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October 18, 2019


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Scott Schittl

News

LifeSite delivers petition against forced abortion to UK Lord Chief Justice

Scott Schittl
By

LONDON, England, October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – This afternoon, LifeSite’s Paul Smeaton delivered a petition with thousands of signatures to the UK’s Lord Chief Justice against forcing a young woman with developmental disabilities to have an abortion.

Within the past week, Justice David Basil Williams of the UK's Court of Protection ordered that an abortion be carried out on a woman who is intellectually disabled. 

This petition pleads with the Lord Chief Justice, the Home Secretary, and the Lord Chancellor to step in to do what they can to appeal this barbaric order – and stop the abortion. 

The state should never be in the business of forcing abortions – especially not Britain, the cradle of parliamentary democracy. 

In many ways, it is akin to China's forced abortions, which are the blood-red bedrock of their failed family planning policy. 

Not only is this a state-sanctioned murder against of one of its own people, it is also the gross violation of the mother's “bodily autonomy,” as is any abortion towards the bodily autonomy of the unborn child. 

The “pro-choice” lobby has been silent on this grave injustice, despite the fact that the woman being forced to abort her child is not being given a choice.  

Her foster family and medical caregivers are in favor of the forced abortion. No reports state that the woman has given any consent. 

Justice David Basil Williams has authorized the use of restraint and general anesthetic, should they be required, to perform this abortion. 

That kind of proviso does not indicate consent. 

If the Home Secretary, Lord Chancellor, and the Lord Chief Justice do not intervene, an innocent unborn child will be deliberately killed. 

This is the second time in only three months that this same situation has occurred in the UK. 

On the first occasion, the decision was quashed and the abortion was stopped. But, in this case, it seems that the state may get its way unless there is a serious intervention. 

Please learn more about the incident which led to the petition by CLICKING HERE.  

Please find the petition by CLICKING HERE. (Yes, you can still sign it if you haven’t already.)

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Jude and James, twin brothers, play sword fighting. Madeleine Jacob/ LifeSiteNews
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Mom trying to ‘transition’ son to girl: It all began when he picked a girls’ McDonald’s toy

Madeleine Jacob Madeleine Jacob Follow
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TEXAS, October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The mother who is trying to “transition” her seven-year-old son to a girl testified today that she began to believe her child was different when he preferred a McDonald’s girl toy to a boy toy.

Jefferey Younger and Dr. Anne Georgulas are in a custody and conservatorship battle over their twin sons, James and Jude. James presents as a girl called “Luna” at his mother’s home and as a boy with his father. Georgulas has enrolled James in school as a girl since kindergarten. Mr. Younger alleges Dr. Georgulas is forcing James to present as a girl. He is worried about James undergoing chemical castration or a full medical “transition.”

Today was meant to be the final day of the trial, which is being heard by a jury, the trial was recessed before noon and will resume Monday morning. The judge ruled the trial must end by Monday at 2:00 p.m. 

A variety of expert witnesses from both sides have testified.

Dr. Georgulas testified this morning. She reiterated her desire to keep the media out of the case, allegedly in order to protect the privacy of her boys. Earlier in the week, the custody evaluator mentioned what he said was significant harm done to Georgulas’ pediatric practice because of the case’s publicity.

Additionally, Georgulas told the jury about the events leading up to James’ presentation as “Luna.”

She told the jury that she first started to think something may be different with James when he selected a girl’s toy at McDonalds. 

“So the very first thing I saw was in the summer of 2015 when she [James] picked a McDonald’s girls’ toy instead of a boys’ toy.” 

Dr. Georgulas then recounted a story of taking James to get a crown at Target. James told his mom an Elsa dress, from the popular Frozen franchise, “was such a pretty dress.”

“I asked him, ‘Do you want the dress?’ and she [sic] replied, ‘Yes!’” Dr. Georgulas said, so she purchased the dress for James and allowed him to wear it at home. 

According to Dr. Georgulas’ testimony, James then asked insistently for a dress on two occasions. The third time James asked for a dress, Dr. Georgulas alleges that he said, “I want that dress and I don’t want it to be pretend.” 

Dr. Georgulas also showed photos of James in a dress at her father’s house to show that James was comfortable presenting as a girl with his father. Mr. Younger testified to the same fact the previous day. Dr. Georgulas believes James presents as a boy at his father’s home now due to his father’s lack of acceptance of James as “Luna.” Mr. Younger shared with the court that at one point James threw away the girls clothes James had at Mr. Younger’s home.

Dr. Georgulas stated that the fact that “Mr. Younger surrounds himself with people like that [who do not affirm ‘Luna’s gender’]” is concerning. 

Mr. Odeneal, Mr. Younger lawyer reviewed Dr. Georgulas’ previous deposition with her while she was on the stand. 

According to Dr. Georgulas’ deposition, when asked about starting James on puberty blockers she responded, “That is the recommendation. That what GENECIS suggest, that’s what she’s [James] talking about, but that would only be if she persists.” 

The trial continues on Monday. 

Follow all LifeSiteNews coverage of the James Younger case here.

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Paul Smeaton

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Pro-life campaigners spend thousands on ads opposing Northern Ireland abortion regime

Paul Smeaton
By Paul Smeaton

October 18, 2019 (SPUC) – British pro-life campaigners have launched a high profile campaign attacking plans to impose abortion on Northern Ireland from Westminster.

Full-page newspaper advertisements are appearing in Northern Ireland funded by the Society for the Protection of  Unborn Children (SPUC), the world’s longest established pro-life organization.

The £6,000 campaign is being mounted a week ahead of the controversial House of Commons legislation coming into force on October 22.

The ads point out that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) say they will return to Stormont to stop the imposition of the law and appeals to Sinn Fein to act, stating:

“Where are Sinn Fein? Only four days to save our unborn babies. Every abortion is an act of lethal violence directed at an innocent child.”

Last month, Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Northern Ireland political officer, gave an exclusive interview to LifeSite summarizing the current situation in Northern Ireland.

The ad urges the public to contact Sinn Fein and tell the party to “stop putting party politics ahead of the lives of our unborn children and make devolution work.”.

“What has happened is a disgraceful abuse of power by Westminster,” Gibson said. “It is outrageous that MPs and peers from England, Scotland and Wales cared so little for the rule of law that an overwhelming majority were prepared to disregard the right of the people of Northern Ireland to maintain legislation which has saved the lives of over 100,000 children since 1967.

“Abortion law is a devolved issue so Parliament has effectively trampled on the devolution settlement at the heart of the Belfast Agreement. It has also set a dangerous precedent that could have lasting consequences for the rule of law. Imposing the decriminalization of abortion on Northern Ireland will cost the lives of tens of thousands more unborn children by ushering in one of the most extreme abortion regimes in Europe.”

“By ramming abortion on demand down our throats, Parliament has torn up the devolution settlement and is treating Northern Ireland as a colony.”

The abortion crisis looms in the wake of the July decision by the House of Commons to pass the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill by 328 votes to 65.

“Intended to extend the deadline for the restoration of the Stormont Assembly, the passage of this bill will be remembered as one of the most shocking abuses of the Parliamentary process in modern times,” Gibson said.

“MPs also repealed sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. This law has saved more than 100,000 babies in Northern Ireland in the past 50 years.”

“What is most shocking is that all this has been done in the name of human rights,” Gibson added. “Abortion is not a human right. It is an act of lethal violence directed at an unborn child and is never justified.”

Michael Robinson, director of Parliamentary communications for SPUC, said, “The UK has one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world. Since 1967, our laws have permitted the killing of more than 9 million babies and injured countless women physically and psychologically. The Abortion Act has brought only misery and destruction. No society which is genuinely committed to equality and human rights could tolerate such a law. We are now faced with the prospect of an even more extreme situation being imposed on Northern Ireland.”

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Pro-abortion activist waves stolen, defaced pro-life signs. Campaign Life Coalition
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WATCH: Pro-abortion activist yanks signs, rosary from peaceful pro-lifers’ hands

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By Doug Mainwaring
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Pro-abortion activist spray painting over pro-life signs Source: Campaign Life Coalition

KINGSTON, Ontario, October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The vitriol and violence of Canadian pro-abortion activists toward pro-lifers have not subsided since last year, when a man was caught on video roundhouse-kicking a young female pro-lifer. 

That video went viral and has now been seen over 7 million times.

Now, one year later, as Life Chain participants peacefully stood outside a Kingston, Ontario hospital where a thousand abortions are reportedly committed each year, a female counter-protester grabbed signs out of their hands and tore them up and defaced their pro-life messages. 

In one set of photos, she can be seen spray-painting over signs that say, “Abortion Kills Children,” and then steps into the street and victoriously waves them over her head.   

A video taken at the event shows the defiant pro-abortion counter-protester marching away with signs she has stolen, depositing some in a trash can, and tearing up others.

A Life Chain participant who held her rosary in her hand reported that its links broke as it was ripped away from her. The rosary had belonged to a now deceased family member.

The outdoor pro-life event is part of an annual, nationwide silent witness organized by Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) that takes place across the street from Kingston General Hospital. 

“The purpose of this gathering is to remind the public of the approximately one thousand unborn children that have been annually murdered by abortion at Kingston General Hospital since 1971,” organizers explained to LifeSiteNews. 

That amounts to nearly 40,000 children who have had their lives cut short by abortionists in Kingston.

“Life Chain is an annual event which consists of thousands of pro-life women, men and children standing on over 200 street corners across Canada holding signs that read, Abortion Hurts Women,  Abortion Kills Children, Adoption, the Loving Option,  Life, We Stand On Guard For Thee, and Pregnant and need help? Call (local pregnancy help centre phone number),” wrote Marie-Claire Bissonnette last year. She is youth coordinator for the CLC.

“This is an explicitly peaceful and silent protest,” she explained. “Participants are not allowed to begin conversations with passersby, nor are they allowed to display any aggressive behaviour at any point. No abortion victim photography is permitted.”

The pro-abortion pushback to the October 6 Life Chain event was apparently launched when a local woman decided that the pro-abortion cause lacked sufficient representation in Kingston. 

Last month, Meghan Engbretson — a former Queen’s student and current study coordinator at the Canadian Cancer Trials Group — founded “Voice for Choice,” according to a report by the Queens Journal.

Voice for Choice held a “sign-making party” before the Life Chain protest. 

“It is important to have the other side represented in a peaceful protest,” said Engbretson, yet the pro-abortion response to Life Chain ended up being anything but peaceful. 

Once the attacks began, police were slow to respond, according to Gerry Brosso, a Life Chain participant who served as a zone captain at the event. 

A constable who arrived on the scene suggested that an “anti-abortion” demonstration would of course “attract counter protests,” according to Brosso’s account. 

When Life Chain participants asked the constable to consider what the Criminal Code of Canada might contain concerning the attacks that had taken place, he responded, “Do you really want to go there?”

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U.S. Institute of Peace / Flickr
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Vatican has at least a dozen more allegations of boys and seminarians sexually abused by McCarrick

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By Doug Mainwaring

October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A man who says that as a boy he was abused by defrocked Theodore McCarrick has made public an essay describing how he and other boys became victims of the former cardinal and how McCarrick got away with it.

According to The Washington Post, McCarrick “is facing new accusations that he abused at least seven boys from about 1970 until 1990, according to three sources, including a person with direct knowledge of the claims U.S. church officials sent to the Vatican in January.”

“In addition, six allegations of sexual abuse by seminarians and former seminarians also were sent to Rome, according to this last person,” reported the Post’s Michelle Boorstein. 

“In an interview, an accuser told The Washington Post that many of the boys knew one another. They often would travel together with McCarrick on fundraising trips to churches and the homes of donors nationwide, where the abuse allegedly would occur,” wrote Boorstein. 

“As adults, some would speak about their alleged abuse to one another in the barest of terms,” continues The Washington Post report. “It wasn’t until late last year, however, after allegations involving two other boys became public, that the man said he and other accusers contacted officials.”  

Victim: ‘We came forward to defend the truth ... to defend the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.’

“(N)o one ever talked about McCarrick and the boys,” wrote “Nathan Doe,” author of the essay. “I am referring to McCarrick’s targets and victims before he was given power and control over all of those seminaries. I am referring to the first act in McCarrick’s sexual abuse career that no one ever talked about before the summer of 2018. I am referring to young Catholic boys - almost always between the ages of 12 and 16.” 

“By the time then-Cardinal McCarrick stepped in front of the cameras and microphones in 2002 as the face of the U.S. Catholic Church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis, he had already completed a personal campaign of predatory sexual abuse of minors and young adult males that stretched back across four decades,” explained Doe in his essay.

He continued:  

The New York Times article in July 2018 that anonymously detailed James Grein’s story of abuse at the hands of McCarrick was the knockout punch. I can say that from personal experience. You see, I was one of many faithful Catholic men from around the country that read that article and knew that Grein was telling the truth.  

We knew because we were all victims of McCarrick’s abuse too. We were minors at the time also. To varying degrees, Grein’s story was our story. I don’t know James Grein, have never spoken to him, and I never even knew he existed until that moment, but there were too many details in that interview that only a person in our exclusive club would know. 

(...)

There was something else that I had in common with all these faithful Catholic men who were sitting there reading Grein’s story. We all knew we had a choice to make. Our loyalty to Jesus Christ was either real or it was fake. There was no middle ground. As individuals, we had to decide if we were going to stand up for the truth or if we were going to take the coward’s way out and pretend we didn’t know. 

“We came forward to defend the truth,” declared Doe. “We came forward to defend McCarrick’s victims. We came forward to defend the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.” 

*****

Below is the full text of the statement by Nathan Doe, titled An Essay for the Faithful, with an introduction by his attorney, Kevin T. Mulhearn, who also represents four other men allegedly sexually abused by McCarrick while they were boys: 

October 17, 2019

The following essay was written by my client, “Nathan Doe.” Nathan was part of a group of courageous and resilient men who felt compelled to come forward to Law Enforcement and the Catholic Church last year to disclose their own incidents of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. 

The words and opinions of Nathan are entirely his own and - whether you agree or disagree with all of his conclusions - they are unquestionably from the bottom of his heart. I urge you to forward this timely and thought-provoking essay to anyone who may have been impacted by the horror of clerical sexual abuse and is looking for a way to find some measure of peace and healing. 

Kevin T. Mulhearn, Esq.
Orangeburg, New York 

In early January 2019, news reports surfaced in various media outlets that the Vatican was investigating a third accusation of sexual abuse of a minor by the former Catholic priest Theodore McCarrick. Those news reports were true. The “third” accuser they were referring to in those news articles was me.  

If I told you my real name, it would cause more pain for a lot of innocent people. I can’t do that. There has already been too much pain and suffering. For the purpose of this essay, you can call me Nathan.  

Over the past 18 months I never thought about speaking out on the subject of McCarrick. That all changed when I read McCarrick’s recent interview with Slate magazine where he attempted to discredit the victims of his sexual abuse while creating further division and confusion within our Church. This recent McCarrick interview convinced me that now is the time to set the record straight for the Faithful.

Before I begin, I think it is important that I make two points:

First, I don’t have an axe to grind with anyone other than Theodore McCarrick. For me, this is not an attack on our Church. This is not about Conservative vs Liberal. This is not about Straight vs Gay. This is not about Benedict vs. Francis. In my view, those arguments are a distraction. For me, this is about our humanity. This is about the criminal, sexual abuse of minors. This is about Matthew 18:6.

Second, while my intention is to offer some clarity and insights for the Faithful, I must also be careful not to jeopardize any of the ongoing criminal, civil, or ecclesiastical investigations into the personal life and clerical career of McCarrick. I am also deeply committed to securing and protecting the privacy rights of McCarrick’s many victims. It is within this tight space that I will do my best to help the Faithful understand what really happened with McCarrick and what I personally think it means for our Church.

The summer of 2018

In the past year it has been widely reported that McCarrick’s conduct with seminarians was something of an open secret to many over the years. I don’t know anything about the seminarians and I have no idea if that is even true. I am not even sure I know what “open secret” means. 

What I do know is that no one ever talked about McCarrick and the boys. I am referring to McCarrick’s targets and victims before he was given power and control over all of those seminaries. I am referring to the first act in McCarrick’s sexual abuse career that no one ever talked about before the Summer of 2018. I am referring to young Catholic boys - almost always between the ages of 12 and 16. 

By the time then-Cardinal McCarrick stepped in front of the cameras and microphones in 2002 as the face of the U.S. Catholic Church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis, he had already completed a personal campaign of predatory sexual abuse of minors and young adult males that stretched back across four decades. While the national media waxed poetic about this charming and charismatic Cardinal with a twinkle in his eye, they had no idea that McCarrick was using them to send a powerful message to his countless victims that he was untouchable and in complete control. Can you really blame any of us for believing him?

