BARCELONA, Spain, July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A spanish cardinal defied a government order limiting congregations at religious services to 10 people and announced plans to take legal action against what he describes as the “arbitrariness” of coronavirus restrictions on the “right to religious freedom and freedom of worship.”
This weekend, Cardinal Juan José Omella of Barcelona, Spain, celebrated a memorial Mass for those who have died during the lockdown, with images from the service published on the diocese’s website showing more than a hundred people in attendance.
Omella highlighted the inconsistency of government directives that encouraged tourists to visit the famous Basilica of the Holy Family, designed in the late 19th century by Antoni Gaudi, but which continued to limit attendance at religious events to 10 people.
The cardinal said in a statement issued yesterday that the situation “seems unfair and discriminatory considering that we have been very careful and respectful to maintain the health standards required for enclosed spaces, presented at all times to the administration, with the approval of doctors and, above all, taking note that for other smaller indoor premises a capacity of 50 percent is allowed.”
Made a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2017, Omella has previously criticized bishops and cardinals who have publicly asked Pope Francis to clarify whether his Exhortation Amoris Laetitia conforms to perennial Catholic teaching on marriage, the Eucharist, and conscience.
In light of the government’s refusal to adjust the restrictions on religious services, prior to the service Omella encouraged people to view the service via livestream, while pointing out that even if all those who had been invited were to attend then the basilica would still only have been at 23 percent capacity.
Historically, the Cataluña region is notoriously anti-clerical, with persecution of the Church and religious communities by Communists particularly fierce in the first half of 20th century.
Omella concluded his statement by announcing the diocese would be launching legal action against the restrictions.
“In the face of the unpredictable change of attitude of the Ministry of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya, in the coming days we will initiate appropriate legal actions against arbitrariness and helplessness that suffer the right to religious freedom and freedom of worship, constitutionally protected,” he wrote.
In May, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares of Valencia came under police scrutiny for breaking Spain’s strict lockdown restrictions by giving a blessing and briefly exposing an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the front entrance of a basilica on the occasion of the city’s annual feast day.
In an open letter published in May, Catholic clergy led by former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, Joseph Zen, and Janis Pujats reminded politicians around the world that “the state has no right to interfere, for any reason whatsoever, in the sovereignty of the church.”
“This autonomy and freedom are an innate right that Our Lord Jesus Christ has given her for the pursuit of her proper ends. For this reason, as pastors we firmly assert the right to decide autonomously on the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, just as we claim absolute autonomy in matters falling within our immediate jurisdiction, such as liturgical norms and ways of administering Communion and the Sacraments,” the signatories stated.
PETITION: Ask bishop to remove 'Catholic' from the University of Notre Dame if they refuse to rescind Pete Buttigieg's fellowship! Sign the petition here.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland, July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A Northern Ireland government body has backtracked and apologized after writing to churches and asking them to state whether or not they will celebrate same-sex “weddings” while threatening that they would lose their status as marriage officiants for all weddings if they did not reply in less within a month.
The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019, the same piece of legislation that introduced new abortion laws into the region, has also legalized same-sex “marriage,” effective from January 13 of this year.
Same-sex “marriage” has been legal in the rest of the UK since 2013, but until this year had not been imposed on Northern Ireland.
And a number of Nothern Ireland churches recently received a letter from General Register Office for Northern Ireland (GRO) asking them to complete a form detailing whether would officiate only weddings between people of the opposite sex or whether they would also officiate at so-called same-sex “weddings.”
“Although your church has officiants currently registered with the General Register Office to carry out opposite-sex marriages, I am writing to you so that we may update the officiant database with your church’s preferences for performing all types of marriages,” the July 17 letter stated.
The form also asked churches who agree to offer same-sex “weddings” to list the names and details of any of their officiants who would not carry out same-sex “marriage” ceremonies, but would continue to carry out opposite-sex marriage ceremonies.
“If we do not receive any response by this date, it will be assumed that you and other members of the church no longer wish to be registered as officiants for any type of marriage,” the letter continued.
“We will cancel the registrations on the officiant database accordingly, and you will not be able to carry out any marriage ceremonies in Northern Ireland.”
A number of churches, reportedly concerned by the intimidating tone and contents of the letter, contacted The Christian Institute for their help in responding to the letter.
Christian Institute’s in-house solicitor, Sam Webster, responded with a letter to the GRO offices in Belfast, demanding an explanation.
“I would be grateful if you would kindly explain by return why you are writing to religious bodies threatening to cancel their existing registrations if they do not complete and return the form by August,” Webster wrote.
“Apart from the apparent lack of any legal basis for your letter, you must be aware that in this holiday season there is a real risk that your letter will go unnoticed by many recipients.”
The GRO has now issued a public statement saying that “(n)o officiants will be removed from the register and any religious bodies wishing to perform same-sex marriages must opt in by completing the form issued with the letter.”
And The Christian Institute reports that they have received an apology from the GRO, which said “it was not and is not the intention to cancel registration of officiants” and that the GRO is in the process of writing to all churches to highlight the mistake.
“We are currently writing to all churches to highlight the mistake and apologise unreservedly for this error,” the new letter states.
“This is important as the GRO sets about reassuring places of worship that they can continue to carry out weddings – the union of one man and one woman – and do not need to re-register in order to ‘opt out’ of conducting same-sex weddings,” Simon Calvert, deputy director for public affairs at The Christian Institute, said of the GRO’s U-turn.
“It was a crass way to handle an issue that is highly controversial amongst the churches, the vast majority of which believe as a matter of deep doctrinal conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Calvert continued.
“The number likely to opt in is very small. In England, for example, 22,500 non-Anglican places of worship are registered for weddings and only 250 of those are registered for same-sex weddings.”
Earlier this year, Northern Ireland politician and Trade Union Voice leader Jim Allister pointed out that the new law legalizing same-sex “marriage” in the region will not allow civil registrars, hoteliers, florists, and wedding photographers to refuse their services for homosexual “weddings.”
Allister noted that paragraph 25 of the public consultation then in process regarding the new law “explicitly states that the protections afforded to churches and ministers of religion will not apply to registrars.”
“There is no space for anyone to express an opinion on this in the response form,” Allister said. “Why does the NIO choose to ignore this serious issue which impacts on the civil, religious, human and employment rights of registrars?”
“Here we have a situation where people have taken up the position of registrars under one set of conditions and now those conditions have been radically changed,” Allister continued. “If, as is often claimed, same-sex marriage was really about rights, then this issue would have been addressed.”
Allister has also pointed out that paragraph 50 of the consultation states that the legal right to refuse to be involved with such ceremonies “will not apply to service providers that are not religious bodies, such as hoteliers, wedding photographers(,) and florists.”
Allister said that people who refused to provide services for same-sex “marriages” would be stripped of legal protection.
“This is intolerable and wrong, but the NIO doesn’t want to know,” he concluded.
The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), the UK government department responsible for Northern Ireland affairs, responded to Allister’s comments, stating, “Civil marriages and partnerships are secular in Northern Ireland and Registrars cannot discriminate against couples on the basis of sexual orientation.”
“Service providers are also required to comply with the relevant equality laws in Northern Ireland,” the statement continued.
“Registrars and service providers are treated in the same way in Northern Ireland as in the rest of the UK. We will make further regulations once we have considered all of the responses to the consultations.”
In 2018, a Christian family-owned bakery in Northern Ireland was found by the UK Supreme Court to be not guilty of discriminating against an LGBT activist declining to bake a cake supporting same-sex “marriage.”
The judges ruled in that case that “the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and to freedom of expression were clearly engaged by this case” and that “they include the right not to be obliged to manifest beliefs one does not hold.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic University of America has hired a new dean for its National Catholic School of Social Service who on her personal Twitter account appears to support homosexuality and gender ideology.
Dr. JoAnn Regan, formerly vice president of education at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), retweeted a CSWE brochure, titled, “How to Name and Address Anti-LGBTQIA2S+ Microaggressions in Social Work Classrooms.” Regan commented, “This is an important resource for social work educators!”
Regan was also acknowledged in another CSWE brochure “for contributing [her] time and expertise to this project” focused on gender ideology, “Guidelines for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) Affirmative Education.”
This resource claims, for instance, that a “lack of TGNC course content may contribute to transgender students feeling obligated or burdened by having to educate peers about trans-related issues.” Thus, “schools of social work must systematically integrate the most current and affirmative TGNC-specific literature into courses and ensure that assignments, projects, and activities are trans-inclusive.”
The report suggested using “TGNC-inclusive language in the classroom (e.g., asking for preferred names and pronouns; using the most current language associated with TGNC identities when discussing TGNC issues),” as well as featuring “TGNC experts and individuals as guest lecturers or panelists in courses.”
Neither Regan nor the Catholic University of America returned repeated requests for comment.
Meanwhile, another professor, John Tieso – who had taught at Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business – was fired after an “anonymous letter from a student at another university was sent to the Dean of the Busch School of Business” in May, reported the local CBS station.
“The letter identified three tweets that the author called ‘racist.’ One of the tweets, posted to the account on July 8th, 2018, was a retweeted photo of former President Barack Obama with the caption, “[That’s] the Obama we all came to know and hate. Incredibly incompetent and vain. Perhaps he might consider staying in Africa and giving all his money to his people.’”
What on the surface sounds offensive, Tieso put into context in comments to The College Fix. Obama had spoken “at length about his personal wealth, and the poor of ‘his people’ in Kenya (his words). I suggest he might stay in Africa and use his money to help his people.”
None of the tweets mentioned by The College Fix go against Catholic teaching, but they are politically incorrect, directed, for instance, at President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as the Clinton political dynasty.
LifeSiteNews asked Tieso about his tweets. “My tweets on my personal, private, and unaffiliated Twitter account represent my personal perspective as an American entitled to those personal, albeit conservative views,” he emphasized.
After the letter by a student from a different university was sent to the Catholic University of America, the school asked Tieso to “drop my account so they could tell the press it was gone, and then terminated me anyway.”
“Interestingly, the e-mail from the Dean terminating me spoke to items in my Twitter account not supposedly mentioned in the letter; instead, they went back to read the account, my personal account, and added to their ‘charges,’” Tieso clarified.
“I was terminated within 5 days and never given the opportunity to deal with the issue,” he added. “My appeal to the Provost was only answered in part by the University Ethics Officer who refused to provide specifics in writing to which I could respond, instead demanding only telephone conversations.”
Tieso is planning to sue the Catholic University of America within a month. “There is no question in my mind, or that of my legal counsel, that litigation is coming,” he said.
On the question of Dr. JoAnn Regan, the new dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service, Tieso said “to discount her as a candidate out of hand is, in my view, unjust, as was my firing without opportunity to have my case adjudicated internally.” At the same time, there “is a limit to academic freedom.”
Students should know that issues like homosexuality and gender ideology exist, “and the Church’s position on them is, or should be, part of their education. Should the personal position of the professor be encouraged; there the answer is NO.”
In 2018, another professor at Catholic University of America was suspended over questioning the allegations of sexual assault directed at Brett Kavanaugh, who at the time had been nominated as a Supreme Court Justice by President Donald Trump, and was undergoing the Senate confirmation process.
