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March 25, 2019


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WATCH: Teens sing breathtaking lullaby to victims of abortion in state capitol building

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By Martin Barillas

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A video of young pro-lifers singing a beautiful lullaby at the Illinois state capitol has resurfaced while state legislators debate current bills that would legalize abortion until the moment of birth.

Members of the choir of St. John Cantius — a parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago that seeks to preserve the beauty of traditional liturgy and sacred music — joined with Crusaders for Life in 2017 to sing the “Coventry Carol,” which stems from a medieval mystery play that depicts the massacre of the Holy Innocents by the soldiers of King Herod, as depicted in the Gospel of St. Matthew. In the video, the young activists are shown wearing yellow shirts and swaying arm in arm in the impressive rotunda of the State House in Springfield, where state legislators meet. Their voices reverberated up and down the space over which soared the cupula of the capitol building.

A spokesperson for St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago affirmed that the video was recorded in 2017 at a rally in support of the dignity of unborn babies. The video was produced by Crusaders for Life, a pro-life group which had its beginnings among young St. John Cantius parishioners and has since expanded elsewhere in Illinois and to Michigan. It was during a Midwest tour in 2017 that the young activists and choristers sang at the Illinois state capitol. The Crusaders have made the 16th-century carol their hallmark.

St. John Cantius Church sent out the video on Facebook March 20, and it has garnered over 100,000 views.

"Listen to our youth sing in the Illinois State Capitol for those lost through abortion," they wrote in the post. "Extreme abortion legislation is being pushed in Illinois. Our bishops are urging us to take action."

In a post on his blog Friday, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf described the song they sing as a “breath-taking, throat-choking, eye-blurring” arrangement by Philip Stopford of the ancient “heart-piercing” carol. The carol appears out of step with the joy of the Christmas season, he wrote, because it embraces the commemoration of the Holy Innocents and the wood of Baby Jesus’s crib that foretells “the wood of the Cross.” The irony of the moment was not lost on Fr. Zuhlsdorf, who noted also that at the same time, the Illinois legislature is working on “hideous” and “extreme Party of Death laws.” He wrote: “Dems. Herodians.”

Apparently moved by the carol and the participation of so many young people in pro-life activities, Fr. Zuhlsdorf also posted a photo taken at the March 22 rally organized by Crusaders for Life at the capitol building in Springfield. He posted a photo of one of his tears that fell next to his keyboard.

Anna Streeter, one of the young organizers of the rally, told LifeSiteNews that more than 100 Crusaders showed up on March 22 to rally against abortion legislation.

On March 20, activists from Illinois Right to Life, Pro-Life Action League, Illinois Family Institute, and other groups rallied to oppose two bills — HB2467 and HB2495 — that seek to repeal Illinois’s parental notification law and lift the state ban on late-term abortions. Hundreds of pro-lifers filled the state capitol that day. According to Illinois Right to Life, the bills would also rid the books of other abortion regulations. According to the Daily Herald, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) plans to “make Illinois the most progressive state in the nation for access to reproductive health care.” Pro-lifers fear that Illinois will thus attract more women seeking abortion because a new state law would mean that the taxpayer-supported Medicaid program would fund them.

The words of the Coventry Carol, which Fr. Zuhlsdorf called a “lullaby of perfect pain,” are as follows:

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his owne sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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French archbishop ‘delighted’ to participate in dedication of mosque

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Grand Mosque of Reims was inaugurated March 14 in the presence of Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, who joined a host of local authorities, the mosque’s imam as well as a number of foreign financiers of the 3,750-square meter (about 40,000 square feet) complex that lies in the Saint-Anne area of the historic French town.

The Catholic archbishop gave a short speech and even posted his words on his Facebook page, saying he was “delighted” for the Muslim community of Reims.

Reims, a medium-sized provincial town in northeast France, has about 180,000 inhabitants of whom some 37,000 are part of the Muslim community, according to figures quoted by local media in 2014, when the Grand Mosque first opened to worshippers.

Its official inauguration was delayed for nearly five years in order to allow all interested parties and financial backers to take part, once the finishing touches were made. It is the largest mosque in France, built in a highly symbolic location.

Clovis, the first Christian king of the Francs, was a pagan. He was baptized in Reims on Christmas Day somewhere between 496 and 506 (historians differ on this point) by Remi, the saintly bishop of Reims, together with 3,000 warriors. His baptism is considered to be the founding event of what would become the Catholic kingdom of France, at a time when the chiefs of Gaul and most of the bishops favored the Arian heresy.

On the day Clovis was to be received into the Catholic Church, the crowd was so dense that it was impossible to bring the Holy Chrism for the sacrament. Miraculously, a dove – assimilated to the Holy Spirit Himself – descended toward the baptismal fonts, bringing in its beak of vial of oil, the “Sainte Ampoule,” which has been used since then to anoint the kings of France.

Thirty-five French kings were anointed in Reims up to the 19th century. The 14th-century Cathedral building still stands, beautifully restored despite heavy damage in the First World War. Visitors can admire the spot where St. Joan of Arc stood in 1429, under the the altar on the north side, having unfurled her white banner while Charles the VII was anointed king.

So in a way, the presence of an enormous mosque and cultural center, with a 14-meter-high minaret and room for 2,000 worshippers (more than 1,000 gather there each Friday), appears to many French people as a sort of act of defiance on the part of Islam, which is gaining more strength in secularized France.

The Grand Mosque of Reims was partly financed by gifts from the local Muslim community and a construction loan, but the larger part of the seven million euro project was funded by Kuwait and Qatar, whose representatives joined the local imam, sub-prefect and mayor of Reims – as well as the Catholic archbishop – for the official opening ceremony.

According to Joachim Veliocas, a French observer of Islam, the Grand Mosque has links with the Muslim Brotherhood. Jihad preacher Hani Ramadan gave a talk there in May 2015.

It is in the light of this that Archbishop de Moulins-Beaufort’s remarks should be considered.

Here is what the archbishop said:

“You have done me a great honor in inviting me to share your joy on this day. I receive this joy thinking also of my predecessor, Mgr. Thierry Jordan, who supported your project right from the start.

“Together with me, the Catholics of Reims are delighted that you can glorify God the creator and the merciful in this place, confide in him with your joys and sorrows, your hopes and plans, dilating your hearts so that they can be purified of all bad feelings and go towards the other full of strength, in peace and with trust.

“Both you and we want to be seekers of God, and to carry out his holy and bountiful will, because in him we recognize the quintessential friend of man, who will not leave us to our mediocrity but who always broadens us.

“I believe that our country has a true force of social cohesion. The reaction of the population after a number of terrorist attacks has globally proved that. But there is also latent violence, and sometimes, this violence erupts. Our churches and our mosques, our places of prayer and of teaching must be places where everyone can draw strength, energy and generosity to go towards the other with respect and esteem, and trust, and the desire to build together.

“May the joy of this day illuminate the life of the Muslims of Reims for a very long time and may it be the guarantee that our town shall always be a town of trusting mutual relations, full of new projects.”

The project of converting the people of Reims to Christ doesn't appear to fit in with this language.

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2019 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
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‘LGBTQ Ministry’ dominates the agenda yet again at LA religious ed conference

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By Lisa Bourne

LOS ANGELES, California, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (LA REC) provided a platform for LGBT affirmation in conflict with Catholic teaching again this year.

The LA REC is billed as the largest gathering of its kind in the United States, with between 20,000 and 40,000 attendees, and has built a reputation through its presentations for liturgical novelty and dissenting speakers, particularly on LGBT issues.

Catholics have expressed concern and some have protested, beginning decades ago, the problematic offerings.

Of the 10 LGBT-themed workshops on the program this year, nine were categorized as LGBTQ Ministry. Workshop descriptions showed a focus on LGBT acceptance, with no mention of chastity or Catholic sexual moral principles.

Courage, the Church’s sanctioned apostolate for same-sex attracted Catholics that affirms chastity and Catholic teaching, was not part of the massive REC event.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are gravely immoral and can never be condoned. Individuals experiencing same-sex attraction, which the Church teaches is "objectively disordered," are to be treated with "respect" as children of God. And like all children of God, they are called to live chastely.

The Church teaches that sexual relations are reserved for sacramental marriage, which occurs between one man and one woman, mirroring Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride.

Workshops from Father James Martin, S.J.; Dr. Arthur Fitzmaurice; and Father Chris Ponnet, director of the Los Angeles archdiocese’s Office of Catholic HIV/AIDS Ministry and its spiritual director for Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons (CMLGP), followed suit from previous years in LGBT affirmation.

The idea conveyed was that to welcome LGBT-identifying individuals into the Church they must be taken as they are and their sexual orientation, which they do not choose, is to be accepted. But this does not include counseling chastity.

Chastity is pushed too much on LGBT persons, REC workshop attendees were told, and this is a double standard from what’s applied to straight individuals. It was not clear if this meant that all persons, LGBT or not, should be free to abandon the Church’s teaching on chastity.  

Workshop attendees were told on one hand that LGBT individuals’ sexual orientation was a part of who they are, but then also that LGBT persons were more than just their sexual orientation, as though they shouldn’t be defined as such.

Martin’s Building Bridges book was promoted as a resource, as were other troubling sources such as activist group GLSEN and a project from radical gay activist Dan Savage, alongside the archdiocese’s CMLGP office.

Catholic Brother Christopher Sale of El Monte, California, left the active homosexual lifestyle and came back to the Church, founding the Brothers of Padre Pio. He spoke with LifeSiteNews about the REC, which he felt called to come to because of the dissenting ideas on sexuality being presented there.

“They seem to be celebrating sodomy and that’s irritating to me,” Brother Christopher said.

Regarding the “born that way” argument frequently floated by LGBT activists, Brother Christopher said, “That’s totally wrong.”

“When they hear my story, it goes against the grain of what they’re preaching,” he said.

A local Catholic man who requested anonymity expressed concern to LifeSiteNews about the LGBT-affirming programming at the REC; that it had the blessing of Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, and the harm that it could do in influencing Catholics at the event.

“They’re presenting one side,” he said. “It implies that it’s legit, it’s valid.”

“By not presenting the faithful, orthodox side,” the Catholic gentleman said, “people aren’t hearing it, and they’re forgetting it.”  

It’s very disturbing that this is allowed by Church leadership, he continued, and this means the lay faithful must be that much stronger in their faith.

“Of course you won’t be finding any presence of Courage or Encourage at the REC,” a local Catholic woman stated. “No speakers will suggest that those with same-sex attraction can live chaste lives.”

The woman, who also requested her name be withheld, added, “Sadly it’s hard to find Courage groups in places like L.A., where the archdiocese’s own website promotes the very same gay-affirming groups who will be speaking at the REC.”

She quoted St. John Paul II from a prayer vigil at World Youth Day 2000, saying, “It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.” 

More information on the Courage apostolate can be found HERE.

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Meghna Gopalan
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High school student wins Girl Scouts’ highest honor for pro-abortion activity

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By Martin Barillas

March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Meghna Gopalan, a student at Basis Tucson North High School in Arizona, received the Girl Scouts Gold Award (the organization’s highest) for helping to raise funds and increase participation in the January 2018 Women’s March in Tucson.

In a story published by Tucson.com, Gopalan said she won the award by hosting an event “to educate people about and de-stigmatize access to women's healthcare.”

She also said she has been cooperating with El Rio Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) on “reproductive health justice” since becoming interested in the issue after viewing the nomination hearings of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Kavanaugh was opposed by progressives and Planned Parenthood because of his presumed pro-life leanings.

While the Girl Scouts organization has disavowed official connections to contraception and abortion providers, according to the pro-life MyGirlScoutCouncil.com, the organization has maintained relationships with Planned Parenthood for decades and celebrated pro-abortion and progressive politicians such as Michelle Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

MyGirlScoutCouncil.com — which was founded by former Girl Scouts — has noted that the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) official curriculum promotes abortion advocates such as Madeleine Albright, Geraldine Ferraro, Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem.

In 2018, GSUSA encouraged Girl Scouts to participate in the Women's March, which was directed against President Donald Trump and featured thousands of women wearing pink “pussyhats.” Pro-life women were excluded.

According to Breitbart News, Christy Volanski of MyGirlScoutCouncil.com said of the ties between the Girl Scouts and the abortion industry, “At the very least, it’s a cozy relationship.”

MyGirlScoutCouncil.com has chronicled the decades-long relationship between Planned Parenthood and GSUSA. Even so, Girls Scouts USA maintains that with regard to abortion, birth control and sexuality, it “does not take a position or develop materials on these issues.”

