be quite different, even though it should have taken place with all the usual participants. In order to follow recommendations against the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, the local clergy had taken every precaution: the faithful would march in little groups of 10 people,  customary halts would also be organized so as to avoid gatherings of more than the approved 10 persons under current measures in France. No more than 200 people would be allowed into the cathedral and all would be required to wear masks at the beginning of the procession.

The local daily La Montagne dated June 23 also reported that Father Nicolas Risso, vicar general of the diocese, had asked the faithful not to bring flowers to honor St. John the Baptist and warned that no candles would be distributed, as would have been the case in ordinary circumstances.

Fr. Risso added that the procession was one of the oldest such religious gatherings in France still active today, and underscored that the department of Corrèze had been largely spared by the coronavirus: “That gives meaning to the Lunade,” he said.

There were indeed few COVID-19 infections in Corrèze and less than 40 coronavirus-related deaths, the last of which took place over six weeks ago.

The faithful were all the more surprised to learn on Tuesday afternoon that the prefect of Corrèze had taken a last-minute decision to forbid the Lunade from taking place.

Fr. Risso published a statement warning the “Christians of Tulle” of the ban, in which he recalled that all necessary sanitary measures had been taken. “I have taken note of the decision,” he added, explaining that he and a tiny group of no more than six people would carry the statue of St. John among the hills of Tulle, while the ordinary pilgrims would gather in the cathedral to follow the procession “virtually.”

“Please accept our apologies for this change of program that is beyond our control,” he wrote. The statement was published on this website of the dioceses and texted to a number of faithful.

But many who had not seen the message gathered at the cathedral all the same and expressed their anger. “I’m horrified, appalled, this is unacceptable,” said one parishioner, Marie, quoted by La Montagne.

Some decided to “defy the law” and followed the embryonic procession at a distance, while many others waited in the cathedral, underscoring that they would have been better outside in the open air rather than “confined” in the historic church built between the 12th and 15th centuries.

One lady, Christiane, decided to go home as soon as the small group carrying St. John the Baptist had left the cathedral porch. She explained that her own grandfather had smuggled the statue out of the cathedral in a sack by a backdoor in 1896, when the local mayor prohibited the 548th procession of La Lunade, and armed gendarmes were stationed in front of the cathedral porch, stopping the faithful from leaving the cathedral. Four infantry regiments were at the ready at some distance away.

The mayor was invoking several anti-Christian laws that had been adopted in 1789, the first year of the French Revolution, and 1837, against Catholic processions. A first attempt to block the Lunade had failed in 1881 when the church authorities successfully blocked a local order through judicial appeals. But in 1896, the secularists resumed their anti-Christian acts.

It was a group of gardeners that carried St. John’s statue out of the church and managed to hold the procession all the same during the night of June 24. A Magnificat was sung in the cathedral upon their return in the early morning, to cries of “Vive la liberté!” – “Long live freedom!”

At the time, the local bishop had asked the crowd present in the cathedral to remain calm and not to react to “treacherous provocations.” 

“When the Masonic plague, more pernicious than the pestilence in the 14th century, will at last have passed, you will be able, with a profound sigh of relief, be able to celebrate for a second time the Liberation of the city of Tulle,” said Bishop Denéchau on that fateful eve of June 23, 1896.

In 2020, the persecution of Catholics is more subtle. But the local faithful in Corrèze clearly see the “incoherence” and “injustice” of measures taken against the Lunade, even though every precaution had been taken and despite a decision by the Council of State on June 13 stating that a blanket ban on gatherings of more than 10 people should not exist.

The Council of State, France’s highest administrative authority, said that beyond “particular circumstances” public gatherings should not be banned when “barrier measures” can be put in place and no more than 5,000 people are expected to take part.

The “Music Feast” that takes place in France every year on June 21, involving public concerts in the open air, was allowed in Tulle this year. A dozen bands played in different parts of the town, offering 15-minute concerts every half-hour, that people could join in small groups that in practice exceeded 10 people.

The people of Tulle were all the more indignant that the procession could not take place that the “Fête de la Musique” was allowed and encouraged by the local civil authorities – especially when COVID-19 infections were not even being counted in Corrèze any more.

In Paris, one of the three French epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic, a large number of concerts took place with packed crowds dancing in the streets. In some cases, but not all, the police intervened to disperse them.

Thousands of people have joined “Black Lives Matter” marches in the larger cities of France over the last weeks. The French interior minister, Christophe Castaner, stated on June 9 that while the official prohibition of public demonstrations still held – this was before the June 11 deconfinement – there would be “no sanctions and no proceedings.”

“I believe that worldwide emotion, which is a healthy emotion regarding this issue, goes beyond applicable legal rules,” he explained.

In France, “emotion” now trumps the law, but only insofar as it is politically correct.


  catholic, coronavirus, france, freedom of assembly, la lunade, religious freedom

News

Trump executive order on religious freedom could help limit abortions

Faith-based organizations could object to performing abortions and providing referrals.
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 6:24 pm EST
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Official photo / First Lady Melania Trump
Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
By Stefano Gennarini J.D.

PETITION: Tell Trump Christians can’t accept SCOTUS ruling imposing LGBT ideology! Sign the petition here.

NEW YORK, June 26, 2020 (C-Fam) – An Executive Order on religious freedom internationally could become another important tool to fight an international right to abortion at the United Nations.

President Trump signed an Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom on June 2 in the White House, following a visit to the John Paul II Shrine in Washington, D.C. The order requires concern for religious freedom to be streamlined as a priority in the work of the U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, including at the United Nations.

This order directs the Secretary of State to “advocate for United States international religious freedom policy in both bilateral and multilateral fora.” It also directs the Secretary of State to leverage the influence of the U.S. Agency for International Development to achieve this goal.

UN agencies and European donor nations increasingly take the position that abortion is a humanitarian right, and therefore health providers and personnel who provide international aid cannot deny women abortion, even if they have conscientious objections based on moral or religious grounds.

UN manuals enshrine the view that organizations who partner with the United Nations in providing international aid must perform and refer for abortion, even against their conscience.

Such an international mandate could have a huge impact in the international aid community. Faith-based groups are a large constituency in the international aid community and provide a large share of all humanitarian assistance. Some of religious groups, like World Vision and Caritas International, are estimated to have $1 billion annual budgets.

In March, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief issued a report on religious freedom and gender equality denying the right of medical providers and professionals to conscientiously object to perform abortions or refer for abortions.

Citing the non-binding views of UN human rights experts, he complained specifically about “accommodations” in national law that allow “the use of conscientious objection by healthcare providers and institutions unwilling to perform abortions or provide access to contraception on religious grounds.”

The rapporteur described “religious figures,” “religious edicts,” and “religious postulates” that support the equal protection of children in the womb as “discriminatory.” The rapporteur also described religious opposition to assisted reproductive technologies and gender reassignment surgery as a form of discrimination.

The expert was likely directly addressing actions of the Trump administration to allow groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor to carry out aiding the elderly and the indigent without paying for abortion and contraception against their sincerely held beliefs. “Public accommodations” is a term used in U.S. law in reference to the conscience rights of medical providers and professionals to refuse to preform or refer for abortion.

The new executive order also requires any federal agency that delivers foreign assistance to “ensure that faith-based and religious entities, including eligible entities in foreign countries, are not discriminated against on the basis of religious identity or religious belief when competing for federal funding.”

If implemented, the order could help prevent future U.S. administrations from discriminating against faith-based and pro-life groups.

Under the Obama administration, federal agencies systematically imposed mandates related to abortion, contraception, and LGBT issues in federal programming. In the international context, Catholic groups that provide assistance to trafficking victims were shut out of federal programming as a result.


  executive order, executive order on advancing international religious freedom, john paul ii shrine, religious freedom, trump administration, u.s. agency for international development, u.s. state department, united nations, usaid

News

US bishop denounces BLM activist’s call to destroy images and statues of ‘white’ Jesus

As a shepherd of the Church, I cannot remain silent in the face of this call, said Madison Bishop Donald Hying.
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 6:02 pm EST
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Saint Junipero Serra statue toppled in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. @jrivanob / Twitter
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

MADISON, Wisconsin, June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, said that “as a shepherd of the Church,” he “cannot remain silent” in the face of a call by a Black Lives Matter activist to destroy representations of Jesus Christ. 

“I need to denounce such a call to violence and destruction,” Bishop Hying wrote in a letter dated June 23.

Shaun King, a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, best known for claiming to be half-black despite both parents on his birth certificate being listed as white, had declared Monday that statues, murals, and stained-glass windows depicting Jesus as white should be taken down for being “form(s) of white supremacy,” meant to be “tools of oppression” and “racist propaganda.”

“Our statues, pictures, stained-glass windows, churches, icons, and devotions are holy to us,” Bishop Hying explained. “They are sacramentals, blessed and sacred, visible expressions of the love of God, poured out in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and made manifest in the saints. They remind us of God, His love for us in Christ, and the nearness of the divine.”

The bishop of Madison condemned the “secular iconoclasm of the current moment,” as it “will not bring reconciliation, peace, and healing. Such violence will only perpetuate the prejudice and hatred it ostensibly seeks to end.”

He praised religious freedom as a God-given right guaranteed by the Constitution. “We must not surrender our religious liberty to the voices that seek the destruction of our public presence, the diminishing of our sacramental worship, and the denial of our belief in Jesus Christ as the savior of the world,” he added. “Only the love of Christ can heal a wounded heart, not a vandalized piece of metal.”

Hying admitted he is aware of “some of the torturous narrative of violence and oppression against both the Native peoples of this land and the African peoples brought here as slaves.”

“In my opinion,” he argued, “the injustices suffered by these peoples over the course of centuries are two of the greatest moral failures of our country, with deep repercussions in our culture. We must study and know this history in order to transcend it, to learn from it and to commit ourselves to justice, equality, and solidarity because of it.”

However, “even the worst aspects of history should be remembered and kept before our eyes. Auschwitz remains open as both a memorial and a museum, so that humanity never forgets the horror of the Holocaust.”

He suggested, instead of having rioters tear down and destroy statues, to have “respectful discussion about the proper way to commemorate people and events, such as Christopher Columbus, the European colonization of the Americas, the tragic suffering of slavery, the Civil War, Confederate leaders, the Founding Fathers, and the evangelization of our continent.”

Then, “measured decisions about statues, buildings, and memorials” could be made in a civilized manner.

The bishop asked a number of rhetorical questions:

If we allow the commemorative and visual history of our nation to be destroyed by random groups in the current moment of anger, how will we ever learn from that history?  Does toppling and vandalizing a statue of George Washington because he owned slaves, really serve our country and our collective memory?  Would it not be better to let the whole history of our country be on full display in all of its complexity, so that we can value the patrimony of our heritage and simultaneously critique the injustices and sins of the past? … Should certain statues be placed in museums or storage? Perhaps. Should we let a group of vandals make those decisions for us? No.

In response to Shaun King’s claim of a white representation of Jesus Christ indicating “white supremacy,” Bishop Hying pointed out that among Catholics, “every culture, country, ethnicity, and race has claimed Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary as their own. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego as a mestiza, African art depicts Jesus as Black, Asian depictions of the Blessed Mother, too, take on similarities of both bodily appearance and, often, cultural garb.”

He asked, “In this context, are white representations of Christ and His Mother inherently signs of white supremacy? I think not. Because the Son of God became incarnate in our human flesh, does not all of humanity – every race, tribe, and tongue – have the spiritual ability to depict Him through the particular lens of their own culture?”

Bishop Hying’s letter comes on the heels of a statement by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on June 20.

Cordileone asked, “What is happening to our society?”

“A renewed national movement to heal memories and correct the injustices of racism and police brutality in our country has been hijacked by some into a movement of violence, looting and vandalism,” he continued, spelling out what happened during many of the protests.