William Rainford was the dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service, which is now headed by JoAnn Regan. Using a Twitter handle (@NCSSSDean) indicating he was making his comments as a representative of the university, he wrote: “Swetnick is 55 y/o. Kavanaugh is 52 y/o. Since when do senior girls hang with freshmen boys? If it happened when Kavanaugh was a senior, Swetnick was an adult drinking with&by her admission, having sex with underage boys. In another universe, he would be victim & she the perp!”
Rainford also questioned allegations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford. “Riddle me this. Why would the accuser of Kavanaugh take a polygraph, paid for by someone else and administered by private investigator in early August, if she wanted to remain anonymous and had no intention of reporting the alleged assault?”
Several weeks later, Rainford resigned as dean. He is still listed as an associate professor at the National Catholic School of Social Service.
July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A Christian minister has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that a local “anti-discrimination” law will effectively force her to officiate same-sex “weddings.”
Kristi Stokes owns Covenant Weddings, which offers marriage services as well as homilies, vows, and prayers for unions “between one biological man and one biological woman.” Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), she is suing to block an ordinance adding “sexual orientation and gender identity” to local non-discrimination rules, which she says will not only force her to unite same-sex couples but forbid her from explaining why she only believes in heterosexual unions.
The ordinance penalizes violating businesses starting at $1,000 per violation, plus additional costs such as attorneys’ fees. Stokes says she has not faced such a suit yet, but realized she was in danger in December 2019, when she turned down a request to officiate a same-sex union and realized she could have been sued for doing so – despite the fact that the Cleveland area alone has more than 70 options for officiants who will serve same-sex “marriages.”
“My religious beliefs influence every aspect of my life, and I can’t simply put my religious identity into separate personal and professional boxes,” Stokes explains. “If you’re looking for someone to officiate your wedding, and you’re hoping to incorporate a cannabis theme or write prayers to celebrate an open marriage, I’m not your girl. Northeast Ohio is home to many diverse viewpoints, and I’m simply asking that my county also respect me, my business, and my freedoms as an American citizen instead of forcing me to write or speak messages that contradict my beliefs.”
“No one should be forced to officiate ceremonies that conflict with their religious beliefs,” ADF senior counsel Kate Anderson declared. “Because of Cuyahoga County’s law, Kristi faces an impossible choice: disobey the law, defy her own faith, or ditch her business. Many different religions and countless people of good will believe that weddings are sacred ceremonies between one man and one woman. No matter one’s views on marriage, we all lose when bureaucrats can force citizens to participate in religious ceremonies they oppose, speak messages they disagree with, and stay silent about beliefs they hold dear.”
In response, Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan toldThe Plain Dealer that the county will review the lawsuit and “vigorously defend” the discrimination ordinance as “an important piece of legislation written and passed to ensure equal access and opportunity for all citizens.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― On Friday, the United States Supreme Court declined to intervene on behalf of a Nevada church challenging the state’s ban on religious gatherings of more than 50 people while casinos are allowed to fill with thousands as long as they are at 50 percent capacity.
In the case of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley vs. Sisolak, legal representatives for Calvary Chapel, an evangelical church, argued that the state of Nevada is unlawfully discriminating against houses of worship by allowing a number of public facilities to fill with crowds to 50 percent capacity while restricting religious gatherings to 50 people, no matter how large the building. Calvary Chapel wishes to offer services to gatherings of up to 90 people, representing 50 percent capacity.
The state of Nevada argued, however, that it could lawfully discriminate against places of worship for public health and economic reasons.
In his dissent, Justice Alito contrasted Nevada’s treatment of churches with its preference for the state’s casinos, noting that even at 50 percent capacity some Las Vegas casinos are hosting thousands of patrons.
The judge also pointed out that the American Constitution guarantees “free exercise of religion,” not gambling.
Alito said that the Supreme Court’s willingness to allow Nevada to discriminate against places of worship was “disappointing.” He stated also that the state’s directives violate the First Amendment and do “irreparable harm” to Calvary Chapel and its congregants.
Justice Gorsuch stated that it was obvious that Nevada was discriminating against places of worship in favor of houses of entertainment.
“This is a simple case,” he wrote.
“Under the Governor’s edict, a 10-screen ‘multiplex’ may host 500 moviegoers at any time. A casino, too, may cater to hundreds at once, with perhaps six people huddled at each craps table here and a similar number gathered around every roulette wheel there,” he continued.
“Large numbers and close quarters are fine in such places. But churches, synagogues, and mosques are banned from admitting more than 50 worshippers—no matter how large the building, how distant the individuals, how many wear face masks, no matter the precautions at all.”
“In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion. Maybe that is nothing new.”
But the First Amendment forbids such “obvious discrimination,” he said adding, “But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”
Justice Kavanaugh said that “the First Amendment requires that religious organizations be treated equally to the favored or exempt secular organizations, unless the State can sufficiently justify the differentiation.” He believes, with the abovementioned judges, that Nevada failed to do this.
Kavanaugh argued that Nevada’s justifications for the discrimination, public health and the economy, are not persuasive.
“Nevada has not demonstrated that public health justifies taking a looser approach with restaurants, bars, casinos, and gyms and a stricter approach with places of worship,” he wrote.
As for the economy, “no precedent suggests that a State may discriminate against religion simply because a religious organization does not generate the economic benefits that a restaurant, bar, casino, or gym might provide,” Kavanaugh stated.
“The Constitution does not tolerate discrimination against religion merely because religious services do not yield a profit.”
An earlier case that provided a reference for the hearing was South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom. In this case, a church in California petitioned the Supreme Court against a COVID-19 measure imposed upon places of worship by Governor Gavin Newsom. In South Bay, representatives for the church argued that Newsom had denigrated churches by considering them as “non-essential” as movie theaters, salons, and gyms, ignoring their preferred status in the Bill of Rights.
In that case, too, the Supreme Court denied the church’s application. However, Justice Kavanaugh, who also dissented at that time, stated that this case was different, as the issue in the earlier petition concerned facilities that kept large numbers of people at close quarters for a long period of time versus those that did not. This is not the situation in Nevada, where people are allowed stand beside each other at games of chance:
In South Bay, a church relied on the fact that the California law treated churches less favorably than certain other facilities, such as factories, offices, supermarkets, restaurants, and retail stores. But the law was defended on the ground that in these facilities, unlike in houses of worship, “people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods.” [...] That cannot be said about the facilities favored in Nevada. In casinos and other facilities granted preferential treatment under the directive, people congregate in large groups and remain in close proximity for extended periods.
Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley offers three 45-minutes services on Sundays with 30-minute breaks between them so that the church can be cleaned. The community also holds one service on Wednesday evenings. Worshippers wear masks in the church, and households sit six feet apart. Traffic in the church is one way, with a designated entrance and a separate designated exit.
Renowned priest calls on pro-life Americans to ‘make it their first priority…to re-elect President Trump’
Pavone said that a Democrat victory would 'bring the holocaust of abortion, paid for by taxpayers, to unprecedented levels, taking away every restriction, even on infanticide; it would destroy our nation'
TITUSVILLE, Florida, July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – On Sunday, July 26, which marked the 100-day point until the completion of Elections 2020, Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, called on pro-life Americans to “make it their first priority, as it will be mine, to re-elect President Trump.”
“With 100 days left until Election Day, November 3, 2020, I call upon all of my fellow patriots who embrace pro-life and conservative principles to put aside, as much as possible, all other activities and to make it their first priority, as it will be mine, to re-elect President Trump, to give him a Republican House and Senate, and to elect Republicans on the state and local level as well,” he said.
“Along with all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I affirm that my platform is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also affirm that the Democrat Party, in the principles and policies it embraces, has radically abandoned that Gospel, as well as the principles on which America was founded and Western Civilization rests,” he continued.
“It is no exaggeration to say that everything we’ve worked for, as a Church, a nation, and a pro-life, pro-family movement, is on the line in these next 100 days. This is a spiritual battle and no less than a civil war. We have to be all in, publicly, unapologetically, and with crystal clarity,” he added.
Pavone said that a Democrat victory would “bring the holocaust of abortion, paid for by taxpayers, to unprecedented levels, taking away every restriction, even on infanticide; it would destroy our nation, bringing us socialism and open borders; it would replace law and order with mob rule and depleted law enforcement; it would deprive the Church of the freedom to conduct her mission and instead subject ministries to oppressive mandates, as Biden has already promised; it would destroy the family and any public protection for it; it would ruin our economy, ensnare us in destructive international agreements, and allow China to pursue its destructive agenda; it would fill the courts with judges who tear up the Constitution rather than apply it; it would roll back the protections President Trump has put in place for the consciences of healthcare workers, student on campus, and children who want to pray in school.”
The pro-life priest said that this would “just the beginning of the woes.”
“We have to be able to read the signs of the times, and understand the stark differences between the Democrat and Republican parties. These are not merely difference of policy, but of principle. These are not two parties choosing different means to get to the same goal. They have radically different and irreconcilable goals. Only by choosing the Republican candidates can we preserve the values we hold as Americans and believers. That is not the canonization of a party; it is simply the recognition of who our friends and enemies in the political realm are at this point in time,” he said.
“Our President and the Republican candidates are standing for America as an exceptional nation, for our Constitution and the rule of law, for the protection of the unborn, for pro-life judges, for parental rights and school choice, for a strong military, strong but welcoming borders, and a strong economy, for fair trade deals, for the rights of pastors to preach the Word of God freely and of all believers – domestically and around the world -- to conduct their affairs without discrimination against their faith; for strong and ethical healthcare, and for many more policies that protect rather than abandon our principles,” he continued.
“Along with countless others, I am ashamed and disgusted at the silence and lack of leadership by so many of the Churches. They have made themselves irrelevant, failing to preach on the issues of the day and using the lame excuse of political neutrality, and a desire to promote “unity,” to hide in the sanctuary instead of engage the public square while the Democrats destroy the unity on which this nation and the Church are founded. Moreover, many Church leaders try to intimidate and silence those of us who are not afraid to pass moral judgment in matters of politics, and to name the enemy. It is a disgrace, and it is time for believers to take matters into their own hands, link arms and hearts with fellow believers, and engage in new and creative ways to proclaim and apply the Gospel teachings to this moment in history,” he added.
Pavone said that he stands “proudly today with our President, and with Republican candidates all across this land, as we take back our country.”
“I am inspired today by two pastors. Blessed Cardinal Clemens von Galen, who died in 1946, preached fearlessly against the Nazi regime and its oppression of human life and religious freedom. He was not afraid to name and fight the political threat that was right before his eyes.”
“And Pastor John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, in his sermon of January 21, 1776, declared, "In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight." He then threw off his clerical robes to reveal the uniform of an officer in the Continental Army. Drums began to roll, men kissed their wives, and they walked down the aisle to enlist. The next day, Pastor Muhlenberg led 300 men of his church and surrounding churches to join General Washington's Continental Army.”
Pavone said that what “we are fighting for in this election is no less fundamental than what our Founding Fathers fought for; the principles at stake are the same. As they did, we must for these next 100 days, and indeed for life, ‘pledge … our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor’ (Conclusion of the Declaration of Independence).”