The organization also denies it has “a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.” But GSUSA has also been linked to Marie Stopes International, an organization that provides abortions around the world.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Ann Saladin of MyGirlScoutCouncil.com said she has been unable to establish a direct financial link between GSUSA and Planned Parenthood. However, she said there is plenty of evidence of “political and cultural links” between the Girl Scouts and abortion providers and progressive causes.

The Girl Scouts website, for example, proclaims that “(e)very Girl Scout and Girl Guide organization is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts — and each Member Organization, including Girl Scouts of the USA, pays dues.” The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) advocates globally for abortion rights and sex education. Girl Scouts USA has compared its participation in WAGGGS to the U.S. membership in the United Nations.

LifeSiteNews interviewed Rochelle Focaracci, a former leader of a Girl Scout troop who said that the national organization’s “money trail” to abortion is indisputable. Focaracci, co-editor of GirlScoutsWhyNot.com, said Girl Scouts USA pays an annual membership fee of $1.8 million to WAGGS.

“WAGGGS advocates for contraception and ‘abortion rights’ on behalf of its girl members,” she said.

Focaracci said WAGGGS is also tied to the UN Population Fund and its agenda, which includes free access to abortion and contraception for minors, sexual education for children, and protection of “right to privacy” to permit minors to hide their pregnancies and abortions from parents.

Additionally, Girl Scout councils and individual troops at the local level are allowed to cooperate with Planned Parenthood. In an October 2004 video, erstwhile Girl Scouts USA CEO Kathy Cloninger said that Girl Scouts does indeed partner with Planned Parenthood.

“We partner with many organizations,” Cloninger said. “We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs, and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country, to bring information-based sex education programs to girls.”

Recent activity by GSUSA includes a partnership with the Teen Vogue Summit, according to MyGirlScoutCouncil.com, which focused on reproductive justice and LGBTQ rights. Teen Vogue Summit featured former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, current Planned Parenthood youth organizer Sharim Hossain, and Andrea Archibald of GSUSA.

March 10 was “Girl Scout Sunday” when many Girl Scouts attend Sunday divine services in uniform. The website of Girl Scouts of West Central Florida noted, for example, that the purpose of Girl Scout Sunday is to emphasize that each Girl Scout  “will try to serve God.” The website asserted that the “Motivating Force in Girl Scouting is Spiritual,” and quoted the preamble of the GSUSA constitution: “We, the members of Girl Scouts of the United States of America, united by a belief in God and by acceptance of the Girl Scout Promise and Law … ”

According to the Girl Scout Blue Book, however, GSUSA does not seek to define who “God” is. The Blue Book says GSUSA “makes no attempt to define or interpret the word ‘God’ in the Girl Scout Promise. It looks to individual members to establish for themselves the nature of their spiritual beliefs. When making the Girl Scout Promise, individuals may substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs for the word ‘God.’"

Some churches and pro-life organizations have expressed concerns about GSUSA’s connections to the abortion industry. For example, Missouri Right to Life notes on its website: “Because Girl Scouts USA promotes, both directly and indirectly through other organizations, policies and behaviors clearly contradictory to the goals and purposes of Missouri Right to Life, Missouri Right to Life urges citizens to consider carefully whether to participate in Girl Scouts or support them in any way.”

In 2016, Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis issued a letter to his diocese saying GCUSA promotes values “incompatible” with the Gospel.   

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Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
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Gay porn priest reinstated in troubled Buffalo diocese

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By Doug Mainwaring

BUFFALO, New York, March 25, 2019, LifeSiteNews — Despite being under fire for multiple alleged coverups of clergy sex abuse, the Diocese of Buffalo has returned a priest with penchant for male pornography to service.   

Bishop Richard J. Malone reinstated Fr. Robert A. Stolinski, saying “allegations of child sexual abuse” against the priest “have not been substantiated.”

While the Bishop’s statement noted that the decision is based on recent reports of  investigators as well as the advice and recommendations of the independent Diocesan Review Board, the fact remains that Stolinski has a long, troubling history of indulging in male pornography, including pornography depicting “sexual acts between men and male teenagers.”

A confidential 2012 report to Bishop Malone obtained and published by Buffalo’s 7 Eyewitness News I-Team describeD two separate incidents where pornography was discovered in rectories where Fr. Stolinski resided:

Father Robert Stolinski was a resident at the parish where Father Joseph Bisonette was killed several years ago. When the police investigated, they found a great deal of pornography (male homosexual pornography not involving children). Father Stolinski was counseled. A short time later, there was come financial improprieties and he was fond to have been binge shopping. He was then sent to Southdowns for analysis and counseling.

The report continued:

In 2009, Bishop Edward Grosz received complaints from parish personnel that they had found pornography in Father Stolinski’s room at St. James Parish in Jamestown. The pornography involved sexual acts between men and male teenagers, but not child pornography.  

In both cases, Stolinski was sent to Southdown, a treatment center in Canada that counsels priests plagued by depression, addictions, and sexual disorders.  

After the second episode, the Jamestown parish was informed that Stolinski was “retiring for health reasons.”

Until Stolinski was placed on leave last June amid the most recent allegations of sexual abuse, he assisted at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Niagara Falls.

“Bishop Malone, how dare you”

The Twittersphere erupted in response to Bishop Malone reinstating Fr. Stolinski.

“Fr. Stolinski found at least twice with large stash of male gay porn,” tweeted Church Militant/St. Michael’s Media, “but it didn't involve kids, so Bishop Malone put him back in active ministry.”

“Bishop Malone, how dare you put Fr. Stolinski back into active ministry after gay porn is found,” asked Ruben Trevizo in a Tweet. “We go to priests for spiritual direction, and find out they have more problems than us.”

“BLIND GUIDES!” added Trevizo.  

“‘....male teenagers’  Last I checked, unless they are 18 or 19, teenagers are CHILDREN!” declared EnoughsEnough. “At every corner Church leadership strives to minimize criminal activity  and defend criminals.”

“Malone is CLEARLY incapable,” observed another Twitter user. “A priest with teen porn is ok because it’s not technically child porn? The continuing placement of sexual predators is not ok anymore right?”

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Izoduwa 'Izzy' Montague
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Christian mom sues UK primary school for forcing LGBT Pride celebrations on kids

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, England, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A London mother is suing the primary school that victimized her son after she objected to its Pride celebrations.

According to The Sunday Times, Izoduwa “Izzy” Montague, 35, is seeking a “five-figure sum” from the governors of Heavers Farm Primary School in Croydon, a district in the south of London. Montague has also made a formal complaint against the school to Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary for England and Wales.  

“We have to make sure parents are back in control of what happens to their children in the school system,” Montague told The Sunday Times. “I don’t think we wave them goodbye at the school gates and say ‘do what you like with them.’”

She accused the school of “the systematic proselytization of its young and vulnerable pupils.”

Last summer, Montague (also known as Adhedo) was one of a group of parents who complained when their children were compelled to take part in Heavers Farm Primary School’s LGBT “Proud to Me” event on June 29.

According to a statement released last year by the UK’s Christian Legal Centre (CLC), some of the parents, including Montague, said they were treated “dismissively” and “victimized” after their objections.

Montague is being represented by the CLC. Last November, CLC’s Robert Kiska told LifeSiteNews that when the mother met with Susan Papas, the “head teacher” of Heavers Farm Primary School in September to discuss her concerns, she was confronted by a teacher – Papas’ own daughter – wearing an aggressively pro-LGBT T-shirt.

The t-shirt asked, “‘Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic, when you can just be quiet?’”  

On October 8, the school sent Montague a letter “which basically dismisses her complaint,” Kiska said, arguing that since corporate Pride events are deemed acceptable, they are acceptable in schools.

On the same day, Montague’s five-year-old son was “for the first time in his life” given a detention – for three hours. The next day he was put in detention for one hour.

On October 12, Montague came to the school to discuss her son’s treatment, but she was barred from the building.

“They (staff) deemed her to be uncooperative and hostile,” Kiska told LifeSiteNews.

Montague and her husband, Shane, then removed their child from the school.  

Speaking for all of the parents who have complained, CLC said Heavers Farm Primary School is “forcing a very aggressive LGBT agenda onto children under 12 years of age in a manner which abuses parental rights and victimizes parents.”

The charity also stated that many of the concerned parents are reluctant to speak to the press for fear that their children will be “further victimized and/or expelled.”

In a statement made through CLC, Montague said she felt bullied after making known her concerns about her child’s participation in the LGBT event.

“After I complained about my young child being forced to take place in an event that goes against our Christian beliefs, the school’s attitude towards me changed completely. I know other parents who are afraid to speak up because of how the school has treated me,” she said.

“It was like being bullied. They stopped treating me like any other parent but were antagonistic towards me. I believe that they retaliated against me unreasonably by excluding me from the premises, victimizing my child and not taking my safeguarding concerns seriously,” she continued.

“I wasn’t even trying to stop the Pride event. I just wanted my child to receive an education, rather than indoctrination.”

LifeSiteNews contacted CLC to confirm that Izoduwa Adhedo and Izoduwa Montague are the same woman.

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The limits of papal authority and the fate of a heretical pope: an exclusive interview with Bishop Schneider

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Athanasius Schneider recently published an essay in which he considers and rejects the possibility of the theological opinion that the Church could depose a heretical pope.

In his essay (which may be viewed here), the auxiliary of Astana considers that, far from reflecting an exaggerated ultramontanism, the acceptance of the possibility of a heretical pope but the denial that he could be deposed reflects a reasoned and proportionate understanding of papal authority.

In an exclusive interview with LifeSite, Bishop Schneider expands on certain questions which arose in response to his essay: the authority of those theologians with whom he disagrees, the scope for debate in regard to this question, and the abuses which have arisen since the beginning of the last century from an exaggerated view of papal authority. 

Here below is our interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

LifeSite: Your Excellency, can you please summarize in a nutshell the position you lay out in your essay on the question of a heretical pope? 

Bishop Schneider: The main idea of the essay is the following: A pope cannot be deposed by anyone and he cannot lose his office ipso facto for whatever reason. The Church has observed this truth for two thousand years and it has never happened that a pope was deposed because of heresy or that his pontificate was declared invalid because of heresy. No reason whatsoever, even if proposed by a saint or famous theologian – which nevertheless remains only an opinion and not a doctrine of the Church — justifies a breach with this unshakable constant tradition. It would introduce the revolutionary novelty of declaring a pope deposed or the loss of his office because of heresy.

The other main idea is to propose a concrete canonical procedure that could be executed in the case of a heretical or a semi-heretical pope — a procedure that will not contradict the Divine constitution of the Church. This proposal is meant only as an impulse and contribution to further theological and canonical debate.

The other relevant intention of the essay is to raise awareness about the already centuries-old erroneous and unhealthy state of papal-centrism or papolatry, i.e. about the phenomenon of an inflated concept of papal authority in the life of the Church.This phenomenon represents to some extent a caricature of the papal ministry. It makes the pope the omnipresent focal point of the daily life of the Church on a worldwide scale and insinuates that a pope can never make a mistake. A new kind of a total papal infallibility is thereby established, and unconsciously turns the pope into a kind of demigod. Such a phenomenon is alien to the sane tradition of the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church. It is indeed time to sound a warning cry in this regard. 

Why have you decided to publish this essay now?

In recent times, there have been discussions about the theory or opinion on a heretical pope on the internet and in other media. I have received letters from many people, even from serious theologians, who want to discuss the matter and know my approach to it. 

I noticed that to some degree there was a lack of clarity of thought, a tendency to base reasoning on emotion, and solutions proposed that in their final consequences contain the dangerous principles of sedevacantism and conciliarism.

The opinion that a heretical pope can be deposed or lose his office ipso facto because of heresy ultimately contradicts the Divine constitution of the Church, which says that the power given to the pope comes directly from God and not from the Church, i.e. not from an ecclesiastical institution (college of cardinals or a council). In times of widespread doctrinal confusion and an unprecedented crisis regarding the papal magisterium, there is a danger of losing one’s emotional calm and intellectual clarity and sobriety — qualities that are indispensable for finding in a sure manner the way out of the crisis — amid the noise of a growing number of increasingly loud and discordant voices. 

What is the highest authority in the tradition which explicitly agrees with your position?