Unfortunately, it would be another 16 years - and an unspeakable amount of spiritual carnage later - before McCarrick was finally stopped. In fact, the only thing that stopped him was the courage of two faithful Catholic men. Those two men did what no one else could do in 60 years and they did it over a 30-day period in the summer of 2018.

The Archdiocese of New York’s revelation in June 2018 about the altar boy from St. Patrick’s was the sharp jab to the face that stunned. Someone had finally done it. Someone finally had the stones to tell the truth about McCarrick. Not only that, it was clear that the Church and civil authorities found him credible and were taking his claim seriously.  

The New York Times article in July 2018 that anonymously detailed James Grein’s story of abuse at the hands of McCarrick was the knock-out punch. I can say that from personal experience. You see, I was one of many faithful Catholic men from around the country that read that article and knew that Grein was telling the truth.  

We knew because we were all victims of McCarrick’s abuse too. We were minors at the time also. To varying degrees, Grein’s story was our story. I don’t know James Grein, have never spoken to him, and I never even knew he existed until that moment, but there were too many details in that interview that only a person in our exclusive club would know. 

There was something else that I had in common with all these faithful Catholic men who were sitting there reading Grein’s story. We all knew we had a choice to make. Our loyalty to Jesus Christ was either real or it was fake. There was no middle ground. As individuals, we had to decide if we were going to stand up for the truth or if we were going to take the coward’s way out and pretend we didn’t know.  

That media leak back in early January 2019 about the “third accuser” against McCarrick, while true, was only partially accurate. That’s how we knew the leak didn’t come from someone close to the investigation. There was only one name on the victim file - and that was by design. The truth is that all of those other faithful Catholic men who were also victims of McCarrick’s sexual abuse came forward with me.  

We came forward to defend the truth. We came forward to defend McCarrick’s victims. We came forward to defend the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. For the purpose of this essay, you can call us The Nathans.

The facts in evidence 

Throughout the last few months of 2018, The Nathans cooperated fully with multiple law enforcement agencies in multiple jurisdictions to fully disclose our own individual incidents of sexual abuse at the hands of McCarrick and to share everything we knew about McCarrick dating back to 1970.  

Collectively, we were able to provide law enforcement with names, dates, times, locations, who was present, supporting evidence, and related documentation covering hundreds of Church-related or fundraising-related overnight trips between the years 1970 and 1990 that, as fate would have it, all resulted in McCarrick sharing a bed with a young Catholic boy.  

We gave them everything we had and we told them everything we knew. The law enforcement officials we encountered along the way were a blessing. They could not have handled us or treated us better.  

On December 21, 2018, Pope Francis stood before the Curia in the Clementine Hall inside the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace and said the following words:

“Let us all remember that only David’s encounter with the prophet Nathan made him understand the seriousness of his sin. Today we need new Nathans to help so many Davids rouse themselves from a hypocritical and perverse life. Please, let us help Holy Mother Church in her difficult task of recognizing real from false cases, accusations from slander, grievances from insinuations, gossip from defamation. This is no easy task, since the guilty are capable of skillfully covering their tracks, to the point where many wives, mothers and sisters are unable to detect them in those closest to them: husbands, godfathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, neighbours, teachers and the like. The victims too, carefully selected by their predators, often prefer silence and live in fear of shame and the terror of rejection.”  

On that very same day, halfway across the world in the Archdiocese of New York, The Nathans began their testimony before the Holy See as part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith’s Administrative Penal Process in the matter of Theodore McCarrick. We gave them everything we had and we told them everything we knew. 21 days later, McCarrick was laicized pending appeal.  

All of the Church officials, both religious and laity, that we encountered along the way were also a blessing. They could not have handled us or treated us better either. There are strong, faithful, Catholic men and women everywhere who are fighting this metastatic evil of sexual abuse with everything they have. Don’t lose sight of that.

Finally, if you are interested in a real-time assessment of the state of McCarrick’s soul - or perhaps want some insight into his uniquely insidious ability to cause confusion among the Faithful for his own benefit – go back and read that Slate interview again and consider this: McCarrick knows everything I just told you. His canon lawyers were there for all of the testimony.

Some perspectives

In recent months it has been extremely distressing for me to witness the pain, confusion, disgust, and anguish of the Faithful amidst a torrent of rampant, often-confusing, finger-pointing ignited by various interest groups with varying agendas. In some ways, I feel responsible.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know any of the victims of McCarrick who have been publicly identified thus far. I don’t know anything about the seminarians. I have no clue about anything that goes on in Rome. I was, however, a witness in the US based investigations of McCarrick’s sexual abuse of minors and I have some thoughts to offer based on my experience over the past year. 

It is my hope that these personal thoughts might help the Faithful process these events. I am also hopeful that perhaps it might help a few folks get started down a path that leads towards spiritual reconciliation. 

Why is the Vatican’s report on McCarrick taking so long?  

I have no insights at all into who is writing that report and how all of that will work. What I can tell you is that if they had completed and issued their report before today, I would be sitting here telling you that they closed the book too soon. Don’t underestimate the sheer volume of information that began coming in last year, the number of different channels that information came in through, and all of the various investigative processes and law enforcement agencies that have been involved with the examination of the information.  

If there is one thing I am sure that Church and civilian authorities can all agree on, it is that McCarrick was a walking jurisdictional nightmare who has left a wake of physical, emotional, and spiritual carnage that stretches back, at this point, more than 50 years. I am personally inclined to grant all of the investigators all the time they need to do whatever work is necessary to get this done right once and for all. 

How could people around McCarrick not have known?

In my view, this is a lazy question. Also, I often see this question get weaponized by special interest groups, usually with cunning precision. If you were to ask any one of the The Nathans that question, each of us would tell you that unless that person in close proximity to McCarrick was (A) a male, (B) of the right age, (C) during the right period of time, it is extremely unlikely they were aware of what was truly going on. We wouldn’t say that because we are wishfully assuming the best in people or giving them the benefit of the doubt. We would say that because we saw how McCarrick groomed, stalked, and eventually preyed on us. We know better than anyone how careful he was about covering his tracks.  

I have no problem at all accepting the idea that there were people close to McCarrick who never saw this coming. If you think you are freaking out, you should see my family. Think about how sick this is: They feel guilty and complicit for not knowing that this happened under their noses all those years ago. I feel guilty and complicit for never having the courage to tell them what McCarrick did to me and for going along with his charade all these years. Meanwhile, the only person who should be feeling guilty about any of this is now giving magazine interviews from inside a friary and telling the whole world that he doesn’t feel guilty about anything. God bless those Capuchin monks. They are better men than me.

How can we trust the Church or priests again?

This is obviously a personal decision that everyone needs to make for themselves. All I can do is tell you how I look at this based on my own life experiences.  

First, I’ve known hundreds of priests in my life. Dozens of them were critical to my Catholic formation both as a child and as a young man. The things that they taught me about life and faith are the bedrock of many of the principles I live by today. Almost all of them were selfless men who committed their lives to Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the Good News through the Gospel.  

Second, I have read every name on every list from every diocese and religious order across the country that has published the names of priest-abusers. There were only two names that I knew among all of the lists, and one of them was McCarrick’s. I had no experience with the other named abuser. I could not find one other priest on any of those lists among the hundreds of priests I have known in my life. For me personally, that is a statistically significant fact.

Finally, it is worth noting that the first person I ever talked to in 2018 after I read Grein’s interview was a Brooklyn priest. It was his spiritual guidance and pastoral concern that eventually served as the catalyst for The Nathans to come forward to both law enforcement and Church authorities.

Suggested takeaways

At the end of the day, I think the true story of Theodore McCarrick is a story about a man who was blessed by God with extraordinary natural gifts. When he used those gifts for the greater glory of God, he did amazing and impactful things that helped a lot of people and, in some cases, saved a lot of lives. When he used those gifts to satisfy his avarice, greed, and lust, he caused an unconscionable amount of physical, emotional, and spiritual harm.  

The biggest faith lesson for me in all of this is a simple one. In each and every one of us, there is an equal capacity for good and evil. The greater your gifts from God, the more capacity you have to do good or evil depending on the choices you make. It is incumbent upon all followers of Jesus to constantly remind ourselves of this. We must strive to always hold ourselves, as well as our brothers and sisters, accountable.

 

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Cardinal Burke speaks in Virginia on March 24. Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
Patricia Gooding-Williams

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Cardinal Burke in Italy: We must preach Christ rather than look to pagan religions

Patricia Gooding-Williams
By Patricia Gooding-Williams

October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke urged Catholics to preach Christ rather than look to pagan religions. He made his remarks at a celebration held this month by the Italian media agency La Nuova Bussola Quotodiana.

‘Go to the ends of the earth’ was the missionary theme of La Nuova Bussola’s annual celebration on October 6. More than a few felt they had ventured close by the time they reached Shalom-Queen of Peace, Palazzolo sull’Oglio, where the day was hosted. Lost in the cornfields between Brescia and Bergamo, even Google Maps struggled to navigate to the 200-strong rehabilitation centre for young drug addicts. It was soon apparent to the 1,000 participants, though, that having stepped off the beaten track, they had stepped into a living miracle. Here Christ the Redeemer heals and restores even the most wounded and broken lives with His divine love. The community, founded and led by charismatic Sister Rosalina, is currently the most successful rehabilitation centre in Italy. “Heart speaks to heart,” as Saint John Henry Newman would say, is the unforgettable experience of an encounter with the Shalom community. Here, the Bussola community gathered from the four corners of Italy to be confirmed in the faith and the fellowship of Christ.

A missionary theme for the day to communicate the mission of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana: to announce Christ Son of God, is the meaning of existence, through the form of online media. In light of that mission, the director, Riccardo Cascioli, announced that La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana would soon be available on separate web pages in English and Spanish for the growing body of readers abroad.

Cardinal Burke came especially from Rome to celebrate Holy Mass for the Bussola community and to give the lectio magistralis on the meaning of the Christian mission in the world today. The mission is our baptismal duty, he said, asking everyone present “to pray with your whole heart and witness the truth and Catholic faith to the whole world.”

It is who and what we bring to the ends of the earth that was the focus of the afternoon sessions. Catholic writer and journalist Vittorio Messori spoke about his most acclaimed recently republished work, Jesus Hypotheses — a book with a method that affirms that it is reasonable to believe that Christ is the son of God.

The challenge of announcing Christ here and today was the focus of the rest of the day, with sessions on Saint John Bosco’s two prophetic columns of salvation: the Eucharist and Mary, Mother of God. Sister Gloria Riva, founder of a monastery of perpetual adoration, spoke of her vocation and of Christ and the Eucharist being the core of existence. Doctor Franco Serafini, cardiologist and author, talked about the scientific tests he conducted on consecrated hosts from the four most recent Eucharistic miracles, which all demonstrate the same historical truth: the gift we receive at Communion is the heart of a man subjected to severe physical and psychological stress.

Diego Manetti, author and Mariologist, explained that Mary Most Holy appears to fulfil the role entrusted to her from the cross: a mother who leads her children to her Son so they may have peace and joy in this life and eternal life in the next. Sister Rosalina Ravasio, founder of the community Shalom, closed the meeting by describing the daily presence of Mother Mary in the community she leads, where destroyed lives rediscover their dignity and place in the world, in the body of Christ.

Riccardo Cascioli interviewed Cardinal Burke during the conference. Cardinal Burke explained that evangelization is not proselytism. Instead, evangelisation is the testimony of our faith to others who remain free to accept or reject it, but it is never right not to witness our faith.

Watch Cascioli’s interview with Cardinal Burke:

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Controversy erupts after Toronto library refuses to ban speaker critical of transgender rights

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By Doug Mainwaring

TORONTO, October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — While libraries across the United States are embroiled in controversy over Drag Queen Story Hours, a library in Canada has come under fire for allowing a feminist who argues against transgenders — men who present themselves as women — using girls’ and women’s restrooms and locker rooms to proceed as planned. 

Toronto’s top librarian, Vickery Bowles, says she won’t back down on her decision to allow feminist Meghan Murphy to speak at an event organized by a local group, Radical Feminists Unite.  

“I'm not going to reconsider not supporting free speech” declared Bowles in an interview with CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio. “No, I'm standing up for free speech.”  

Bowles’ bold statement in defense of free speech came amid a firestorm of criticism from authors who say they will no longer participate in Toronto Public Library (TPL) events, from the city’s mayor, John Tory, and from other politicos who view Murphy’s stated views as “hate speech.” 

“I don't agree with the decision,” Mayor Tory said in a press release. “I'm disappointed in the Toronto Public Library's decision to allow this talk to go ahead on its property.”

Murphy has been a leading voice against aspects of the advancement of transgender rights, which she and others view as infringing on the rights of women and girls. 

In the past, Murphy has argued that “‘allowing men to identify as women undermines women's rights and that transgender women should not be allowed in women's spaces,” according to the CBC. 

Murphy explained, “Women and girls around the world have concerns about the ‘impact of gender legislation’ and deserve to be heard,” according to a CBC report

Yet it is precisely those voices that are being told to button up and keep quiet.    

In Canada as in the United States, those who oppose the advancement of transgenderism, especially with regard to the dangers of biological men being given access to once sacrosanct private spaces for women and girls, have been silenced by the forces of transgenderism and its many media and political allies.   

“It's incredibly disappointing that their voices and arguments have not been given fair treatment in the media, and it is appalling that so many who consider themselves progressive people have smeared, threatened, bullied, and ostracized those who do speak out,” said Murphy.

Librarian fights for civil discourse

In an interview with CBC Radio, Bowles did not shrink back from her decision to allow the library to host the event:

Click here to listen to the CBC Radion interview.

Asked if she was aware that Murphy would be featured at the event in the rented space, Bowles responded, “Absolutely, we knew that.”

The incredulous CBC reporter asked, “And you knew that Ms. Murphy has argued that trans women should not be allowed into women's locker rooms ... bathrooms or prisons, and that allowing people to self-declare their legal gender will ‘nullify women's rights.’ You knew all of that?”  

“Yes, we did. We were well aware of the Vancouver Public Library controversy, where Meghan Murphy was allowed to speak,” said Bowles. “And the room rental purpose was to have an educational and open discussion on the concept of gender identity and its legislation ramifications on women in Canada.”

The CBC interviewer appeared taken aback that Bowles views the event as educational in nature. “The purpose of this … wasn't an educational session, was it? This is someone who says that these rights should not exist, is that not the case?”

“It's a discussion,” insisted Bowles. “It's part of a civil discourse that people are having in the larger community about gender identity.”  

The CBC interviewer then registered disbelief that there two legitimate sides in the discussion about transgender rights: “If you have somebody within that discussion who denies that these rights should exist ... is that really a side? Or is that denying somebody their rights?”  

Bowles answered:

People in the community, on social media, have been describing this as hate speech. It's not defined under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ... as a hate speech. Otherwise, Megan Murphy would not be allowed to speak about these things. She would be facing criminal charges. But she's not. 

Sometimes ... when you're defending free speech, you're in a very uncomfortable position where you're defending perspectives and ideas and viewpoints that many in the community, or a few in the community, whatever, find offensive. 

But it's at that time that it's most important to stand up for free speech. That is what makes Canada a democratic country, and that is what we need today more than ever.

The CBC interviewer asked Bowles how she thought a trans person would feel sitting in the room with this panel discussion.  

“We've heard from trans people and other people who are very supportive of us. But they don't want their voices to be out there,” said Bowles. “They asked us to keep it in confidence and keep their communication to us in confidence, because they just don't want reprisal on social media.”

“And I think that speaks to the fact that this is the controversy that needs to be discussed,” she added. “I think it's a controversy that needs to be out there in the public realm.”

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At synod, collapse of Amazon’s Catholic faith takes backseat to ‘more important questions’

Sandro Magister
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October 18, 2019 (L'Espresso) — At the press conference on Monday, October 14 Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican dicastery for communication, was asked why updated statistical data have not been released on the religious affiliation of inhabitants of the Amazon, seeing the impetuous growth of the Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches, at the expense of the Catholic Church.

Ruffini replied that all the information in the possession of the Vatican offices has been made available to the accredited journalists, and that in any case the synod has to address rather more important questions than statistical data on religious affiliation.

* * *

In the second part of his response, Ruffini is contradicted by the synod fathers themselves, or at least by some of them. In order to intuit, in fact, to what extent the erosion of the Catholic presence in the region touches the heart of the synod on the Amazon and is a question not of statistics but of faith, it should suffice to cite what was maintained by one of the guests of Pope Francis, Fr. Martín Lasarte, head of missionary outreach in Africa and Latin America for the Salesian congregation to which he belongs and with direct experience of the Amazon, who spoke before the assembly on the morning of Saturday, October 12:

I visited a diocese, where 95% of the population were Catholics in the early 1980s; today they are 20%. I remember the comment of one of the European missionaries who systematically 'dis-evangelized' the region: 'We do not favour superstition, but human dignity'. That says it all. The Church in some places has turned into a great services manager (health, education, promotional, advocacy...), but little in the mother of faith.