“As we devote ourselves totally to this task in these next 100 days, I invite my fellow patriots to work closely with the pro-life, conservative and political groups of their choice, to connect with their local Republican Party offices and candidate campaigns, and to connect with me and my team at www.ProLifeVote.com,” he concluded.
Netherlands contemplates expanding assisted suicide for people over 75 ‘tired of living’
Mon Jul 27, 2020 - 11:47 am EST
By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits
July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A draft law proposing the legalization of assisted suicide for people over 75 who are “tired of living” has been presented in the Second Chamber of the Dutch parliament by Pia Dijkstra, of the D66 progressive “social-liberal” party. While there is a relatively small chance that the proposed law will be able to cross all legislative hurdles – this usually takes at least nine months – before the present cabinet steps down, Dijkstra made clear that her main objective is to push the theme to the fore in order to be extensively discussed.
The idea of allowing people to choose to leave this life for personal reasons has been around for some time in the Netherlands. Since euthanasia became legal in 2001, pressure groups have been working to extend the scope of “chosen death” in the name of personal autonomy. People who consider their life to be “complete” should be allowed to put an end to it even when they do not comply with the legal conditions: “unbearable suffering,” either physical or psychological, due to a serious or terminal medical condition, absence of available treatment, no perspective of improvement of their condition.
The principle of assisted death for people who are “done with life” is gaining traction in the Netherlands. Four years ago, in 2016, it was the ruling Dutch cabinet that promoted a new provision in the euthanasia law, via a letter signed by Health Minister Edith Schippers and Justice Minister Ard van der Steur. The proposition never came to Parliament because of the general elections that were to take place one year later, and liberal as the Netherlands are, it shocked public opinion.
But lobbying has continued, in particular on the part of the National Association for a Chosen End of Life (NVVE) that had applauded the cabinet’s initiative.
Over the last years, the Dutch government has decided to consult the population before a similar proposition is examined. Commission Wijngaarden, as it is known, was created in 2017 to consult “senior citizens” to find out how many are actually “tired of living.” It appeared as a way of avoiding inevitable confrontations between Christian and Christian Democrat parties with more liberal parties in a country where forming a government is impossible without political alliances.
Second Chamber member Pia Dijkstra decided to accelerate the process, promising last September that she would “soon” present a draft law.
The government report was published last January. It concluded that fewer of the elderly are “done with life” than had been suggested by the measure’s promoters: some 10,000 people aged 55 and older, mostly from lower-class backgrounds, agreed that they are tired of living and had a deep-rooted “death wish.”
Pia Dijkstra decided that it was time to go ahead all the same; she waited for the end of lockdown due to the Chinese coronavirus before officially presenting a draft law because she found it “unfitting” to do so while the country was facing such a “grave crisis.”
In an interview with Algemeen Dagblad, Dijkstra said she decided to present her proposition despite the elections that will take place in March 2021 out of respect for D66’s electorate, which is “counting” on the party to promote assisted suicide during the present cabinet’s tenure. “Hard agreements have been made about this with VVD, CDA and ChristenUnie about this,” she insisted, naming the liberal and Christian parties of the ruling coalition of which D66 is a member.
Dijkstra’s draft law comes with a 45-page explanatory memoir underscoring that it is impossible to give a single definition of “completed life.” Mrs. Dijstra describes a general feeling of “letting go” from “the world, others and yourself” to a point of inner stress and revolt, and of the increasing population of old people – thanks to growing well-being and better healthcare – among whom the number of those who have had enough of life is also growing.
The law, if it were to be approved, would expand the existing euthanasia law by creating a situation where no medical grounds would be necessary in order to justify assisted suicide. Helping another person to kill him or herself would no longer entail penal sanctions under certain conditions. Even more alarmingly, a corps of specialized “end-of-life accompanists” would be created to verify those conditions and help their correspondent to die.
In a historic exposé, Dijkstra’s memoir described how the Dutch euthanasia law came into being. Several cases that reached the courts before the law was enacted included individuals who were not ill but “desperate” at the idea of continuing to live in a situation that would only deteriorate.
Dijkstra also comments on the January government report, underscoring the main common denominators of the will to live in those over age 55: these include “the pleasure of an agreeable home, independence and feeling free.” By contrast, those who are tired of living named “weariness of being” and “existential loneliness,” with “personal autonomy” as a justifier for being institutionally afforded help with taking one’s own life.
Later in the text, Dijkstra says that of course steps should be taken to help the elderly not to feel lonely, but she adds that “solidarity” should also include respecting their wish to “step out of life,” as the Dutch expression says.
The age of 75 as a threshold for obtaining assisted suicide was chosen because, according to the memoir, significantly more people beyond that age express tiredness of life and the will to die; probably it was also a way of reducing opposition to the proposed law.
Under its proposed conditions, any person over 75 would be able to file a request with an official “end-of-life accompanist” who would be charged with opening or facilitating a conversation that would, when possible, include the candidate’s near and dear ones.
The “end-of-life accompanist” would have the possibility of consulting the candidate’s family doctor and would be tasked with making sure that no pressure be exerted from the outside to encourage the candidate to choose death. The accompanist should also verify whether the death wish is well-established, unvarying, and made in full conscience, and whether other perspectives exist. But the elderly person would have the right to reject any offered help. Assisted suicide would only be available for Dutch citizens or people having lived in the Netherlands for at least two years.
These conversations – at least two – would take place in a lapse of at least two months and would only lead to assisted suicide after a consultation by the “end-of-life accompanist” with one of his or her “independent colleagues” who would also be required to have a conversation with the candidate.
Paperwork and signed documents would also be involved.
Once the assisted suicide would be approved the first “end-of-life accompanist” would be responsible for writing out a suicide drug and an anti-emetic prescription, to him or herself, that he or she would fetch from the drugstore, and would personally hand them over to the candidate at an agreed time, remaining to check that the drugs were properly swallowed, with or without the presence of family and friends.
The candidate would be allowed to step back at any time, in which case the “end-of-life accompanist” would personally return the drugs to the drugstore.
After the death, as in euthanasia cases, the accompanist would be required to report the death and give all documents and details relative to the suicide to the authorities: a new regional commission that would verify whether legal requirements were fulfilled.
Interestingly, even left-wing media in the Netherlands are questioning the advisability of a “tired of living” law, underscoring that such a law would put moral pressure on the elderly to choose death so as not to be a burden on society.
But transgressive laws have all been put in place by lobbying, repetition, and patience; the very fact of bringing the subject up is a way of making it more and more acceptable over time.
Sports writers and behemoths like ESPN and Sports Illustrated are the dutiful foot soldiers who carry out the establishment’s marching orders to fulfill those demands.
It’s difficult if not impossible to find a politically incorrect, non-liberal sports personality who rejects the industry’s preferred narrative these days. Jason Whitlock and David Portnoy of Barstool Sports are the only two that come to mind (more on Portnoy in a second).
Really what’s happening is that the cultural Marxists who run the upper echelons of the sports world are propping up left-wing athletes and forcing sports franchises to promote the progressive agenda so they can a) liberalize by a sort of osmosis process ordinary, moderate American males and b) ensure young fans support left-wing “social justice” causes as they get older.
The latest instance of the left’s authoritarianism was on full display after Sam Coonrod, a relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, refused to kneel for what was clearly a pro-Black Lives Matter stunt held before the start of their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.
Both teams were lined up and down the field on the first and third base baselines. A black piece of cloth was placed on the ground in front of the players. They were supposed to kneel and hold the cloth in unison as a video message echoing Black Lives Matter talking points aired on the big screen in the outfield.
Coonrod, like the rest of his teammates, held the cloth. But unlike his teammates, he didn’t kneel. His reason? “I’m just a Christian. I believe I can’t kneel before anything but God, Jesus Christ,” he told reporters after the game.
“I chose not to kneel. I feel if I did kneel I'd be a hypocrite. I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”
Coonrod added that he meant “no ill will to anyone” by refusing to kneel but that he “can't get on board on a couple of things I’ve read about Black Lives Matter, how they lean toward Marxism and said some negative things about the nuclear family.”
This is an eminently reasonable position to hold. In fact, it’s essentially the same point Marcellus Wiley, an African American who is now a retired NFL defensive end, has made.
“I don't know how many people really look into the mission statement of Black Lives Matter, but I did. And when you look into it, there's a couple of things that jump out to me,” he said recently.
“My family structure is so vitally important to me. Not only the one I grew up in but the one I am trying to create right now. Being a father and a husband, that's my mission in life right now. How do I reconcile that with this, the [Black Lives Matter] mission statement that says, ‘We dismantle the patriarchal practice. We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement.’”
In a sane world, Coonrod’s decision not to kneel, rooted as it is in the argument that he only kneels to God, would be enough to mollify any critics he might have.
But we’re not living in a sane world. We live in an anti-Christian world. We live in a world where statues of saints like Junipero Serra and others who brought the light of the Gospel to previously pagan peoples are considered symbols of racism. We live in a world where promoting the male-lead family unit is considered a form of white supremacy. We live in a world where religious liberty is increasingly no longer extended to followers of Jesus Christ.
“Giants' Sam Coonrod had every right to stand, but his reason fell short,” read the headline of an article written by liberal reporter Monte Poole on NBCSports.com.
Poole accused Coonrod of not being an authentic Christian and called his remarks a “liquid contradiction” that “slid off his tongue and went dribbling down his chest.”
Conveniently, Poole didn’t include in his article the part where Coonrod said he only kneels to Jesus Christ. Apparently he thinks bowing to the mob should take precedent over Almighty God.
An article by Dan Gartland published on SportsIllustrated.com took a similar approach.
“If a central tenet of Christianity is treating others with love and respect, it's not clear how not joining a call for just that would be hypocritical,” he wrote.
Actually, Coonrod explained how it was hypocritical. He said he kneels for Christ alone and no one else. To offer a pinch of incense to a false god would be sacrilege. How does Gartland not understand that?
“Yes, the founders of the organization Black Lives Matter have referred to themselves as ‘trained Marxists,’ a quote that has spread like wildfire by some attempting to discredit them,” an undeterred Gartland continued. “But again, the phrase ‘Black lives matter’ wasn't even part of the [video] clip.”
If Gartland really is that dense and can’t understand how this was the MLB’s appeasing of the Black Lives Matter organization then he may need to find another profession.
While it’s true that the group’s name was not mentioned in the video broadcast in the stadium, it’s clear that it was done to support the movement Black Lives Matter is spearheading.
Had Gartland visited Black Lives Matter’s website, he’d see that they themselves admit they are Marxists who despise Western Civilization. That’s not something taken out of context or put forth by conservatives “attempting to discredit” them. It’s what they actually claim to stand for.
Can you imagine if Coonrod had said he was a Muslim and that he only bows to Allah? Or that he couldn’t kneel because his Jewish beliefs required him not to? I think it’s safe to say that had that been the case, Poole and Gartland wouldn’t have attacked him for his beliefs. But given that he’s a straight, white, Christian, male it’s open season on him.
The silver lining in all this is that President Trump is aware of how the left is using sports to attack traditional American values.
David Portnoy, the president of the highly entertaining but also irreverent website Barstool Sports, sat down with Trump at the White House last week.
Portnoy is largely apolitical and just an ordinary guy who hates political correctness. He’s appeared on Tucker Carlson’s program on several occasions.