For me the highest authority is the constant Tradition of the Church, which has never officially taught that a pope can legitimately be deposed for any reason whatsoever, and which has never carried out such a deposition in practice. Regarding a so-called papolatry and exaggerated papal-centrism, it is again the sane and sure Tradition of the Fathers of the Church and of the popes of the first millennium that contradicts it.

Do you think a Catholic in good standing could hold that an ecumenical council or the cardinals could bring it about that a pope was deposed, even though you personally hold that this opinion is false? In other words, is it a question open to legitimate debate among Catholic theologians? 

Since the supreme authority of the Church, i.e. the Papal Magisterium or the Magisterium of an Ecumenical Council, has not yet up to now issued relevant teachings or binding norms on how the Church ought to treat a pope who is spreading heresies or semi-heresies, the possibility remains of a legitimate debate among Catholic theologians.

What would you say to someone who holds that the authority of Cajetan, Suarez, John of St. Thomas and Bellarmine is so great that it doesn’t make sense for someone to take your authority over theirs?

I did not intend by my essay to impose my opinion an anyone. My intention was to provide an impetus and to offer a contribution to a serious debate on this concrete issue. The authority even of renowned theologians is nonetheless an opinion. Their opinions do not represent the voice of the Magisterium — and surely not the voice of the constant and universal Magisterium of the Church. 

As I mentioned in my essay, there were well-known theologians who, for a considerable time, taught an objectively erroneous opinion about the matter of the sacrament of Orders, i.e. that the matter of this sacrament was the handing over of the instruments, an opinion which was absent during the entire first millennium. The handing over of the instruments was even not practiced during the first millennium in the entire Church in the East and West. 

The aforementioned theologians do not present the proof of the universality and antiquity of the entire Church, which is necessary in such an important question.

Do you think that Bellarmine’s advancement of the position that God will not allow a pope to be a formal heretic is just a pious opinion or an erroneous theologian opinion? 

We have to consider the fact that, in the time of St Robert Bellarmine, there was still a theological debate underway about the concrete limits and mode of exercising the charisma of the infallibility in the Papal Magisterium. I am inclined to assume that St Robert Bellarmine thought that the Pope could not pronounce a formal heresy when teaching definitively or, using the terminology of the First Vatican Council, when teaching “ex cathedra.”

The practical steps you propose emphasize the work of individuals who might correct a pope, but also included is the notion of a group of bishops collectively doing so. Is this the same as the classic Dominican idea of an ‘imperfect council’ of bishops that could investigate charges of papal heresy?

I categorically reject the idea of a so-called ‘imperfect council’ of bishops. The term in itself is theologically contradictory and essentially represents the heresy of “conciliarism” or “synodality” in the manner of the Orthodox churches.

The idea of a body in the Church that would exercise the role of an investigating judge and pronounce judgement over the Pope, who is the visible head of the Church, contradicts the Divine constitution of the Church. In the end, this is the method employed by the Orthodox Church. This approach was the deepest root of the Great Oriental Schism in 1054 between the Greek Church and the Holy See. At the time, the Patriarch of Constantinople, along with his synod, investigated in a type of “imperfect council” charges of alleged papal heresies. 

My proposal to issue a correction to the Pope corresponds to the example of St Paul in his correction of the first Pope, St Peter, and does not represent a judgement over the Pope. There is a subtle but crucial difference between a correction — a fraternal correction — even in a public form, and the act of an investigating judge and who pronounces a verdict. 

The correction I have in mind could also be expressed by a group of bishops, but not as a formally assembled group. It would rather be a matter of collecting their individual consensus on the fact of the heresy or the semi-heresy of a pope — of compiling then their signatures and commissioning one of them to transmit the correction to the pope. This is not a judicial investigation process of the pope, but a verification of an obvious fact. In substance, such a correction would have the same meaning as did St Paul’s correction of St Peter. Yet in this case, it would be done in a collective manner by a group of cardinals or bishops, or even faithful.  

Would you say that the question is at least doubtful enough that it would be rash and gravely imprudent to attempt to depose a heretical pope?

It would contradict the Divine constitution of the Church and would on a practical level inevitably create enormous confusion, as happened during the Great Schism at the end of the 14thand the beginning of the 15thcenturies. We have to learn from history.

How important is it that an ecumenical council posthumously condemn a heretical pope? 

We already have the example of three Ecumenical Councils, which posthumously condemned Pope Honorius I. This is surely important, and the Church must stop the spread of heresies or erroneous and ambiguous teachings which a heretical, a semi-heretical or a highly negligent pope has left behind him after his death. Indeed, the Church has never tolerated for a lengthy period of time the existence and spread of heresies or doctrinal ambiguities. Likewise, a good mother will not tolerate harmful food for her children, and a good physician will not tolerate the spread of infectious diseases. Heresies and ambiguous doctrines in the life of the Church are nothing less than harmful food and infectious disease.  

You raise the issue of how an inflated concept of papal authority encouraged novelties in the Roman Liturgy? Do you think that Pius X, Pius XII and Paul VI exceeded their authority as pope in making the liturgical changes which they did? And do you think that the canon of Trent forbidding the creation of new rites binds the Pope as well as other pastors of the Church?

The way in which the constant Tradition of the Church and all the popes until the beginning of the 20thcentury behaved should be a sure indication. In fact, the Church for nineteen centuries never made drastic, inorganic or revolutionary changes to the lex orandi, i.e. the Sacred Liturgy. 

The fact that the manner of liturgical celebrations is not strictly-speaking a dogmatic or, as people say today, a pastoral issue, does not mean that a pope can therefore execute a revolutionary liturgical reform. Here, the Oriental or the Orthodox churches are an outstanding example of an extremely diligent and somewhat scrupulous approach to liturgical reforms. In my opinion, the aforementioned popes abused their power by implementing radical and inorganic liturgical reforms. The radical nature of these reforms were alien to the entire Tradition of the Church in both East and West for nineteen centuries, i.e. until the beginning of the 20thcentury.

The canons of the Council of Trent, which forbade the creation of new rites in the celebration of the sacraments, referred to such revolutionary and inorganic liturgical reform. In this sense these canons should be observed by all popes, even though they are not strictly binding for a pope. Each pope should, however, consider these canons of the Council of Trent as an appeal of the proven wisdom of the constant and sure Tradition of the Church. It would be a sign of audacity and of papal absolutism and therefore of imprudence not to follow this advice. 

There is a well-known principle dating back to the time of the Apostles and first popes which says: “Nihil innovetur, nisi quod traditum est,” i.e., “Let there be no innovation beyond what has been handed down.” It was with these words that I deliberately concluded my essay.

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Disturbing video: Pope Francis refuses to let Catholic faithful kiss his papal ring

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis today made it clear that he doesn’t want the faithful to kiss his papal ring, by repeatedly pulling his hand away from pilgrims who were lined up to greet him reverently during his one-day visit to the Holy House of Loreto.

A disturbing video from the Italian news site TGCOM 24 captured the Pope’s insistence that the laity not show him such reverence.

It’s not known why Pope Francis objects to this. 

The meaning of the ring

A bishop’s ring is a sign of his “marriage” to the diocese over which he rules. Conferred during the rite of consecration, the episcopal ring was historically regarded as emblematic of the mystical betrothal of the bishop to his church. 

The formula used in the rite of consecration of a bishop when he is invested with his ring is laden with such symbolism. According to the rite, the principal consecrator places the ring on the ring finger of the new bishop’s right hand, saying: “Take this ring, the seal of your fidelity. With faith and love protect the bride of God, his holy Church.” The formula dates back to the first millennium.

According to the Council of Nicaea, a bishop was not to be moved from diocese due to the nuptial meaning of the episcopacy. Deserting the church to which he was consecrated and transferring himself to another diocese was regarded as tantamount to “adultery.” 

St. John Fisher (1469-1535), the only cardinal to ever die for the faith, repeatedly refused to be translated to another diocese, even though he had been entrusted with the diocese of Rochester, one of the poorest in England. He said he would not leave his poor old wife,” (the Rochester diocese) for the richest widow (other diocese) in England.” Fisher refused to abandon his diocese and was imprisoned and martyred for refusing to accept the king’s abandonment of his wife.

The gesture of kissing the episcopal ring (called the baciamano in Italian), is a way of reminding the bishop of his promises to his people and their loyalty to him. It is a reminder of the unbreakable nuptial bond between him and his people, and the affection and loyalty for each other. Clergy and laity who kiss a bishop’s ring therefore remind him of his undertakings when he was consecrated to the episcopate.

The Bishop of Rome’s ring — the “Ring of the Fisherman” — is a sign of his husband-father relation to the Church as a whole and is smashed upon the death of a pope. It is also the symbol of the Pope’s investiture of his office. To kiss the “Ring of the Fisherman” therefore alludes to the dignity and office and is an expression of loyalty to him as the Successor of St. Peter.

When Pope Francis received the fisherman’s ring at his installation on March 19, 2013, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and patron of the universal Church, the ring was borne in procession from the tomb of St. Peter where it had been laid. 

As he received it, the following prayer was said: 

Most Holy Father, may Christ, the Son of the living God, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, who built his Church upon rock, grant you the ring, the seal of Peter the Fisherman, who put his hope in him on the sea of Galilea, and to whom the Lord Jesus entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.

Today you succeed the Blessed Apostle Peter as the Bishop of this Church which presides over the unity of charity, as the Blessed Apostle has taught. May the Spirit of charity, poured into our hearts, grant you the gentleness and strength to preserve, through your ministry, all those who believe in Christ in unity and fellowship.

Why the unease?

The episcopal ring symbolizes the unbreakable unity between the bishop and his spouse, the local Church. Pope Francis has shown himself to be uncomfortable with such traditional concepts in the past. 

The Pope has also shown himself to be uncomfortable with other traditional gestures of reverence. 

Shortly after his installation as Pope, he asked a young altar boy piously standing with hands joined if they were “bound together.” Attempting to pull the boy’s hands apart, Pope Francis said to him: “It seems like they’re stuck” (watch video here).

The reason for his aversion to the laity kissing his ring is unclear. 

Pope Francis does seem comfortable with personal expressions of loyalty to his person rather than his office. 

In comments to LifeSite after seeing the video, a source close to the Vatican said: “He doesn’t get that it’s not about him. It’s about the office.” Another observer noted that while Pope Francis is uncomfortable with  the faithful kissing his ring, he has repeatedly welcomed expressions of personal esteem and affection though selfies and hugs.

LifeSite asked Vatican spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, why the Pope did not want the faithful to kiss his ring during his visit to the Holy House of Loreto but has not yet received a response.

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Ohio announces termination of Planned Parenthood funding

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By Calvin Freiburger

March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has notified Planned Parenthood facilities across the state that their state funding is coming to an end. The decision comes after a federal appeals court determined the state can withhold taxpayer dollars from the abortion giant.

Last April, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit ruled that the state could not forbid the distribution of federal health subsidies to any entity that commits or promotes elective abortions, a move which would have defunded 28 Planned Parenthood facilities and deprived Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Southwest Ohio of almost $1.5 million.

Judge Helene White claimed at the time that Planned Parenthood had a “due process right” to commit abortions, and that making tax dollars contingent on not doing so violated its “right not to be penalized in the administration of government programs based on protected activity outside the programs.”

The full 6th Circuit disagreed earlier this month, ruling that an (alleged) constitutional right for women to obtain abortions doesn’t automatically entail a constitutional right for abortionists to commit them. The 6th Circuit's ruling affects six state public health programs in Ohio, but doesn't touch Medicaid.

Accordingly, ODH sent funding termination notices to abortion centers last Thursday, Cleveland.com reports. Planned Parenthood previously received state funding under the auspices of services related to sexual assault, breast and cervical cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and infant mortality.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio CEO Iris Harvey responded to the cuts by calling Republican Gov. Mike DeWine “heartless” in a tweet and releasing a statement accusing Ohio of “put[ting] politics over people, putting them at greater risk.”

ODH Director Amy Acton addressed such concerns in her response to Planned Parenthood’s motion to stay the 6th Circuit’s decision, assuring Ohioans that the department would arrange for the "orderly transition of services to new subrecipients or contractors not affected by” the new law, “thus ensuring continuity of services to Ohioans” by redirecting tax dollars from abortionists to providers not involved in abortion.

According to the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, as of 2015, Federally-Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics outnumbered Planned Parenthood locations 280 to 28. Legitimate women’s healthcare providers similarly outnumber Planned Parenthoods across the United States.