* * *

In the first part of his response, however, Ruffini was right. In effect, on October 3 the Vatican press office sent the accredited journalists a link to a voluminous dossier in Spanish and Portuguese on the "realidad ecclesial y socioambiental" of the region, prepared in view of the synod by the REPAM, the Red Eclesial Panamazónica set up in 2014 and headed by Cardinal Cláudio  Hummes:

> Atlas Panamazónico

And it had escaped Settimo Cielo that in the dossier, almost entirely dedicated to social and environmental questions, on page 35 there appears a graphic with the present percentages in the Amazon of various non-Catholic denominations.

Here they are, in decreasing order of size:

With 5 percent of the total population:
Testigos de Jehová

With 4 percent each:
Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día
Iglesia Cristiana Evangélica

With 3 percent:
Asamblea de Dios

With 2 percent each:
Iglesia de los Santos de los Últimos Días
Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostés del Movimiento Misionero Mundial
Iglesia Universal del Reino de Dios
Iglesia Cristiana de Restauración
Iglesia Cuadrangular
Otras Iglesias Evangélicas
Bautistas

With 1 percent each:
Iglesia Pentecostal Unida de Colombia
Iglesia de Dios Ministerial de Jesucristo Internacional
Espírita

On the whole, these 14 non-Catholic denominations make up a third of the population of the Amazon, 33 percent.

In a note next to the graphic, however, it is specified that to these must be added "Otras Iglesias Cristianas" — almost half of which are "iglesias únicas que no tienen relación aparente entre sí" — which together add up to another 13 percent.

In all, therefore — according to the "Atlas Panamazónico" of the REPAM — fully 46 percent of the 34 million inhabitants of the region have in recent decades abandoned the Catholic Church to switch to other religious denominations.

The case of Brazil as a whole is just as startling. In the official census that is conducted each decade in that country, in 1970 Catholics were 91.8 percent of the population, while in the 2010 census they were just 64.6 percent, and in next year's census it is expected that they will be less than half.

Already today, in fact, given that 46 percent of Brazilians have switched — as in the Amazon — to non-Catholic denominations and that another 10-12 percent is made up of animists, agnostics, etc., those remaining faithful to the Catholic Church would make up little more than 40 percent of the population.

And no turnaround is foreseen for the near future. Unless the synod for the Amazon is able to identify the reasons for this disaster and undertake "new paths" of evangelization, the real kind.

Published with permission from L'Espresso.

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Jeffrey Younger playing catch with his son, James SaveJames.com
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Experts warn against medical gender ‘transitions’ as dad fights to save 7-year-old from one

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TEXAS, October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In court yesterday, expert witnesses warned against administering puberty blockers or cross-sex hormone therapy to children as Jeffrey Younger fights to save his seven-year-old son from being “transitioned” into a girl.

Mr. Younger and his ex-wife, Dr. Anne Georgulas, are fighting over custody arrangements and decision-making authority for their twin boys, James and Jude. Dr. Georgulas enrolled James in kindergarten as “Luna.” Mr. Younger is fighting to prevent James from being given puberty blockers or any other form of medical gender “transition.”

Mr. Younger’s attorney, Mr. Odeneal, questioned Dr. Stephen Levine, a renowned psychiatrist known for his work on human sexuality, and Dr. Paul Hruz, a pediatric endocrinologist. Dr. Levine was not one of the first to study gender theory, but he was one of the earlier practitioners in the field. Dr. Hruz is a professor of pediatrics and cellular biology at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis. 

Dr. Levine testified about the over-politicization of the field of “gender.” He explained that this caused him to leave the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, an organization he was closely involved with earlier in his career.

“The organization, in my opinion, ceased to be a scientific organization and began to become an advocacy organization.” 

Dr. Levine testified to the four elements that play a role in creating gender confusion: biology, interpersonal forces, psychological forces, and social forces. He highlighted the important role proper parental nurturing – or lack thereof – plays in the development of gender dysphoria: “there is a disruption in the maternal or paternal bonding process somewhere along the way.”

Dr. Levine encouraged parents to make decisions for their kids now that will help them in the future. 

“An ideal outcome of trans youth is to desist” back to the child’s real sex, he said, due to the psychological and social difficulties faced by transgender individuals. Dr. Levine stated that with children who present as transgender before puberty, it is “well known that the vast majority of [these] children desist.” 

He cautioned that there is a correlation between affirming children in gender confusion early on and the confusion persisting. 

“There seems to be an accumulation of evidence that children who are affirmed have a much lower rate of desistance.” 

He also stated that it is important to find a proper medical practitioner who can understand the long-term impacts of “transitioning.”

“The responsible, knowledgeable professional needs to understand what is known about transgender teens and adults...so it is a long-term perspective that is on everyone’s mind.”  

Dr. Levine continued, “There are some people who are passionately advocating early transition ...The affirmation is intended to make the child happier now. The irony is, the happier now may predispose the child to misery later.” 

Dr. Levine outlined the three main negative side effects of a hormonal “transition”: infertility, impairment of adult sex function, and a shortened life expectancy. He also told the court that the medical community considers the transgender population a vulnerable, at-risk group. 

“If we can avoid these problems, why in the world wouldn’t we?” Dr. Levine asked. Citing scientific data, he continued, “The life of transsexuals is not a happily ever after phenomenon.” 

He also explained that affirming someone in his or her gender confusion does not reduce the risk of suicide. There is no scientific evidence to suggest otherwise, he said.

When pressed by Dr. Georgulas’ lawyers, Dr. Levine reiterated his support for a “wait and see” approach and considering what is best for the child long-term. 

Dr. Paul Hruz admonished the jury against the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormonal therapy. Dr. Hruz does not prescribe puberty blockers due to their serious side effects. He does not see how the possible benefits outweigh the significant and serious risks. 

Puberty blockers shut down the function of the ovaries and testes. The long-term impact of using the drugs has not been studied. They are FDA-approved for precocious puberty, but not for use in treating gender “dysphoria.” 

Dr. Hruz testified that the risks of cross-sex hormone therapy include increased risk of stroke and heart attack and other serious health problems. The health impacts are cumulative over time, he said.

“Data that has been mentioned about the vast majority of individuals having spontaneous desistance is in the setting where social affirmation was not provided,” Dr. Hruz continued. “Children who are affirmed [in gender confusion] are more likely to start puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.” They then “need to be dependent upon the medical establishment for the rest of their life.” 

He encouraged people to get an opinion from a well-educated provider who will work to understand the “psychological factors that contributed to the underlying identity.” 

Dr. Hruz refuted the statements Dr. Daniel Schumer made the day before. Schumer claimed that cross-sex hormones are treated essentially the same in the body regardless of biological sex. The “response to these [cross-sex] hormones will be very different when you expose them to a biological female versus a male,” explained Dr. Hruz. 

“I would say the whole field of all of the interventions that we are doing with gender dysphoria is experimental,” Dr. Hruz told the court. He reiterated that the long-term effects of these interventions are unknown. “We need to acknowledge that what we are doing have many proven risks with unknown benefits with substantial harm.”

Follow all LifeSiteNews coverage of the James Younger case here.

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Ex-trans: ‘I couldn’t cope any more with being transgender … it made me ill’

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By Doug Mainwaring

October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A man who sought to medically “transition” in order to live life as a woman because he thought it would make him happy has now “detransitioned” after experiencing the opposite result.  

“I couldn't cope any more with being transgender,” he said. “It made me ill.”  

He also warned that following the current onslaught of childhood “transitions,” “mental health hospitals (will be) full” in the future with those dealing with their regrettable choices. 

‘Nobody discouraged or cautioned me’

Peter Benjamin, 60, a father of two adult children, sees himself as the victim of inadequate psychological counseling leading up to his medical transition.     

After his second wife died, Benjamin decided to “transition.” The psychiatrist working with him concluded he had no underlying medical problems deserving a closer look.  “But I did,” Benjamin said in a video interview with The Sun.  

“I was drinking heavily, I suffered with anxiety, I suffered with depression, I had a complete breakdown after my wife died,” said Benjamin, “and none of this was picked up by the psychiatrist.”  

Benjamin also attended a transgender support group where he was told he was a woman despite not having undergone surgery and was encouraged by a counselor to “carry on down this road.”  

Nobody discouraged or cautioned him. 

Transitioning does not deal with an individual’s real psychological issues

Benjamin’s experience underscores what some but not all in the medical professions recognize as comorbid pschological disorders that underlie their compulsions to live as a member of the opposite sex.  

Walt Heyer, a man who detransitioned years ago and who is now recognized as a leading expert on reverting from transgenderism, has explained that if such disorders were considered and treated adequately, sexual transitioning would probably be greatly reduced. The role of these “comorbid” conditions tends to surface later, as trans individuals begin to question their decision to try to “transition” to the opposite sex.  

“We find this out from the ‘regretters,’” explained Heyer. “We don’t find it out early on. We find it out afterward when they’re seeking help … and we find out that these comorbid disorders existed early on.” 

Euphoria quickly evaporated

Though he felt “euphoric” immediately after his operation, Benjamin soon began to experience loneliness. He had never been same-sex attracted, so an intimate or romantic relationship with a man was out of the question.  

In becoming a woman he suddenly found himself alone.  

“My anxiety levels were sky high,” he told the UK Times. “I was seeing the doctors for all sorts of problems. My drinking was going up because I couldn’t cope any more with being transgender. I just had to get out of it.”

The Times report continues:  

Benjamin had his first inkling that he had made a mistake when he was driven home after the operation by his son and daughter and found himself feeling horribly alone. “They took my suitcase upstairs and then my daughter gave me a hug and then they left. That was the only support I had. There was no follow-up psychiatry — nothing.”

Hopes that he would quickly be accepted in a circle of female friends were dashed. “I hoped to have more female friends, but the opposite happened. I thought, ‘Ladies who lunch, go on holiday, have friends around for coffee,’ but it just didn’t happen.”

After de-transitioning, Benjamin says he once again is surrounded by friends. He also has found himself at home in church.   

“All the cross-dressing, all the ‘transgender’ is gone,” said Benjamin. “Completely gone.”   

“I feel so much better about myself. I don’t fantasize about it. There’s no lust there anymore,” he said. “I am back to being who I was before … and so that’s how I’m going to live my life now.” 

“It is tragic that such a vulnerable man was given a life-changing, irreversible and ultimately devastating operation without his profound mental health issues being addressed properly,” said Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre. 

“His experience represents a deep and disturbing warning for our society as it is told that the answer to deep-rooted gender identity confusion is hormone prescription and radical surgery,” said Williams, who is considering legal action on Benjamin’s behalf.

Worried about rush to diagnose childhood transgenderism

Benjamin worries that people — especially children — are being too quickly rushed to medical transitioning treatments when their compulsion is being triggered by other conditions such as depression, social isolation, or autism, which are left unresolved.   

“We’re going to have mental health hospitals full, dealing with these children who have decided that they are not transgender as they grow older,” he said. “The NHS is going to have such a big burden on it over what’s happening. I am so worried.”

Benjamin’s warning comes just days after a young woman in the UK, who has rejected her former transgender identity as a male, launched a group called “The Detransition Advocacy Network” in order to help the hundreds of young individuals she says have reached out to her who are experiencing regret after undergoing hormonal treatements and surgical procedures.    

‘Transitioning’ is not a cure-all

And last month, a woman in Liverpool proudly claimed that her child “became the youngest trans toddler … at just three years of age.”

Five former employees of the Tavistock Clinic, home to the UK’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) that specializes in treating gender dysphoric youth, have alleged that the clinic had been approving “life-changing medical intervention” for children and teens “without sufficient evidence of its long-term effects.”

They warned against “promoting transition as a cure-all solution for confused adolescents.”

“Given (the) paucity of evidence, the off-label use of drugs (i.e. what they are approved for) in gender dysphoria treatment largely means an unregulated live experiment on children,” said Carl Heneghan of the Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University in an interview with The Times of London.

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Attorneys grill dad trying to save 7-year-old from gender ‘transition’

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TEXAS, October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In court yesterday, attorneys for the mother who is trying to “transition” her seven-year-old son into a girl chastised the boy’s father, who is trying to save his son from this, for “involving the media.”

PETITION: 7-year-old boy should not be forced to live as a girl! Sign the petition here.

Jeffery Younger is fighting over custody and conservatorship (decision-making ability) of his twin sons, James and Jude. The mother of his children and his ex-wife, pediatrician Anne Georgulas, is fighting to keep him away from the kids and force Jeffrey to affirm James as a girl named “Luna.” 

On the third day of the trial, Georgulas’ attorneys attacked Mr. Younger and decried the presence of media at the trial. 

The morning began with an intense, hushed conference between the judge and the attorneys about a photograph. When Mr. Younger took the stand, Dr. Georgulas’ attorneys rebuked him for involving the media in this case. They argued that he was exploiting James’ and Jude’s private lives for his own personal and political gain with no regard for their privacy. 

The attorneys had asked each of the prior expert witnesses, who were paid by Georgulas to testify, about the alleged harm of the Save James website and related social media pages. Without hesitation, they all answered it was detrimental long-term to have something like that floating around online. 

In addition to the Save James website, the attorneys questioned Younger’s willingness to do interviews with the media and let certain reporters meet the boys. Younger replied that the public has a right to know about what was going on. 

“I think it is important for people to know what’s going on in the court and in the medical field,” he said.

The attorneys argued that the presence in court of observers who side with Mr. Younger and media wasn’t beneficial for the case. Additionally, they claimed that it was inappropriate for a reporter to ask Dr. Georgulas questions outside the courtroom.

The day before, a reporter had attempted to ask Dr. Georgulas questions while they shared an elevator. The reporter explained, “I caught her on the elevator, but she refused to speak with me and tried to involve the police.”

Those who witnessed the event in the lobby described Dr. Georgulas’ behavior as “hysterical” and said that she was “creating a scene” as she yelled at the police about the reporter.

The police couldn’t do anything as Dr. Georgulas was in a public area and therefore the reporter was allowed to speak to her. 

After Dr. Georgulas’ attorneys questioned Mr. Younger about his “promotion” of the case, they attacked his character, finances, and personal life.

The amicus attorney – an attorney appointed by the court who is supposed to represent the best interests of the children – asked Mr. Younger about his religious beliefs on transgenderism. Mr. Younger, an Orthodox Chrisitian, told the court, “This is completely opposed to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. It is equivalent to suicide….It also violates all of the sexual dogmas of the church.” 

Mr. Younger is currently forbidden by the court from trying to “convince his son he’s a boy.” He interprets that to mean he cannot teach James some of his religious beliefs.

Mr. Younger reiterated his desire to take a “wait and see” approach with James rather than allow him to be put on puberty blockers. Citing literature from the GENECIS clinic, where Dr. Georgulas tried to enroll James, Mr. Younger stated that the “wait and see” approach is the middle ground. He said he does not want to affirm James’ “identity” as “Luna” and push him into transgenderism, nor does he want to force James to ignore and suppress his emotions. 

Mr. Younger told the court that he tried to be accepting of James’ gender confusion issues initially. He also noted he doesn’t force James to present as a boy at his house; it was James who made that decision.

At one point, “James tore up the female clothes and threw them away,” he shared. “They seemed to disturb him.”

Follow all LifeSiteNews coverage of the James Younger case here

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Aboriginal priest: ‘Celibacy is a virtue that can be lived by any human being’

Dorothy Cummings McLean and Ricardo S. German
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Brazil’s first indigenous priest has proven that the peoples of the Amazon are capable of understanding celibacy. 

Fr. Justino Sarmento Rezende, SDB, gave a presentation about his vocation and work among other indigenous communities in the Amazon region in the press conference following yesterday’s meeting among members of the Pan-Amazonian Synod. 

Responding to a question regarding Bishop Erwin Kräutler’s statement that indigenous people are incapable of understanding celibacy, the celibate Fr. Sarmento stated that anyone can live it out. 

“Celibacy is a virtue that can be lived by any human being, man or woman,” he said. 

The missionary priest explained that celibacy is not born with the human person, but was established in history. People can choose and live it freely. Naturally, it can be difficult to live a celibate life, but it can be supported with prayers and the help of the community. 

“Celibacy isn’t innate to the human person. Celibacy is established throughout history. No one here is born prepared to live the celibate life. That’s why I have once written — you can look it up on Google — that celibacy is a gift from God. Any person in the world can live the celibate life from the moment he freely states: ‘I want to live this way of life.’”