Tearing down the statue of St. Junipero Serra, who was canonized by Pope Francis in 2015, “was mob rule,” the archbishop said, “a troubling phenomenon that seems to be repeating itself throughout the country.”

“Our dear city bears the name of one of history’s most iconic figures of peace and goodwill: St. Francis of Assisi,” Cordileone explained. “For the past 800 years, the various Franciscan orders of brothers, sisters and priests that trace their inspiration back to him have been exemplary of not only serving, but identifying with, the poor and downtrodden and giving them their rightful dignity as children of God. St. Junipero Serra is no exception.”

The archbishop of San Francisco went on to briefly recount the saint’s achievement in his life. 

“St. Serra made heroic sacrifices to protect the indigenous people of California from their Spanish conquerors, especially the soldiers,” Cordileone wrote. “Even with his infirmed leg which caused him such pain, he walked all the way to Mexico City to obtain special faculties of governance from the Viceroy of Spain in order to discipline the military who were abusing the Indians. And then he walked back to California.”

“And lest there be any doubt, we have a physical reminder to this day: everywhere there is a presidio (soldiers’ barracks) associated with a mission in the chain of 21 missions that he founded, the presidio is miles away from the mission itself and the school,” he pointed out.

“St. Junipero Serra also offered them the best thing he had: the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ, which he and his fellow Franciscan friars did through education, health care, and training in the agrarian arts.”

The bishops of California, in a separate statement, failed to forcefully condemn the tearing down of statues of St. Junipero Serra. They only asked that for this process of tearing down statues “to be truly effective as a remedy for racism, it must discern carefully the entire contribution that the historical figure in question made to American life, especially in advancing the rights of marginalized peoples.”

In other words, as long as this criterion is met, tearing down a statue, and thus destroying public or private property, could be justified, according to the bishops of California, which includes the current president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles.

The bishops did not distinguish between the mob destruction of a statue and its removal after a political debate, where both sides make their case, and elected officials then make a decision.


  black lives matter, catholic, diocese of madison, donald hying, protests, riots, shaun king, statues

News

Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger: ‘Grace of God’ helped me overcome porn addiction

‘But you have to dedicate yourself and understand that you can get out of it because of the grace of God,’ the quarterback said.
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 5:36 pm EST
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Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

PETITION: Investigate George Soros' role in funding domestic terrorism! Sign the petition here.

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the most successful and well-known professional football players, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, has revealed he overcame his porn addiction by the “grace of God.”

The two-time Super Bowl champion said during a conference on manliness in Pittsburgh, “I’ve fallen as short as anybody. I’ve been addicted to alcohol, I’ve been addicted to pornography, which makes me then not the best husband, not the best father, not the best Christian I can be.”

“But you have to dedicate yourself and understand that you can get out of it because of the grace of God, and him saying, listen, you know, you’re good enough for me the way you are,” Roethlisberger added. “You don’t have to be perfect.”

“We all fall short,” he later explained. “I mean, that’s what happens, but it’s OK, you can get back into the good graces. All it takes is ask.”

The use of pornography is very common across the whole population. According to the Ministry of Tech, “Today, 68 percent of young adult men and 18 percent of women use porn at least once every week. Another 17 percent of men and another 30 percent of women use porn 1-2 times per month. This means for 85 percent of young men and nearly half of young women, watching porn is at least a monthly activity.”

LifeSiteNews reported earlier last year on professional basketball player, two-time NBA champ and reality TV star Lamar Odom, who admitted that he had long struggled with a porn addiction that negatively impacted his life and relationships.

“You know, in the NBA, if you’re late, they just fine you,” Odom said. “And I think about all the times that I was in my hotel room, game day, and I had to get one more last scene in. So I like chose to be late for the bus just to watch a porno scene. It’s kind of crazy.”

He overcame his addiction with the help of his girlfriend, who later became his fiancée.

Roethlisberger did not elaborate on his addiction to pornography.

He spoke at a Christian event called “ManUp” last Saturday. The event, according to the website, “encourages and teaches men to be godly leaders for their families, and raises awareness of the devastating impact of fatherlessness among youth today.”

The Steelers quarterback grew up in a Christian family, giving his life to Christ in middle school. During college and his early years in the NFL, however, he didn’t fully live up to Christian ideals. Three years ago, Roethlisberger was baptized, and his priorities now are God first, his wife second, and his three children third.

“I feel I’m a better Christian, a better husband, and a better father today because of his forgiveness of me,” he said.

“I want my kids to see me and my wife holding hands, I want them to see us laughing and having fun together. And that’s my challenge to the men out there: To love your wife so unconditionally – ‘yucky’ – that the kids are like, oh, you guys are so in love,” he added.

Roethlisberger now wants “to give all the glory to him (God), because that’s where it comes from. Every single thing that I have been blessed with – on the football field, off the football field – is because of him. It’s nothing to do with me. I put the work in, but he’s the one that motivates me in the morning to do the work, he’s the one that’s given me the ability.”

“I’m trying to be a better Christian than I am athlete and football player,” he said.

Admitting that he wasn’t good with Bible verses, he mentioned James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.”

He also quoted James 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

The quarterback challenged men to “man up and be the best husbands and fathers you can be, and understand that we are forgiven. We don’t have to be perfect, but be the best that you can be.”


  ben roethlisberger, christians, father, husband, nfl, pittsburgh steelers, pornography

News

Planned Parenthood fires New York exec over racism claims

Employees accused Laura McQuade of having 'effectively gaslit and silenced...marginalized staff thus creating a toxic work environment,' by exploiting the 'language of diversity, equity, and inclusion' to 'manipulate and silence those with differing opinions and perspectives.'
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 4:28 pm EST
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Laura McQuade, who before joining Planned Parenthood was Executive VP and COO of the Center For Reproductive Rights, speaks at a pro-abortion event at a private residence on September 25, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Charley Gallay / Getty Images for Center for Reproductive Rights
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By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: Demand Planned Parenthood return $80M improperly taken from coronavirus emergency fund! Sign the petition here.

June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States’ largest abortion chain has fired one of its New York executives for allegedly discriminating against black employees, amid a growing furor over perceived racism that has led to a rare acknowledgment of Planned Parenthood’s racist origins.

The board of directors for Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) announced Tuesday that it has fired Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) chief executive Laura McQuade over allegations that she treated workers in a hostile and even racist manner, the Daily Caller reports.

“We reject what we view as McQuade’s Trumpian leadership style,” reads a letter by a group of affiliate employees calling itself Save PPGNY, “and envision a Planned Parenthood where all our staff, in particular our black and other staff of color, are honored for their expertise and included in the decision-making process.”

Among the group’s allegations against McQuade are that she has a habit of “brutally shaming staff members in internal meetings in front of their colleagues,” that she “lost the 18 million dollar surplus she inherited and replaced it with a 2020 projected deficit of 6.2 million dollars for the first six months,” that she presided over “unprecedented rates of staff turnover” resulting in a loss of professional experience “so profound as to be detrimental to every aspect of the organization.” She also apparently “immediately laid off 134 employees and furloughed another 100” in response to COVID-19 instead of cutting her own salary or the salaries of fellow executives.

Most disturbingly, they charge that “PPGNY, under the leadership of CEO Laura McQuade, has effectively gaslit and silenced their marginalized staff thus creating a toxic work environment,” by exploiting the “language of diversity, equity, and inclusion” to “manipulate and silence those with differing opinions and perspectives.”

“They have leveraged identity politics by putting Black and other people of color in positions of leadership who actively participate in harming Black staff and other staff members of color below them,” the group’s Equity letter continues. “PPGNY repeatedly tokenizes their Chief Equity and Learning Officer, a Woman of Color who is not of African descent, as the ‘voice’ for BIPOC [black, indigenous, people of color] staff. The decision to hire a non-Black person in this role exemplifies the ways in which white-led organizations use non-Black people as a buffer to actually confront and uproot anti-Blackness within organizations.”

“With multiple attempts by the BIPOC staff to bring these concerns to our supervisors, we continue to be invalidated and marginalized,” Save PPGNY says. “White and non-Black employees are still given more pay and more advancement opportunities than their Black colleagues.”

Notably, the group draws a direct line between McQuade’s alleged actions and an element of Planned Parenthood’s past the organization has long tried to downplay or deny: the racist, eugenicist beliefs of founder Margaret Sanger.

“Planned Parenthood was founded by a racist, white woman,” the letter says. “That is a part of history that cannot be changed. While efforts have been made to undo some of the harm from institutional racism, many of these issues have worsened under McQuade’s tenure. After years of complaints from staff about issues of systemic racism, pay inequity, and lack of upward mobility for Black staff, highly-paid consultants were brought in three separate times to assess the situation. Each time, employees of color were brutally honest about their experiences, but nothing changed.”

The allegations come while America is in the midst of intense racial unrest sparked by the killing of a black man by a white police officer in Minnesota. What started as protests (and violence) in the name of ending police brutality quickly morphed into a broader narrative about “systemic racism” in U.S. institutions and a campaign to tear down art perceived as “racist,” from statues of historical figures (regardless of whether or not they were on the right side of their eras’ civil rights battles) to paintings of Jesus Christ that depict the Savior as white.


  abortion, laura mcquade, margaret sanger, planned parenthood federation of america, planned parenthood of greater new york, racism, save ppgny

News

Mike Huckabee strongly rebukes BLM activist’s call to destroy images of Jesus Christ

'To somehow hate Jesus is to hate the one person in the entire history of the planet who lived the perfection of God, because he was God in human flesh,' he said.
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 3:42 pm EST
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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee Fox News / screenshot
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Former Arkansas Gov. and GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has slammed left-wing activist Shaun King for his call to destroy representations of Jesus Christ and Our Lady, following the destruction of statues, including statues of saints, all across America.

“To somehow hate Jesus is to hate the one person in the entire history of the planet who lived the perfection of God, because he was God in human flesh,” said Huckabee on Fox News yesterday.

Shaun King, a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, best known for claiming to be half-black despite both parents on his birth certificate being listed as white, declared Monday that statues, murals, and stained-glass windows depicting Jesus as white should be taken down for being “form[s] of white supremacy,” meant to be “tools of oppression” and “racist propaganda.”

 

Huckabee, who has also been a Protestant pastor, countered, “To say that in any way Jesus is a symbol of white anything is absurd. In part because Jesus wasn’t a white guy, he was a Middle Easterner, and probably had more olive skin than he did white skin.”

“It has to be one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever heard,” he continued. “First of all, if someone would study Jesus, they would find that he was the ultimate person who loved the unlovable, who cared for the ones that no one else cared for.”

“He cared about people who were slaves. He cared about people who were prostitutes. He stepped in the path of those who were ready to stone to death the woman caught in adultery. And he was the one who intervened,” he explained.

The former governor of Arkansas predicted that “we’re going to see people who say, ‘We’ve got to get rid of all these images of Jesus, because we don’t want to have any religion.’”

“But here’s the good news for those of us who embrace Jesus,” Huckabee said. “You can take down the images and the art of depicting Jesus, but you can never take the true spirit of Jesus Christ out of the lives of his followers.” 

He talked about potential oppression and persecution, but pointed out that historically, “the true faith begins to show even more dramatically” in those times.

“It’s because in the midst of darkness, light becomes more obvious. So a little bit of light, the darker it gets, will have a profound effect,” he said.

“I think historically there’s always been a level of hate toward Christianity, because it calls for people to live a life that is different,” Huckabee added.

A life lived based on the principles of the Bible would be “a life of servanthood. That’s not natural. We are naturally, as the Bible would call us, sinners. That doesn’t mean we’re all serial killers.” However, according to Huckabee, the “fundamental thing Jesus taught” was, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

You want to have your home broken into and your stuff stolen? Then don’t do that to somebody else. You want your business burned down? Then don’t burn somebody else’s business down. Do you want to be raped? Don’t rape anybody. That’s how it works. And that’s the Christianity that a lot of people are missing.