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A huge papier-mâché figure representing a baby in gestation was part of the event. Fernando de la Orden
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Nearly 2 million people join March for Life in Argentina

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By Martin Barillas
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BUENOS AIRES, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Nearly two million Argentines marched for life on Saturday, rallying under the banner "In Defense of the Two Lives," a statement referring to protecting both the life of the mother and her preborn baby.

Clergy joined families and students sporting the signature sky-blue kerchiefs of their movement to protest against proposals to decriminalize abortion in the South American country. In 2018, the Argentine Senate rejected an abortion initiative that would have legalized abortion for unborn babies before the 14th week of pregnancy. The issue has inspired raucous rallies and protests on the part of pro-abortion radicals, which have sometimes degenerated into violence including the use of homemade gasoline bombs.

“This is the beginning of a path that must unite Argentines around saving women and unborn children’s lives,” said Ana Belen Marmona of Unidad Provida, reported Noticias Argentina. Marmona said further, “We’re uniting to tell our representatives, who will debate this issue in Congress, that abortions do not solve anything, that they are a failure of society and a step backward in terms of rights.”  

Over loudspeakers, the chant of “It’s here, it’s here, the voice of the innocent” [Presente, presente, la voz del inocente] reverberated over the multi-lane Avenida del Libertador in Buenos Aires, as countless numbers filled the thoroughfare. The marchers waved the blue and white Argentine banner and signs reading “Save two lives” and “rights for the child.” A huge papier-mâché figure representing a baby in gestation was part of the event. The papier-mâché baby, named “Alma” [soul] was also wearing the kerchief of the pro-life movement, which happens to be the same shade of blue found on Argentina’s flag.

The cast of thousands began marching at about 2:30 pm on Saturday, and wound its way to the law school at the University of Buenos Aires. Participants heard speeches given by leaders of various faiths, as well as experts in law and bio-ethics. There were musical groups on hand, as well as veterans of Argentina’s disastrous war in the Falkland Islands. Veterans cried out: “Thirty-seven years ago we defended our two islands; now we defend two lives.” 

Cecilia Pando, a noted advocate of human rights, told a local radio show that television news did not feature coverage of the march. Organizers of the March told local media that Buenos Aires alone saw three hundred thousand participants, while there were also thousands more in cities across the country, including Rosario, La Plata, and in the various provinces. 

Ayelén Alancay, who leads the Mas Vida pro-life group, called on marchers to report illegal mills where abortions are committed. “The practice of abortion is a mistake that day after day claims more lives. We Argentines want to live, not abort. It doesn’t matter whether you were a planned or unexpected birth, you have a right to life.” 

The March for Life had cooperation from the Catholic bishops of Argentina, the Christian Alliance of Evangelical Churches of Argentina, and numerous pro-life organizations. 

Argentine President Mauricio Macri is expected to present to Congress a bill to reform the nation’s criminal code, which has been in place since 1921. Currently, Argentina law punishes with a four-year sentence those mothers who consent to or facilitate the abortion of their child. Reform of the criminal code was delayed three times in 2018 because of fears that abortion would be decriminalized. Debate on the bill is expected to continue throughout this year.

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We’re in our last week!

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By John-Henry Westen

With Spring around the corner, you might be looking at doing some ‘spring cleaning’ in the near future. Here at LifeSite, we are doing our own form of ‘spring cleaning’ as our mission compels us to expose and sanitize the lies and distortions of the mainstream media regarding life and family news developments.

We have JUST 5 days left in our fundraising campaign – and a huge $156,000 still left to raise. A gift, of any size, from you today would be a big help to the LifeSite mission!

Your donation today funds a mission that is truly unique.

But, don’t take our word for it! Here is just a small sampling of comments that have come in from our family of supporters in the past few days:

  • "Your reporting is essential to my life!  Thank you for all you do. I appreciate the John-Henry Westen version, as I am not Catholic and cannot relate to much of the Catholic-hierarchy news. I am sharing your articles left and right, as many other subscribers probably are, and that is why you are growing!  I hope every reader donates $100 today." - Christa, USA

  • "You are my daily go-to site … I trust your journalism, you have become one of my #1 sources  … thank you and God Bless you all, greetings from Bavaria/Germany!" - Margit, Germany

  • "I have just discovered you this year and I am so thankful for all you do. I have been wondering why we...cannot make a difference in the lives of our communities. Now, with your help, it is apparent. We cannot give what we don’t have...Men of faith produce men of faith. May God Bless you all."  - Cyndi, USA

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We are one of the only news organizations fighting to save our culture from every angle. With the constant attacks on life, the complete degradation of the family, the disregard for parental rights, and crises within the Catholic and other churches, there has never been a greater need for a mission like ours.

With only 5 days left to reach our goal of $275,000, we need each of our readers to increase their commitment to this, your news service, with a gift of support.

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We are humbled by the role we play in the culture war, and we approach our work as missionaries for truth - not merely as employees with a job to do. Every penny we raise through your support goes back into our reporting.

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Utah governor signs law to ban Down syndrome abortions if courts sign off

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By Calvin Freiburger

SALT LAKE CITY, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert signed a law Friday that will ban abortions sought specifically due to a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome once a federal court upholds other states’ power to do the same.

House Bill 166 forbids abortionists from committing abortions motivated “solely because the unborn child had or may have had Down syndrome.” It would not take effect until after a “court of binding authority holds that a state may prohibit the abortion of an unborn child” sought for Down syndrome, meaning not until similar bans in other states have overcome legal challenges.

The measure passed the state House 54-15 and the state Senate 20-6, and Herbert signed it into law without comment Friday, the Associated Press reports. Herbert, who has described himself as a “pro-life guy,” said Down syndrome is “probably not a good reason” to have an abortion.

Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder typically associated with physical growth delays, distinct facial traits, and often intellectual disability. Despite its challenges, a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that 99% of people with Down syndrome described themselves as “happy,” and only 4% of parents with Down children expressed regret about having their children.

Yet around the world, Down syndrome is seen as a justification for aborting preborn children. The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that abortion reduces the Down community in the United States by 30%. It has been estimated that 90% of babies in Great Britain to receive a Down syndrome diagnosis are aborted, 65% in Norway, virtually 100% in Iceland, and 95% in Spain.

“In recent years there has been a shocking increase in abortions performed for no other reason than because a prenatal test identified the potential for a trait a parent didn’t like,” state Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, the bill’s sponsor, said in February. “For a society that claims to uphold tolerance and inclusiveness, it appears we still have a long way to go.”

The law’s trigger language means that it shouldn’t provoke a legal battle, but the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently filed a federal lawsuit against Kentucky for its ban on abortions based on Down syndrome as well as race, sex, and other disabilities, which could lead to the Utah measure either taking effect or being tabled indefinitely.

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Cardinal Roger Mahony speaks at LA REC in Los Angeles, March 2019 Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews.com
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Cardinal who covered-up sex-abuse speaks at L.A. Archdiocese’ religious ed conference

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By Lisa Bourne

LOS ANGELES, California, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – With Cardinal Roger Mahony’s problematic history of cover-up with sex abuse cases during his time as head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, it’s expected that Catholics would be scandalized by his appearance over the weekend at the archdiocese’s massive annual Religious Education Congress (LA REC). 

Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roeback Morse concurred with the impropriety of Mahony’s appearance at the LA REC. 

“The cardinal has become a symbol of the mishandling of sex abuse complaints,” Morse said in a statement to LifeSiteNews. “For him to address a Catholic education conference at this time is wildly inappropriate.” 

Mahony’s mishandling of abuse cases became public record upon the 2013 court-ordered release of archdiocesan files in the wake of a 2007 sex abuse lawsuit settlement, for which the LA Archdiocese had to fund the largest payout for sex abuse claims in Church history ($660 million). 

Following the documents’ release, Mahony was admonished by his successor, Los Angeles’ current Archbishop Jose Gomez, and pulled from having “any administrative or public duties” in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Nonetheless, Mahony, who has flouted the restriction, and is a known campaigner on immigration, gave a workshop at the LA REC on Saturday on the issue. The Los Angeles archdiocese’s event takes place each year in nearby Anaheim in the Diocese of Orange.

LifeSiteNews delivered two petitions to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Friday in opposition to Mahony’s appearance – LifeSite’s petition of more than 5,800 names, and another petition with more than 4,300 signatures gathered by the Ruth Institute. 

While Mahony has reportedly apologized for his handling of sex abuse cases, met with victims, and established a victims assistance office - the wounds of the sex abuse crisis remain fresh and he still embodies for many the hierarchy’s mishandling of abuse cases. It’s this, but also other aspects of the controversial cardinal’s history that have some Catholics dismayed at Catholics at Mahony’s appearing at the REC, as though nothing were wrong.

“I am still disappointed that Mahony is still speaking,” one local Catholic told LifeSiteNews on the first day of the three-day adult section of the gathering. 

Catholics are supposed to be supportive and forgiving, a local Catholic man told LifeSiteNews, but the situation with Mahony is different, because of the harm done to sex abuse victims.

“He could be doing some other kind of penance, not out in public,” the man said regarding Mahony. “It implies that what he did is okay.”

Both Catholics requested anonymity in their comments.

In at least one other REC workshop that was focused on the Church’s handling of the sex abuse scandal, one Catholic called out during the question and answer period, remarking how Mahony had still been performing Confirmations in the archdiocese despite being suppressed from public ministry.

Real life consequences

The local Catholic continued to cite other issues with Mahony for LifeSiteNews. 

This included barring the Church’s only sanctioned ministry for same-sex attracted Catholics Courage, and its companion Encourage program for family members, she said. The woman, who has a child who struggles with same-sex attraction, said this act directly impacted her family negatively since it left them with only LGBT-affirming groups to choose from.

“Not only did he cover up the sex abuse in LA,” the Catholic said, “not only did he propose and push horrible liturgical changes in our parishes in Los Angeles .…” 

She then referenced Mahony’s 1997 document on the liturgy, in which he calls for an Americanized liturgy that ignores the meaning of the Mass as a sacrifice. His writings prompted criticism from EWTN foundress Mother Angelica, to which Mahony responded by angrily seeking her censure with various Vatican offices unless she would publicly apologize, even broaching threats of denying Mother the sacraments.

No Courage, but other LGBT-affirming programs are okay  

The local Catholic woman’s list on Mahony went on.

“Not only did he forbid Courage and Encourage from being in LA,” she said. “But instead he brought in so many gay-affirming anti-Catholic ministries to LA.”

It was only after Mahony’s time that the Courage apostolates would receive a blessing and be allowed to minister within the archdiocese.

The local Catholic man is also the parent of a child who struggles with same-sex attraction, and he too recalled for LifeSiteNews that Mahony wasn’t supportive of Courage and Encourage.

“Overall he was not supportive of traditional teaching,” he said.

The Courage apostolates work to uphold the Church’s teaching on sexuality, which is that all Catholics - gay or straight, married, single, celibate and ordained – are called to live chastely. Courage’s programming stands largely alone in upholding this teaching in the area of homosexuality. Many "support" groups for Catholics who struggle with same-sex attraction espouse acting upon their attractions under the guise of being welcoming, accepting, and accompanying. This has meant some quarters in the Church have actually acted to suppress Courage, while “accompanying” same-sex attracted Catholics into acting on their inclinations is pushed at venues such as the LA REC.

Mahony is lauded on the archdiocese’s Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons (CMLGP) webpage.

While Courage and Encourage have since gained Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez’ blessing to be available to Catholics, the Mahony legacy persists, and other LGBT-affirmative groups still have precedence.

“I think it’s easier to find all the other groups,” the Catholic gentleman said, “all the more liberal groups.” “I think in that sense it hadn’t been promoted as it could be,” he added.

The Catholic father further told LifeSiteNews that under Mahony, Mass in the archdiocese started to take different turns, becoming more Protestant, with guitars and clapping, and the Religious Education Congress kept getting more liberal. 

This was evidenced by the closing Mass for this year’s REC, which, when it surfaced on YouTube Sunday, garnered remarks on social media from Catholics for its bizarre liturgical character. 

“It definitely transformed into something that’s not very Catholic, or orthodox,” the local Catholic man told LifeSiteNews of the REC.

Disrespecting abuse victims

Mahony’s appearance at the REC was also not good given the larger picture in the Church right now related to the clergy sex abuse crisis, he said.

“The Church is often accused of forgetting the victims,” the Catholic man said.

“That’s evidence right there that we aren’t being sensitive,” he said of Mahony being given a platform to speak at the REC. “At best we’re being insensitive, at worst, we’re condoning what he did.”