Sarmento disclosed that when he entered the seminary, his mother cried and his grandfather told him that Catholic priesthood was not for his people.  

“I speak from my own experience: my mom never told me, ‘Go be a priest, so you can be celibate,’” Sarmento recalled.  

“On the contrary, when I entered seminary she cried because she wanted to see her son married so she would have the joy of raising grandchildren,” he continued.  

“My grandfather, who was a great master of Tuyuka ceremonies and practices said: ‘Being a priest is not for us, Tuyukas [the Western term for the Utapinõmakãphõná people]! Where did you get that idea from?” 

Sarmento said that he even he thought at that time that only “whites” were capable of being priests. He stated that as soon as indigenous priests were ordained, people made comments suggesting that “indigenous men struggle to live celibately.” 

“Yeah, I do, but that’s because I am a normal person,” he joked.  

“Maybe some others don’t, I don’t know. What matters is that we live it [the celibate life] through effort, through prayer, with help from others, in the most harmonious way possible.”

The indigenous priest said that he would leave the priesthood if he suffered excessively from the celibate life, “to the point where [his] life cannot be a witness to the people in the Church.”

Sarmento made the assembly chuckle when he suggested that some women might not be able to live celibately, possibly alluding to the controversy around the current discussion of women’s leadership in the Church.  

“Celibacy is a virtue that can be lived out by any human being, man or woman — well, I don’t know about the ‘woman’ part…” he added. 

“Everything has been confusing lately! That is a whole other topic here…” 

Sarmento, who belongs to the Salesian Order, was ordained a priest in 1994 in the Salesian mission of Pari Cachoeira in northwest Brazil.   

The idea that the indigenous people of the Amazonian region cannot grasp the concept of priestly celibacy has been used to promote the ordination of trustworthy married men, called viri probati, to the priesthood. Bishop Erwin Kräutler, the Bishop Emeritus of Xingu in Brazil and member of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan Amazonian region being held in Rome, said that there was “no other option” than to ordain married indigenous men as priests “because they don’t understand celibacy.” 

The Austrian-born Brazilian bishop’s October 9 remark was denounced by some people of both indigenous and European descent as racist.

“I find it very offensive as an indigenous person,” Rexchrisanto Delson, who has Filipino Igorot ancestry, told LifeSiteNews.  

“I even find it very racist. These people who believe such things seem to have forgotten the role of missionaries as understood in the past when the primary purpose and goal was to convert and baptize people - to save their souls.” 

Fortunately, not all members of the synod believe that celibacy is the greatest bar to priestly vocations in the Amazon region. On October 16, Bishop Wellington de Queiroz Vieira of Cristalândia, Brazil identified “lack of holiness” among priests as the greatest obstacle, followed by the lack of a missionary spirit.  

There are concerns, however, that Fr. Sarmento favors the “ordination” of women and other novelties because of his contributions to a statement produced this April by a group of Latin American liberation theologians who participated in a pre-synodal conference in Bogota. 

“Towards the Pan-Amazonian Synod: Challenges and Contributions from Latin America and the Caribbean” undermines fundamental elements of Catholic doctrine by claiming that there is no one true religion and that non-Christian religions are capable of bringing “salvation.” The document praises the pagan religious traditions of the indigenous people in the Amazon.

In addition, the Bogota statement also redefines the Eucharist as a symbolic act of the community, attacks the hierarchical priesthood of the New Testament, and asks the Church’s authorities to be open to the possibility of the “ordination” of women as priests. It calls for “the overcoming of a patriarchal perspective” and  advocates the substitution of a “feminist and ecological theology.” It also urges the ordination of married men to the priesthood.

The document closes with a prayer to God as “Father and Mother of life,” after having referred to God as the “Creator-Creatora.” 

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Planned Parenthood star witness impeached, jury sees video for first time in baby parts case

Operation Rescue staff
By Operation Rescue staff

October 18, 2019 (Operation Rescue) — Dr. Deborah Nucatola, former Medical Director for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, took the stand in an ongoing federal trial against pro-life activists, who are defending themselves against Planned Parenthood's accusations that they violated the Federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations act (RICO) when they secretly filmed evidence that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal trafficking of aborted baby tissue and organs for profit.

Nucatola was the subject of the first video summary released by the Center for Medical Progress on July 14, 2015. She was shown munching salad and sipping wine while she dispassionately discussed in graphic detail the ways she altered second-trimester abortion procedures — her specialty — to ensure that organs were intact for organ procurement companies, which paid Planned Parenthood for the aborted baby tissues.

Nucatola was supposed to be Planned Parenthood's star witness. 

A source inside the courtroom, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Operation Rescue that Nucatola said she has been conducting on average 200 abortions per month for her entire 21-year career as an abortionist.

This means she has — so far — been responsible for the deaths of over 50,000 pre-born babies.

She reportedly told the court, "I provide abortions to 24 weeks, and beyond if needed."

Nucatola noted that she prefers to use the [euphemistic] term "tissue donation" instead of "selling baby body parts for a profit."

Nucatola also described how she was upset about the release of the videos, and again sobbed when relating how she and her family were "damaged" by them.

That moment may have provided a turning point for the defense.

Upon cross examination one pro-life attorney questioned Nucatola about the damages caused by the video. Then he brought up statements she had made under oath during an earlier deposition.

In deposition, Nucatola said that the release of the videos was "no big deal" that "did not damage me."

In addition, she had made sworn statements such as, "I did nothing wrong." "I don't care if these videos are released." "There is nothing wrong with what I said."

This completely impeached Nucatola's testimony and destroyed her credibility.

Then came the defining moment for the pro-life defendants, which include Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue; Sandra Merritt; Albin Rhomberg; and David Daleiden.

Judge William Orrick had previously denied all requests to show any of the video taken by the Center for Medical Progress to the jury. However, Wednesday, he allowed the playing of five minutes of raw, uncut video from the lunch meeting between Nucatola and the undercover pro-life journalists who posed as representatives of an organ procurement company.

The courtroom observer told Operation Rescue that tears could been seen on the faces of some members of the jury as they watched Nucatola speaking on video about liver, lungs, hearts, muscle, and calvarium (baby heads) that were harvested from the bodies of aborted babies.

"The jury was stunned. It was the first time during the three-week trial that they had seen any of the debated video," the observer told Operation Rescue. "It was a game changer and a huge victory for the pro-life defendants. Planned Parenthood's star witness turned into a star witness for the defense. It could not have been a better day."

Published with permission from Operation Rescue.

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Operation Rescue
Operation Rescue staff

News

Rhode Island cuts abortion restrictions 1 week after woman hospitalized for torn uterus

Operation Rescue staff
By Operation Rescue staff
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October 18, 2019 (Operation Rescue) — An ambulance was called on June 11, 2019, for a 21-year old African-American woman who suffered a perforated uterus during an abortion at the Providence Health Center Planned Parenthood in Rhode Island. 

A perforated uterus means that a hole was torn through the uterine wall and into the abdominal cavity. It is a potentially life-threatening abortion complication that can cause severe pain, hemorrhaging, internal bleeding, infection, and death. Perforations have been known to also damage other organs inside the abdomen, including bowels, arteries, the bladder, and ureters.

The extent of the damage caused by this woman's perforation is unknown. 

The Providence Health Center Planned Parenthood conducts surgical abortions up to 19 weeks gestation.

Pro-life activists, who were on the street outside the abortion facility to offer practical help to abortion-bound women, documented the incident with photos and video.

The woman was brought out of Planned Parenthood on a gurney and loaded into an ambulance, which waited in the facility's parking lot until all traffic had passed before pulling out into the street. It was only then that the ambulance began to use its sirens to clear traffic.

The following week, two pro-lifers who witnessed the event submitted photographs of the emergency and affidavits under the names "Jane Doe" and "John Doe" to the Rhode Island Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio. Those documents were accompanied by a cover letter from attorney Jane E. Brockmann, voicing concerns over patient safety at that Planned Parenthood abortion facility and citing the website Abortion911.com for more examples of abortion injuries to women.

Ruggerio, a Democrat who claims to be "pro-life," essentially ignored the evidence and patient safety concerns presented by Brockman.

Just a month earlier, Ruggerio had allowed the Reproductive Privacy Act to advance for a vote, stating, "I am pro-life, but I made a determination not to impose my personal views on the members of the committee. I did not interfere with the committee review process or attempt to influence the outcome. Should the bill come to the floor, I will vote in opposition to it."

Ruggerio kept his word and later voted against the measure, but his lack of leadership allowed the bill to pass the full Senate with a vote of 21-17. 

On June 19, 2019 — just eight days after the young woman was rushed from Planned Parenthood to a hospital emergency room with a hole torn in her uterus — Rhode Island's Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo signed the Reproductive Privacy Act into law.

That law prohibits the state and any of its agencies from preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion prior to viability. The state also cannot interfere with a woman aborting a viable baby for "health" reasons, which can mean almost anything. It also relaxed medical standards for abortion facilities.

In addition, the law abolished several existing abortion-related laws.

  • Eliminated mandated care for babies born alive during abortions.
  • Eliminated informed consent for abortions.
  • Eliminated a ban on partial birth abortions, which are illegal on the federal level.
  • Eliminated a ban on experimentation of human fetuses.

Since the ban on experimentation using aborted baby tissue and organs was lifted, pro-life activists have witnessed weekly pickups of small red biohazard bags from the Providence Planned Parenthood facility. The bags are placed in private vehicles and transported to unknown facilities.

These bags — which may or may not contain fetal tissue — are too small to contain aborted baby remains collected from a full week of abortions. This raises questions about whether Planned Parenthood is back in the organ trafficking business — or even if they ever really left it.

"Liberalizing abortion laws and reducing the authority of the state to conduct oversight of abortion facilities creates a perfect storm for disasters like the one seen at Planned Parenthood on June 11," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. "When New York enacted a similar law in January, we saw the floodgates open on abortion complications at the Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood facility in Manhattan. We expect to see a similar increase in medical emergencies in Rhode Island as a result of the passage of its irresponsible new law."

Published with permission from Operation Rescue.

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Cheryl Sullenger

News

Planned Parenthood uses third-party call service for 911, delays emergency care

Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger
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October 18, 2019 (Operation Rescue) — When a medical emergency arose at a Baltimore Planned Parenthood abortion facility recently, one Planned Parenthood employee did something unusual. Instead of picking up the telephone and dialing 911 — the quickest way to get help — she used a Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) to call the Intrado Emergency Call Relay Center, which, in turn, placed the call to the 911 exchange.

However, when the woman from the call relay center provided an incomplete address given by the Planned Parenthood employee, identified as Raishonda Jefferson-Lampton, the call center was forced to put Ms. Jefferson-Lampton on the line directly with the 911 dispatcher.

Once she confirmed the Planned Parenthood facility's correct address, an ambulance was finally dispatched.

It is possible that Planned Parenthood was trying to avoid a public record of this incident by using an Internet-based line and routing through a third-party. Open records laws do not apply to private businesses, such as a call relay center. But this ruse did not work for Planned Parenthood because the call relay center contacted 911 so an ambulance could be dispatched. This created a record that was subject to public access.

The rest of the 911 recording and the Computer Aided Dispatch printout, which were provided to Operation Rescue by the pro-life group Defend Life, were heavily redacted to remove any mention of why paramedics were needed.

However, Operation Rescue was able to locate the radio dispatch recording that indicated an ambulance was needed at Planned Parenthood for someone suffering "abdominal pain" — a symptom often associated with surgical abortion complications.

According to a witness at the scene, a woman was brought out on a gurney and loaded into a Baltimore City Ambulance. The CAD transcript noted that there was a transport and change of location, presumably to a local hospital.

Planned Parenthood's use of a VOIP to contact a call relay center instead of 911 directly likely delayed the dispatch of paramedics to the scene. This practice could potentially cause life-threatening delays. 

"Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses are actively trying to hide the number of women who suffer serious complications that require emergency hospitalization. The data we are compiling on abortion emergencies debunks their propaganda that abortion is safe. The evidence shows it is not," said Newman. "We are grateful to the pro-life activists who were on the scene and to Defend Life for documenting this incident so the public can be alerted to the true dangers of abortion."

For more information on medical emergencies at abortion facilities around the nation, visit Abortion911.com.

Published with permission from Operation Rescue.

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Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vaticans Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

News

Cdl. Sarah: Claims that I ‘oppose’ the Pope are ‘diabolical’

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

ANALYSIS

ROME, October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — We should not pit Pope Francis against his predecessors, he is the “right” Pope for his time, and he should not be charged with the “silent apostasy” that is rampant even within the Church, especially in the West. This is the pith of a lengthy interview given by Cardinal Robert Sarah to the Italian daily, Il Corriere della sera, published last Monday, October 7. In the context of the Amazon Synod which opened the day before, with its syncretic ceremonies and pushing for the priestly ordination of married men and female “deacons,” the interview came as a surprise on the part of a cardinal who has the reputation of defending the perennial teachings of the Church.

The impression that Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was speaking out against traditionally-minded Catholics was made more acute by the Corriere’s journalist, Gian Guido Vecchi, who claimed in his introduction to the interview that Sarah “has cut and dry ideas but sets equally clear limits, which the ultraconservative ‘galaxy’ in the odor of schism will certainly appreciate: ‘Whoever is against the Pope is ipso facto outside the Church.’”

Given the tone of the interview, this comment by the journalist — and his sarcastic comment about “ultraconservatives” that presented them as possibly schismatic — seemed to be pushing the cardinal’s words out of context, insofar as Sarah clearly condemns precisely those progressive innovations that many “conservative” Catholics are deploring, some of them very publicly.

Published days after the pagan fertility rite that took place under the very eyes of Pope Francis in the Vatican gardens, the actual 23,000-word interview probably took place before that event. It marked the release of the Italian translation of Cardinal Sarah’s latest book, The Day is Now Far Spent, a series of conversations with his habitual collaborator, French author and editor Nicolas Diat.

The interview was probably vetted both by Cardinal Sarah and Nicolas Diat – who was recently portrayed by Frédéric Martel, author of In the Closet of the Vatican, as an ambiguous personality close earlier in life to the French left-wing, then to a former minister of former center-right president Nicolas Sarkozy, Laurent Wauquiez.

“Whoever is against the Pope is ipso facto outside the Church” is at any rate a vague and general statement. There is no lack of canonized saints – including Saint Paul himself, but also Saint Athanasius, Saint Bridget of Sweden, and Saint Catherine of Sienna, to name but a few – who charged the ruling Popes of their times with erroneous or evil conduct or doctrine. It would be interesting to have Cardinal Sarah’s precise thoughts on the phrase quoted in his interview.

In order better to understand the distinction between necessary obedience to the Pope in his legitimate exercise of power, as the successor of Peter and vicar of Christ, and the Catholic’s obligation to use knowledge of the perennial doctrine and intelligence, it is useful to read Cardinal Burke’s and Bishop Schneider’s clarification in a statement published last month by Edward Pentin in The National Catholic Register

In it the two prelates cited the present “doctrinal confusion,” criticizing the present atmosphere of “an almost total infallibilization of the statements of the Roman Pontiff” and arguing – with Melchior Cano – against “those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff, (…) those who most undermine the authority of the Holy See.”

In fact Cardinal Sarah himself recently endorsed a new book-length interview with Bishop Schneider, who is critical of a number of the Pope’s statements and actions but who is not “against” the Pope. Cardinal Sarah wrote about Christus vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age

At this critical moment in the life of the Church we must reflect carefully on all that confronts us and discern what is true, good, and beautiful from what is evil. We cannot but be grateful to a faithful apostle such as Bishop Athanasius Schneider for his clear and courageous analysis of the state of the Church in our day. May this book assist all who read it in living their particular vocation with greater fidelity and zeal, for the glory of Almighty God and the salvation of souls.

Vecchi’s question: “Many have read or will read your book in opposition to the present pontificate. On the other hand, the text is dedicated both to Benedict XVI and to Francis, ‘faithful son of Saint Ignatius.’ Where is the truth?” elicited this answer from Cardinal Sarah:

The truth is that many write not to bear witness to the truth, but to pit people against each other, to damage human relations. They don’t care about the truth. The truth is that those who oppose me to the Holy Father cannot present a single word of mine, a single phrase of mine, or a single attitude of mine to support their absurd, and I would say diabolical statements. The Devil divides, pits people against one another. The truth is that the Church is represented on earth by the Vicar of Christ, that is, the Pope. And whoever is against the Pope is ipso facto outside the Church. I understand that human society — and the intellectual world in particular — needs contrasts to define positions in the field, as if it had no other terms of understanding but the alternative between ‘we’ and ‘them.’ 