Huckabee reminded his viewers of the “Judeo-Christian foundation of our country.”

“Our fundamental rights don’t come from the government,” he emphasized, “because if government gives them, government can take them. They come from God, and we created a government unlike any that’s ever been, whose sole purpose was to protect those God-given rights so that we could live in our personal, individual liberty.”

Apart from the former governor of Arkansas, Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, has also said he “cannot remain silent” in the face of King's call to destroy representations of Jesus Christ. “I need to denounce such a call to violence and destruction,” he wrote in a letter dated June 23.

“Our statues, pictures, stained-glass windows, churches, icons, and devotions are holy to us,” Bishop Hying explained. “They are sacramentals, blessed and sacred, visible expressions of the love of God, poured out in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and made manifest in the Saints. They remind us of God, His love for us in Christ, and the nearness of the divine.”

The bishop of Madison condemned the “secular iconoclasm of the current moment,” as it “will not bring reconciliation, peace, and healing. Such violence will only perpetuate the prejudice and hatred it ostensibly seeks to end.”

In response to King’s claim of a white representation of Jesus Christ indicating “white supremacy,” Bishop Hying pointed out that among Catholics, “every culture, country, ethnicity, and race has claimed Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary as their own. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego as a mestiza, African art depicts Jesus as Black, Asian depictions of the Blessed Mother, too, take on similarities of both bodily appearance and, often, cultural garb.”

Additionally, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco on June 20 condemned the tearing down of statues of St. Junipero Serra, who was canonized by Pope Francis in 2016. Cordileone called it “mob rule, a troubling phenomenon that seems to be repeating itself throughout the country.”

“Our dear city bears the name of one of history’s most iconic figures of peace and goodwill: St. Francis of Assisi,” Cordileone explained. “For the past 800 years, the various Franciscan orders of brothers, sisters and priests that trace their inspiration back to him have been exemplary of not only serving, but identifying with, the poor and downtrodden and giving them their rightful dignity as children of God. St. Junipero Serra is no exception.”

The archbishop of San Francisco also briefly recounted the saint’s achievements in his life. 

“St. Serra made heroic sacrifices to protect the indigenous people of California from their Spanish conquerors, especially the soldiers,” Cordileone wrote. “Even with his infirmed leg which caused him such pain, he walked all the way to Mexico City to obtain special faculties of governance from the Viceroy of Spain in order to discipline the military who were abusing the Indians. And then he walked back to California.”

“And lest there be any doubt, we have a physical reminder to this day: everywhere there is a presidio (soldiers’ barracks) associated with a mission in the chain of 21 missions that he founded, the presidio is miles away from the mission itself and the school,” he pointed out.

“St. Junipero Serra also offered them the best thing he had: the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ, which he and his fellow Franciscan friars did through education, health care, and training in the agrarian arts.”

In St. Louis, Missouri, Catholics have been gathering and praying at a statue of the city’s namesake, Saint Louis IX, as a small group of leftists campaigns to tear it down. St. Louis IX, the only king of France to be canonized a Catholic saint, is famous for ending the practice of trial by combat and replacing it with trial by jury.  


  mike huckabee, racism, rioting, riots, shaun king, statues

News

Catholic youths heroically stop California mob from tearing down saint’s statue

The young Catholics placed themselves between the vandals and the statue of Saint Junipero Serra located at Ventura city hall in California
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 3:36 pm EST
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Catholic youths protect statue of Saint Serra, June 20, 2020, Ventura, California.
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

VENTURA, California, June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of courageous young Catholics surrounded the statue of a saint in Ventura, California last Saturday, placing their bodies in between Junipero Serra and the mob who wanted to tear him down. 

The anti-Serra demonstrators had put out a call on social media for the June 20 event that began at 1 PM. Calling the event “Tear down Junipero Serra,” the demonstrators stated that “No longer shall we celebrate the enslavement, rape, and genocide of the original people of Ventura.”

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The anti-Serra social media announcement about the June 20, 1 PM demonstration in Ventura, California.

That same weekend, statues of Catholic saint Serra, considered the founder of the California missions, were toppled and defaced in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and historic Olvera Street in Los Angeles. Serra, a Spanish Franciscan missionary to the United States, helped to found nine missions in California in the late eighteenth century. He established the mission of San Buenaventura in 1782, which is now present-day Ventura. His statue was erected at city hall in 1936. The current bronze statue was erected in 1989. Pope Francis canonized him in 2015.

At 1 PM, anti-Serra demonstrators, about 200, gathered near the statue of the saint, located in front of Ventura’s city hall, where they began a rowdy demonstration. 

Rally speakers addressed a diverse and vocal crowd whose slogans included “Black Lives Matter” and who held signs reading “He Ain’t No Saint” and “Father Genocide.” 

Some speakers, like local Chumash elder Julie Tumamait-Stenslie, appealed for a peaceful and ordered removal of the statue, while others tried to rally the crowd to pull the statue down immediately, with repeating chants of “Tear it down! Tear it down!”  

Some of the anti-Serra crowd appeared to have brought tools needed to pull the statue down, video evidence shows

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Chumash elder Julie Tumamait-Stenslie, with a "Father Genocide" banner behind her, speaks at the anti-Serra rally, June 20, 2020, Ventura, California.

But, thanks to the saint’s new bodyguard of dozens of young Catholics, including a priest, the city’s Serra statue was not toppled. Padre Serra continued to gaze out over Ventura from his place in front of City Hall as the sun went down Saturday evening.  

Prior to the 1 PM demonstration, dozens of pro-Serra activists had surrounded the statue to protect it from the vandals. As the rally began, they stood quietly, some holding signs reading “Save Serra,” some praying.  

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Catholic youths with a priest surround the Saint Serra statue located in Ventura, California, June 20, 2020.

Any attempt to pull down the statue would have meant forcibly removing those who encircled its base, something which the anti-Serra demonstrators had not anticipated. The counter-protesters — mainly Catholic college students — were unmoved by taunts, insults, and the cloud of exhaust from a generator that rally organizers had placed close to them. 

California Catholic Daily reported that at one point, anti-Serra protesters made a rush on the statue:

As the event wore on with the statue still undamaged, some [anti-Serra] speakers tried to work the crowd into a frenzy. When one asked, “Who’s with me?” for tearing down the statue at that moment, and pointed the way, the crowd made a rush. The [Serra] supporters closed ranks around the pedestal and stared down a man brandishing a metal stake at the head of the crowd. He swung it threateningly until one of the [Serra] supporters grabbed hold of it. Meanwhile, another [Serra] supporter ran down the street to a parked squad car and asked the police to come closer. A few cars pulled up with lights and sirens, cooling the fervor of the crowd.

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Anti-Serra demonstrators confront Catholic youths surrounding the statue, June 20, 2020, Ventura, California.

At Tumamait-Stenslie’s invitation, Father Tom Elewaut, pastor of the historic Mission San Buenaventura, the final mission established by Junipero Serra, addressed the crowd and then joined pro-Serra activists at the base of the statue.  

As the rally officially ended, Rev. Elewaut blessed those gathered to protect the statue.  

Many anti-Serra demonstrators left but a significant number remained. Ventura police, who had watched from a distance during the rally, moved in closer at one point as a throng of anti-Serra demonstrators heckled and taunted the young people who still remained to protect the statue.  

By about 4 PM, activists on both sides had dispersed.  The statue of Ventura’s founder remained, but its fate continues to be uncertain as city officials, church leaders, and tribal elders continue to negotiate its fate. 

The bishops of California later in the week issued a carefully worded statement expressing their disapproval of the tearing down of statues of the saint.

While Saturday’s victory may be only a temporary reprieve, the Catholic young people went home that day knowing that they had accomplished an important symbolic victory.

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Catholic youths successfully defended the Serra statue from being destroyed by a mob, June 20, 2020, Ventura, California.

A change.org petition to save Ventura’s statue of Saint Junipero Serra has gathered thousands of signatures:  "Fr. Serra Statue In Ventura:  We Must Preserve our History, and Learn from It."


  black lives matter, california, good news, junipero serra, statues, vandalism

News

Tucker Carlson: Statue destroyers are ‘armed militia’ of Dem party working to ‘overthrow’ govt

The rioters are really the 'armed militia of the Democratic Party...working to overthrow our system of government'
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 2:27 pm EST
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Tucker Carlson in Fox's 'Tucker Carlson Tonight', June 24, 2020. Fox
Clare Marie Merkowsky
By

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Fox commentator Tucker Carlson stated that the vandals destroying public property across America, including the pulling down of historical monuments, are not really “protesters” or “rioters” but thugs pursuing the goals of the Democratic Party. 

“They're the armed militia of the Democratic Party. They're working to overthrow our system of government. They're trying to put themselves in power,” said Tucker during his June 24 “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show

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Saint Junipero Serra statue toppled in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. SOURCE: @jrivanob / Twitter

Carlson pointed out what he called the stupidity of the rioters and the hidden purpose of the riots across the United States.

“At this point,” Carlson said, “it is pretty clear that nothing is what we're told it is. These are not protests. This is not about George Floyd. It's not about ‘systemic racism,’ whatever that is.”

“These are definitely not protesters,” he continued. “They're not even rioters.” It was at this point that Carlson linked the vandals to the Democrat Party. 

While protests across America began ostensibly in response to George Floyd’s horrific death while in police custody, the protesters have since moved in an entirely different direction. 

While rioters vandalize shops and monuments, plunging the states into chaos, Antifa, a left-winged terrorist group, teaches how to inflict the most damage on police during riots. The pro-abortion and pro-LGBT Black Lives Matter organization (BLM), one of the major groups behind the riots, has been shown itself to be more committed to remaking America and American values than protecting all black lives.

Carlson, in his show, pointed out the stupidity of the actual rioters and protestors. “These people are idiots - for real.”

The people setting fire to restaurants and destroying statues, Carlson remarked, are “truly and utterly stupid.” 

“They know nothing. They couldn't tell you who George Washington was. They don't know when the Civil War was fought, probably not even to the century.”

“They say they oppose racism, and then they rip down monuments to abolitionists. They don't see the contradiction in that because they have no idea who the abolitionists were. They think it's a band from the 80s.”


  black lives matter, democrat party, rioting, riots, statues, tucker carlson, vandalism

News

Archbishop tells bishops they’ll ‘end up in hell’ for forcing faithful to receive communion in hand

Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga said he is 'calling on them to stop, or they’ll end up in hell for doing this'
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 1:51 pm EST
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Retired Polish Archbishop Jan Paweł Lenga in a March 21, 2020 interview with wRealu24 Polish Internet TV. Wojciech Cejrowski / Youtube
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

POLAND, June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A retired Polish archbishop warned his brother bishops and fellow priests that they’ll “end up in hell” for forcing the faithful to receive Holy Communion only in the hand in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga did not mince words as he accused priests who insist on offering communion only in the hand as being ignorant of history and lacking in respect toward the Blessed Sacrament.  He made the comments in a March 21 video interview conducted during the early days of the Catholic Church’s response to the pandemic.

Such priests do not respect that which is Sacred and force others to violate their consciences, said the Archbishop in an interview for wRealu24 Polish Internet TV.  

“Poland is still zealous in the faith, and Polish people do not want to take Communion in the hand and standing up, like in the degenerate western world,” said Lenga.  “The coronavirus is being used to break people’s consciences.”

Lenga issued a stern warning to those bishops and priests who insist on administering the Eucharist solely in the hand:  “I am calling on them to stop, or they’ll end up in hell for doing this.” 

Earlier this week, Catholic commentator John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, detailed five reasons why Catholics should only receive Holy Communion on the tongue.

“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,” he said.

After giving the five reasons, Westen made it clear that it was his belief that “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,” he said. 