Mahony had caused controversy as well last November at the U.S. Bishops’ fall meeting in Baltimore, which was mainly focused on the abuse scandal, when he took the floor during an open mic session of the meeting and talked for more than five minutes about how he thought the bishops should lead during the abuse crisis.

Mahony was one who refused to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians or homosexual activists who purposely presented themselves for Communion wearing rainbow sashes to protest Church teaching on sexuality. He was among four U.S. bishops to officially welcome them to Communion wearing the sashes.

He is reported, though, to have denied Holy Communion to a young Catholic woman because she approached to receive it on the tongue. 

He also had a group of young pro-life Catholics removed and threatened with arrest at the Los Angeles Cathedral in 2005 during prayerful protest of the inauguration ceremonies being held inside for Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor-elect of Los Angeles, who is pro-abortion while identifying as Catholic.

In the investigation leading to the archdiocese’s abuse settlement, the cardinal was found to have had concealed his knowledge of abusive priests and shielded them from prosecution. He’d also moved some abusers after they’d had counseling, at times out of state to avoid reporting laws, where they were able to abuse again.

He had withdrawn from a scheduled fundraising appearance for Utah’s Catholic diocese in August in anticipation of possible protests over his involvement in covering up clerical sexual abuse.

Mahony had also pulled out from an appearance earlier last year as Pope Francis’ special envoy to the Catholic Diocese of Scranton’s 150th anniversary Mass. Francis had appointed Mahony as his representative at the celebration observed with a Pontifical Mass on March 4 in the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton, and local Catholics had promised to protest the event due to Mahony’s presence.

To respectfully communicate concerns on Mahony’s appearance at the L.A. REC, contact:

Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Office of the Archbishop of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Phone: (213) 637-7534

FAX: (213) 637-6510 
[email protected]

Office of Media Relations
(213) 637-7215
(213) 216-8395
[email protected]

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LifeSite's Lisa Bourne drops off petition to Los Angeles Archdiocese March 22, 2019. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews.com
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LifeSite delivers petitions to L.A. Archdiocese opposing Cdl. Mahony at religious ed conference

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By Lisa Bourne
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Editor’s note: LifeSiteNews appreciates Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse and the Ruth Institute for their collaboration with LifeSiteNews on this petition project

LOS ANGELES, California, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews delivered two petitions to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Friday opposing the scheduled appearance at its massive annual religious education gathering by its controversy-laden former cardinal archbishop who was involved in sex abuse cover-up. 

The two petitions totaling more than 10,000 names protested the archdiocese standing by while retired Cardinal Roger Mahony spoke at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (LA REC) amid the continued devastation of the Church’s clergy sex abuse scandal. Mahony has a contentious history of cover-up with sex abuse cases, which resulted in his having been removed from public duties in the archdiocese several years ago by its current leader, Archbishop José Gómez.

The event ran from Thursday through Sunday, and Mahony gave a workshop at the LA REC on Saturday titled, “Connecting Junior High and High School Students with the Volatile Immigration Issues.” 

LifeSite delivered the petitions to the archdiocese located in Los Angeles Friday morning, the opening day of the three-day adult session of the REC.

“It beggars belief that the REC organizers would invite Cardinal Mahony,” LifeSite’s petition stated, “who is known to have covered-up for abuser-priests, to speak on how to connect with children!”

“It is unconscionable that the organizers should have invited Mahony to speak at the REC at all,” it continued. “But, it is all-the-more insulting to the faithful that he should be invited to speak about connecting with youth!”

Addressed to the organizers of the REC, the hard copy of the LifeSite petition that was delivered the archdiocese Friday contained 5893 names and has continued to accumulate signatures. A petition from the Ruth Institute containing some 4300+ names asking Mahony directly to withdraw was delivered along with LifeSite’s petition.

“His participation is a travesty,” the Ruth Institute petition stated, continuing on to list the various reasons why. “Cardinal Mahony should voluntarily withdraw from participating in the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.” 

The LA REC, long known for dissenting presentations and liturgical aberration, along with its repetitive LGBT affirmation, is presented by the LA archdiocese, conducted in the neighboring Diocese of Orange, and promoted as the largest gathering of its kind in the U.S. 

Criticism and concern were intensified this year with the scheduled appearance from Mahony, who led the Los Angeles archdiocese from 1985 until his 2011 retirement. Mahony was found to have had secreted his knowledge of abusing priests and protected the offenders from prosecution, and also moved some abusers after they’d had counseling, at times out of state to skirt reporting laws, where they could abuse again.

Mahony was reproached by Gómez in 2013 following the court-ordered release of archdiocesan files in the wake of a 2007 sex abuse lawsuit settlement, which was the largest payout in Church history ($660 million).

Once the files were released, Gómez publicly removed Mahony going forward from having “any administrative or public duties” in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Mahony, who has flouted the sanction, has reportedly apologized for his handling of sex abuse cases, met with victims, and set up a victims assistance office. 

But critics say this is not enough. 

Because he embodies the Church hierarchy’s mishandling of its abuse scandal, they say, Mahony should not be making public appearances at Church events, and further, it’s a slap in the face to the victims of clerical sex abuse.

Security was at the ready during Mahony’s REC workshop. During the question and answer period, the cardinal avoided engaging the question of one particular participant. Since Mahony did not allow the question, it was not clear whether it was germane to the session topic of immigration. As the man attempted to ask the question, Mahony told him he’d already talked to him and security approached, with Mahony then escorted from the venue via a side entrance.

To respectfully communicate concerns on Mahony’s appearance at the L.A. REC, contact:

Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Office of the Archbishop of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Phone: (213) 637-7534

FAX: (213) 637-6510 
[email protected]

Office of Media Relations
(213) 637-7215
(213) 216-8395
[email protected]

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Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

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Mississippi gov. on signing heartbeat abortion ban: ‘We will all answer to the good Lord one day’

Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

JACKSON, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — When Mississippi’s Gov. Phil Bryant signed the state’s ban on aborting babies with beating hearts last week, he put the debate in perspective by declaring that all participants will eventually have to explain their stances to their Creator.

“We will all answer to the good Lord one day,” Bryant tweeted in response to the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights’ threat to sue Mississippi over the new law. “I will say in this instance, ‘I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under the threat of legal action.”

Bryant signed the bill last week, which makes exceptions only to save a woman’s life or prevent harm to a “major bodily function.” Violators could have their medical licenses suspended or revoked.

“I am very pro-life, always have been,” the governor declared. “I think obviously we’ll have some legal challenges on it. We have legal challenges with every pro-life bill that we have ever passed. We anticipate that. We hope that it will get to the Supreme Court and they will uphold it.”

Bryant has made multiple strong pro-life statements throughout the bill’s journey through the legislature, starting with his late January declaration that it was time to “stop this madness about when life begins.” In February, he declared that he “want[s] Mississippi to be the safest place for an unborn child in America.”

“The heartbeat is the beginning of life...You can’t take that life,” Bryant told Fox & Friends later that month. “This is a human being. They have rights.” Earlier this month, he urged lawmakers to “get this bill to my desk so I can sign it.”

“The pro-life community has waited years for the courts to recognize the obvious ... that a baby with a beating heart is deserving of its life being legally protected,” Republican state senator Angela Hill, one of the bill’s lead sponsors, previously told LifeSiteNews. “I remember how thrilled I was to first hear the heartbeats of my own children. I knew that they were unique individuals growing inside my body. I was just their shelter and their food for (nine) months.”

Numerous states have introduced or enacted heartbeat bills over the past several months. They ban abortion much earlier than the “viability” standard set by Roe v. Wade, which some cite to claim that the bills would waste time and money on a doomed legal battle. Their proponents, however, argue that their purpose is to force a Supreme Court review that could finally overturn the 1973 ruling, hope fueled by the speculation that President Donald Trump’s nominees to the high court are on their side.

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Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. securefreedom via YouTube
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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European Court upholds conviction of woman who condemned Muhammad’s marriage to 6-year-old

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Austrian courts were right to condemn Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff for having sharply criticized the prophet Muhammad’s marriage with a six-year-old girl, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has implicitly decided.

On Tuesday, the jurisdiction in charge of implementing the European Convention on Human Rights, ratified by the 47 member-states of the Council of Europe, refused to refer Sabaditsch-Wolff’s appeal against a Chamber judgment approving the Austrian decision last fall to the Grand Chamber of the Court. The ECHR did not trouble to motivate its refusal.

The ECHR judgment E.S. v. Austria of October 25, 2018, is now final. And as the European Court’s decisions are based on case law, the consequences for free criticism and enunciation of facts regarding Islam and its history in particular will be far-reaching, in particular because the ruling justifies the condemnation in the local Austrian context, where the statements criticizing Muhammad “were likely to disturb the religious peace.”

According to research by the Pew Center in 2016, 6.7 percent of the Austrian population are Muslims, a growing population due to immigration.

Sabaditsch-Wolff, a diplomat’s daughter who has lived and worked in the Middle East, was censured for having spoken at a meeting organized by the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party 10 years ago in Vienna. Her intention was to speak about the treatment of women and the practice of jihad (“Holy War”) in countries such as Iran and Libya, on the basis of her own experience.

During her speech aimed at an audience of about 30 people, she spoke freely about the prophet Muhammad and his relationship with Aisha, whom he saw and desired when she was six years old. He married her on the spot, and the union was consummated when she was nine. He “liked to do it with children,” she said, adding that she had argued with her sister about the words she would use to describe the facts.

She insisted on being straightforward: “A 56-year-old and a six-year-old? What do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?”

A journalist present at the meeting taped her words. His editor-in-chief went on to turn them over to the police, and Sabaditsch-Wolff was indicted for inciting hatred toward Muslims and for having disparaged their prophet as unworthy of veneration.

She was not found guilty of the first violation. But she was condemned for the “disparagement” in 2011 to a 480-euro fine (about 550 U.S. dollars) or up to 60 days imprisonment.

Sabaditsch-Wolff decided to fight the case right up to the European Court as a matter of principle, with the support of the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ), which submitted third-party observations at the ECHR in Strasbourg. The application was lodged in June 2012.

More than six years later, the European Court finally judged the case in a small Chamber formation of seven judges, whose decision will not be examined after the rejection of Sabaditsch-Wolff’s appeal to the Grand Chamber.

The ECHR observed that the meeting at which Sabaditsch-Wolff had proffered the statements was public insofar that it had been announced on the internet and in party flyers, so she should have been careful not to risk offending people who might have decided to come to the meeting while not adhering to the anti-Islamic party line.

While she alleged only to have stated facts about Islam and its history, not wanting to “disparage” Muhammad, the ECHR recalled the arguments of the Regional Court in Austria that condemned her: “The court concluded that the applicant had intended to wrongfully accuse Muhammad of having pedophilic tendencies. Even though criticizing child marriages was justifiable, she had accused a subject of religious worship of having a primary sexual interest in children’s bodies, which she had deduced from his marriage with a child, disregarding the notion that the marriage had continued until the Prophet’s death, when Aisha had already turned 18 and had therefore passed the age of puberty.”

So staying with Aicha, the girl he married when she was six and had relations with when she was nine, justified the fact by hindsight? And the fact that Muhammad had many “other women,” as Sabaditsch-Wolff said at the meeting, is proof enough that his interest was not “pedophilic”?

An Austrian court of appeal later added that the ECHR recalled that “the reason for the applicant’s conviction was not that the events had purportedly taken place more than a thousand years ago, and similar conduct would no longer be tolerable under today’s criminal law and contemporary morals and values, but because the applicant had accused Muhammad of pedophilia by using the plural form “children,” “child sex,” “what do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?” without providing evidence that his primary sexual interest in Aisha was in her not yet having reached puberty. Moreover, there were no reliable sources for that allegation, as no documentary evidence existed to suggest that his other wives or concubines had been similarly young.”

Was her condemnation “an unlawful interference with her right to freedom of expression,” as Sabaditsch-Wolff argued, the more so because her incriminated statements had been “based on facts”?

The Court agreed that there was an “interference with her right to freedom” but justified it in the name of the protection of “religious peace.” It added that a “duty” exists “to avoid as far as possible an expression that is, in regard to objects of veneration, gratuitously offensive to others and profane,” a matter in which member-states have a “large margin of appreciation.”

Unlike in the most secularist member-states of the Council of Europe, Austrian law bans the disparaging of religious symbols.