Which seems like a gross error, not to mention a diabolical one. But the history of the Church, aware of the devil who wants to divide it, is a long history, certainly of difficulty, and also of division, but always aimed at seeking unity in Christ, while respecting differences: it is a history that is based on faith in a God who became man to share with each person the path of life and the burden of suffering. All the rest are absurd speculations. I would add that every Pope is 'just' [right] for his time, Providence sees us very well, you know? The question is: is what you and I have received from our fathers still valid for our children? And if so, how do we make sure that they re-appropriate it in their experience? It is the truth of these testimonies that we are called to rediscover, both with the unparalleled analysis of Benedict’s thought and with the great and luminous industriousness of Francis. While there is an obvious difference of sensibilities, there is a great harmony and a great continuity between them, as everyone has been able to see in these years. We must always interpret the words of Pope Francis with the hermeneutics of continuity. In the same way that it existed between John Paul II and Paul VI. The history of the Church is beautiful and reducing it to the political caricature typical of television talk shows is a marketing operation, not a way of seeking the truth.

Cardinal Sarah then proceeded to enumerate a number of concerns and denunciations of errors that are often openly linked to Pope Francis’ governance and confusing statements but that he prefers to attribute to priests, bishops, and cardinals whom one understands would thus be “against the Pope.”

He made clear from the start of the interview that his latest book expresses his “cry as a shepherd from the starting point of the analysis of the times in which we’re living.”

“What I see happening in reality is serious: we are experiencing a very strong spiritual crisis. We are facing a silent apostasy. It concerns the whole world, but has its origin mainly in Europe. And it comes from the rejection of God, a rejection that has now been enshrined in Western consciousness. Because today it is man who has replaced God. The Father is rejected and God is rejected, because people do not admit that they can depend on someone. Everyone wants self-determination in everything: in life, in death, in sexuality, even changing nature on the basis of his own ideas. It’s something that never happened and it’s perverse,” he said. He later condemned man's “unbridled search” to “create a humanism without God in which God is man himself.”

Cardinal Sarah also spoke clearly against the temptation to adapt the Church to the times, recalling that the Gospel and the Word of God “are always valid forever, because they transcend the history and earthly life of men.”

“The Church is either prophetic or is not the Church. She stands before the frailties of man, not to indulge them, but to accompany man on his way to happiness, which also passes through the Cross of difficulties, trials and his radical conversion.”

He added that “doctrine is not a set of moralistic precepts” but rejected “relativism":

Catholic doctrine, in short, is a person! It is Jesus in his Word. How can we think that the Gospel is an expression of something detached from reality? Either our faith is founded on the encounter with a Person, who is God made man, through his Son Jesus, and therefore on a testimony that must be renewed every day for the daily death and resurrection of Christ, or our faith is fallacious and is based on the idols of modernity. But a father or a mother who do not show their son the right path, what father is he? And what mother is she? Thus it is believed in the thought of contemporary society, which is secularized and decadent, that the opening-up of the Church, to which Pope Francis constantly and rightly calls us, means the dilution of what we believe. But Christ did not come to indulge society, he came to save humanity from its fall, to bring the Truth and change each of us personally, in our very depths.

Questioned about the Amazon Synod, Cardinal Sarah insisted that Pope Francis “would not change the discipline of celibacy in the Latin Church,” but that the issue would only be raised concerning “married elderly” in “very remote areas,” exercising only the “munus sanctificandi,” therefore “Mass, Confession, [annointing] of the sick,” without the function of guide or teaching, the “munera regendi e docendi.”

But he immediately called the proposal “theologically absurd,” implying “a functionalist conception of the priesthood” and again quoting Pope Francis who on January 27 of this year said: “I prefer to give my life before changing the law of celibacy. I repeat: there is no fear. The synod will study, then the Holy Father will draw conclusions.”

About the Amazon Synod, Cardinal Sarah said:

I have heard that some want to make this synod a laboratory for the universal Church, others have declared that after this synod nothing will be the same as before. If it is true, this is dishonest and misleading. This synod has a specific and local objective: the evangelization of the Amazon. I fear that some Westerners are confiscating this assembly to advance their plans. I am thinking in particular of the ordination of married men, the creation of women's ministries or the jurisdiction of the laity. These points touch on the structure of the universal Church. Taking advantage to introduce ideological plans would be an unworthy manipulation, a dishonest deception, an insult to God who guides his Church and entrusts him with his plan of salvation. Moreover, I was shocked and indignant that the spiritual distress of the poor in the Amazon had been used as an excuse to support projects typical of bourgeois and worldly Christianity. It is abominable.

He added:

Look, let me tell you: the problem here is that there are priests, bishops and even infidel cardinals who are failing – and this is just as serious as other sins – to bring the truth of Christ! They disorient the Christian faithful with their confused, ambiguous and liquid language. We must have the courage to return to the paths of spiritual combat: the fight of the faith, as St. Paul says to Timothy, because our main weapon is prayer. Many feel lost because they feel and experience that the Church is becoming a corporation or an NGO, which is exactly the opposite of what Pope Francis has been saying since the beginning of his pontificate… 

The Church is not that! We want to make the Church a human and horizontal society. We want it to speak a language adapted to the media. We want to make it popular. In this way, priests are urged not to speak of God and the scandal of the cross of Jesus, but to commit themselves body and soul to social issues: agriculture, ecology, dialogue, the fight against poverty, justice and peace. We no longer speak of God but of migrants, of the marginalized and the homeless!

In accusing “liquid atheism” of infiltrating “everything,” even “our ecclesiastical pronouncements,” Cardinal Sarah is certainly critical and perhaps even divisive: dividing what he presents as secularized clergy from a providential and God-centered Pope.

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Brien Farley

Opinion ,

Prayers needed as 6th ‘gay priests’ conference descends on Wisconsin next week

Brien Farley
By Brien Farley

October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — New Ways Ministry’s “Retreat for Gay Priests, Bishops, Brothers, and Deacons” AKA the Portal of Hell, will be occurring again this year at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin, October 22 through 24.

Yes, “Portal of Hell.” What would you call it?

1. The authentic Catholic Church has always been luminously clear about the grave depravity she recognizes homosexual activity to be. (See The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2357, 2358, and 2359.)

2. The Church recently reiterated (pp. 78–83) her longstanding rule that she “cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’” 

3. Per sociologist Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D.’s meta-analysis of data regarding clerical sex abuse, “the share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s. This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.”

4. This retreat — the sixth of its kind — is sponsored by New Ways Ministry, an organization long condemned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

5. Looking at the proposed content of the retreat, there is nothing of reflection, renunciation, repentance, or reconciliation here. Self-pity, passive aggression, denial, slander, and deceit are the order of the day. On the retreat webpage we read:

  • “Some Catholics have been blaming the sexual abuse of minors on the presence of a gay men in ministry.” (That’s because an overwhelming amount of data makes it blisteringly clear this is the case.)
  • “Is our ministry welcomed by our church?” (If by “our ministry” you mean New Ways Ministry, then NO. See above USCCB condemnation.)
  • “Can we feel welcomed by our church that regards a gay orientation as ‘intrinsically disordered?’” (Of course. But admission is not free. Like all us sinners, you must first deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Christ. FYI: this is going to mean putting the kibosh on the “gay” stuff.)
  • “What does it take to create a community of welcome?” (Obedience. The Church welcomes anyone committed to obeying the commandments of Jesus Christ.)
  • “What are we ready to sacrifice for such a community?” (How about sin? See previous two bullet points.)
  • “Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?” (Because you have lost sight of who you are. Being “gay” is not who you are. As local Milwaukee priest Fr. Nathan Reesman wrote last year about this retreat:  

For the ordained Catholic priest, or for a man in vows, or also for a deacon, our most fundamental identity is our union with Christ’s own ministerial mission. Nothing else can get in the way of that core reality. ‘Gay priest’ is a confusing and incoherent label that is heavily laden with potentially dangerous internal contradictions as well as external mixed messages for our Catholic faithful.

6. The leader for this year’s retreat is Fr. Peter Daly, a member of the leadership team of the notoriously heretical Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) and a prominent advocate for the elimination of priestly celibacy.

This is curious because, heretofore, the “gay clergy” movement has justified itself on the premise that if a priest experiences same-sex attraction but remains celibate, there’s no moral violation and thus no cause for objection. As celebrity “gay priest” evangelist Fr. James Martin assured us in the wake of the McCarrick disaster: “What I mean by ‘gay priests’ is ordained priests with a homosexual orientation who are living their promises of celibacy (and in religious orders, their vows of chastity).”

Then there’s the Milwaukee archdiocese’s own “gay priest” champion, Fr. Gregory Greiten:

There is no question there are and always have been celibate, gay priests and chaste members of religious communities. ... By choosing to enforce silence, the institutional church pretends that gay priests and religious do not really exist. Because of this, there are no authentic role models of healthy, well-balanced, gay, celibate priests to be an example for those, young and old, who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation. This only perpetuates the toxic shaming and systemic secrecy.

And just last year, New Ways Ministry executive director Francis DeBernardo was quoted as saying, “The priests who come to our retreats are priests who are earnestly living their promise of celibacy” and “One of the primary goals of these programs is to help men who have made a promise or vow of celibacy to live out that commitment in healthy and holy ways.”

Got it? So the argument goes: gay or straight, if the priest is celibate, there is no problem. Here’s the problem — the people making this argument are lying. They have zero interest in priestly celibacy or the Catholic priesthood...or, for that matter, the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers they purport to champion. These individuals are mere tools to be exploited by the cultural Marxists and craven opportunists orchestrating and funding the LGBTQ political movement, the current vanguard of the Sexual Revolution, of which the ultimate and only objective is Absolute Sexual License. The selection of an anti-celibacy activist cleric like Peter Daly to lead this retreat for “gay priests” makes this plain to see.

7. Consider the fate of the men participating in this retreat. Ordained men are — from Hell’s perspective — what the military calls “High Pay-Off Targets.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth.” Satan has every incentive to corrupt men who dare aspire to so lofty a role, for if successful, he not only gains their souls, but befouls the image of Christ in the eyes of the world through their misdeeds. Of particular delight to Satan, he is also likely to snag additional souls from the priest’s flock as they obediently follow their lost shepherd into the wolf-infested wilderness. Ponder, then, as St. Alphonsus Liguori does, “If instead of bringing souls to God, a priest is occupied in leading them to perdition, what punishment shall he deserve?”

A condemned, scandalous, deceitful, slanderous invitation to damnation opening up in the heart of the Church. “Portal of Hell” seems an apt description to me.

What can we do about it? PRAY: for the Church, for the priests attending this retreat, for the souls they are leading astray, for the Dominican sisters allowing their beautiful retreat center to be violated by this sacrilege. If you’re in Southeast Wisconsin, join Catholic faithful gathering to pray a Rosary of Reparation at Siena Retreat Center in Racine on Tuesday, October 22 from 4:00 to 5:30 P.M. For more information, contact Brien at [email protected] or Jean at [email protected].

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Cardinal Reinhard Marx. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
Phil Lawler

Opinion , ,

Germany and Amazonia: Blind leading the blind at the Amazon Synod

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

October 18, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — Two noteworthy columns today by veteran Vatican-watchers covering the Amazon Synod:

John Allen of Crux explains how German prelates have outsized influence in the discussions of the Amazon Synod — particularly when the subject is priestly celibacy.

And Sandro Magister of L'Espresso digs into the available statistics on religious affiliation in the Amazon region and discovers a stunning trend: Nearly half the region's population has drifted away from the Catholic Church in the past 40 years!

Put those two insights together, and what do you see? The German Catholic Church, which is hemorrhaging members, is giving "expert" advice to the Church in the Amazon, which is hemorrhaging members. The blind leading the blind.

Meanwhile in the same Amazon region, Magister notes, small Protestant groups have experienced impressive growth while the Catholic numbers have declined. What's the secret to their success? Certainly not an emphasis on the ecological and social-justice issues that German prelates are pushing at the Synod.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
William Kilpatrick

Opinion , , , ,

Muslim nations are donating huge amounts to American universities. Here’s why

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

October 18, 2019 (Turning Point Project) — In a recent, insightful First Things piece, Peter Hitchens reiterates the not so well known fact that Hitler was, in many respects, a progressive. And like progressives everywhere, Hitler saw young people as the vanguard of his movement. Thus:

When an opponent declares 'I will not come over to your side' I say calmly 'Your child belongs to us already... What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community.'

I thought of this as I was reading a recently released Clarion Project report on "Foreign Influence Ops on U.S. Universities." Now, college students are not children, but neither were many of the Hitler Youth. Moreover, most college students today seem to enjoy a prolonged adolescence that was not available to young people living in the Germany of the 1930s. Like adolescents everywhere, university students today are still at an impressionable stage. And "impressionable" would also describe a lot of graduate students as well.

Why would foreign donors give large sums of money to already wealthy American colleges? What do they get out of it? Are they doing it simply out of the goodness of their hearts, or are they, as the Clarion report title suggests, carrying out influence operations?

What would we think if historians discovered that Hitler's government had given huge sums of money to select British and American universities in the years leading up to World War II?

It would seem fairly obvious, wouldn't it, that Hitler hoped to bring Anglo-American youth over to his side? But why, then, aren't we disturbed to discover that countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar are donating vast quantities of cash to dozens of prestigious American universities?

Well, perhaps because we didn't know. I've been familiar for a long time with the large gifts given to select American universities by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and other wealthy Arabs. But it wasn't until I read the Clarion report that I became aware of the full extent of foreign funding (although Clarion warns that what it's uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg.)

With all the talk of Russian interference in our elections you might think that Russia would top the list of would-be influencers, but the United Arab Emirates donates more than twice as much as Russia, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar contribute far more. China, as you might expect, is near the top of the list, but tiny Qatar donates twice as much as China.

Since 2012 Qatar has donated $376 million to Carnegie Mellon University, $351 million to Georgetown, $340 million to Northwestern University. $275 million to Texas A&M, $41 million to Virginia Commonwealth University, and lesser amounts to about two dozen other institutions of, er, higher learning.

In the same time frame, Saudi Arabia has donated $83 million to MIT, $75 million to George Washington University, $59 million to George Mason University, $31 million to Harvard, $30 million to the University of Kansas and millions more to about 58 other universities.

Other large gifts to U.S. universities come from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Syria and Lebanon.

Islam, in case you didn't know it, is a proselytizing religion. And among Islamic states, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are, perhaps, the foremost evangelizers. Both promote "Wahhabism" — a puritanical and theocratic version of Islam that, as the Clarion report observes, "inspires Sunni jihadists around the world." Indeed, the Qatari government is a strong supporter of Hamas and other terrorist groups.

As far as I know, no American university has expressed shock at this rank influence-peddling. Unlike Rudy Giuliani, who turned down $10 million from the Saudis after 9/11, universities don't seem to mind accepting money with strings attached. Except, apparently, if the money comes from the U.S. government, and the strings require that you teach subjects in a balanced way.

Academics everywhere were outraged when the Department of Education threatened to cut funding for a Middle East studies program run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina. The letter from the Education Department cited courses that failed to provide a "balance of perspectives." According to the letter, "the positive aspects of Islam" were emphasized, but there was no similar attention to the "positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East."

Indeed, the NC-Duke Consortium had sponsored a conference featuring "severe anti-Israeli bias and anti-Semitic rhetoric." In other words, the consortium was using U.S. taxpayer money to present the Qatari point of view on the Middle East.

Academics were incensed that the government wanted to know what they were doing with its money. Jay Smith, a history professor at UNC, said that the official who signed the letter from the Department of Education, "should stay in his lane and allow the experts to determine what constitutes a 'full understanding' of the Middle East."

This might seem like a fairly risky response to give to a large government bureaucracy. But the reason that Mid-East studies programs can say "we don't need your stinkin' money" to the U.S. is because there's plenty more stinkin' money available from Middle East governments to fill the gap. The amount in question was a mere $235 thousand, which in Qatar would just about cover the cost of a week-end shopping trip to London.

Henry Reichman, of the American Association of University Professors, warned that the threat to withdraw funds "could have a chilling effect." But the Saudi-Qatar money already seems to have had a chilling effect on American universities. Else why would pro-Israel speakers be so seldom invited to speak on American campuses, while anti-Semitic speakers are given free rein? Why would history texts for students tell them that "Jihad actually means 'striving in the way of the Lord' to achieve personal betterment..."? And why would scholarly books keep insisting that the history of Islam was one long Golden Age of tolerance, scientific advancement, and social harmony?

During the centuries-long Islamic rule of Spain, Christians were treated as a subjugated people. They were considered inferior to Muslims and were made to feel their inferiority in a hundred different ways. Yet contemporary historians portray them as living happy and contented lives under the beneficent rule of their enlightened Muslim masters — in much the same way that earlier American writers portrayed black slaves as happy beneficiaries of their master's kindly solicitude.