Lenga foresees that when the pandemic is over, clergy will say people are now accustomed to taking communion in the hand while standing and so the practice should be continued.   

He pressed further:  

They got used to not going to Confession?  Great!  Easier for us.

We will be no different than the Protestants, in Germany and elsewhere in the world.  That’s where this evil is leading to.

Lenga went on to suggest that Church leaders had abandoned the faithful during a time of need.  

“Where are the bishops? Where are the Cardinals?” he wondered.  “Where are all the Church hierarchy, usually so self-confident and important?”

“They are hidden away, having left the people alone,” he said. 

“The bishops closed down all churches, no Masses are available,” he lamented.  “This says a lot about bishops and priests who have separated themselves from the faithful, as if they didn’t exist.”  

Lenga compared bishops and priests who are missing in action to the doctors and nurses working on the front lines to combat the virus, risking their own health and sometimes even their lives.  

“The priests ran away from all this.  They just want to live long,” said Lenga. “That shows they are far from the true faith, and far from God.” 

Lenga said that these priests have lost the sense of the sacred and have become nothing more than “administrators.”  They tell others what to do but don’t really respect Christ as God. 

“Don’t just mindlessly listen to the government and do whatever they say,” said Lenga.  “You are ready to deny Jesus and destroy everything.”

“There is a panicked fear of death everywhere, instead of the fear of Judgement Day, or God’s punishments, which will come!” declared the Archbishop.  

“[Pope Francis] is hiding away in his palace,” said Lenga.  “The cardinals are hiding away.”  

“What happened to Catholicism?” he asked.  “It’s a disaster.”

“Gentlemen, bend your knees,” he concluded.  

Archbishop Lenga has frequently criticised Pope Francis and earlier this year was sanctioned for calling him a “usurper and heretic.” 

According to the Polish journal Więź as reported by CNA, Lenga said “Bergoglio preaches untruth, preaches sin, and does not preach a tradition that lasted so many years, 2,000 years... He proclaims the truth of this world and this is the truth of the devil.”

As a result, the Diocese of Włocławek, where the archbishop lives in retirement, forbade Lenga from celebrating public Masses in February.  One commentator said at the time that Lenga had been “muzzled.”    

Last year, Lenga joined Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider in issuing a public declaration of 40 truths of the faith to remedy the “almost universal doctrinal confusion and disorientation” endangering the spiritual health and eternal salvation of souls in the Church today. 

Titled “Declaration of the truths relating to some of the most common errors in the life of the Church of our time,” the declaration sought to uphold the Church’s perennial teaching on the Eucharist, marriage and priestly celibacy. 

Some of the points implicitly referenced statements made by Pope Francis, while others related to points of confusion that had arisen or intensified during the current pontificate. Still, others addressed moral errors in society that are gravely harming lives, as much of the hierarchy stands by.

Lenga’s recent message to the priests and prelates of Poland echo last year’s Declaration, which argued that the faithful feel “abandoned,” and, perhaps presciently, that the Church is experiencing one of the “greatest spiritual epidemics” in her history.


  catholic, communion, communion in the hand, coronavirus, holy communion, jan pawel lenga, poland

News

Top pro-life priest asks US bishops to allow clergy to publicly discredit baby ‘killing’ Democrat Party

Fr. Frank Pavone asked the bishops to allow clergy political engagement during 2020 Elections
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 12:30 pm EST
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Priests for Life director Fr. Frank Pavone with Dr. Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, Washington D.C., January 18, 2019. American Life League / Flickr
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A priest well-known for his pro-life activism has penned an open letter to U.S. bishops asking them to use their authority to allow clergy to publicly advocate for the political party in the upcoming 2020 election that is pro-life and pro-religious freedom. The priest also asks for the right to name and discredit the opposing political party. 

“The rights of the Church and the common good are under attack in unprecedented ways by the Democrat Party,” Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, declared in a June 25 open letter to the U.S. bishops (read full letter below). 

Pavone noted how current Church directives forbid clergy from engaging in partisan politics. He also pointed out, however, that the current political situation is something that such directives do not take into account. The priest’s letter, written to coincide with Religious Freedom Week, points out that guidance from the hierarchy often frustrates and hinders the mission of clergy and lay people when it comes to articulating and applying the teachings of the Church to the political realm.  

“When,” says Pavone, “the faithful are told not to ‘engage in any political activity which seeks to support or discredit any political party or candidate’ one wonders how the moral judgment in matters relating to politics is to be expressed.”

“When the Republican Party stands firmly for the principle that government cannot authorize the killing of babies, and the Democrat Party firmly rejects that principle by embracing unrestricted abortion, how is it possible for the Church ‘to proclaim its teaching’ without discrediting (implicitly if not explicitly) the political party that so obviously opposes that teaching?” Pavone asks the bishops. 

Pavone said that clergy are “left to fight with two hands tied behind our backs and a gag over our mouths bearing an episcopal seal.”

“The approximately 100,000 political races that comprise ‘the 2020 Elections’ bring us to an unprecedented choice in America,” emphasized Pavone.  “Never has the political divide been more substantial or consequential.”

“Never has the voice of the Church been more needed; everything we stand for and have fought for is on the line,” he added.

***

June 25, 2020

Your Eminences/Excellencies,

With deep respect, and with equally deep urgency, I write to extend to you, individually and collectively, an invitation to engage in a public dialogue regarding some specific aspects of the involvement of Christ’s faithful in the elections of 2020, now underway in the United States. In the context of this invitation, and consistent with Canon 212 §3, I also would like to point out a persistent problem in this regard that is hindering the common good and the rights of the Church.

Specifically, I refer to the repeated guidance issued from dioceses, Catholic Conferences, and the USCCB that restrict the speech of clerics and lay faithful in ways that not only exceed any restrictions found in Canon Law and Civil Law, but that are impossible to fulfill because of their broad reach and vagueness. As a result, rather than fostering unity among the People of God in the pursuit of the mission they eagerly engage by virtue of their baptism and confirmation, this guidance discourages and frustrates them and hinders that mission.

Moreover, this guidance fails to take into account the unique circumstances of the current political landscape in the United States and the moral response those circumstances require.

I call for a public discussion in the manner you deem appropriate, concerned that efforts to address these issues are consistently met, both in public and in private, with a refusal to engage the questions on their merits. Those questions are met instead with an appeal to discipline rather than dialogue, and to authority rather than reason. While maintaining the utmost respect for the legitimate authority you exercise among the faithful, it’s time to give a bit more attention to a robust discussion of the reasons behind the decisions that authority hands down in matters related to the political involvement of the faithful. Nobody in the Church, including bishops, should be impervious to input, advice, and criticism based on the expertise the faithful possess in various disciplines (cf. Lumen Gentium, 37).

Since 1994, my own ministry team, which embodies a wide range of pastoral and political experience, has addressed our national elections, seeking to articulate and apply the teachings of the Church to the political realm.

We affirm the teaching of Gaudium et Spes which states, “Christ, to be sure, gave His Church no proper mission in the political, economic or social order. The purpose which He set before her is a religious one” (42). Yet as you well know, that statement provides the context for a vigorous exposition of the Church’s responsibilities to shape temporal realities in accordance with the Kingdom of God. In articulating those responsibilities, that same document of the Council goes on to state, "At all times and in all places, the Church should have the true freedom to teach the faith, to proclaim its teaching about society, to carry out its task among men without hindrance and to pass moral judgments even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it” (76; see also Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 426; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2246; “Doctrinal Note On some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life,” CDF, November 24, 2002, and Code of Canon Law 747  §2).

In a book I wrote in 2015 (Abolishing Abortion, Thomas Nelson publishing), I document extensively the manner in which that duty of the faithful, both clerical and lay, to “pass moral judgments even in matters relating to politics,” has been hindered by the kind of guidance that dioceses, Catholic Conferences and the USCCB routinely issue. When, as expressed in many of the diocesan memos I quote, the faithful are told not to “engage in any political activity which seeks to support or discredit any political party or candidate” (p.117) one wonders how the moral judgment in matters relating to politics is to be expressed.

The public dialogue I am urgently inviting you to engage in at this time is based on the fact that we are not dealing with normal “political disagreements” in this election. If what divided the political parties were matters merely of prudential judgment, or policy disagreements that should be worked out by open debate, trial and error, and the corrective processes provided by our legislative, executive, and judicial mechanisms, then the official neutrality of the Church could be easily understood and implemented.

But that is not where we are right now.

We do not have a division simply on policy, but on principle. Our political divide is not simply about prudential judgments, but about ‘the fundamental rights of man’ and ‘the salvation of souls’ referred to by the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism, and numerous other sources.

When the Republican Party stands firmly for the principle that government cannot authorize the killing of babies, and the Democrat Party firmly rejects that principle by embracing unrestricted abortion, how is it possible for the Church “to proclaim its teaching” without discrediting (implicitly if not explicitly) the political party that so obviously opposes that teaching? As you well know, St. John Paul II called governments that legalize abortion “a tyrant state” (EV, 20). That’s pretty discrediting.

How is it possible, moreover, to defend religious freedom, where again, there is a fundamental difference of principle, not just policy, at work in our political divide? My ministry of Priests for Life and I, along with Alveda King who is part of our pastoral team, were joined shoulder to shoulder by the Archdiocese of Washington, the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Erie, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and numerous other Catholic and Christian institutions and apostolates to fight all the way to the Supreme Court for our religious freedom against mandates imposed by a Democrat Presidential Administration.

We won only because of the election of President Trump.

A serious public discussion is needed here, lest while urged by the Church to fight State mandates that restrict our freedom, we subject ourselves to Church mandates that restrict that same freedom.

What makes this all the more ironic is that we are living now in a climate where the federal government is not only defending our right to speak and teach freely on the moral dimensions of politics, but is urging us to do so! On May 4, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order protecting our religious freedom. He said,

I want to hear from you, and so do a lot of other people. So, you’re now in a position where you can say what you want to say. And I know you’ll only say good and you’ll say what’s in your heart. And that’s what we want from you.…This executive order directs the IRS not to unfairly target churches and religious organizations for political speech. ... In America we do not fear people speaking freely from the pulpit. We embrace it. …Under my administration, free speech does not end at the steps of a cathedral or a synagogue or any other house of worship.

This also relates also to the rights of clerics to be politically involved. Canon 287 §2 legitimately affirms of clerics, “They are not to play an active role in political parties or in directing trade unions unless, in the judgement of the competent ecclesiastical authority, this is required for the defense of the rights of the Church or to promote the common good.”

While the first part of that canon is vigorously enforced, the second part requires due attention as well. The rights of the Church and the common good are under attack in unprecedented ways by the Democrat Party. But again, after being told to defend those goods, we are left to fight with two hands tied behind our backs and a gag over our mouths bearing an episcopal seal.

In calling for more open and respectful dialogue, I speak for many priests and lay faithful with whom I have worked side by side for decades in the fight for life and religious freedom, and whose commitment to these causes has all too often been met with criticism rather than appreciation by the pastors of the Church. Indeed, even attempts to address the matter like I am doing in this letter are often met with unwarranted disciplinary action that appears to be motivated not by a concern for the good of the Church but by the very types of partisan political agendas that clerics are warned not to pursue. 

I speak also on behalf of our brothers and sisters in other Christian denominations who are strong allies in the fight for life, family and freedom. Unfortunately, while they have courageously defended the freedom of churches to preach the Gospel and “to pass moral judgments even in matters relating to politics,” they have found much of the response from Catholic religious leaders to be disheartening.

Your Eminences and Excellencies, as I said at the outset, I write with deep respect. I am a son of the Church and have always defended her legitimate authority and prayed daily for her leaders. But this is an appeal to engage in a dialogue that the circumstances of the moment call for most urgently. The approximately 100,000 political races that comprise “the 2020 Elections” bring us to an unprecedented choice in America. Never has the political divide been more substantial or consequential.