He and the president spoke about a wide range of issues, including kneeling at sporting events and the rioting going on across the country.
“Every city is run by a liberal Democrat and they're going to hell and we have to do something,” Trump said.
He’s right. And you know what else? The same thing applies to the world of athletics. Every mainstream sports outlet is run by liberal, social justice Democrats and they’re causing the industry to go to hell as a result. It’s almost impossible to watch a professional sporting event these days and not have some leftist political message thrown in your face.
It’s high time conservatives push back against the cancel culture infiltrating the sports world. If they don’t, more God-fearing athletes like Sam Coonrod are going to be forced to either compromise their religious beliefs or find themselves out of a job. That’s not an America I’m eager to live in.
Muslims’ first prayer service in former Catholic basilica explicitly rejects Christianity
'It is not fitting for the Most Merciful to have a son.'
Mon Jul 27, 2020 - 9:09 pm EST
By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits
July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Headed by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Muslims entered the Basilica of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul on July 24 for the first Islamic Friday prayers since the Byzantine basilica was turned into a museum 86 years ago. “Ayasofya,” as it is known in Turkish, was formerly a Christian basilica, with important parts of the building dating back to the 6th century. They entered as conquerors: the “sword of conquest” played an important and visible role in a ceremony, and the verses of the Quran chosen for the event were clearly anti-Christian.
The lengthy Islamic occupation of Hagia Sophia began violently on the day of the capture of Constantinople in 1453 by Islamic invaders, who immediately turned it into a mosque. Holy Wisdom has now “regained” that status, the mainstream press reports, despite its true status as a church, one of the most venerable in Christendom, where the Triune God was adored and the Divine Liturgy offered for many centuries.
Hagia Sophia was “recaptured” last Friday by a crowd of dignitaries, led by Erdoğan, who is himself capable of reciting the Quran in Arabic psalmody, and who did so last Friday, chanting the first surah. Thousands of faithful followed and joined the prayers from around the building, in five separate zones, three for men, two for women.
The event took place only two weeks after the Turkish Council of State ruled that the 1934 decree that turned Hagia Sophia into a museum (under the secularist and masonic rule of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk) was illegal because the building was the property of the Sultan Mehmet Han Foundation.
President Erdoğan, of the ruling Islamist party, immediately decided to go ahead and organize prayers as soon as possible.
The event was marked by a strong anti-Christian sentiment. Imam Ali Erbaş, head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), went up to the midram to give his sermon with the “sword of conquest” in his hand: a Turkish scimitar whose blade was inscribed with the “conquest surah.”
According to the Turkish English-language news site dailysabah.com, “Turkey's religious chief on Friday explained that swords were traditionally held during religious sermons delivered at weekly Muslim prayers as a symbol of conquest.”
Ali Erbaş said during a press conference: “Khutbahs (Friday sermons) have been delivered with a sword, without interruption, for 481 years. If Allah permits, we will resume this tradition from now on.” “This is a tradition in mosques that are the symbol of conquests,” he explained, adding that Hagia Sophia is such a symbol. Erbaş said he hoped “many people” would pray in “this mosque” and “learn their religion” there.
“We’ll try to restore the Hagia Sophia Madrassa to function as it did during its magnificent years with Quran lessons in every single corner of the mosque. ... Mosques also function as schools. Just as our prophet was able to raise his companions in mosques, we are trying to raise our youth and children in mosques.”
A number of further surahs were chanted by “Hafizs” (those who know the Quran by heart), including Erbaş, as announced by the official government site of the Diyanet. They recited Surah al-Kahf, Surah Maryam, Surah Ya-sin, and Surah al-Fatiha, as well as three of the shortest surahs, al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq, and an-Nas.
This is worth analyzing. All the English translations of these surahs can easily be found on the internet.
The surah al-Kahf (“The Cave”) ends with the words of Mohammed: “Say, ‘I am only a human being like you, being inspired that your god is One God. Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and never associate anyone with the service of his Lord.’”
The condemnation of the “associators” is a direct charge against Christians who believe in one God in three Persons.
Surah Maryam tells of the birth of John the Baptist, vaguely following the biblical account, and the “annunciation” by the angel Gibril to “Maryam” of the (more or less) virginal birth of her son. A convert from Islam, Moh-Christophe Bilek, who founded the “Our Lady of Kabylia” association in France, has given many talks showing that the “Maryam and Issa” of Islam do not in fact correspond with the Mary and Jesus of the Gospel but appear at a different time in the corresponding Bible timeline.
In the surah, the assent of the woman, Maryam, is not required. Mary’s “fiat” does not exist in the Quran:
20. She said, “How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, and I was never unchaste?”
21. He said, “Thus said your Lord, ‘It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign for humanity, and a mercy from Us. It is a matter already decided.’”
22. So she became with child, and went away with him to a far place.
Further on in the surah, Maryam says:
35. It is not for Allah to have a child — glory be to Him. To have anything done, He says to it, “Be,” and it becomes. ...
37. But the various factions differed among themselves. So woe to those who disbelieve from the scene of a tremendous Day.
And above all:
85. On the Day when We will gather the righteous to the Most Merciful, as guests.
86. And herd the sinners into hell, like animals to water.
87. They will have no power of intercession, except for someone who has an agreement with the Most Merciful.
88. And they say, “The Most Merciful has begotten a son.”
89. You have come up with something monstrous.
90. At which the heavens almost rupture, and the earth splits, and the mountains fall and crumble.
91. Because they attribute a son to the Most Merciful.
92. It is not fitting for the Most Merciful to have a son.
This is a clear charge against the Christian faith that professes the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three equal Persons in one God.
Surah Ya-Seen followed. It promises hellfire to those who do not follow Allah’s messengers.
Surah Ikhlas followed. It is short:
1. Say, “He is Allah, the One
2. Allah, the Absolute.
3. He begets not, nor was He begotten.
4. And there is none comparable to Him.”
This is once again an attack against the Son of God and the Holy Spirit.
Then Sura Al-Falaq, also short:
1. Say, “I take refuge with the Lord of Daybreak.
2. From the evil of what He created.
3. And from the evil of the darkness as it gathers.
4. And from the evil of those who practice sorcery.
5. And from the evil of an envious when he envies.”
Finally, Sura Nas:
1. Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind.
2. The King of mankind.
3. The God of mankind.
4. From the evil of the sneaky whisperer.
5. Who whispers into the hearts of people.
6. From among jinn and among people.”
The choice of surah is obviously quite contrary to interreligious dialogue. Above all, it is a loud, explicit rejection of Christian faith and worship. It is not so much a prayer as a precise message addressed to the Christian believers who used to worship the Triune God in Hagia Sophia and venerate His Most Blessed Mother.
As will be the case during all prayers recited at the “Holy Wisdom Mosque,” the mosaics depicting Our Lord and His Most Holy Mother have been veiled. Two green flags adorn the midram, under the Arabic islamic inscriptions that have remained in Hagia Sophia even since 1934.
July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Democratic Party is facing calls to abandon its abortion extremism in a letter sent last Friday to the Democratic National Committee, spearheaded by Democrats for Life and signed by over 100 professors of religion, Christian pastors, and others. Specifically, the letter asks the Democrats to amend the party platform and rescind support for federal funding for abortion and the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden supported the Hyde Amendment as recently as last year, but a little light pressure from the party’s progressive wing prompted him to drop the position he had held for nearly half a century overnight. Biden, who was once considered an “unreliable” legislator by abortion rights groups, is now fronting the most radical pro-abortion agenda of any Democratic nominee ever. Sleepy Joe may seem harmless, but on abortion, he’s playing for keeps.
The letter calls on the Democratic platform committee to “recognize the inviolable human dignity of the child, before and after birth” and urges them to “reject a litmus test on pro-life people of faith seeking office in the Democratic Party.” Signatories included Rev. Gabriel Salguero of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, who served on Obama’s faith advisory council, and John DeBerry, a longtime Democrat and Tennessee state rep removed from a party partially due to his pro-life voting record.
Earlier this year, longtime Democrat Dr. Charles Camosy of the University of Notre Dame (the author of several fascinating books on the abortion wars) resigned from Democrats for Life and penned a scathing editorial in the New York Post explaining why. While he once hoped that Democrats could be persuaded that pro-lifers had a place in the party, he wrote, he now recognized that it was “a losing battle.” In short, he stated, “Anything even hinting that abortion is less than good now violates party orthodoxy.”
Kristen Day, the current executive director of Democrats for Life, appears close to reaching the same conclusion. The letter, she told the press, should serve as a warning to Democrats. Abortion extremism has the potential to turn off many pro-life voters, which according to Camosy’s estimate may make up a third of the Democratic base. The risk the Democrats run in pushing those voters off the platform and out of the party is that they may decide to go elsewhere. “It’s hugely important for the campaign and Vice President Biden to understand the importance of this vote,” Day noted. “It shouldn’t be taken for granted.”
This is not the first time pro-life progressives have attempted to gain acceptance in the Democratic Party. Back in 2017, the then-chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Ben Ray Luján, announced that the Democrats would not longer apply a “litmus test” on abortion — specifically, that financial backing would not be withheld from anti-abortion candidates in the 2018 midterms. This ineffectual announcement was widely seen as a move to court pro-life voters turned off by President Donald Trump. In the interim, Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have tightened, not loosened, their grip on the Democratic Party.
In fact, the last attempt to persuade the Democratic Party to abandon support for abortion with a real chance of success took place back in 1992 and was spearheaded by the Kennedy clan’s sole defender of pre-born children, Eunice Shriver. As Ross Douthat noted in her obituary, Shriver “participated in the last significant effort to push the Democratic Party away from abortion on demand, petitioning her party’s convention to consider ‘a new understanding’ of the issue, ‘one that does not pit mother against child,’ but instead seeks ‘policies that responsibly protect and advance the interest of mothers and their children, both before and after birth.’” On July 24, 1992, Eunice and Sargent Shriver, along with Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey and other pro-life leaders, signed their names to a full-page ad in The New York Times titled “The New American Compact”:
We can choose to reaffirm our respect for human life. We can choose to extend once again the mantle of protection to all members of the human family, including the unborn. We can choose to provide effective care of mothers and children. And if we make those choices, America will experience a new birth of freedom, bringing with it a renewed spirit of community, compassion, and caring.
If the Democrats had chosen to follow the path of Eunice Shriver rather than that of her brother Teddy Kennedy, the Clintons, and the abortion extremists that followed, the American political landscape would look much different. If abortion had not unfortunately become such a partisan issue, it is safe to say that America would be a radically different country. And who knows — if the Democrats had not chosen to become the party of taxpayer-funded abortion until birth, maybe Joseph R. Biden wouldn’t have sold his soul to Planned Parenthood in a bid to trade blood for power.
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 Darlene Pawlik, victim of sex-trafficking from a young age. Darlene shares her story, including how she had to fake an abortion and ultimately run away in order to escape. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:
July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – This is a detailed report meant to provide you with comprehensive, helpful, alternative information about what is currently the most talked about subject in the news and in family discussions – mandatory or voluntary mask-wearing regulations, whether or not masks are really useful in preventing COVID infections and how masking has suddenly become a major factor in our daily living. You will be shocked by many of the revelations in this report that your usual information sources are not telling you.