Of course, Muslim also held slaves — in great numbers; but contemporary scholars still manage to present the enslavement in a positive way. Historian Dario Fernandez-Morera says that modern professors, like 19th century painters, portray the harem in a romantic light. "Some ingenious academic specialists have argued," he observes, that "sexual slavery under Islam actually promoted women's liberation."

It's ironic that academics are worried about the chilling effect that the withdrawal of a relatively small sum by the Education Department might have. When it comes to freedom of speech, the average university has already entered an ice age. There is far more freedom of expression in a hair styling salon than in most college classrooms.

Fernandez-Morera says that academics who research and teach about Islam and the Middle East have been compromised by "stakeholder" incentives. They have a financial interest in keeping certain narratives alive. But the chilling effect is not confined to the campus. It reaches out to affect the whole society. What's taught at the university trickles down to high schools and elementary schools, and sometimes it trickles down rather quickly. Don't be surprised if one of your child's homework assignments requires him to memorize and recite the shahada.

The universities also have an effect on government policies. They are the go-to places to find out what the experts are saying on a variety of issues. That may be why so much Arab money flows into Washington DC area universities. Saudi Arabia and the UAE contribute, respectively, $59 million and $5 million to George Mason University, and $75 million and $4 million, respectively, to George Washington University. Meanwhile, Georgetown University has received $6 million from Saudi Arabia, and a whopping $351 million from Qatar. The Saudi money to Georgetown comes on top of a 2005 donation of $20 million from Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal to fund the Alwaleed bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU).

But what's so important about Georgetown — other than being located in Washington — that merits so much largesse? Well, two things come to mind. First, the Alwaleed bin-Talal Center is part of the university's prestigious School of Foreign Service, also known as the Walsh School of Foreign Service because it was established by Fr. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J. The Walsh School turns out more diplomats, State Department officials, and other experts on international affairs than any other American school. It is considered to be one of the best schools of its kind in the world. Yet, what if the international affairs experts who shape our foreign policy have been shaped by a Saudi/Qatari perspective on Islam and the Middle East? It's a question worth asking because a foreign relations expert who subscribes to the ACMCU's cockeyed view of Islam is arguably a risk to national security.

The second Georgetown connection is with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) which is also located in Washington, and which considers the bin Talal Center the go-to place for guidance on Islam. So it seem safe to assume that the USCCB's understanding of Islam is also shaped by the Saudi/Qatari perspective. And that, in turn, means that American Catholics are being seriously misled about the nature of Islam.

Hitler told his opponents "Your child belongs to us already." Are we coming to the point where well-funded Islamic proselytizers and their collaborators in academia will be able to say the same?

And, of course, it's not just the children who are being influenced, but the whole culture. I said earlier that there's more freedom of expression in a hair styling salon than in a college classroom, but that statement probably ought to be qualified.

Would you really feel free to say anything critical about Islam the next time you get your hair cut? Would you feel free to say anything at all about Islam? Maybe you're upset about all those Christians being massacred in Nigeria. Maybe you're concerned about mistreatment of women and children in the Islamic world. Or maybe you only have a question about the hookah parlor that just opened around the corner. But in all likelihood you'll keep your thoughts to yourself.

Many in our society worry a great deal about global warming, but it may be time to worry instead about the chilling effect that Islamic influence has brought to bear on our freedom of expression.

This article originally appeared in the October 10, 2019 edition of Catholic World Report. It is published here with permission from the Turning Point Project.

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The pro-LGBT book drag queens are reading children in Chula Vista, Calif.
Mass Resistance

Opinion , , , ,

Parents strike back at California politicians who berated them for opposing drag queens

Mass Resistance
By
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Council member Steve Padilla (with microphone) and Mayor Mary Salas (holding "Love Wins" sign) joining with the LGBT anti-Christian who came to the library to counter-protest the pro-family parents on Sept. 10. [Photo: San Diego Reader]
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Padilla during his anti-parent "speech."
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Mayor Mary Salas labeling the parents' complaints as "hate."
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This is the "harmless" book that was read to children at the Drag Queen event. It's about a boy who wants to become a female — a mermaid — and keeps undressing and putting on makeup.
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The two Drag Queens who were "vetted" to read to children in the Chula Vista Library. [Photo: San Diego Reader]
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This was the scene inside the Chula Vista Drag Queen library event. [Photo: San Diego Union-Tribune]
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The Chula Vista City Council as the two members began their attacks on the parents.

October 18, 2019 (MassResistance) — In Chula Vista, CA, MassResistance parents forced two politicians on the City Council to reveal their ugly (and irrational) anti-family vitriol, resulting in parents getting even angrier at them.

In Part 1 we described how outraged MassResistance parents and citizens angrily rebuked the City Council members at their Sept. 10 meeting over the Drag Queen event at the local library.

During the Oct. 1, 2019 meeting of the Chula Vista City Council the openly homosexual City Council member and the Mayor went on a foul rant against MassResistance and the local parents who oppose the Drag Queen event — calling their statements about it "hate speech," "long discredited," and "disgusting."

Parents reacted to the insulting remarks by coming back the following meeting and testifying with even more powerful rhetoric. (See video here.)

Public support for anti-Christian bigotry. The two officials, Council member Steve Padilla and Mayor Mary Salas, have publicly supported the vulgar anti-Christian LGBT activists who had "counter-protested" against the parents in September.

LifeSite editors' note: A photo of one sign held by the "counter-protester" is too disgusting to reprint here. You can find it, with our warning, at the original MassResistance story.

Even after this happened, the Mayor publicly reiterated that she "stands with Steve Padilla" in support of it. If that's not repulsive enough, Padilla has also smeared the parents as "white supremacists" — even though about half them are non-white.

October 1 Council meeting

The outburst came near the end of the Oct. 1 meeting when Council member Mike Diaz asked that the Council officially discuss the "Drag Queen" issue and devise a policy to allow more citizen input before any controversial event. (During the public testimony earlier in the meeting several parents had also asked the Council to do that.)

That's when the fireworks erupted.

Council member Stephen Padilla begins angry rant

Padilla began a long-winded rant:

He said that "the recognized hate group MassResistance" is "trying to mislead folks here in Chula Vista." He said that based on emails that he and others have seen, MassResistance has a "national playbook by which they would attack communities" doing Drag Queen events, and would "go after political leaders who support those programs." He said that part of the playbook is to push for "a review before controversial programs of this nature" take place. He added that this is all part of "the ugliness that we had a couple of weeks ago." (In reality, all the ugliness was by the LGBT activists.)

Padilla went on to attack the parents who had come to testify:

The folks who are protesting this program are using this to advocate a religious and moral point of view.

They are spreading information which is not accurate which continues to ... sustain memes long discredited aimed at marginalizing the LGBTQ community. We heard them re-state it again today in this chamber — that LGBT folks, or Drag Queens, are a danger to small children. That their physical proximity to small children might make them vulnerable to sexual predatory practices. That they are trying to indoctrinate people into being homosexuals. And so on and so on. This is hate speech ... and this has been long discredited by most of science.

He reiterated that the parents don't really care about children; they just want to push their morality:

The objection to the program is not about protecting children. It really isn't. And it isn't because our programs aren't adequately vetted.

He went on to question "who determines what is considered controversial." He also tried to claim that the Constitution allows these programs no matter what morality it may violate.

The hate in his tone was frightening.

Mayor Mary Salas continues insulting the parents

Mayor Mary Salas than spoke. Her tone was arrogant and nasty. She started by stating that the Drag Queen event was basically harmless, and the complaints are basically "hate." (This was later angrily refuted by a few parents who were there and also observed the event.)

I'm not going to support it either and I really feel badly for some of the people that came here and spoke because they weren't there at the story hour and didn't see the content. They didn't understand that the stories were vetted by our librarian. They didn't understand that the performers were vetted out and there were background checks on these people.

The representation that it was adult entertainment for children was totally wrong. I was there. I heard the story. There was no encouragement of any kind of a lifestyle. A lot of the people that came here are misinformed by people that are spreading this kind of discourse and this kind of simply put hate. ... We are an inclusive city.

Salas sneeringly lashed out at the parents who were coming to testify:

They [the parents] had their opportunity to be heard. I'm sure that we will hear from them week after week after week, as we do on some people on other issues that they object to.

The other three Council members react (or don't react)

Jill Galvez turned to Padilla and Silas and said, "This is a tough thing to discuss, and there's just all kinds of hurt going back and forth on both sides. There's hurt and insults flying on both sides." But she said that people should instead go before the Library Commission, which advises the City Council.

Mike Diaz basically backed down and told Steve Padilla that he had a rainbow flag in his office, so he's not a hater. But he also reminded Galvez and Padilla that there had been no transparency on this because the Library Commission had mysteriously not met for several months leading up to the Drag Queen event.

The fifth member of the board, John McCann, was silent, although privately he has indicated he is against the event.

So the suggestion for a public discussion by the Council died there.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this is that of the 5-member City Council, we actually have a majority. That proposal should not have been killed. The other three members have all privately indicated to MassResistance that they agree with us. But Council Member John McCann, even though he is a Republican and a church-goer, has been cowardly and refuses to publicly take a stand or say anything on it. People in his district are furious with him.

October 8: MassResistance parents return and lash back!

At the following meeting on Oct. 8 the parents came back in force. And not surprisingly, Council member Steve Padilla was absent. The Mayor was wrong — several parents were at the Drag Queen event. The Mayor and the others really got an earful — especially about what really went on at the event, as well as the disgusting anti-Christian messages that are being supported.

Here is just a sample of what the parents told them:

VIDEO (view here): Outraged parents come back and lash out! (14 min 1 sec)

Padilla's attacks were disingenuous on several levels. As one local parent testified:

It's worth reminding the City Council as well as the public that Mr. Padilla was married and [his wife] gave birth to a child. Now he lives the homosexual lifestyle. Clearly, people are not born gay! Let's be sticking to science, please.

What really happened: the Mayor versus reality

And what about the Mayor's claim about storybook and the Drag Queens being "vetted" by the librarian? If that's true, things are even worse than we suspected.

As the local San Diego Reader newspaper reported:

On September 10, Francisco Soto and Xaime Aceves Equihua (stage names "Barbie-Q" and "Raquelita") presented Drag Queen Story Time to a reported 300 adults and children at the Civic Center Chula Vista Public Library on F Street.

Dressed in drag, they were introduced to the children as "performers." Illustrations were displayed on a screen as Soto and Aceves read "Julian is a Mermaid," a story about a young boy who decides to take on a female persona. They also read "It's Ok To Be Different." ...

[Soto and Aceves] call themselves "The Hottest Exxxotics" in "DL Bros," a music video they produced about gay bar hookups. As the group name suggests, their songs contain sexually explicit lyrics, including [unprintable].

The Cambridge Dictionary defines "twink" as a "gay man who is young, slim and looks like a boy." ... Five months ago they posted a video on YouTube with a scene from a strip club that shows nudity. Mayor Salas did not respond to a question about whether people who publicly post such content are appropriate public library storytellers for children.

Illustrations from "Julian is a Mermaid" that were shown to children at the library included multiple pages of Julian undressing to his underwear; before he turns into a mermaid, again when he takes a bath, and before he finds a sheet to wrap around his waist. (In the most-liked comment about the book on goodreads.com, Carol said it "makes me uncomfortable... every time you turn around Julian is stripping down to his skivvies and putting on makeup.")

This is what Mayor Mary Salas considers to be perfectly normal and family-friendly — and anyone who disagrees is misinformed and a "hater."

And this is what parents in Chula Vista, CA, are up against.

What's next?

It's rare that officials resort to such crude behavior during a public meeting. It usually means that the pressure from the community is getting to them. One can expect that a capitulation of some kind from them is not far away. But until then — especially after this — they should expect the pressure from local citizens to escalate.

Citizen outrage toward these politicians due to their depraved actions against their constituents will certainly continue in several forms. Padilla was right about one thing: MassResistance does have strategies and tactics to deal with this. We believe that this City Council will eventually cave in. They just need enough pressure from the community — which is overwhelmingly against this hideous event. Their arrogance will be their undoing.

We'll keep you informed!

Published with permission from MassResistance.

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Bishop Athanasius Schneider at Rome launch of 'Christus Vincit: Christ's Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age'. Oct 14, 2019.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Opinion ,

Bishop Schneider dedicates new book to faithful who feel abandoned by silent and errant shepherds

Bishop Athanasius Schneider
By

Editor’s note: The following address was delivered at the Rome launch of the first book-length interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, titled Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age, held at the Palazzo Cardinal Cesi on Monday, October 14. The book, published by Angelico Press, is now available through Amazon.

 

Laudetur Iesus Christus!

Your Eminences, Reverend priests, Religious Sisters, dear faithful, ladies and gentlemen!

From different sides I was asked several times to consent to the publishing of a book length interview. In doing so, my first thought was directed to the brave lay faithful, to fathers and mothers of families, to young men and young women, who are living amid the darkness of our unbelieving, hubristic and decidedly anti-Christian age. Unbelief and human hubris towards God and His supernatural Revelation have already penetrated widely into the life of the Church in our time. The brave lay faithful, the “little ones” in the Church, feel abandoned, since the vast majority of the shepherds seek their refuge in silence, while other shepherds for different motives have passed over to the enemies, thereby becoming wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

While speaking in my book as clearly as possible, I wanted to share something of my experience of the Catholic Faith and life, primarily with those who truly constitute the existential periphery within the Church of our time, that is to say: the “little ones,” who are confused, scandalized, and marginalized by worldly minded churchmen, who unscrupulously sell in the temple of God the white doves, i.e. the simple faithful. One can recall in this regard the following commentary of Origen from the beginning of the third century:

The bishops and presbyters have been entrusted the first seats by the people, and nevertheless, they deliver the Church over to those whom they should not and install those who should not be leaders, these are the ones selling doves, whose seats Jesus overturned (In Matth. XVI, 22). 

To the current situation within the Church one can fully apply the following lucid words of Pope Pius X:

The relentless enemy of mankind never sleeps; according to the events of the times, and the occurrence of events, he tactically changes language, but is always ready for the fight. Indeed, the more that error pursued by the truth is condemned to hide, the more one must fear for the perilous ambushes behind which it will not be long that he will re-establish his always deadly artilleries.  Therefore, we can never abandon ourselves to a false security without incurring those anathemas launched against the false prophets who announced peace where peace was not and sang the victory when everything called us to fight. It is therefore necessary in all times, and especially in this one, when the great conspiracy is hatched directly against our Lord Jesus Christ, against his supernatural and revealed religion, against the people, whose false teachers say evil is good and good is evil, calling darkness light and light darkness, vocantes tenebras lucem et lucem tenebras, seducing many minds that bend to every wind of doctrine. That is why we believe the time to speak, the tempus loquendi,has come (Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Epistolae ad principes. Positiones et minutae157 (1907-08), fascicolo 35a).

In modern times we possess an admirable example of the fidelity to one’s baptismal vows in Blessed Karl of Austria, the last Emperor of Austria. In the extremely difficult times of the First World War and occupying the highest political and social position, he nevertheless denied any compromise which would undermine the validity of the commandments of God in public life and which would dethrone Jesus Christ from His influence over social life. Blessed Karl categorically refused any collaboration with sin and with godless powers. During his Swiss exile, more than once high-level exponents of Freemasonry had offered Emperor Karl to work for the recovery of the throne under the condition of a freer marriage legislation, a freer school education and the admission of Freemasonry in Austria. The response of the Blessed Karl to this offer was truly exemplary. He answered: “What I have received from God, I cannot accept from the hand of the devil” (Summ. test. p. 145, § 221, Anna Francesca Lamich).

What a glaring contrast we see between such a heroic testimony of fidelity to his baptismal vows on the part of a lay faithful, in this case of Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria, and those churchmen who, in our day, actively collaborate with the promotion of sin and with anti-Christian and freemasonic powers. Such churchmen betray not only their baptismal vows, but even more the vows of their episcopal ordination. Indeed, many influential churchmen in our days engage in promoting the equality of all religions and the substitution of active evangelization with interreligious dialogue. In this way they not only betray Christ, but commit a great sin against the love for their neighbor. Those, however, who are bringing to the people of our dark age the light of Christ’s truths and the sweetness of His kingdom, are, in fact, the greatest benefactors of humankind. In that sense we may understand and recall also the following prophetical words of Pope Pius XII: “Precisely because of this apocalyptic foresight of disaster, imminent and remote, We feel We have a duty to raise with still greater insistence the eyes and hearts of those in whom there yet remains good will to the One from Whom alone comes the salvation of the world — to One Whose almighty and merciful Hand can alone calm this tempest — to the One Whose truth and Whose love can enlighten the intellects and inflame the hearts of so great a section of mankind plunged in error, selfishness, strife and struggle, so as to give it a new orientation in the spirit of the Kingship of Christ” (Encyclical Summi Pontificatus, 24). 