According to the ECHR, Austria has the right and even the obligation “to ensure the peaceful co-existence of religious and non-religious groups and individuals under its jurisdiction by ensuring an atmosphere of mutual tolerance.” It was also right to have condemned Sabaditsch-Wolff on the basis that she had made a “value judgment,” refusing to agree that her statements had “sufficient factual basis,” even though the story is told by the Hadith collection of Sahih Al-Bukhari of the ninth century, one of the most authoritative sources in Sunni Islam of the “Prophet’s” history.

On March 15, a number of converts from Islam, thinkers, philosophers, lawyers, religious, and specialists of Islam signed an op-ed in the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles in order to voice their “deep concern” about the Sabaditsch-Wolff case, asking the ECHR to accept her appeal in order to clarify the limits of freedom of expression in religious matters, particularly when facts are at stake as well as the freedom of debate based on reason, “be it political or scientific,” as well as “the liberty to criticize religions.” “The future of our civilization is at stake,” they wrote.

They were not successful.

Now that the ECHR has refused to refer the case to the Grand Chamber, Gregor Puppinck of the European Center for Law and Justice has voiced his concern, calling the decision a “severe setback for freedom of expression.” “Indeed, Mrs Sabaditsch-Wolff was condemned for having expressed a disturbing truth,” he wrote in a statement.

Puppinck added: “The ECLJ appeared before the Court and intervened in the press regarding this case. Its aim was not to defend a right to express blasphemous obscenities, but to preserve the ability to say the truth and to denounce errors, even at the risk of displeasing.”

According to Puppinck, the Court’s decision is in no way “accidental,” but instead “indicates a new direction.” “The Court now imposes on States the obligation to ensure ‘the peaceful co‑existence of all religions and those not belonging to a religious group by ensuring mutual tolerance,’” he wrote.

“The Court has not motivated its refusal to refer the affair for an ‘appeal.’ We can only speculate. I see here a shift towards multiculturalism that is prepared to sacrifice freedom of expression to the requirements of ‘living with one another.’ Such a judgment renounces the ideal of justice founded on truth and prefers the arbitrary ideal of ‘tolerance.’ In so doing, it is the judge who decides what can be said on the basis of his own conception of ‘living with one another,’ and of his fear of the reactions of people potentially offended by such words. The future will show whether the ECHR perseveres in the direction of destroying freedoms,” he concluded.

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Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro (left) and President Donald Trump. Palácio do Planalto via Flickr.
Fred Lucas

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Trump press conference with Brazilian president condemns fake news

Fred Lucas
By Fred Lucas

March 25, 2019 (Daily Signal) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized calls by some Democrats and liberals for packing the Supreme Court with more justices and endorsed changes to make social media "fair" to  conservative voices. 

Trump hosted a visit by Brazil's new president, Jair Bolsonaro, to the White House, where they held a joint press conference in the Rose Garden.

Asked about proposals to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court — advanced by a number of Democrats running for president, as well as former Attorney General Eric Holder — Trump said it was a strategy for a political party that can't win elections. 

"If they can't catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to try doing that in a different way," Trump told reporters. "We would have no interest in that whatsoever. That will never happen. It won't happen. I guarantee you it won't happen for six years."

The Senate has confirmed two Trump nominees to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. 

In his opening remarks at the press conference, the Brazilian president sought to express how similar he is to the American president. Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1 and will turn 64 on Thursday, has been called "the Trump of the Tropics."

"May I say that Brazil and the U.S. stand side by side in their efforts to ensure liberty and respect for traditional family lifestyles with respect to God, against the gender ideology, and against politically correct attitudes and against fake news," Bolsonaro said. 

Later in the press conference, Trump picked up the "fake news" theme when addressing social media companies and their suspected censorship of conservatives. 

"You look at the networks, you look at the news, you look at the newscasts. I call it fake news. I'm very proud to hear the [Brazilian] president call it fake news," Trump said. 

"But, you look at what's happening with the networks, you look at what's happening with different shows, and it's hard to believe we win. But I'll tell you what it really shows," he continued. "The people are smart. The people get it. They'll go through all of that — whatever it is they're fed — and in the end, they pull the right lever. It's a very, very dangerous situation."

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., announced Monday he was suing Twitter and some Twitter users for $250 million, claiming the platform was "shadow-banning conservatives."

"Shadow banning" is a term used for blocking a user's content in a way that users wouldn't know they are being blocked. This can come through making content less visible or less prominent.

Trump said he could support a law to hold social media companies liable for what shows up on their platforms. 

"I have many, many millions of followers on Twitter, and it's different than it used to be. Things are happening. Names are taken off. People aren't getting through. You've heard the same complaints," the president said. "It seems to be, if they're conservatives, if they're Republicans, in a certain group, there is discrimination and big discrimination."  

Trump continued: 

I see it absolutely on Twitter and Facebook, which also I see. But I really focus on the one platform. I guess we have almost 60 million [followers] on Twitter. Maybe if you add them all up, it's way over 100 million people. I get to see firsthand what's going on, and it's not good. 

We use the word 'collusion' very loosely all the time. I'll tell you there is collusion with respect to that, because something has to be going on when you get the back-office statements made by the executives at the various companies, and you see the level of — in many cases — hatred they have for a certain group of people that happen to be in power, that happen to have won the election. 

You say that's really unfair. So, something is happening with those groups of folks that [are] running Facebook and Google and Twitter, and I do think we have to get to the bottom of it. It's collusive. It's very fair to say we have to do something about it.

Published with permission from the Daily Signal.

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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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Scottish pro-life students win free speech victory against hostile university

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

March 25, 2019 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — Glasgow's student union has said it will allow a pro-life student society to officially affiliate, after it was forced to admit that refusing the group permission breached equality law.

A long saga

Glasgow Students for Life (GSL) first applied to the Students' Representative Council (SRC) for affiliation in October 2018. They were denied permission the following month. Following this rejection, GSL submitted an equality complaint, arguing that the SRC had directly discriminated against the group of students on account of their beliefs, which is a protected characteristic of the Equality Act 2010. In doing so, the SRC also violated their own Equality and Diversity Policy by denying the group access to their facilities. Despite the complaint, during the SRC's meeting in December, the group almost unanimously voted to ignore their breach of the Equality Act, leaving GSL with no option but to consider further legal action.

Discrimination under the Equalities Act

In a press release, GSL said: "In our recent letter to the SRC, we highlighted that the discrimination was so obvious that our complaint was completely uncontroversial. Under Part 7 of the Equality Act, GUSRC is an 'association' and as such it must not discriminate against its members (sections 100 and 101). Under section 101(2) of the Act, it provides that an association must not discriminate against a member in the way it affords or denies access to a 'benefit, facility or service'". The SRC's refusal to grant affiliation to GSL prevents its associated students from enjoying the benefits of SRC membership — benefits which are otherwise afforded to pro-abortion student societies.

Victory at last

"Aware of the imminent legal action, the SRC came to the conclusion that the rejection of GSL's affiliation was indeed a form of direct discrimination against the group of students," the release continues. "In an e-mail to our legal advisors, the SRC stated that 'it has been agreed that GSL can affiliate to GUSRC'. Glasgow Students for Life are currently looking forward to this becoming a reality."

The SRC does not seem to have allowed the affiliation gracefully, with the student paper reporting that: "The SRC have no option but to affiliate the anti-choice society Glasgow Students for Life following threats of legal action. The anti-abortion society threatened to sue the SRC for discrimination after they were denied affiliation in December 2018. The SRC have since sought legal advice to defend their decision, but have been advised that as anti-choice beliefs are considered a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, there is no legal basis to fight the lawsuit."

We believe in free speech but...

SRC President Lauren McDougall said: "The SRC executive believe that we must prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the majority of our students over the views of a vocal minority which is why Council chose not to affiliate Glasgow Students for Life in December. We respect everyone's right to hold their own beliefs, nonetheless, as I've said before, a line is crossed when those beliefs impact on the rights of others. However as anti-choice beliefs have been established under EU case law as a protected characteristic, we have been left with no choice but to affiliate GSL. I'd like to thank all of the students and societies who contacted us in support of our decision in December and we would like to reassure all of our students that the SRC remains committed to ensuring that UofG students are safe, healthy and fully informed and we do not endorse anti-choice views."

Making space for pro-life views on campus

However, Grace Deighan, President of Glasgow Students for Life said: "We are grateful that the SRC have decided to affiliate Glasgow Students for Life and we look forward to starting a conversation on campus. We intend to hold lectures and debates, discussing issues such as abortion, euthanasia, IVF treatment and other contentious bioethical issues. The group's intention is one that is primarily academic, and given that there are other pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia groups affiliated to the SRC, we believe that it is only fair for the pro-life argument to have a place at the despatch box."

A test case?

This story highlights a growing trend of Students' Unions attempting to censor the pro-life viewpoint, especially in Scotland. The University of Strathclyde Students Association recently voted to remove the clause in their "No platform to anti-choice!" policy which had prevented pro-life groups from affiliating with the union and being active on campus — but only after Trustees were forced to accept Strathclyde Students for Life's challenge that the policy violated section 10 of the Equality Act 2010 by directly discriminating against a group of students based on their beliefs.

Despite this, Strathclyde Students for Life have still not been affiliated, and a similar struggle is taking place at Aberdeen

It is to be hoped that this latest victory will make it clear to student bodies that it is unacceptable to discriminate against pro-life students, and encourage those students to keep fighting for their right to defend the unborn and their mothers on campus.

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

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Americans United for Life

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Texas case may determine if states can be forced to fund Planned Parenthood

Americans United for Life
By Americans United for Life

March 25, 2019 (Americans United for Life) — Last week, Americans United for Life filed a "friend of the court" brief on behalf of a group of 77 Members of Congress in the en banc Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, supporting Texas's decision to defund Planned Parenthood under its State Medicaid program.

The case, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v. Phillips, arose after Texas disqualified Planned Parenthood as a State Medicaid Provider when undercover videos revealed that Planned Parenthood was involved in illegal and unethical behavior concerning aborted fetal body parts.

Planned Parenthood and some of its patients sued in federal court challenging the disqualification. A three-judge Fifth Circuit panel held it was required to follow a prior Fifth Circuit case, Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast v. Gee, that found — based on its interpretation of congressional intent — that individual Medicaid patients have a private right of action to challenge a State's disqualification determination of their preferred Medicaid provider in federal court.

The entire Fifth Circuit court decided on its own accord to rehear Phillips to reconsider Gee's holding. This opportunity comes after the U.S. Supreme Court — over a written dissent by Justice Clarence Thomas — declined the opportunity to review Gee in December 2018.

"Members that joined this brief have an interest in seeing courts restrained from speaking where Congress has not spoken," said AUL Litigation Counsel Rachel Morrison. "The decision below violates the constitutional authority of Congress to dictate the contours of the Medicaid Act, including the right of States to make Medicaid provider qualification decisions. Americans United for Life is proud to give Members a voice by explaining the congressional intent of the Medicaid Act in this important case."

AUL argued, on behalf of the Members, that implying a private right of action would greatly undermine the purpose of the Medicaid Act by hamstringing the flexibility of individual State Medicaid programs envisioned by the Medicaid Act and eliminating States' ability to determine the best way to allocate their limited public funds to those in need.

The Members' efforts were led by Senator Steve Daines of Montana in the U.S. Senate and Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Daines formed and leads the Senate Pro-Life Caucus. The Members' coalition comprises 12 Senators and 65 Representatives.