Never has the voice of the Church been more needed; everything we stand for and have fought for is on the line. Be assured, the voice of the Church will be heard, because as you know and as you teach, the Church is more than the hierarchy. We know what is right, we know what the Church teaches, and we know how to win elections. We just would rather not feel like we’re fighting without our leaders or, worse, having our leaders fight against us.

This election is not business as usual, and therefore I have written to you publicly. Many of the faithful, and I, respectfully await a response from you that is likewise more than business as usual. 

Sincerely,

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life


  2020 election, democrat party, frank pavone, politics, republican party, us bishops

News

Minnesota lawmaker reportedly concerned about Antifa policing Minneapolis ‘under Muslim rule’

Communism is moving into the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, warned Minnesota House Rep. Steve Green.
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 12:22 pm EST
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A view of a destroyed Wendy's restaurant near the Third Police Precinct Station on June 21, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Over 1500 buildings were damaged during the unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25 Stephen Maturen / Getty Images
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By Paul Smeaton

MINNESOTA, June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Minnesota lawmaker has said that he believes that Antifa and Muslim organizations plan to “police Minneapolis under Muslim rule,” as he warned that communism is moving into the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The comments were apparently made last week by Minnesota House Rep. Steve Green (R-Fosston) and reported by his fellow state legislator Rep. Matt Grossell (R-Clearbrook) during a confab with the Hubbard County Board.

Responding to a comment by board chair Chair Christenson that “while there is nationwide talk of defunding police departments, she has not seen an alternate plan for safety” Green reportedly said that he believes “Antifa and Muslim organizations plan to ‘police Minnesapolis under Muslim rule.’” 

Green also warned that “some [Minnesota] House representatives have a bill that would impose eminent domain on every business destroyed during the George Floyd protests, the city would purchase them and ‘only sell back to people under conditions’ imposed by the city.”

“What you’re looking at, in my humble opinion, is communism moving into Minneapolis and St. Paul,” Green said.

LifeSiteNews contacted Green and Grossell to ask if they could provide any further comment on their remarks, but has not received a response.

U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) said earlier this week that “The Democrat 'Black Lives Matter' Party, along with armies of rioters, are at war with our country, our beliefs and western culture.”

Hagedorn made the comments in a Facebook post responding to calls from Shaun King, a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, calling for the destruction of images and statues of a “white” Jesus and Mary his mother.

“Their radical movement is orchestrated and growing,” Hagedorn continued.

‘We must never let them take power. We must stand up and defend our country, our nation’s identity, our Judeo-Christian values and our American way of life.”

Minnesota, where riots which spread across the country first broke out following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, has a number of high-profile Muslim politicians who are both passionate advocates of socialism and dismantling the police.

Leftist House Representative for Minnesota Ilhan Omar, a Muslim who is also pro-abortion and a vocal advocate for LGBT causes, said earlier this month that policing methods in the state “have to start from scratch.” 

Omar regularly posts anti-police messages on social media. Earlier this week Omar said on Twitter that “police unions fight to function with impunity and harm communities.” The congresswoman also retweeted a post by MSNBC correspondent Joy Reid earlier this month, which implied the prevalence of widespread police brutality. 

Omar is set to preside over the U.S. House floor for debate today over the Democrats’ Justice in Policing Act.

In an article published earlier this month in Crisis magazine, William Kirkpatrick claims that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison “embodies both the extremes of liberalism and the extremes of Islamism.”

Kirkpatrick notes that Ellison, who is also Deputy Director of the Democratic National Committee, was supported for his candidacy for Congress by the Communist Party USA; has praised Fidel Castro and other leftist heroes; and was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“On the other hand, his radical Islamist credentials are just as solid,” Kirkpatrick continues.

“A convert to Islam, Ellison took his oath of office on the Koran at the photo-op re-enactment of his swearing-in ceremony. And he has disparaged moderate Muslims as “Uncle Toms,” which suggests that Ellison himself could, perhaps, be categorized as an immoderate Muslim.”

Ellison has also implied his support for Antifa. In January 2018, in a now deleted tweet, he posted an image of himself with The Anti-Fascist Handbook, along with the words “At @MoonPalaceBooks and I just found the book that strike fear in the heart of @realDonaldTrump.”

Image

Ellison’s son, Jeremiah, has in the past month declared his unequivocal support for Antifa.

“I hereby declare, officially, my support for ANTIFA,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Unless someone can prove to me ANTIFA is behind the burning of black and immigrant owned businesses in my ward, I’ll keep focusing on stopping the white power terrorist THE ARE ACTUALLY ATTACKING US!” he continued.

Jeremiah Ellison, himself a Minneapolis City Council member, has been likewise open about his aim to dismantle the police. “We're dismantling our police department. And we won't be silent. We'll be loud. We'll fight. We'll win,” he stated on social media earlier this month.

“The possibility that we now stand on the brink of revolutionary change is difficult to entertain,” Kirkpatrick concludes.

“In America, we have grown accustomed to long periods of internal peace and prosperity. When disruptions occur, we assume that we will soon return to normalcy. But that’s not always the case in history. ‘Current trends’ are often replaced by new, radically different trends.”


  antifa, keith ellison, minnesota, rioting, riots

News

Black Lives Matter activist tells rioters to protest Catholic parish for being ‘Trump supporters’

'I would like to see if we can organize a group to protest here ASAP'
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 10:33 am EST
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St. Anne Catholic Church in San Diego, California. It is run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

SAN DIEGO, California, June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A Black Lives Matter activist used social media to call on mobs and rioters to protest a Catholic parish in San Diego, saying that the “white” parishioners did not think black lives mattered and they were “staunch” Trump supporters.

Local Catholics, including the pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church in San Diego’s Logan Heights neighborhood, took the threat seriously and prepared to protect their church after the message began to spread on Twitter yesterday afternoon. 

Yesterday a Twitter user calling herself “BLACKLIVESMATTER @bebedeazucarrr” (i.e. “Sugar Baby”) published a photograph of St. Anne Church with words calling for a protest. The image, which appeared to have originally been shared on an Instagram story, had the following message printed on it:

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“St. Anne’s doesn’t think Black Lives Matter and are staunch Trump supporters. These are white people who bought out the church from a Mexican family. I would like to see if we can organize a group to protest here ASAP.”

This was followed by the church’s address and the following allegations: “Also they don’t believe coronavirus and have been congregating since the beginning of the Stay @ home orders.” 

The Twitter-user seemed to incite residents of the neighborhood by adding her own comment, “Logan Heights!!!!”

When reproached by Catholic Twitter users, the BLM fan denied threatening the church. She claimed she found the image on “a platform” that she follows and that the context of her remark “Logan Heights” was her opposition to its “gentrification.” She has since removed the Tweet. 

The pastor and parishioners of St. Anne Catholic Church are concerned that a violent protest could indeed appear outside their place of worship.  

Fr. John Lyons, FSSP, told parishioners in an email that the parish administrators had contacted police and said that the police would “intervene if necessary.” He asked that nobody take any other action “on his own initiative,” saying that this would “most likely only make matters worse.”

“We do sincerely encourage you to pray for those who have promoted this action against our parish,” he said.  

But several men have pledged over social media to protect the church from the violence and vandalism that in recent weeks has spread from Minneapolis throughout the western world. At first confining themselves to statues of secular heroes, BLM activist have begun to attack images of Christ and Catholic saints.   

“I was just informed that a BLM supporter is calling for a protest at our Latin-mass parish in San Diego,” tweeted author Trent Horne. 

“I will be following the San Diego Police Department's recommendations for physically protecting the parish but I pray no protest materializes and I hope you will do the same.”  

“I am happy to put my body on the line, but I live in San Antonio,” wrote Mike King in response to an appeal by online Catholic talk show host Dr. Taylor Marshall.

“If miscreants show up at St. Anne’s please put the message out on Twitter so I will come,” he continued.

“I have been praying about how we can oppose the desecration and anarchy we have been seeing in the news.” 

Today Susan Ortega published a photograph of police and young men of mixed ethnic origins standing outside St. Anne Catholic Church.

“Police and faithful are united to protect St. Anne’s,” she wrote. “Sounds like they are talking about having a 24 hours surveillance set up.” 

Image

Another St. Anne’s parishioner has organized a “Holy Hour Crusade Novena” for the protection of the church and its priests, the conversion of those who dislike Christ and His Church, and reparation for sins against the Sacred Heart. It will begin at 12:00 a.m. on Friday and continue until midnight on Saturday, July 4. 

Some parishioners attested on social media that people from different ethnic backgrounds attend Mass at St. Anne and that it belonged to the Diocese of San Diego before it was given to the priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter to minister. The parish bulletin is published in both English and Spanish. Meanwhile, parishioners also attest that the church has followed the local coronavirus guidelines. The church reopened for public worship on June 8, but currently only 60 people may attend each Mass.

The partisan and race-baiting threat to St. Anne Catholic Church appeared three days after BLM activist Shawn King called for the destruction of statues and other religious art depicting Jesus Christ, His mother Mary and “his white [sic] friends,” saying that they are a “gross form [of] white supremacy.” 


  black lives matter, catholic, fssp, rioting, san diego

News

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Opinion

Bishop Schneider: We shouldn’t reject Vatican II, but save what is ‘truly good’

'We have to evaluate and esteem all that is really and truly good in the Council texts, without irrationally and dishonestly closing the eyes of reason to what is objectively and evidently ambiguous and even erroneous in some of the texts'
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 7:26 am EST
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Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider
Bishop Athanasius Schneider
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PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

On June 24, 2020, Bishop Athanasius Schneider issued the following text titled “55 YEARS LATER: Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s Appraisal of Vatican II” to clarify his stance on the Council, and to dispel any confusion among the faithful. Bishop Schneider’s reflections, based in great part on his book-length interview Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age (All rights reserved), expand on certain points of its discussion of Vatican II, in light of recent debate. 

June 25, 2020 (The Remnant) – In recent decades, not only declared modernists, but also theologians and faithful who love the Church, have displayed an attitude that resembles a kind of blind defense of everything said by the Second Vatican Council. Such an attitude seemed sometimes to require real mental acrobatics and a “squaring of the circle.” Even now, the general mentality of good Catholics corresponds with a de facto total infallibilization of everything that the Second Vatican Council said, or that the current Pontiff says or does. This kind of unhealthy papal-centralism had already been present for several generations in Catholics over the last two centuries. And yet respectful criticism and serene theological debate have always been present and allowed within the Church’s great tradition, since it is truth and faithfulness to divine revelation and to the constant tradition of the Church that we should seek, which in itself implies the use of reason and rationality, and avoiding mental acrobatics. Some explanations of certain obviously ambiguous and misleading expressions contained in the Council’s texts seem artificial and unconvincing, especially when one reflects upon them in a more intellectually honest manner, in the light of the unbroken and constant doctrine of the Church.

Instinctively, every reasonable argument has been repressed which could, even in the slightest, call into question any expression or word in the Council texts. However, such an attitude is not healthy and contradicts the great tradition of the Church, as we observe in the Fathers, the Doctors, and great theologians of the Church over the course of two thousand years. An opinion different from what the Council of Florence taught on the matter of the Sacrament of Orders, i.e. the traditio instrumentorum, was allowed in the centuries following this Council, and led to Pope Pius XII’s pronouncement in the 1947 Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis, whereby he corrected the non-infallible teaching of the Council of Florence, by stating that the only matter strictly necessary for the validity of the Sacrament of Orders is the imposition of hands by the bishop. By this act, Pius XII did not implement a hermeneutic of continuity but, indeed, a correction, because the Council of Florence’s doctrine in this matter did not reflect the constant liturgical doctrine and practice of the universal Church. Already in the year 1914, Cardinal W.M. van Rossum wrote concerning the Council of Florence’s affirmation on the matter of the Sacrament of Orders, that this doctrine of the Council is reformable and must even be abandoned (cf. De essentia sacramenti ordinis, Freiburg 1914, p. 186). And so, there was no room for a hermeneutic of continuity in this concrete case.