Christus vincit! Thank you for your attention!

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Thomas Bethge / Shutterstock.com
J.R. Dunn

Opinion

Democrats’ ‘whistleblower’ scheme to impeach Trump is collapsing

J.R. Dunn
By J.R. Dunn

This article was originally published on Oct. 12, 2019 on American Thinker

October 18, 2019 (American Thinker) — House Democrats are now demanding that the "whistleblower" be allowed to testify by letter. This marks another step forward in the impeachment narrative. Yesterday it was from behind a curtain with the voice artificially distorted. Today it's by letter. Tomorrow it will be from Elon Musk's Mars colony.

The excuse for this is the evergreen "death threats," but this is even less likely the case than in other instances. A CIA operative is frightened by anonymous death threats? Are you sure?

So what could the real explanation be? Let us count the ways:

The witness is balking. Following the complete public humiliations of Mrs. Christine Blasey Ford and Robert Mueller, Crusader for Justice, this could well be case. Blasey Ford was a reluctant witness finally pushed into appearing by the Democrats — wisely so, as it developed. In that, at least, she was smarter than her handlers. Vague threats is one thing; the certainty of being turned into a universal punch line for all time to come is something else altogether.\

Beyond that, there's the fact that this is totally new legal ground — never has something as grave as a presidential impeachment been based on a reed as flimsy as a single whistleblower. One wrong step and the witness will be spending the rest of his days in one court or another, if not worse.

And beyond even that, there is the vengeance that DJT will undoubtedly wreak once he is re-elected and doesn't have to worry about running or being impeached. The whistleblower is an old D.C. hand and is probably quite aware of all this.

Fading courage. "When you strike at a king, you must kill him." Nancy and Adam struck at Donald Trump only to see their swords turn to rubber in their hands. Now, blades drooping, they stand staring at Trump. He stares back. In the distance, a dog barks.

In this case, it's not the whistleblower, but the Democrats themselves who are balking, in a desperate effort to buy time. The lawyers have had second thoughts. Vulnerable incumbents are screaming, "You can't do this to us!"

A flawed witness. Something is seriously wrong with the whistleblower. Something has emerged, or has been discovered, that makes it risky or impossible to put the whistleblower before the public. What this might be is anybody's guess, but considering that it involves the CIA, the possibilities are endless.

The case has collapsed. F or some reason as yet unknown, the case has effectively evaporated in the Dem's hands. This could be new evidence, new testimony, or revelations that the Dems can't allow to become public. As in the Kavanaugh case, every last piece of evidence has been undercut or contradicted. It wouldn't take much more to bury it.

There is no whistleblower.

It could be any of these (except for the last — not even the Democrats are that bold) or something else altogether. What is undeniable is that the House Dems are now trying to stall. This is a clear sign of failure. The only hope that the impeachment mob had was to strike quickly, cleanly, and successfully. A stretched out process would only reveal the weaknesses of their case and turn the entire affair into a campaign issue, and not one in their favor. They blew it, and now they're playing for time and looking for a way down. They have yet to find it.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Al Gore. Matthew Conboy / Shutterstock.com
Mark Deutschle

Opinion

We need a real, fact-based debate on climate change

Mark Deutschle
By Mark Deutschle

October 18, 2019 (American Thinker) — TIME Magazine published an article on June 24, 1974, titled "Another Ice Age?," stating that "the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing." This climate theory didn't last long, as the planet apparently began to warm slightly in the latter 1970s, paving the way for the introduction of a new theory called global warming. Unfortunately, the planet failed to warm up as predicted, so yet another climate theory was created called climate change. This all-encompassing label meant that incidents of heat waves, cold snaps, rain, drought, hurricanes, and so on could all be identified as problems resulting from man-caused climate change.

In a 2005 Gallup poll asking people to identify America's biggest problem, global warming didn't even make it into the top ten concerns. Climate change adherents understood that if this lack of concern persisted, they would never achieve their goal of radically reducing fossil fuel use throughout the industrialized world. So marketing efforts to "sell" climate change to an unconcerned public ramped up, starting with Al Gore's 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which earned Gore an Oscar and Nobel Prize. Even though a British court ruled in 2007 that the film "make[s] a political statement and ... support[s] a political programme" and contains nine serious science errors, climate change theorists began to use the movie both here and abroad to influence millions of public school students to become believers in man-caused climate change.

One should not be surprised by a 2018 Gallup poll that shows that 70% of Americans aged 18–34 are somewhat or very worried about global warming. Today, 40 states use a public school science curriculum that identifies mankind as the major cause of global warming, so it is clear that the "selling" of global warming continues to be increasingly effective. The fact that majorities of our Millennials and Generation Z embrace the theory of man-caused global warming is beginning to have a dramatic effect in America. Millennial Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has over 5 million followers on Twitter, recently said the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change. Fighting climate change is an essential part of Ocasio-Cortez's proposed New Green Deal legislation, which, if enacted, will require the U.S. to nearly eliminate all use of fossil fuels within ten years. Most of the Democrats running for president, the mass media, celebrities, and the Left are all singing the same refrain as Ocasio-Cortez, warning of a rapidly approaching man-caused Climate Doomsday, which can be avoided only by taking immediate and drastic action. For example, at a September town hall on climate change, former vice president Joe Biden said "We have to take combustion engine vehicles off the road as rapidly as we can."

However, many millions of Americans, especially those over the age of 30, are not so sure that the climate doomsayers have the facts on their side. Therefore, I propose that we have a nationally televised debate on carbon emissions and man-caused climate change. Let Americans hear the relevant facts so they can decide for themselves if we need to completely gut our economy now in order to save the planet later.

Maybe George Soros or Tom Steyer would like to put up a big pot — say, 10 million dollars to the winner, just to make things interesting.

The list of topics that could be debated is large and expansive. Is climate forecasting really a collection of computer programs, each of which contains hundreds if not thousands of assumptions about the future? Do these computer programs purport to tell us the climate in 50 years without including clouds or sunspots in their formulations? Have these predictive programs been successfully applied to any other fields of study? If a team of scientists is smart enough to create a computer program that can accurately crunch together thousands of variables and assumptions over a fifty-year period to create "the settled science" of man-caused climate change, then why wouldn't that same dream team of scientists take a few days over Thanksgiving and create a computer program to predict stock prices on Christmas Eve? Take a little break from turkey and football, become richer than Jeff Bezos, and have a Happy New Year, right?

Climate change advocates claim to tell us, within a tenth of a degree, how hot it was in the very distant past, even though reliable historical temperature records go back only several decades, if even that far. Were thermometers calibrated to one tenth of a degree 40 or 50 years ago? Were situational records kept for each instrument back then, so you could determine today if a thermometer placed in service 50 years ago was located under a tree or had a road or building constructed next to it at any point in time? If a thermometer's location evolved from a cornfield to being in the middle of a five-acre parking lot, wouldn't that drastically change its readings? How can we adjust for these changes accurately if we don't even know they occurred?

Let's debate the content of Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which is still being shown widely to schoolchildren across the USA. Since Gore's inflammatory and never materialized claims of impending catastrophes were based on "settled science" produced by climate change computer models, what lessons should we learn? Should we still be showcasing Gore's documentary if it's been debunked?

There are other debate topics that would be interesting. Looking back, has any country besides the U.S. decreased carbon emissions in the last ten years? Looking ahead, which countries will be increasing their emissions the most? Since today's biggest polluters also have rapidly rising levels of carbon emissions, would it make any difference at all if the U.S. cut its carbon emissions by 50%? What would happen to the U.S. per capita income if emissions were cut by 50%? If cutting U.S. emissions by 50% will have no effect on an impending climate crisis, what should America do now? Should we invade the biggest polluter, China, next year in order to save the planet?

We need to have this debate now so Americans can see if we are blithely skidding toward an irreversible Climate Doomsday.

Post-debate, let's enlist the IRS to help individuals to fight climate change by using their own personal funds. Amend the IRS Form 1040 by adding two checkboxes, so taxpayers could increase their taxes by either 50% or 100%, with all of the additional money going to fight climate change. Currently, the loudest advocates for climate change tend have the largest personal carbon footprints, leaving them open to the charge of being hypocrites. Overnight, climate activists would have a golden opportunity to become hugely credible as they shared their tax returns with the public, proving that as true believers, they're actually putting their money where their mouths are. Taking a public stand, more money for the government, and saving the planet — sounds simply irresistible, doesn't it?

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Gordon Wysong

Opinion

Deep State criminals must be prosecuted, or faith in US govt will erode

Gordon Wysong
By

October 18, 2019 (American Thinker) — Imagine that the local cops know that a gang member, named William, broke into the pawn shop and stole guns, jewelry, and money. William's fingerprints, film image, and DNA add to the hard evidence log. The owner knows it; the prosecutor knows it; William's gang associates know it. But he is not arrested. Nearby shopkeepers and neighborhood mothers are asking why he is walking the street. No one explains it; mum's the word. Could it be there is a grand plan to take out the gang's leaders? No one knows; mum's the word. Shopkeepers and residents are about to give up and start moving away from the area, and no one asks them to stay the course.

Fast-forward to today's still vocal Obama gang. Why no indictments? Mum's the word. Can anyone hold to the faith in American justice? Those who support the rule of law feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football. It's coming — oh, wait, it's coming...oh, wait...

Without doubt, a criminal cabal is an extraordinarily complex organization, and understanding who did what, why, when, and how is a challenge to the mental faculties of anyone. But, what happens if the full scope of activities is never clear? Does everyone get off? Does complexity confer immunity?

In engineering, there is no perfect answer to anything, so changes are made incrementally, addressing the problems as they are recognized. Each step brings a clearer view of remaining problems, which are then addressed, each in its turn. The completed project is still flawed, but the solution is practical and productive.

So it should be with a grandiose scheme like the Russia Hoax. The ringleaders don't have to be handled with kid gloves. They don't even have to be handled at all. Just start with the low-hanging fruit, and get as far as possible.

Those old enough to remember My Lai, Vietnam, know that Lt. Calley and Cpt. Medina were not alone in their actions. However, their prosecution forever changed the game of passing the buck on war crimes.

So, too, can rabid prosecution of bit players in the Russian Hoax forever change the landscape in plots involving treason. Those who would participate at the lower levels must know they are subject to prosecution, so they remain circumspect in such a re-enactment of the coup attempt. This would be the Achilles heel of another cabal — those who are intimidated by the prospect of prison. Those who realize they don't have sufficient rank to escape punishment will be loath to participate in such a scheme. Without them, there will be no operational viability to an unlawful coup.

Admittedly, there are always problems in pursuing a criminal case. It must be so under our Constitution, but it cannot be impossible!

Prosecutors don't get all the information, but at a certain point, for each criminal, evidence accumulates that there is a real and provable crime. It may not include every transgression of that person, nor is it the magic revelation, untangling the Gordian knot of the conspirators. It is a simple criminal act. It is what it appears, and it need not be put in the context of the big picture — it is as plain as the nose on your face.

That stage is the stimulus for a prosecutor. It is the time to move. If the DOJ acts, many of the sins can never be prosecuted, because the prosecution of their lesser crimes may foreclose pursuit of other crimes under double jeopardy protection. However, failure to move puts evidence and witnesses at risk of being lost. This point has passed for so many of the coup conspirators that it seems there will be no justice for many of them, like Lois Lerner.

Why?

A full recounting of all that is already known would be tedious, and to expound on the criminal conduct yet again seems shrill. It is not necessary to understand the intertwining of all the crimes before simply bringing the charges that are facially obvious. But the deferral of prosecution, for whatever reason it is done, allows many of the cabal to walk free when they shouldn't. In fact, the indication is that they are continuing the very conduct for which they should be prosecuted.

Why has McCabe not been charged with lying to the FBI, lying under oath? Nothing more is needed to start the dominos falling. Who will step forward to exonerate him? No one can, and no one will. That omission — of a vigorously supported defense — will send a message to the others in the coup conspiracy.

Why has Samantha Power not been indicted for violating national security requirements in unmasking or transferring her unmasking authority to others? It doesn't pass the smell test that she is too important to be prosecuted.

Why is Huma Abedin strolling around, free as a bird? She forwarded classified emails to Anthony Weiner's laptop. What else is needed to demonstrate a crime?

Did Strzok do anything? Did Page? Which one lied to Congress? Their contradictory accounts mean at least one is a perjurer. Sure, there is more "there" there, but it isn't necessary to keelhaul them; just send them to jail, and send others a message.

Listing all the cabal members, who are quite obviously criminal, is not easy — in fact, it is not doable. It need not be the aim. A public that finds this whole thing partisan or tedious will not be easily impressed if a 2,000-count indictment naming 43 people is suddenly dropped. Bringing along the public is certainly part of sending the message for future conspirators. It probably is better done gradually.

Removing the context and simply prosecuting crimes is the method to educate both today's and tomorrow's citizens.

Selecting single actors, and naming obvious crimes, will have a chance to convince even skeptical partisans that something is wrong. The lack of support from other participants will indeed remove most doubt.

The full scope of what has gone on will never be known, but the lessons for future participants in such a scheme is essential. The next time, the prosecution will be more severe, more certain, and more expedient. Protecting the Constitution is more important than perfect justice. Some miscreants will escape, but they will never sleep well again. The lesson must be taught.

A DOJ that fails to move loses its credibility and its honor. The foundation of the Republic is placed at risk. Without the rule of law, what do we have?

At some point, deferral of prosecution is dereliction or abetting. Has it reached that point?

Gordon Wysong is an engineer and entrepreneur who has served as a county commissioner in Cobb County, Ga.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Parents can’t count on politicians to fight gender ideology. Time to take action

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By Jonathon Van Maren

October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — As the sexual revolution approaches total victory in the West, the latest battleground in the culture wars has begun to centre on the colonization of childhood. In the last few years, there has been a tremendous effort on the part of the LGBT movement and their allies in politics, the media, and the entertainment industry to begin introducing the tenets of their ideology to children at younger and younger ages. Those who oppose this, it almost goes without saying these days, are damned as bigots.

In sex education classes in Canada, for example, children are taught that gender is a spectrum, with a handy “gender unicorn” to help them “break the binary” and understand that you can choose to be the opposite gender if you wish to identify that way. Many public schools mandate support for Pride Month, with the rainbow flag flapping above the school for the entire month of June. Public libraries now stock scores of children’s books featuring LGBT couples, transgender crayons (I’m not kidding), and even workbooks to help children become “gender transcenders” and banish “transphobia” from their lives.

Most disturbingly, in the past couple of years, this has gone even farther, with Canada’s state broadcaster promoting so-called “drag kids” in a feature-length documentary and drag queen story hours — which have been praised by at least one prominent advocate of pedophilia — being held for audiences of children. The LGBT movement wants to indoctrinate children, from children’s movies to the public library to the classroom, and its soldiers have been stunningly successful in a very short period of time. It can now be taken for granted that children will encounter LGBT ideology unless parents take specific and intentional measures to prevent it.

And that is why I found it encouraging that at least some politicians in some places appear to understand that this colonization of childhood needs to be confronted and prevented. According to Gript, an Irish media organization, the Polish government plans to pass legislation designed to combat this ongoing indoctrination and the increasingly sexualization of children:

Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS) has begun drafting a bill that would criminalize “the promotion of underage sexual activity”, amid fears that sex education in other jurisdictions is leading to the early sexualisation of children.

Schools in Poland do not offer sex education classes, instead focusing efforts on preparing students for “family life”, although certain cities run by liberal parties have allowed sex-education programmes to be offered.

Protests against the bill are planned on Wednesday in a number of cities, but with last Sunday’s comprehensive electoral victory for PiS, it seems likely that any legislation that is brought forward will pass.

Critics have said that PiS are simply trying to “outflank” far-right parties in their appeal to traditional Catholic voters.

Here in Canada, unfortunately, there is no mainstream political party willing to stand up to any of this. After promising to do away with Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne’s radical sex curriculum — especially the dangerous gender ideology it contained — Progressive Conservative premier Doug Ford backed down, and the revised curriculum is nearly indistinguishable from the previous one on some of the most important issues. Almost no politician has been willing to come out and push back against gender ideology in schools at all, and I very much wonder how many politicians would, at this point, be forthright enough to utter the simple sentence “Women don’t have penises.”