The full list of signers to the brief is below:

U.S. Senate

Steve Daines (MT)

John Cornyn (TX)

Joni K. Ernst (IA)

James E. Risch (ID)

Mike Braun (IN)

Roy Blunt (MO)

Roger F. Wicker (MS)

Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS)

James M. Inhofe (OK)

Marsha Blackburn (TN)

Michael B. Enzi (WY)

John Barrasso, M.D. (WY)

U.S. House of Representatives

Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26)

John Ratcliffe (TX-04)

Ron Wright (TX-06)

K. Michael Conaway (TX-11)

Randy K. Weber (TX-14)

Bill Flores (TX-17)

Jodey Arrington (TX-19)

Pete Olson (TX-22)

Kenny Marchant (TX-24)

Roger Williams (TX-25)

Michael Cloud (TX-27)

Brian Babin, D.D.S. (TX-36)

Bradley Byrne (AL-01)

Robert B. Aderholt (AL-04)

Bruce Westerman (AR-04)

Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04)

Andy Biggs (AZ-05)

Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)

Doug Lamborn (CO-05)

Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12)

Greg Steube (FL-17)

Jody Hice (GA-10)

Barry Loudermilk (GA-11)

Rick Allen (GA-12)

Steve King (IA-04)

Russ Fulcher (ID-01)

Jim Banks (IN-03)

Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01)

Steve Watkins (KS-02)

Andy Barr (KY-06)

Steve Scalise (LA-01)

Clay Higgins (LA-03)

Mike Johnson (LA-04)

Ralph Abraham, M.D. (LA-05)

Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01)

Jim Hagedorn (MN-01)

Vicky Hartzler (MO-04)

Trent Kelly (MS-01)

Michael Guest (MS-03)

Steven Palazzo (MS-04)

George Holding (NC-02)

David Rouzer (NC-07)

Mark Meadows (NC-11)

Ted Budd (NC-13)

Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)

Adrian Smith (NE-03)

Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04)

Steve Chabot (OH-01)

Brad Wenstrup (OH-02)

Jim Jordan (OH-04)

Robert E. Latta (OH-05)

Bill Johnson (OH-06)

Bob Gibbs (OH-07)

Kevin Hern (OK-01)

Markwayne Mullin (OK-02)

Mike Kelly (PA-16)

Jeff Duncan (SC-03)

William R. Timmons, IV (SC-04)

Ralph Norman (SC-05)

Phil Roe, M.D. (TN-01)

John Rose (TN-06)

Ben Cline (VA-06)

Glenn Grothman (WI-06)

Alex Mooney (WV-02)

Carol Miller (WV-03)

 

Published with permission from Americans United for Life.

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Bolivian doctor loses his position for refusing to commit an abortion

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

LA PAZ, Bolivia, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Bolivian doctor has been suspended by that country’s National Health Fund (Caja Nacional de Salud) for having refused to perform an abortion on a woman pregnant with an anencephalic child. “N.M.,” as he is known, will also be prosecuted before an administrative court, together with the former director of the Jaime Mendoza Workers’ Hospital in Sucre, where the refusal took place.

Abortion is illegal in Bolivia except in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother’s health, or a lethal malformation of the unborn child.

It was this last case that was invoked by a woman from Cochabamba in February of last year after medical examinations revealed that her baby had a serious congenital malformation. She was five months pregnant. Anencephaly is not incompatible with a live birth, and children with this condition have been known to live for months or even years.

Following the protocol in such cases, doctors and specialists formed a medical board to decide how proceed. They offered three options: one, simply to go on with the pregnancy; two, to give information to the family about the fetus’s malformation; three, to obtain jurisdictional approval permitting an abortion. (This approval, according to the ministerial resolution dating back to January 2015, is not necessary when rape or incest are involved.)

However, all the professionals at the hospital said that in the absence of a judicial approval and also because of their right to conscientious objection, they would not perform the abortion. As the regional director of the National Health Fund, Javier Menacho, put it, “no one can be obliged to end the life of a human being.”

During a press conference in which he gave his support to “N.M.” and the hospital’s ex-director and staff, Menacho clarified that the woman’s family asked for her discharge from the hospital; she then went to another establishment, where the abortion was performed.

It was she who lodged a complaint against the doctor who had refused to kill her child, stating that her rights had been violated. Together with the ex-director of the hospital, “N.M.” is accused of having ignored the constitutional ruling that permits legal abortion when a pregnancy puts the mother’s health or life in danger.

On Tuesday, March 2019, the decision to suspend “N.M.” as interim chief of the gynecology and obstetrics department of Jaime Mendoza Hospital, where he refused to perform the legal abortion, was made public by the local “Defender of the People,” as the public ombudsman is known in Bolivia. An ombudsman’s resolution presented last week to the National Health Fund had asked it to establish responsibilities, be they civil, criminal, or administrative, against all those who resisted the constitutional ruling, hence the decision to suspend the doctor despite his right to conscientious objection.

The ombudsman’s report said that an inquiry has shown that the mother’s right to health, life, and physical and psychological integrity was breached. This was despite the face that being pregnant with an anencephalic child does not constitute a risk for the mother’s life, health, or physical integrity. According to the doctors who attended to “P.A.A.,” there was never a risk to her life.

In any case, from a moral point of view, a risk to the mother’s life does not justify direct abortion and should not trump a doctor’s right to conscientious objection, should abortion be legal in that case. But in many countries, the abortion lobby is pushing hard to oblige doctors to perform abortions when the mother’s life is in danger. In the Bolivian case, it is going one step further by attempting to impose eugenic abortions on unwilling doctors.

The Sucre affair has already had one consequence: at the National Health Fund, in agreement with the ombudsman’s delegate for Chuquisaca, Edwin Martinez, the regional administrator will put in place a staff “socialization” and training program about health institutions’ obligation to provide safe abortion when legally possible.

Hospitals as such are not entitled to conscientious objection in Bolivia.

Individual doctors definitely do have a right to refuse abortions. But the lawsuit against “N.M.” shows how fragile that right is.

The president of the Medical Association of La Paz, Luis Larrea, has already stated that it is looking at how it will support a colleague who has “every right to perform or not to perform an operation that takes another being’s life.” “We respect the Hippocratic oath which obliges to save lives and not to go against life,” he told a local radio.

A former Forensic Institute director, Dr. Antonio Torrez Balanza, who currently presides the Forensic Medicine Society of Sucre, underscored the contradiction between “law and principles.” For doctors, he said, “to respect the Hippocratic oath to defend life is a basic principle recognized by the political Constitution of the State that quite logically applies especially to doctors, as well as the religious factor that prevents them from destroying life. The code of ethics of the Medical Association says life must be respected,” he insisted.

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Richard Cohen, former SPLC president. Quilliam International via YouTube.
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Southern Poverty Law Center crisis deepens as president announces resignation

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The crisis at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization criticized for smearing Christian pro-family organizations as “hate groups,” deepened on Friday when the center’s president, Richard Cohen, announced his upcoming resignation to staff in an email.

“Whatever problems exist at the SPLC happened on my watch, so I take responsibility for them,” Cohen reportedly wrote, adding, “in light of recent events, I’ve asked the board to immediately launch a search for an interim president in order to give the organization the best chance to heal.”

Cohen’s email apparently refers to the recent firing of a co-founder of the SPLC, Morris Dees, who represented the organization to the public and functioned for many years as its chief counsel. Although the SPLC did not publicly state the reason for Dees’s firing, his ouster followed the writing of a letter to management and the board of directors expressing concern about internal “sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism,” all of which the SPLC purportedly exists to combat.

Cohen’s resignation plans raise the tally of resignations and firings in the last month to four. In addition to Dees’s firing and Cohen’s upcoming departure, the SPLC’s legal director, Rhonda Brownstein, submitted her resignation last week, and her deputy legal director, Meredith Horton, also stated that she would be leaving the organization, according to the New York Times.

The SPLC has added to the speculation about the motives for the firing and resignations by refusing to specify the reasons for the changes, which appear to be related to recent complaints about racism and sexual harassment in the outfit. Although the organization has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in donations by positioning itself as the principal watchdog group for racist organizations and other “hate groups,” it has been accused of hiring few non-whites in its “lavishly compensated” and dictatorial leadership. Such practices have led a former staffer to conclude that the organization is in many respects “a highly profitable scam.”

Dees has long been accused of racially discriminatory practices at the SPLC. As early as 1994, the Montgomery Advertiser ran a series that alleged that black employees of the outfit were suffering from discrimination. The Advertiser reported that staff “accused Morris Dees, the center’s driving force, of being a racist and black employees have ‘felt threatened and banded together.’” Both the SPLC and Dees have denied such accusations, and Dees has stated that he doesn't know why he was fired.

The series, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, led the Advertiser’s managing editor, Jim Tharpe, to call on the IRS and Justice Department to investigate the SPLC.

SPLC’s “hate group” lists under fire as ideologically biased

The SPLC’s attempts to tag groups opposing liberal ideology as “hate groups” have caused trouble for the organization in recent months. The SPLC was successfully sued by a Muslim it had called an “anti-Muslim extremist,” Maajid Nawaz, for opposing radical forms of Islam. The SPLC agreed to pay Nawaz’s organization, the Quilliam Foundation, $3.4 million. It also removed the SPLC’s “field guide to anti-Muslim extremism” and its corresponding list of groups and replaced it with a public apology to Nawaz and Quilliam.

The SPLC is currently being sued by at least two others that have been placed on its “hate” list: the Center for Immigration Studies and Gavin McInnes, founder of the “Proud Boys.” Both say they have suffered damages to their reputation as a result of being falsely labeled as advocates of “hate,” when in fact they do not advocate hatred of anyone.

The SPLC recently has listed a large number of Christian and pro-family organizations as “hate groups” for opposing the LGBT political agenda. These include even large and eminent organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM), the Family Research Council (FRC), Liberty Counsel, the World Congress of Families, Dr. James Kennedy Ministries, the Ruth Institute, and Church Militant.

The SPLC harms the reputations of such groups by mixing them in a more general list of organizations that include true hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi organizations. Its “hate map” of such groups is widely republished by major media outlets and is used by corporate entities such as PayPal to eliminate groups from their service.

The listing has even been linked to an act of terrorism against a pro-family group. After the Family Research Council was placed on the SPLC’s list of anti-LGBT “hate groups,” in 2012, an angry leftist attempted to enter the FRC’s headquarters and murder its personnel. Floyd Lee Corkins’s assault was stopped by the heroic actions of security guard Leo Johnson, who was wounded in the process of disarming him. Corkins later said he initially found the FRC on the SPLC’s hate group listing.

“Southern Poverty Law lists anti-gay groups,” Corkins later told investigators in explaining how he zeroed in on the FRC. “I found them online, did a little research, went to the website, stuff like that.” According to the Washington Examiner, Corkins later said at his trial that he was seeking to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces, and kill the guard.”

In what may be a response to accusations of anti-Christian bias at the SPLC, the Department of Defense has recently eliminated SPLC material from its training materials, and the FBI has distanced itself from the group, although it still reportedly uses it as a resource.

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Michael L. Brown Michael L. Brown Follow Dr. Michael

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The clock is ticking for the Christian-persecuting SPLC

Michael L. Brown Michael L. Brown Follow Dr. Michael
By Dr. Michael Brown

March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — There was a time when the “Southern Poverty Law Center” (SPLC) was widely respected for its courageous work. Oppressive hate groups like the KKK had no greater enemy than the SPLC. The SPLC stood for justice, for righteousness, for the rights of the poor and the downtrodden.

As expressed on the SPLC website, “Alabama lawyer and businessman Morris Dees sympathized with the plight of the poor and the powerless. The son of an Alabama farmer, he had witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of bigotry and racial injustice. Dees decided to sell his successful book publishing business to start a civil rights law practice that would provide a voice for the disenfranchised.”

This was a sacrificial and courageous act. Dees would swim against the tide of societal prejudice, putting aside personal gain for the sake of “the disenfranchised.”

To quote again from the SPLC site, “‘I had made up my mind,’ Dees wrote in his autobiography, A Season for Justice. ‘I would sell the company as soon as possible and specialize in civil rights law. All the things in my life that had brought me to this point, all the pulls and tugs of my conscience, found a singular peace. It did not matter what my neighbors would think, or the judges, the bankers, or even my relatives.’”

That was a long time ago.

Long before the SPLC had accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in its coffers.

Long before liberal outlets like the Washington Post ran articles stating, “The SPLC Has Lost All Credibility.”

Long before the SPLC attacked Muslim reformers who exposed radical Islam.

Long before the SPLC blacklisted mainstream, family-oriented, Christian ministries and organizations.

Long before the SPLC had the blood of Christians on its hands.

Long before the SPLC had itself become the most dangerous hate group in America.

Long before Morris Dees himself was fired for alleged internal “mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism.”

Little wonder that conservative outlets like Fox News have run articles claiming, “The Southern Poverty Law Center is a money-grabbing slander machine.”

And little wonder that outlets like the New Yorker are now running articles titled, “The Reckoning of Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center.” (The author writes candidly, “The firing of Dees has flushed up all the uncomfortable questions again. Were we complicit, by taking our paychecks and staying silent, in ripping off donors on behalf of an organization that never lived up to the values it espoused?”)

To be sure, the SPLC isn’t going to collapse in a moment of time. It still has lots of influence, especially in the worlds of social media, law enforcement, and popular opinion.

But of this you can be assured. The SPLC is coming down. Its luster is long gone, its power is waning, and the day will come when its massive bank accounts will run dry.

How can I be so sure?

It’s because the SPLC had set itself against God, determining that basic, historic biblical convictions are anathema.