When the papal magisterium or an ecumenical Council has corrected non-infallible doctrines of previous ecumenical Councils (this has rarely happened), they did not undermine the foundations of the Catholic faith by this act, nor did they set the magisterium of tomorrow against that of today, as history has proven. With a Bull in 1425, Martin V approved the decrees of the Council of Constance and even the decree “Frequens” — from the 39th session of the Council (in 1417). This decree affirmed the error of conciliarism, i.e., the error that a Council is superior to a Pope. However, in 1446, his successor, Pope Eugene IV, declared that he accepted the decrees of the Ecumenical Council of Constance, except those (of sessions 3 - 5 and 39) which “prejudice the rights and primacy of the Apostolic See” (absque tamen praeiudicio iuris, dignitatis et praeeminentiae Sedis Apostolicae). Vatican I’s dogma on papal primacy then definitively rejected the conciliarist error of the Ecumenical Council of Constance. As already mentioned, Pope Pius XII corrected the error of the Ecumenical Council of Florence regarding the matter of the Sacrament of Orders. The foundations of the faith were not undermined by these rare acts to correct previous affirmations of the non-infallible Magisterium, precisely because these concrete affirmations (e.g. of the Councils of Constance and Florence) were not infallible.

Several expressions in the texts of the Second Vatican Council cannot be so easily reconciled with the Church’s constant doctrinal tradition. Examples include certain expressions of the Council on the topic of religious freedom (understood as a natural right, and therefore positively willed by God, to practice and spread a false religion, which may also include idolatry or even worse); its distinction between the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church (the problem of “subsistit in” gives the impression that two realities exist: on the one side, the Church of Christ, and on the other, the Catholic Church); and its stance towards non-Christian religions and the contemporary world. Although the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church (29 June 2007), offered an explanation of the expression “subsistit in,” it unfortunately avoided saying clearly that the Church of Christ is truly the Catholic Church. That is, it avoided explicitly declaring the identity between the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church. Indeed, there remains a nuance of vagueness.

There is also an attitude that rejects a priori all possible objections to the aforementioned questionable statements in the Council texts. Instead, the only solution presented is the method called “hermeneutic of continuity.” Unfortunately, doubts about the theological problems inherent in these Council statements are not taken seriously. We have to always bear in mind the fact that the chief end of the Council was pastoral in character, and that the Council did not intend to propose its own definitive teachings.

The pronouncements of the popes before the Council, even those of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, faithfully reflect their predecessors and the constant tradition of the Church in an unbroken manner. The popes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, that is, after the French Revolution, do not represent an “exotic” period compared to the two-thousand-year tradition of the Church. One could not claim any rupture in the teachings of those popes regarding the previous Magisterium. For example, concerning the theme of the social kingship of Christ and of the objective falsehood of non-Christian religions, one cannot find a perceivable rupture between the teachings of the Popes Gregory XVI and Pius XII on the one side, and the teaching of Pope Gregory the Great (sixth century) and his predecessors and successors on the other. One can really see a continuous line without any rupture from the time of the Church Fathers to Pius XII, especially on such topics as the social kingship of Christ, religious liberty, and ecumenism in the sense that there is a natural right, positively willed by God, to practice only the one true religion which is the Catholic faith.

Before the Second Vatican Council there was no need to make a colossal effort to present voluminous studies showing the perfect continuity of doctrine between one Council and another, between a pope and his predecessors, because the continuity was evident. For example, the very fact that a “nota explicativa previa” to the document Lumen Gentium was needed shows that the text of Lumen Gentium, in n. 22, is ambiguous with regard to the topic of the relationship between papal primacy and episcopal collegiality. Documents clarifying the Magisterium in post-conciliar times, such as the encyclicals Mysterium FideiHumanae Vitae, and Pope Paul VI’s Creed of the People of God, were of great value and help, but they did not clarify the aforementioned ambiguous statements of the Second Vatican Council.

Perhaps today’s crisis with Amoris Laetitia and the Abu Dhabi document forces us to deepen this consideration on the need to clarify or correct some of the aforementioned Council statements. In the Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas always presented objections (“videtur quod”) and counterarguments (“sed contra”). St. Thomas was intellectually very honest; you have to allow for objections and take them seriously. We should use his method on some of the controversial points of the Council texts that have been under discussion for almost sixty years. Most of the Council texts are in organic continuity with the previous Magisterium. Ultimately, the papal magisterium has to clarify in a convincing manner the controversial points of some of the expressions in the Council texts. Until now, this has not always been done in an intellectually honest and convincing way. Were it necessary, a pope or future ecumenical Council would have to add explanations (a kind of “notae explicativae posteriors”) or even amendments and corrections of those controversial expressions, since they were not presented by the Council as an infallible and definitive teaching. As Paul VI stated, the Council “avoided giving solemn dogmatic definitions, engaging the infallibility of the ecclesiastical Magisterium” (General Audience, January 12, 1966).

History will tell us this from a distance. We are only fifty years out from the Council. Maybe we will see this more clearly in another fifty years. However, from the point of view of the facts, of the evidence, from a global perspective, Vatican II did not bring a real spiritual flowering in the life of the Church. And even if there were already problems in the clergy before the Council, for the sake of honesty and justice, we have to acknowledge that the moral, spiritual and doctrinal problems of the clergy prior to the Council were not as widespread, or so vast in scale and present with such intensity, as they have been in post-conciliar times until today. Bearing in mind that there were already problems before the Council, the first aim of the Second Vatican Council should have been precisely to issue the clearest possible, even demanding, norms and doctrines that were free of any ambiguity, as all the reform Councils did in the past. The plan and intentions of the Second Vatican Council were primarily pastoral, yet, despite its pastoral aim, there followed disastrous consequences that we still see today. Of course, the Council had many beautiful and valuable texts. But the negative consequences and the abuses committed in the name of the Council were so strong that they overshadowed the positive elements which are there.

There were positive elements in Vatican II: it was the first time that an ecumenical Council made a solemn appeal to the laity to take seriously their baptismal vows to strive for holiness. The chapter in Lumen Gentium about the laity is beautiful and profound. The faithful are called to live out their baptism and confirmation as courageous witnesses of the faith in secular society. This appeal was prophetic. However, since the Council, this appeal to the laity was often abused by the progressive establishment in the Church, and also by many functionaries and bureaucrats who worked in Church offices and chanceries. Oftentimes the new lay bureaucrats (in certain European countries) were not themselves witnesses but helped to destroy the faith in parish and diocesan councils and in other official committees. Unfortunately, these lay bureaucrats were oftentimes misled by clergy and bishops.

The time after the Council left one with the impression that one of the main fruits of the Council was bureaucratization. This worldly bureaucratization in the decades since the Council paralyzed spiritual and supernatural fervor to a considerable extent, and instead of the announced springtime, there came a spiritual winter. Well known and unforgettable remain the words with which Paul VI honestly diagnosed the Church’s state of spiritual health after the Council: “We thought that after the Council there would come a day of sunshine for the history of the Church. Instead, there has come a day of clouds, of storms, of darkness, of searching and of uncertainty. We preach ecumenism and we distance ourselves more and more from others. We seek to dig abysses instead of filling them” (Sermon on June 29, 1972).

Within this context, it was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in particular (although he was not the only one to do so) who began, on a larger scale and with a frankness similar to that of some of the great Church Fathers, to protest the watering down and dilution of the Catholic faith, especially regarding the sacrificial and sublime character of the rite of Holy Mass, that was occurring in the Church, and being supported or at least tolerated, even by the high-ranking authorities in the Holy See. In a letter addressed to Pope John Paul II at the beginning of his pontificate, Archbishop Lefebvre realistically and aptly described in a brief synopsis the true extent of the crisis in the Church. I am continually impressed by the clear-sightedness and prophetic character of the following affirmations:

The flood of novelties in the Church, accepted and encouraged by the Episcopate, a flood that ravages everything on its path — faith, morals, the Church’s institutions — could not tolerate the presence of an obstacle, a resistance. We then had the choice of letting ourselves be carried away by the devastating current and adding to the disaster, or of resisting wind and wave to safeguard our Catholic faith and the Catholic priesthood. We could not hesitate. The ruins of the Church are mounting: atheism, immorality, the abandonment of churches, the disappearance of religious and priestly vocations are such that the bishops are beginning to be roused” (Letter from December 24, 1978).

We are now witnessing the climax of the spiritual disaster in the life of the Church to which Archbishop Lefebvre pointed so vigorously already forty years ago.

In approaching matters related to the Second Vatican Council and its documents, one has to avoid forced interpretations and the method of “squaring the circle,” while of course keeping all due respect and the ecclesiastical sense (sentire cum ecclesia). The application of the principle of the “hermeneutic of continuity” cannot be used blindly in order to eliminate unquestioningly any evidently existing problems, or to create an image of harmony, while there remain shadows of vagueness in the hermeneutic of continuity. Indeed, such an approach would transmit artificially and unconvincingly the message that every word of the Second Vatican Council is inspired by God, infallible and in perfect doctrinal continuity with the previous magisterium. Such a method would violate reason, evidence, and honesty, and would not do honor to the Church, for sooner or later (maybe after a hundred years) the truth will be stated as it really is. There are books with documented and reproducible sources, which provide historically more realistic and true insights into the facts and consequences regarding the event of Vatican II itself, the editing of its documents, and the process of the interpretation and application of its reforms in the last five decades. I recommend, for instance, the following books which could be read with profit: Romano Amerio, Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the 20th century (1996); Roberto de Mattei, The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story (2010); Alfonso Gálvez, Ecclesiastical Winter (2011).

These points — the universal call to holiness, the role of the laity in defending and witnessing to the faith, the family as a domestic church and the teaching about Our Lady — are what can be considered the truly positive and lasting contributions of the Second Vatican Council.

The Magisterium has been so overloaded in the last 150 years with an insane papolatry that there emerged an atmosphere in which a central role is attributed to the men of the Church instead of Christ and His Mystical Body, which in turn is a hidden anthropocentrism. According to the vision of the Church Fathers, the Church is only the moon (mysterium lunae), and Christ is the sun. The Council was unfortunately a demonstration of a very rare “Magisteriocentrism,” since by the sheer volume of its long-winded documents it far surpassed all other Councils. However, the Council gave a beautiful description of what the Magisterium is, which had never before been given in the history of the Church. It is found in Dei Verbum, n. 10, where it is written: “The Magisterium is not above the Word of God, but serves it.”

By “Magisteriocentrism,” I mean the human and administrative elements — especially the excessive and continuous production of documents and frequent discussion forums (under the motto of “synodality”) — were put at the center of the life of the Church. Although the Shepherds of the Church must always zealously exercise the munus docendi, the inflation of documents, and oftentimes of long-winded documents, has proved suffocating. Less numerous, shorter and more concise documents would have had a better effect.

A striking example of the unhealthy “Magisteriocentrism,” where representatives from the Magisterium behave not as servants but as masters of tradition, is the liturgical reform of Pope Paul VI. In some ways, Paul VI put himself above Tradition — not the dogmatic Tradition (lex credendi), but the great liturgical Tradition (lex orandi). Paul VI dared to begin a true revolution in the lex orandi. And to some extent, he acted contrary to the affirmation of the Second Vatican Council in Dei Verbum, n. 10, which states that the Magisterium is only the servant of Tradition. We have to put Christ at the center, He is the sun: the supernatural, the constancy of doctrine and of the liturgy, and all the truths of the Gospel which Christ taught us.