Below are the main sub-headings. You may want to go ahead to one or more sections of special interest. However, they are all connected and you will not understand the full picture of mandatory masking policies until you read them all. In the end, context is everything in understanding masking and the coronavirus.
Part I (July 27)
What is truth and what is the agenda or agendas?
All of a sudden masks are crucial
Democrats demand masks
The statistics used to justify new mask and lockdown policies
Daily encounters with fearful masked runners, riders, walkers
Contradictory information from experts
Health agency negligence on giving advice for strengthening immune system
Thousands of lives lost because of suppression of very effective treatments
Children, schools, COVID-19 and masks
Medical information on mask effectiveness
This article is not going to make me more friends. Some of you will undoubtedly be upset, no matter how many physicians, scientists and solid data I present below. That trend seems to be occurring because those following mask-wearing directives tend to be personally affronted and even angry that anyone would dare imply that their heroic, uncomfortable mask-wearing might not only not be necessary most of the time, but also that their long periods of mask-wearing could even be harming them. They do not want to hear that.
It is also not good enough that the article accepts that there are legitimate situations for mask-wearing that might limit coronavirus infection and that I am not denying that the virus is indeed dangerous for particular persons and that I am not telling you to not wear a mask.
The rapidly growing response appears to be that I and everyone else must conform to the “safety” requirement that they have all been patriotically enduring and wear a mask for most of the day inside and outside when near others and now, as a Florida community is ordering, even within my own home.
Today, I read a CNET.com article in which Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and touted as a world leader in pandemic preparedness states, "I think that mask wearing and some degree of social distancing, we will be living with -- hopefully living with happily -- for several years." Several years? How could Toner not mention the simple, inexpensive treatments that have been working wonders in treating Covid infections and other positive developments that I will mention in this article.
What is truth and what is the agenda or agendas?
Any statement or statistic presented about this issue seems to be almost always completely contradicted by other statements or different interpretations of the data. It’s a Wild West type of situation, with good guys and really bad guys constantly trying to influence our future.
Finding the truth about coronavirus masking, COVID infection and death stats and treatments seems to be an almost impossible task because of the competing interests and agendas involved, including massive exploitation of the Wuhan virus by globalists, the pharmaceutical industry and especially those who will do and use anything they can to stop the re-election of President Donald J. Trump.
If an environment in which Americans will continue to be disoriented, frightened, anxious, emotionally and physically exhausted and in dire financial straits can be maintained up to the November US election day, a desperate electorate will likely vote for major political change, not being clear-headed enough to realize that they will be voting for the very people who have most wanted the frightening disorientation they have been living through for the past several months.
Keeping everyone, in every age bracket masked-up for most of every day, on top of all the other restrictions and mayhem going on, will help lead to that result. Even Chinese state media are openly admitting that the coronavirus pandemic “is a tool to defeat Trump”. Watch Tucker Carlson explain how this, and other issues, are all being engineered to make sure that the U.S. is socially and economically harmed and the Republicans are defeated in November. Carlson proclaims, “unhappy people want change”.
What I am doing in this article is presenting lots of information that is generally not seen in the mainstream media. Unfortunately, that is what most of the public heavily relies upon to make their decisions on how to live their daily lives in response to the virus. If you follow through right to the end of both parts of this article you will probably be better informed than 98% of the public.
All of a sudden masks are crucial
There are now increasing statements that broad mask mandates definitely save many lives. That is a complete flip from what we were told up to a few weeks ago that masks are not helpful.
The climate is oddly getting increasingly demanding about what we all must do now just as deaths from the Wuhan virus have been dramatically declining and, although massive testing has revealed far more people are infected than previously thought, the large majority of these infected persons will experience mild or no symptoms from infection.
The mass testing has revealed the good news that the death rate from COVID-19 is far lower than we were led to believe. That rate, except for those in the dangerous comorbidity categories, is now very close to that of a bad flu year or even better. As well, we now have treatments for the virus that can prevent most deaths from the virus, even among those with comorbidities, if they are treated soon and with the correct protocol.
The chart below relates UK virus death stats which are similar to the US trend.
With all of the above in mind, it is puzzling that President Trump has just recently, for the first time encouraged all Americans to wear masks as a supposed necessary step to rid America of coronavirus infection. He also praised the very costly and not especially effective pharmaceutical industry’s Remdesivir treatment. Even more concerning, he was very positive about a supposedly almost imminent vaccine as the final solution to the virus. There are good reasons to be concerned about this vaccine, especially given that the leading vaccine candidate appears to be a unique type which some claim is a dangerous Bill Gates/Anthony Fauci backed vaccine “currently being developed by Fauci’s own vaccine company, Moderna.” Robert Kennedy Jr. has been especially critical about the dangers of such a rushed vaccine. Others totally dispute claims that Fauci and Gates will be profiting from the Moderna vaccine.
Last week, in a physician’s waiting room, I watched a television interview with a heavily tattooed young man on the street asked for his views on the just-announced Toronto city health regulation requiring everyone to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces and outdoors in areas where a six-foot distance between others is not possible. The man was upset about the regulation. He insisted it was not necessary and that this was really about conditioning and controlling the public and preparing them for the next stage of contact tracing and then a mandatory, likely unsafe, vaccine and a mandatory “vaccine passport” proof of vaccination for access to services, which he believed was the real goal of all these regulations.
A few years ago, I would have thought such a reaction was crazy conspiracy thinking, but, given all the information that we have today, and recorded public statements related to the pandemic from prominent persons, I no longer write off such conjectures.
Democrats demand masks
Today’s US Democratic Party is a far cry from the Democrat Party of the Kennedy years. It has morphed into a very different, far-left, radical social change party that wants to turn the US into an oppressive, anti-Christian, New World Order socialist state. The Democrats strongly support a national mandatory mask policy.
Joe Biden recently stated, “The one thing we do know is these masks make a gigantic difference. I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask.”
On July 16, far-left Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) issued a press release announcing her intent to ensure states that refuse to implement mask requirements don’t receive federal assistance payments. She wants mask-wearing to be mandatory across the USA. Hollywood actor Tom Hanks indicated that we should question the patriotism of Americans who will not wear masks as though the pandemic is some kind of a hoax. Hanks stated, “Are they Americans… You know, I don’t get it…It’s literally the least you can do…Is this impossible now.” I don’t know anyone who thinks the virus is a hoax so what is Hanks talking about?
Jared Polis, the Democratic governor of Colorado says that those who question the broad face mask mandates being imposed on more citizens by local and state governments are "selfish bastards.” Are any or all the physicians I quote below in this article “selfish bastards?”
On July 16, Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a “Mask up America” campaign with Hollywood celebrities Morgan Freeman and Trump hater Robert De Niro. Cuomo has previously charged that “you could literally kill someone because you refused to wear a mask.” Cuomo has provided plenty of reasons to not trust anything he recommends about the Wuhan virus.
Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a physician, called for the New York state legislature to impeach Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “New York had a lockdown and had 30,000 people die. New York had the worst death rate of any place in the world amidst a lockdown,” Paul said on a Fox News podcast Wednesday. “I think Governor Cuomo should be impeached, you know for what he did, for the disastrous decision he made to send patients with coronavirus patients back to nursing homes.”
Incredibly, Anthony Fauci, highly regarded by US mainstream media and his fellow Democrats, and called “America’s most prominent and vocal advocate of continued” and disastrous COVID-19 “lockdown” policies”, just praised the New York Democrat governor’s coronavirus response. That boggles the mind.
Unfortunately, because of his mild demeanor, strong media support and extensive credentials, Fauci is said to be trusted by two-thirds of the American public versus President Trump, despite strong evidence that Fauci is often deceitful and cannot be trusted. Fauci now strongly advocates masks.
And of course, far-left California governor Gavin Newsome has issued a fear-creating, rights’ depriving statewide mask mandate for everyone in California except children under 2 because of a spike in coronavirus cases in his state. Can you imagine, the emotional harm that children 3 and over will experience from having to wear masks? No medical reason justifies that as Dr. Kelly Victory and other doctors explain further on in this article.
Left-wing multi-billionaire Soros provides more context. He is likely the biggest funder of US radical leftist organizations and Democrat candidates at municipal, state, and federal political levels in the US.
“Even before the pandemic hit, I realized that we were in a revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary,” Soros said during an interview on May 11. The masking wave seems to be the latest method of keeping US citizens in fear and under control until the next stage of transforming and crushing traditional US influence in the world can be implemented.
The statistics used to justify new mask and lockdown policies
Large increases in infection numbers discovered via mass testing in states that have been opening up have only recently started to translate into marginally more deaths. But the weekly death totals are still well below the peak of months ago. Newsome and other Democrat governors should have naturally expected more infection cases as they opened up their states from the horribly misguided lockdown policies but also because of the days of riots by tightly packed, large crowds they allowed to take place. There were plenty of warnings that would lead to infection spikes.
Mask mandates and a return to deadly lockdown measures are being imposed because of unjustified panic over testing that has been revealing a large increase in covid cases, especially in the southern US. But Breitbart news reported that Dr. Dan Erickson put this in its correct, positive perspective when he stated at today’s White Coat Summit in Washington,
“A case is a person, healthy, that tested positive. The vast majority. But the public hears cases and thinks, ‘Oh my goodness. These are sick people!’ No the vast majority — 99.8 percent of people get through this with little to no progressive or significant disease,” Erickson said.
The focus should not center on cases, he continued. Rather, the narrative should focus on hospitalizations and deaths that “are appropriately coded on a death certificate,” he said, stressing “appropriately coded.”
That reference to “appropriately coded” implies what many are now discovering. That is, the real number of deaths directly attributable to the Wuhan virus is likely hugely overstated for a variety of reasons.
Health care facilities are now much better prepared with treatments and equipment for the Wuhan virus and with the knowledge now of exactly who is most threatened by it and how they can be protected, which will help keep the death rate really low. There are actually substantial reasons to be positive about the latest US COVID data, rather than seeing the data as a reason to impose more restrictions and create more fear, constant anxiety and economic and other continuing major damage to American society.
Look at the chart below from the European CDC. Yes, massive, never before levels of testing has revealed that the number of confirmed infections are far higher than we knew, but the daily confirmed deaths have not even remotely grown in proportion to the discovered infections.
But it is not just liberal Democrats who are critical of those questioning mask mandates as you can see from the comments in response to a charitable, well-reasoned July 14 article by John Paul Meenan. Even Christian, pro-life individuals can be quite hostile towards those who are not accepting the pro-mask propaganda that paints mask critics as uncaring, heartless, ignorant persons. We are in very strange times where even the good are fighting the good based on what they believe, rather than what they know for certain the right response should be to the current state of the pandemic.
The huge problem is that most don’t really know what that state is because most of the information sources are controlled by truth-hostile forces, especially all the mainstream media, wanting to paint the most negative picture to facilitate their plan to radically change world society.
Below is another chart revealing that COVID deaths have plummeted to a relatively almost zero level for all age groups. Why are most people still terrified? One reason is that no one is showing them charts like this.
In a July 1 article, Beda M Stadler, former director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, goes so far as to proclaim,
“The virus is gone for now. It will probably come back in winter, but it won’t be a second wave, but just a cold. Those young and healthy people who currently walk around with a mask on their faces would be better off wearing a helmet instead, because the risk of something falling on their head is greater than that of getting a serious case of Covid-19.”