The fact that saying something like that is considered by many to be political suicide — even for apparently conservative politicians — is a brutal reality check. Canada’s public schools are in the business of indoctrinating children, and there are very, very few people willing to stand up and demand that children be permitted to have a childhood unmarred by the confusion inevitably created by gender ideology. Those who wish to protect their children from this have only one choice: take responsibility for the education of your children, and, if at all possible, keep them out of the public school system.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Laura Klassen, the founder of CHOICE42, a one-of-a-kind pro-life organization that uses sarcasm, perfect comedic timing, and a healthy dose of truth to create viral pro-life videos designed to force even the most committed pro-choicers re-think their basic presuppositions. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:

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Amazon Synod participants must stop pretending pagan ‘Pachamama’ is OK

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Quite a lot of what is happening at the Synod on the Amazon right now in Rome is shrouded in mystery, since the press is not being allowed to see the texts of synod addresses — even those of Pope Francis. We are left to contemplate the outward spectacle, which started with a strange tree-planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens and continues with processions and displays in St Peter’s and elsewhere. At the ceremony, and in many of these displays, is a figurine of Pachamama, which in the tree-planting seemed to be what various participants were bowing before, while Pope Francis stood in the background.

Heroic efforts have been made to explain Pachamama away. Austen Ivereigh, the papal biographer, declared not only that she was a native representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but that anyone expressing concern about the figurine was racist. It took the Vatican press officers to disabuse him. In a press conference, Bishop David Martínez de Aguirre Guinea of Peru suggested instead:

Probably those who used this symbol demonstrated, wishes to reflect fertility, to women, to life, the life presence among these Amazonian people … and Amazonia is meant to be full of life. I don’t think we need to create any connections with the Virgin Mary or with a pagan element.

On this line of thought, the figurine represents an abstraction, or perhaps a collection of them: ‘fertility’, ‘women’, ‘life’.

Suggesting that Pachamama is not a person, but the symbol of an abstract concept does not, however, solve the problem. When the apostles arrived in Rome, they found a form of paganism which spent a great deal of time propitiating abstractions, such as ‘Terminus’, symbol of Rome’s eternal borders, which had its own altars and sacrificial cult. The ancient Romans were somewhat literal in their religion, although their favored symbol of fertility was masculine, rather than feminine. Were the early Christians open-minded and relaxed about the worship of military standards, for example, the symbols of military might? Would they have been happy to bow down to them? Certainly not.

The gambit was a failure even in its own terms. A simple internet search reveals that, whatever the Vatican press office might hope, Pachamama is a pagan deity. Don’t believe me; believe the Encyclopedia Britannica. One enterprising Twitter-user (@thecrushedbones) found a very helpful web page describing how to worship Pachamama with her favorite food: llama embryos.

Not to be defeated, Ivereigh has adopted a new ploy. Perhaps Pachamama can combine the Blessed Virgin with a pagan fertility goddess? And isn’t this something that happens all the time in Catholic devotion?

The answer is ‘no’, and ‘no’. It is interesting that Ivereigh has decided that, having been slapped down once by the Vatican press office, he might as well adopt the direct opposite of their position, connecting Pachamama both with Our Lady and paganism (the spokesman had said, ‘I don’t think we need to create any connections with the Virgin Mary or with a pagan element’). This serves to emphasize that he is flying by the seat of his pants here, not delivering an official message.

Such a combination of Catholic and pagan elements is called ‘syncretism’, and it has been relentlessly condemned by the Church, from the earliest days right up to the magisterial documents about ‘inculturation’ from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Certainly, elements of local cultures, and elements even of non-Christian spirituality, can be purified of anything contrary to the Gospel and incorporated into an authentic Christian life. But the worship of false deities — and this really should not need saying — is not an example of this.

It is precisely because things like local clothing (not to mention skin tone) have no intrinsic pagan connotations that they can be adopted so freely in Catholic devotional art. Where there is a danger of syncretism, however, Catholics have always gone to great trouble to keep a clear distinction between their devotional images and those of paganism, which may even involve the inversion of pagan symbols. Thus, Our Lady of Guadalupe does not embrace or incorporate paganism, but, as is suggested by her name (‘coatlaxopeuh’ in the local language), is the one who crushes the Aztec serpent-deity, on the site of whose temple she appeared.

I don’t doubt that the confusion displayed by the Vatican press team is widespread among other officials in Rome. The want to believe that nothing untoward is going on and do not intend their actions — such as carrying Pachamama in procession — as acts of worship directed towards a pagan deity. We cannot, in any case, judge their hearts. What we can do is protest that what is happening is, objectively, grossly inappropriate. Those who do understand the situation and are closer to the action, and with greater standing than I or most readers of this article, need to say something, or risk sharing in sacrilege by their silence.

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Prominent German journalists criticize ‘Gaia liturgy’ and ‘adoration of Pachamama’ at Amazon Synod

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By Maike Hickson

October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In an October 16 column, Christian Geyer, a columnist for the prominent German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is raising worried questions about Rome and the Amazon Synod. “What is going on in the Vatican?” he asks. He is referring here to the public display of a “Gaia liturgy” which seems to undermine the distinction between “liturgy and idolatry.” 

The fact that a national newspaper would raise such questions shows that the indignation about the events surrounding the Amazon Synod in Rome expressed by many Catholics on social media are not merely the eccentric opinions of a few people with “fundamentalist religiosity,” in the recent words of Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J.

Geyer speaks in his column about the “cult of Mother Earth” and its adaptability to all sorts of spiritualities and fertility cults “up to a climate religion of a planet that somehow is sacred.” He sees that now “the Vatican gives Mother Earth a dignified platform when, within the framework of the current Amazon Synod in Rome, there are rituals being celebrated which connect the reading of Old Testament passages with characteristic signs of fertility cults.” 

“This is being done,” Geyer continues, “in such a way that the liturgical forms are being dissolved for the sake of a Gaia liturgy, in which – traditionally speaking – the borders between worship of God and idolatry seem to dissolve, losing at least their differentiating meaning.”

In the context of this grave charge against the events and enactments at the Vatican these days, Geyer even directly points to the pagan ceremony in the Vatican Gardens on October 4, conducted in the presence of Pope Francis. Says Geyer: “Already immediately before the synod, which is about mobilizing indigenous narratives for the sake of the reform of the Church, there took place in the Vatican Gardens, in the presence of the Pope, a praise of creation and of the soil, referencing indigenous mythologies, which was in any event managed without Christ as 'God of God' (Creed).” 

“What is going on in the Vatican?” is the piercing question of Christian Geyer. “Is Christianity under the Jesuit Pope turning into a collective movement of a one world religion, which translates Universalism from ‘Catholic’ (all-encompassing) into ‘planetarian’ (biosphere)? Does a monotheistic religion here lose its face?” 

Geyer also points out that, ever since the Church started to dwell on gradualism and “elements that are everywhere to be found,” she has had problems with notions – such as “the syncretistic, heretical, or pagan” – that would be clearly in opposition to the “religio vera” (St. Augustine) – i.e., the true religion. The Church is no longer able “to determine the boundaries to the lie and to sin,” as Geyer explains. He then adds: “Because, of course, where should one not also be able always to detect a kernel of truth?” 

While discussing the matter of inculturation, the journalist agrees that there always has been some form of inculturation in the missionary activities of the Church. But where the debate starts, he says, is “whether the Christian contents as such are still being transmitted, or whether they are not anymore recognizable in the process of the cultural adaptation.”
He concludes: “Here lies the crucial point for the incredulous astonishment with which those faithful who are loyal to their Christ-Creed newly now turn their eyes to the Vatican cult of Mother Earth.”

Geyer is not the only prominent German journalist who shows himself concerned about the recent developments in Rome. Paul Badde – the Rome-based journalist of EWTN who worked for more than thirty years for German national newspapers, first the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, then Die Weltcommented already on October 11 on the presence of pagan symbols in Rome. He says that there is much “fraud” in what is going on these days, “enraging many people in Rome.”

With regard to this “fraud” Badde mentions the “adoration of ‘Pachamama,’ Mother earth, whose wrath, according to the now much-invoked ‘indigenous wisdom,’ once and a while also wants to be appeased with the help of an infanticide.” For Badde, “it is the old fear of the pagans [‘Heidenangst’ – mortal fright], which reappears in this fraud, whose high priests have crossed the ocean in first-class-flights.”

Here, Badde points out some of the internal contradictions within this newly revived cult of the indigenous wisdom in the Vatican.

He also reveals that the “soil of the Amazon” with which last Saturday the little tree was planted for different intentions – and in the presence of the Pope – “did not stem from the threatened rainforest, but was beforehand dug out of the Vatican Gardens.” Something similar, he adds, is to be expected concerning the “Amazonian soil used in that masquerade which was displayed on 8 October at the Church of Our Lady of Carmel in Traspontina, with the statue of a naked, pregnant woman, with pictures of birds, a woven basket and all kinds of other pagan knick-knacks. This was displayed at a ceremony, in which in the end a young woman in a canoe was carried through the Church.”

With these commentaries – as similarly expressed by many of the simple faithful on social media – both Paul Badde and Christian Geyer have elevated the critique of Pope Francis' encouragement and permission of pagan idols in the Vatican onto the level of internationally reputable newspapers.

Over 9,500 people have signed a LifeSiteNews petition demanding all pagan symbols be removed from St. Peter's and the synod hall.

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A syncretic ideological agenda is obscuring the real Amazonian message

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Editor’s note: Our Scotland-based reporter Dorothy Cummings McLean has been sent to Italy to join our Rome Correspondent, Diane Montagna, in covering the Synod for the Bishops of the Pan-Amazon region. A lifelong diarist, Dorothy has volunteered to give readers a glimpse into life off-camera as she carries out what she calls “a dream assignment.” Read all of her Amazon Synod diary posts HERE.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Stop the presses. The animal being breastfed by the Amazonian mother in the poster hanging in the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina is neither a weasel nor a rodent. It is a baby wild pig. The photograph of the woman, a member of the Awa, or Guajá, people, was taken by Pisco Del Gaiso in 1992. Apparently the image is well-known in Brazil, which may be why it never occurred to the curators of the Amazonian Spirituality exhibit that other cultures would find it offensive. (I am charitably assuming the curators did not mean to offend.) 

This morning I observed an entirely different publication. After Mass I was approached by an American woman who has been handing out her beautifully produced and illustrated 94-page book about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Lisa Bergman’s book is called Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass, and it has been published by St. Augustine Academy Press. Lisa has already handed out thousands of copies in Rome, concentrating on English-speaking pilgrims here for the canonization of St. John Henry Cardinal Newman. I note that inside the cover is a plea not to throw it in the trash. 

“STOP! Do not dispose of this book in the garbage,” it pleads. “It contains the text of the Holy Mass …. Thank you for treating our Sacred Heritage with reverence.”

Well, indeed. 

Afterwards I downed my daily cappuccino and went home to write the news. At 1:00 p.m. I rushed off towards the Sala Stampa and was almost at St. Peter’s Square when I realized I wasn’t wearing my press pass. To the derisive cries of a beggar, I turned in my tracks and rushed back to my apartment again. 

This made me late for the daily press conference, but not too late for the questions. I noted that today there were at least three indigenous people among the synod participants: Leah Rose Casimero, a bilingual educator, from Guyana; Patricia Gualinga, a defender of the rights of the Kichwa peoples, from Ecuador; and Fr. Justino Sarmento Rezende, a Salesian priest from Brazil. There were also Dr. Felicio de Araujo Ponte, Jr., a Brazilian state prosecutor and specialist in the rights of indigenous peoples, and Archbishop Roque Paloschi of Porto Velho, Brazil. 

The press corps has changed dramatically since last week: many more Latin American journalists and several missing faces among the anglophone set. The questions are still very interesting and, as usual, not all the answers are direct. 

Every day some questions pertain directly to the experiences of Amazonian peoples, including the indigenous presenters, and others hone in on controversies. Today, after requests for descriptions of what a “Church with an Amazonian face” would look like and of indigenous children’s bilingual education, Jules Gomes from St. Michael’s Media asked if inculturation was a means to an evangelical end or an end in itself, and Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register dropped a bomb. 

The bomb was that the Indigenous Missionary Council of the Brazilian Bishops Conference, otherwise known as CIMI, has received “significant funding” from the pro-abortion and gender ideologue Ford Foundation. Pentin asked Bishop Paloschi, the president of CIMI, why his organization accepted funding from “such an organization” and if any of that money was used “to fund REPAM and therefore the synod.” 

Paloschi didn’t answer these questions directly. Instead he insisted that both his and CIMI’s finances were transparent, as if Pentin had suggested some sort of financial corruption. Still, Pentin’s question provided many journalists their story for the day.  

But my story of the day was about Fr. Sarmento because although we had been told that Amazonian indigenous people don’t understand celibacy, there was a celibate Amazonian indigenous priest right before our eyes. 

In response to a question about his vocation, Sarmento said that it was born when he met some missionaries. He thought he could be like them and spread the message of Jesus among the indigenous people. He studied theology and underwent formation before he was ordained. After his ordination he continued his studies and discussed with other indigenous people how inculturation of the Church in the Amazon should take place. Regarding celibacy, Fr. Sarmento made it clear that every human culture can grasp the idea of celibacy, and that celibacy chosen freely is a virtue. 

Dr. Felicio de Araujo Ponte, Jr. made an interesting presentation about different models of development in the Amazon region: the predatory and the sustainable. The press corps have heard about this before, and I think it is worth underscoring. 

In short, the predatory model involves a single industry, like mining or soy farming, encroaching on the Amazonian forests, cutting down trees, polluting, and displacing or even murdering the indigenous people. The sustainable model treats the Amazonian forests as resources themselves. De Araujo mentioned the very nutritious Amazonian chestnut as an example of a sustainable yet lucrative crop. He also said that there is a research institute that discovers a new species in the Amazon every 15 days. De Araujo believes that nature itself has rights and that human beings don’t have the right to do away with ecosystems. 

At the beginning of the synod we were told that Pope Francis worried that there would be two synods: the synod of the hall and the synod of the media. My perception is that there are indeed two synods, but that they are the synod on the well-being of the indigenous people and the synod on the implementation of fashionable doctrinal/pastoral ideas. The latter has implications for the universal Church, so it is yet another scandal that so few bishops are involved in this “process of discernment.”

It should be clear to the synod by now that many Catholics are terrified that such basic doctrines as the First Commandment and such ancient Christian traditions as the male priesthood are under threat. If members aren’t reading the news, at least some of them will have heard the searching questions from Italian, British, and American journalists. 

Social media should be full of concern for the people of the Amazon, but instead it is melting down with outrage over mysterious wooden statues and offensive posters. This is because somebody, or many somebodies, have not carefully thought out which images will best convey the Amazonians’ concerns to the rest of the Catholic world. A naked woman breastfeeding a piglet is not one of them. 

My colleague Jim Hale and I want to convey the blessed fact that women have always had important roles in the Church, so after he filmed me expressing my sorrow about the poster, we went to visit St. Monica’s tomb in the Basilica of Saint Augustine of Hippo. As you may remember, St. Monica was a devout Christian who prayed without ceasing that her son Augustine would accept Christ. Augustine, who paid enormous tribute to his mother in his writings, did receive baptism and became one of the greatest Fathers of the Early Church.

On our way to dinner, we perceived a familiar face bobbing across the Piazza Navona, bound for a drink at his favorite restaurant. It was my husband Mark, whose phone does not work outside the UK and whose whereabouts were until then unknown to me. Thus, that was a lucky, as well as a lovely, surprise. 

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Pope could learn from 3 ancient Israelites who stood up to idolatry

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By John-Henry Westen

October 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The pagan ceremony that occurred in the Vatican Gardens on Friday, October 4 was more than just distressing. In a ceremony observed by the pope, a “priestess” shaking maracas led the apparent worship of two statutes of naked women. Numerous people, including a Franciscan priest, prostrated themselves in front of these statues. 

The Vatican has just recently released a statement clarifying that the statue was not the Virgin Mary, one possible interpretation offered by Bishop David Martínez. Even if it had been the Virgin Mary, it was an extremely disrespectful depiction. 

The Bible provides many examples of the folly of idol worship. The Israelites seemed to continue to fall into idolatry and faced harsh punishments for their wayward hearts. The Bible also provides us with many examples of great faith. One that comes to mind is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

In the book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to the golden idol created by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. In his rage, the king threw them into a furnace, stoked to seven times its normal heat. God saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the heat of the furnace and facilitated King Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion through their survival. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were the only Israelites who refused to bow to the idol, and they were risking prominent careers in the court (to say nothing of their lives). Despite the pressure they must have felt from everyone around them doing the wrong thing and the risk of losing material wealth and even their lives, they stood up for the truth.

Why is it that Pope Francis can’t seem to stand up for the Catholic faith? He is not being threatened by an angry leader, but is a leader himself. The idolatrous statues and pagan ritual the pope attended are only the beginning of his denigration of the Catholic faith. 

It is time to evangelize with the truth of Christ boldly, not equate Catholicism with every other belief. 

Watch the full video to learn more about the punishments outlined in Exodus for those who worship idols.

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