Through the Second Vatican Council, and already with Pope John XXIII, the Church began to present herself to the world, to flirt with the world, and to manifest an inferiority complex towards the world. Yet clerics, especially the bishops and the Holy See, are tasked with showing Christ to the world — not themselves. Vatican II gave the impression that the Catholic Church has started begging sympathy from the world. This continued in the postconciliar pontificates. The Church is begging for the sympathy and recognition of the world; this is unworthy of her and will not earn the respect of those who truly seek God. We have to beg sympathy from Christ, from God, from heaven.

Some who criticize the Second Vatican Council say that, although there are good aspects to it, it’s somewhat like a cake with a bit of poison in it, and so the whole cake needs to be thrown out. I do not think we can follow this method, nor the method of “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” With regard to a legitimate ecumenical Council, even if there were negative points, we have to maintain an overall attitude of respect. We have to evaluate and esteem all that is really and truly good in the Council texts, without irrationally and dishonestly closing the eyes of reason to what is objectively and evidently ambiguous and even erroneous in some of the texts. One has always to remember that the texts of the Second Vatican Council are not the inspired Word of God, nor are they definitive dogmatic judgments or infallible pronouncements of the Magisterium, because the Council itself did not have this intention.

Another example is Amoris Laetitia. There are certainly many points we need to criticize objectively and doctrinally. But there are some sections which are very helpful, really good for family life, e.g., about elderly people in the family: in se they are very good. One should not reject the entire document but receive from it what is good. The same with the Council texts.

Even though, before the Council, they all had to take the Anti-Modernist Oath issued by Pope Pius X, some theologians, priests, bishops and even cardinals did it with mental reservations, as subsequent historical events have proven. With the pontificate of Benedict XV, there began a slow and careful infiltration of ecclesiastics with a worldly and somewhat Modernist spirit into high positions in the Church. This infiltration grew particularly among theologians, so that later Pope Pius XII had to intervene by condemning well-known theologians of the so-called “nouvelle théologie” (Chenu, Congar, De Lubac, etc.), and by publishing in 1950 the encyclical Humani generis. Nonetheless, from the pontificate of Benedict XV onwards, the Modernist movement was latent and continually growing. And so, on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, a considerable part of the episcopacy and professors in the theological faculties and seminaries were imbued with a Modernist mentality, which is essentially doctrinal and moral relativism and worldliness, love for the world. On the eve of the Council, these cardinals, bishops and theologians loved the “form” — the thought pattern — of the world (cf. Rom 12:2) and wanted to please the world (cf. Gal 1:10). They showed a clear inferiority complex towards the world.

Pope John XXIII also demonstrated a kind of inferiority complex towards the world. He was not a modernist in his mind, but he did have a political way of looking at the world and strangely begged sympathy from the world. He surely had good intentions. He convoked the Council, which then opened the floodgate for the Modernist, Protestantizing and worldly-minded movement inside the Church. Very significant is the following acute observation, made by Charles de Gaulle, President of France from 1959 to 1969, regarding Pope John XXIII and the process of reforms started with the Second Vatican Council: “John XXIII opened the floodgates and could not close them again. It was as if a dam collapsed. John XXIII was overcome by what he triggered” (see Alain Peyrefitte, C’était de Gaulle, Paris 1997, 2, 19).

The talk of “opening the windows” before and during the Council was a misleading illusion and a cause of confusion. From these words, people got the impression that the spirit of an unbelieving and materialistic world, which was plainly evident in those times, could transmit some positive values for the Christian life. Instead, the authorities of the Church in those times should have expressly declared the true meaning of the words “opening the windows,” which consists in opening the life of the Church to the fresh air of the beauty of divine truth, to the treasures of ever-youthful holiness, to the supernatural lights of the Holy Spirit and the saints, to a liturgy celebrated and lived with an ever more supernatural, sacred and reverent sense. Over time, during the postconciliar era, the partly opened floodgate gave way to a disastrous flood which caused enormous damage in doctrine, morals, and liturgy. Today, the flood waters that entered are reaching dangerous levels. We are now experiencing the peak of the flood disaster.

Today the veil has been lifted and Modernism has revealed its true face, which consists in the betrayal of Christ and becoming a friend of the world by adopting its way of thinking. Once the crisis in the Church is over, the Magisterium of the Church will have the task of rejecting all the negative phenomena which have been present in the life of the Church in recent decades. And the Church will do this, because she is divine. She will do it precisely and will correct all of the errors which have accumulated, beginning with several ambiguous expressions in the Council texts.

Modernism is like a hidden virus, hidden in part in several affirmations of the Council, but that has now manifested itself. After the crisis, after the serious spiritual viral infection, the clarity and preciseness of doctrine, the sacredness of the liturgy, and the holiness of priestly life, will shine more brightly.

The Church will do this in an unambiguous manner, as she did in times of serious doctrinal and moral crises over the past two thousand years. To teach clearly the truths of the divine deposit of faith, to defend the faithful from the poison of error, and to lead them in a sure way to eternal life belongs to the very essence of the divinely appointed task of the pope and bishops.

The Constitution of the Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, reminds us of the real nature of the true Church, which is “in such wise that in her, the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek” (n. 2).

June 24, 2020
Liturgical Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist

Editor’s note: This essay first appeared on The Remnant here. It is republished on LifeSiteNews with permission.


  athanasius schneider, catholic, hermeneutic of continuity, vatican ii

Blogs

Why Chinese whistleblower may be right that Communists paid Vatican to ‘shut up’ about its war on Catholics

Chinese Billionaire Dissident Guo Wengui claims the Vatican was bribed into silence
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 6:37 pm EST
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Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, also known as 'Miles Kwok,' in an August, 2019 interview. Real Vision Finance / Youtube
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By Steven Mosher

PETITION: Investigate George Soros' role in funding domestic terrorism! Sign the petition here.

June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Chinese dissident Guo Wengui claims that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “allocates up to $2 billion a year” to buy the Vatican's silence concerning the ongoing persecution of the Catholic Church in China and other human rights abuses.

Mr. Guo made the allegation — without offering any supporting evidence — in a June 20th interview on Steve Bannon's The War Room.  The explosive claim was made in the context of a larger discussion of how the CCP is spending huge sums of money to buy politicians, media, and influence in countries like Australia and Italy.  

“2014, the CPC, inside, made the decision: Every year, they want 2 billion dollars to pay to the Vatican, to influence the Vatican policy about China/Vatican —  and [regarding] the Christian and Catholic [mistreatment], they wanted Vatican to shut up, to follow the CPC about religion, you know the policy – that’s disaster,” Guo said.

These expenditures, according to previous statements by Guo, are part of a larger strategy to achieve global hegemony that goes by the initials “BGY.” The initials "BGY" stand for Blue (control over the Internet), Gold (buying influence with money), and Yellow (seducing key people with sex).

Guo said Saturday that the CCP, in pursuit of hegemony, has been investing a fixed percentage of trade earnings with foreign countries into the BGY program since 2014. The goal is to compromise, co-opt, and control as many nation-states as possible, especially its key competitor the U.S.  To this end, he says, the BGY quota for the United States and other countries, which started at 1%, has been increased from 1% to 5% over the years.

So what do I, as a Sinologist, think about Guo's claims, especially where the Vatican is concerned?  

Let me begin by offering a couple of cautions.  For a successful businessman — Mr. Guo was once one of China’s wealthiest men — he often plays fast and loose with the numbers.  Moreover, as someone who is now openly committed to the overthrow of the Chinese Communist regime, he always paints its actions in the darkest possible colors.

For example, Guo claims that “According to data from the U.S. Trade Office, the total trade volume between China and the U.S. in 2018 was $7.37 trillion.” If calculated according to 5%, Guo went on, the amount used for BGY in the United States would then be about $36.8 billion.

But according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. goods and services trade with China actually totaled an estimated $737.1 billion in 2018. In other words, Guo’s numbers are inflated by a factor of ten. Instead of $7.37 trillion in trade, we are talking about $737 billion.  And 5% of this amount would in fact be $36.8 billion.  

Given how far off Guo is on the numbers, can he still be believed?  

I think so, and here’s why: It is all too easy to misplace a decimal point in translating numbers from Chinese into English.  The primary unit for expressing large numbers is Wan, which means ten thousand (10,000)--as in the expression Wan Sui, “May you live Ten Thousand years”--and Yi, which means 100,000,000. A “million” is “a hundred ten thousands,” while a “billion” is “ten one hundred millions.”  I’ve been speaking Chinese for a long time, and I still have to check myself when translating numbers.  

China is clearly throwing a lot of money around on the world stage in its drive for dominance, and there is little doubt that large numbers of elected and unelected officials around the world have been compromised in this way.  Bribes, kickbacks, sweetheart deals, investment “opportunities” such as the one Hunter Biden walked away with, are all occurring in real time.  They are all part and parcel of the United Front tactics that the CCP uses to infiltrate and control organizations and even entire countries.   There is no question that dictatorships have been bought and democracies undermined through these efforts.          

I cannot exaggerate the sheer scale of this effort.  I am perhaps the most unlikely prospect for recruitment into this giant CCP scheme on the planet.  Yet even I, who has been a staunch critic of the CCP for forty years, have been approached by corrupt PRC operatives and offered free trips to China and other inducements.  

Guo’s description of the BGY program of world domination thus sounds accurate to me.  Certainly, Beijing is attempting, largely through Huawei, to control the Internet (Blue) and to buy influence with money (Gold).  Not to mention that Chinese officials love to bandy about catchy acronyms like this one.

The dissident billionaire’s claim that a certain percentage of foreign trade earnings is dedicated to the advancement the BGY program also has the ring of truth.  This would be a simple way of ensuring that, the more important the market, the more money is spent on paving China’s drive towards dominance.  

In fact, state-planned economies like China’s often rely on such simple numerical targets and quotas, not to mention that official policy decisions are necessarily broad brush, given how much power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny number of people.  How much time does Xi Jinping, or any of the other six members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, have to devote to policy minutiae?  

China is obviously spending much more on its influence operations than it used to, and the increase from 1 to 5 percent of foreign earnings that Guo claims has taken place dovetails neatly with this picture. To give just one example, many billions of dollars have been spent in the U.S. buying favor with American universities in recent years, money which in turn has facilitated the theft of massive amounts of U.S. intellectual property from those same institutions.

Guo may be off on the numbers, but he is, in my view, right on everything else, including the fact that the Vatican has been on the receiving end of donations from the Chinese Communist Party.  Indeed, the Vatican has acknowledged accepting such donations, at least in terms of medical supplies.

Would the CCP offer “contributions” to Vatican officials in return for their silence about the ongoing persecution of the Church in China, or even in exchange for the signing of the Sino-Vatican Agreement?  It would be surprising if they did not.  This is the way that the Party always behaves, both at home and abroad.

Are there Vatican officials who would have accepted such “contributions”? It would seem so, given some of the other shady transactions that have come to light in recent years.

Of course, the total amount of such contributions would not be $2 billion a year, as Guo mistakenly suggests, or even 10 percent of this amount, although $200 million a year would be a much easier amount of money to hide in the labyrinthine Vatican financial network.  Indeed, if there is a “5 percent rule”, it wouldn’t apply to the Vatican donations in any event, since there is zero trade between China and the Vatican.  

Many have been surprised at the lengths to which the Vatican has been willing to go in its charm offensive with the CCP.  Two years ago, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the Argentinian Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, astonished the Catholic world by suggesting that Communist China was the best exemplar of Catholic social teaching in today’s world.

And just this May, La Civiltà Cattolica, which enjoys semi-official Vatican status, has rolled out of a new Chinese edition. The editors of the Jesuit journal explained that the new edition is meant “as a gesture of friendship in the spirit of Matteo Ricci, given the increasingly important role that the Chinese language plays in the contemporary world within the global context.”

As for the Pope himself, he continues to wax eloquent about China.  “I would like to go to Beijing,” Pope Francis said last November in Asia. “I love China.”  He even insists that China’s communist government protects religious freedom and that “churches are full.”  (Chinese Catholics whose churches have been defaced, closed, or even razed to the ground may be surprised to learn this.)  