Rush Limbaugh gave a well-sourced segment on his July 7 show exposing how much the public has been lied to on the coronavirus stats and much more. It is well worth reading and clicking on the various links backing up his statements.
Below is another graph of weekly deaths, updated July 13 by the CDC, but as the writer of the article where I got this from cautions, “The CDC does play “tricks” with this data, adjusting it as time goes on, adding deaths that were estimated or attributed to COVID even a few months before. But whatever. Ignore that. Deaths are still dropping.” He adds, “Every day we’re subjected to propaganda shouting “Record number of new cases!” Demands from propagandists and government officials that you panic about this are everywhere. The mask mandates now also surging across the nation strengthens the fear.” Read the full article to get a good understanding of why he calls it “mass madness”. Folks, you are all being taken for a ride by those constantly trying to paint as gloomy a picture as possible to advance the agenda.
In his July 6 blog, Ron Paul, a physician, gives a neat short summary of the mask madness in Texas that has led Governor Abbot to do a dramatic turnaround and suddenly mandate mask-wearing in most counties on July 2ndbased on a very questionable large spike in infection numbers,
“Thanks goes to Collin County Judge Chris Hill for blowing the whistle on what appears to be a move in mid-May to redefine what was a “Covid” case to open the door to a massive increase – all to match the mainstream media line that a “second wave” was on the way.
In a Commissioners Court hearing for Collin County on May 18th, it was revealed that while previously the determination of a Covid “case” was a confirmed test result, the definition was suddenly changed to count “probable” cases as “cases.” At the same time, the threshold for determining “probable” was lowered to a ridiculous level.
As Judge Hill said at that May 18th meeting, “If you have a subjective fever and you have a headache and you live in Collin County, you now meet the qualifications to be a probable COVID patient. It is remarkable how low the standard is now.”
Even worse, once a “probable” case was determined based on possibly unrelated subjective criteria, up to 15 people in possible contact with that “probable” case were also listed as “probable cases.” And “probable cases” were considered cases.
Repeat that farce across Texas and is it any wonder there was a “spike” in “cases”?
Statistician Willam Briggs, in his July 14 article, Mask Madness, tells us more about how data is being manipulated to justify the new mask regime:
Deaths are dropping, the infection is petering out, yet testing continues to soar. This is insanity. Just a couple of days back (on 10 July), there were 823,375 tests in just one 24-hour period! Over 800 thousand tests in just one day!
This massive testing leads to “new” “cases”—which are almost all indications of past infections, of this bug and even other cold viruses. We know this is true because deaths are dropping.
The “new” “case” totals are added to the propaganda machine, which causes more fear, which drives more tests, which creates even more “new” “cases”, which are added to the propaganda machine, which causes more fear…
It was only at the end of the crisis, when deaths were dropping to near zero, that governments began in earnest the mask mandates (unless you’re going to a riot). The timing was not an accident. The excuse was always that the masks will save lives, which might have had some force at the ramp up or peak of infection rate, but is not true now. It is now clearly about control.
Here is more on the madness - People in several states (LA, TX, GA, TN, FL) are reporting they went to testing centers to get tested but left because of the long lines. Despite not taking the test, they were notified later that they've tested positive and those positive numbers have been added to the state’s total infections number.
Media manipulation of COVID numbers
This subsection is especially important for understanding the sudden implementation of mask regulations. That is why I am including extensive evidence that the fear most seem to be experiencing at this time is totally unwarranted.
Florida is under huge media assault for its generally very successful coronavirus strategy because the governor is a Republican. Mainstream media are now going all out to paint the Florida situation as an approaching apocalypse.
July 19, Former New York Times writer Alex Berenson fact-checked claims that Florida hospitals were being flooded with coronavirus patients and that the situation in this Republican governed state was out of control. He reports on Breitbart, “The real story out of Florida is incredible: 150,000 #SARSCoV2 positive tests in the last two weeks, and effectively NO change in either total hospitalizations or ICU use statewide.
The real story out of Florida is incredible: 150,000 #SARSCoV2 positive tests in the last two weeks, and effectively NO change in either total hospitalizations or ICU use statewide. Case mix? A huge advance in medicine? This is the story real reporters should chase. pic.twitter.com/rp3Ax6gUDH
A July 22 Breitbart report also corrects skewed reporting on Florida’s hospitals being overwhelmed with COVID cases:
“For almost a month, the number of people admitted to Orange County hospitals weekly went up, but in the last seven days, the number of patients seeking care for COVID-19 has decreased significantly in the last week.
“Each of our counties that we look after in advent health has either seen a flattening or a little decrease in the last 6 to 7 days,” Brady said.
Seminole County has also seen a drastic drop in cases in the last 14 days.
A Wednesday morning snapshot from the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration showed Orange County with 21.9 percent in available hospital bed capacity — slightly greater than the state’s overall 21.41 percent availability — and 580 hospitalizations “with Primary Diagnosis of COVID.” Seminole County reported 17.04 percent available bed capacity with 177 coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
Here is another one:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that “there's a testing industrial complex now ” that could be inflating positive COVID-19 test results.
Host Brian Kilmeade noted, citing statistics, that 53 of Florida’s ICUs are “at zero percent capacity.”
DeSantis interjected, saying he wanted to “correct that.”
“What they're doing, they're identifying hospitals, some of which don't have any ICUs because they're rural hospitals,” Desantis said. “You have others that have a very small number of beds who have people in ICUs who aren't COVID patients.”
“We peaked on emergency department visits for COVID-like illness on July 7th and we've seen a general flattening in the hospital census for COVID so those are the types of indicators where you see you're starting to get stabilization. Our positivity rate is slightly down from where it was, which we think will continue,” DeSantis said.
And here is more from Paul Sperry about likely huge inflation of positive COVID numbers in several states,
“Health officials from dozen states have mistakenly lumped (+) results from antibody tests in w viral tests for COVID-19 in reporting to CDC, inflating new cases. A (+) antibody test could mean you were infected w virus from same corona family that causes the common cold
As a result of most Floridians reading and watching mainstream media reports about a supposed COVID catastrophe in southern states and some Florida regions implementing mask mandates, it was inevitable that a July 16-20 poll of Floridians indicated a majority want mandatory statewide masking:
“Over three-fourths, or 79 percent, said people should be required to wear masks in public. Twenty percent said they should not be required at this time. Support for a public mask mandate is highest among self-identified Democrats, with 95 percent backing the idea. Independents followed with 79 percent, and Republicans followed with 60 percent supporting the call.”
Governor DeSantis issued a statewide mask “advisory” rather than an “order” knowing full well that the Florida situation was much better than the public was being led to believe and that masks are not effective in stopping more infections.
Nationwide, Politico reports, “A bipartisan majority of registered voters strongly support state mandates that would fine or jail individuals if they fail to wear a mask in public, a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll finds.” The media-generated data exaggeration panic is getting results.
Brian C. Joondeph, M.D., a Denver-based physician, also wrote on media malpractice on COVID numbers,
“Not only are case numbers inflated but also deaths. Anyone testing positive at the time of death is counted as a COVID death, from alcohol poisoning or a shooting, to someone in hospice with weeks to live, dying from their underlying condition, but testing positive. George Floyd is likely somewhere in the COVID death count as he tested positive at autopsy.
CDC labs were contaminated, leading to false positives and bogus test results. It should be no surprise that the White House told hospitals to bypass the CDC on COVID data and send results directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, reducing the chance of data manipulation.”
Dr. Scott Atlas also stresses the importance of understanding what the hospitalization rates really mean.
…yes, hospitals are more crowded, but that’s mainly due to the re-installation of medical care for non COVID-19 patients.” In Texas he says, “90+% of ICU beds are occupied, but only 15% are COVID patients. 85% of the occupied beds are not COVID patients. I think we have to look at the data and be aware that it doesn’t matter if younger, healthier people get infected, I don’t know how often that has to be said, they have nearly zero risk of a problem from this. The only thing that counts are the older, more vulnerable people getting infected. And there’s no evidence that they really are.” And then he noted that the length of time in the hospital is now about half of what it was.
A July 14 Fox 35 investigation revealed incredibly inflated Florida coronavirus numbers that have now been corrected,
Countless labs have reported a 100 percent positivity rate, which means every single person tested was positive. Other labs had very high positivity rates. FOX 35 found that testing sites like Centra Care reported that 83 people were tested and all tested positive. Then, NCF Diagnostics in Alachua reported 88 percent of tests were positive.
How could that be? FOX 35 News investigated these astronomical numbers, contacting every local location mentioned in the report.
The report showed that Orlando Health had a 98 percent positivity rate. However, when FOX 35 News contacted the hospital, they confirmed errors in the report. Orlando Health’s positivity rate is only 9.4 percent, not 98 percent as in the report.
“The report also showed that the Orlando Veteran’s Medical Center had a positivity rate of 76 percent,” added FOX 35. “A spokesperson for the VA told FOX 35 News on Tuesday that this does not reflect their numbers and that the positivity rate for the center is actually 6 percent.”
The media and many politicians inside the Democratic Party continue to shriek over the recent jump in the number of recorded coronavirus cases, seeking to keep the economy closed at all costs — and we mean that literally. Don’t fall for the argument. The data show that, in fact, our pandemic nightmare might well be coming to an end.
… it’s not actually us saying this. It’s the Centers for Disease Control, which reported that the death rate has fallen so far it’s now roughly equal to the threshold for even qualifying as an epidemic, which isn’t as severe as a pandemic.
“Based on death certificate data, the percentage of (total U.S.) deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza or COVID-19 (PIC) decreased from 9% during week 25 to 5.9% during week 26,” the CDC noted, adding that this was the 10th-straight week of declining deaths.
While the “percentage is currently at the epidemic threshold,” additional data in coming weeks could change that, says the CDC.
And yet, here are some of the headlines we’ve read in just the past couple days in the Big Media:
“As Trump gaslights America about coronavirus, Republicans face a critical choice ” — CNN
“U.S. is still ‘knee-deep’ in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci says” — CNN
“How America Lost the War on Covid-19” — New York Times
“It was never about the virus but instead the election,” Brian C. Joondeph, a medical doctor practicing in Denver, recently wrote . “The so-called surge in cases is more fake news pushed by media cheerleaders eager to destroy the U.S. economy and culture if it makes Trump a one-term president.”
You get the idea? Not a hint of optimism, just relentless pessimism about COVID-19, politicized to the Nth degree to make Donald Trump look like a fool or sociopath.
That last paragraph is very important. The media-generated panic about a supposed new surge of infections and need for mandatory masking to stop this frightening development is manipulation of the public to keep up the fear and maintain control.
They have an excellent article on Sweden and its unique response to the pandemic which essentially involved imposing very few restrictions and providing special protection for the most vulnerable with the aim of hopefully reaching herd immunity as quickly and safely as possible.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons AASP states,
“Herd immunity is the state when the virus essentially has stopped infecting new victims because a necessary percentage of the populace has been exposed to it to the point where it no longer presents a serious danger to the public. This has happened with many past viruses.”