Because it has determined that Christian organizations which stand for righteousness should be classified as hate groups, along with neo-Nazis and others.

That radical Islam is to be ignored while those who expose it are to be vilified.

That donors are to be ripped off and deceived. (The whistleblower who wrote the New Yorker piece spoke of “the guilt you couldn’t help feeling about the legions of donors who believed that their money was being used, faithfully and well, to do the Lord’s work in the heart of Dixie. We were part of the con, and we knew it.” He even explains how he and his colleagues used to change the civil rights words “Until justice rolls down like waters” into “Until justice rolls down like dollars.”)

The SPLC will certainly come down because it has grown fat, proud, deceitful, and hateful, calling evil good and good evil. Because it has become the voice of the oppressor rather than the voice of the oppressed.

Yes, the SPLC is coming down, and the countdown has begun.

The clock is ticking. Loudly. Clearly.

It’s only a matter of time.

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Dr. Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif and Pope Francis visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque on February 4, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Francois Nel/Getty Images
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

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Pope asks universities to disseminate his claim ‘diversity of religions’ is ‘willed by God’

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican’s office for promoting interreligious dialogue has asked Catholic university professors to give the “widest possible dissemination” to a controversial joint statement signed by Pope Francis last month that claims a “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.” The office adds that the request comes from Pope Francis himself (read full letter below). 

The letter of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which was obtained by LifeSiteNews, is dated February 21, 2019. It was sent last week to Catholic university professors in Rome, together with the attached "Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together" which Pope Francis signed with Grand Imam Ahmad el-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi on February 4.  

Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council, wrote in the letter that the “Holy Father has asked this Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to contribute to the widest possible dissemination of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” as it had been originally signed by Pope Francis and by Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque.

Guixot asked professors, priests, and sisters at universities to "facilitate the distribution, the study, and the reception” of the document, adding that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue “will be grateful to you already now for any possible initiative, in the frame of this institution, which aims at the spreading of this Document.”

The letter also quotes some passages from the Abu Dhabi document, in which both signatories pledge “to convey this Document to authorities, influential leaders, persons of religion all over the world, appropriate regional and international organizations, organizations within civil society, religious institutions and leading thinkers.” The signers promise to “make known the principles contained in this Declaration at all regional and international levels, while requesting that these principles be translated into policies, decisions, legislative texts, courses of study and materials to be circulated.” A further aim is to “educate new generations” in the sense of this document for world peace and fraternity among peoples and religions.

Critics have called passages in the document  "false" and "heretical."

Cardinal Raymond Burke said the passage which says that God wills a diversity of religions, is wrong and should be removed.

The statement “has to be removed from this accord because it’s not correct,” he said. 

Bishop Athanasius Schneider said earlier this month that in a private conversation he had with Pope Francis on the matter, the pope assured him that the "phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God."

Prominent Catholic philosopher Professor Josef Seifert criticized that – in spite of the private correction of this disturbing sentence which Pope Francis himself made in conversation with Bishop Schneider and his fellow Kazakh bishops – the Pope still wants this document to be disseminated without the statement being corrected. 

The February 21 Vatican letter, as it was sent to Catholic university professors on March 21, thus aims at disseminating an ambiguous document that sparked much controversy among Catholics when it was first published on February 4, 2019, especially since it does not contain a formal correction of the following particular sentence:

The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. 

At the time, Bishop Schneider – among many other voicescontradicted such a statement, since “Christianity is the only God-willed religion.” “Therefore,” he said, “it can never be placed complementarily side by side with other religions. Those would violate the truth of Divine Revelation, as it is unmistakably affirmed in the First Commandment of the Decalogue, who would assert that the diversity of religions is the will of God." 

In comments to LifeSiteNews, Seifert strongly criticized the controversial passage of the Abu Dhabi statement. The claim that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God,” he stated, means the “rejection of the Christian Faith: How can God bind eternal salvation to the Faith in Jesus Christ and then, from the time of Creation, will religions which reject this Faith?”

“How can He mandate us to go out into the world to teach the Gospels to all nations and to baptize them, but at the same time wills religions which reject the Gospels and Baptism?” Seifert further asked. In his view, with this claim, the document “directly rejects the Church's absolute claim to truth (which by the way is also held by Islam for its own religion),” and, with it “the whole Creed (since each sentence of the Creed contradicts the creeds of many other religions), all dogmas of the Church, all of her moral teachings.” At the same time, the Austrian professor added, “not only all heresies, but also all non-Christian religions are being given the honor to be willed by God.”

Professor Seifert also commented on the fact that Pope Francis has had a letter sent to Catholic universities in order to disseminate this contested Abu Dhabi document. In spite of the fact that Bishop Schneider received from Pope Francis a sort of indirect correction of this Abu Dhabi statement, “Pope Francis obviously has not only not rescinded this statement, but now even has it sent out to all universities with the request for universal dissemination.” 

This is an “unprecedented heresy of all heresies,” Seifert explained, “to spread this unaltered declaration” that the diverse religions are willed by God “without the slightest (and, what is more, unconvincing) declaration that it is merely about the permissive will of God.”

According to Josef Seifert, a private remark (as given in the presence of Bishop Schneider) is not sufficient, in order to rescind “the approval of all heresies and of all those religions which are in contradiction with Christianity as it is to be found in the Abu Dhabi declaration.”

Seifert said that the statement read at face value places the Pope "outside the Church and of the Christian Faith in general, as well as outside of reason."

"For, how could God will contradictions to those most important revealed truths which are simultaneously also willed by Him? This assumption would make God either a lunatic who violates the foundation of all reason – the principle of non-contradiction – and who is a monumental relativist, or a confused God who is indifferent to the matter of whether people witness to the truth or not."

Professor Seifert said that Catholics have the duty to defend the Catholic truth.

“According to the natural law, all priests, cardinals, bishops, and laymen are duty-bound to call upon the Pope to either reject this sentence [about the diversity of religions willed by God] or to resign as Pope," he said. 

***

Translation of the February 21 letter of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue:

Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

Vatican, 21 February 2019

Prot. N. 129-19

Rev. Father/ Rev. Sister/ Dear Professor,

The Holy Father has asked this Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to contribute to the widest possible dissemination of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, which has been signed at Abu Dhabi, on 4 February, by the same Supreme Pontiff and by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.

Associated in this way with the announcement and promise that the signatories of this Document have enshrined, I wish to ask Your Eminence/ Excellency to facilitate the distribution, the study, and the reception, because: 

     […] the Catholic Church and Al-Azhar announce and pledge to convey this Document to authorities, influential leaders, persons of religion all over the world, appropriate regional and international organizations, organizations within civil society, religious institutions and leading thinkers. They further pledge to make known the principles contained in this Declaration at all regional and international levels, while requesting that these principles be translated into policies, decisions, legislative texts, courses of study and materials to be circulated. 

Al-Azhar and the Catholic Church ask that this Document become the object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of formation, thus helping to educate new generations to bring goodness and peace to others, and to be defenders everywhere of the rights of the oppressed and of the least of our brothers and sisters. 

The Pontifical Council will be grateful to you already now for any possible initiative, in the frame of this institution, which aims at the spreading of this Document.

For all good purposes, I allow myself to attach the Document in its two original languages – Italian and Arabic – while at the same time pointing out that other official translations are available on the official website of the Apostolic See: http://w2.vatican.va

I use this opportunity to assure you, with most distinguished feelings, of my cordial respect, 

+ Miguel Ángel AYUSO GUIXOT, M.C.C.J.

Secretary

 
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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

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Raising concerns about Pope Francis is hard, but essential. Here’s why (VIDEO)

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen
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March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today LifeSite is launching The John-Henry Westen Show, a short weekly commentary on the most important news developments in the Church and culture. We are beginning with a series laying out the hard evidence for our concerns with Pope Francis.

We decided to launch today for the feast of the Annunciation, but starting tomorrow it will appear every Tuesday. The show is available by video on The John-Henry Westen Show Youtube channel, and right here on my LifeSite blog.

We are also releasing it in audio on platforms such as Spotify, Soundcloud, and Pippa. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe for the audio version on various channels, visit the Pippa.io webpage here.

We’ve created a special email list for the show so that we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here, or fill out the form at the bottom of this post. You can also subscribe to the Youtube channel, and you’ll be notified by Youtube when there is new content.

Every week we will also be publishing the full transcript right here on my blog, in case you prefer to read the content. However, the show was created for video in order to show you, directly, the evidence of what I’m discussing. I encourage you first and foremost to watch the video commentaries.

You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected]

Watch the introductory episode here:

Listen to the introductory episode here:

 

Transcript: Welcome to The John-Henry Westen Show

For the past six years LifeSite has been experiencing many difficulties in our reporting on what's going on in Rome. For 22 years now we've reported on the Vatican and especially the statements of the Popes focusing most on life and family.

With John Paul II and Pope Benedict it was relatively easy. Since they would say so many pro-life and pro-family things, it was a joy to report. It was a real encouragement to pro-life and pro-family leaders all around the world - to hear the words of Popes who it seemed really had your back even when sometimes your local Bishops did not.

But things changed with the election of Pope Francis. After a year of trying to explain away his confusing statements, and sometimes statements that went directly against his two predecessors, we knew at LifeSite we had to just report straight what was happening and let people know what was going on.

Faithful Catholics need to understand the severity of the situation so they can pray like never before for the crisis in the Church – pray, fast, and take action.

When we started to do this, however, we noticed that some of our most loyal followers – in fact some of my own friends and even family –  started to question what we were doing. As if after so many years of faithful, truthful reporting we were starting to make things up, even create things out of thin air.

I have to tell you how distressing it was and still is. I've often wished that with some of my friends and family I could sit down with them and show them the evidence first hand. And that was actually the genesis of the video series that I'm about to launch tomorrow.

The evidence for our concerns with Pope Francis speaks for itself. Most of his controversial statements are made in front of cameras, so we’ve pulled the footage and translated it, and pulled the Vatican’s own transcripts of them so we can definitively show what has happened.

It is totally understandable that faithful Catholics want to show allegiance to the Pope. And in this day and age of ‘fake news’ in the mainstream media, mistrusting a news agency is nothing new either.

But we pray that the evidence speaks for itself.

Catholics believe that the Pope is infallible, but not with everything he says or does, only in specific cases when he is explicitly defining doctrine pertaining to faith and morals.  And with regard to confronting the Pope even publicly we have the example of that right from the beginning with the first Pope - St. Peter.

Remember the account from Galatians 2 when St. Paul confronted Pope St. Peter over Peter’s refusal to eat with uncircumcised Gentile Christians and would eat with Jewish Christians only?  St Paul recounts that he “opposed” the Pope, St. Peter, “to his face” because he was in the wrong. St. Paul also notes that he did so publicly.

The Church’s greatest doctor of the faith has also commented on the need to carry on with this tradition of correcting the Pope when needed. St. Thomas said:

…if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning the faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Gal. 2:11, Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.

Another important point to be made is that which was given to me by a good and holy bishop, His Excellency Athanasius Schneider of Astana in Kazakhstan. He teaches that “the true friends of the Pope” are those cardinals, bishops, and laymen “who express their public concern about these very important issues, about the state of confusion in the Church.”

Bishop Schneider said that those who perform “adulation of the Pope” and “deny the evidence” that ambiguity in the Pope’s teachings is causing confusion are not helping the Pope nor themselves when they will face their final judgment.

Bishop Schneider quoted Melchior Cano, a famous Dominican Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent. He said:

Peter has no need of our lies; he has no need of our adulation. Those who close their eyes to the facts and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are those who contribute most to undermining the authority of the Holy See. They destroy its foundations instead of strengthening them.

For us at LifeSite we come at this from a perspective we’ve taken on as a motto - Caritas in Veritate - Love in Truth. We recognize that sometimes it's difficult to speak the truth but out of love and a sincere wish for the good of others we must speak the truth even when it’s unpopular.

So too with Pope Francis. We love him and pray for him daily both individually and as a staff on our morning prayer call.

And we can’t do as some have suggested and just keep our heads down and ‘wait it out’, because there are souls at stake and even more personally our own children are being confused. I’ve got eight children, including five teens and two in their twenties. They are being confused.

The truth of Christ means everything to us. He is the only way to eternal life and outside of Him there is only eternal hell.

That’s why we do what we do at LifeSiteNews. There is no hatred or animosity here toward Pope Francis. There is loving concern and a willingness to confront even the Pope when it comes to errors threatening the faith. We try our best to do so with respect and charity but also with clarity.

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