Above all, there is the secret accord that the Vatican signed with Beijing in September 2018, which supposedly concerns the appointment of Catholic bishops in China and lays out a path for the normalization of relations.  

Despite the lack of progress on either front, the Vatican appears set on extending the agreement. Given how badly it has worked out for Catholics in China, both in the Underground and in the official Church, it is hard to understand why this should be so. 

Many Vatican-watchers, including John L. Allen, Jr., explain the Vatican’s continuing pandering to China as an attempt to woo Beijing into full diplomatic relations. “The Vatican is moving full-steam ahead in its courtship of Beijing, with the ultimate prize remaining full diplomatic relations, a secure legal standing for the church, and partnerships on the global stage,” Allen wrote.

But what if Beijing has other plans?  

What if the Chinese Communists are merely using the lure of diplomatic relations, along with strategically placed donations, to buy the Vatican’s silence about the crushing of freedom in Hong Kong, the success of democracy in Taiwan and, most of all, the persecution of Catholic and other believers in China itself?  What if they simply want a free hand to set up a puppet church with a rewritten Bible that promotes “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” preached by a cowed clergy who feel abandoned by the Universal Church?

What if the masters of deceit who run China are simply buying time--literally buying, if Guo Wengui is correct – until their plans to transform the Chinese Catholic church into a de facto arm of the CCP reach fruition? 

I wonder if Pope Francis, or anyone for that matter, has any inkling of how much in the way of “donations” various Vatican officials and institutions may have received from the Chinese Communist Party?

Where is Cardinal George Pell when you need him? The best way for the Vatican to rebut Guo Wengui's claims would be to bring outside auditors back in to do a respected audit.  This look at the books should, of course, include the Secretariat of State, the Vatican office that negotiated the Sino-Vatican agreement in the first place.  

Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order.   


  bribery, china, chinese communist party, chinese communists, guo wengui, persecution, persecution of christians, sino-vatican agreement, vatican corruption, vatican deal with china

Blogs

The porn industry’s open secret: It peddles deeply racist content

Our collective cultural refusal to condemn any sexual fetish, no matter how perverse, allows this to continue.
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 1:16 pm EST
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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

Warning: The following article contains disturbing and disgusting content. 

PETITION: Authorities must shut down Pornhub after showing videos of 15-year-old trafficking victim! Sign the petition here.

June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In Pornland: How Pornography is Hijacking Sexuality, feminist and porn expert Dr. Gail Dines spends an entire chapter detailing one of the open secrets of the porn industry: the sexual fetishization of racial stereotypes for monetary gain. As I noted in a column on how the porn industry exploits (and helps to create and sustain) racial animosity back in 2018, porn producers create content that explicitly relies on toxic racial prejudices, such as black men sexually abusing white women or girls and portrayed as “Blackzilla” or “Black Kong,” and white slave owners sexually assaulting black women.

Ugly racial content on PornHub—which boasts 115 million daily users and can count the majority of the male population as its dependents—is nothing new. But in this cultural moment, it should attract renewed attention. The vile traffic in material portraying black men as rapacious predators and eroticizing the rape of black women by slave owners for the sexual pleasure of viewers should be exposed, condemned, and destroyed. PornHub should be treated the way any other company trafficking in rape and racial hatred would be. Specifically, they should be driven out of business. If these videos are not “hate crimes,” nothing is. Only our collective cultural refusal to condemn any sexual fetish, no matter how perverse, is preventing this discussion from taking place. The progressives demanding change won’t touch the porn industry.

Laila Mickelwait, an anti-porn activist who has been relentlessly exposing the fact that PornHub hosts child pornography and profits from rape and sex trafficking, drew attention to this fact in a recent op-ed in the New York Post. Almost immediately after the murder of George Floyd, Mickelwait writes, PornHub moved to cash in:

Decent Americans mourned the unjust killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Yet for Pornhub, the tragedy supplied grist for masturbation. Recently approved and uploaded titles include “I Can’t Breathe,” posted by a verified user, with search tags that include “George Floyd” and “choke-out.” A for-profit partner channel on Pornhub called Black Patrol sexualizes police brutality against African-Americans with titles such as “White Cops Track Down and F - - k Black Deadbeat Dad.”

Countless other titles on Pornhub feature variations on the N-word and “white master.” “Exploited black teens” and “black slave” are suggested search terms deliberately promoted by Pornhub to its users. If the titles repulse you, imagine what the videos do to the ever-younger eyes and minds that daily encounter hardcore, racist porn.

Those, unfortunately, are just a few of the tamer titles. And as Mickelwait points out, PornHub is also trafficking in content that features vile anti-Semitism, including porn scenes set in Auschwitz and PornHub-verified users posting videos with account usernames such as “Hitler the Jew-Slayer” and “OvenBakedJew.” These videos, Mickelwait notes, have been monetized with ads by PornHub, which claims that each new video is reviewed individually by a PornHub employee. Mickelwait has noted before that she believes PornHub lying about this, and that actually seems to be a more charitable analysis than believing that an actual human being approved these videos.

Some of my readers may, at this point, be thinking that while all of this is repulsive and horrible, it is also not such a big deal. Sure, there are fringe genres of porn that showcase the extent of human depravity—but that’s nothing new, some people have told me, and they are not popular. I wish that were true. The reality is that violent, abusive content has become mainstream over the past decade, and younger and younger children are being exposed to worse and worse content, constantly escalating the shock factor of their porn content. We live in a moment where Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn are getting kicked out of schools, but nobody is talking about the fact that the kids who won’t have to read allegedly insensitive classics have access to re-enacted rapes from the most perverse nightmares of the Antebellum South. 

PETITION: Authorities must shut down Pornhub after showing videos of 15-year-old trafficking victim! Sign the petition here.

It is high time we tackled this issue openly. We need to educate our children on pornography in an age-appropriate way in order to inoculate them from the poison and prepare them for a culture infected with this imagery. It is time that PornHub gets shut down and investigations launched to determine whether PornHub employees actually have been personally approving videos depicting genuine sexual assaults. Anyone who would like to get involved in that campaign can visit Laila Mickelwait’s Shut Down PornHub campaign at traffickinghub.com, where you can start by being one of the more than a million supporters who have signed her petition. PornHub is pouring poison into the groundwater of our culture while grifters like Jussie Smollett invent fictitious hate crimes to stoke tensions. 

Let’s deal with the real problem. 

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:


  george floyd, pornhub, pornography, racism

Blogs

Searching for God? Here’s how one begins to have faith

How does one begin to believe—that is to say, what spiritual dispositions are necessary for making an act of faith?
Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 1:00 pm EST
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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

June 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – According to Aristotle and St. Thomas, there is a natural desire for the truth built into the human soul, together with a natural desire for happiness; but we know from experience that passions, vices, excessive concern for earthly goods, laziness, bad education, and a host of other problems in fallen human nature can interfere with our appetite for the truth and our finding of it.

What are the signs of a person who sincerely loves the truth, or sincerely desires to find it?

Fr. Thomas Dubay addresses this question in his fine work Faith and Certitude: Can We Be Sure of the Things that Matter Most to Us?:

The intellect cannot force one to turn to God and to the Church as a blaze of lightning forces one to the realization that a storm is in progress. God wants this turning to himself to be an act of freedom, a willed choice. It is to be a decision for which one is personally responsible. The good person sees the truth because truth and goodness are connatural to him. Those who really want ultimate truth will find it. Those who love goodness and beauty will find God. They know that the teaching of Jesus is true from the sheer goodness of him and it. Since doctrinal truth and moral goodness are both obediences to the one God, when the latter is lacking over a period of time, the former weakens and perhaps disappears. . . .

Only that man or woman, therefore, is likely to find God and his Church who can answer affirmatively the question, “Would I obey whatever I find God has revealed and what he wants me to do?” If his answer is negative, he is not in harmony with the ways of God. The disobedience prevents the intellectual sight. He cannot see what is there because the moral tenor of his overall makeup as a person blocks it out of view. If the answer is affirmative, he can see what is before him. As Jesus himself put it, the man who is prepared to do the Father’s will is sure to know that Jesus’ teaching is from God (Jn 7:16–17). His intellectual sight is not covered over by volitional desires. Our cognitive grasp of reality is inseparable from the integrity of our manner of life.

It is always healthy—not to say sobering—to pause for a moment and meditate on the kind of sacrifice demanded by a search for God’s Will. 
At the start of the road stands the saying of St. Paul: “You are not your own; you are bought with a great price” (1 Cor 6:19–20), namely, the blood of Christ (cf. Acts 20:28); at the end of the road, “with Christ I am nailed to the cross, and I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:19–20). Unless we are prepared to surrender entirely to the Truth, without rejecting any of its claims upon our lives, we cannot expect to find “the narrow road” spoken of by Jesus (Mt 7:14). “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will,” the angels sang on Christmas Eve (Lk. 2:14). That good will is the key.

The search for God’s will is not a mere intellectual exercise, a working out of some problems, in which we receive satisfaction from good explanations. Without a doubt, we do need to work out problems and find good explanations: faith is impossible without knowledge of what to believe, and we can learn what we ought to believe only if we investigate the claims brought forward by those who call themselves disciples of the Master.

All the same, knowledge is not the same thing as faith. By faith we confess a creed: we make a decision to adhere to a knowledge beyond our demonstrative reach. Faith has an intellectual content, but results from an act of the will. Faith is itself a work. St. Thomas Aquinas, commenting on 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (“Being mindful of the work of your faith and labor and charity”), says that St. Paul

mentions faith because it is an essential condition for obtaining the things to be hoped for, a means of revelation not based on appearances: “For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6). This, however, is not sufficient unless the person practices good works and makes an effort; so Paul says, your work of faith and labor. “Faith apart from works is dead” (Jas 2:26). The person who gives up while laboring for Christ is worth nothing: “They believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away” (Lk. 8:13). Paul uses the words work and labor, implying that he is mindful of their active and struggling faith.

“Faith without works” is the same thing as dead faith, for a living confession of God involves conversion of the heart, worship and prayer, charity and penance, love of neighbor and rightly-ordered love of self. When St. James preaches the centrality of works and St. Paul the centrality of faith, they are ultimately preaching one and the same doctrine; for faith becomes personalized, identified with myself as a believer, from an act of the will (a “work”), yet the ability to believe in God is itself a gift, the gift of faith. (For an excellent defense of the compatibility of the soteriology of St. Paul and St. James, see John Henry Newman’s sermon “The Gospel Witnesses.”) 

The Catholic philosopher Miguel de Unamuno writes:

In the field of medicine, my doctor’s knowledge can cure me, even if I do not know the whereabouts of my liver; but in the field of religion, my confessor’s faith can scarcely save me. In the life of the soul only my truth saves me, and my truth is not the truth I do not know, though this be the truth of others. . .You describe the Church as the depository of the truths of your faith. The truths that are not deposited in your own soul are not truths of your faith, and are of no use to you at all. (“What is Truth?” in The Agony of Christianity and Essays on Faith)

How does one begin to believe—that is to say, what spiritual dispositions are necessary for making an act of faith? 

The beginnings of faith are threefold: seriousness of purpose, integrity of morals, and docility of mind (a willingness to be led and taught). Our power of will extends at least to making a profession of faith according to the letter of Sacred Scripture or of the Creed. Those who sincerely and persistently search for the truth will not be disappointed in their hope. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3–4). Although this verse is frequently cited, rarely is it pointed out that it evidently applies to those who themselves desire to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.


  catholic, faith, god, god's will

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Episodes Thu Jun 25, 2020 - 2:45 pm EST

The importance of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue

By Mother Miriam
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Watch Mother Miriam's Live aired on 6.25.2020. In today’s episode, Mother shares John-Henry Westen’s recent podcast about the importance of receiving the Holy Eucharist on the tongue.

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