A vaccine, if there was one available, is one way of achieving herd immunity. But there may be no reliable vaccine for the Wuhan virus and many medical researchers insist it is highly unlikely that such a vaccine will ever be possible because of how frequently this virus mutates and also because there has never been a successful vaccine for a coronavirus, of which there have been many that the world has been exposed to.
Another way to achieve herd immunity is to follow the Swedish plan.
You may have been hearing a lot of both good and bad news about the Swedish strategy. Most media reports have been very negative about the Swedish experiment. The Swedes admit they have made some mistakes along the way, but they are in general still positive about the approach they have taken. CHD is also positive. I will only quote a little from an article. I encourage you to read the full article. The author states,
“If virologists were driving policy about COVID-19 rather than public health officials, we’d all be Sweden right now, which means life would effectively be back to normal. The only thing our lockdowns have done at this point is prolong the agony a little bit, and encouraged Governors to make up more useless rules. Sweden’s health minister understood that the only chance to beat COVID-19 was to get the Swedish population to a Herd Immunity Threshold against COVID-19, and that’s exactly what they have done.”
The author is being very charitable about the lockdown damage. The lockdowns that most western nations and many US states, especially Democrat, engaged in, has created an economic and social catastrophe that may take many years to recover from.
It is not a bad thing that testing indicates that children, and a significant percentage of the public in the age and health condition (no comorbidities) category that is least threatened by the virus, have been infected by the virus. Most will experience no, or very mild, symptoms. The largest percentage of the public falls into that category. The more of them that become infected the quicker we reach herd immunity at which point the virus will disappear.
Mandatory mask-wearing policies are therefore only prolonging the agony and could be seen as “more useless rules” (not in every situation).
Dr. Dan Erickson, owner of Accelerated Urgent Care, was a speaker at today’s “White Coat Summit” on Capitol Hill. Last April, he and an associate doctor were the first to seriously question government lockdown policies put in place to fight the Wuhan virus and the massive damage they were causing the US health care system, the economy and the mental and physical health of Americans. Their press conference at the time went viral throughout the Internet and they were on numerous television programs for weeks afterwards.
Breitbart reports Erickson’s condemnation of the lockdown policies:
Was the lockdown successful? I say yes very successful. Successful in things like this. Anxiety hotline calls up 1000 percent. Child abuse both sexual and non up. Financially, emotional distress, Suicide. Alcohol. 150,000 Americans a month not receiving cancer screening. It’s been effective alright, in all the wrong metrics — in all the areas we didn’t want it to be effective. Delay in medical care. We talked about that. Orthopedics, nonessential. Suicide calls up 600 percent. Suicide calls. We heard other doctors mention this. So was the lockdown effective? If that’s the effect you were going for, then yes but it was trying to flatten the curve but it had these secondary consequences that I think are devastating. People staying indoors. No exercising as you mentioned. No Vitamin D.
“I’m watching people in their Prius by themselves driving with a mask on. There’s no sense to it,” he added. “It’s fear,” reported Breitbart.
PETITION: Ask bishop to remove 'Catholic' from the University of Notre Dame if they refuse to rescind Pete Buttigieg's fellowship! Sign the petition here.
July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Professor Hubert Windisch, a German priest and retired professor of pastoral theology (he taught at the University of Freiburg), has written a commentary for LifeSite on the current discussion of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and its aftermath.
Referencing Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Bishop Athanasius Schneider with their own commentaries on the problem of the Second Vatican Council, Windisch explains that “doctrinal and practical bad fruits in the Church of more than five decades of this history of impact give cause to fear that in the texts of the Second Vatican Council there are not only good roots.”
After referring to some earlier warning voices such as the ones of Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand and Professor Roberto de Mattei, the German professor concludes that “there seem to be quite some breaks with the tradition of the teaching authority in the Second Vatican Council, which cannot be covered up by the effort of a so-called hermeneutics of continuity (similar to the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia).”
Professor Windisch also mentions the McCarrick scandal and with it the scandalous phenomenon of clerical sexual abuse which highlights also the signs of moral weakness in the Catholic Church. He states: “Against the background of the shocking Viganò Report of August 2018 Hedwig von Beverfoerde [A German pro-family activist] (see Die Tagespost of 28 August, 2018 “The Smoke of Satan”) writes disillusioned and deeply disappointed of the Church: 'The facade of the post-conciliar Church has collapsed.'”
On July 15, a group of scholars, priests, and other Catholics of public standing had published an Open Letter to Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider, thanking them for their critical remarks of some of the statements of the Second Vatican Council – such as regarding religious liberty, ecumenism, and the nature of the Church – and welcoming such a discourse, for the sake of the liberation of the Catholic Church from teachings that might weaken her magisterial and missionary voice. While there were initially 50 signatories of this letter – among them Professor Roberto de Mattei, Professor Andrew Napolitano, and Dr. Taylor Marshall – this number has now increased to more than 110, with Dr. Janet Smith, Sir Raymond J de Souza, Father Richard Heilman, Professor Enrico Maria Radaelli, as well as numerous priests adding their name.
Full statement by Professor Hubert Windisch, Germany:
By their fruits you will know them ... (cf. Mt 7:15-20): On the justified criticism of the Second Vatican Council
By Hubert Windisch
In the last years of my teaching (until 2012), when I mentioned the Council during lectures, it happened more and more often that one of the more awake students who could make sense of the term “Council” asked: “which Council do you mean?” In the beginning, such interposed questions irritated me. How could anyone think that I could mean another Council than Vatican II? But I understood inevitably that these intermediate questions were justified. They indicated a very uncomplicated relativization of Vatican II by the younger generation, and this in two ways. On the one hand, in temporal terms: the questioners were usually born after 1980, so that the Second Vatican Council was far away for them. For them, it was simply a piece of church history. With it, the questioning young students pointed out unconsciously but in a wholesome way that church history does not begin only with the Second Vatican Council.
On the other hand, a relativization of the Second Vatican Council took place also in terms of content. The Second Vatican Council fits indeed into the series of many Councils and is to be seen and understood in connection with them – above all with the four large Ecumenical Councils of the first centuries (Nicaea 325, Constantinople I 381, Ephesus 431, Chalcedon 451), whose Christological topics are as important as ever. But the statements of the Second Vatican Council can only be sounded out in their relevance in connection with and discussion of the Tridentinum [Council of Trent] and the First Vatican Council. Integrated into the Tradition of the Church, the Second Vatican Council is therefore first of all the last Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, certainly with its own message and a special mission for Christianity, but in relation to the greater whole of the Church on its way through the millennia.
Against this background, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider have recently initiated a debate (especially in relation to the declarations Nostra Aetate and Dignitatis Humanae of the Second Vatican Council) which aims to stimulate a critical evaluation of the history of the Second Vatican Council in relation to the faith and life of the Catholic Church. Doctrinal and practical bad fruits in the Church of more than five decades of this history of impact give cause to fear that in the texts of the Second Vatican Council there are not only good roots. Unfortunately, already early warning voices which drew attention to it were not noticed or, if noticed, not taken seriously; so for example Dietrich von Hildebrand and his The Trojan Horse in the City of God, Hans Urs von Balthasar with Cordula oder der Ernstfall [The Moment of Christian Witness], Martin Mosebach with his The Heresy of Formlessness or Roberto de Mattei's The Second Vatican Council – an Unwritten Story. So there seem to be quite some breaks with the tradition of the teaching authority in the Second Vatican Council, which cannot be covered up by the effort of a so-called hermeneutics of continuity (similar to the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia).
It is rightly claimed that the Second Vatican Council, despite many beautiful and profound doctrinal statements (e.g. in Sacrosanctum Concilium, Dei Verbum, Lumen Gentium or also in nos. 47 - 52 of Gaudium et Spes on marriage and family) was not a doctrinal but a pastoral Council. That is true in so far as at the Second Vatican Council no dogmas were proclaimed or anathemas pronounced. Rather, the Church tried to reposit herself in her time. Thus the pastoral intention of the Council meets with the fundamental understanding of the Church's pastoral approach, which is always essentially a contemporary event in the respective world. In the past decades, the so-called “spirit of the Council” was gladly striven for in this pastoral shaping of the Church, but often it was only used to justify a selective perception and a selective use of the texts of the Second Vatican Council. With it, one deliberately overlooked that the pastoral mission of the Church in the world has to be carried out on a firm dogmatic basis when connecting with the world and when contradicting it; or, the Church's turning to the world always has to have at the same time a detachment from worldliness, in taking up a provocative thought of Pope Benedict XVI from his speech in the Freiburg Concert House on 25 September 2011. Madeleine Delbrel, the saint of the Christian devotion to the world, is said to have put this connection into these striking words: As Christians, we must, in order to be close to the people, remain strangers to them in some way.
Thus, when it is repeatedly propagated that John XXIII, with the convocation of the Second Vatican Council, opened the windows of the Church or the Vatican wide to provide fresh air after the era of the Popes Pius IX until Pius XII, one must not overlook the fact that when the windows are open, bad air can also penetrate from the outside to the inside. Indeed, much Catholic silverware has been thrown out of the open windows of the Church in recent decades. Just think of the at times even official proclamations on marriage and sexuality, which rather resemble a blessing of trends than Catholic views, or of the liturgical wild growths which are not so rare. Here Karl Barth's words about a remaining danger for the Church are applicable: In one of his late writings (“Das christliche Leben” [“The Christian Life”]) he describes a “defective church,” a church of the boulevard, which, stammering and squinting, sells itself to the course of time. One can literally hear Kurt Tucholsky's biting remark, which he already made in 1930 in his famous bridal and physical education lessons towards the Protestant Church: “What is striking about the attitude of both national churches is their tongue that is hanging out. Breathlessly gasping, they run behind the time, so that nobody escapes them. 'We too, we too!', no longer as centuries ago: 'We.' ... These churches create nothing, they transform what has been created by others, what has been developed by others, into elements that can be useful to them. ... the church has yielded; it has not changed, it has been changed.” The Catholic Church presents herself to contemporaries in much the same way. Against the background of the shocking Viganò Report of August 2018 Hedwig von Beverfoerde (see Die Tagespost of 28 August, 2018 “The Smoke of Satan”) writes disillusioned and deeply disappointed of the Church: “The facade of the post-conciliar Church has collapsed.”
The so-called anthropological turn in theology since the sixties of the last century, closely connected with Karl Rahner and his writings, plays a major role as a basic drift for these developments in the theoretical and practical self-understanding of the Church. Whether there is an error in this theological approach or in the zealous and often dilettantish implementation in pastoral practice (especially in the proclamation and in the liturgy) will not be examined in detail at this point. In any case, the loss of the kerygmatic consciousness of the Church, which began at that time, suggests deficits – according to the old axiom: “bonum ex integra causa, falsum ex defectu.” The Tradition was more and more often put into the dock, because the new as new had priority. Since that time the Church with her message increasingly has to justify herself before the world and the historical changes instead of fulfilling her mission to bring the world and the historical changes before God's justification in Jesus Christ. The “Extra nos” of our salvation was increasingly dissolved into an “Intra nos” (very clearly in Eugen Drewermann), which according to Fulbert Steffensky ultimately amounts to a “domestication of God.” But the Church in its basic movements “Martyria, Leiturgia, Diakonia” becomes thereby flat and banal, which is among other things also due to a disparity and the often one-sided reception of the Second Vatican Council. In the end, the way to a self-secularization of the Church was smoothed, to which Harvey Cox in radical sharpness had already in 1965 referred with his “City without God?” Fridolin Stier, the former Old Testament scholar from Tübingen, suspects and laments in his diary “Vielleicht ist irgendwo Tag” (“Perhaps Somewhere is Day”) that such a theology might even have to call itself Theothanatology. Does this result in a Church without God – at least without a Christian God?
Two consequences of this theological foundation, which to a large extent determine the present practice of the Church, suggest the affirmation of this question: 1. Do what you want. Christianity too is only one of many legitimate religions (cf. the video on Pope Francis' prayer opinion of January 2016, where at the end the representatives of Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity stand side by side on an equal footing and each holds its religious symbol in the centre of the circle: a Buddha statue, a seven-armed candlestick, an Islamic prayer cord and – not a Crucifix but a small Baby Jesus figure). So why not let an Imam preach in Catholic services? 2. What you do is right. There is no longer a critical point of reference extra nos, neither in doctrina nor in moralibus, and certainly not in pastoralibus. The whole thing, rather, is held together by what one calls conscience, and this with ecclesiastic legitimization. The sad result of this development culminates in the oppressive realization, which many leading church people unfortunately do not have or do not want to have, that one wants theology and Church in today's world – contrary to the pastoral intentions of the Second Vatican Council – as standards that are actually no longer needed.
July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Amidst all the gloom and doom about overpopulation, occasionally someone actually takes a hard look at the numbers and accurately reports what they see. This is what a team of researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and evaluation did. Their findings, newly published in The Lancet, are eye-popping.
First, the UW researchers noted that family sizes have been dropping for decades. Whereas in 1950 women worldwide had an average of 4.7 children over their reproductive lifetimes, by 2017 that number had been cut in half, to 2.4 children. They predicted that the number of children per woman will continue to decline, falling to well below 2.1 children by the year 2100.
A fertility rate of 2.1 children constitutes “replacement rate fertility.” It’s called this because at that level of fertility the father and the mother have merely “replaced” themselves, neither adding to, nor subtracting from, the population.
Any fertility rate above 2.1 means the population will keep growing. Any fertility rate below that level means that the population will be shrinking over time.
This is already the case in dozens of countries around the world, where for a generation or more couples have been averaging fewer than two children. Italian women, for instance, are averaging only 1.33 children. This means that – barring a huge uptick in Italian fertility – the Italians won’t be around for much longer, at least in any numbers.
But when will the entire world fall below replacement rate fertility? How far below replacement will it fall? And what does this mean in terms of total numbers?
For decades the doomsayers at the U.N. Population Division (UNPD), UNFPA, WHO and elsewhere have insisted that the population of the world will continue growing throughout the present century. The U.N. Population Division’s latest forecast predicts that the population will reach almost 11 billion by 2100 (10,880,000,000) and will still be growing.
Nonsense, say the UW researchers. (They didn’t put it exactly like that, of course.) They predict that global population will peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling to only 8.8 billion by the end of the century. This is 2 billion fewer than the U.N. projects.
How does the U.N. massage the numbers to manufacture 2 billion additional people?
It’s actually not very complicated.
As I have been saying for at least two decades, U.N. population projections exaggerate future numbers because they hang upon a single, unexplained, and completely unreasonable assumption about future fertility patterns.
The UNPD has long assumed that fertility rates in every country in the world will, within a generation or so, reach a “fertility floor” of 1.85 children per woman. Countries where fertility rates are above 1.85 will gradually fall to that level, while countries like Italy which are below 1.85 will gradually rise to that level.
How was this “fertility floor” determined? The UNPD report does not say. Why would fertility in Mexico fall to 1.85 and no further? The UNPD report offers no explanation, despite the fact that many countries have already fallen through this supposedly solid “floor.” And what about those countries? How will Italy or Spain, for example, manage to climb back up to the “fertility floor” after spending the last two decades in the “fertility basement”. The UNPD report is silent.
In a belated recognition of plummeting birth rates worldwide, the UNDP has recently lowered its “fertility floor” to 1.75. But it continues to insist that this is where birthrates will stabilize for all of humanity, pointing to a couple of countries which have seen mild fertility rebounds from very low fertility.
The UW researchers beg to differ.
The evidence shows, they say, that once the fertility of a country falls to extremely low levels of 1.35 or so, it stays at low levels. They criticize the U.N. for ignoring data from the many countries with very low fertility that not only show no signs of recovering to 1.75, but show no signs of fertility recovery at all. (“Several countries with sustained low fertility were excluded from their modelling exercise,” they say of the UNDP.) They criticize the UNDP’s claim of “fertility rebounds” as well, saying that these were simply women delaying childbirth.
The UW researchers are too polite to say so, but they are basically accusing the U.N. demographers of rigging the data set to produce an inflated number.
So where did the 2 billion people come from?
The UW researchers explained: “Our analysis also showed that slight differences (0.1 difference in global total fertility rate) in this equilibrium total fertility rate translate into a difference of approximately 500 million individuals on the planet in 2100.”
In other words, for every 0.1 difference in your projected global total fertility rate (TFR), you gain or lose 500 million people.
The UW researchers realistically predicted a future TFR of 1.35. The UNDP, on the other hand, artificially inflated the future population by “installing” an “imaginary floor” of 1.75. This 0.4 increase in TFR produced 2 billion “imaginary people” in the future population.
The UW study still exaggerates future fertility, primarily by assuming widespread lack of access to “modern methods of contraception.” In fact African, Asian, and Latin American countries are flooded with contraceptives, available free to virtually anyone who wants them. The claim that there are vast numbers of Third World women with an unmet need for contraception, like the UNDP’s “fertility floor”, is not grounded in reality.
The UW’s lowest projection, which assumes that contraceptives are available to everyone who wants them on an accelerated schedule, forecasts that global population will peak in 2046 at 8.5 billion, declining by 2100 to 6.289 billion.
I suspect this latter is closer to the mark.
Whichever scenario turns out to be correct, the closing words of the study are sobering: “Global population is likely to peak well before the end of the century. Given that we forecasted that societies tend towards a TFR lower than 1.5, once global population decline begins, it will probably continue inexorably.”
In other words, as I wrote in the pages of the Wall Street Journal way back in 1997:
Humanity’s long-term problem is not going to be too many children, but too few: too few children to fill the schools and universities, too few young people entering the work force, too few couples buying homes and second cars. In short, too few consumers and producers to drive the economy forward. The imploding markets of Europe and the economic sluggishness of Japan will spread soon enough to the U.S. and the rest of the world. Why spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on contraception and sterilization that will only bring that day closer?
Steven W. Mosher (@StevenWMosher) 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.
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July 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the perverse things about today’s progressives is not simply that they are so often wrong, but that they often mean precisely the opposite of what they are saying but do not realize it. The promoters of “diversity” and “tolerance,” for example, make the witch-burners look positively relaxed as they ruthlessly hunt heretics and hound them from their jobs. Diversity is acceptable only within the narrowest of lanes — you can, for example, support the LGBTQIA2S agenda, but nobody will get too fussed if you just say you support the LGBTQ agenda, because it is presumed that you mean the same thing. Any indication that you do not support whatever the newest thing is, however, will not be tolerated.
The latest would-be victim of the heresy-hunters is British Columbian politician Laurie Throness, the MLA for the constituency of Chilliwack-Kent. Throness and several other MLAs, as it turns out, had run ads in a Christian publication that, to the horror of Chilliwack Progress editor Paul Henderson, apparently holds Christian views on sexuality:
The controversy started when it came to light that Throness and several other MLAs, including [Andrew] Wilkinson, used taxpayer dollars to advertise in “The Light Magazine,” a Langley-based Christian publication that frequently runs articles that express antipathy towards the LGBTQ community in various ways.
Three MLAs have since apologized, and party leader Andrew Wilkinson tweeted out the required statement that there is no place for any anti-LGBT sentiment in the B.C. Liberal Party. The B.C. Liberals also announced that they would be reviewing their advertising policies to ensure that no ads were placed in such magazines. As CTV put it:
The Liberals had already pledged to review their advertising policy after critics pointed out ads for the party that ran in The Light Magazine, a Christian publication that has opposed B.C.’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policy in public schools.
Apparently, opposing BC’s radical sex ed curriculum, which foists dangerous gender ideology on children, is beyond the pale. Throness, at least, has noted that he will continue to advertise in the magazine as he shares its “Biblical Christian values,” noting that “Biblical Christians follow their Lord in their sexual practice. They don’t attack other people, they don’t condemn other people, because Jesus did not condemn other people. They withdraw from sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. That has nothing to do with intolerance, it has everything to do with following their conscience and following their Lord.”
To anyone familiar with what Christianity teaches, that’s pretty standard stuff. But to progressives, this is genuinely offensive. NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert sent a letter to the B.C. Liberal Party demanding that Throness be kicked out of caucus or fired from his job as opposition critic for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The Vancouver Pride Society even took the dramatic step of threatening to ban the B.C. Liberal Party from marching in the Pride Parade over the ads, stating that the magazine has “published articles elevating anti-trans and pro–conversion therapy rhetoric targeting LGBQAI2S+ people.”
“Despite being reassured by the B.C. Liberal leader that that was no longer going to happen, they continue to invest in this magazine,” Michelle Fortin, co-chair of the Vancouver Pride Society, noted ominously. “We’ve basically said to the Liberals until you take action and stop investing in that kind of publication, and until you deal with MLA Throness, you will not be allowed into the parade.”
Fortin even gave the B.C. Liberal Party a deadline: the deadline for parade registration for the virtual parade being held on August 2. Throness must be “dealt with” before then. Like the NDP, the Pride Society wants Throness either evicted or fired from his critic role. In short, they want a scalp. Throness is refusing to disavow Christian standards and will not disassociate himself from others who share those standards. Thus, he must be punished. “In 2020, a B.C. Liberal Party that still thinks it's OK to support transphobic or homophobic messaging[.] ... It’s appalling,” said Fortin.
Every political party will be forced to respond to such demands in the future. Organizations like the Pride Society are not demanding diversity or tolerance; they are demanding that politicians conform to their standards or else. Media folks like Paul Henderson of the Chilliwack Progress, a bigot who spends much of his time fulminating on his editorial page about the wickedness of those who disagree with him on LGBT issues and abortion (that would include Christians, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and Buddhists, just for starters), ensure that these non-stories get the coverage they need. Thus, a Christian politician posting an ad in a Christian publication that frequently covers issues from a Christian perspective becomes a threat to civilized society in the minds of the progressive heresy-hunters.
The sinister irony is that they don’t even realize how ridiculous they are.
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 Darlene Pawlik, victim of sex-trafficking from a young age. Darlene shares her story, including how she had to fake an abortion and ultimately run away in order to escape. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:
To lose hope and despair is to deny God’s mercy for us
By Mother Miriam
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Watch Mother Miriam's Live originally aired on 7.27.2020. In today’s episode, Mother Miriam continues reviewing the Baltimore Catechism, focusing on God’s nature. She also reminds us not to despair or lose hope as that is to deny God’s mercy for us.
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